She says the City didn’t do some of the work that the money had been allocated for, including not doing as much work on the fire hall, and used those funds to pay off the debt to the land owner last December.

By its own decision, the City uses its Fair Share funding to improve aging infrastructure. Hunter argues that would apply to the Visitor Information Centre that is intended to be located on that property, as it is replacing the current Centre that no money is currently being put away for.

However, if council decides not to build an Information Centre there, she says she would have a hard time using the Fair Share funds. Instead, it would go to council to decide who should pay for the property. As the proposed Energy Interpretive Centre is a new facility, Fair Share funding can not apply, by the City’s standards.

Although the City has received a $2 million Western Economic Diversification grant, Hunter says none of that has gone towards the project so far, and it is sitting in reserve.

Hunter justifies the decision to go ahead and pay off the amount owing as it was in the “spirit and intent” of what council authorized them to do, which was to purchase the land. However, she says in hindsight she would have alerted council to the change in plans, to avoid the ensuing confusion, but added it would have come up in budget consulatations.

Hunter wants to carry out council’s wishes in “the most fiscally responsible way”, and figured it’s “better to pay it off”, than incur interest.