Join us this Saturday, March 10th for the beginning of our Teen Mini Challenge! More details found  http://virl.bc.ca/teens/teen-summer-challenge 
Submit your booklet at the end of the challenge for a chance to win an iPad Air!! Get your booklet at The Gold River Library

Gold River Village Council - March 5, 

Suzanne Trevis

Present at the regular council meeting were Mayor Brad Unger, Councillors Rod MacLeod, Gordon Waterman and Kirsty Begon. Councillor Darcy Curr was absent.  Administrator Larry Plourde was also present. There were eleven members of the public and the press in the gallery.

Open Session is the public’s opportunity to ask council questions. There were no comments or questions for Mayor and Council this week so the Mayor called the meeting to order and they approved the agenda.

Minutes of the Regular Council Meeting held February 19 were approved.

There were five reports on the agenda. The first was from Parks and Recreation Manager, Mick Mann regarding proposed electrical service to six sites at the Municipal Campground.  The quote was to give council an idea of what costs were involved, and the report was referred to budget talks. Mr Mann also submitted a report on planned upgrades to Nimpkish Park. Options in the report included replacement of the washrooms that were damaged by vandals earlier this year, the possible inclusion of showers, a fenced dog park, and a covered pavilion. Council also deferred this report to budget discussions.

Administrator, Larry Plourde provided council with the 2017 Climate Action Revenue Incentive Public Report.  All communities who signed on to the Climate Action Charter receive an annual grant paid out of the Carbon Tax. The CARIP Report is a condition of the grant and outlines the amount of greenhouse gases the municipality produces during regular operations. Last year this included: 233 tonnes from propane used to heat the pool (3/4 of our total), 44 tonnes from diesel used in vehicles and 30 tonnes from gas powered trucks, hydro accounted for another 52 tonnes. These numbers have been going up for the last two years, most likely due to colder winters, which increase use of propane at the pool. This year the Carbon Tax Grant brought the village $9,000.

Department reports for the 4th quarter of 2017 were received from Parks and Recreation and Aquatics and Utilities. Councillor Waterman questioned a couple of items. First an item on the utilities report that indicated Island Health had presented the Village with a notice of “Proposed Terms and Conditions” for the Village’s operating permit for drinking water. A request to have the compliance date extended from 2020 to 2022 was approved. The administrator explained that although the village has not had a bad sample since the system went in in the sixties, standards are not the same as they were fifty years ago. He said the potential is still there for water treatment to become necessary.  The village has been advised that it would be wise to do a study on the costs involved.

The report also indicated a problem with the high level alarm on the Industrial Sewer Lift Station. Sewage for the village collects at a lift station behind the high school before crossing the river to the treatment plant at the public works yard. In the event that this tank becomes too full, an alarm should advise staff before it becomes a problem and discharges into the river. An issue with the communications equipment is preventing the alarm from contacting staff at home.

Another issue involved the installation of a water meter at the Mobile Home Park. The thickness of the pipe was preventing the meter from working properly. Staff is investigating the possibility of putting in a valve and attaching the meter to the valve. According to staff, water loss at the mobile home park is “significant”.

Following the discussion on water, Mayor Unger advised he would look into what was involved in getting our community’s water into the “best water” challenge.

Under Council Information Items the Mayor informed everyone that a new Deputy Clerk has been hired.  Jeanette McDougal began at the end of last week. Please help us welcome Jeanette to Gold River, we wish her the best of luck in her new position. He went on to say he had received a report on the Chamber of Commerce AGM. He congratulated them on a 9 member board, the most they have had in some time. He said it was good to see the Vault open then added he was looking forward to sitting down to discuss issues of concern with them.

Gold River Days is fast approaching and the ball tournament is in need of volunteers.  Other events are also going to need help. Anyone interested in helping, or running an event should contact the village office.

Councillor Begon asked council for a small budget to help with her “cut Broom in Bloom” campaign. They are looking at a weekend in May to do a 2 day blast and cut as much broom around the community as possible.

Mayor Unger addressed a question that had been asked at the last meeting regarding economic development.  He wanted to know how many other small communities with populations under 1,500, had economic development officers. He contacted Kathy Lachman, Regional Manager Vancouver Island North and Coast Region, Ministry of Forrest, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, who advised that a number of communities in BC do have an economic development officer, but that most of them usually work for a region. This was either through a regional district like Mount Waddington (Port Hardy, Port McNeil and Port Alice) or through communities pooling together, like those on Haida Gwaii.  All were being funded through Northern Development Initiative Trust, some form of rural dividend or though pooling resources with other communities. Larger centres like Nanaimo and Campbell River, but also some smaller centres like Parksville, Qualicum, Tofino and Uclulet, all have their economic development run by their chambers of commerce (with funding from the previous mentioned sources).

The Mayor also touched on the Economic Development study that is currently being conducted. Following discussions last summer about what could be done regarding ED, Kathy Lachman put them on to 2 grant opportunities. The first saw the formation of the Economic Development Strategic Planning Committee and Geoff Millar was hired to take the lead.  Other members of this committee are: Councillor Kirsty Begon, Administrator Larry Plourde, community members Don Beggs, Rachel Stratton, John McPherson, Terry Robertson and Mark Kelly. Geoff has been meeting with other community members, organizations and businesses over the past few months. They plan to hold a community meeting sometime mid to late May to bring everyone up to date with where they are at. The second grant was for a Tourism Strategy and has only just been received.

The Mayor touched on Connect Connectivity, a federal grant to bring in high speed internet. This will be good for any internet businesses that may want to relocate to Gold River because of our great lifestyle. He also mentioned CGI video who were in town last Friday doing indoor video shoots for promotional videos showcasing how wonderful Gold River is.  Previous community videos can be seen on the village’s website. These videos are being produced at no cost to the village.

There were ten pieces of correspondence on the agenda, only three of them were addressed.

The Museum and Archives Society has been asked to relocate within the Jack Christensen Centre in order for the Lions and the Junior Rangers to move into the space they are currently in. There was discussion about what rooms could be used. Units 121 and 122 were the preference, with the divider wall in 122 being removed to create one big room. Council agreed and left staff to work out the details. The second item from Junior Rangers was resolved with the previous discussion.

The third item was from the Ministry of Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development advising council that the second $10,000 amount for a Tourism Strategy had been sent out.

During Question Period the press asked if this money was separate from the Economic Development money and whether there was a plan for it yet. The Mayor explained that there were two grants for $10,000 each, one for Ec Dev and one for Tourism. There was an outline of what the money was for when the application was submitted, but outside of that the  money has just been received and no decisions have been made yet.

Michael McGee asked what would be different about this study versus previous tourism studies that have been done. Mayor Unger responded “I guess we’ll have to wait and see.” He went on to explain that the demographics of the community have changed a lot over the last decade and input from residents would help determine what direction the study would take.

Kathy Kennedy asked if anyone had been charged regarding the vandalism of the washroom at Nimpkish Park. The structure was damaged beyond repair a few weeks ago when vandals set fire to the building.  No one has been caught, but it started a discussion about whether this was a problem in general. Residents who live in the area said there is a bit of partying going on, but it usually isn’t a problem and teens move on if they are told to.  It was suggested that better lighting in the area would deter people from hanging about and would also enable residents to better see what is going on once it gets dark. Council will have staff look into this.

With no further business to discuss in public, council adjourned to move in-camera, pursuant to the Community Charter section 90(1)(e) the acquisition, disposition or expropriation of land or improvements.

The next council meeting will take place Monday, March 19 at 7pm.