Year of change for Port

  • Jul. 16, 2012 4:00 p.m.

It’s been a year of change in Port Clements. The small community has a new mayor, new administration staff, a new public works superintendent and is looking forward to more change in the future, according to the village’s 2011 annual report. In a message to the community, mayor Wally Cheer wrote that council’s priorities for the next couple of years are to build a barge facility and a new well, update the community plan, find flexible ways to support local businesses, replace fender piles at Rainbow Wharf, increase tourism, and tear down derelict houses. “Going forward, I am personally excited about what the future can bring us,” Mr. Cheer wrote. “After several years of decline, I see evidence of our community once again becoming more vibrant and growing. We are becoming more diverse and, as a consequence, becoming more resilient and stable.” Achievements over the past year include building a new water treatment plant, building new concession stands at the community park and upgrading the sewage lagoon and lift stations. Council was also hoping to see cell phone service in the community, a stabilization of ferry fares, and the restoration of the full northern living allowance tax deduction, but none of these things happened, Mr. Cheer wrote. On the financial side, there were no tax increases in 2011 or 2012, and council and staff have been working to keep spending down. “Like households, our community has experienced cost increases over the last few years,” Mr. Cheer wrote. “Rather than increase property taxes, the current council, like the last council, elected to streamline the budget in order to absorb cost increases… As guardians of your tax dollars, we are also committed to being prudent in our decision by always weighing cost against benefit and trying to maximize the return on dollars spent.” Port Clements spent just over $1 million in 2011, and ended the year with a small surplus. The expenditures include running the water and sewer system as well as $200,000 collected for other levels of government and passed along.