Via Suzanne Trevis:
Gold River Village Council
November 16, 2015
Present for the regular meeting were Mayor Brad Unger, Councillors Rod MacLeod, Darcy Curr, Gordon Waterman and Kirsty Begon. Administrator Larry Plourde was also present. There were four members of the public and the press in the gallery.
During Open Session the press asked if there was any update on the situation at the Saunders Creek bypass. Councillor Waterman confirmed that the flashing red lights were up and running and it was his understanding they were going to stay that way. He said there was no word on the bridge deck and highway crews had just lifted their blades when ploughing the road earlier in the day.
Three reports from council members were added to the agenda before it was approved. Minutes from the Regular Meeting held November 2 were then received.
There was a report from the Administrator regarding a Crown Land Application made by the Mowachaht Muchalaht First Nation for a 30 year license of occupation over the Boat Ramp that accesses Nootka Sound between IR#12 and the Municipal Wharf (referred to as Block C). The Village of Gold River gave a letter of support when the application was first made last spring, and the current Referral Response Form is part of the process. The administrator gave everyone some background on the boat ramp and the piece of provincial highway that currently crosses A’haminiquus, the #12 reserve that sits along the mouth of the river and part of the original foreshore. There was some discussion about the drawings where the ramp, the highway and block c seemed to overlap, but Council had no objection to approval of the project provided concerns about liability at that spot could be answered.
Councillor Begon gave a report on the Union of BC Municipalities conference that took place at the end of September. Cell coverage was discussed with both the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Technology & Innovation. They met with the Ministry of Forest & Land to discuss the Village’s community forest agreement and the impact market shut downs are having on WFP. A meeting with the Minister of Transportation gave them an opportunity to discuss the Saunders Creek Bridge rebuild, the main Gold River Bridge and the Highway crossing IR#12. She also had an opportunity to meet and speak with representatives from three different playground / waterpark companies.
Councillor Curr reported on a webinar he participated in last month on attracting International Students to communities in BC. It was hosted by the Ministry of Advanced Education and the Thompson River University in Kamloops. The business of International students in BC topped $2.3 billion in 2013, creating $80 million in tax revenue for the province. More than 114,000 students came here for the 2013/14 school year from countries like China, South Korea and Japan.
Councillor Curr has consulted with the school district, who are very interested in the idea. Other districts, who are of course in competition with us for students, are reluctant to share information or resources, but they are continuing to investigate opportunities.
Another item discussed in the report was an initiative that would give away building lots for new home building, aimed at building up the residential tax base. Unfortunately, the report states, the village does not have land available to explore this initiative.
Councillors Curr & MacLeod also submitted a report on the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance Summit, stating that it is the only non-government organization focused on the Island Economy as a whole. Keynote speakers included: President and CEO for Transformix Engineering, Peng-Sang Cau; Premier, Christie Clark; Shqwi Qwal for Indigenous Dialogue, Shawn Atleo; Manager for Economics & Research Consulting, Susan Monbray. Breakout sessions included ‘our forests – a renewable resource with untapped potential’, ‘can we make it – growing specialty manufacturing to strengthen the island economy’, ‘beyond boundaries – how small communities and first nations are unleashing economic potential by taking a regional approach’ and ‘Which Way Is Up – Balancing Land Use With Long Term Community Goals’.
With reference to the first session on forestry, Councillors commented that pulp mills still running on the coast are struggling for affordable wood. They say it is too expensive, that forest companies can get more for them shipping them overseas – i.e. raw log exports.
Council received three items of correspondence. The first addressed their discussion at the last meeting with regards to where to place the carved wood benches. Sharon Charette, who had been instrumental in getting the competition here this summer was very upset that her opinions had not even been considered during the debate. “I am disheartened, disappointed and yes angry at your decision,” she wrote, “It appears to show that you have little regard for volunteers and committee members who give up their valuable time and without whom, most events wouldn’t happen.”
Councillor Waterman said there must have been some kind of miscommunication as the subject had been discussed, but no firm decisions had been made. Councillor Begon went on to say that council does need to work with committees better, “we need to value our volunteers,” she said. She also agreed though, that the subject had only been discussed. With some input from Mrs. Charette, council went on to pass a motion that would see the whale and the octopus at Nimpkish Park, the Eagle near the Village Office and the other, single seat, on the boulevard between the Village Square and Larch Place, on your right as you drive into the plaza. She also asked that when placing the seat in front of the village office, could they please keep in mind that people will be taking lots of pictures on these benches and it should be placed/angled so that the village office sign is in the background. “Its all about advertising,” she said. There was some discussion about leaving the seats where they are until the weather improves and proper foundations can be poured, but it was decided to leave the decision to staff.
Council then went on to adopt November as Adoption Awareness Month
During Question Period the press asked Councillor Curr if the international students he mentioned in his report were attending schools all over the province or mostly in larger centres like Vancouver and Kamloops. He said while most were post secondary, they were all over the province. “There are some already on the island,” he said, “There are students in schools in Nanaimo and Powell River.”
With regards to the comment in Councillor Currs report about not having any available land, Mrs Trevis asked about the possibility of extending the village boundaries. She stated ten years ago council looked into extending the municipal boundaries out as far as Doulyn’s Pit and the Hydro Sub Station. The substation in particular, pays money to the regional district each year, that could come to the municipality if that land was incorporated into the village boundaries. Mr. Plourde explained that they had looked into the substation in the past, as well as some of the run of the river projects that are out there, as they are all paying taxes to someone. He went on to say that getting land out of the Tree Farm License (we are almost surrounded by TFL#19) is still challenging, and ANY changes to land use or tenure, have to have first nations input as well. Expanding boundaries might be okay, but securing land is a whole other thing. There are many limitations and everything comes with a cost.
With no further business council adjourned in camera pursuant to the Community Charter section 90(1)(a) personal information about an identifiable individual who holds or is being considered for a position as an officer, employee or agent of the municipality or another position appointed by the municipality; (e) the acquisition, disposition or expropriation of land or improvements, if the council considers that disclosure could reasonably be expected to harm the interests of the municipality; (g) litigation or potential litigation affecting the municipality.