The $1.2 million dyke repair project has been removed from the Town of Golden budget after it was moved at the Open Standing Finance Committee Meeting on Feb. 4.
The vote was split, drawing a lengthy discussion from the committee members.
The project, scheduled for 2016/2017, was to upgrade roughly 300 metres of dyke along the Kicking Horse River. It was in the budget as an unfunded project.
Coun. Keith Hern, who originally proposed the project be removed, argued that since council is also advocating that the Province take over as the dyking authority for communities with a population of under 5,000, it sends a mixed message.
“If we’re making the argument that dyking is not our responsibility, it sends a stronger message to not have that project in there,” he said.
Also included in the five-year financial plan is a reserve fund dedicated to dyke upgrades, which will see $25,000 added to it every year. But those funds would not cover the $1.2 million project. In fact, it was argued that those funds would not cover much of anything, considering that the 90 metres of dyke near Golden Transfer scheduled for upgrades will cost over $300,000.
“I would love to take that out of there, but I just don’t see that we can,” said Coun. Connie Barlow.
The vote was split, with Barlow and Coun. Chris Hambruch voting to keep the project on the books, and Hern and Mayor Christina Benty voting to remove it.
Coun. Caleb Moss abstained from voting, stating they he was unhappy with both options on the table.
“Either we’re doing it or we’re not, I don’t see the point leaving it in there as an unfunded project,” he said.
Benty said that leaving the dyke reserve in the budget shows that the municipality sees the necessity of preparing for upgrades, and there is no need to have a project on the books for two to three years from now because the budget changes every year.
“It doesn’t really matter, the budget could triple, or be cut in half next year. We need to focus on what we have control over now,” she said.
With this change made, the five-year financial plan will go to second and third readings on the Feb. 18 council meeting.