We do have the money, Kimberley Mayor says

The battle over demolition of the Bavarian Esso building

As pointed out in the Daily Bulletin on Friday, October 17, 2014 Mayor Ron McRae and candidate for Mayor Don McCormick have a difference of opinion on the demolition of the Bavarian Esso building on Wallinger Avenue.

While McCormick voted for the land swap that gave the Bavarian Esso property to the City, he did not vote in favour of drawing down funds from the Reserve Fund for its demolition this year.

“I was in support of the land swap so we could get control of an eyesore,” McCormick told the Bulletin. “But we agreed at the time that we didn’t want taxpayers’ money used for the demolition. The money was supposed to come from the sale of the lots. We’ve only sold one lot so we’re spending money we don’t have. That’s exactly what we have to stop doing.”

McRae does not agree with those statements.

“Councillor McCormick has been on Council for three years yet his comments regarding the demolition of the Esso building using Reserve Fund dollars reflect a total misunderstanding about what the Reserve Fund is,” McRae said. “The bottom line is the Kimberley Reserve Fund was created from the proceeds of sale of lands. It was created originally from the sale of the ski hill. The use of Reserve funds is restricted to certain things. It is not created with taxpayer money. Yes, every dollar in the city is a taxpayer dollar. But tax proceeds do not go into the Reserve Fund.

“And we do have the money for the demolition of the building in the Reserve Fund.”

In fact McRae says this will not be the first time Council has voted to use Reserve Fund money for a building demolition.

In 2011, when Jim Ogilvie was still Mayor, Council voted to use funds from the Reserve to demolish the old Canadian Hotel property.

At the beginning of this year, the Reserve Fund stood at $434,887.34. Monies spent from the fund this year include $102,000 for the Marysville Arena Ice Plant, $30,000 for a telephone system upgrade, $50,000 for a new Skidsteer, $10,000 on the Kimberley float, $19,000 for a new roof on the Cominco Gardens maintenance building, $35,000 for roof repairs on the operations building, $15,000 for the new spray park and $53,000 for land purchase of 410 Deer Park Avenue and $33,000 for 430 Deer Park.

That leaves a balance of $88,902.62 not committed.

“We do have the money,” McRae said.