Diefenbaker Trust fund and other council tidbits

Tyler
Tyler Clarke
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It was a full agenda at this week’s city council meeting, but one notable absence in discussion was the Diefenbaker Trust Fund.

 

Coun. Don Cody motioned on July 10 to have all transactions since the fund’s inception come forward to city council -- a report he expected to have before council in time for their Aug. 12 meeting.

Almost six months have passed, and what was anticipated to have been a simple report has still not come to the public forum.

“It was a pretty complicated file and my understanding is, it is in the city solicitor’s hands and I believe we’ll probably be seeing that in the very, very near future,” Cody said on Friday.

“But it was complicated. A lot has transpired in those 10 years, and as a result of that it wasn’t clear-cut.”

The details of John and Olive Diefenbaker’s bequeathment to the city were first brought up during the 2012 civic election, during which wrongdoing was alleged.

“I know when I was the mayor … interest of the fund was to be used for (E. A. Rawlinson Centre) operations, and then I was given to understand that there were some drawdowns made at some point, so I thought, let’s just have a little look and see what’s happened,” Cody explained.

“Why were the drawdowns made? Were they made as … a loan and repaying it into the fund, or how did it work?

By the time the fund began going to the E. A. Rawlinson Centre about 10 years ago, it had gained “a lot of value,” Cody said.

With the fund now in the city solicitor’s hands, Cody said that although he hasn’t seen the preliminary details thus far, he expects the fund’s ins and outs to be made public “very shortly.”

City solicitor Ken Paskaruk was not available for comment on Friday.

A group of private citizens have been in contact with the Daily Herald and are considering legal action against the city should the fund details not come public “in a timely fashion.”  The Daily Herald will continue to check in with the group as the story unfolds.

Although the Diefenbaker Trust Fund was not discussed at this week’s city council meetings, the following items were brought up and have yet to be reported.

It was a pretty complicated file and my understanding is, it is in the city solicitor’s hands and I believe we’ll probably be seeing that in the very, very near future. Don Cody

 

• Iced hills have resulted in the jackknifing of vehicles up Second Avenue West -- a problem the city’s public works department might have found a solution for.

Their usual sand and salt mix isn’t working on the hills, “especially when there’s wind, the sand tracks off the road very quickly, and so we can put a lot of sand and salt down and it just gets tracked off,” public works director Colin Innes explained to council.

A larger crushed aggregate product appears to work better, he said.

“It’s a larger piece of rock that’s angular,” Innes explained. “It sticks to the snow and ice better, so that’s something we can explore in using, especially when we have these colder temperatures on the ice.”

Mayor Greg Dionne said that crews are going to test it on Second Avenue West to see how it works.

 

• A 15th Street West townhouse was approved, with council clearing the way for four single dwelling units at 1249 15th Street West.

There was some council discussion about the city’s requirement for a paved back lane -- a requirement they decided to relax due to the fact that various back lanes in the area are not paved.

The building will be the latest for the Prince Albert Community Housing Society, which strives to keep housing affordable.

 

• Free bus service will be delivered on June 4 in recognition of Clean Air Day.

The city’s ninth year participating in Clean Air Day, it serves to raise “the awareness of green house gases and climate change issues to encourage Canadians to take action to help reduce their carbon foot print and healthier living,” a report by city transportation project manager Keri Sexsmith reads.

During the day, four monthly bus passes will be handed out as prizes. 

Organizations: Diefenbaker Trust, E. A. Rawlinson Centre, Daily Herald 1249 15th Street West Prince Albert Community Housing Society

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  • Greg Lanick
    January 31, 2014 - 22:15

    What are building operations? Is that electrical, water, heating, capital repairs? Or is that running the Diefenbaker Theater? Both?