qathet Regional District’s resource-recovery centre project was recently outlined to City of Powell River councillors.
At the February 2 city council meeting, councillor Cindy Elliott, who sits as a city director on the regional board, encapsulated a history that had been provided at the regional district board meeting on January 25, covering the history of the site.
“I found it very educational to review all of that,” said Elliott.
She said the regional district is awaiting word on a grant application to help finance the resource-recovery centre and waste-transfer station being built at the old city incinerator site above Willingdon Beach.
“I just wanted folks to be aware that a report has been published and it was educational,” said Elliott. “It’s really good material for people to read.”
Councillor George Doubt, also a city director on the regional board, said the report is available on the regional district website, complete with colour pictures, featuring everything people need to know about the facility.
Councillor Jim Palm said he had attended the January 25 meeting, primarily to get more information on the resource-recovery centre. He said he knows the grant request had been written for $6 million so the regional district can continue to build out that site. Palm wondered if there was any timeline for the grant to be allocated.
Elliott said the question was asked of regional district manager of financial services Linda Greenan and she indicated not knowing the timeline and had no way of knowing when the province might get around to announcing it.
Palm said it is his understanding that there have previously been unsuccessful grant applications for the centre.
“If we are unsuccessful this time, was there any contingency plan mentioned that the regional board may be looking at to implement?” asked Palm.
Elliott said expenses incurred for construction have been part of the capital plan for quite some time and have been submitted through the budgetary process.
“Should we receive the $6 million in grant funding, it would reduce the amount required to be spent from the budget,” added Elliott.
Palm said if the regional district is not successful, and taxpayers are going to have to pay for that facility, city taxpayers would see a substantial increase in the requisition coming from the regional district.
Elliott said covering the debt through financing has been included in the normal budgetary planning.
“It has been part and parcel of the plan all along,” said Elliott. “The application for the grant would reduce the amount taxpayers have to pay, but it has never been relied upon as being part of the plan. It would be a blessing to get that but it isn’t necessary.”
Doubt said the current financial plan includes the full cost without grants.
“That taxation is already in the plan,” said Doubt. “It hasn’t been approved yet. It will be within a month or two. If the grant is approved, then less money will be required to be borrowed. If the grant does not come, there will be no change in the financial plan, because the borrowing is already in the accounts.”
Palm said he understands the figure for the project is somewhere around the $15 million mark.
“As we all know through the liquid waste process, estimated cost is always going to be much higher in this day and age,” said Palm. “Our citizens could be faced with a much higher taxation situation down the road.”