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Council Report From May 7th

May 14, 2018

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

There were no inquiries during Open Session this week. The meeting was  called to order with the addition of one late item, and minutes from the Regular Council Meeting held April 16th were approved.

There was no Unfinished Business to deal with but council received eight Reports:

  • 2017 Financial Statements, prepared by Village Staff in consultation with BDO Dunwoody, the Village’s Auditors, were received.

  • A report from the Administrator regarding a grant that was received from the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development was received. The grant is for a Water and Sanitary Sewer SCADA System Feasibility Study.  Koers & Associates Engineering Ltd submitted a proposal that council was happy with and they approved them moving forward with the project. The study will investigate existing alarm and monitoring in the sewer and water systems and will propose new systems to replace existing obsolete infrastructure. The study will form the basis for either an infrastructure grant application or a stand alone project funded by the Village.  The study will costs $15,000 plus GST with the grant covering $10,000.

  • Parks & Recreation Manager, Mick Mann, submitted a report on the Nimpkish Park Pavilion, Washrooms & Dog Park Fencing.  There was a fair bit of discussion on all three topics.

    • Administrator Plourde advised that the washrooms were being replaced due to vandalism and as a result the $4,446.92 price tag was coming out of a different budget. This received the go ahead.

    • Councillor Waterman was not supportive of Nimpkish Park for a dog park saying, “it is not a good location for it.”  Councillor Begon agreed saying it was not her first choice. Councillor Curr was frustrated commenting that they have been discussing the subject for more than three years.  He made a motion to proceed as it was, but could not get a seconder. Councillor Waterman made a motion to have staff do up costs for the second location suggested, behind the Aquatic Centre, but the motion was defeated when Mayor Unger & Councillors Curr & MacLeod voted against the motion. At this point the dog park was dropped from the discussion.

    • The Pavilion is already in the 2018 budget at the original size requested (500 sq ft), council is now looking at a 680 sq ft structure which is estimated at $67,910.72 installed.  Councillor MacLeod asked where the money was coming from and whether there was a grant to help offset costs. The mayor said they had looked into two or three grant opportunities without success.  A motion was made to move forward with the pavilion. Although Councillor MacLeod voted against, the motion moved forward in a 4-1 split vote.

  • Deputy Corporate Officer, Jeanette McDougall submitted a request to approve registration and accommodation costs for the Mayor and Councillor Curr to attend the ATVBC Spring Conference that was held in Campbell River this past weekend.  Mayor Unger reported that more than 138 participants had registered, when they had been expecting about 50 or 60. Many of them were senior riders. They see Gold River as a ‘jumping off point’ and there are opportunities here for us to capitalize on.  Councillor Curr reported that 44 ORV’s came through (together) last summer with approx. 50 riders. They stayed for the weekend and probably spent about $4-500 per group. “There is huge potential for us,” he said.

  • Mayor Unger and Councillors Curr & Waterman each submitted written reports regarding the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities Conference (AVICC) they all attended last month.  Councillor Begon gave a verbal report and advocated for policy reforms within AVICC, a process they need to start now. The Mayor agreed saying there had been a lot of discussion on the subject during the convention.  Although Councillor MacLeod attended the conference, he did not submit a report.

  • Operations Clerk, Jan Rose gave a report summarizing Pitch in Day events.  Gold River Pitch In was held April 29. Junior Rangers hosted this years event, 25 volunteers also came out to help.

Under Council Information Items Mayor Unger talked about building remote and rural community capacity through high speed internet and the next steps that are needed to promote broadband and cellular connectivity around the region.  He mentioned that a draft version of the community video has been viewed and they are hoping to have the final cut out soon. A draft of the Economic Development committee report will also be available soon, possibly in time for the next meeting.  A celebration of life for Tahsis Mayor Jude Schooner is taking place June 9. Councillor Curr will be driving a bus up to Tahsis for people who wish to attend.

Councillor Curr informed council of a Nutrient Enhancement Program being run through the Rod & Gun club.  They will be discussing what lake(s) in the region could benefit from this at their meeting May 8.

Councillor Begon advised that although Broom cutting was scheduled for June 10, some areas are already coming into bloom - along the old mill road from the pump house to the reserve, flowers are already out.  She also advised that some of the more affected areas are on residential property and asked what could be done. It was suggested that letters could be sent to those property owners warning them that it is their responsibility to clear noxious plants.

Under Bylaws council rescinded then passed for third reading the 2018 Financial Plan Bylaw, due to an error in the original documents presented to council. The 2018 Tax Rates Bylaw No. 711, 2018 received first, second and third reading and was passed.  Council also passed third reading of the late items added to the agenda, Mowachaht Muchalaht First Nations (MMFN) Solid Waste Collection and Disposal Services Agreement, MMFN Fire Protection Services Agreement and MMFN Sewer Services Agreement.

There were four items of Correspondence on the agenda:

  • Donna Schneider sent a letter thanking council for their support in getting the Community Paramedic Initiative off the ground.

  • Strathcona Community Health Network is conducting a housing needs assessment for the Strathcona region.  The assessment will guide decision making on housing infrastructure at the regional level.

  • Comox-Strathcona Waste Management marked its first year milestone of a program aimed at preventing illegal dumping across the region.  Since the launch of the program last year, 120 illegal dump sites have been reported and dozens of dumpers identified, often resulting in tickets being issued.  Michael Dinesen, Bylaw Compliance Officer & Illegal Dumping Program Coordinator said, “This is a huge area to cover and we depend on members of the public and our municipal partners to help us identify illegal dumpsites.”  They have been focusing their efforts on the Comox Valley region but are now looking to identify sites further north. Illegal dumping harms the environment and can have serious, long lasting impacts on our region. More than 70,000 kg of waste have been removed since the launch of the program.

  • Brenda Patrick, Emergency Planning Coordinator invited local business owners to take part in an Emergency Planning workshop specific to local businesses.  The expectation of the gathering is to build and improve on the awareness and understanding of emergency planning, risk and hazard assessment, and FireSmart.

During Question Period Dave Hart commented that $67,000 was a “fair piece of change” to spend on a pavilion.  He was disappointed that there wasn’t more discussion around a proper washroom facility at Nimpkish Park, rather than the pit toilet solution that council has chosen to go with.  The Mayor responded that they had looked into it, but costs had exceeded $100,000. Mr Hart also commented that without enforcement Nimpkish Park will continue to be the unofficial dog park, so why not just leave it the way it is?  The Mayor replied that there may be some enforcement options open to the village in the near future.

Lisa Illes asked if the new washroom facility would be locked in light of the previous structure being burned down by vandals?  The Administrator stated that wasn’t the plan. The washrooms are there for a reason and are needed 24/7, which was another reason council decided not to go with flush toilets.

Deb Shorthouse asked why the dog park needs to be at Nimpkish Park.  The Mayor advised that a few areas had been identified as possible locations, Nimpkish was easy to access and had trees and shade.  Ms Illes asked if the location [at Nimpkish] would impact the ball field and was told the area identified was on the hill, under the trees behind the ball park.

The press asked why council always takes a negative approach with issues like the broom clearing (sending letters to property owners) instead of offering some kind of incentive to encourage people to help.  The Mayor said they would take it into consideration. Mrs Trevis also offered to work with Councillor Curr to get maps & tour packages together for any ATV groups thinking of coming into the area.

With no further public business to conduct, Council adjourned to an in-camera session pursuant to the Community Charter section 90(1)(c) Labour relations or other employee relations.

Because of the Victoria Day holiday, the next council meeting will take place, Tuesday, May 22nd at 7pm

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