British Columbia

Hundreds of Prince George residents disagree with city's plans to borrow $32 million for repairs

The City of Prince George plans to borrow tens of millions of dollars to fix up the municipality but hundreds of residents don't want to foot the bill.

Mayor Lynn Hall described the repairs as critical but residents need convincing

Prince George city council plans to borrow $32 million for repairs and upgrades. (Andrew Kurjata/CBC)

The City of Prince George plans to borrow tens of millions of dollars to fix up the municipality but hundreds of residents don't want to foot the bill. 

Council has passed the first two readings of a bylaw to borrow roughly $32 million from the Municipal Finance Authority for various capital projects.

"A lot of that work is related to infrastructure that is in real disrepair and in real need of replacement," said Mayor Lynn Hall.  

He pointed to issues like a water main rupture last week as just one example of the issues the city faces.

"We're trying to play catch-up," he said.

The list of projects includes more than $10 million for the aquatic centre, $5 million for street and traffic lights and $2 million for the Masich Place Stadium.

Phil Beaulieu is trying to raise support against the city's plans to borrow money and says he wants to see more accountability about where taxpayers' dollars are going. (Andrew Kurjata/CBC )

'We just don't see an end'

But some residents, like Phil Beaulieu, hope to stop the city's trip to the bank.

"There is a lot of frustration in the community," he told Carolina de Ryk, the host of CBC's Daybreak North. "We just don't see an end to the non-stop spending."

Beaulieu launched a group on Facebook last week called "Enough Already City of PG" that attracted over 700 members within a matter of days.

With that support, he hopes to force the city to reconsider its spending.

Ultimately, he wants to see more saving and less borrowing.

"My question is: why is there no reserve funds in all the taxes we pay continuously … for these works?" Beaulieu said.

"They need to convince the people that we need this money."

Mayor Lynn acknowledges the community's negative reactions.

"We're in a terrific bind here. It is frustrating that we've got so much work on our plate," Lynn  said. "We don't do this lightly."

The city is now seeking approval for the borrowing bylaws from the B.C. Inspector of Municipalities in order to start the approval process, which is expected to begin in April.  

Residents have until May 30 to voice their disapproval for any of the proposed projects through the Elector Response Forms. If 10 per cent or more of eligible electors sign the forms, roughly 5,500 people, council cannot proceed.

Prince George, in northern B.C., plans to borrow tens of millions of dollars to fix up the city but hundreds of residents want no part in footing the bill. 10:12

With files from Daybreak North

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