Lockout saves Town of Qualicum Beach $350,000

A surplus of about $1 million allows the town more flexibility, says CFO John Marsh

With the new fire hall opening this year, Qualicum Beach had some big expenses, but the town says it is solid financially, including some wage relief from the labour lockout.

“We’re quite a bit under and we’ve been gaining all year,” Financial Officer John Marsh told town council on Monday.

He said the town has spent $7.8 million of its $10.8 million, 2015 budget. “That’s 72.7 per cent of the budget even though we’re about 83 per cent of the way though the year,” he said, meaning they are on track to be around $1 million under budget this year.

He attributed the surplus mostly to the strategic plan’s focus on infrastructure. He said the town has been saving money on operations to pay for infrastructure.

He said, for example, the town recently moved half a million dollars from operations to capital in their ongoing 2016 budget deliberations.

Marsh was hesitant to give details on the summer’s labour dispute and five-week lockout, pointing out the costs can take a long time to sort out as they receive bills and sort out complications like employees receiving vacation pay during that period.

Adding that it was never one of their considerations, the town saved about $250,000 in wages and $100,000 in other costs associated with work, like fuel and supplies.

The town’s reserves dropped from about $3.7 million to $2.7 million this year, mostly due to $1.5 million going toward the new fire hall over the last couple years. The rest of the $6.6 million fire hall budget came from a $400,000 federal grant and $4.6 million in borrowing, which will cost the town $500,000 a year for ten years.

He said the hall cost more than the most often quoted $6.5 million total due to the Green Municipal Fund grant, which required the inclusion of $114,000 worth of solar panels.

The large surplus is important for the town to deal with emergencies and allows them more flexibility for things like starting large infrastructure projects when or if other money becomes available, Marsh said, referencing the new federal Liberal government’s election promises.

With council determining the priority of upcoming projects, he said they have at least two “shovel ready” projects that could be started quickly, namely $5 million in upgrades to Memorial Avenue between downtown and the waterfront, and a $1 million roundabout on Highway 19A in Eaglecrest.

Council plans to pass its 2016 budget in December.

Just Posted

Winner crowned at Qualicum Bay Art Battle

Island painters compete in 20-minute art challenge

Seeing double, the trials and tribulations of twins

BIG READ: Three Vancouver Island mothers share their experiences with multiple births

VIDEO: Man extracted from vehicle eight hours after accident near Cameron Lake

People making pit stop at picnic area made crash discovery

Parksville man arrested in relation to Mercedes, motorcycle fight

RCMP recommend assault charge for man driving Mercedes

Risk of thunderstorm this afternoon for Vancouver Island and Lower Mainland

A special weather statement calls for heavy rain and wind over the next 48 hours

Conservation officer frees B.C. deer from flotation gear mishap

BC Conservation Officer Service is reminding residents to keep backyards clear of entanglements

VIDEO: B.C.-born firefighter remembered by MP in emotional speech

Family asks first responders to look after one another in wake of suicide, growing concerns of PTSD

Airline has ‘close call’ with drone while en route to B.C. airport

Jazz Aviation reported the drone sighting near Vancouver to the RCMP and Transport Canada

Tragic accident claims life of B.C. toddler

Fundraising effort has been created to help mom and family

B.C. nanny charged with sex abuse of 3 children

Saanich Police seek potential victims of Johnathon Lee Robichaud from Central Saanich

‘I’m no quitter’ on climate change issues, McKenna says at G7 ministers meeting

David Suzuki says if McKenna believes what she’s saying, she too should quit

VIDEO: Inside an eerily empty mall in Canada

Only nine of 517 retail spaces are open for business as the grand opening postponed to next year

B.C. wildfires burned large areas affected by mountain pine beetles: Experts

The mountain pine beetle epidemic affected more than 180,000 square kilometres in B.C.

Tens of thousands without power following tornado in Ottawa region

Hydro Ottawa says more than 170,000 customers were without power early this morning

Most Read