DOI in strong financial position: auditor
By Carol Gordon
The regular meeting of District of Invermere (DOI) council was held on Tuesday, April 24 at 7 p.m. in the Municipal Office.
In attendance were: Mayor Gerry Taft and Councillors: Greg Anderson, Paul Denchuk, Al Miller and Justin Atterbury.
Staff present were: Chris Prosser, Chief Administrative Officer; Kindry Luyendyk, Corporate Officer and Karen Cote, Director of Finance
Gallery: Six people
PETITIONS AND DELEGATIONS
BDO Canada LLP (Binder Dijker Otte & Co is an international network of public accounting, tax, consulting and business advisory firms) Harley Lee, CPA, CA and Partner in BDO Cranbrook presented the audited financial statements to council. After his presentation, he replied, when asked by Councillor Anderson, “Overall you’re showing a strong financial position.”
He began his presentation with some personal background, “I actually have a background in Fisheries and Wildlife management. I spent in access of 20 years in the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. I am also with the Conservation office Service. I am here representing the Lake Windermere District Rod & Gun Club and we’ve been doing quite a bit of work on Ben Abel Creek over the past couple of years.”
Mitchell-Banks identified the two fish habitat issues on Ben Abel Creek (pictured right): “One is the fish passage in the creek, allowing fish to get up to where they need to go and the other is the actual pollution that is occurring on the watershed itself,”
Further to these two issues, he said that “We know that the culvert is a barrier to fish” and Johnston Road is collapsing and washing out into the creek. He further stated, “there is a legal liability there” on the fish migration problem.
After providing further details on the issues, he concluded: “The advice we’d like to provide is that immediate action is necessary to protect those stocks.” He made recommendations that the culvert be removed, as “culverts aren’t very fish friendly and they don’t hold up over time,” as well as “the stabilization along the lower portion of Johnston Road.”
A question and answer period along with discussion followed between Mitchell-Banks, Chris Prosser, Chief Administrative Officer, and councillors as to possible strategies for dealing with these two fish habitat issues.
Councillor Anderson commented, “I’d like to see us start working on this. We should be doing something.”
Mayor Taft said: “Thank you very much for bringing it to our attention.”
Columbia Valley Community Economic Development Officer Ryan Watmough gave a presentation to council. He started his Quarterly Update January – April 2018 presentation with an Introduction to Community Economic Development as stated on his website:
“Community Economic Development (CED) is,” as defined by The Canadian CED Network, “action by people locally to create economic opportunities that improve social conditions, particularly for those who are most disadvantaged. This approach, more than traditional economic development, “recognizes that economic, environmental and social challenges are interdependent, complex and ever-changing.
“What does this mean? It means that the Columbia Valley Community Economic Development Officer (CVCEDO for short) is focused on “stabilizing local economies; creating long-term employment; building on local resources and capacities; increasing community control and ownership, and the health of the environment” in the Columbia Valley – from Canal Flats to Spillimacheen (SFU CED, 2018).”
Watmough covered what he has been up to since being hired September 2017. Identified goals include:
Solidify a Collaborative Regional Approach for Effective Action;
Formalize and Advance Community Economic Development Initiatives to Diversify the Economy and Create Quality Local Jobs;
Refresh the Columbia Valley’s Image and Promote the Image & Brand;
Improve the Columbia Valley’s Infrastructure, Amenities, and Recreational Features.
BYLAWS & PUBLIC HEARING REPORTS:
“Under Section 740 (2) of the Local Government Act, municipal public officials are immune form actions for damages allegedly created by something said, done or omitted by the officer. Indemnification does not apply if the individual was found to be guilty of dishonesty, gross negligence, malicious or wilful misconduct or libel/slander. The proposed bylaw replaces our current bylaw to align with the requirements under s 740 of the Local Government Act. Members of council and officers of the district are protected under this bylaw provided they are exercising their duties within the parameters that have been defined.” Excerpt from RFD (Request For Decision)
Community Facility Parcel Tax Amendment Bylaw No. 1539, 2018; Water Improvements 2008 Parcel Tax Amendment Bylaw No. 1540, 2018; Water Supply Upgrade Parcel Tax Amendment Bylaw No. 1541, 2018
These parcel taxes set the rates for the 2018 taxation year. Facility Parcel Tax decreased by $.62, Water Improvements Tax decreased by $.52 and Water Supply Upgrade Tax decreased by $8.49.
The Parcel Tax Amendment Bylaws to receive three readings were passed by council.
2018 Tax Rates Bylaw No. 1542, 2018 to receive three readings was carried by council.
“At the October 31, 2017 meeting, the Committee of the Whole recommended that the Director of Finance “prepare tax rate scenarios of a 4.5% increase or a $70 increase for the average single-family home” (SFD) and “that the commercial tax rate ratio remain the same at 2.62 times the residential rate”. This initial recommendation was made, pending the receipt of the Completed Assessment Roll. On January 2, 2018 the Completed Assessment Roll was released and on January 16, 2018, four tax rate scenarios were presented to the Committee of the Whole.
The Committee recommended Scenario 4 from that meeting. Recommendation: THAT the Financial Plan be amended to reflect revenue equal to an increase of approximately $50 for the average residential and commercial taxpayer understanding that this will drop the Business/Other (Class 6) tax ratio from 2.62 times the residential rate to 2.51 times the residential rate.” RFD (Request for Decision)
Council passed that the Financial Statements ending December 31, 2017 be accepted.
REPORTS REQUIRING ACTION:
The Branch Out Neurological Foundation – Branch Out Bike Tour (June 16);
David Thompson Secondary School (DTSS) – Grad March (June 27)
CORRESPONDENCE REQUIRING ACTION:
Columbia Valley Youth Soccer Association’s request for funding $1,500 to assist in equipment for the year was approved.
Councillor Denchuk said: “I think we should give them their ask. This is a huge part of our population. I think every child in our valley under the age of 14 is probably playing soccer right now. You break that down to each child, the $ 1500.”
B.C. Senior Games Zone 7’s request for funding towards the B.C. Senior Games, East Kootenay Zone 7 was denied.
Mayor Taft informed council that the games are in Kimberley and Cranbrook.
Councillor Anderson commented: “I think we normally support our local seniors to attend as well, if they request it. That’s what we’ve done in previous years.”
Sean Sutliffe’s letter regarding a park in CastleRock that is filled with water was discussed by council.
“As per the commitment last spring to remove the gazebo by this 2018 spring and reduce pond level from encroaching on the home owner’s property.” (excerpt from letter).
Mayor Taft asked for an update from CAO Chris Prosser. He discussed the challenges they are facing. This was followed by discussion between Mayor Taft, council and Prosser.
Mayor Taft said: “I think that originally we were hopeful that it (water) would settle at a certain level and not get worse but it looks like it’s getting worse. There seems like there’s another source of water. So ultimately we’re going to have to look at more of a long-term solution. This is definitely short term at this stage to get rid of the Gazebo and pump it once but chances are the water is going to come back.”
Prosser said, “It leads us to suspect that it is a ground water spring issue.”
PUBLIC QUESTION AND COMMENT PERIOD:
Kathleen O’Neill, a resident of CastleRock said, “I was here at the last council meeting and I have raised concerns about a secondary road into CastleRock. I have been assured by Chris Prosser that in the event of an emergency, an emergency vehicle would be able to access” the road into CastleRock.
“I think it’s important that we receive that in a letter,” she added.
Discussion followed between council, Mayor Taft, Ben Mitchell-Banks, Chris Prosser and O’Neill about her concern that her community have access to fire protection.
“I wouldn’t recommend our council to ever sign something like that,” said Coun. Anderson.
O’Neill mentioned that she thought that the next step was “to talk with Chief Roe (Acting Fire Chief) about the current state and what his thoughts are.”
The next District of Invermere regular council meeting is Tuesday, May 8 at 7 p.m.
The District of Invermere council meets regularly throughout the year on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month (second Tuesdays only during July, August, September and December) at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Office (914 – 8th Avenue, Invermere) unless otherwise indicated.