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Briefs from Squamish council meeting

Sylvie Paillard spaillard@squamishchief.com Council voted to postpone a $1.

Sylvie Paillard

spaillard@squamishchief.com

Council voted to postpone a $1.25 million loan authorization bylaw because members wanted more information about the pending agreement between Squamish Oceanfront Development Organization (SODC) and oceanfront land developers Qualex. The district proposes to borrow $1.25 million under the Green Municipal Fund program and reloan that amount to the SODC for an approved brownfield remediation project on the former Nexen oceanfront land.

The Municipal Finance Authority mandate is to loan to local governments, not private companies, so the proposed bylaw assures that funds would not be retained by the corporation other than while wholly owned by the municipality.

Despite the fact that the bylaw was given three readings on May 9 and forwarded to the Inspector of Municipalities for statutory approval, councillor Raj Kahlon expressed concerns that the loan will be left up to the taxpayers to repay, not the SODC.

Councillor Patricia Heintzman said the bylaw is simply to ensure the loan benefits the municipality, not a private organization.

Acting Mayor Corinne Lonsdale said she's concerned the 50/50 partnership with Qualex may go against the lender's mandate since the money can be seen as benefiting a private organization. A motion to defer the adoption of the bylaw passed with Heintzman and McKenzie opposed.

Adventure Centre - questions persist

Despite an April 18 motion to get detailed answers on the Adventure Centre, questions remain, said Coun. Mike Jenson during the District of Squamish council meeting Tuesday (June 20). Jenson made a request for a detailed account of expenditures in the construction of the Adventure Centre and meeting minutes that show councillors passed motions to allow the funding of the building to jump from $3.5 million to $5.1 million.

Finance department director Ralph Hughes provided the detailed account of expenditures, but meeting minutes have not yet been provided, said Jenson. Acting Mayor Corinne Lonsdale suggested that the reason is the information is coming from a different department. The request was renewed.

Save the forest industry

Sandra Bauer of the Squamish and District Labour Committee made a presentation to council requesting support of a resolution calling on the B.C. government to reverse the export of logs to protect forestry jobs. Specifically, it calls on the provincial government to "reject any softwood lumber agreement with the U.S. that does not protect the interests of B.C. workers and communities."

The resolution requests full repayment of all of the duties imposed by the U.S. since May 2002 and that a significant portion of that money is directed to ensure investments in new forestry plants and equipment, in B.C. worker training, retraining and skills development, and other benefits for forestry workers and resource communities.

Lonsdale said the resolution is too long for the Union of BC Municipalities to accept, she offered that district staff could help make it more concise. A motion to support the resolution was unanimously passed.

Skatepark fundraising approvedNew Squamish resident Michael Quesnel made a presentation to council asking permission to improve the skateboard park. Quesnel thanked district for the existence of the park, saying he uses it all the time, and requested members support his attempts to raise funds and materials for lights, bathrooms, retaining walls and pathways. Staff recommended that council further support Quesnel working with the director of Recreation, Parks and Tourism to complete the improvement project. Council passed the motion unanimously and Lonsdale congratulated Quesnel for his intitiative and said she's heartened to see new residents take an interest in the community.

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