Gold River Village Council - June 17, 2019
Please Note: These are not the official minutes of the meeting this is a report submitted by Suzanne Trevis.
Present at the regular council meeting were Mayor Brad Unger, Councillors Brenda Patrick, Rachel Stratton, Kirsty Begon and Joe Sinclair. Village Administrator, Brad McRae was also present. There were six members of the public, one delegation, a Telus rep, and the press, in the gallery.
There were a few questions from the public during open session. Gord Waterman asked about projected deficits in the budget, specifically regarding forestry and the wharf. Mayor Unger pointed out that lots of times projected deficits never materialize, and used last year’s budget vs actual figures as a good example. He went on to say that it is in their plans to look at and achieve other incomes. The mayor also assured everyone that discussions at the dock are ongoing.
Mr Waterman also asked about the Bylaw Officers hours and what, if anything, was being done about people who continue to run their dogs at Nimpkish Field. The field has been off limit to dogs for some months now. Legally, there is nowhere you can run your dog off leash, within the municipality, other than your own yard. The mayor explained that the Bylaw Officer is currently employed for approx. 15hrs per week. It is on a complaint basis, he does not drive around town looking for offenders. Council said they would discuss with staff, what options may be considered.
Suzanne Trevis brought forward an idea for potable water at our municipal campground, that she had seen at another municipal campsite in Fort Liard. It was as simple as a shed with a large water tank that the village kept topped up with potable water. It was a gravity fed system that required no power. Council agreed to pass the suggestion on to the Economic Development Committee.
The meeting was then called to order. The agenda was approved and minutes from the Regular Council Meeting of June 3rd were adopted.
Tonight Mr. Wally Wells of Asset Management BC was on hand to give council and the public a presentation on Asset Management. Basically it involves things most communities are already doing, but it presents the resulting data in a way that better assists staff with long term planning, especially when it comes to financial planning. “There is no easy solution,” he said. “No ‘one size fits all.’ Each plan needs to be tailored to the needs of each community.”
Asset Management involves a lot of things, but is mostly a function of staff, not council. He likened community hierarchy to a football team, with Corporate Officers and Financial Officers the managers and coaches, and Staff the players in the field, carrying out the play. The problem now, though, is most communities are barely keeping things going. They have not retained enough staff to run things properly and most of their time is spent trying to keep up with ongoing maintenance issues. “This is true everywhere,” said Mr Wells. He noted that the Municipal Insurance Association reports 32% of their claims are maintenance related.
CAO McRae advised council that this is one more tool they can use in the streamlining process that is currently taking place in the village office. “We need to get the ball rolling on some of these things,” he said.
The Accounts Payable Report was approved and a request from staff for a new man lift was revisited.
Although this item had been approved earlier this year, staff required clarification from council. Council provided staff with the authority to proceed with posting a Request for Proposals up to a limit of $110,000. This item is funded through the 2019 Capital Reserve Budget.
The Annual Municipal Report was received. Mayor Unger highlighted a few items from the report. Investments were up in 2018 from the previous year by almost $230,000. Over a number of years previous councils have set aside funds from revenue generated at the wharf for a ‘fish processing plant’ . This money totals almost $120,000 and council would like to discuss long term options. He also stressed how important it is that our community is debt free.
Next up was the 2019-2022 Corporate Vision, Mission, and Strategic Plan. Mayor Unger read out the Vision Statement - The Village of Gold River will continue to be an affordable inclusive, sustainable community that supports community spirit while fostering economic diversification and smart growth.
And the Mission Statement - The Village of Gold River will strive to provide a livable, sustainable, and economically diverse community that recognizes the needs of current and future residents.
He then went on to thank CAO McRae for the report and how well it was laid out and presented. He was happy with how easy it was to read and follow.
The Administrator submitted a report on the new Bylaw Review Advisory Committee. It recommended that council approve Draft Terms of Reference for the committee, and appoint 2 council members. They did so and Councillors Patrick and Begon were both appointed.
A report on Feedback from the Telus meeting was received. It recommended that the Village of Gold River Mayor and Council provide written documentation supporting the level of consultation, proposed placement of a cell phone tower, and their support for the project. Council was unanimous in their support of the recommendation.
Councillor Sinclair asked if he could question Doug Anostos, the Telus rep who was in attendance at the meeting, about 5G as he had had a number of constituents asking about this. He wanted to know if it would be available to us once we had a tower. Mr Anostos explained that technologies generally “roll over” as they become available. He said it will come, and while its hard to say exactly when, when it does happen, it will happen quickly. They are gearing up to start soon, so it probably won’t be long, once we get a tower, before things upgrade to the newest technology. Councillor Sinclair also asked about health and safety concerns and was told there are no risks. It is a much higher frequency than what we are currently dealing with and everything is compliant with government regulations.
Under Council Information Items Councillor Patrick put forward a resolution to be presented at the Union of BC Municipalities convention, later on this summer. It read:
Whereas the perpetuation and improvement of libraries is necessary to make available a stable and continuous source of literature, learning and societal well-being, and stimulate individual and social growth inclusive to all;
Therefore be it resolved that the Village of Gold River call on Minister Flemming to increase the funding to the Regional Library from the Province of British Columbia by $20 million, annually.
Mayor Unger reminded everyone of the Broadband presentation taking place Tuesday June 18th, and the Party in the Park taking place during Gold River Days August 23rd - 25th. He also reported that council members had been out that day to the House of Unity at Tsaxana to view the new plans for A’haminaquus and the boat launch area. Redevelopment is currently underway to accommodate parked vehicles outside of the old village site (current fenced area), so that the area used for parking can be developed for tourism. There are also plans to have a second lane added to the boat launch this summer.
There was some discussion about ‘private property’ signs that had been appearing at Larch Place. It sounds like there are some new people on the strata committee at Larch Place who are struggling to figure out what to do with non residents loitering about at night.
Councillor Begon reported that only 3 people came out to help ‘Broom Bust’ on the day they had advertised. She was very disappointed at the apparent lack of concern from people, saying it will only get worse each year. Broom has a devastating affect on our ecology, it is literally taking over entire hillsides, impeding wildlife and driving out their food source.
There were ten items of correspondence on the agenda with attention paid to the following:
Mayor Unger mentioned two items from council members that previously would have come up under reports, specifically Councillor Sinclair’s report on the Watershed Society and Councillor Patrick’s report on the Library Board. The CAO explained that as it was an item coming from a committee, under the new guidelines it was deemed correspondence. Council received them without any further discussion.
Councillor Sinclair reported that the Watershed Society had been turned down for a $4.2 million grant to buy a clipping machine that would have sped up production. They are currently investigating other funding options. The group will also be hosting some fundraisers at Tahsis Days in July. The chum release went well with minimal losses.
Councillor Patrick reported on statistics pertaining to Gold River and changes made to the Rules of Conduct. There was also a request for communities to support a funding increase, which Councillor Patrick had put forward earlier.
The Gold River Revellers Seniors Club also submitted a letter requesting financial support to help promote the Seniors Personal Emergency Preparedness Planning and Supplies, however proper paperwork and documentation for a grant in aid had not been submitted and council has clear guidelines for groups requesting assistance. There was some discussion following the regular meeting and Reveller’s were advised to resubmit the proper paperwork for the next council meeting.
During Question Period David Lightle asked why the Golf Courses Grant in Aid request had not come up on the agenda as it had been submitted almost 2 weeks ago. There was some discussion as there is not another council meeting now for a month. This is an annual request that the golf course has made for the past five or six years, with regards to their tournament. The GIA covers 3 port a potties, a steam table and a full set of dishes and is valued at approx. $500. Council received the document as a late item and approved the request.
A resident suggested that non profits looking for “handouts” from council should be told they have to help out with issues like cutting broom around the community. He also went so far as to suggest that a note should be kept of who doesn’t help, and those requests should be turned down. Mrs Trevis pointed out that while a list of needed jobs could be kept for groups who want to help out around town, telling volunteers, who are already stretched thin and in many cases, hard to find in the first place, that they had to work for their grant money, was ridiculous and short sighted.
Gord Waterman asked whether the cell tower we are getting now is an improvement on what we were looking at before. Mr Anostos reported that the proposal is similar in that it is in the same location, it is central and will cover the community as far as the golf course and logging division, and perhaps as much as five kilometres out on highway #28. However, he also said the overall design is better, a monopole rather than a latticework structure, which will also be a little shorter, and should blend in better.
With no further business to discuss, Council adjourned in-camera pursuant to the Community Charter section 90(1)(a) personal information about an identifiable individual who holds or is being considered for a position as an officer, employee or agent of the municipality or another position appointed by the municipality; (c) labour relations or other employee relations; and (i) the receipt of advice that is subject to solicitor-client privilege, including communications necessary for that purpose
The next Council Meeting will take place Monday, July 15 at 7pm