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REPORTING · 30th December 2012
Walter McFarlane
Kitimat City Council met for the Budget Presentations on Tuesday and Wednesday, December 11th and 12th. All Councillors were present and Mayor Joanne Monaghan listened in via telephone.

City Engineer Tim Gleig explained his department’s roles and last year’s projects before delving into his budget requests. He expressed they were down some staff members and they were having difficulties getting day to day operations done with the current staff members.

This year’s roadway construction will include the southeast Parking Lot of Mountainview Square, Quatsino Boulevard from Lahakas to Columbia and Haisla Boulevard from the Overpass to Kingfisher. They will be redoing several walkways which the District owns around City Centre Mall. This led to discussion on what can be done to repair walkways in the Downtown core which the District does not own.

Acting Mayor Corinne Scott suggested approaching the building owners to ask them to fix up their sidewalks at the same time.

This is in addition to the usual requests for supplementary, the continuing maintenance on District of Kitimat buildings and a project to repave the public works yard. One of the other big projects for 2013 is the repair and replacement of the wood stave tank which did not survive the 2010/2011 winter. It will cost $750,000.

Projects on buildings the District of Kitimat own include replacing the lights and breaker panel at City Hall, building painting at the and paving the yard at public works, replacing the windows, interior lights and doors at the Chamber of Commerce and the completion of the Tamitik Roof. There is also money being put aside for the engineering department and reception area at City Hall.

There is an item which Council has money in reserves for. It is for the removal of a foundation in Mountainview square which also encroaches upon the property line. The District of Kitimat inherited it at a tax sale. They hope to sell it. It has taken two years to get to this point. “We’ll make a lot more money now the Real Estate Market’s hotter,” said Sewell.

Engineering’s request was $5,906,800 for supplementary, but because some of the money will be coming out of reserves, the request became $1,728,200

Head of the Leisure services, Martin Gould was the final presentation from the departments. Like the other groups, he talked about what his department does and how they saved money and received more money in revenues. He expressed there are six remaining projects from 2012 which they will be completing at the beginning of 2013.

One of the items which came up was the Wading pools. Gould stated the Advisory Recreation Commission is giving some direction on where to go with the pools and it will be coming before Council in 2013 so they can last another 35 years.

Another item which will be coming up will be a modernization of Riverlodge. Gould also stated there will be changes in staffing in their department with several coordinators giving heads up on their retirements.

Gould expressed they were going green in the Leisure Services Department by making some really big changes. They have plans for further green programs down the line. Councillor Mary Murphy wanted to know if there were any plans for Kitmat’s 60th Birthday. She was told no.

Going into the supplementary at Riverlodge, Feldhoff wanted to know about the spinning bike exercise machines and whether or not they will be competition for one of the gyms in town. He was told they are for a class and no one uses this style of program in the local gyms.

The Council talked about the installation of a new boiler system for Riverlodge, which was supposed to be done last year and replacing the gym floor. Gould explained the floor would be refinished every 10 years. The floor is 34 years old and the time has come to refinish it to give it another 10 years. However, the floor only has 2 refinishes left in it before it has to be replaced.

The Riverlodge Art’s Wing needs some maintenance after some cracks were found in the walls. They want to do an investigation of the pilings to see if they have shifted or have rot. The problem is there is fibrous asbestos under there. It means a special suit is needed to go under there. Feldhoff stated they might have to tear down the wing just to accommodate the work. He suggested leaving the building up but Gould expressed they needed to make sure the building was safe.

Germuth wanted to know about the master plan for recreation. Gould told him it was asking the community what it wanted along the way for recreation. There is a consultant to be hired for this project. Feldhoff expressed there was uncertainty on what Kitimat’s population is going to be. He suggested waiting a year.

Under Bear Aware, the Leisure Services Department wants to continue to raise awareness and reduce bear attractants. They want to continue an education program for the children and get into the schools earlier. They want to work with the outdoor group on bear safety and meet with people about what bear safe projects are out there.

Feldhoff wanted to see some bylaw enforcement. Gould explained they went out with a conservation officer at night and CO’s put warnings on people’s doors. Goffinet expressed he was impressed with the compliance now.

One of the items for the Sam Lindsay Aquatic Centre was Pool Grouting. Gould explained it has to be done every 4 years when patrons start complaining of getting nicks on their feet. When the pool closes down in September 2013, a contractor comes in and redoes the tiles. Failure will not cause a leak, but it will end in tiles going missing from the bottom or sides of the pool.

A project for Tamitik Arena is to replace the second compressor. Gould explained it is well beyond its expiry date.

Something the Recreation Department wants to do is extend the park at the Viewpoint by another 25 metres towards the Kitimat Village Road. A future plan is to extend the gardens to the Kitimat Village Road and perhaps further down the hill. They hope to extend the water systems but it can only go so far until they have to dig up roads to complete it.

An older idea from former City Councillor Bob Coreless returned as well, Hanging Baskets. Gould suggested putting them up along Tshimshiam and Wakashan boulevards. He said this would work well with the beautification of the down town core. He added there was too much wind on Haisla Boulevard.

At Centennial Park, they want to continue the revitalization with paving stones around the Cenotaph and take out and replace several of the older trees. The legion wants the District to put in a flag pole and restore the flame at the top of the Cenotaph.

The next item was Radley Park. Council discussed the park renovations and potential to re-examining the park’s erosion plan.

The Riverlodge Tennis Courts are going to need some renovations following a big windstorm. They had already renovated the other three sides leaving the best side up and this side was destroyed in a windstorm when two benches flew across the court into it and the middle collapsed. Councillor Mario Feldhoff was hesitant in granting the money because there are not that many people in Kitimat who play tennis.

Another item was ball field fencing. Gould told Council there needs to be some work so the ball field will last another 20 years. One of the other ball fields needs the same work in the next couple of years.

Other projects listed safety upgrades for the recreation facilities and a new toilet for the Handicapped Fishing location. All in all, the Leisure Services Department asked for $828,500 for supplementary. Leisure Services operating budget is $3,333,890.

While the department heads were finished their presentations, there were still several items which needed to be completed. Several items were about to get pre-budget approval. Come back on January second when we will complete the main budget articles and branch off into a few of the specific projects for 2013.

Have a safe and Happy New Year everyone.
what no 60 anniversary party? and more the town should do.
Comment by diggerdave on 2nd January 2013
For shame for the council for we should be celebrating Kitimat 60th birthday as we did the 50th. The town deserves something at least every 10 years in recogintion of being created 60 years ago. let alone have some events happening on July 1st or surprise concert etc... Kitimat is loved by so many people even those who don't live in Kitimat any more, if their were more things to do and more jobs for everyone...after the closure of eurocan more people who once lived their would come back. Heck bring WestJet, bring back the theater for them to be able to watch movies,etc more stuff for the young and the old to do .
Cut...and Cut Some More......
Comment by Larry Walker on 31st December 2012
1. Get rid of the musem, nobody goes there anyways...not even fishermen (tourists).

2. Support the Golf Course.....if curling is a real money looser......shut it down (same goes of the
dinning room), but if you looking "long term" protect the golf course at all costs as it will or could be a "deal breaker", as far as getting seniors to move here once the boom becomes a bust.