Via Suzanne Trevis
Please be advised that date and time of the next Regular Council Meeting was changed from Monday September 21 to Thursday, September 17 as members of council would be absent that week at UBCM (Union of BC Municipalities Convention). It was also agreed that meeting times would be changed to 7pm. The meeting will be held tonight!
GOLD RIVER VILLAGE COUNCIL
September 8, 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 twelve members of the public and the press in the gallery.
During Open Session the press asked about the status of the waterpark. Mayor Unger explained that the village is waiting now on a grant application, which will not be awarded until February 2016. Later in the meeting Councillor Begon asked about the status of the RFP (request for proposals) “is it just sitting there? has it been cancelled? Do we need to do a new one?” Mr. Plourde explained that council had chosen to wait on the RFP when they went forward with the proposal that included the grant that has been applied for. No one was chosen. He went on to advise that they should resubmit the RFP, and sooner would be better than later. They discussed having it ready for October.
A new resident brought information forward to council regarding cell service and microwave energy. He explained that he and his wife had come here specifically because the village had turned down the proposal for a cell tower in the centre of town. His wife becomes very ill around the energy that is produced by wireless devices, and they have been forced to move a number of times now due to her health. They are very happy here in Gold River. He was asking council what their current position was on the subject of cell service. Mayor Unger explained that the village had only turned down the placement of the tower and that the current council does support cell service and are actively pursuing getting service in the area. He went on to say that at the Regional District level they are pushing for cell service on all of our main highways.
The Mayor then called the meeting to order. The Agenda was approved and Minutes from the Regular Council Meeting held August 4 were received.
There were eight reports on tonights agenda. The first addressed repairs at the Municipal Wharf. Council had approved the work last June, at this point staff were looking for confirmation on a proposal from West Coast Diving for the repair of the Structural Piles and the Pile Caps for $32,950. The Administrator advised that work could begin as early as October. Councillor Waterman, who sits on the wharf committee, pointed out that this is half of what they original budgeted for. He went on to say that he was glad we are finally moving ahead on this project as it is long overdue.
The next report dealt with Permissive Tax Exemptions. This annual task exempts certain properties in the community, such as churches, from paying all or a portion of the municipal portion of property taxes. This year the Golf Course also receives a full exemption, per a decision made by council earlier this year. Property owners are still required to pay School Taxes. Council received the report without much comment.
Council then received a report on Well Monitoring and Water Usage over the summer. With the drought experienced by all of Vancouver Island this summer the question was raised if more restrictive water conservation measures should be implemented. Staff reviewed the current bylaw and drafted a 3 stage water restriction plan for council to review. They were seeking direction as to whether they should prepare the plan as its own bylaw or to amend the Current bylaw to include it, complete with ticketing offences. The Administrator advised that during the summer, staff had been checking on the wells at least 3 times a week. Some days they were a little slow to recharge, but overall, came back up to regular levels. Staff had attached usage reports, which will be addressed in a separate article. “We don’t feel we have a water availability issue at this time,” said the Administrator.
When discussing the budget earlier this year, staff had come forward with a plan to replace all of the old, obsolete water metres with new, standardized and technologically advanced water metres. Council approved a $73,500 budget to complete the work, but the question was asked, how many customers exceed the base rate for consumption and are charged the metered rate?
A review of the metered accounts show that 11 of 19 commercial accounts exceed the flat rate, some only during the summer. Some of the others used to, but due to vacancies, do not presently exceed the flat rate. The report pointed out that metres do provide an incentive for users to conserve water. Also, this way, customers who use more water end up contributing more for that service. Council moved to replace the commercial metres at a cost of $73,423.16. There was also discussion on a way to ‘test metre’ suspected high use or leakage areas. There were a few options available, council advised staff to have a report ready for next years budget discussions.
Reports from the Aquatic & Utilities Supervisor and the Parks & Recreation Manager, both outlined rate increases for the coming year. Over all they were advising a 0% increase for child rates, 2% increase for teen and family rates, and 5% increase for adults and seniors, which council approved. Despite the increase, rates in Gold River are still well below the Island Average. e.g. average Senior Rate $4.42 compared to Gold River at $3.90 (was $3.70)
A report from the Deputy Treasurer provided council with an update on the Villages financial situation as of June 30. It also included a listing of Capital Projects that had been approved this year and their current status.
During Council Information Items the Mayor gave a quick recap of the Birthday celebrations, saying the event had been a huge success. He showed everyone a plaque that had been received from MLA Claire Trevena commemorating the event. He also mentioned the time capsule that had been opened on the birthday and reminded everyone that items for the new time capsule had to be decided on by the end of the year.
It was noted that the date and time of the next Regular Council Meeting was being changed from Monday September 21 to Thursday, September 17 as members of council would be absent that week at UBCM (Union of BC Municipalities Convention). It was also agreed that meeting times would be changed to 7pm.
There were 15 items of correspondence received, action was taken on the following:
GR Health Clinic requesting free use of meeting space for Wellness Recovery Action Plan meetings in October. Council approved the request.
Village Voice request for “enhanced communications of Council information including minutes, notice of meetings and other council related information”. Council currently provides copies of meeting minutes to the Public Library. Technically minutes are not public record until council receives them at the following meeting, meaning they are at least two weeks after the fact. Council discussed making ‘draft’ copies available, they were also asked during Question Period whether copies could be made available at the Literacy Centre.
Melony Larre, Outreach Coordinator for the Literacy Centre was also asking council to proclaim September Literacy Month, which they did.
Minister of Transportation, Todd Stone replied to a letter from Council regarding the Saunders Creek bridge. In it he explains “work has begun on the project with construction of the temporary detour route and structure anticipated for completion by mid-October 2015.” He went on to say “Unfortunately the in-stream construction work must be completed over two years and during two specific periods of time to minimize the environmental impact on fish in Saunders Creek.” With regards to concerns over the grades of the detour bridge he wrote “ministry staff have reviewed the proposed alignment for the temporary structure and that highway grades will be the same as those at the approach of the existing bridge.”
With no further business council moved to adjourn to an in camera session 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.