March 13, 2014 - 9:52 AM
KAMLOOPS — While most of council was excited to see the purchase of the former Kamloops Daily News building go forward so the city can secure downtown parking options, Coun. Nelly Dever says she thinks council should wait for a better deal.
“It's not a bad deal, but it could be a much better deal,” she says. “I agree with 99 per cent of what my colleagues are saying... but I feel my way is more efficient and has more cost savings.”
Dever thinks $4.8 million just to secure 120 parking stalls is a bit steep and doesn't want the city to get their hands tied up with this property, which could result in the inability to act on other opportunities. She is also concerned the bylaw just outlines the purchase of the property and does not guarantee the 120 stalls will remain.
“At an investment of $6 million plus, I think we can do better, a lot better. Patience is still warranted,” she says. “Is the city the right entity to act as owner-developer of this property?”
The rest of council was quick to add their approval for the purchase though and during the Tuesday meeting every other council member (Coun. Nancy Bepple was absent) took time to voice their reasons for voting yes.
Reasons included the ability to sell if they change their minds and having more control over future development of the site and not using direct tax dollars to pay for the project and making it user paid. Mayor Peter Milobar and CAO David Trawin both pointed out that if the use changed down the road, so would the funding.
“It's $4.8 million to buy existing... not to protect parking,” Milobar says of the borrowing bylaw before council today. “At it's core we're buying a piece of land.”
The matter is now heading to the provincial government for approval after which the city will use the alternative approval process to borrow funds for the purchase.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014