Alberni chills on athletic society bill

The Alberni Athletic hall society owed the city $41,000, but has instead parlayed the amount into a credit for city facility use.

The City of Port Alberni has horse-traded a $41,000 debit from the Alberni Athletic Hall Society into a facility use credit.

The matter arose after the city presented a $41,000 bill to the society for work done at the new athletic hall.

The bill included equipment, supplies, wages, contract services and an administration fee incurred after performing sewer, drain and water connection.

Initially, the city agreed to donate the equipment and CUPE members agreed to donate their time to carry out the work.

Workers completed a portion of the work gratis, but had to complete the rest on regular time therefore an invoice was submitted, city manager Ken Watson said.

The hall generates significant economic activity in the city when it hosts events, society president Larry Spencer said.

They have some money in the bank but not enough to cover the full invoice immediately.

The society is expecting a GST refund, but it is still trying to fundraise for a wheelchair lift inside the facility.

“We weren’t prepared for a bill from the city,” Spencer said.

“But if we have to pay it then we’ll just do some more fundraising.”

A report from Watson outlined three options to remedy the matter: invoice in full, invoice in part, or waive the charges and pay for it out of a contingency fund.

Councillors agreed to waive the equipment, wages and administrative fee costs and pay for it out of its 2010  contingency fund with the condition that the city may use the hall for free when necessary.

But contract services and supplies are fixed costs ($17,000) that were already paid out, Watson said.

The city uses the facility from time to time so establishing a credit equal to the amount owed makes sense, Coun. Kenn Whiteman posed.

reporter@albernivalleynews.com