City talks budget with Fort St. John residents


Photo: Fort St. John Mayor and City Councilors attended the 2010 budget consultations on Monday night. L-R- Mayor Bruce Lantz, Councilors Don Irwin, Bruce Christensen, Dan Davies, Lori Ackerman, Trevor Bolin and Larry Evans – Chrstine Rumleskie/Energeticcity.ca

 

 

By Christine Rumleskie

 

It looks as if residents are pleased with the draft 2010 capital budget.

Around 20 Fort St. John residents filled a meeting room at the Enerplex, along with City Councilors, and city staff on Monday night. A couple of questions were asked during the formal part of the consultation, mostly relating to road upgrades.

Staff outlined several new capital projects that are planned for 2010, including several major road upgrades and money for a brand new fire hall.

Fort St. John Fire Chief Fred Burrows is especially happy about the new facility, as the city has allocated $5 million for the new hall.

Chief Burrows says while the existing facility doesn’t meet the needs of city now, it has done a good job in the past 40 years.

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The City is looking at constructing the fire hall behind Sobeys on 93rd Avenue, and Fire Chief Burrows says that’s an ideal area.

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Meanwhile, staff penciled-in $350,000 for a new sidewalk to be constructed on 106th Avenue, from 90th Street to 96th Street.

Councilor Bruce Christensen says that avenue in particular needs a sidewalk.

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Mayor Bruce Lantz says he has been hearing lots of constructive ideas on the budget.

He says several proposals, such as a bicycle lane for the downtown core, might not be realistic for 2010, but the city will investigate those options for future budgets.

Lantz added the city must go forward with some infrastructure projects, or else the city will lose several provincial and federal grants.

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Some other capital budget highlights include an allocated amount of $250,000 towards cleanup of the Fort Hotel property. Earlier this year, Mayor Lantz says that cleanup will be done sometime in the fall.

The City is also adding $10,000 for a left-advance signal at 100th Avenue and 102nd street, and will also include $2 million for the new Energy Interpretive Centre.

The budget, however, has not been finalized and those numbers could change.

Residents will now get the chance to give their input at the next public consultation, slated for March 1st. This time the focus will be on the city’s 2010 operating budget.