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Public has say on 2007 city budget

Peter Crnogorac
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Dec 08/06) - City council heard applications from various groups looking for funding from the 2007 budget at a special council meeting Monday.

Tanya Krueger, representing Friends of the Library, Christian Berg with Facilities for Kids, Wade Friesen with Northland Trailer Park and Tasha Stephenson, representing various community interests, all gave presentations to city council at the meeting.
NNSL Photo/graphic

Tanya Krueger, a representative from Friends of the Library, was at a special council meeting Monday for the public to give their opinions on the 2007 draft budget. Krueger was there to ask for funds for a feasibility study on a new stand-alone library for Yellowknife. - Peter Crnogorac/NNSL photo

Krueger brought an outline for a feasibility study on a new library before council.

She estimated the feasibility study would cost anywhere between $75,000 and $100,000.

The Yellowknife Public Library is currently located on the second floor of Centre Square Mall, a location which Krueger said has its faults.

"The library is not deficient in collection, but in location and accessibility to the location," she told council.

Krueger said the library in Canmore, Alta., would be comparable in price to Yellowknife's library.

Berg, from Facilities for Kids, urged council to support building a fieldhouse in Yellowknife. The facility is proposed to go beside the Multiplex and is estimated to cost between $11 million and $20 million.

The bare-bones structure would include a running track, turf soccer pitch and a multipurpose gym.

Council must decide on if they will go forward with the project in January.

No funds have been allocated for the fieldhouse in the 2007 draft budget.

"I'm here to ask council to strongly consider the fieldhouse in the 2007 budget," Berg told council.

Friesen, representing Northland Trailer Park, asked the city for $20,000 to $50,000 for an infrastructure feasibility study.

Coun. Kevin Kennedy asked him why there was such a gap in the amount they were requesting.

"We wanted to put a (price) range in there," Friesen said.

"We didn't want to shoot ourselves in the foot by saying $20,000 if the city is willing to give us $40,000."

The Northland group is asking for the study to determine how much it would cost to replace its water and sewer structures, which have been in the ground for more than 30 years and are disintegrating rapidly, said Friesen.

Stephenson was the last presenter.

She asked for funding for the Yellowknife Community Garden. As it stands now, the garden group rents from the city, but Stephenson asked council to zone the area to insure it will be protected.

She also asked for more money for the Mildred Hall Community Park.

Her last point was that if the city was going to get into developing areas, they should put money into the current budget to be ready for future projects.

Coun. Paul Falvo said the special council meeting was an ideal tool for deciding the final 2007 budget.

"It's very helpful when people remind us of the issues," he said. "The budget is so vast that sometimes things are forgotten. This meeting is like a reminder, and the best way to do that is to keep the issues in front of us."

The finalized 2007 budget will be before council at a special meeting on Dec. 18 at City Hall at 7 p.m.