There has been a lot of buzz around the village
By Ute Juras,
Mayor of Village of Canal Flats
The year is quickly winding down and we are heading straight into the busiest season of the year. Just keep in mind, as you get caught up into the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, the most important things in life are your family, your friends, your health and your happiness!
There has been a lot of buzz around the village regarding the bylaw enforcement. There are three components to bylaw enforcement:
The bylaws themselves: most of our bylaws have been inherited by the Regional District of East Kootenay when we incorporated. Some of them we have amended to suit our needs more and others are still a work in progress. Having said that, some of the bylaws that we have revised are still not quite what reflects the nature of the town.
From what I’m hearing the ones that are most at issue are “The Roads and Traffic Bylaw” (deals with the boulevard parking) and the “Zoning Bylaw” (dictates how many vehicles can be parked in a driveway under Residential Zoning). Council will be going into our Planning and Priorities workshop on Saturday, November 30, and we will make one of our priorities to revisit some of those bylaws and amend them to make them fit better. If there are any other bylaws that you feel we should be looking at please be sure to contact the office, myself, or any of the council members.
The policies by which the bylaws get enforced: these policies are set by council. Council has yet to look at these policies closely to give clear direction to staff on how the enforcement is carried out. We are committing to doing that at our next meeting on Monday, December 9. In the meantime, we would again appreciate any feedback that you may have by contacting the village office, council members or me.
The enforcement officer: this person is an employee of the village who directly answers to the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) namely, Brian Woodward. Any complaints on the nature of this person’s conduct or issues involving individual property owners should be dealt with directly with him. This is not a council issue; it is operational and, therefore, should be handled by staff. Please don’t hesitate to contact Brian or me if you have any questions or need further clarification.
I hope this answers some of the questions and concerns regarding the bylaw enforcement. Again, we have heard what you have said and we will do our best to address the issues.
One other quick request; when you do contact us please follow it up with something in writing. That way it will be on record and cannot be misinterpreted or get lost in translation.
The other thing I wanted to talk about is the arena. There is some information circulating that we are in an “overrun” of $260,000. I want to make clear that this is not an “overrun,” but added costs should we decide to go ahead with the insulation of the building.
The upgrades that have been done were based on an engineering report from 2008, which recommended the replacement of the concrete slab. It was estimated to cost around $1 million at the time. The only thing we added to the budget was the replacement of the bleachers as they were not up to code and it would have cost substantially more to replace them after the slab was put into place.
As for the insulation, we will have to decide if it is necessary, and if yes, who will pay for it. We have two options; it will either be part of the Canal Flats Recreation Service Area budget or the newly combined Columbia Valley Recreation Service Area budget, which will be a discussion the Columbia Valley Directors of the RDEK will have.
Following the floods of last June and the impact it could have had on our sewage lagoons, council is seeking grant funding to undertake a Kootenay River Dike study to protect the lagoons as well as the homes near the river. If staff is not successful in finding provincial grants by the end of January, council will have to discuss if we use some of our reserve funds to pay for the study. Once the study is done we will be able to go back to the province to seek funding for the project.
This will most likely be my last submission for 2013. We most certainly had an exciting year with a lot happening like the completion of the Columbia Discovery Center, the Arena Retrofit project and the Combined Water System Project starting up, just to name a few. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank council members for their hard work in getting things done. This is definitely a Doing-Council, not a Talking-Council J .
A great big thank you should also go out to staff who are always willing to go above and beyond the call of duty and, most importantly, they all do it with a smile on their face. Your hard work is very much appreciated!
Last, but certainly not least, I would like to thank the community. We have had a year of unthinkable tragedy, confusing issues and some controversy. I have seen great acts of compassion, a community coming together to help one of our own overcome a most difficult of time. I have seen a community engaged in the issues, becoming involved and making sure that their voices are being heard. I cannot tell you how proud I am to be part of this wonderful town.
Wishing you all the very best of the season and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!
As always, please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions/concerns (Phone: 250-489-9070, E-mail: [email protected].