This concept drawing shows what a backdrop for Quesnel’s gold pan could look like. (City of Quesnel)

This concept drawing shows what a backdrop for Quesnel’s gold pan could look like. (City of Quesnel)

COUNCIL BRIEFS: Gold pan grant application passed without drama

The $30,000 grant application was handled quickly by council during their Feb. 2 meeting

Quesnel city council managed to approve spending related to the gold pan without controversy or discussion about the pan’s location during their Tuesday, Feb. 2 meeting.

Council approved applying for a grant of $30,000 to create a backdrop for the landmark. The city also approved covering the complete cost if the grant is denied. The backdrop is expected to cost $80,000.

Councillor Ron Paull was the only member who opposed both measures.

Snow Removal

The city approved spending $90,000 for a truck with snow removal equipment to be used on the riverfront trail.

Current equipment used for clearing the trail requires operators to be certified before using it. The new truck can be operated by more city workers, ensuring the trails are cleared sooner.

“In snow events, it can take days before the trails can be cleaned up,” Councillor Scott Elliott said. “One of our goals is to help people get outside and enjoy the city. More people are using the riverfront trails especially during the pandemic.”

The costs of buying the new truck is covered by savings in other fleet-related spending.

During the summer the sanding equipment and plow can be removed from the truck, making it useful even if there is no snow.

Elliott also reported the city was over budget by nearly $200,000 in snow removal.

Budget Transparency

While making slight language changes to their budget principals document, council also approved making all budget meetings public moving forward.

Most supplemental budget meetings were held behind closed doors before.

“When we looked at this year’s supplemental, we couldn’t figure out a reason that conversation was in camera,” Mayor Bob Simpson said. “I think it’s better the default position is its the open.”

If a supplemental budget meeting requires a conversation about staffing, the meeting could still move to an in camera setting.

Interconnector Update

Council has begun their planning for the next steps of the interconnector highway project. They’re hoping to communicate the next steps related, including an open house, mail-outs and social media campaigns.

Chair of the executive committee, Councillor Mitch Vik noted a change of leadership and project lead at the ministry of transportation and infrastructure (MOTI) has left things temporarily up in the air.

“I hesitate to comment on this one until such time we’ve specifically cleared it for public comment from MOTI,” Quesnel city manager Byron Johnson said. “We do have somewhat of an update… but again, it’s still probably embargoed information.”

READ MORE: Proposed Quesnel interconnector moves beyond preliminary design stage

2024 BC Winter Games Bid

Quesnel council also formally approved submitting their bid package for the 2024 BC Winter Games.

The city is partnering with the Lhtako Dene Nation in their bid, and received resolutions from support from the Quesnel School District and Cariboo Regional District.

If the bid is successful, there will be a legacy committee set up to distribute funds, and any equipment purchased through the games will be donated to local organizations.

Quesnel hosted the BC Winter Games in 2000, with legacy funds creating the Quesnel Community Foundation.

The games are expected to bring in 2,000 participants for 17 core sports.

Quesnel city council will meet next on Wednesday, Feb. 10.

READ MORE: Quesnel moving forward with 2024 BC Winter Games bid

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