Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Council and community receive update from Mayor Pond on range of Financial measures still in flux

The status of a range of financial instruments, measures and hoped for grant funding made for a recap from Prince Rupert Mayor Herb Pond at Monday's council Session, with the Mayor noting that while they may not talk about them often in Council Chamber, City Council remains committed to finding success from many of them.

Among his themes on the night, a recap on the progress for the 82 million dollar infrastructure funding request from the Federal Government, the ongoing work of the Resource Benefit Alliance initiative, notes on the active work with the Port and Government on PILT and the Tax Cap.

Mr. Pond also observed of the tremendous opportunities of Watson Island and how the city is making use of the money from the industrial site. 

The overview was fairly short and for the most part provided few real details towards any progress or timelines of expectations from Council for their efforts.

Towards the Mayor's Talking points for the night, here's how he viewed each from his list.

Federal Infrastructure Funding 

"It's been a while since we've talked about it, but I want  to make sure that the public knows that we haven't forgotten about the application that we have got in front of the Federal Government for funding for pipes, at 82 million dollars. 

Which will  complete the package, that would take the Premier's 65 million, the 45 million we borrowed. And some of the money that will actually flow to infrastructure from the roundabout and put together a really significant package that will replace a third of our pipes.

We continue to work on that,  just because we're silent on it and I realize that we don't talk about it because we keep working on it and we're waiting to say something positive about it. 

But I want you to know that we continue to work on it." 

Resource Benefit Alliance Initiative 

"There are, you know even once we replace the pipes and we get things caught up we need to maintain them and we all know this, that there isn't yet enough money in our budget to do the maintaining of assets.

And we're absolutely committed to making sure that we never fall behind again, get caught up, never fall behind again.

The Resource Benefit Alliance is for those that do not know about it, is communities  of the There Regional Districts  from Vanderhoof, over to Haida Gwaii, banding together and saying to the province, we need additional revenues. 

You're making a ton of money off of projects  within this area, we need a piece of that because those projects  are pounding the living daylights out of our roads,  they're placing demands on our housing, they're placing demands on other infrastructure. 

We need some piece of that revenue that you're picking up so that we can do the business of making an incredibly liveable, exciting community; that allows industry to succeed, which allows more tax revenue to flow back to the province right, so this is circular.

Resource Benefits Alliance I'm one of the co-chairs, Mayor Bujtas and Mayor Attril  from Terrace and Smithers are the other two co chairs. 

I'll be in Victoria, next week with those co chairs in the halls of provincial government making that case and being in front of them to say; if we're going to be able to do the things that you hope that we're going to do, we  need some help to get it done.

It's not asking for a favour, its just asking to be empowered  and enabled to get the job done, to be given the resources,  the tools we need to get the job done"

PILT and Tax Cap issues

'We haven't talked about it a great deal, but there is active work going on, on both the Tax Cap and the PILT. 

I don't know where that's going to land but we continue, those are active files, that we know, we believe that if resolved in our favour would substantially change again, the revenue stream that allows us to develop that community that we all need to see developed"

Watson Island

"And finally, there are other pieces, but I just want to make sure where we are on all of these, Watson Island, there remain tremendous opportunities  on Watson Island. 

The previous councils that have turned that from a million dollar loss, annual million dollar loss into a net positive contributor; we saw that in this year's budget. 

How much of the capital projects were being funded as a result of revenues that flow from Prince Rupert Legacy, which is operating Watson Island. 

And there are more opportunities to gain more revenue there and so we continue to work on those"

The Mayors full overview for each can be reviewed through the City Council video archive starting at the 38 minute mark.

More from the Monday Council session can be reviewed from our Council Timeline.

You can find notes towards many of the elements the Mayor made note of from our archive listings found here.

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