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Resort Municipality of Whistler pledged $350,000 for asphalt plant upgrades

Community Charter states local government cannot give assistance to private businesses



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Koshul agreed, and then added that he needed to get a haircut, drawing muted laughs from Councillor Eckhard Zeidler.

Koshul asked why Melamed said at a council meeting in May that an alleged $400,000 expense relating to the asphalt plant was for "legal costs."

"Is there a point to the question?" the mayor responded. "What's the community interest in this?"

As Melamed spoke his last word Koshul said, "Whether or not people were telling us the truth or not."

"Are you accusing us of lying?" Melamed asked.

"I'm asking you, did you or did you not..."

"Mr. Koshul, this question and answer period is not for you to stand up here and accuse us of lying."

"I'm asking a question, you said..."

"I think we have been very clear about what our intent was..."

"No you weren't clear, sir, you were not clear at the council meeting, you said it was for legal costs. The question asked by the young lady was, are you spending money on upgrades for the plant, or for the relocation? You said no. This thing's called a relocation agreement."

Said Melamed: "I was advised to reference them as legal costs. And that's why I used those terms, very specifically."

Asked Koshul: "Why were you advised to call them legal costs versus relocation costs or upgrades?"

"Because the terms of the agreement were to be kept confidential, as per the agreement. In order to protect the interests of the Resort Municipality of Whistler, that includes the residents and members of the community, we were, you can appreciate that there is legal sensitivity when we are dealing with issues," replied Melamed.

Speaking with Pique on Monday, Koshul said that he believed giving money to Alpine Paving to assist in upgrades to the plant amounts to a violation of the Community Charter, a provincial legislation that sets out the mandate and responsibilities of a local government.

Section 25 of the Charter states that a council cannot provide a "grant, benefit, advantage or other form of assistance to a business" unless it concerns a heritage property, nor can it be exempt from a tax or fee.

In the Relocation Agreement, the municipality commits to paying half the costs that Alpine Paving incurs to comply with the new air quality bylaw. It also commits to preparing a land survey of the Relocation Site "at its sole cost" and deliver it to the Integrated Land Management Bureau (ILMB) before May 31, 2010.