Still no NRE funding decision, Council demands more legal and financial info

By Ian Holmes
June 11, 2018 - 11:04pm

Uncertainty on the future of the NRE continues. Council held off on a $6.05 million funding request, instead requesting legal and further financial info.Ian Holmes/NanaimoNewsNOW

NANAIMO — The future of the Nanaimo Recycling Exchange remains as uncertain as ever, as Council seeks legal advice on the impact funding the non-profit operation would have.

Council voted Monday night to refer a funding request from the NRE to build a new facility back to staff to get legal advice prior to potentially examining the NRE's business case.

It marks the third time since March Council has declined to hand over $6.05 million requested by the NRE, which has been closed for nearly three months.

A City staff report outlined three funding options: an annual 20-year grant, or a pair of one-time grants. The report stated a one-time payout from reserves would not be recommended. The report said borrowing all at once does not meet the criteria of the Municipal Finance Authority.

The City said the $6.05 million funding request would either impact sanitation user fees or property taxes.

The report also stated, “the City would need to obtain legal advice on the implications of guaranteeing a mortgage for construction of a building on property that is not owned by the City.”

Several other legal risk scenarios were referenced in the report, but Council passed a motion seeking in-depth details.

Beyond legal assistance, Councillors Jerry Hong and Jim Kipp both stressed the importance of enhanced context on the NRE's business case prior to making any final decisions.

Kipp said he would want to see a review from an outside accounting firm.

NRE executive director Jan Hastings presented details of their business case, which included aspirations of opening in September, 2019.

The plan pegged construction costs at $4.7 million and contingency funding, bringing the final construction price tag to an estimated $6.05 million.

The Regional District of Nanaimo's draft Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP) proposed to provide $300,000 a year for five years to the NRE starting next year to serve as a research and recycling hub for hard to recycle items. The City's share of the operational funding is $167,000, which is conditional on the plan being approved by the RDN Board and B.C. Government.

 

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