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Government Briefs:
Breathing room created

Mike W. Bryant
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (July 06/05) - Hoping to provide some breathing room while contemplating the municipal budget, city council passed a recommendation to amend policies, ensuring money is set aside to weather out the bad times.

Much of it was in response to the dire situation the city faced in 1999 when Giant Mine - a one-time major tax contributor to the city - went bankrupt.

The amended policy demands that the city set aside between 10 and 15 per cent of expenditures out of the general fund for a rainy day.

Only Coun. Alan Woytuik voted against it.

"I rather not tax anybody to put it into a savings account," said Woytuik.

Other councillors, including reputed tax cutters Couns. David McCann and Doug Witty, voted for it, noting that policies aren't written in stone, and don't have to be followed.

$5 please

City council is moving closer to charging people $5 to drop off garbage at the dump.

A recommendation unanimously passed June 27 that would, besides the $5 fee, limit households to two bags of garbage per week as of Jan. 1.

Coun. Blake Lyons said, if passed, the new user pay system will go a long way to convince residents to recycle.

"We used to burn our garbage," he said.

"The dump used to look like the burning hills of Paulatuk."

Skateboard park in quagmire?

A proposal to put a skateboard park near some tennis courts may push the whole project on top of what used to be a swamp.

The NWT Boardsport Association and Facilities for Kids made a pitch to city council to allow them to build a new skateboard park in the McNiven Beach area near the Yellowknife Community Arena, where a triple-tennis court is also situated.

City Hall proposed to put the park next door to the courts. The Yellowknife Tennis Club is adamantly opposed, saying the raucous activities of skateboarders will disturb their game.

On Monday night last week, city council sought a compromise by recommending the park be built to the left of the community arena entrance, but there is a catch. A geotechnical study will have to be done to find out if the ground is suitable.

The principle area under consideration is where the horseshoe pits sit. It was filled in over top of what was once a slough.

Past studies have shown the grounds nearby to be unstable.

If that spot doesn't work council will likely put the park somewhere near the Multiplex, which could be a while because plans to develop the surrounding area have yet to begin. Facilities for Kids president Kevin Stapleton told council the skateboarders' first choice is McNiven Beach, but they will take whatever they can get to start building next spring.

"We need a commitment from council to build a park," said Stapleton.