Kamloops council mulls budget requests

The public can weigh in during a budget meeting on Feb. 7 at Sandman Centre

City staff will brainstorm alternative funding options for three supplemental items after budget discussions continued on Tuesday morning in council chambers. 

Staff detailed for council a series of financial requests, including for: managing city assets, Valleyview and Pioneer Park boat launch upgrades, parking at Singh Bowl, accelerating active transportation projects, design consultation work on a Stuart Wood cultural centre and to study the need for an RCMP protective services training facility. 

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No decisions were made on any of the items as those will come next month, following public consultations.

However, three items will be taken away to explore other funding following council brainstorming. They include $350,000 in capital funding via taxation for Kamloops Fire and Rescue Training Centre; $200,000 via taxation for consultations related to the proposed Stuart Wood cultural centre; and $25,000 via taxation to investigate the need for an RCMP protective services training facility.

Coun. Mike O’Reilly suggested funding the training facility upgrades for KFR via the city’s land reserve. He argued taxpayers should not foot the bill when funds that resulted from a land sale to BC Hydro, from the previous training facility, were parked in the land reserve.

“I’m not actually sure that we have a surplus in our land reserve to move the money back,” city corporate services director Kathy Humphrey said, noting her team will look at additional funding sources.

Some councillors said Tk’emlups te Secwepemc should contribute financially toward the $200,000 Stuart Wood cultural centre consultations. Council heard grant funding is not an option at this time, however Humphrey said gaming funds could be an alternative funding source.

Other thoughts by city councillors, related to supplementary budget items:

  • Coun. Denis Walsh said he is against the proposed Stuart Wood cultural centre because he believes the school could reopen;
  • Coun. Arjun Singh wondered whether a proposed $550,000 for managing city assets over the next decade should be increased and suggested a climate action fund;
  • Coun. Bill Sarai recommended user fees to help fund boat launch improvements;
  • Mayor Ken Christian recommended an app in place of $35,000 pedestrian signage requested for downtown Kamloops.

The final tax rate will be set in the spring. A public budget meeting will be held at 7 p.n. on Thursday night in the Valley First Lounge at Sandman Centre.

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