Saint Andrews – It started off with council playing a game of musical chairs at a special meeting of council in Saint Andrews this past Wednesday evening as everyone wanted in on the conversation regarding funding of Katy’s Cove Incorporated and Saint Andrews Outdoor Recreational and Trail Incorporated.
Councillor Guy Groulx declared himself in conflict of interest at the start of the meeting as he sits on the board of both groups.
Mayor Doug Naish then attempted to hand the gavel to deputy Mayor Brad Henderson, who declined to chair the meeting because he too wanted to be involved in the discussion. In the end the gavel was handed to Councillor Edie Bishop.
Naish then assumed the role of councillor in charge of Finance and Administration, a role normally handled by Bishop and introduced the motions for funding from two organizations.
Roger McNabb, speaking on behalf of Katy’s Cove informed council of “a catastrophic failure of the gates,” Referring to the gates used to control the flow of sea water in and out of the popular swimming cove.
“We could design robust gates, but don’t think we can afford it that kind of robust design,” said McNabb.
A new set of gates is currently in production at a cost of $15,000 to $17,000.
In 2019, the group had raised $70,000 but have used much of it in the work already done to restore the site, including the playground, sand, and cleaning up trees.
McNabb referred to the property as a “community amenity” that “gives character to the town we want to keep.”
The priorities for the group are to provide fresh water, outdoor showers and floating pontoons.
Katy’s Cove Inc. is asking for financial and in-kind assistance, including issuing of charitable tax receipts. Although Katy’s Cove Inc. has applied for charitable status it was denied due to the fact they do not own the property.
Although the town has no funding currently available, council anticipates $225,000 will be earned by the tourism levy, which although the details are not finalized, will be in place at the start of the 2020 tourism season.
Councillor Kurt Gumushel expressed support for the project saying, “Hopefully we will have another generation learn to swim at the cove.”
Moving on to the discussion of the Saint Andrews Outdoor Recreation and Trail Incorporated request for funding, McNabb brought an ask of $50,000 to the town.
One of the goals this group is to create a wooden rail fence along the causeway which borders Katy’s Cove. The cost of this project is estimated to be $60,000 and they group is looking for in-kind and financial assistance.
Henderson pointed out the town has money in the budget for sidewalks, and perhaps a portion of that needs to incorporate part of the trail system. “Maybe we haven’t done enough to encourage trails,” said Henderson.
Both Henderson and Councillor Andrew Harrison recognized the situation with the trails and the proximity to private property.
Harrison questioned if they need alternate routes around these private properties to join up to the Van Horne Trail.
Adjacent property owner Lindy Townsend made an impassioned plea to be allowed to assist in the trail development around her property.
“I’m not against trails,” said Townsend, who asked if it would be helpful to ask landowners to contribute financially to the fence.
Naish pointed out to this point the trails have all been on public land. “This council cannot spend taxpayer money outside town limits,” he stated.
As in the case of Katy’s Cove, one solution mentioned was to use funding from the as yet undefined accommodation levy, although Henderson asked for further discussion before council makes a decision on funding either project.