News Message received: council gives final approval on $32 million loan SHARE ON: Cole Kelly, staff Tuesday, Jun. 11th, 2019 The Inaugural meeting of Prince George City Council (Cole Kelly, MyPGNow.com staff) Signed, sealed, delivered; it’s ours. 11 projects, requiring loans accumulative of over $32 million were given final approval at the Prince George City Council meeting tonight (Mon). The Alternative Approval Process (AAP) failed to meet its mark of over 5500 negative votes by about half for each bylaw, but the opposition did not go unnoticed by council members. “I understand the frustrations of the people that signed the forms. We had the pool referendum, the fire hall referendum, a 4.7% tax increase. I can’t ignore these results,” said Councillor Brian Skakun, who was the sole opposing vote to six of the bylaws. “You know, if Ben Meisner was around we’d be lucky to have any of these go through.” Councillor Terri McConnachie said there were a number of contributing factors to the disenchantment of those opposed, including the Willow Cale Bridge Project. “I’ve voiced my opinion on how I think taxpayers ended up being on the hook for this cost overrun. It just seems a spat of overruns on capital projects recently, in my opinion, the fact there has been no accountability so far for the Willow Cale Bridge, I think these all have contributed to the challenge of the AAP,” she said. “Even though the challenge failed, the message has been received.” Both Councillors Kyle Sampson and Murry Krause said the votes that did not come in spoke just as loud as the ones that did. “3000 folks have concerns about these problems. But this is not the threshold required to defeat these proposed projects and that stands out to me as well. This stands out to me as a clear answer that the majority of our electorate is okay with moving forward with progress in our city, and a small amount are not,” said Sampson. “We’ve heard from those who responded. Those who didn’t sign a response form sent a message too, there are people who didn’t sign those for very good reasons,” stated Krause. Mayor Lyn Hall spoke last, and passionately, about the projects that the city voted to embark on. “I stand firm on the infrastructure needs of this community, and I’ll continue to work for it. You can disagree and I’m fine with that, I’m open to those conversations. But to continue to ignore what’s going from an infrastructure perspective in this city, I can’t do it. I can not do it.” “We are playing catch-up, we do have an aggressive plan,” said Hall. “I am convinced in a decade or 20 years from now, we will look back on this, or councillors of the day will look back on this, and I think there may be a bit of thank you, because we have addressed the problem and we haven’t kicked that can down the road.” The loan will result in a 2.3% tax increase each year for the next 20 years.