Village of Burns Lake council discusses potential use of legacy funds

Recommendations for the use of $646,000 and a Ninth Avenue property left to the village by the late Dick Nourse were made last week and presented to mayor and council.

Recommendations for the use of $646,000 and a Ninth Avenue property left to the village by the late Dick Nourse were made last week and presented to mayor and council.

The suggestions were put forward to council by the Nourse Legacy Committee who comprise of Nourse’s close friends and family members.

In January this year the village received the vacant lot as well as the funds that were willed to them from Nourse’s estate. The committee met in January and also March of this year to discuss the possible uses for the funds in keeping with Nourse’s wishes for youth based projects.

The recommendations made to council included, placing $552,500 into the Burns Lake and District Community Foundation and of these funds, $52,500 be deposited into a stability fund held by the Prince George Community Foundation on behalf of the Burns Lake and District Community Foundation as well as $80,000 to install solar lighting at Spirit Square.

It was also recommended that village staff look at options to make improvements to the Lakes District Secondary School track with the remainder of the funds.

Mayor Bernice Magee said she understood the group had discussed resurfacing the track and had discussed a cork surface for the track, including how this would stand up against the elements and snow plowing as well as the costs of year round maintenance it would require.

Councillor Luke Strimbold said he was not confident that an upgrade to the track is what the remainder of the funds should be spent on.

“The track is already there,” he said, adding that he thought the money would be better spent on something new.

“I have heard comments [from the Burns Lake youth] about a paint ball field. We need something new for the youth,” Coun. Strimbold added.

Councillor Quentin Beach agreed that track resurfacing may not be the best option for the remaining funds.

“I think we would need a significant amount of money to do anything significant there,” he said.

Mayor Magee agreed that track resurfacing is expensive however she said, “These funds could also be used to leverage other funds. All the funds are not in yet and until the estate is completely settled we won’t know how much money there will be [left over].”

Councillor Beach suggested some remediation could be done to the Lakes District Secondary School fields. “In the soccer world, a lot of teams won’t come here to play because our ground is not level,” he said.

Village chief administration officer Sheryl Worthing suggested that council make a resolution to investigate the costs of resurfacing and remediation and find out about potential upgrades.

“This doesn’t bind you to this, it is just for consideration,” she added.

Councillor Beach said he understood that the recommendations came from the committee, and that the funds were left to the village to decide what should be done.

“If we just want to wait or to discuss things further is this an option?,” he asked.

“Yes, we are able to wait,” answered mayor Magee adding that some of the funds were already being placed in a stability fund which is a safe, interest bearing fund.

A motion was made and approved by council to approve placing $552,500 into the Burns Lake and District Community Foundation and of these funds, $52,500 be deposited into a stability fund as well as $80,000 to install solar lighting at Spirit Square.

A resolution was also made to direct staff to investigate options for the Lakes District Secondary School track however Coun. Benedict said she was not in favour of using staff time for this. “If we are not going to go down that road it would be a waste of time,” she said.

“We need some idea of the costs,” said mayor Magee.

“I think we are honour bound to investigate, it is a last will and testament and I think it is worth it for a few hours work,” said Coun. John Illes.

“It was the intention of the Nourse estate to benefit the youth, whether that is with the track or something else, we would still be honouring his wishes,” Coun. Benedict added.

Councillor Strimbold asked if he was able to investigate the costs of a paint ball field himself.

Worthing answered, “Yes by all means, then you could bring back the information to council.”

The resolution to direct staff to investigate options for the track was approved, however Coun. Benedict opposed.

A decision for the use of the remaining funds will be made by council at a later date.