In what is an extremely rare situation for Castlegar city council, Mayor Lawrence Chernoff had to cast a deciding vote when councillors were split three to three on a decision at Tuesday’s meeting.
The issue at hand was the awarding of a contract to Castlegar and District Community Services Society (CDCSS) to run the concession services at the new Celgar Pavilion at Millennium Park.
An original request for proposals with a June 23 deadline ended without any completed proposals, and was then reissued with an August 25 deadline. That call yielded only two submissions.
Councillors Vassilakakis, Chernoff and Rye were opposed to rewarding the contract. Many of their concerns involved the small number of proposals to choose from. They expressed a preference that the issue go back out to proposal again, with a longer period of time for interested parties to respond.
Another concern was that the monthly fee to be paid by the CDCSS to the City in the proposal would not be enough to cover the utility costs of operating the concession. “I understand that this is a service we want to provide to the community, but at the same time I don’t think we should necessarily be subsidizing it,” said Councillor Vassilakakis. Councilor Tassone, who was in favour of the motion, commented that he did not think the cost should be a concern as the city already covers similar costs for the Kinnaird concession.
CDCSS plans to staff the concession by hiring up to five students, three full-time and two part-time staff, along with a volunteer pool and individuals participating in their skills program. They will provide opportunities to persons with multiple barriers for employment a chance to gain work place experience and knowledge.
“I think the group is credible and that they will manage the staffing of it really well,” said Councillor McIntosh. “I know there are people out there that they can hire with multiple barriers, that are just waiting for this opportunity, which is a really good thing for our residents.”
Along with Tassone and McIntosh, Councillor Heaton-Sherstobitoff voted in favour of the motion, bringing the resolution to a tie until Mayor Chernoff joined them resulting in the motion being carried and the contract being awarded to the Castlegar and District Community Services Society.