Suzanne Trevis –
Please Note These Are Not the Official Minutes
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 seven members of the public, one delegation and the press, in the gallery.
There was one question from the public during open session regarding the closing of the water wells at the municipal campsite. Council confirmed that the cost of capping the pumps permanently was roughly $10,000. However this was quite a bit less than the cost would have been to upgrade the water system.
Two items were added to the agenda before council approved it as amended. They then approved the minutes from the Regular Council Meeting held April 15th and the Special Council Meeting held April 24th. The Special Council Meeting had been held in order for the public to have the opportunity to view the 2019-2023 Five Year Financial Plan and ask questions of council. Two members of the public managed to show up.
Greg Deane of Paradigm Auto Works in Victoria was in attendance with a plan to hold a TARGA Road Race in and around Gold River later this fall. His presentation included a slide show and a question/answer session with council and members of the public. The idea would be to host a two day event that includes timed interval races on different sections of road rather than one closed course. It would, in theory, bring hundreds of people to the community both to compete and to watch. Some of the questions asked included whether Gold River had the capacity to manage that many visitors at once and what the cost would be to the village. While the event would necessitate the need for a number of volunteers, Mr. Deane felt quite confident that we have the ability to host such an event. He went on to explain that costs are worked out ahead of time and factored into the registration fee. There should be no cost to the village, in fact they expect to be able to donate a healthy sum of money back to the community following the event. They also take care of a great deal of the planning. Council agreed to let the CAO continue working with Paradigm on the idea, with the Mayor saying, “Its outside the box, but it’s a way everyone can enjoy our community.”
The first of three reports was the Village’s new Social Media Policy. This document is long overdue and if it does all it promises will be of huge benefit, not just to those of us that live here, but also to anyone thinking of visiting or doing business in our community. It’s primary goals include: increased awareness of municipal services and events; advising taxpayers of upcoming capital projects; the ability to correct misinformation, remedy mistakes, or alter services; and to utilize social media as an additional way to collaborate with the public and other municipalities on mutually beneficial programs or initiatives. Council was in full support.
The Climate Action Revenue Incentive Public Report (CARIP) is an annual report put together by staff to show how the community is planning and progressing toward meeting their climate action goals and carbon neutrality. The report itself is a condition of a Carbon Tax grant (approx. $9,000) that the village receives. Following receipt of the report Councillor Patrick asked if some of this grant money could be used for a community garden or a composting program. Mayor Unger first pointed out that neither of these ideas have come forward as council initiatives, and asked Councillor Patrick if there were groups in the community who were currently trying to make those things happen. “There are some funds available,” he said, “if the community wants to do them.” She said she would look into it.
Financial Statements for the year ending Dec 31, 2018 along with the auditors report were received. CAO McRae thanked the Deputy Director of Finance, Maxine McLean for the hard work she had put in. He went on to give his full support for the report, which was then received by council.
Council Information Items included a report from Councillor Stratton on the April 18th Chamber of Commerce meeting. Among other things Chamber members will be looking after the Parade and Go Cart Races during this summers Gold River Days.
Mayor Unger reminded everyone that Saturday, May 11th is SARA Trails clean up day. Members of the public are invited to hike local trails with clippers and garbage bags to help clean things up in anticipation of summer! All of our local trails are maintained by volunteers. Plans are also in the works for members of the public to be able to advise when hazards such as downed trees or washed out trails are found. Volunteers could then go out and deal with things in a timely fashion. The Mayor gave a shout out to Ken Merlo who already went out and fixed the one culvert that had eaten up half the trail.
Councillor Patrick submitted a report on her trip to AVICC (Association of Vancouver Island & Coastal Communities) convention in Power River April 12th-14th. They went on a tour of Stillwater Tree farm Licence #39, which is about to undergo its third harvest. It is good to remember that logging is all about farming, trees are replanted and grow up to be harvested again and again, just like other crops. Councillor Patrick attended two workshops, one The Provincial Active Transportation Strategy hosted by the Ministry of Transportation, and a CCSPI workshop that promoted local government and First Nation usage of social procurement. There were a number of speeches by Ministers, and keynote speaker, Mark Collins, President and CEO of BC Ferries, spoke about clean tech, shipbuilding plans and long term noise mitigation plans. BC Ferries boasts more than 174,000 sailings a year on the Salish Sea. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans also put on a very lengthy presentation. The meat of the meeting though, is in the resolutions put forward. One of particular interest to Gold River and other north island communities was Resolution 44, Protection of Old Growth Forests submitted by the City of Victoria. There had been a lot of feedback on this resolution ahead of time, so it was no surprise when the resolution was withdrawn prior to the vote, by Victoria.
Other resolutions of note included:
• R6, Off Road Vehicle (ORV) Management Framework submitted by the Village of Tahsis & Village of Sayward, which resolved that the following changes be made:
• Only one (1) Operation Permit required for approved access to multiple jurisdictions and/or communities along a connecting designated ORV route and trail network issued in any of the jurisdictions or communities along the route.
• Operation Permits can be issued by any local RCMP or local government along a designated route.
• Operation Permit term extended from 2 years to 5 years to align with the driver's licence term.
However, the resolutions committee made no recommendations, noting that “more broadened endorsed resolutions related to ORV’s” have gone forward to UBCM (Union of BC Municipalities).
• R15, Groundwater Extraction submitted by the Strathcona RD, resolved that the Premier of British Columbia and the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources Operations and Rural Development be requested to immediately cease the licensing and extraction of groundwater for commercial water bottling and/or bulk water exports from aquifers.The resolutions committee made no recommendations, noting that more than 7 similar resolutions have gone forward over the last 15 years.
• R18 Cave Protection Act submitted by the Village of Tahsis, which resolved that the Provincial Government should pass a Cave Protection Act in order to conserve caves, in perpetuity. The Resolutions Committee advises that the UBCM membership has not previously considered a resolution asking the Province to enact cave protection legislation in order to conserve caves, and made no recommendation.
Councillor Begon asked if the village could forward a letter to the Ministry of Transportation regarding Broom Busting efforts. She wants to know what plans and funding are available to eradicate the broom that is growing abundantly along Highway #28. We can only do so much within our community and much of that effort is in vain, if they are not doing anything to address this aggressive, invasive species outside of our jurisdiction. Council agreed to write a letter expressing their concern.
Mayor Unger advised everyone that a date has been set for the Community Consultation Meeting with Telus regarding a cell tower within the community of Gold River. There will be an open house and presentation Thursday, June 6th at the Gerry Morgan Memorial Centre.
The Mayor went on to report that the Clean Up Day last Saturday went very well. Four or five dump sites had been identified in the forests around the community. Volunteers headed out with trucks etc and pulled what is sadly, a massive amount of debris out of the woods. One site behind the Conuma Pit netted a 900 kg haul. Early estimates put the total number at roughly 2,000 kgs. Final numbers will be reported by the CVRD in the near future.
If you spot an illegal dump site or see someone disposing of trash in our environment call toll free 1-800-331-6007 or report it online www.cswm.ca/illegaldumping.
Council gave final adoption to two bylaws, No 715, 2019 regarding the Financial Plan for 2019, and No 716, 2019 to authorize the levying tax rates for Municipal Regional District, Regional Solid Waste Management, Regional Hospital District and Library purposes for the year 2019.
There were six items of correspondence, three received attention.
The Gold River Skating Club, who had four members in attendance, were looking for a letter of support for their annual Gaming Grant. Council fully endorsed the request and asked the club to meet with the CAO to specifically advise what they needed.
The Economic Development Committee forwarded a letter to council in support of broadband and cellular service within the community of Gold River.
MLA, Claire Trevena forwarded a response she had received from Mike Farnsworth, Minister of Public Safety, regarding Volunteer Fire Department Funding Challenges. In it he advises that “the Province has partnered with the Fire Chiefs’ Association of BC in a process to both identify the key requirements related to the provision of a road rescue service and draft a proposed governance frame work for consideration. Once complete, this work will inform the next steps in any process to identify possible funding opportunities.”
During Question Period the Skating Club thanked council for their continued support, stressing how important this grant is for them to keep costs at a manageable amount for parents. They also reported that the club has seen an increase in numbers this last season, which is encouraging for everyone.
The press asked if the dump site behind Conuma Pit was the cause of the fire call on Saturday, as it appeared to have been in that area. The Mayor advised that that was not the case. He stated that the fire had reignited from an old burn pile from a few weeks ago.
A resident asked whether the letter being forwarded to MOT regarding broom, could also be sent to BC Hydro, as a great deal of the broom is growing in their right of ways. Council agreed and amended the motion to include BC Hydro.
With no further business to discuss, Council adjourned in-camera pursuant to the Community Charter section 90(1)(c) labour relations or other employee relations.
The next Council Meeting will take place Tuesday, May 21 at 7pm