The University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) will be the beneficiary of a rocky gift from the City of Chilliwack in the form of 3,900 cubic metres of gravel.
UFV needs it for its under-construction agriculture faculty building; the city has lots, and no one's buying.
With a current inventory of 32,600 cubic metres of Vedder River gravel and another gravel removal program one year off, the city may even have storage issues for its gravel stockpiles, according to a staff report presented to city council Tuesday. At the meeting, council unanimously agreed to the donation, which is valued at $14,000, if the gravel is worth $3.59 per cubic metre.
Gravel removals are conducted every other year in the Vedder River, ostensibly for flood protection, but in June 2012 the only two tenders for 53,800 cubic metres of gravel received were rejected for cost.
"The reason for the uancceptable prices were attributed to the lack of demand in the gravel market at the time," a staff report said.
In July, staff again went out to tender at three sites and a contract was awarded. But since then there have been no "acceptable offers" from industry and the city has little in-house use for the type of gravel in question.
The rationale for making the donation meant a stretch in the definition of how donations are usually made by the city. The staff report stated that in order to gift a city asset, the project needs to be an initiative associated with something the city would have otherwise performed or funded.
"The city, through [the Chilliwack Economic Partners Corporation], has made the development of the Canada Education Park a priority, so it could be argued that the gift of the gravel is something the city would otherwise facilitate," the staff report said.
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