Loans, taxes and more on Penticton council agenda

Penticton city council is considering a loan to the Sicamous society at its next council meeting

The SS Sicamous Marine Heritage Society wants to construct a new pier-like entrance for the Penticton icon. Illustration courtesy City of Penticton

Penticton city council may have slowed down on revitalization plans, but the SS Sicamous Marine Heritage Society is intent on continuing to improve the area the area around the Penticton icon.

There are no plans to paint the sternwheeler purple, but the society wants to construct a pier-like deck alongside the boat, creating a new entrance facing the Lakeshore Drive promenade. To help them along, council is considering a $50,000 interest free loan, with 75 per cent paid back to the city by March 30, 2019. The remaining 25 per cent would be provided to the society as cash grant.

Council meets on April 4 at 1 p.m. in the city hall council chambers to consider the Sicamous project and a range of other issues.

Coming out of the Transportation Advisory Committee is a recommendation city council support a proposed development on the vacant lot left after Slack Alice’s burned to the ground in 2012. Developer Bruce Schoenne is negotiating with OGO Car Share Co-op to bring in a car at a location close to the development that will be available for the entire community to use.

Council is also considering whether to extend the City of Penticton Home Energy Loan Program, which started in 2013, and offers loans to residential customers to retrofit their homes to be more energy efficient. The program is scheduled to end on Dec. 31, 2017 but staff would like to see it extended to the end of 2019.

So far, less than 50 per cent of the $1.17 million budgeted for the program has been spent, and less than 50 percent of the targets have been achieved. The staff report points out that this is a low-risk program, with no city customers defaulting on loan payments so far, and the project has brought in about $38,000 interest.

Overall, the program has resulted in an estimated 85,398 kWh of energy savings, about what eight homes would use in a year.

Changes to the property tax multipliers are also on the agenda, with staff recommending the city pause reducing the plan to reduce the business tax rate multiplier to 1.50 by equal increments over four years. If approved, this year’s rate will stay at 1.58.

The Arena Task Force is recommending city council endorse several of their findings, including that the city needs four arenas to continue providing the current level of services and programs. The task force has also worked a recommendation for a multipurpose facility: regulation paying surface and ceiling heights, 200 to 400 seats, desired location at the South Okanagan Events Centre complex.

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