Avoiding plowing-in residents and Kinder Morgan’s $500,000 funds stirred up discussion at the March 23 budget meeting.
In addition, after a compromise from operations director Kevin Dicken to buy a used dump truck, rather than a new one, and other adjustments, the District now has a balanced budget.
Responding to Coun. Donna Kropp’s request to get quotes on an implement that will avoid plowing driveways in during snow events, Dicken said he got two quotes that cost $12,000 and $15,000.
However, Dicken said he would not recommend council spend that money because that implement only works on graders, which only plows downtown streets.
“For that kind of money, we wouldn’t be positively affecting as many residents as we would like to,” said Dicken. “It’s miniscule. It’s probably even less than five per cent.”
Dicken also argued that the per-capita complaints of plowed-in residents are very low.
Councillors Dusty Smith, Scott Medlock and Mayor Wilfried Vicktor opposed too. Smith and Vicktor argued that seniors living in Kawkawa Lake and Silver Creek will complain about the uneven level of service in the District. Medlock added that the downtown sees snow plowed to the centre, meaning an even smaller effect.
Dicken said that they could get special blades for the other plows, but it would be a “considerable investment.”
Coun. Heather Stewin came out in support of the plan, saying $15,000 is not a lot and she saw positive response from the Canyon Golden Age Society members during her meeting with them. She suggested a review of the snow removal plan to see if it is working for Hope residents.
The $500,000 Community Benefits Agreement from Kinder Morgan came to council’s attention after Vicktor brought it up. Potentially, that money could be used towards the Station House project, but Vicktor highlighted some complications.
“If council does do something like that, we have to ahead of time, have a dialogue with the user group’s folks that help put the [Hope Community Park] project together,” said Vicktor. “I had a meeting with a couple of folks from that group last week, and they are under the feeling that it’s their money to use for that project. I was of a slightly different opinion.”
Vicktor said council will “call the shots” and that work on Station House must be done.
“We have to commit with finances as well, otherwise it’s a rather unattractive pile of firewood,” said Vicktor.
Chief administrative officer John Fortoloczky said that the user group will come forth as a delegation on the April 10 council meeting.
Coun. Donna Kropp asked whether the $500,000 can be split for both the Station House project and the community park, which Fortoloczky says he suspects would be possible.
Finance director Dale Courtice noted that if all the money went to the community park, the only way to fund the Station House project would be to draw from reserves.
Costs are not available for Station house, but Dicken said he would ideally have them before the final budget meeting.