PORT McNEILL—Major capital projects involving an integrated health care facility in Port Hardy and a heat-recovery system at the local arena were approved by the Regional District of Mount Waddington Board of Directors as it approved its 2014 budget during its regular meeting Mar. 18.
The board acceded to a request by Island Health to contribute 40 per cent — or $790,000 — of the cost of a proposed $1.9 million integrated health care clinic in Port Hardy, which is scheduled to be built this year on land near Port Hardy Hospital.
It also approved a $368,150 heat-recovery system for Chilton Regional Arena in Port McNeill, which will eventually provide heat to nearby North Island Secondary School through a cooperative agreement with School District 85.
“We want to have the new system in place by July,” RDMW administrator Greg Fletcher said. “It’s a 12-week project, and if we can get started shortly after the ice goes out (this week) it should give us just enough time.”
The project will be funded through the RD’s arena reserve fund, and requests for additional funding assistance were submitted to the Town of Port McNeill and the Village of Alert Bay.
Budget bylaw OK’d
The board gave final reading and passage to Bylaw 862, the RDMW’s five-year financial plan, which marks a 1.5 per cent increase over the 2013 budget.
“One point five is a defendable number,” treasurer Joe Mackenzie said. “There is an increase of $19,000 in solid waste, but on a budget of half a million, it’s negligible.”
The total budget of $4,513,464 is bolstered by the addition of tax revenue from a pair of renewable energy projects, the Cape Scott Wind Farm and the Kokish Run-of-River hydro project. Both went on-line in recent months, and their inclusion in the budget has resulted in mill rates dropping for residential taxpayers.
The board also passed additional budget-related bylaws, including the 7-mile Solid Waste Disposal Amendment bylaw; the Hyde Creek Sewer Rates and Regulations Amendment bylaw; the Woss Water System Regulations and Rates Amendment bylaw and a series of bylaws raising caps on streetlight budgets in various areas, due to steep increases in BC Hydro rates.
Fish, timber and wind
Planning director Jonas Velaniskis informed the board of three crown referrals for requests of licenses to operate in RDMW territory.
They include one referral from BC Timber Sales for a license of occupation to reactivate an industrial log handling operation in Knight Inlet, an investigative license to explore a wind farm in the vicinity of Bonanza and Nimpkish Lakes, and a request from Cermaq (formerly Mainstream Canada) for expansion of fish farms in Wells Passage and Greenway Sound.
“They’re pretty significant expansions,” Velaniskis said. “They’d be ramping up production by up to 344 per cent. Basically, all three sites would be brought up to 3,000 metric tonnes per year from 600 or 800 tonnes.”
The notes appended to the referrals by the board supported the applications for Wells Passage but recommended against the Greenway Sound expansion.