SHOULD Terrace spend an unexpected $375,000 provincial grant on demolishing the city-owned Greig Ave. Co-op building or on supporting the purchase of the Shames Mountain ski hill?
The Terrace and District Chamber or Commerce asked its members and others the question in an on-line survey, resulting in a large endorsement for the latter idea.
Chamber manager Carol Fielding said 735 answers and 224 comments came back to the chamber.
Giving the money to a group called My Mountain Co-op was supported by 86.5 per cent of those who responded.
The $375,000 would virtually double the amount of the My Mountain Co-op has raised so far in its efforts to come up with $2 million to buy Shames Mountain and fix up its facilities.
The provincial grant came to help pay for the Davis Ave. road rebuild project but was received after the city had committed its own money, effectively freeing it up for something else.
Fielding said the chamber doesn’t yet know what it will do with the survey results.
“We know it’s not just the membership of the chamber of commerce that responded,” said she said.
“The general consensus is that the ski hill should stay open and anything that can be done should be done to try and preserve it,” she said.
But while people were filling out the online survey, the city was gathering pricing bids from contractors to demolish the Co-op building.
“The chamber survey made… it seem like all of a sudden we had this windfall of money,” said councillor Bruce Bidgood at the July 25 city council meeting. “This is not excess money, this is unallocated money, which means it can be directed to a whole series of different purposes.”
Bidgood said of projects being considered he would support demolishing the Co-op building when council has that discussion.
Council has 30 days from bid-opening day of July 20 to choose a contractor. After that, the eight contractors who submitted the bids cannot be held to the prices they submitted.
Councillors are now saying they first want to set out a list of priorities on what to do with the $375,000 before entertaining any thought of demolishing the Co-op building.
They say they want to consider options at a committee of the whole meeting to be held sometime before the next formal council meeting on Aug. 8.
Prior to this Monday’s council meeting, mayor Dave Pernarowski said in a phone interview he wanted to use at least some of the $375,000 toward demolishing the Co-op building.
He said the city does have borrowing power to pay for other projects that are important to the community.
“At the council level, I don’t think it was an either-or decision,” said Pernarowski. “We’d like to be able to do everything and we’re trying to find a balance on two big concerns.”