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CNV council highlights: Flamborough stern scrapped, again; municipal restructure study explored

The Flamborough Head stern currently sits near Lonsdale Quay.  - File photo
The Flamborough Head stern currently sits near Lonsdale Quay.
— image credit: File photo

City votes, again, to scrap Flamborough stern

After some sober second thought, on Monday city council again voted to scrap the stern of the Flamborough Head.
It was thought the stern's fate was sealed last week, when council signed off on the demolition, and at the same time asked staff to look at salvaging a portion of it for a memorial.
But Coun. Pam Bookham, who has championed the preservation efforts for many months, made one last effort to save the North Vancouver-built Victory ship relic by way of a motion to rescind last week's decision.
Bookham used her allotted minutes to take council on a trip down memory lane. She played the DVD the city created for the now-defunct national maritime centre plan. 
"… So that you will understand the rich maritime heritage that we have and that we need to preserve," said Bookham.
Afterwards, Coun. Don Bell, who said he was disappointed when the national maritime project did not proceed, was supportive of Bookham's motion.
"I think we just need to have a little more time to try and figure out if there is some way to maintain the Flamborough Head of the Cape Breton in some way," said Bell.
Coun. Guy Heywood admitted he has been flip-flopping on the issue, adding he was recently reminded of what a great artifact the stern is.
"… And it deserves time to be processed appropriately by all the groups that are interested in what it represents. And I'm certainly willing to give it time," said Heywood.
His hope was for the city to have refreshed dialogue with the federal government — which supported plans for a North Van maritime centre — to determine the stern's heritage value.
"I am concerned that we have moved with haste on this," said Heywood.
City manager Ken Tollstam pointed out the purchase order has been issued to take away the stern. If council passed the motion to delay the demolition, Tollstam explained, there would be potential legal issues, and money that the city would be on the hook for.
Coun. Rod Clark was unwavering in his position on the stern.
"I haven't changed my mind. The taxpayer has paid mightily for this [stern] so far, and now I don't see an end in sight," said Clark.
But the stern's demolition has been upheld, as Bookman's motion was defeated 4-3, with Mayor Darrell Mussatto and Couns. Clark, Linda Buchanan and Craig Keating opposed.
Bookham's second motion, which called on the city to return the money, with interest, spent by other governments and heritage preservation groups to salvage the stern, was also defeated.

City to explore value of $120,000 restructure study

North Van city council has not closed the door on the unification debate with the district.
On Monday Coun. Guy Heywood tabled a motion, which was already unanimously approved in the district, that asks the city to approve an objective restructure study to be overseen and funded in part by the provincial government.
"We all know that this [restructuring] issue in various forms has been around an awfully long time — perhaps from the time the city and district were initially divided," said Heywood.
After doing some digging in the archives, Heywood said he learned 1963 was the last time a study of this kind was done. And while that exercise was conducted by volunteers, the subject of examining each municipality's finances, figures Heywood, requires expert knowledge.
"They need the help of paid professionals who can spend some time and look at the very sophisticated and complex organizations that we have been building here at 14th and Lonsdale — and another one at Queens and Mahon," said Heywood.
He noted an ongoing city and district shared services review has not produced much tangible result.
Coun. Craig Keating disagreed, rattling off a laundry list of areas where there are shared efficiencies, including the arts and emergency services. Keating went so far as to say the city and district's relationship is a model for how two different municipalities can work together to achieve efficiency.
Mayor Darrell Mussatto echoed Keating's sentiments, adding the city has built up a significant financial base, and only the district would stand to benefit from "amalgamation."
"And that's what this is — it's not restructuring, it's amalgamation," said Mussatto.
Heywood said there is $40,000 available from the province that would pay for some basic research as part of a restructure study.
Coun. Rod Clark was concerned it might be a waste of money.
"I'm a taxpayer in the province, as are we all — and so I have to consider what value of that $40,000 will do or will get us," said Clark. "It will not be workable information."
Figuring it would take at least a quarter of a million dollars to get real hard facts, Clark suggested the city, district and province each chip in $40,000 for the restructure study.
But before that happens, Clark wants to hear back from city and district staff as to what exactly $120,000 can buy in this case. His motion passed 4-3, with Mussatto and Couns. Keating and Linda Buchanan opposed.

mspitale@northshoreoutlook.com



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