Council agreed last week to allow the city’s Communities in Bloom committee to withdraw from the beautification program.
The committee recommended the city pull out of Communities in Bloom following the city’s two-year hiatus from the program due to budget constraints.
Nigel Lambeth, the committee chair, said the decision was made because of the amount of work involved.
“The commitment to compete, from a financial and volunteer perspective, is enormous. Therefore, the committee has decided that it would like to withdraw from the national program.”
The committee will revert back to a Community Beautification committee and council will consider during next year’s budget planning forming a beautification volunteer program for 2014.
Council awarded tax breaks to three companies that applied for the downtown revitalization tax exemption bylaw last week. The tax exemptions are based on the value of new construction only; the city will still collect tax based on BC Assessment land value for the five-year exemption period.
Seymour Pacific will receive a tax exemption of $689,200 over five years based on a new construction value of $12 million and Berwick Retirement facility will get a five-year exemption of $658,632 based on new construction valued at $24 million. The new Comfort Inn Hotel, to be built on Shoppers Row next to Berwick (which will border Robert’s Reach and Highway 19A) is expected to receive a five-year $344,600 tax break on new construction valued at $6 million.
Council approved moving forward with the We Wai Kai First Nation to implement a new bus route to serve the Quinsam Reserve, Detweiler Road, a portion of Willis Road and Nursery Road.
The city and the We Wai Kai will each contribute $18,000 annually under the agreement.
Coun. Ron Kerr, who is the council liaison to the We Wai Kai, said he was pleased the First Nation and city staff were able to make the new transit route a reality.
“It may seem like a minor event but bringing service to these neighbourhoods is going to be a fantastic thing,” Kerr said. “Hopefully we can make it happen sooner rather than later.”
BC Transit is expected to implement the new route in January, 2014 and the route will include seven trips a day Monday to Friday as well as five trips a day on Saturdays.