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Posted: January 24, 2014

Sparwood Council Facts

sparwoodlogoRelay for Life

Ms. Jenn Smith representing the Canadian Cancer Society made a presentation to District of Sparwood Council Jan. 13 regarding the 2014 Elk Valley Relay For Life event. The event is being planned for Sparwood on June 21, at the Leisure Centre. An open house information session will be held February 4, from 6 – 8 p.m. at Causeway Bay.

Coal Discovery Trail

A meeting between the District of Sparwood, RDEK, Nature Conservancy, Tembec, Teck Coal and the Fernie Trails Alliance was held on December 2, where all parties supported the transfer of the Coal Discovery Trail from the Regional District of East Kootenay to the District of Sparwood and the Fernie Trails Alliance.

The trail system between Sparwood and Fernie is used by a variety of non-motorized users including hikers, mountain bikers, cross-country skiers, and horseback riders. With the approval of the electors under the Alternative Approval Process, (AAP) Council authorized the Director of Corporate Services to enter into a 10-year Recreation Land Use Permit agreements with Tembec Forest Products Ltd., The Nature Conservancy of Canada, Canfor, the British Columbia Hydro Authority, and 6069786 Canada Inc.

Fiber optics

Mr. Richard Wake, Chief Technology Officer with Columbia Broadband Corporation made a presentation to Council regarding a broadband network across the Columbia Basin. Barbara Nunes, Director of Finance and Danny Dwyer, Director of Engineering also presented reports detailing history and background of the District of Sparwood fibre project, as well as an accounting of install, maintenance, extension and revenue offsets regarding Broadband. If you still have questions, please submit them to Terry Melcer, CAO at [email protected]. Ms. Melcer will be compiling a list of ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ and these will be posted to the website.

Official Community Plan update

The District of Sparwood is more than halfway through updating its Official Community Plan (OCP) using a three-phase process: issue identification and awareness-raising; choosing options and directions; and finalizing the plan. During phase two of the process the OCP Planning Team mailed postcards, put up posters, organized, and hosted ‘Kitchen Table Conversations’ to generate ideas for the OCP, participated in community events to raise awareness about the OCP and how to get involved, and updated the website with the phase one Community Feedback report, photo contest winners, and other project updates.

The district’s next step is to write a first draft of the Official Community Plan that includes staff and council input, community input, and technical expertise. The OCP will set out a vision and direction for what Sparwood could be like in 2035, and it will take the whole community’s support and action for us to reach that vision. The district will be circulating a newsletter to update residents about project progress. Be sure to sign up for updates on our website in order to be among the first to hear about the draft OCP

SparElkElk River water crossing

During the June 2013 flooding event, the steel pipe water line under the Elk River was taken out of service by the floodwaters of the Elk River. This line fed the new Michel Creek Road area. The contract for the replacement of the water main was awarded to Bob Mitchell Excavating Ltd. for the price of $1,055,700. Emergency Management BC disaster relief fund may cover up to a maximum of 80% of the costs to restore the line that was damaged. The other 20% of the cost to increase the line size is borne by the District of Sparwood along with any work that is not directly related to restoring the line to its pre-existing condition.

Vacancy rates

Every year the Planning Department contacts local apartment owners, seniors housing, and mobile home park managers to determine the vacancy rate in the district. The informal survey was conducted between January 3 and 14. There are only 14 out of a potential 579 units (apartments, seniors housing, and mobile home parks) available for rent resulting in an overall vacancy rate of 2.42%.

Average vacancy rates for apartments and seniors housing have ranged between a low of 3.9% in 2013 to a high of 17% in 2004.

Chamber of Commerce

SparwoodThe District of Sparwood has negotiated new terms with the Sparwood and District Chamber of Commerce for the multi-business signs located at various locations within the district. Under the new terms, the chamber will pay the district rent in the amount of $450 per month plus GST for a period of five years. Council will consider a resolution authorizing the disposition of improvements at the February 17 regular meeting.

Workplace Bullying and Harassment Policies

In April of 2013 WorkSafeBC announced the approval of new Occupational Health and Safety Workplace Bullying and Harassment Policies, which came into effect on November 1, 2013. The Workers Compensation Act sets out the general duties of employers, workers, and supervisors to ensure or protect the health and safety of workplace parties. Council endorsed two new policies dealing with workplace bullying and harassment that are in alignment with legislation. These policies are part of the continuing efforts by the District of Sparwood to provide a respectful, healthy, and welcoming workplace environment.


Bylaw 1140 cited as “Revenue Anticipation Borrowing Bylaw 1140, 2014” was adopted. The purpose of a revenue anticipation borrowing bylaw is to provide for an operating line of credit. The District of Sparwood has not had an overdraft for many years; however, there is always the possibility that one could be created if transfers from investments are delayed.

Council travel

Mayor Lois Halko was authorized to attend the BC Mayors’ Caucus Meeting in Cranbrook on April 23 –25.

Mayor Halko and Councillors McKie and Wilton were authorized to attend the 2014 FCM Annual Conference and Trade Show in Niagara Falls, Ont. from May 28 to June 2.

On-street parking regulations reminder

October 1 – March 31 – District of Sparwood “Sparwood Traffic, Parking and Highways Regulation Bylaw No. 472, 1987, Amendment Bylaw 1106, 2012” prohibits on-street parking from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. October 1 to March 31 inclusive.

Residents should note that:

– Parking on the street during snow plowing, snow removal, snow hauling, or sanding operations is prohibited;

– It is an offence to push, place or throw or allow to be pushed, placed or thrown any snow or ice upon a highway or lane; and

– That no advance warning is required under the bylaw and the Motor Vehicle Act and offending vehicles will be towed. Please make appropriate arrangement for parking your vehicles.

Business licenses

All people carrying on a business within the municipality require a business license. This includes all home occupations, catalogue sales, commercial, and out of town businesses.

This is a reminder to all local business owners that your 2014 Business Licences are now due.

If you have not purchased your current license please come into our office and bring your account up to date.

New businesses can apply in person at 136 Spruce Avenue or on-line at under application forms.

Snow removal safety

Please do not allow your children to dig tunnels in the snow banks along district streets. Snow removal equipment operators have limited visibility and may not see children playing.

Parents and neighbours need to keep a watchful eye for where children are playing and warn them of the dangers.

2014 council meeting dates

DOSparwood WinterRegular Council Meetings

January 20, February 3, February 17, March 3, March 17, April 7, April 22 (Tuesday), May 5, May 20 (Tuesday), June 16, July 21, August 18, September 2 (Tuesday), September 15, October 6, October 20, November 3, November 17, December 1, December 15

Committee of the Whole Meetings

January 27, February 24, March 31, April 28, May 26, June 30, September 29, October 27 and November 24.

All meetings commence at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Office, 136 Spruce Avenue, Sparwood.

Items for the agenda must be received at the Municipal Office by noon on the Wednesday preceding the meeting. Anyone wishing to address council must submit an Application to Appear Before Council, available on the District’s website, by fax, or by request at the front counter.

Columbia Basin Trust Community Initiatives and Affected Areas Program

Applications are now being accepted for the 2014/2015 Columbia Basin Trust Community Initiatives and Affected Areas Program.

Application forms and proposal guidelines are available at the District of Sparwood Municipal Office and on the RDEK website at under CBT. The application deadline for project proposals is 4:30 p.m. Monday, February 17.

Upcoming meetings in council chambers

– Monday, January 27 – Committee of the Whole Meeting at 7 p.m.

– Monday, February 3 – Regular Meeting of Council at 7:00 p.m.

District of Sparwood

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