City leaves Canal Beach decision to new council

Question of liability with Western Forest Products remains.

The fate of Canal Beach is still up in the air after Port Alberni’s outgoing council chose not to make a decision on whether or not to sign the indemnity agreement. The agreement would have the city “indemnify [Western Forest Products] from any liability arising from public use of Canal Beach.”

Coun. City Solda expressed concern over the increase in insurance premiums that could result from Canal Beach’s use outside of the restrictive covenant.

City manager Ken Watson said that the city’s insurers “are currently contemplating whether or not there will be a premium increase or not.”

Watson said that although the city was seeking council’s authorization for the mayor and city clerk to enter into the indemnity agreement with Western Forest Products, the agreement would not be signed until insurance for the beach for uses outside the restrictive covenant was in place.

Coun. Rob Cole asked if the new city council would have the option to refuse the new insurance rates if they were significantly increased by the city’s increased liability. Watson said that the increased rates would fall under the budget process, wherein council could then vote to not accept the insurance.

However, the indemnity agreement would still be in place if it were signed before then.

Coun. Jack McLeman  said that he didn’t “see anything in here that would make us more liable for that than for anything else we have anywhere in the city.

“It’s here and I don’t think it’s any worse than any other property we have. It’s up to us now to make sure it’s safe and do so with the least amount of funds.”

Cole said that he didn’t feel it was appropriate to sign the agreement given the budgetary implications for the next city council.

reporter@albernivalleynews.com

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