All hands on deck for waterfront development. In the first meeting of the new year, Council unanimously agreed in favour of rezoning the remaining municipal lands along the Clearwater River to the Parks and Recreation City Centre District (PR-CC).
After hearing from fellow council members, and members of the community, Mayor Don Scott shared their enthusiasm.
“Our waterfront is truly the jewel of our region; we’re going to showcase it even more, and I’m very proud of that fact. So, I look forward to seeing a revitalized downtown and a revitalized waterfront.”
One of the possible features of this “revitalization” could be an improved riverwalk.
Plans are preliminary, but according to the Senior Manager of Public Works, Marc Fortais, the walkway is definitely “on the agenda” for the city to complete and start work on this year.
“We did have an approved capital budget in the 2019 capital budget process to look at paving the trail system from Riedel Street all the way to King Street.”
Fortais also hinted at a pair of notable features for the revitalized waterfront such as “lighting” and “historical signage”.
The development of a large riverside park became the “primary recommendation” of the Waterfront Steering Committee almost four years after the WSC heard nearly 50 recommendations to Council back on Feb. 10, 2015.
Audit Action Plan
According to the 2018 Fourth Quarter findings in the Competitive Procurement Audit Action Program (CPAAP), significant progress was made in the last year in such things as standardizing operating procedures, training, and increased transparency with contractors, there is still work left to be done with regards to contractors’ hiring policies and investment in the region.
However, during the reading of CPAAP’s findings, councillor Keith McGrath expressed concern that First Nations companies “benefited very little” from contracts between the region and outside contractors.
“I’ve seen time and time again, even in the recent six months since I brought it up, companies from British Columbia [and] Ontario come here to work. They’re not required to hire any local work force. I just hope that when we go forward, we remember the Aboriginal companies that are well and able to do the work.”
Despite McGrath’s concerns, the Council accepted the findings in the CPAAP report, which include improvements to capital project management and updates to the procurement evaluation handbook.
Council agreed to table their discussion on Cannabis stores and locations on the next Council meeting, which is scheduled for Jan. 22, 2019.