Gold River Village Council - February 4, 2019
Present at the regular council meeting were Mayor Brad Unger, Councillors Brenda Patrick, Rachel Stratton, and Kirsty Begon. Councillor Joe Sinclair was absent. Deputy Corporate Officer, Maxine McLean was also filling in for Village Administrator, Larry Plourde, who is on holiday. There were three members of the public, and the press, in the gallery.
There were a number of questions from the public during Open Session this week.
Is there a backup plan in the event our highway is impassible for more than a few days? We have no grocery store, people need medications etc etc. Councillor Patrick, who was our Provincial Emergency Services coordinator, explained that large emergency situations are coordinated regionally. There are alternate routes out of the community and other options such as air transport can be arranged if necessary. She did mention that the community is looking for a new PES coordinator, as the position is currently open.
We have some nice signage now at the top of Scout Lake hill, can we get dog refuse bags put at the trailhead?
It was thought that there was a station for refuse bags in the area. Council will have staff look into it.
Would council consider providing a free garbage/debris coupon to residents to encourage town clean up?
Council discussed some options, including bringing the chipper around to neighbourhoods (when the weather gets warmer) to help deal with yard clean up. They decided to refer the issue to staff for recommendations.
When was the last time the pool/arena had a mock drill of some kind to deal with a possible gas leak, for example? Staff advised council that there was a test of the chlorine system and emergency procedures about a year ago, after an ammonia accident in Fernie killed three workers. They are also planning a mock propane emergency later this month in conjunction with WCB.
How often are bylaws reviewed? The parking bylaw hasn’t been updated since 2008?
There was some confusion over this. Bylaws are usually adjusted when mandated by other levels of government or on an as needed basis within the community. If there is no obvious need to change a bylaw, it might not come up for some time. Council asked staff to look into the parking bylaw and come back with a recommendation.
A Presentation that had been scheduled regarding a Hatchery Proposal did not show up, so council moved on to their regular business. There were no additions to the agenda and council approved the minutes from the Regular Council Meeting held January 21st.
There were four Reports tonight. The first from Councillor Patrick gave a nicely detailed summary of the Library Board’s Annual General Meeting held Jan 19. With the elections last fall there was a large turnover of members, so they’re seeing a bit of a learning curve. This year’s theme is “Innovation and Inspiration” with libraries being recognized as ‘vibrant civic spaces’. There will be a per capita increase this year of $1.48. However, it was pointed out that since 2011 we have seen 11 branches within our system renovated or built new.
The next two reports were Payment of Accounts for December and January, which were both received.
Councillor Stratton recused herself for the next report due to conflict of interest. The village had approached local contractor Reg Stratton for some advice regarding the pavilion planned for Nimpkish Park. Council has looked at a few different designs, but for one reason or another the price just keeps going up and was becoming unaffordable. At a meeting last fall, Mayor Unger and Councillor Patrick began talking to WFP about the possibility of sourcing materials from them at a better rate. The advice from Mr Stratton will help them determine what materials are needed and how they could move forward with village crews and local contractors rather than hiring a company to bring something in. He offered a few suggestions on sizes and materials and assured council that time spent corresponding with staff and engineers through the planning stages would be at no cost. Council received the report for information and deferred it to budget talks which begin Feb 23rd.
There were a few Council Information Items tonight. Mayor Unger had been asked about Family Day at our recreation facilities. Village operations are usually closed on statutory holidays, and special events run in the past have not been well attended. It was generally felt that being the first long weekend of the year, many people head out of town. Staff had decided against doing any special events around the ‘family holiday’. Some years ago we used to run ‘February Fitness’. Programs and classes at the rec centre would be free or reduced rate in February so people could ‘test drive’ activities they might want to try, but didn’t want to commit to an entire program. We are obviously too late to start this up again this year, but it was felt that perhaps we could put it back on the calendar for next spring.
The Mayor also mentioned the recent fire at the trailer park and the fact that we have lost two more homes from our community. He thanked our volunteer fire crew for their hard work and LRS Contracting for donating their own time and machinery to help with the firefighting efforts.
Councillor Began reminded everyone of the RCMP musical ‘Love Bomb’ which is showing, free of charge out at Tsaxana on Wednesday night, Feb 6 at 7pm.
Councillor Stratton gave a quick verbal report on the Chamber of Commerce AGM that she attended last week. She was encouraged by the enthusiasm of the new executive. She and Councillor Begon look after Economic Development and Tourism and she thinks the three groups will work well together. The theme for Gold River this year is Vancouver Island Wildlife. Councillor Stratton also gave a quick update on senior housing, which has been discussed by the Economic Development committee. A few members of the team had sat in on a webinar that addressed seed funding, research and steps needed to begin construction. She assured everyone that a lack of infrastructure, grocery store, bank, etc is not an impediment to funding, but partnerships are very important.
There were only two items of correspondence this week. The first was a letter of apology from Roger Steele regarding his previous correspondence about cell service, that went to the Regional District. He advised that the letter should have been a personal item, not addressed from the Chamber of Commerce. The second was a copy of a letter from MP Rachel Blaney regarding cell coverage on highway 19 (Campbell River to Port Hardy). Both were received for information.
With no further business to discuss, Council moved to adjourn in camera pursuant to the Community Charter section 90(1)(c) labour relations or other employee relations and 90(1)(e) the acquisition, disposition or expropriation of land or improvements.
The next Council Meeting will take place Tuesday, Jan 19th, 2019 at 7pm