HANNA PETERSEN PHOTO The District of Port Hardy has agreed to pay for the removal of the windmill blade display, if it ever needs to be taken down and removed.

District of Port Hardy agrees to foot the bill if windmill blade display needs to be taken down

Rotary club’s Dale Dorward and Rick and Bill Milligan made their presence known at the meeting.

The Port Hardy Rotary Club will not be on the hook for any costs if the wind turbine blade display needs to be removed after installation.

Rotary Club members Dale Dorward and Rick and Bill Milligan made their presence known at a Committee of the Whole meeting on Tuesday, June 12, where council assembled to discuss an issue that had come up within the draft agreements between the district and the rotary club.

Back in January of 2018, Rick Milligan and Dorward had presented a proposal to place a 49-metre wind turbine blade within the District of Port Hardy.

The initial proposal was turned down by council, but the rotary club members refused to let the project die. They submitted their proposal again, this time to the Parks, Recreation, Arts and Culture Committee (PRACC), recommending the wind turbine blade be installed at the corner of Highway 19 and the Bear Cove Highway.

A draft agreement was then presented to Rick Milligan and Dorward, who found the draft was not acceptable due to language indicating ownership (the PRACC wanted the rotary club to remain sole owner of the windmill blade after installation).

PRACC agreed to remove the ownership language from the agreement, but the two sides still could not come to terms on who would foot the bill if the windmill blade ever had to be taken down and disposed of.

Council had three options in front of them, which were as follows:

Option one, remove “2.0 removal” from the draft agreement;

Option two, retain “2.0 removal” in the draft agreement; or

Option three, accept a monetary amount from the rotary club to be placed in a reserve with the district to be used for removal of the wind turbine blade if there is such a need or desire in the future.

“I don’t think this is mean spirited or anything to the rotary — it’s part of our arts bylaw that any arts project that goes up has to follow (the rules),” said Coun. Rick Marcotte.

“It does,” agreed Chief Administrative Officer Allison McCarrick. “(The bylaw) states that council may enter into an agreement if they deem that it’s necessary — it’s up to the committee to make that recommendation, whether they feel there should be an agreement on price or not. In this particular instance, when the project was brought to the committee, they felt there should be something just because of the magnitude of the project and what we were dealing with.”

“Are you guys paying to have it installed?” asked Marcotte to Rick Milligan and Dorward.

“There’s no cost to the district,” replied Rick Milligan.

”But there’s this 29,000 bill if we want to get rid of it,” said Marcotte.

“We had no idea what the cost of removal was, we’re in the building business not the taking away business,” said Dorward. ”The District of Port Hardy would own the windmill blade once it’s in place, and we’ve given the assurance that it will be constructed. Once it’s put in place it’s totally out of our control what happens to it… it’s not ours anymore.”

Coun. John Tidbury stated while the project is quite a large one at 49-metres, he thinks tourists will want to see the windmill blade once it’s put on display. He noted he would be voting for option one, which would put the district in charge of all of the expenses that will be incurred if/when the windmill blade needs to be taken down.

Coun. Leightan Wishart said he supports the idea behind the windmill blade being put on display, but asked if the rotary club would be willing to put $5,000 “into a fund that would be set aside specifically for removal with the understanding that it would be given back to them in 10 years?”

Dorward strongly disagreed, stating, “So we have to put $5,000 in your account which means we can’t buy more stuff for kids, like playgrounds… I’m very concerned going forward beyond this project, because it does make a person think twice before they want to put something else in town… This is making me pause and I don’t want to pause.”

“I had to ask the question, you might have said yes,” laughed Wishart.

Mayor Hank Bood had the last word before voting, stating the way the district has handled issues like this in the past is by taking full ownership of the projects, including removal if need be, adding it has never been a requirement to have a deposit before, so there shouldn’t be one needed now.

Council then voted, where it was unanimously decided that the district would foot the bill for removal of the windmill blade display themselves, if/when it ever needs to be taken down.

According to district documents, there are two 2018 estimates of what it will cost the district if they have to remove the windmill blade:

Contract to disassemble or crush and haul: $2,800;

Tipping based on crushed volumetric mass: $7,200;

Total: $10,000; or

Contract to disassemble or crush and haul: $2,800;

Tipping based on Regional District of Mount Waddington physical mass: $26,870;

Total: $29,670.

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