In 2018, Kimberley wants to make hay while the sun shines on its award winning commercial solar project.
Mayor Don McCormick says a significant priority this year is doubling the size of their SunMine.
The City flicked the switch on the four thousand solar-cell modules in 2015.
However, McCormick points out the City promised taxpayers following the referendum four years earlier that they wouldn’t have to subsidize the 1.05 megawatt project, so that means it has to be expanded.
The municipality announced in 2016 it was looking to sell the SunMine and Kimberley Conference and Athletic Training Centre, however City Council learned this summer they couldn’t put the large solar array up for sale.
Staff discovered the $2 million dollar loan they took out to cover their share of the $5.3 million SunMine can only be paid back at the 10 year mark.
So if they were to sell it, the money would have to stay in a reserve.
The plan now is for the City to partner with a private party who could invest $2-3 million into the solar project to push it up to the 2 megawatt mark.
McCormick adds they’ll also be focused on other initiatives for 2018.
Just like Cranbrook, industry attraction is high on the to-do list over the next 12 months.
McCormick suggests there has been a lot of work behind the scenes with the Cranbrook Kimberley Development Initiative in recent years that will hopefully be brought to fruition.
Also high on Council’s 2018 priorities will be addressing local housing and rental shortages.
There’s a property pinch and the local market is seeing its most significant boom in over a decade with Kimberley is experiencing an annual population growth of approximately 2 per cent over half that time.
We’ll continue to preview 2018 with East Kootenay newsmakers as we make our way into the new year.
– Kimberley Mayor Don McCormick