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Powell River Council talks future of city-owned properties group

Discussion regarding terms of reference for select committee delayed
REFERRAL MADE: City of Powell River Council referred discussion on its select committee for city-owned properties from a council meeting to committee of the whole so it can look at the matter more fully. Council received correspondence from four residents, asking that the committee be disbanded and reformed with a group of private residents, without city council representation. The committee is looking at properties such as the Westview sewage treatment plant and old arena site at Willingdon Beach.

City of Powell River Council has referred a discussion on the terms of reference for the select committee for city-owned properties to a future committee of the whole meeting.

At the February 15 council meeting, councillors had an item on the agenda that council provide further clarity regarding the terms of reference, specifically the committee’s mandate, to the members of the select committee for city-owned properties.

Councillor George Doubt said councillors had received communication from committee members. He said they were looking to have the terms of reference clarified to make the committee more effective.

“We should spend some time thinking about it and talking about that,” said Doubt. “I’m going to make a motion to refer this to the next committee of the whole meeting so we can have a full discussion on it.”

Doubt said he’d previously made a motion to create the committee because he thought a committee of residents could provide advice to council that would be useful in dealing with city-owned properties and helping to develop them.

“I don’t want to make a rush decision,” said Doubt. “It is something we can take time making a decision on, rather than just disbanding the committee, as is one of the suggestions.”

Councillor Cindy Elliott said a discussion among councillors would be helpful prior to jumping to decisions on this item.

“Forming committees requires effort from everybody,” said Elliott. “There’s valuable work that committee could do, providing they were getting extra direction that they wanted. I’m not entirely sure we’re ready to do that tonight.

“If we want to disband it, it deserves conversation first.”

Council voted unanimously to send the matter to the next committee of the whole meeting.

Council received correspondence from Stephen Miller, Tom Anderson, Jim Agius and Lisa Moffatt asking that council dissolve the committee immediately. The correspondence suggests council support a group of private residents, comprised of the current committee members, less the three current council members serving with the committee, in the formation of an independent task force to investigate city-owned lands.

“The rationale is simple,” the correspondence stated. “As a group of residents, we will be able to conduct ourselves in the same way as a consulting firm. We will be focused on our mission without hindrance. The bottom line is that the city will in effect get the expertise of very skilled residents in the areas of planning, land development and sales, at no cost to the city, other than some support staff time.”

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