A Regional District of Central Kootenay director says a financial offer to Pacific Insight to smooth the way for the new Nelson transfer station is about fairness.
Ramona Faust, who represents the area where the electronics manufacturer has its plant, says the $117,400 proposal recognizes the regional district will piggyback on infrastructure the company paid for. If accepted, it will also give them access to Insight’s fire suppression system.
“They’re an important employer and we want to be fair,” Faust says. “I know they were quite angry. I don’t know if they’re less angry now.”
However, she says that’s less a concern than being seen by the business community and community at large as fair in their dealings.
She explains regional district staff attributed a value of $37,000 to fire suppression, and the central resource recovery committee, which met with Insight representatives on October 20, initially discussed offering that amount.
However, after discussion, the figure was raised to $117,400 to recognize costs Insight incurred setting up highway access and securing power for its plant five kilometers west of Nelson.
“Insight Drive was definitely a contributing factor to why we purchased the property. Pacific Insight bore the cost of that, as well as the hydro,” Faust says.
“Those two things were definitely assets we considered when purchasing the property. It made it more sellable to us than other properties in question.”
The regional district is paying $610,000 for the 22 acres as part of a $3.3 million plan to move the transfer station off the waterfront. The money offered to Insight is on top of that.
As for fire suppression, Faust says it’s important to have since the new transfer station will be surrounded by forest.
She wasn’t sure if Insight has accepted their offer, although “I believe they found it more agreeable than nothing … I don’t think they got everything they wanted, but hopefully they can see the rationale on the taxpayer side that it’s fair.”
Ron Mickel, who chairs the resource recovery committee, says the actual breakdown they used to come up with the offer is being kept confidential, as is the amount Pacific Insight was seeking. However, it was “definitely more.”
“They made a proposal which included devaluation of their property,” he explains.
Mickel adds the committee thought long and hard before finalizing the offer.
“Some people felt it wasn’t enough and some felt it was too much. In the end we felt that was a fair figure we could agree on. They [Pacific Insight] weren’t happy with it, but I think they were prepared to accept it.”
The company wasn’t available for comment Monday.
When it learned the regional district wanted to buy land near Insight for a transfer station, the company objected, arguing it could hurt its corporate image and create a safety hazard due to big trucks hauling past its plant.
Mickel says they will do their best to accommodate the company: “We’ll work with them. Anything that’s beneficial to them and doesn’t hurt us, we’re open to.”
The regional district is now seeking design proposals. Construction is expected to start next year.