REPORTING · 20th September 2011
The request for financial support for My Mountain Co-Op returned to Kitimat Council on Monday, September 19th.
Councillor Mario Feldhoff made a motion to remove the prior motion from the table and replace it with Municipal Manager Ron Poole’s Motion. To do what Terrace did in providing $15,000 a year for 5 years.
“We had a meeting with the Terrace Council on Wednesday and it was their advice that we should have the My Mountain Co-Op Council and present to us their new plan. There are apparently changes and before we commit to $15,000, it would behove us to understand what’s going on, why’s going on and have them come before us,” said Councillor Gerd Gottschling.
A tabling motion was moved. Feldhoff spoke against it with a prepared statement.
“I think that what’s being asked is very modest at this point in time. I agree that we should meet with My Mountain Co-Op but I don’t agree with dragging this out needlessly. We are in the business of carfully investing tax dollars in the pursuit of improving the quality of lives for our citizens,” said Feldhoff.
He pointed out they subsidized recreational activities including hockey, ice skating, swimming, fitness programs and the library. He stated they invested $150,000 worth of capital into the golf course. He pointed to the construction of the theatre and the refurbishment of the Tennis Courts.
Monaghan questioned what this had to do with a tabling motion. However there were no complaints from the Councillors. Feldhoff continued.
He cited the contributions Council did with the soccer fields, rifle range, airpark, access to drift boaters on the riverbank and how much the District of Kitimat contributed through the Regional District to MK Bay Marina.
He continued to list off the number of recreational parks Council contributed too. He then listed several services, Water, Road and Sewer, which the District of Kitimat provides it’s citizens for an ‘enviable quality of life.’
“It’s a quality of life that we hope to maintain and build upon to attract the citizens of tomorrow be they retirees or young families. The Shames Mountain Ski Facility is used by many of our citizens. It is used more then 10,000 times per season and with season passes, accounts for 25,000 visits with many of those made by Kitimat Citizens,” said Feldhoff.
“Shames Mountain is an excellent facility located close to home. Smithers too is a wonderful ski hill but it is much more challenging for residents to use given the distance from Kitimat,” said Feldhoff.
He pointed out the replacement cost for all the assets of Shames would be $10,000,000. He said there was no reason to table the motion. He pointed out the Co-Op structure was the same structure planned for Eurocan and spoke well of it.
“Residents of Kitimat are being provided with a tremendous service at a very small cost to the taxpayer. Arguably a better value then many of the other leisure activities provided to our citizens. My Mountain Co-Op is looking for a hand up, not a hand out,” said Feldhoff.
He said My Mountain Co-Op has raised $400,000 and Feldhoff has purchased a share, even though he did not go skiing last year.
“The District of Kitimat has tremendous opportunity here and I believe it is incumbent upon us to show our support. Let us break the pattern of negativity and show some leadership on this issue,” said Feldhoff.
Councillor Corinne Scott stated Terrace and the Regional District are not funding the purchase of Shames but the operation of Shames. The motion follows the same format as those too. She agreed to have My Mountain Co-Op visit Council. She also pointed out if they did not get to purchase the mountain, the money provided by Council will not be given to them anyway.
Councillor Randy Halyk provided his research. He stated there was more to learn. He asked the public for advice and he received his answers in the form of comments. From the Northern Sentinel, he received 2 in favour and 1 opposed. From the Terrace Standard, 23 comments with 6 in favour and 17 opposed. From the Kitimat Daily, 5 in favour and 10 opposed. The Terrace Daily had 3 in favour and 11 opposed. This brought the final score to 16-38 score in favour or opposed effectively.
He also pointed to the poll on the Kitimat Daily. “These polls are not scientific, we all know that, in fact some polls in the past have been skewed by individuals who want it to look different,” said Halyk. He said there were 215 votes with 24% at yes and 76% at no. He wanted more information.
Halyk argued if they provide money to Shames, they also might have to provide money to Smithers if it finds itself in trouble. “The Community says no, should we be saying no? I think we need to find out further.”
Gottschling was next.
“We are spending taxpayers money. It is not our money, it is there money. As Councillors, we are responsible to spend that wisely. We were advised by the Terrace Council on Wednesday to take the time and have them come before us and share with us their new vision, their new business module and then we decide,” said Gottschling. He said they should look at it lest they throw their money into an open pit.
Councillor Rob Goffinet decided to table but wanted to provide the operating money. He saw the problem in Terrace and decided to disperse money for operations. He expressed the amount was a small amount.
Councillor Bob Corless stated he did not think the first proposal was not workable. He also pointed out the money which came from the Regional District came out of Terrace and Kitimat already.
Halyk said he had two concerns. He pointed out Council was told they could not legally invest in the Co-Op. They were told this when Council tried to work with the Eurocan Co-Op. Second, while $15,000 did not sound like a lot of money, this was $15,000 per year for 5 years. Council had to correct him on his math though, the total was $75,000.
The Tabling motion was carried. Feldhoff and Scott were opposed.
Councillor Rob Goffinet made a motion to invite My Mountain Co-Op to brief Council on their new financial plans. Halyk expressed it was obvious the community was not in favour of this. They should have the discussion On Camera in opposition of In Camera.
Scott agreed with the motion and stated it would be On Camera as there was no reason for it to be In Camera.
Feldhoff found fault by Halyk’s fact-finding. He did not believe it possible concerning not supporting this. “The statistics of an unscientific poll taken on a largely online newspaper where people don’t even indicate who they are, I have a sense as who some of the people are who wrote those letters,” said Feldhoff.
He stated they are delaying the vote into the ski season. It did not make sense to drag it out. Goffinet closed debate and the motion was carried.
Halyk put one final motion forward. Put the decision on My Mountain Co-Op to Referendum. However, Municipal Manager Ron Poole did not think they would have time to put it forward. Community Clerk Walter McLellan Pointed out it would be tight but the grant was so miniscule, it would not only set a new record for the pittance of money spent but would cost about the same amount being granted to put it to referendum. There was no seconder so the motion died.
Kitimat Taxes stay in Kitimat
Comment by John Pacheco on 30th September 2011
Mayor and councils,
1. My name is John Pacheco, my wife and two boys plus I are skiers/snowboarders. Every year for the past 6 years we have been going skiing at shames.
2. I have been paying land taxes for about 20 years.
3. Last 3 years we have been registering our children in programs at riverlodge. In addition, every program we register, they have been cancelled.
4. Last 10 years we been registering our children in museum programs.
My point is this:
My wife and I are totally against using our taxes to support Shames in Terrace.
The city of Terrace is not willing to support Shames that brings money to the local retail business.
Kitimat must not send our taxes out of town that does not support our local business.
Kitimat should spend the money on funding our Riverlodge programs for the kids. Run the programs even there is two kids.
Kitimat should support the museum. Fund the staff retrofit.
I am tired of seeing Terrace business boom and our local stores die off, and our district wants to send my taxes out of town? Come’ on give your head a shake.
About 400 Alcan workers live in Terrace, when my group of hire retires, in 15 years, there will be more employees living in Terrace than Kitimat. Think about what that means to our local economy.
Question, were does our municipal manager (Poole) live? Kitimat or Terrace? I would like an answer! I hope to hear that he lives here in Kitimat and paying land taxes, not living in Terrace and paying Terrace land taxes with our Kitimat's city budget taxes.
Comment by Daniel Carter on 27th September 2011
That $75000 would be a good healthy start to help with repairs on Radley Park. This park generates seasonal revenue for the town, If there is any cash to be tossed at something, at least keep it in the community and use it to help shore up what is left of the park after all of the high water erosion. I am a tax payer that would like at least MY portion to stay in town!
Few more questions
Comment by Linda Campbell on 22nd September 2011
Great for the people who can get to the mountain HOWEVER for those who don't drive or for the children who's parents don't have a way of getting them up the mountain, or can't afford to purchase passes, WHAT ABOUT THEM??? (Also tax payers!!!)
In case your unaware the BUS that picked up from different locations in Terrace to get to the mountain was cancelled without notice at the beginning of the ski season last year.
This may be a great idea for those who can afford to go each and every weekend, don't forget those who can't afford the extra expense.(they also vote in elections) As stated earlier we have facilities for all of the North West to enjoy provided by taxpayers in our community.
Oh and a little reminder to those who don't remember we did have a sporting goods store with very high quality equipment in our community hhhmmmm and what happened to it WELL IT HAD TO CLOSE because our community supported the economy of Terrace. I ask that our council seriously think before they spend my tax payer dollars in someone elses community, whose benefit is only to them and not each and every taxpayer in our home town.
Comment by Stannis on 21st September 2011
At least 2 of the concillors realize the value of supporting (key word SUPPORT) a facility like shames. As Feldhoff metioned " Its not a handout , its a hand up ". Its a huge attraction to retiries, outdoor enthusiasts and really anyone considering moving into the area. Down the road should kitimat actually get a sports equipment store that would sell quaility gear such as skis , snowboards, jacketes , gloves, . I would love to spend that money localy instead of going to "TERRACE:" to buy it all. I go to Terrace to buy alot of things including electronics and ski equipment, Kitimat simply has lost too many ammentities ie the hotsprings, 70 % of the mall. Well council beter start re writing their "retire in BC" pamflets, Welcome to kitimat , we have cheap housing and 7 month long winters , during those 7 months feel free to drive 3 + hours to smithers , or stay home and do ...nothing.
Comment by Thomas Campbell on 21st September 2011
So here is the reality pseudonym person... Lets compare one weekend Tamitik arena versus Shames mountain and lets see which will generate the most revenue for Kitimat and local Kitimat businesses?
This weekend in Kititmat there is going to be a Men's Hockey tournament with three teams coming from out of town for two days.... thats about 50 people coming into Kitimat... say thos people eat 5 meals while here.... thats 250 meals at 20 bucks per..thats 5000 dollars... they will occupy 25 or so hotel rooms for at least one night thats an additional 1500 dollars (double if two nights)....... they will assuredly have some libation after their games... thats another 1000 dollars... the concession stand will open and the profits will go to the local club that VOLUNTEERS there. There (might be) will be beer gardens at the games...this will support another group of volunteers. Thats about $7500(PLUS) in revenue for Kitimat.... in ONE WEEKEND.....from one tournament.. (not counting concession support.)
So besides subsidizing someone's ski trip to psuedonym person... how much will Shames bring to LOCAL KITIMATbusinesses and clubs in any given weekend this winter? (you may chose the weekend)... I've done the REALITY check and as far as I can see there is NO revenue generated at all for ANY local business or club.... ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!
I personally think this is a bad idea thats just getting worse.... conflicts, pandering.... call it what you will after all it is an election year. So Who is playing politics? It certainly isn't me... I only deal in the reality of what is best for MY home and that is...
Doesn't seem like a conflict, but...
Comment by Mike Forward on 21st September 2011
Firstly - Mr. Campbell was so kind as to furbish us with the definition of conflict of interest/pecuniary interest (is that handbook available online? I'd like to give it a read). And while on first glance it may seem like it would fit the definition, I don't believe it does.
As stated, a conflict of interest arises when a member's financial interest comes into dealings of council, and that member's profit or loss can be directly impacted by council's action.
As "wondering why" (again with the anonymous comments?) pointed out, Councilor Feldhoff does not make any profit off of his shares in the MMC. Indeed, the website for the MMC describes itself as "Canada's First Non-Profit Community Ski Co-Operative" (www.friendsofshames.ca). There are no financial incentives listed amongst the benefits of ownership, so Councilor Feldhoff does not stand to realize a profit or loss from any decision made by council, be it Kitimat, Terrace or RDKS.
With all that said, I am still more than hesitant to see Council support this endeavour. While it is true that Shames is used by many people of Kitimat, are there not other items closer to home that this small amount of money ($15,000 x 5 Years = $75,000...doesn't seem so small to me) could be invested in? Indeed, we would like to keep shoppers, outdoor enthusiasts and athletes here in Kitimat, could we not direct these funds towards doing just that? Something local?
conflict of interest?
Comment by wondering why..... on 20th September 2011
By the rules of the co-op payment of interest or dividends is not allowed.
I don't think Feldhoff got into this to get rich..... It seems pretty obvious this whole conflict of interest thing is about politics, not reality.
Comment by FayEllen McFarlane on 20th September 2011
all the expendatures sited by Councillor Feldhoff are for items that one would expect fall into the responsibility of the Kitimat Council...who else would pay for our ice rink, swimming pool, golf course, library, etc.? They are in Kitimat! And he failed to mention the Animal Shelter, which is also located in Kitimat. Shames Mountain is not located here, so it is not something our tax dollars should be expected to pay for!
I believe many of our residents ski regularly in Smithers, and while it is nice to have the facility available at Shames, it is still a major trip in the winter!
If Kitimat Council chooses (after thought and deliberation) to give to the My Mountain Co-op, that is a choice, it is not mandatory.
three words for ya
Comment by richard on 20th September 2011
CRASH and BURN. My tax $ are for kitimat, not some dam ski hill. i agree with THOMAS. 75 grand over five yrs. OUR CITY WORKERS COST MORE THAN ENOUGH THANKYOU. OVER PAID AND UNDER WORKED. Just listen to the gossip.
Comment by Sandra Capezzuto on 20th September 2011
From what I have read; Terrace council has not agreed to any set amount per year, they have only agreed to a set term of financial support. I understood it as they will offer some financial aid for operating costs for a limited period. The first amount being $15,000.
Have they actually agreed to give that amount every year for the next 5 years?
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
Comment by Thomas Campbell on 20th September 2011
Councilor Feldhoff has shares (HIS WORDS) in Shames Mountain and therefore has a conflict of interest. Below is the description of what a "CONFLICT of interest as described in the Municipal Council handbook page 16.....
“Pecuniary interest” is not defined in the Charter. It is understood to be a member’s financial interest in a matter that Council is dealing with. This interest can be direct or indirect - the member can receive the profit (or loss) directly or through one or more persons, corporations or other entities.
The conflict can be the council member’s personally or through some other person to whom the council member is connected - usually relatives living in the council member’s household, but other family members’ interests can also be attributed to the council member. The courts are the
final arbiters of whether these interests are a conflict of interest for the council member.
Restrictions on Participation (101) Whether the member has made a declaration of conflict of interest under s. 100 or not, the member must not • remain or attend at any part of a meeting referred to in section 100 (1) during which the matter is under consideration,
• participate in any discussion of the matter at such a meeting,
• vote on a question in respect of the matter at such a meeting, or attempt in any way, whether before, during or after such a meeting, to influence the voting on any question in respect of the matter.
The penalty for breach of these rules is disqualification from office until the next general election.
Councilor Feldhoff saw the RTA POwer Sales issue a few years back as a Conflict of interest, but owning shares and trying to convince council to give MORE money to Shames when he stands to gain (or lose) from it is not a conflict?
Can anyone else see the hypocrisy here or is it just me? Madame Mayor.... explain please!