Gold River Village Council - March 19, 2018
Present at the regular council meeting were Mayor Brad Unger, Councillors Rod MacLeod, Darcy Curr, Gordon Waterman and Kirsty Begon. Administrator Larry Plourde was also present. There were three members of the public and the press in the gallery.
Open Session is the public’s opportunity to ask council questions. There was a question regarding the dog park as it had come up at the last meeting. Mayor Unger explained it had been tabled to budget discussions.
Suzanne Trevis asked why the dog park was being located in Nimpkish Park where there is already a lot of other recreational activity going on. As the owner of a large dog she would prefer to see the dog park in a ‘less busy’ area. Mayor Unger explained that the area would be fenced. She pointed out that there would still be a lot of distractions for dogs in the area and asked if there could be more opportunity for input from the public about what they would or wouldn’t like to see at Nimpkish Park. The Mayor said he would take it into consideration.
There was also a question regarding who was considering running in this falls upcoming municipal election. All members of council indicated they would be running again.
The meeting was called to order and the agenda was approved. Minutes of the Regular Council Meeting held March 5th and the Special Council Meeting held March 8th, were both adopted. The special council meeting was held to review budget concerns regarding the Centrifuge Project and the issues of a rather large cost overrun for the building. Council still had the option to receive goods or cancel the project, subject of course to $200,000+ of potential cancellation fees. Council voted to move ahead and continue working with engineers to resolve concerns with the revised engineering costs that were being proposed.
There were three reports tonight:
4th Quarter Financial Reports for the Village’s Operating and Capital Funds;
an update on the CGI Gold River Web Page Video. The next shoot date is scheduled for April 20th;
and confirmation of councils attendance at the 2018 Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities (AVICC) convention, which all members of council will be attending.
Councillor Begon asked that the new flags for the front of the municipal building be out prior to the outdoor video shoot taking place.
Under Council Information Items Councillor Waterman asked when the spray park would be open. It is scheduled to start up May long weekend. A C3C meeting, a three community get together between Gold River, Tsaxana and Tahsis was cancelled due to a death in the community. Staff is hoping to reschedule in the near future.
A Tourism Strategy Plan that received $10,000 in funding at the last meeting, was kickstarted with a Request for Proposal. The village is looking for someone to work with local stakeholders and the village to develop a tourism strategy. The process would include gathering relevant background information, conducting community engagement sessions and developing a Strategic Plan that includes goals and actionable items. The entire project must be complete by August 31, so the timeline is rather tight. Close date for proposals is March 28. The RFP has been posted on the village website and was sent out to proponents who submitted proposals for the Economic Development Planning Project.
Councillor Waterman reported that he had attended the Library Board meeting and would have a report on the next agenda.
Mayor Unger reported that he had emailed with representatives from Emcon about concerns with the road maintenance this winter. They advised that they would include the village in discussions next fall, along with the MLA and the Ministry of Transportation, to go over items such as road conditions in winter, brine and the size of gravel/rock that is thrown out.
He went on to report that the Parks & Recreation Facebook Page would be up and running soon, possibly within the week. The Parks & Recreation Manager did express concern around having a social media policy in place. The Mayor stressed that this was an information only site and would not be open to commentary.
Mayor Unger reported that he had attended a Village Voice meeting last week. He gave them a verbal update on how the Economic Development Strategy was working. He said they discussed Community Gardens, unsightly premises and ideas around a co-op grocery store. There were also concerns about the lack of rental property within the village. He stated that he had spoken with Mr Buzz, manager of the Garden Apartments, who advised that he always has one unit ready to go. He works on getting another ready when that is taken. The Gold Crest Apartments are still in probate and can not take on new renters at this time.
The Village was also responding to a request from the government for information on possible cell tower sites. Staff has identified two locations previously mentioned and provided gps coordinates. They are still waiting for feedback from the MMFN.
Council has also been advised that the ATV club will be running a conference May 4th - 6th in Campbell River. They will be discussing routes on the North Island that include Gold River. This is a great opportunity for us, two of our councillors indicated they would be attending.
The Mayor went on to report that he had attended an ICET (Island Coastal Economic Trust) meeting where they had discussed support for a community trail between Tahsis and Zeballos. They approved a $450,000 grant that will help move the project on to stage two.
Mayor Unger had also looked into what was needed to submit our water for BC’s best water challenge. Timing was good, the deadline for entries is April 27th. He is hoping staff can get an entry ready in time.
Apparently a resident had asked council why Gold River was not eligible for the Northern Allowance. There had been a rumour circulating that Tahsis residents were getting this tax break to the tune of approx. $600 per household. Administrator Plourde advised that we had never been eligible and that to his knowledge no community on Vancouver Island was eligible. Council agreed to have staff look into what was happening and report back.
There were three items of correspondence:
Firewise Consulting re: Proposed Framework for Governance regarding Road Rescue; UBCM 2018 Annual Dues; UBCM update on the Working Group on Responsible Conduct. Councillor Waterman confirmed the dues notice was a formality as they would be paid anyway. No further action was taken.
During Open Session a member of the public asked whether Emcon used the same size gravel everywhere. He felt the size of rock used on the road this past winter was “beyond reasonable” and he didn’t believe they were within regulation. Mayor Unger responded by saying that Emcon had been using 12mm gravel, which was within regulation, but that they had discussed going down to 9.5mm and using different techniques.
With regards to the rental housing discussion, the press asked what council was doing about the lack of available rental space within the community. Our two apartment complexes and the mobile home park, all need a massive investment in their infrastructure to bring them up to par. Right now, there are no rooms available at all. She pointed out that this was a concern for the entire community and wanted to know what council was doing to address the problem. Mayor Unger stated that they were not currently doing anything, but the Administrator pointed out that these issues were addressed in the OCP (Official Community Plan). He said that low cost housing, opportunities for density bonuses and lands specifically designated and zoned multi family were all addressed in this document and were councils way of dealing with these issues.
No one, other than the Administrator, seemed aware that this was the case. It is also obvious that they are not utilizing this information in any plans to actively move the community forward, which is concerning. The lack of any kind of preplanning regarding the rental situation should also be a big concern for the community.
Michael McGee asked why there was such a short time frame on the RFP for the Tourism Strategy (two weeks) as it didn’t leave much time to reach interested people. He pointed out that by keeping it short and only contacting previous applicants, they were really limiting themselves. The Administrator confirmed it was a village imposed deadline, that the entire project had to be completed by Aug 31, and they felt the sooner they got started the better.
With no further business to discuss in public, council adjourned to move in-camera, pursuant to the Community Charter section 90(1)(c) labour relations or other employee relations.
Due to Easter, the next council meeting will take place Tuesday, April 3rd at 7pm.