By Nikki Jamieson
Sunny South News
No tree will be purchased for the Civic Square Atrium this year.
During their regular Oct. 23 meeting, Coaldale town council discussed the potential purchase of a tree for the holiday season.
The tree would have gone up in the Civic Square Atrium, and if council wished to have a tree there for the holiday season, the Town would have needed to order it soon. Additionally, council needed to consider a number of factors, such as the price, size, location, timing and type of tree. The price and location would influence the size of the tree, while the availability and price would influence the type of tree.
For instance, a 14-foot pre-lit commercial grade tree from Dekra-Light would have cost $10,125, an 18-foot one is $17,850, and a 20-foot one is $22,950.
Clayton Varjassy, community services coordinator for the Town, noted that the brand is the same one that the Town purchases its lights from for the Winter Walk in the Park.
“If you’re looking at that 14-foot range, you can get decent options anywhere between $700 and $3,000. Once you go bigger than that, you maybe get up to about 15 feet, potentially 16 if it’s like a slim tree. But once you go bigger than that into the commercial grade, you’re looking at around that $15,000 mark as a starting price,” said Varjassy.
In terms of size, that is dependent on where to place a potential tree.
Varjassy said the northwest corner of the north building entrance off 20 Avenue could accommodate a 14-foot tree. There is some window visibility from main street, and the area is currently being used for storage for tables. While the area would have little impact on the usable floor space in the Atrium for rentals and events, however, the Town would need a new location for table storage carts. Alternatively, Varjassy said the southwest corner could accommodate an 18-foot tree. There is floor to ceiling window visibility to the parking lot, although the window width would limit visibility. This area could accommodate a larger tree that could potentially be moved outdoors for future years, however, this area has a greater impact to useable space for events and rentals.
The tree could be purchased using funds from the Community Services Operating Reserve. The current balance in this reserve is $15,351.05, and Varjassy cautioned that this reserve is not contributed to annually, and once it’s spent it’s gone unless council chooses to replenish it. Once a tree is chosen, there would be additional costs regarding decorations and staff time to set-up and take-down the tree.
Mayor Jack Van Rijn asked when the renovations for a storage room inside Civic Square will happen. CAO Kalen Hastings said the scope of work is out for quotation, and could report back in regards to a timeline. When asked for an educated guess, Hastings said the hope was for work to begin in November but they don’t anticipate for it to be completed by the holidays. Van Rijn voiced concern about where they were going to store everything.
“I’m all about if you’re going to buy a tree, you may as well get one that fits the space, so I like the idea of the larger one. We have to find funds for that, and for myself I think it’s a bit premature to start looking at spending that kind of money until we have the space 100 per cent complete, and same with the outside,” said Van Rijn.
Van Rijn raised the question of borrowing the tree from the Gem of the West Museum, if they weren’t doing any holiday activities or functions and were okay with them using it. Varjassy said he would look into it, adding there was another tree used at the arena they could look at using as well.
Coun. Bill Chapman asked if they had a tree at the old town office. Lana Antony, municipal clerk for the town, said they did, but it was “quite aged” and she wasn’t sure if they still had it.
Council unanimously passed a motion to defer the purchase of a tree for Civic Square until the completion of the outdoor phase of Civic Square.