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REPORTING · 9th March 2012
Walter McFarlane
Watch the entire budget on the Kitimat Daily Videos: DAY ONE DAY TWO

This year, Kitimat City Council was removed from most of the decision making regarding the 2012 budget. The administration prepared a budget which would create a 2.5% increase in taxes and grant many of the administrations wish lists.

However, there were some decisions which the Council had to make. They made these decisions on Wednesday, February 29th. Ron Poole, the Municipal Manager explained the money was in place for the decisions and if it was not, then they would find it.

The first decision regarded the Marine Rescue grant request for the purchase of a new boat. Read more about it by clicking here. They were granted the money without discussion.

The second decision was about contributing to the Snow Valley Nordic Ski Club for a new Piston Bully. Read more about it by clicking here. It was carried as well, although Councillor Rob Goffinet clarified that money would be coming from the Regional District.

The Third Decision concerned the Interagency committee. Read more about it by clicking here. Again, it was passed without discussion.

The next item was rent for the Shelley Jackson Memorial Project. This is a three month prejudged approval Councillor Mario Feldhoff wanted to know if there was any problem with this Grant from the Kitimat Food Bank. He did not wish to favour one project over another.

Goffinet explained he talked to the Food Bank. He told council both groups are doing good work and the two are coordinating together. There was no complaint about supporting another outfit. Both approval of the grant and pre-approval were carried.

Read more about the project by clicking here.

On to Bear Aware, Council discussed it for quite a bit before throwing a motion on the floor. Martin Gould, head of Kitimat Leisure Services explained Kitimat was working towards being a Bear Smart Community.

“It is a multi-year process to even get certified by the province if Council chose to go in that direction. We’ve done a lot of good things,” said Gould.

He explained they have had a study completed on bears. The city has installed a bear proof solid waste management plan with bear proof garbage cans and through the electrification of the city dump. However, they do not have bylaws ensuring bear proof garbage cans at businesses, nor have they done a Conflict Management Plan.

Kitimat has implemented some bylaws to manage wildlife but would have to implement more. Finally, they would have to create and implement a municipal wide education program.

Councillor Phil Germuth asked what Kitimat would get out of the Bear Aware Program. Gould replied provincial recognition and recognition from other municipalities. There are only a handful of communities which have such distinction. Another option would be to spend money to become bear aware, just not reach the lofty bear smart goal.

Gould and Mayor Joanne Monaghan went over some of the things which have been done. Feldhoff moved $10,000 towards bear aware initiatives. He suggested going slow rather then embracing Bear Smart. Gould said this money could be used to create an education program. The motion was called and carried.

The next piece of business was a long discussion on the moving of Council Meetings, found [by clicking here]. The motion was called and carried.

Into some discussion about sidewalks, Councillor Corrine Scott stated something should be done about several uneven walkways in the mall area which are difficult for people with disabilities to navigate. She suggested repairing them and charging the business owners who own them.

“We don’t need their permission. We can pass a bylaw, as far as I’m aware, that we can do improvements to the City Centre and if they wish to petition against us, fine,” said Scott. “We need to coordinate so all the all the sidewalks are equal and matched in our down town core.”

She stated she understands businesses would not want to spend the money. Monaghan suggested waiting until they hear back from the mall owner. Scott pointed out he did not own the apart of the down town core she was talking about.

Feldhoff stated he wanted to discuss this another night. He was confident Council was able to find the money. Council finalized the draft budget subject to one in-camera item. Whether or not to give more money to Shames Mountain. It was explained this would be in-camera because of certain information which the Municipal Manager was privileged.

We have been told the vote was not Unanimous.
Incamera meeting on Ski Hill....
Comment by Larry on 13th March 2012
From the jest of your article I can only assume that
Kitimat council debated and then voted "in camera" to spend local taxpayers money while still in the "in camera" meeting. To my mind this is illegal and unethical at best. What do they have to hide....who voted which way? Are they afraid that we, the general public might vote them all out of office in the next election. Please enlighten me.