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Construction on the Conklin Multiplex deferred by council

Fort McMurray, AB, Canada / MIX 103.7
Construction on the Conklin Multiplex deferred by council

The Conklin Multiplex is among 89 projects recommended for suspension // Via RMWB

The Conklin Multiplex will once again see a delay in construction.

Council approved to move the project to the deferred projects by a score of 6-5. It was one of 59 projects that were set to resume this year. Councillors Tyran Ault, Keith McGrath, Sheldon Germain, Allan Vinni, Lance Bussieres and Claris Voyageur were all in favor.

“It’s about balance and we hate to disappoint anyone and everyone in a perfect world would have everything funded,” said Councillor Germain. “Right now it’s about striking the balance being fiscally responsible, making sure we have enough reserves to serve this region, we are in a cash flow situation.”

His fellow Councillor, Allan Vinni had put a motion up to move multiple items over to the deferred list. Germain agreed with the idea, believing more important things need to be done first along with the cash flow situation.

“Maybe it’s not being freed up yet but it’s not being spent and that’s what we’re saying, we went trying to cut or be malicious, what we were saying is give us sometime please council, let the recovery committee look at the needs of the residents and figure out how we can serve them the best.”

91 total projects were put into three groups. 59 in projects to be resumed this year, 22 that would be deferred and 10 that would be cancelled all together.

The multiplex has been debated by council over the last 6 years, which was part of theĀ 2016 budget. The cost being $50 million to build in a community of just 150 people. 17 million has already been put into the project.

“There comes a time that we have to follow through with what we say we will do,” said Councillor Colleen Tatum. “To use the fire as a justification to take this project from go ahead to not go ahead is not right.”

She along with Mayor Blake voiced their opinions on why the complex needed to move forward. Mayor Blake even referring it to a political hot potato that she is done dealing with.

The project will once again be addressed by council on August 16th.

The Complex wasn’t the only project set to resume, be deferred. Architectural upgrades of owned and leased homes in 2013, phases 3 and 4 of the land acquisition project, the automated vehicle locator equipment and the Flood Mitigation projects were also moved to next year.

This wasn’t the only matter council dealt with during the meeting. Plans to cancel the council meetings on August 2nd and 9th was denied unanimously.

“If there is ever a time that this council and administration need to be working it’s now, not taking holidays,” said Councillor Bussieres. “I just think this is a very disrespectful motion put forward for the folks who lost their homes, I won’t support this.

Other members of Councillors including Germain, Vinni and Phil Meagher also voiced their displeasure with the idea.

“What happened earlier this summer, we said we’d work through the summer, a number of us rearranged our vacation if we we’re taking any at all,” said Meagher. “There are still people out their who look to us for leadership during this time and I just don’t think at this time, I don’t care what we take about here, we have things to do.

The reason for the time off was to allow groups like the Wood Buffalo Recovery Committee time to get more information moving forward. Councillor Germain, who is part of the WBRC, says that August 2nd might be tough to get information but August 9th shouldn’t be.

The time off is still not out of the woods just yet as an agenda will still need to be arranged for those times. If there isn’t enough content then another vote will happen.

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