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Posted: February 23, 2018

Councillor to explore plastic bag ban

What Happened at Invermere Council This Week?

By Anne Jardine

The regular meeting of the District of Invermere council was held on Tuesday, February 14 at 7 p.m. in the Municipal Office.

In attendance were: Mayor Gerry Taft and Councillors: Greg Anderson, Paul Denchuk, and Justin Atterbury.

Staff present were: Chris Prosser, Chief Administrative Officer; Kindry Luyendyk, Corporate Officer; and Karen Cote, Director of Finance.

Gallery:   Two people


Councillor Greg Anderson moved and Councillor Paul Denchuk seconded a resolution to give first reading to Bylaw No. 1535 governing the operation and fee structures for the use of property held by the municipality for pleasure, recreation or community uses.

Schedule A of this bylaw includes a detailed rental rate structure for the Columbia Valley Community Facility, which sets rates for not-for-profit groups, youth or senior groups, leisure activities groups, and private functions. It includes rates for hourly rentals, one day rentals, and a weekend package. It outlines rates for use of various parts of the facility, general set-up charges, technical set-up charges, and damage deposits.

Mayor Taft explained that these rates are intended to be affordable for the public but must take into consideration the district’s operating costs. “When the new building first opened, we did not have a full picture of those operating costs,” he said. “And really this is our first crack at it, so it (the rental fee schedule) may have to be revisited as the building’s details and technical amenities are completed in the months to come.”

“Schedule A” of this bylaw also includes rates for use of the CPR Lodge, Mount Nelson Athletic Park with its skate park, ball diamonds, and playing fields, as well as the Rotary Ball Park and concession. It also includes rates for the open green spaces at Pothole Park, Pynelogs grounds, Tunnacliffe Heights, Lions Park, and CastleRock Park.

FINANCIAL PLAN Bylaw No. 1532, 2017

Council adopted this five-year financial plan, which had been given its first reading in 2017, and second and third readings at the regular district council’s January 23 meeting. After the affirmative vote, Mayor Taft quipped, “This is the first time in many years that the Invermere (tax) assessment is lower than Radium’s.”



Financial Director Karen Cote presented a proposal authorizing the district to enter into an equipment financing agreement with the province’s Municipal Financial Authority in the amount of $20,950. She explained that this amount would be financed over four years with the option to pay out before the term expires. The purpose of this financing would be to replace the municipal office’s current telephone service with a Mitel MiVoice 250 phone system.

“Twenty-one thousand dollars seems like a lot, but in researching this, we found that’s what the going rate is, and remember, it spreads over the four budget years,” Cote said.

Councillor Denchuk asked, “What exactly do we get for that?”

Ms Cote replied that the equipment, the software, the installation, and an assurance package for technical support are all part of the contract, and that having worked with Mitel in the past, she is confident that they will be reliable in their support services.

“What will happen to our old system?” Councillor Anderson asked.

Ms Cote replied that it will re-purposed and moved over to the new Community Centre to be used through the building and especially by the library.

Mr. Anderson followed up, “Who is doing this repurposing?” Ms Cote responded that the MiTech team will move the system and do the installation as part of the overall project.

Council voted unanimously in favour of entering into this agreement.


Council approved a resolution to provide local government assistance for the 2018 budget year to these seven groups:

  • Family Dynamix Association – $600 for funding to assist the Family Inclusion Network for Diverse Abilities (FIND)
  • Toby Creek Nordic Ski Club – $2,500 for funding to assist in equipment for the youth skill development program.
  • Columbia Basin Environmental Education Network – $500 for Wild voices for kids
  • Wings Over the Rockies – $500 for funding to assist with the Children’s Festival.
  • Columbia Valley Arts Council – $750 for funding to assist with the “Love it Live” music events.
  • Invermere Companion Animal Network (ICAN) – $1,000 for funding to assist in the installation of security cameras.
  • Special Olympics British Columbia – Invermere – $1,000 for funding assistance for athletes to attend regional competitions.


Chief Administrative Officer Chris Prosser summarized the background on this policy change, which permits the closing of lapsed building permits.

“Many of the lapsed permits were issued more than twenty years ago, and for the most part, the buildings have been substantially completed but have not had a final inspection. Many of the properties have changed ownership over the years and this makes bylaw enforcement complicated and sometimes impossible. Tracking the permits that are in some cases decades old has become a huge administrative task that is not the best use of our staff and resources. The intent of this policy change is to minimize liability. Should the building inspection staff become aware of a serious hazard associated with any of these lapsed permits, the revised policy does allow for us to proceed with the register of a Notice on the property title under Section 57 of the Community Charter, requiring the owner to remedy the situation.”

Coun. Denchuk asked if there is any way of fixing this issue. Prosser responded that some of the permits go back to the 1980s and too many changes in code and in ownership have occurred over that time.

Denchuk pursued his concern: “It has always puzzled me, why occupancy and final inspection are not rolled into one process.” Prosser replied that there are a few communities that have done this. He suggested that staff could research how that was done in terms of bylaws and regulation, and how it has worked out.

With regard to liability concerns, Coun. Anderson offered to bring this matter to the next meeting of the Municipal Insurance Association.

Coun. Anderson moved and Coun. Atterbury seconded a resolution to adopt the Lapsed Building Permit Policy 2018-01 as presented. The motion carried.


Council approved appointment of Kindry Luyendyk as Chief Election Officer and Chris Prosser as Deputy Election Officer for the 2018 General Local Election. These appointments fall under Section 58 of the Local Government Act. The motions to appoint were made by councillors Anderson and Atterbury.


The following events were authorized by motion of councillors Anderson and Denchuk:

  • Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 71 Summer Market (June 23 – September 1)
  • Canada Day Parade – July 1
  • Octoberfest – September 29

Any fees associated with Policy 2008-01 are waived for these events. The organizers will provide their own liability insurance for the events.


  • Lil Steinwand – letter regarding residential garbage pickup
  • Dawn Attorp – regarding a sani-dump
  • Ministry of Attorney General – thank you letter
  • Ministry of Health – thank you letter
  • District of Coldstream – letter regarding prevention of Quagga and Zebra mussels
  • Township of Spallumcheen letter regarding ride sharing regulations and a second letter regarding cannabis revenue sharing


Coun. Paul Denchuk

Councillor Denchuk opened discussion on the idea of the district banning the retailer use of plastic bags.

“There’s a plastic bag hanging in a tree near my place, and it’s been up there for five years!” For all that time, he has been watching this bag and thinking about its continuing presence on the landscape.

“We live in this beautiful place,” he observed. “We get in the habit of having the convenience.” Over the past months, he has also been noticing that municipalities around Canada, and other parts of the world have already taken action to ban or restrict the sale or use of plastic bags.

Mayor Taft questioned whether this is the most pressing issue for Invermere at this time. That question was ignored as discussion continued. Councillor Atterbury asked, “Victoria has just passed a bylaw on this; can we have a look at that?” The meeting went on to discuss cornstarch bags and also the problem of plastic straws.

Councillor Denchuk complimented local grocery store No-Frills for making a good start on reducing one-time use plastic bags by charging for them and providing cardboard box options for shoppers. “I’d be happy to do the homework on this, find out how other communities are handling this issue, talk to the local retailers to see how a ban might affect them.”

He will present his findings at a future council meeting.

Late agenda

Two other letters were received after the printing of the agenda for this meeting.

  • Letter from Mountain and Valley Destination Marketing Organization proposing an Invermere and Panorama shared marketing plan

In reference to this letter, Mayor Taft commented, “The district is not pushing this at this time.”

  • Letter from Haworth Development Consulting on behalf of CastleRock (Grizzly Ridge development) to advise that it will not be pursuing boundary application at this time.

This CastleRock letter followed up on a presentation about district boundary extension at the December 14 (2017) Committee of the Whole Meeting. At that meeting, Richard Haworth gave a presentation on behalf of Grizzly Ridge Properties on a possible boundary expansion application that would include 225 acres of land into the District of Invermere boundaries. Mr. Haworth discussed the protection of the property around Paddy Ryan Lake, which is the main water source for Invermere, as well as, dedicated park space. Following that presentation, members of council and the public asked questions and gave comments regarding the proposal. See more

Council continued to discuss this matter at their January 9 regular meeting and again briefly at this February 13 meeting after receipt of Mr. Haworth’s’ letter. Mayor Taft eventually concluded, “No boundaries proposal has come before us at this point. If and when it does, we will consider it fully, and decide how to respond.”

See also the January 12 article from e-KNOW


Mr. Buzz Harmsworth asked for information about the original Paddy Ryan water license agreement, which he believes was held by the West Side Improvement District. Mr. Prosser replied that district staff will research this.

The next District of Invermere regular meeting is (postponed from the usual Tuesday to) Wednesday, February 28 at 7 p.m.

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.


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