Downtown revitilization proposal shunned

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

A proposal to use taxpayers’ money for downtown improvements is on ice.

High Prairie town council denied the idea at its Jan. 30 meeting from Councillor Brian Gilroy to place $14,000 in a downtown improvement fund.

Gilroy proposed taking 50 per cent form council’s grants and sponsorship fund and placing it in the new fund, but council voted against the idea citing there was no clear plan on what the money would be used for.

“I have no problem with the concept but I need more information,” said Councillor Donna Deynaka, asking what will qualify as an improvement.

“What are you going to do with it?”

Gilroy responded by saying council has discussed the idea with the High Prairie and Area Chamber of Commerce. While he agreed no plan was in place, he suggested putting the money aside, then meeting with the chamber to work on “some really good guidelines”.

Some suggestions included new awnings, bike racks, benches, and painting buildings.

“If we don’t commit to it in the budget, we’ll have to wait another year,” said Gilroy.

Councillor Arlen Quartly also liked the concept but was leery of committing money without a solid plan.

“You have to have a full scale plan, then you look at funding,” he said. “You’re putting the cart before the horse.”

Mayor Brian Panasiuk recognized the history of the matter and past debate.

“It was something our last council priorized,” he said.

However, Panasiuk also wanted a plan.

The motion to set aside the money was defeated with only Gilroy in favour. Councillors Michael Long and Judy Stenhouse were absent.

Gilroy was disappointed citing council had talked about supporting local business and missed an opportunity to do so.


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