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County borrowing $5 million for Bergen Road project

Five councillors vote yes, two vote no

MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY – In a split decision, Mountain View County has passed a motion authorizing the municipality to borrow $5 million for the Bergen Road construction project.

The move came during the May 13 council meeting, which took place by teleconference, with all councillors taking part.

Reeve Bruce Beattie and councillors Angela Aalbers, Greg Harris, Dwayne Fulton, Peggy Johnson voted for, while councillors Duncan Milne and Al Kemmere voted against.

The loan will be for a 20-year term with semi-annual payments, with the maximum rate of interest not to exceed 3.75 per cent.

No public petition was received regarding the borrowing by the end of the 15-day petition period following second reading on April 21, council heard.

Milne said he could not support the borrowing.

“We are in a period of high uncertainty and I really don’t believe we should be borrowing this kind of money for a project,” said Milne.

“This county I don’t believe has ever borrowed money for anything. We’ve always done it with the money we’ve had and stayed out of going in debt for things like this. I don’t believe this is the way to go and I am firmly against it.”

Kemmere said he also opposed the borrowing.

I’m not sure I want to throw that burden on future councils,” said Kemmere. “I’m not in favour of borrowing; that’s what we have accumulated reserves for. I’m concerned about using borrowing in this times.”

Beattie said he was in support of the borrowing.

“I wonder how many of us would have a house or own a business without ever borrowing any money to do it,” said Beattie. “It surprises me that we would operate without borrowing. This is one of the higher travelled roads in the county. I think it a well-thought out infrastructure plan. I believe this is the correct approach.”

Aalbers said she believed the borrowing “makes sense for this project.”

Fulton said maintaining and upgrading the county’s road network is vital. He made an amendment to the original bylaw, reducing the borrowing from $10 million to $5 million.

The Bergen Road construction project involves work from Highway 22 to the Fallen Timber Trail, Rge. Rd. 53. Work is expected to begin in June.

The county’s current road reserve account stands at slightly more than $29 million, council heard.