Referendum to be held on Bridge to Bridge

The Town of Golden Council has voted to take a scaled down version of the proposed Bridge to Bridge project to a vote.

A packed house was on hand at the regular Town of Golden council meeting held on July 17, with many people interested in hearing what the next step of the proposed Bridge to Bridge project would be. For the past two weeks there has been speculation on what the council would decide to do after enough signatures were gathered to potentially force the loan decision to a referendum.

A recommendation was made at a meeting on July 3 for staff to present possible options for the project moving forward to council.

David Allen, chief administrative officer for the Town of Golden gave a presentation to council about the history that has led up to the proposed project.

After the presentation Allen put forward five possible options from staff point for council to discuss.

Option 1- Council approves moving forward with the Full Bridge to Bridge Project, and directs staff to prepare a referendum question based on Loan Authorization Bylaw 1301 (up to a maximum of $2.3 million) for the September 8 By-Election. (a) Council can decide to put off the ineligible project work to a later phase, and pass a resolution limiting borrowing to up to $1.3 million for eligible project costs only, subject to a future AAP.

Option 2- Council approves moving forward with the Core Bridge to Bridge Project, rescinds Loan Authorization Bylaw 1301, gives three readings to Loan Authorization Bylaw 1308, and directs staff to prepare a referendum question based on Loan Authorization Bylaw 1308 at the September 8 By-Election.

Option 3- Council approves moving forward with the Full Bridge to Bridge Project based on short term borrowing.

Option 4- Council approves moving forward with the Core Bridge to Bridge Project based on short term borrowing.

Option 5- Council determines not to proceed with the Kicking Horse River Dike Upgrade project at this time, and rescinds all three readings of Loan Authorization Bylaw 1301.

“This is a complex project with many different options available to council,” Allen said. By focusing on the eligible project costs only, much of the proposed “beautification” part of the project would not be completed under the agreement. However Allen pointed out during the meeting that getting the wires underground in the alley is considered part of the eligible project cost.

He also added the benefit of the Value Engineering exercise will add a great deal to the project.

During a question period Mayor Christina Benty made a motion to move to referendum to do the core option of the project plus $500,000 with the option to pay back every 10 years.

“The reason I am wanting to go with the core plus option is because I support the diking infrastructure project, and additional funds because I believe in finishing the project. Riverside development is still important and we have seen social and economic benefits from projects in our community,” Benty said.

Coun. John Jackson once again stated he is against the project completely. “The back alley is the back alley. I would rather see us look at other areas of beautification in the town,” Jackson said.

Coun. Hambruch explained he felt the opportunity had come to deal with a “deficit in our diking system.

“I would be in support of going to a core project at this time and maximize the use of the federal grant,” Hambruch said.

Coun. Caleb Moss stated he also still supports the project and the terms of long term borrowing.

“Having seen the mixed reaction to the beautification component it makes sense to me to scale that back. I am supportive of your suggestion of $1.8 million but also with a high level of encouragement from council to come in much lower on that project,” Moss said.

Coun. Ron Oszust restated his opinion that the project should not move forward as it was originally presented and felt it should go to referendum.

“The project needs to be weighed out with all of the other 30 years of projects that the community will or does need,” Oszust said.

When asked what the question should be on the referendum Oszust stated, he had issues with the mayor’s motion of the $1.3 million plus the extra $500,000 for the non eligible part of the project.

Oszust added he thought the  proposal, “comes at the eleventh hour and is not appreciated in all honesty.”

A motion to go to referendum for $1.8 million was voted down by council which opened the floor to a second motion.

In the end council passed the following motion with Jackson opposed.

“THAT based on the July 24th 2012 report from the Chief Administrative Officer, ‘Options for Proceeding with Kicking Horse River Dyke Upgrade (Bridge to Bridge) Project,’ Council MOVE TO REFERENDUM Town of Golden Bylaw 1308, 2012 Loan Authorization to borrow up to a maximum of $1,322,235; AND THAT based upon the July 23rd, 2012 Briefing Note from the Chief Administrative Officer ‘Addendum to Options for Proceeding with Kicking Horse River Dyke Upgrade (Bridge to Bridge) Project,’ a Value Engineering exercise of the current preliminary design, being Option 1 as presented in the above report BE CONDUCTED for the project should it pass the referendum.”