TERRACE council wants to spend nearly $300,000 tearing down the boarded-up former Terrace Co-op retail building it owns on Greig Ave.
But council members also talked about another co-op, the one aimed at buying the Shames Mountain Ski Corporation.
The tale of two co-ops emerged at a committee of the whole meeting Aug. 3 as council members debated what to do with an unexpected $375,000 unexpected provincial grant.
The money was to help finance the Davis St. road rebuild project but arrived after the city had already spent its own money on the work, essentially freeing up the sum for another purpose.
Demolishing the Co-op building topped council’s project list with councillors Bruce Bidgood, Brad Pollard, Carol Leclerc and Brian Downie ultimately supporting a recommendation to award a demo contract to Snaring River Holdings.
Councillor Lynn Christiansen opposed the recommendation and councillor Bruce Martindale, who spoke briefly via speakerphone in support of demolition, was not on the line when the vote was called.
Several counsellors in favour of demolition said the property is key to revitalizing the downtown core.
Martindale referrred to an appraisal which indicated that removing the building would add $475,000 in value to the property.
“Whether it sells or not, it gives a good return on investment. It gives the opportunity to move it into better usage,” he said.
The demolition recommendation will now be carried to a regular council meeting Aug. 8 for formal acceptance.
Although in favour of tearing down the Co-op, Bidgood said any money left from the provincial grant should go toward the My Mountain Co-op effort to raise $2 million to buy financially-troubled Shames Mountain.
Martindale also said financial aid to the co-op was on his priority list as did Downie and Leclerc.
Counsellors generally agreed that keeping the mountain open was a priority.
But Pollard said he would be nervous about transferring city money to the My Mountain Co-op plan.
He did vote in favour of the demolition recommendation but said his first priority would be spending the unexpected grant money on developing the city’s industrial park at the airport, noting that the provincial and federal governments will each chip in $1 for every $1 the city spends.
“Usable and available airport lands would lead to serieous economic development,” Pollard said.
Christiansen advocated putting the money into surplus while projects, including Shames Mountain, were considered.
Mayor Dave Pernarowski also supported tearing down the Co-op building and said any money left should go toward the airport industrial park.
“We don’t want to lose the federal and provincial grant money,” he said.
There was virtually no discussion on other proposals presented to the city, including building more roads or putting the grant into a surplus which has been depleted because of this year’s road construction.
The committee of the whole recommendation would see Snaring River receive a $219,000 demolition contract. Other costs such as disposal of material and a 20 per cent contingency cushion would bring the entire project cost up to $284,400.
Snaring River was the bid of choice after the city received eight prices in response to a tender call.
Accepting or rejecting the recommendation was the only topic on the committee of the whole agenda.
A formal acceptance by council next Monday of the demolition recommendation still leaves wide open debate on what to do with the remainder of the $375,000 grant.