Council recently gave the first three readings to the 2014-2018 financial plan, which reflects our focus on long-term financial management to maintain a well-serviced, safe, livable, and sustainable community.
As always, we are looking for efficiencies in our operations, and for the 2014 budget, there is a reduction of $388,000 in operating costs. Levels of service will remain the same.
Pavement is a priority for council. For capital projects this year, we will reconstruct Borland Street from Fourth Avenue to Seventh Avenue, at a cost of $650,000. Second Avenue between Oliver Street and Gibbon Street, and Pigeon Avenue from Western Avenue to 11th Avenue will also be repaved, at a cost of $630,000. There will be no long-term or short-term borrowing, and no increase to water and sewer rates.
We continue to focus on trail improvements. We will build the planned CN Rail pedestrian underpass on Mackenzie Avenue, which will result in a link between the River Valley trail system and the Stampede Ground equestrian trail system. There would then be 16 kilometres of trail extending from the Stampede Grounds to the Fraser River. This will be a convenient, safe, and accessible entry point to the River Valley. The $1.17 million cost is covered completely by senior government funding.
New economic development made up a large part of last week’s council agenda. There were nine Development or Development Variance Permits in front of council, including an autism centre at the Child Development Centre, renovations to Can-Com and McDonald’s, and new building on Highway 97 for the Ford dealership. Lake City Ford co-owner Ed Wong shared that his business has been in Williams Lake for 60 years, and he wants to invest in the community for at least the next 60. He further stated that his business plan never depended on the New Prosperity Mine. I continue to be impressed by the confidence the business community has in Williams Lake.
Kerry Cook is the mayor of Williams Lake.