Via Suzanne Trevis;
GOLD RIVER VILLAGE COUNCIL
November 2, 2015
Present for the regular meeting were Mayor Brad Unger, Councillors Rod MacLeod, Gordon Waterman and Kirsty Begon. Administrator Larry Plourde was also present. There were three members of the public and the press in the gallery.
During Open Session Mr. Terry Robertson asked why broken lights on the path between Nimpkish Drive and Hummingbird Lane had not been fixed yet. He had brought it up previously and now it is getting dark even earlier. Staff said they would look into it as they were unaware of any problems (preventing them getting fixed).
The meeting was called to order, the agenda approved and the minutes from the Regular Council Meeting held October 19, were received.
The first two reports received by council were third quarter reports from Mr. Lott, the Aquatic and Utilities Supervisor and Mr. Mann, Parks & Recreation/Public Works Supervisor and included the following information:
• The Tourist Information Centre registered 2,551 visitors this summer, up from 2,109 in 2014.
• Destination BC has increased the Village’s Fee for Service grant from $5,704 in 2015 to $10,000 for each of the 2016, 2017 & 2018 operational years. Destination BC has also established a new Innovation Fund unveiled at their October AGM. This fund will help communities who want to invest in improving services / facilities at their Visitor Centre.
• All maintenance issues identified at the Aquatic Centre have been completed, including repairs to the roof.
• Maintenance issues at the Sewage Treatment plant are also being dealt with as well as work on a beneficial biosolids report, due out later this month.
• Our #1 well, which provides emergency backup supply and summer operating support, has been shut down for the fall season. It should also be noted that summer draw down and recharge measurements for our other two wells revealed that our aquifer was able to meet the village’s summer water demand without undue distress despite the drought and unprecedented low water flows in the Heber and Gold Rivers.
• New water metres for commercial property owners (properties who already have old metres) have also been received and installation will start later this fall.
• A WorkSafeBC Occupational First Aid Level 1 recertification has also been organized for staff in the coming weeks.
• A report on the Summer Fun Co-ed Program indicated that it was once again a huge success. Carli Rose & Hannah Charette were commended for their exceptional job as leaders. The program averaged 15 youth each week and cost the village about $3,400 for the summer.
• Summer use of the Aquatic Centre was also up. We registered 141 cardio room users while gym patrons came to 242. 9 people came in specifically to use the shower facilities.
• A number of maintenance issues have been dealt with around the community including the gazebo roof at the community centre and the welcome sign roof at the entrance to town; pressure washing and painting of curbs and fire hydrants around town; and more than 500 metres of crack filling along Dogwood Drive.
• We hosted the Village Birthday celebrations at the end of August, first aid courses were held during July & August, Minor Hockey and Figure Skating both started up once the ice was in, and the Old-timers hosted their annual reunion hockey tournament September 25 & 26.
There were quarterly reports from Fire Chief, Ric Begon which indicated our fire department, as always, could use some new members. He states “moral is still high and the crew is practicing hard and making every call out.” They currently have 10 live fire trained firefighters, 2 firefighters, 1 first responder, 1 dispatcher and 3 rookies for a total of 17 members. Its not all about training though, our volunteer fire hall also participates in community outreach work. During August youth from the summer fun program came to visit the hall and watch a fire safety video; the hall held their annual golf tournament; they hosted more than 100 visitors during the reunion and put all five vehicles in the parade; they also manned a table at the community hall and gave out goodie bags to the children. Four members successfully completed their air brake course, and two members received their firefighter train the trainer tickets.
The Third Quarter Financial Report indicates most things are falling in line with the budget. It advises council that over the next few months, staff will be reviewing their departmental budgets in preparation for the 2016-19 budget sessions. The village has continued with an aggressive investment program using Raymond James and Canada Western Bank to achieve higher rates on GIC’s and are saying they expect to exceed their budgeted investment revenue. Expected revenue from Grieg Seafoods is down, $208,873 compared to a budget of $265,300 and no further grants have been received this quarter.
Overall department spending is well within budget. Tourist Information Centre operations are over budget due to unplanned repairs undertaken to restore the buildings foundation. Energy costs represent a significant portion of the budget and are closely monitored. Propane costs dropped dramatically at the end of 2014 and we are currently paying 30 cents per litre over 50 cents last year.
Administrator, Larry Plourde, also reported on the new recycling programs that the Regional District has implemented over the past two years saying that the district as a whole is seeing a savings, but that Gold River is shipping out almost as much as before and costs may actually be higher due to some price increases.
There were a number of verbal reports under Council Information Items.
Mayor Unger gave an update on the Nimpkish Park Spray Park saying that a report from the engineers indicated some issues, such as the depth to dig the foundation, needed attention. A meeting will be set up later this month for staff and council to go over the plans with the engineers.
Council had some discussion on where to locate the wooden benches that were carved this summer. Council had provided the prize money for the event on the understanding that the carved seating would be available for Nimpkish Park and/or other locations around the village. They talked about having the large eagle carving near the village office, with another somewhere near the info centre. Two of the benches are earmarked for Nimpkish Park, but may be moved “into storage” at the yard until the weather is better and ground prep can be completed next spring. Council will look over options and make a decision at a later date.
There was an invitation from the Strathcona Community Health Network for a meeting November 9. The Health Network was created to bring together people from wide-ranging backgrounds, roles, and perspectives to take action on issues that impact health and well being in each of our communities, the focus being on complex issues that require larger connected groups to make a difference.
Councillor Waterman reported on the Halloween party that the village hosted for the youth last Saturday. They came in under budget and the 40-45 youth that attended had an awesome time. They handed out prizes and pool passes for best costume etc and hot dogs and hot chocolate were handed out to everyone who attended. He also thanked the volunteers who came out to help.
Councillor Waterman also gave a report on a meeting he had had with the Department of Highways. With winter weather coming on they advised that their priorities during snow fall were as follows: (1) Highway #28 & the Head Bay Forest Road, (2) Road to/from Tsaxana, (3) Mill Road (Hwy #28 from town to the wharf). They use brine on the Campbell River side of the road but salt the highway from Buttle Narrows bridge to Gold River because the freeze/thaw cycle on this side and the increased rainfall, wash the brine away, while a salt mixture stays on the road longer. They also discussed the light at Saunders Bridge. While local drivers much preferred the flashing red light over waiting for a signal when no other drivers were on the road, the flashing light uses more power and the batteries were draining too fast. They are trying to come up with an alternate solution. Councillor Waterman also asked about the state of the bridge deck, which is unlikely to survive the first snow fall in its current state. They said they would look into it. Highways also reported that they had received a number of complaints about tow operators on the highway not having adequate signage or flag people, and that debris was not being cleared up. All of these issues are the responsibility of the tow truck operator and it was suggested that ICBC should be notified as they are probably still paying for these things to be done.
There were six items of correspondence on the agenda with action on only one of them. The UBCM Local Government Leadership Academy is taking place February 3-5, 2016 at the Radisson Hotel Vancouver Airport. Mayor Unger will be attending and asked for a motion to cover his costs.
Items not addressed included the following:
Colleen Campbell had written once again stating her opposition to a cell tower in town and asking council to reconsider their decision of a month ago. At the October 5 meeting council passed a motion to contact Telus and advise them that the community was ready to move forward with a tower located at the Telus site on Trumpeter Drive. Councillors Waterman and Begon voted against this motion, but it passed when Mayor Unger and Councillors MacLeod and Curr supported the change, despite an outpouring of opposition from the community last year. Mrs. Campbell advised that MLA Claire Trevena was still lobbying Telus on our behalf, to locate a tower elsewhere in the community, adding that it had been included in her newsletter.
Three of the letters were from MLA Claire Trevena to various Ministers and VIHA board members stating her opposition to planned pay parking at the new Campbell River Regional Hospital. Not only is this an additional burden to people who have already travelled to get there (it is a regional hospital, servicing many rural communities), but there is also concern about how the parking revenues will be used. She finishes by pointing out that Campbell River traditionally has very limited pay parking. The airport started charging for parking a few years ago and is one of the only locations that charge.
During Open Session Mr. Robertson asked whether benches would be located somewhere within camera range in the event of any vandalism. Council generally felt that as long as they were in the open where the public had a good view, they should be alright. Carvings such as these are located all over the place and the ones currently around the community have not had a problem.
The press also asked if the public was going to learn what the three economic development initiatives were that the mayor alluded to before going off to UBCM in September. He stated that Councillors MacLeod and Curr would have something on the next agenda reporting on the Ec Dev summit they attended last month, and giving us something on local economic development.
With no further business council adjourned in camera pursuant to the Community Charter section 90(1)(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.