OP/ED: Council Clips by Councillor Sue Heaton-Sherstobitoff

OP/ED: Council Clips by Councillor Sue Heaton-Sherstobitoff

Highlights from tonight's council meeting:

1.) Council approved the 2016 draft financial statements and approved that council hold an Annual Meeting as required under section 99 of the Community Charter on the June 26, 2017 - at the regular council meeting. Part of the draft financial statements show the status of reserves ending 2016. The city has two types of reserves - statutory an operating reserves. Statutory reserves are restricted by community charter and by Bylaw. They can only be used for the purpose specified by Bylaw. Where operating reserves can generally be utilized at the discretion of council. An important consideration however, is that council can only use these reserves for the purpose that they were established - water reserves, sewer reserves, etc. At the end of 2016 there was $4,518,354 in Statutory Reserves and $3,051,627 in Operating Reserves. At the end of December 2016 the city had approximately $793,900 of development reserve and 1.8 million of operating internal financing to pay itself. This amount will be repaid by 2021.

2.) Council passed the 3rd reading of Bylaw 1253, the Bylaw to adopt the 2017 to 2021 five year financial plan and approved the 3 readings of Bylaw 1255, the 2017 tax rates Bylaw. The 2017 budget recommends that the city increase in the Municipal taxation by approximately $56 per annum or $4.67 per month for the average household. Also in line with the council strategic priorities on economic development, the budget proposal also recommends a 1% left a commercial taxes.

3.) Council approved the participation of two property owners in the 18 month urban beekeeping pilot project. These property owners are located on 6th and 10th Ave.

4.) Council awarded a contract in the amount of $24,990 to Lanarc Consultants to work with the city to develop Columbia riverfront trail's master plan and awarded another $5000 for additional public consultation. During the public consultation phase of developing Castlegar's official community plan residence expressed a desire to embrace the Columbia River by improving accessibility, preserving its biodiversity and recognizing it as a valuable recreational amenity. A waterfront trail and associated amenities will promote opportunities for active transportation and will enhance the communities connection to the Columbia River. So more information on this coming out soon as we will be holding some sort a public consultation for this master plan.

5.) Council approved the donation of the 30-year-old 1987 Ford/Anderson engine too firefighters without borders Canada. This engine cannot be used for fighting fires in Canada anymore but will be donated to a Third World country that can utilize it. There is no cost to the city to do this. The city has previously donated outdated firefighter bunker gear to the organization and in 2003 engine one was donated to Honduras.

6.) Council authorize staff to purchase a new back up generator for meadowlark pump house for total value of $120,315 plus tax. If you recall the 2015 windstorm, the park pump house lost power and by the time a rental Genset was install the city was left with approximate 2 feet of water in the upper bench reservoirs leaving the city without water for fires suppression in those areas for two or three days. This highlighted the necessity to install back up power at both the park and Meadowlark pump houses. Park's backup was installed last year.

During question period the following questions were asked:

1.) Why is there a garbage bin at the complex labeled 'community hero's?' - it was for Pitch-In Week so that various organizations and groups could put the garbage they collect in the bins.

2.) Asked about the small directional signs for Millennium Park - Council has put $100,000 in this year's budget for new 'way-finding' signs throughout the city and into the City. A report will be coming before council soon.

3.) Question around the direction of the Columbia Riverfront Trail - both directions - North and South.

If you have any questions, please let me know.