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Posted: March 24, 2015

Second AAP sought for Spray repair work

By Ian Cobb/e-KNOW

City of Cranbrook taxpayers will be asked to participate in a second alternative approval process (AAP) in order to seek approval for borrowing up to $700,000 in order to repair the Motor Control Centre at the city’s Spray Irrigation facility.

CranSprayleadCity council March 23 unanimously approved the first three readings of a bylaw to repeal Motor Control Centre (MCC) Replacement – Spray Irrigation Facility Loan Authorization Bylaw No. 3812, 2014. The repeal will allow city staff to proceed with a second AAP as set out in section 86 of the Community Charter to obtain elector approval on a borrowing not to exceed $700,000.

A second AAP, which will receive final reading at council’s next meeting, is necessary following the first one, which ended last Dec. 10, because of a missed deadline, reported Finance and Computer Services.

“Upon expiration of the statutory quashing period (which extends for one month after the adoption of the bylaw), an application was made to the Inspector of Municipalities for a Certificate of Approval. Unfortunately, the statutory requirement of having the deadline for submission of elector responses be at least 30 days after the second newspaper publication was not met, being one day short.

Therefore, as the bylaw does not meet statutory requirements, it is prudent that the Motor Control Center (MCC) Replacement – Spray Irrigation Facility Loan Authorization Bylaw No. 3812, 2014 be repealed. Staff is bringing forward, under a separate report recommendation, a new loan authorization bylaw to initiate the second alternative approval process,” Finance and Computer Services outlined in a report to council.

While council approved the first three readings of the bylaw, several members pushed city administration for answers.

Coun. Wes Graham
Coun. Wes Graham

Coun. Wesly Graham asked why the city needs to borrow up to $700,000 if it has funds in reserve accounts.

“I think we could fund this through our general fund,” he suggested.

Chief administrative officer Wayne Staudt explained the city strives to keep $2 million in available surpluses in case of expensive emergencies. And the city surplus is “not at our target amount at this time.”

Staudt added transfers from one reserve account to another can occur, and are becoming more common in other municipalities, but “we’ve never done that.”

Charlotte Osborne, City Director of Finance and Computer Services noted that the importance of reserve funds is realized when emergency situations arise and repairs must take place immediately, without time for a referendum or AAP.

“This (Spray work) is not an emergency situation,” she said.

Coun. Isaac Hockley pressed, pointing out that when the MCC replacement was first brought to council “it was a serious concern.”

Osborne said because of time passed and the approaching May 1 start to irrigation season in Spray, the situation is no longer an emergency.

What is an AAP?

According to B.C.’s Community Charter, “A local government must publish a notice in a newspaper outlining the purposes of a proposed bylaw, agreement, or other matter where the approval of the electors is required. After the second of two notices is advertised, electors have 30 days in which to advise their local government that in their opinion, the matter is of such significance that a referendum should be held. If more than 10% of the electors hold this opinion, then the local government cannot proceed with the proposed bylaw, agreement, or other matter without holding a referendum.

“The method by which the electors express their opinion is by signing an Elector Response Form and submitting it to their local government within 30 days of the second notice. It is the responsibility for the local government to create the elector response form, which can be designed to allow either a single elector or multiple electors to sign it.”

Lead image: A herd of elk grazes across a Spray Irrigation Area field. Ian Cobb/e-KNOW

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