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Squamish Council mixed on money-raising ideas



In response to the budget crunch, the District of Squamish council weighed a number of different recommendations put forward by the Finance Standing Committee at Tuesday's meeting with a mixed response.

Council was unanimously in favour of directing staff to investigate ways to accommodate advertising in bus shelters, but stumbled over the second item - investigating sponsorship opportunities through the renaming of the Squamish Adventure Centre.

"We haven't had the conversation to decide whether that's a direction we want to go in," said councillor Patricia Heintzman. "If council chooses that we want to sell the naming of the adventure centre to a sponsor it's one thing... now we're directing staff to do it without that conversation."

She also suggested that they bring it up at the town hall next week to hear from the public.

Councillor Corinne Lonsdale noted that it wasn't a new recommendation, but was part of a previous study that was never brought back to council for consideration. She added that the recommendation was for staff to look at the idea and the study and nothing more. "I reiterate that (the recommendation) says investigate and nothing more," she said.

Councillor Bryan Raiser was uncomfortable spending any time on the idea, but said it should be part of a larger conversation about the adventure centre and how it will operate.

Councillor Paul Lalli, who sits on the finance committee, said they wanted staff to look at the idea before bringing it up at a town hall so they would have all the facts, while Mayor Greg Gardner supported the recommendation on the grounds that it called for an investigation rather than a decision one way or the other. "There may be a bit of urgency here as there may be a possibility for more revenues if we do it pre-2010 (Games)," said Gardner.

Raiser and Heinztman were the lone votes against forwarding the recommendation to staff, as it passed 4-2. Councillor Rob Kirkham was absent for the meeting.

The next recommendation was to bring the sponsorship idea to the next Committee of the Whole meeting for discussion, which passed unanimously.

Another recommendation to move the 2010 budget process ahead through a special Committee of the Whole meeting, and to conduct one survey and two Town Hall meetings on the budget also passed, but with a few concerns from Councillors.

"(The recommendation) doesn't set a time, but this needs to happen really because if we want a (draft) budget by December 15 then staff will have to have our input right about now," said Lonsdale.

Gardner acknowledged that there was no date, but said his understanding was that the meeting to identify priorities would happen in July.