Referendum set for Telkwa borrowing

Telkwa Mayor Carman Graf is hoping a referendum on borrowing will be more successful than an earlier Alternate Approval Process (AAP).

  • Oct. 26, 2011 9:00 a.m.

The Village of Telkwa Mayor Carman Graf is hoping a referendum on borrowing will be more successful than an earlier Alternate Approval Process (AAP).

Come election day, voters in Telkwa will also be able to say whether or not the Village of Telkwa can borrow up to $1 million to renovate their new municipal office, the old Premium Meat Co-Op building.

Telkwa staff and council had to move out of their original building, just a few yards away from their new location, after surveys found the building unsuitable to continue working in.

Telkwa borrowed just under $300,000 to purchase the Co-Op building and adjoining land lots but has to get consent from the voters for borrowing above that amount.

Over 10 per cent of Telkwa voters were against the idea when the AAP failed earlier this year, forcing the issue to go to referendum.

Graf said that developing and renovating their new building is in line with community priorities.

“The idea of the old premium meat co-op came up so we had a look at it and we determined that was probably going to be the best route to go and it fits in with the Official Community Plan and the Integrated Community Sustainability Plan,” he said.

The plan would beautify the exterior of the building and renovate the interior to allow for other groups to rent out space, providing a possible income opportunity for the Village.

He’s not sure who would move in but he said there are three interested people looking  to possibly rent and he wouldn’t discount the possibility of even the community’s reading room making its home in the building.

Out of the potential $1 million, $300,000 would immediately go to paying back the short-term loan used to purchase the land in the first place.

The additional cost to the community would be nil. The Village, he said, is retiring $70,000 worth of debt in 2013, the same amount as the payments would be under the proposed 30-year loan.

The same amount of repayment applies to the short-term loan as well, meaning no additional cost either way.

That means, he said, there would be no new additional taxes to cover the building.

“It’s a good deal for the Village,” he said. “It is a lot of money and I don’t take spending taxpayer money lightly…I think it’s a great deal for the village.”

Touching up that corner of Highway 16 also ties into other long-term plans. At the intersection council also plan to put a new park i and a skateboard park for the youth. Those proposals would not be included under their loan.

On Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. there will be an information session at the Telkwa Seniors Hall for people to ask questions about the loan. The meeting will be moderated by a third party but Telkwa council and staff will be in attendance.

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