By Devyn Ens and Kevin Campbell
Financial plan approved
The Council of the District Port Edward unanimously passed their five-year financial plan at their regular meeting on Tuesday, May 10, 2016.
The five-year plan outlines the budgeted revenues and expenditures for the district for 2016 up until 2020, with changes possible every year after 2016.
The district expects total revenues of $2,700,246 for the year, with $600,000 from the Ridley Island tax share, and $382,958 from utilities.
Total expenditures are expected to equal $2,665,249, with $1,033,878 going towards public works services, $200,000 towards capital expenditures, and $172,000 for BC Transit.
There is a budgeted surplus of $34,997 for 2016.
Taxes for the sewer system
The District of Port Edward council passed a number of bylaws at their general meeting on Tuesday, May 10, 2016.
The first bylaw unanimously adopted by council dictated that property tax rates for the General Municipal, Skeena Queen Charlotte, Skeena Queen Charlotte Hospital, and Northwest Regional Hospital districts will not be raised for 2016.
Council also unanimously passed a bylaw implementing a sewer parcel tax. The annual tax rate per parcel or groups of parcels will be $193. The tax will be levied on each parcel or groups of parcels on property that is capable of being connected to the district’s sanitary sewer system.
The tax may be waived or lessened if any present or previous owner or present occupier of the property constructed any portion of the sanitary sewer system of the municipality at their own expense, or if they have paid all debt and debt charges, including interest, in respect to the sanitary system on their property.
The tax will be in place for a period of five years.
The third bylaw passed by council is to establish a water frontage tax to offset the costs incurred by the district by providing water services. The annual rate for the tax will be $5.50 per taxable unit of frontage, and will be in place for five years.
Visit to Dawson Creek wind farm
Councillors James Brown and Grant Moore recounted their visit to Dawson Creek as part of the North Central Local Government Association conference.
The delegation was impressed with the Bear Mountain Wind Park during their visit from May 4 – 6, and emphasized that wind power would be a great addition to Port Edward, either to power the district or any potential major projects.
“It sounded like jets underneath them. We happened to be catching them on a real windy day,” said Brown, adding that the noise can only be heard once you’re almost directly underneath them, but from a distance away are pretty silent.
The conference included tours of the wind park, Northern Lights College, the Tumbler Ridge Museum and Geopark and the Chetwynd Chainsaw Carvings and Pellet Plant.
The group also attended a ‘Boom and Bust: Growing Pains’ panel session, a ‘First Nations: Building Partnerships’ panel and a ‘Water as a Precious Resource’ panel.
“I liked the resolutions that were passed. Everyone was pretty much on board,” said Moore.
Port Edward Mayor Dave MacDonald noted that wind farm propositions have been made in the past in the Port Edward area, and the proximity to residential areas was a concern.
“None of them seem to have caught on here, that [Bridge Power] Mount McDonald one – they came with drawings and everything. It scared me. They had windmills everywhere and that scared me a little. They’re not talking that many, I hope,” he said.
The district is also looking for volunteers for its 50th anniversary celebrations, set for June 24-25. Volunteers who can help out Saturday, June 25 can sign up at the district office or email firstname.lastname@example.org