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Update: Jan 15 Council Meeting

Last night we had our first Council meeting for the new year.

Late last week, I wrote about what we were discussing. Click here to check it out. You can checkout the City’s recap by clicking here.

All recommendations passed without any major ammendments. However, there are two topics worth expanding on:

 

Hughes Lake Area Structure Plan

For a bylaw (such as an Area Structure Plan) to go into effect, it needs to pass three "readings" by Council. We were only able to give this its first two readings due to the County filing a concern about traffic impacts on Range Road 70. There is a dispute resolution process that we need to work through before giving this a third reading. Our administrations have worked through the first steps of this process together and were not able to resolve it. If the County chooses to continue this process, the next step is for our Councils to meet together to discuss it.

 

Debt for the Pool and Grandstands

Something I received a few comments on was the debt we took on for the outdoor pool and for the Community Knowledge Campus grandstands. People questioned me about my intention to vote “yes” for these. So I thought I would clarify my position.

I am supportive of the grandstands. However, I feel that we did a poor job of inviting regional partners into this project. I would’ve liked us to do more work to bring in other funding sources before going ahead with the project.

The outdoor pool I’m not supportive of at this time. Living in a winter city, there is a definite tension in philosophies. Do you spend money to maximize our short summer, or do you spend money on facilities that can be used year round? I am generally in favour of year round investments. With this in mind, I would’ve preferred to see an indoor pool on the north end before this outdoor facility. I understand why many want the outdoor pool, I think it will bring great value to our community, but it wasn’t my first choice of a facility.

A few people knew that I had these views, so they asked why I voted in favour of the debt.

Two reasons:

  1. I don’t think there was a real choice. Contracts are signed and the projects are half done. It isn’t an option to say “we aren’t paying for it.” And without taking out debt, the City would need to scramble to find cuts to generate a huge amount of surplus- this isn’t a responsible way to budget.
  2. While I don’t agree with these projects, I understand why they were initiated. And while they don't ultimately sway me, the arguments in favour of them are very strong. Stability is important- governments need to be cautious of changing course dramatically every time an election happens. I think that our Council needs to have very good reason and strong conviction to dramatically change course on significant projects or initiatives underway. I didn’t have that for these projects.

Since we’re talking about them, I should mention: right now these projects are coming in on time and on budget. Since we are building them anyways, I look forward to making use of them. They will be great facilities for our community. 

Thanks for reading about our work!

-Dylan