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REPORTING · 20th September 2011
Walter McFarlane
The request for financial support for My Mountain Co-Op returned to Kitimat Council on Monday, September 19th.

Councillor Mario Feldhoff made a motion to remove the prior motion from the table and replace it with Municipal Manager Ron Poole’s Motion. To do what Terrace did in providing $15,000 a year for 5 years.

“We had a meeting with the Terrace Council on Wednesday and it was their advice that we should have the My Mountain Co-Op Council and present to us their new plan. There are apparently changes and before we commit to $15,000, it would behove us to understand what’s going on, why’s going on and have them come before us,” said Councillor Gerd Gottschling.

A tabling motion was moved. Feldhoff spoke against it with a prepared statement.

“I think that what’s being asked is very modest at this point in time. I agree that we should meet with My Mountain Co-Op but I don’t agree with dragging this out needlessly. We are in the business of carfully investing tax dollars in the pursuit of improving the quality of lives for our citizens,” said Feldhoff.

He pointed out they subsidized recreational activities including hockey, ice skating, swimming, fitness programs and the library. He stated they invested $150,000 worth of capital into the golf course. He pointed to the construction of the theatre and the refurbishment of the Tennis Courts.

Monaghan questioned what this had to do with a tabling motion. However there were no complaints from the Councillors. Feldhoff continued.

He cited the contributions Council did with the soccer fields, rifle range, airpark, access to drift boaters on the riverbank and how much the District of Kitimat contributed through the Regional District to MK Bay Marina.

He continued to list off the number of recreational parks Council contributed too. He then listed several services, Water, Road and Sewer, which the District of Kitimat provides it’s citizens for an ‘enviable quality of life.’

“It’s a quality of life that we hope to maintain and build upon to attract the citizens of tomorrow be they retirees or young families. The Shames Mountain Ski Facility is used by many of our citizens. It is used more then 10,000 times per season and with season passes, accounts for 25,000 visits with many of those made by Kitimat Citizens,” said Feldhoff.

“Shames Mountain is an excellent facility located close to home. Smithers too is a wonderful ski hill but it is much more challenging for residents to use given the distance from Kitimat,” said Feldhoff.

He pointed out the replacement cost for all the assets of Shames would be $10,000,000. He said there was no reason to table the motion. He pointed out the Co-Op structure was the same structure planned for Eurocan and spoke well of it.

“Residents of Kitimat are being provided with a tremendous service at a very small cost to the taxpayer. Arguably a better value then many of the other leisure activities provided to our citizens. My Mountain Co-Op is looking for a hand up, not a hand out,” said Feldhoff.

He said My Mountain Co-Op has raised $400,000 and Feldhoff has purchased a share, even though he did not go skiing last year.

“The District of Kitimat has tremendous opportunity here and I believe it is incumbent upon us to show our support. Let us break the pattern of negativity and show some leadership on this issue,” said Feldhoff.

Councillor Corinne Scott stated Terrace and the Regional District are not funding the purchase of Shames but the operation of Shames. The motion follows the same format as those too. She agreed to have My Mountain Co-Op visit Council. She also pointed out if they did not get to purchase the mountain, the money provided by Council will not be given to them anyway.

Councillor Randy Halyk provided his research. He stated there was more to learn. He asked the public for advice and he received his answers in the form of comments. From the Northern Sentinel, he received 2 in favour and 1 opposed. From the Terrace Standard, 23 comments with 6 in favour and 17 opposed. From the Kitimat Daily, 5 in favour and 10 opposed. The Terrace Daily had 3 in favour and 11 opposed. This brought the final score to 16-38 score in favour or opposed effectively.

He also pointed to the poll on the Kitimat Daily. “These polls are not scientific, we all know that, in fact some polls in the past have been skewed by individuals who want it to look different,” said Halyk. He said there were 215 votes with 24% at yes and 76% at no. He wanted more information.

Halyk argued if they provide money to Shames, they also might have to provide money to Smithers if it finds itself in trouble. “The Community says no, should we be saying no? I think we need to find out further.”

Gottschling was next.

“We are spending taxpayers money. It is not our money, it is there money. As Councillors, we are responsible to spend that wisely. We were advised by the Terrace Council on Wednesday to take the time and have them come before us and share with us their new vision, their new business module and then we decide,” said Gottschling. He said they should look at it lest they throw their money into an open pit.

Councillor Rob Goffinet decided to table but wanted to provide the operating money. He saw the problem in Terrace and decided to disperse money for operations. He expressed the amount was a small amount.

Councillor Bob Corless stated he did not think the first proposal was not workable. He also pointed out the money which came from the Regional District came out of Terrace and Kitimat already.

Halyk said he had two concerns. He pointed out Council was told they could not legally invest in the Co-Op. They were told this when Council tried to work with the Eurocan Co-Op. Second, while $15,000 did not sound like a lot of money, this was $15,000 per year for 5 years. Council had to correct him on his math though, the total was $75,000.

The Tabling motion was carried. Feldhoff and Scott were opposed.

Councillor Rob Goffinet made a motion to invite My Mountain Co-Op to brief Council on their new financial plans. Halyk expressed it was obvious the community was not in favour of this. They should have the discussion On Camera in opposition of In Camera.

Scott agreed with the motion and stated it would be On Camera as there was no reason for it to be In Camera.

Feldhoff found fault by Halyk’s fact-finding. He did not believe it possible concerning not supporting this. “The statistics of an unscientific poll taken on a largely online newspaper where people don’t even indicate who they are, I have a sense as who some of the people are who wrote those letters,” said Feldhoff.

He stated they are delaying the vote into the ski season. It did not make sense to drag it out. Goffinet closed debate and the motion was carried.

Halyk put one final motion forward. Put the decision on My Mountain Co-Op to Referendum. However, Municipal Manager Ron Poole did not think they would have time to put it forward. Community Clerk Walter McLellan Pointed out it would be tight but the grant was so miniscule, it would not only set a new record for the pittance of money spent but would cost about the same amount being granted to put it to referendum. There was no seconder so the motion died.
15k a year isn't that bad
Comment by R1chard Jenn1ss on 20th September 2011
$15,000 a year is reasonable.

I will keep playing the record of "Matching funds" concept - now if only it could be a donation as a taxable write-off.... once that's done this could turn into any sort of community improvement foundation.

How are memory fails us.
Comment by Apocalypse Now on 20th September 2011
I agree having a sustainable ski hill would be a wonderful thing for our area. I would even support giving the $15000.00 a year for 5 years to help run it just to show the people of terrace that we in Kitimat are not vindictive. Where was Terrace council when we needed your support during the kemano power sales agreement? You took out full page adds kissing Alcans behind giving them full support for their exploitation of the agreement by taking out full page adds in News papers telling them how great they were and you were rewarded generously with over $400,000 if i am not mistaken towards your 2nd sheet of ice ,you also had a school band program that Alcan helped you with while kitimat went without. You get the majority of new jobs at the existing smelter as part of our punishment. You get the money we earn spent in your shops every weekend when we come and support your businesses. I think we do a lot already to support your economy. So lets work together to make the area a better place to live,but we have to be responsible with the tax dollars be it yours or ours.
three words for ya
Comment by RICHARD on 20th September 2011
crash and burn,lol most say no,what didn`t you get. My tax $ stay in kitimat,thankyou.