On Feb. 20, Ucluelet’s chief administrative officer Mark Boysen and director of finance Donna Monteith gave a comprehensive proposed budget presentation to mayor and council.
The three- hour slide show presentation featured financial overviews for several projects including: water and sewage, community planning, parks and recreation, emergency services, small craft harbour, corporate services and financial and proposed public realm projects.
District staff asked that council allocate $150,000 of gas tax funds to pave and landscape the new 25-stall parking hub at 1638 Cedar Road. The Cedar Road lot is currently at $274,000 into construction costs, not including the initial land investment, according to Boysen.
“I would like to see some options for some washrooms there,” said councillor Marilyn McEwen.
“I think washrooms are going to be crucial,” re-iterated councillor Rachelle Cole.
Mayor Mayco Noel said he would be okay with keeping it a gravel lot if that meant getting a bathroom.
“Once you go to pave it that would really handcuff you to future decisions on lighting and plumbing etc.,” said Noel. “I think we are okay with gravel.”
Councillor Jennifer Hoar pointed out that gravel is better for water flow and the environment over paving.
“One negative I heard from a lot of people was the lack of trails. The lack of access to either Main Street or Peninsula,” Hoar said.
Boysen said they are working on those discussions with the neighbouring properties.
“In the coming months there could be some progress coming,” said Boysen.
A request was made to set aside $250,000 to initiate project work on Amphitrite Centre.
“It would be good to have some money for us to be able to get going on the work for this property,” said Boysen.
“I think we are all supportive with that in general,” said mayor Noel.
Manager of parks and recreation Abby Fortune asked council to consider investing $150,000 in lights for the skatepark and basketball courts.
“It’s not cheap. The materials are $100,000 and this is proper sports lighting. That’s materials delivered here. We are guesstimating additional $50,000 for [installation],” said Fortune.
“The skatepark is well used and so is the basketball court. Lighting is something that is needed. I would like to see how this project flushes out,” said Noel, hinting at a possible tax increase to help with the funding.
Boysen said they will try to look into funding opportunities before going to taxes.
At the end of the Feb. 20 budget meeting, council voted unanimously to support the Ucluelet Water Capacity and Filtration Improvement Project and to commit to its share up to $2.6M of the project.
A full draft five-year financial plan will be presented to council on March 12 along with some actuals for the auditing team as well as some taxation issues that council may need to make some decisions on, notes Monteith.
There will be a public presentation on of Ucluelet’s five-year financial plan on April 15 at 5 p.m.