Council on proposal countdown

Port Alice council will try to finalize a proposal to capitalize on a funding opportunity.

PORT ALICE— Council will go against the clock to prepare a proposal for infrastructure funding.

In her Administrator’s Report, Madeline McDonald informed council of a new government-backed funding opportunity, albeit one with a narrow window of opportunity.

The recently announced Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund will provide fifty percent of the funds to an approved program, but the application deadline is August 2.

The fund is provided to support recreational projects that can be completed by early 2014 and are expected to cost less than $250,000. Some of the examples of viable projects the guidelines suggest include the improvement of existing facilities like parks and libraries, as well as anything that impacts tourism.

Councilor Marc Brackett had drawn up a list of suggestions prior to the meeting which included expanding mountain bike trails or adding a new public washroom or change facility. Council agreed that the ideas had merit but were concerned about completing a formal proposal in the time alloted.

McDonald advised Council that it still had another scheduled meeting before the deadline and councillors agreed to work towards finalizing a proposal at that meeting.

Also discussed was a letter from the village of Belcarra discussing offsetting carbon emissions.

As a signatory of the Climate Action Charter, Port Alice has agreed to become more energy efficient with the goal of becoming carbon neutral.

While there was no pressing action needed, the letter was presented as a reminder that action will need to be taken this year, with some of the options discussed including purchasing carbon offsets or establishing a Climate Action Reserve Fund.

McDonald advised that she would be meeting with her colleagues soon to address this issue and that she would report back with more information.

The Council also revisited the issue of Bill C-38 and its impact on waterways.

Many municipalities have urged resolutions on the matter, with the majority opposing changes to the Fisheries Act. Council had previously discussed the issue and asked for more information on the changes.

After reviewing the presented material the Council agreed to draft a letter to the Minister of the Environment expressing hope that any changes improve the efficiency of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Officers. They resolved to highlight the concerns they had over how quickly the DFO handles current cases and expressed again their hopes that any changes do not slow the DFO response and that the new bill can still provide the needed level of environmental protection.