There is never enough time in a day, or a year for that matter.
At its regular meeting on April 14, Lacombe City council heard that because of necessary prep work for the possibility of a new hotel being built in Lacombe near Michener Park, the City may not be able to offer its usual spring cleanup waste pick-up service.
Matthew Goudy, director of infrastructure services for the City, said because of the addition of site prep work the City agreed to perform in-land sale negotiations to the hotel group.
This adds a burden to infrastructure services’ full work schedule and it would be unlikely the City would complete that work in time to make its deadline as well as in time to offer the spring clean-up service.
“There is quite a small chance that we would be able to finish this work prior to the normal commencement of our spring clean-up,” said Goudy, adding that the equipment needed for the site preparation is the exact same equipment used in the spring clean-up.
Therefore, instead of possibly having to cancel the spring clean-up last minute, Goudy and City administration proposed hosting a drop-off event where residents could bring items that would typically be collected during spring cleanup to the infrastructure services yard where they could be unloaded and disposed of.
Council however, was not happy with the proposed solution. Councillor Bill McQuesten was curious as to why this conflict was not foreseen when the administration agreed to do the site prep in the first place.
“It just seems a little short sighted,” said McQuesten. He added that he did not want to see the service that Lacombians expect not offered this season in any case.
However, councillors also realized they had few alternatives.
Councillor Wayne Rempel said that the community recognizes that a new hotel is desperately needed in Lacombe and that citizens would probably understand if sacrifices had to be made. “I think most people are going to understand the need for us to move forward with this development,” said Rempel.
Negotiations for the sale of the plot of land are still ongoing, and Councillor Peter Bouwsema said he had misgivings about proceeding before a deal was finalized. “I don’t want to agree to spending this money unless we are absolutely assured this property is sold.”
Councillor Grant Harder agreed. “I think that we don’t turn a wheel until there is something definitive in place,” said Harder.
Councillor Reuben Konnik said that perhaps the June 1 deadline for the preparation work needed to be re-negotiated to make it more fair for the City and allow more time for the work to be completed. He added that, while proceeding with this development is important, the City should not be bending to every will of the possible buyer.
“There seems to be a lot of dictating from one side,” said Konnik. “They seem to be a little one-sided, these discussions with this particular development. I realize how important it is but I would certainly like to see a little bit longer time.”
When council could not reach a decision, a vote was taken to take the matter in-camera. After the meeting had concluded, Mayor Steve Christie said that after going in-camera, council had agreed to begin preparation work for the site before a sale had completed, but are currently exploring other options, such as contracting some of the work out or delaying the spring clean-up in order to have the prep work completed by the deadline and still be able to offer the clean-up service to residents. Christie added he hopes to see a signed sale agreement by the end of this week or early next week.