I am skeptical about how polls of a small number of people can be used to support decisions, but at this point the mayor and council should be encouraged to try new ways of engaging the public. Some methods may work and others may not.
Similarly, there was discussion around the council table about the value of Committee of the Whole sessions, which are seldom attended by more than a handful (far fewer than those attending the budget forum). Mayor Brain appears to have deferred to the wishes of those councillors who feel that they continue to have value.
There appear to have been some interesting comments at the public forum, including that the council is urged to ‘think outside of the box’ on occasion: < northcoastreview.blogspot.ca/201 … f-box.html >.
Surprisingly, the costs associated with Watson Island have not surfaced as a high profile issue. There was no mention of that topic in the 2015 Budget Presentation to the mayor and council, although in 2014 expenditures exceeded revenues by $997,000. < northcoastreview.blogspot.ca/201 … nd-in.html >.
Watco was paying $90,000 a month until the previous council terminated the exclusivity agreement, and according to court documents Watson Island LNG Corp paid $500,000 for an exclusivity agreement that was to expire at the end of December.
The deficit is apparent by comparing numbers in the pro forma attached to the 2015 Budget Presentation. See page 6 (some may require reading glasses or a magnifying glass) < princerupert.ca/sites/defaul … 20item.pdf >.
Also apparent in the pro forma is that the revenues and expenditures for 2015 are projected to be only $120,000.
Meanwhile, Mayor Brain, in the most extensive report on Watson Island in a long time, reports that Watson Island is costing the City $80,000 a month < thenorthernview.com/news/295677841.html >.
Lessees will be given notice to vacate so that demolition of the buildings can proceed. The demolition is a positive development, but will necessarily result in a loss of revenue and take time. The Mayor also reports that the City cannot clear title (and hence cannot sell the property), but is hopeful that the Watco court case will move forward “within a few years”. So it looks like the City will be burdened for some time yet with the costs of owning what his predecessor described as a “hell hole”.
The Mayor’s disclosures, in particular about $80,000 a month in costs, make sense. That would add up to $960,000 for the year with little offsetting revenue. What does not make sense is that the proposed budget forecasts expenditures on Watson Island of only $120,000 for 2015.