Dairy Queen deal sealed
Henry gets $50,000 from city, given 20 years to pay remainder
For: Cheryl Best, Kevin O'Reilly, Robert Slaven, Bob Brooks
Against: Ramsay
Absent: Peggy Near, Ben McDonald, Blake Lyons

Arthur Milnes
Northern News Services

NNSL (Aug 05/98) - Fifty-thousand dollars. That's what it will have already cost Yellowknife taxpayers when they pull up to buy their first Dairy Queen Blizzard or Brazier in the coming months.

After weeks of controversy over whether the city should foot the whole bill for extending water and sewer mains to Yellowknife MLA Seamus Henry's Dairy Queen property, councillors decided Tuesday to opt for an apparent compromise.

With only Coun. David Ramsay in opposition, council decided that Henry should receive a $50,000 grant, authorized by the previous council, to help him pay the $137,000 cost to bring the mains to his Range Lake Road lot.

Henry and any other developers who tie into the mains will be responsible for paying the balance. In accordance with city bylaws, Henry and any others who use the mains will have up to 20 years to pay the remainder off.

Councillors also said they and city staff would now have to work to ensure that such a situation never again was allowed to occur.

"I think it is in the best interest of the city in preventing this ever happening again," said Coun. Kevin O'Reilly.

Mayor Dave Lovell, who said he originally opposed even giving Henry $50,000 when the matter first hit the city agenda during the last council's reign, said he could no longer oppose the decision once council had decided it.

"I'm an instrument of council," he said.

And, Lovell said he took full responsibility for a memorandum of understanding indicating the city would pay the full $137,000 cost for the mains.

Lovell stressed that he had not signed the agreement.

For his part, Coun. Ramsay was angry that Mayor Lovell started off the discussion of the issue by pointing out that Ramsay's parents owned A&W. Saying that he had been told Ramsay still lived with his parents, Lovell appeared to suggest the councillor could be in conflict.

Ramsay, who no longer lives with his parents, strongly disagreed.

"If I'm in a conflict of interest (situation) I'll say it at the beginning (of a meeting)... I don't need you (Lovell) to do it for me," he said angrily.

"Just because my parents own A&W, which they do, it's a stretch (suggesting he's in conflict)," Ramsay added after the meeting. "If you want to take me up on conflict of interest charges for protecting tax dollars then go ahead."

Lovell said in an interview that it was his role as chair of the meeting to ensure that any potential conflict situations are raised. He also said there was nothing personal in his raising the issue.