Gold River Village Council - October 1, 2018
Present at the regular council meeting were Mayor Brad Unger, Councillors Rod MacLeod, Kirsty Begon, and Gordon Waterman. Councillor Darcy Curr, was absent with notice. Administrator Larry Plourde was also present. There were 13 members of the public, and the press, in the gallery.
During Open Session Joe Sinclair asked why the Regional District was getting ‘free rent’ on the Transfer Station building in exchange for us getting ‘free transportation’ of our solid waste, when all the municipalities in the RD received free transportation as part of the overall deal? The Administrator said he did not know where Mr Sinclair was getting his information and went on to explain how it works. All communities get free transport of waste to the landfill. The transfer station is paid for through tipping fees. The Regional District pays roughly $100,000 annually to the Village for use of the building, and also paid to build the recycling area at the side. The Depot Shack and upgrades at the tipping area were paid for by the Regional District, and all wages and benefits associated with the area are covered by the RD. Mr Sinclair thanked him saying he was “only looking for clarification.”
There was a question regarding dead alder trees along the highway near RWES and the School Board office. There has been debate in the past regarding who is responsible, re various landowners and right of way on the highway, however, the Administrator confirmed he would have staff look into it, and contact relevant parties.
Fire Chief, Lisa Illes invited Council and the general public out to a Mock Accident Scenario scheduled for October 27th. The event will give first responders an opportunity to highlight their skills, utilizing some of the new equipment the Volunteer Unit acquired this summer.
The press asked whether there was any information available on the situation at the pool. Despite the facility opening mid September, the main pool is still closed. The administrator advised that originally the plan had been to rebuild the pump, but when that wasn’t feasible a new one had been ordered. Staff travelled down island personally to get it here in time for the reopening. Unfortunately we are putting a new pump on an older piece of equipment and other parts were needed, including one that needed to be fabricated. This set things back a bit more than they anticipated. They are hoping to have things in place and open within the week.
Mr. Sinclair then asked if council was doing anything about the number of illegal ‘campers’ we have in the community. The Administrator advised that he had been following up on a number of complaints including the motorhome that is now parked between the Chalet and the Jack Christiansen Centre, and a 5th wheel on Dogwood that is hooked into the municipal sewer system. The Mayor confirmed that infractions will generate a warning letter, followed up, when necessary, by a fine.
The meeting was called to order and minutes from the Regular Council Meeting held Sept 17, and the Special Council Meeting held Sept 27, were both received.
A letter from Joe Sinclair regarding illegally parked commercial vehicles and campers, was brought back for discussion. Councillor Waterman said he could empathize with the level of frustration behind the letter. The previous conversation was continued. The Mayor advised that the Municipal Ticketing system (MTI) is almost in place, but we are still lacking an Enforcement Officer. The municipality has advertised a few times, and may have someone interested, but it is a process. It was also suggested that the Regional District may be in a position to assist with a ‘shared person’, in much the same way we currently access a building inspector. The Administrator agreed to invite them up to have a discussion about this. Either way, Council is hoping to have the ability to write tickets and enforce bylaws in the near future.
Mayor Unger, Councillor MacLeod and Councillor Waterman all had reports on the agenda that they spoke to, regarding their recent attendance at the Union of BC Municipalities convention in Whistler. (written reports can be accessed on the village’s website, attached to the agenda for this meeting). They all agreed the conference had been very beneficial with a number of good speakers and opportunities to talk with Ministers and other small community councils. It is always helpful to realize that you are not the only community dealing with certain issues, and to get ideas on what others are doing to solve them.
Council also received a report from Councillor Waterman in the Vancouver Island Regional Library board meeting held Sept 22. Gold River received a small, 2.33% increase in its budget this year, representing $1,061, or $.91 per capita.
The last report was on Permissive Tax Exemptions. There was some discussion regarding the Church house, which in the past has been used as a manse and meeting place for AA. It had been brought to staffs attention that that was no longer what it was being used for and as such, council needed to make the decision whether or not to continue including them in the exemption. The bylaw had been written to easily exclude this portion if necessary.
Council Information Items
A complaint had been received regarding the amount of water that accumulates at Nimpkish Park during certain times of the year. The Public Works Superintendent had advised that the catch basin located in the area (north end between the walking track, sidewalk and fence-line) was free and clear, but also advised that not all water in the area runs to the catch basin. The area was originally a swamp, filled in in the 60’s and in addition to natural run off, storm drains on the back side of the field drain towards the field, rather than into the villages waste water system. The item was tabled for budget discussions in the spring.
The Mayor advised that the Vancouver Island University Tourism Report will be out soon. A public presentation will take place October 24th. The Administrator went on to add that one of the students involved has chosen to do their master thesis on the Service and Central Commercial Area of Gold River. “It is good to have fresh, young minds interested in our community,” he added. Council will likely get a report back on the project, some time in the spring.
Council moved all three readings of the Annual Property Tax Exemption Bylaw No, 713, 2018, deleting the portion of the bylaw pertaining to the church manse.
There were two items of correspondence; a letter from Cathy Watson and the Jewel of the Isle committee, thanking council for their ongoing support of the event, and the Vancouver Island Regional Library Board Financial Plan for 2019-2023. Both items were received without discussion.
Michael McGee questioned council on their decision to delete the church manse from the Permissive Tax Exemptions claiming “this is a classic example of making decisions without the proper information.” He went on to say that he had spoken with a representative of the church, who knew nothing of the loss of status. He stated that the current tenants were vacating the building and meetings would be going back to their previous location. The Mayor advised him that once they were in compliance, they were more than welcome to reapply for exempted status.
Keith Broad asked about the Asset Management Report. The administrator explained that the report was still being ‘tweaked’ as there were some minor details that were being corrected. He went on to say it would come to council first, and expects it some time within the next few weeks.
Bob Colquhoun asked for an update on cell coverage. The Mayor explained that both the Federal and Provincial governments have committed to bringing cell coverage to all communities and transportation corridors in rural areas. The SRD has created a stand alone corporation to oversee funding etc that will bring that service from the coast, into our communities. “Not just us, the whole province,” he said. The Mayor estimates about 18 months before we see this become a reality.
Jennifer Holbrook mentioned the fact that most of our infrastructure is more than 50 years old. The pump in the pool has gone and we have no parts. Earlier this year we had a water issue on Nimpkish and some residents went without water for a few days while they waited for parts. “Why is there no stockpile of parts?” She asked.
The administrator explained that both of these incidents were unfortunate. The pool in particular is ‘very upsetting,’ he said. Staff originally thought they could repair the problem, but sometimes these things don’t go as expected.
During one of the Minister Meetings at UBCM, the Mayor had reported talking about the ongoing processes of acquiring a new Community Forest License. The press asked whether council had any idea what this new license might look like. In short the Mayor said ‘no’, but did confirm it would be area based rather than the volume based license we had before. The next round of applications will be reviewed next summer and the village feels confident about getting approval.
Rise and Report
Council had met to discuss changes to the Honorariums currently provided for the Fire Chief and Deputy Fire Chief. Both received an increase, with some further discussion to take place, once additional information that has been requested, is received.
The Mayor also informed everyone that CAO Larry Plourde has official tendered his resignation. He will stay on for the next year, to transition a new CAO into place, and to help establish other staff replacements and a new council before officially stepping down. Mr Plourde, has been with the village since the early 1990’s and has seen numerous councils through some very trying times. As a community we have been fortunate to have someone with his expertise and sense of dedication helping guide us through.
With no further business, the meeting was adjourned.
The next council meeting will take place Monday, October 15th at 7pm.