It didn’t take long for conflict to arise inside Quesnel city council chambers.
During their first meeting as a council in-person in months, mayor Bob Simpson and councillor Ron Paull clashed when discussing the planned downtown RV park.
Council was asked to approve allocating an extra $200,000 in gas tax funds to the project, the use in principle of a contracted operator for the park and the relocation of an antique bulldozer currently on the site.
Council also approved moving $195,000 from the budget which was set for demolition of the public works site, where the municipal campground will be located. They would approve all four recommendations, with Paull voting against on relocating the bulldozer and moving $200,000 from the gas tax reserve.
The location was where conflict first arose. Paull wanted to know why the project was located at the public works site. He also took issue with the plans for the campground, advocating for pull-through sites, more power and parking, and an on-site sewer and shower.
“I can’t support this project any further until I see a business plan that clearly shows how we can achieve break even,” he said. “It’s proposed in here this has to be a break even project, but I haven’t even seen anything that speaks to what the rates will be.”
While in the middle of bring up his criticisms, he was cut off by Simpson, who said Paull had every opportunity to give feedback on those details during the granting process.
“You didn’t even know the location of (the campground) councillor Paull, despite it being in that location for every conversation we’ve had about this through the grant process up to today,” Simpson said. “Tonight we have some resolutions in front of us. Not one of them is going backwards to approve putting this campground in. I suggest you pay closer attention when these projects evolve.”
The on-site shower and upgraded power were two of three upgrades considered and not recommended by the executive committee due to cost and the vision for the campground.
The remaining budget of the $1.2 million dollar project is funded through grants. Council heard a operator was interested in running the park, and would only take a percentage of the revenue as payment. The exact terms of the deal are still being ironed out.
“The net cost to the taxpayer on achieving this municipal campground is zero,” Simpson said. “The economic benefits to our community is going to be quite large.”
Simpson added the extra $200,000 from the gas tax reserve is to fine tune and bring the project to a higher standard.
“This is our first real set piece in our waterfront strategy,” “We wanted to make sure things the landscaping, the signage, the finishing of the area had the resources we needed to finish it off.”
The 21 site municipal campground with additional tenting spots is planned to open in Spring of 2022.
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