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The Thompson Local News

City Council approved a new grant in lieu with Vale Tuesday night at the regular meeting of council.


The new agreement is now in place until 2021, with the previous agreement having expired at the end of 2017.


While the new grant in lieu is less than the previous one, Councillor Blake Ellis said that the deal was negotiated in good faith and was the best deal the City could have gotten.


Councillor Ron Matechuk opned up the debate, putting forward a motion to table the discussion, which was defeated 6-3. He then spoke against the agreement, saying that has said from the beginning of the negotiation process that he has had no confidence in the negotiating committee, and accused the committee of not doing their due diligence. That claim was quickly refuted by multiple councillors.


The numbers were revealed by City Manager Gary Ceppetelli, after Councillor Duncan Wong said that he thinks the public would like to know, while speaking to the public instead of addressing the rest of council.


The agreement will see Vale pay $4.8M in year one, a base of $3M in year two with the possibility of extra money, and a flat $3M in years three and four.


Councillor Wong also asked Ceppetelli for the definition of "in principal", and then asked why the deal is before council if the numbers are just in principal and haven't been finalized. The City Manager responded by saying that no where in the resolution does it mention "in principal".


Councillor Judy Kolada voted in favour of the grant in lieu, saying that a deal needs to be put in place as the old agreement expired at the end of 2017. She added that she would like to see the City look at transitioning into taxation for Vale in the future when this deal expires.


Councillor Kathy Valentino, the head of the City’s negotiation team, laid all the cards on the table, saying that the only other option would be the minimum, which would be around $1M per year.


Mayor Dennis Fenske, who joined the meeting via telephone, said that if Council doesn't vote to pass the resolution approving the GIL, the City will get the bare minimum from Vale. He added that he is currently in Winnipeg and is meeting with Blaine Pedersen, the Provincial finance minister, today to look for extra funding.


Councillor Penny Byer ended the debate, saying that the City needs to stop being so reliant on hand-outs from big corporations like Vale if it wants to be around and thriving in years to come. She added that the deal on the table from Vale is as generous as Vale in Thompson can afford to be at this point in time.


The debate lasted almost 40 minutes before it was passed 7-2.


Councillors Wong and Matechuk voted against in a recorded vote, which was requested first by Councillor Wong and then later by Councillor Valentino.


The new GIL will not be in efect until it is approved by Vale's board of directors and signed off by all of the parties involved.


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