Council briefs: City of Quesnel will apply for funds for airport upgrades

Council also approves funding for community groups and starts thinking about the City’s centenary

The City of Quesnel will apply for funding for upgrades at the Quesnel Regional Airport this year.

At its Feb. 5 meeting, council voted to apply to the British Columbia Air Access Program (BCAAP) for funding to replace the airside sidewalks, as well as siding on the operations building at the airport.

Under the BCAAP, projects may receive funding of up to 75 per cent of the project cost.

“It’s a multi-year program that we have applied for in the past,” Jeff Norburn, the City’s director of community services, told council.

The combined estimated project cost for the airport improvements is $50,000. The City’s proposed capital plan has incorporated this project into the budget and is based on the assumption that $37,500 in grant funding will be received through the program.

The City’s share of the project cost is $12,500, which has been incorporated into the 2019 capital plan for the airport.

Quesnel has successfully applied for BCAAP funding before, as the program helped fund security gates and an aerodrome instrument approach upgrade in 2016 and LED runway and PAPI lighting upgrades in 2018.

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At the same meeting, council approved funding for several community groups who had applied for City funds in the fall.

Council approved supporting SkyFest to a level comparable to the 2015 agreement, except no cash contribution in 2019, and also approved supplying office space to SkyFest, similar to in 2017.

Council also approved that the Quesnel Foundation receive $5,000 for administration costs in 2019 but that 2019 be the last year that administration funding is provided to this group, recognizing that other granting agencies in Quesnel do not receive similar funding from the City.

Council also voted that North Cariboo Highway Rescue and Quesnel Search and Rescue will each receive $12,250 for the next four years (2019-22), and the Baker Creek Enhancement Society will receive $10,000 for the next four years.

Council also approved providing $4,000, plus the cost of up to five jackets for the Quesnel Ambassadors Program for the next four years and also approved that the program receive an extra $1,000 in 2019 to update its branding.

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Coun. Ron Paull sent a report to council seeking council’s consideration and support in recognizing the need for advance budgeting and planning for the City of Quesnel’s 100th anniversary in 2028.

“I suggest we set aside, in a gradually accumulating reserve account, a modest fund for our 100th anniversary events and celebrations, which can hopefully include a long-overdue Quesnel reunion,” he told his fellow councillors Feb. 5. “The time-frame for starting and building the reserve account and the target amount of the fund would be at council’s discretion, as would the timing of our centenary celebrations, perhaps all year long.”

The City’s 100th anniversary will be March 21, 2028.

“The reason I bring this to council’s attention at this time is my recollection from experience is that council, in preparing for the then-Town of Quesnel’s 50th anniversary in 1978, expressed regret that no advance forethought and planning was given for spreading the funding for the 50th over a few budget years leading up to the actual anniversary year,” said Paull. “An accumulating Quesnel Centenary Reserve would also serve as an ongoing reminder that our 100th anniversary is fast approaching and add impetus to help our community prepare for this milestone anniversary.”

The matter will go to the City’s Financial Stability and Audit Committee (FSAC).

“I know this year, particularly we have a lot of funding issues and other reserves that need funding as well, so this has to be put in that context before we put money aside,” Kari Bolton, the city’s director of corporate and financial services, told council. “Also, this many years in advance, without knowing what that council of the day might be planning, it’s hard to know how much. One consideration is that the people at the time of the party should be paying for the party, so maybe it should be a supplemental in the year that it happens or at least a few years around when it happens, versus starting so early. But those are discussions that could happen at FSAC and come back to council.”

Paull reassured council he wasn’t suggesting that the City start budgeting for the centenary right away.

“It was just basically to get it into the hopper,” he said.

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