THUNDER BAY -- City council has restored the cuts its administration proposed to the Clean Green and Beautiful Committee.
The proposed 2017 municipal budget would have gutted the committee that adds environmental and cultural value to infrastructure projects, reducing its funding from $200,000 in 2016 to only $40,000.
The cut would have granted Clean, Green and Beautiful 87 per cent less than the annual $300,000 stipulated in a 2007 policy written when the committee was founded. The municipal budget hasn't adhered to the policy since 2013.
Council unanimously voted to support Northwood Coun. Shelby Ch'ng's motion to add $160,000 to Clean, Green and Beautiful's budget. The restoration will be funded through the Renew Thunder Bay fund and will not impact the 2017 municipal budget levy.
"Correct me if I'm wrong but I'm pretty sure the whole reason Clean, Green and Beautiful came about was because things like this were constantly cut from administration's budget," Ch'ng said.
"Clean, Green and Beautiful adds a layer that is oversight for these things to be important... There are cuts to the bone I'm okay with. This is not one of them."
Administration advised the cuts on the basis that it already commits a minimum one per cent of infrastructure funding to clean, green and beautiful initiatives and on some projects, those enhancements make up 30 per cent of spending.
It committed to spending $570,000 on those types of initiatives in 2017 over and above the financial commitment to the committee.
Clean, Green and Beautiful vice chairwoman Shannon Costigan has been mobilizing efforts to ensure the policy maintains an effective democratic arm in the form of a strong committee. She was satisfied to see council agree.
"The Clean, Green and Beautiful program has been an important mechanism for the integration of beautification, public art, heritage and environmental greening initiatives into city projects," Costigan said in a written statement issued after Thursday's vote.
"I am pleased to see that city council recognizes how important those features are for building a vibrant community."