A $100,000 repayable grant from the city will help the 2015 Canada Winter Games host society hire someone to steer the ship.
Local host society president Anthony Everett said in an interview Tuesday the cash, agreed to by city council at its Monday meeting, will help pay for the cost of finding, and hiring, a chief executive officer to run the Prince George games.
Hiring a boss is the society’s priority at the moment. Council also agreed to provide administrative support to the society, as it is still without an office or paid staff.
Everett noted the society is made up of volunteers who have regular day jobs, and, “We’re getting to the point where we need some assistance.”
City manager Derek Bates told council the $100,000 would be paid back interest-free at an unspecified future date once the society secures funding from higher levels of government and corporate sponsors. He added that the society would be billed for the administrative support.
“Any expenses the city incurs relative to this project are being tracked, specifically around the in-kind support that the city is providing,” Bates said.
In February, the city also covered the costs -- most of which will be repayable by the society -- to send at least 16 people to Halifax to observe the 2011 edition of the games there.
Up to 475 units of housing are planned for the final phase of the Westgate subdivision, which was granted an important go-ahead at Monday’s council meeting.
The 41-hectare development should eventually feature a mix of single-family residences, rowhouses and mobile homes, according to Terry Fjellstrom of L&M Engineering, who addressed council on behalf of land owner Belco Developments.
Fjellstrom said following an open house, the amount of green space in the plan was increased to 9.3 hectares.
Belco Developments president Eric Trygg said full build-out could take 10 to 15 years, depending on housing market conditions.
Two area residents also addressed council, expressing concerns about drainage on the site and an apparent lack of sidewalks in part of the development.
The development marks the sixth and final phase of the Ospika South Neighbourhood Plan, and will require an extension of Ospika Boulevard and upgrade of an east-west connector, St. Lawrence Avenue.
Final approval for the project will be granted once a number of traffic and service studies, and a stormwater management plan, have been completed.
City planner Dan Milburn told council that the developer will have to cover the costs of all service extensions.
City council agreed more emphasis should be placed on making new homes more accessible to people with mobility challenges.
The so-called Visitable Housing Project reported out to council Monday and made a host of recommendations that could be included in the city’s Official Community Plan.
Making a home visitable in effect makes it wheelchair friendly, with things like no-step entries, wider doors and first-floor washroom facilities. Others who are still upright, but don’t move as well as they used to, could also benefit. Another one of the committee’s recommendations would require builders to make visitable 15 per cent of new homes built on city-sold land. Staff will now draft some new guidelines for council’s approval.