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Powell River city council contemplates apportionment of BC Hydro incentive grant

Grant could cover cost overruns for recreation complex project
CONSIDERING EXPENDITURE: BC Hydro provided City of Powell River with a $30,000 grant and councillors will vote on two options for spending the funds.

City of Powell River council will be considering the allocation of a BC Hydro incentive grant.

At the May 27 finance committee meeting, manager of recreation Neil Pukesh said staff members were seeking council direction on allocation of an incentive payment of $30,075 received from BC Hydro upon completion of the Powell River Recreation Complex LED lighting upgrade project. He said city council approved the upgrade in 2019, at which time a relighting plan was carried out with an engineering firm.

“However, given the challenges that COVID-19 presented to us in early 2020, installation was delayed until the summer and was completed, I believe, at the end of October,” said Pukesh. “Along the way the project encountered a six per cent budget overrun due to the fact there were different fixtures required for the arena and the rink facilities, and a number of inventory lights were not covered off in the initial review.”

Pukesh said along with completion of the project, with help of sustainability planner Ana Lukyanova, the city received the additional BC Hydro incentive, which covers the $19,000 cost overrun. That leaves the city with an unappropriated surplus of $11,000, he added. He said the direction being sought by council was to use the $19,000 to cover the cost overrun and to place the $11,000 in the climate action reserve fund, or to approve the $19,000 cost overrun from surplus and allocate the entire BC Hydro incentive grant to the climate action reserve.

Councillor CaroleAnn Leishman said she liked the option that allocated the grant in its entirety to the climate action fund.

“As council is aware, the province has cancelled the CARIP [climate action revenue incentive program] funding, which was the main source of funding into the climate action reserve fund,” said Leishman. “Any opportunity to get a little more funds into that fund while we can would be very much appreciated.”

Councillor Rob Southcott said he supported the idea of looking after the reserve fund so the city has the money to undertake the kinds of projects it has in the past with the funds.

Mayor Dave Formosa said he had no problem with the excess going into the climate action reserve fund.

Finance committee chair councillor George Doubt said he agrees with using the BC Hydro incentive of $30,000 to spend $19,000 completing the LED lighting project and taking the $11,000 and putting it into the climate action reserve fund. He said hopes the province replaces the CARIP funding with some other program that’s better. He said he favours is a balanced approach.

Leishman moved that the city allocate the $30,000 to the climate action reserve fund and fund the cost overrun on the LED lighting from reserves. The motion failed.

Council then voted to take both options to council on June 3.