Invermere Council Update
By Carol Gordon
The regular meeting of the District of Invermere council was held on Tuesday, March 13 at 7 p.m. in the Municipal Office.
In attendance were: Mayor Gerry Taft and Councillors: Greg Anderson and Al Miller.
Staff present were: Chris Prosser, Chief Administrative Officer; Kindry Luyendyk, Corporate Officer and Rory Hromadnik, Director of Development Services
Gallery: One person
PETITIONS AND DELEGATIONS
Columbia Valley RCMP Detachment commander Sgt. Bob Vatamaniuck reported to council on priorities going forward and the change of management that’s coming.
He said, “This year 2017/18, we had an ambitious plan and we have achieved all those benchmarks. Going forward, I’ve kind of pulled back on some of that ambition because we’re going to have a change of command here. So I’ve basically, with your consultation and through this dialogue, have just identified three priorities for the next several months.
“The three priorities that I have designated for the detachment in 2018/2019 are traffic safety, and embedded in that is speeding, distracted and impaired driving. Number two would be crime reduction, specifically theft in motor vehicles. If we can convey the message to lock up your things, I think those numbers will go down. The vehicles that were targeted (this last quarter) were all open. And the third issue is simply police and community relations through just the (continuation of) the visibility of police,” as they did this past year with foot patrols through farmer’s market, presentations at the high school and attending community events.
Sgt. Vatamaniuck added that those priorities “are bendable and pliable and can be changed with the growing trends.”
After his presentation, Mayor Taft inquired, “I am just wondering, we do get some pressure publically around fentanyl and the perception that the drug dealers aren’t being investigated enough and that there’s some of these illegal things going on and if you talk to people on the street, a lot of people would say that that’s more important than say traffic safety. I’m just wondering how much of the priorities are based on RCMP mandate? Those are the things we want to do, compared to local feelings.”
Sgt. Vatamaniuck responded, “We’re not ignoring the substance abuse crisis that’s going on through the province right now and we’re dealing with that the best we can. These priorities have a broad spectrum and affect just about every individual in the valley.” (For an in depth two-part interview on this issue with Sgt. Vatamaniuck see Part I and Part II).
Sgt. Vatamaniuck also announced that it was his last meeting with council. He leaves for Penticton in three weeks to accept a promotion to be on the Senior Management Team for the Penticton Regional South Okanagan Detachment. He told council that Corporal Brent Ayers, a resident of the Columbia Valley for 12 years, will fill in until his successor, Corporal Darren Kakuno, arrives from Creston RCMP Detachment, where he worked for three years. He added that when moving to the Columbia Valley, Corporal Kakuno, with 18 years of service, will be promoted to Sergeant and Detachment Commander.
Sgt. Vatamaniuck also said that it is uncertain as to when his replacement will be arriving in the Columbia Valley, as he has to sell his house in Creston first.
Councillor Anderson: “Thnk you and on behalf of the town as well.”
Sgt. Vatamaniuck’s response: “We received a lot of positive feedback from the community. It was really a symbiotic relationship. They embraced me and in turn I embraced the community itself. All the communities in the Columbia Valley have all been fantastic. I recommend it to everyone I work with, they need to come here.”
Councillor Miller: “Same thing. Thanks for what you’ve done.”
BYLAWS & PUBLIC HEARING REPORTS:
Parks and Facilities Regulation Amendment Bylaw No. 1535, 2018 was adopted.
REPORTS REQUIRING ACTION:
“GENERAL: The proposed recommendation will provide a documented framework for current and future members of council to work within as an elected official. The polices define the expectations and provide guidance to members of council who may be questioning how they should respond online, to the press or in general conversation with members of the public. This in hand with the revised Indemnification Bylaw will provide council in general a protective framework and for residents a process to follow when concerned about a member of council’s behaviour.”
Council Code of Conduct “The policies key purpose is to set the expectation for the behaviour of Council officials in carrying out their functions and duties on behalf of the District of Invermere: The policy is based upon five key principles: integrity, accountability, leadership, respect and openness.”
“The district has had a Council Value Statement since 2010. This policy is re-affirmed with each new council that is elected. Changes may or may not be made but is dependent from council to council. The key change to this policy is the addition of the following statement: “Communications with members of the public will be done in a respectful manner endorsed and supported by all of council using sound judgement and common sense and shall adhere to adopted council policies and procedures.”
Councillor Anderson: “We’ve had quite a bit of discussion (about this) and I think it brings us to a place that we should be as far as municipal governments and bringing us current,” and added, “It brings us to where we should be for the 21st Century, to be honest.”
Councillor Miller: “And another thing coming into an election year, I think it’s important that anybody looking at running, has a real good clear picture of the do’s and don’ts.”
He added, “It’s really important to have a solid set of values and conduct. I think the timing is very good.”
Councillor Anderson said, “Mr. Prosser said recently, for folks who are considering running for council in the fall election, that he would be bringing them in together, encouraging them to come in and having an open question and answer period about how the election is run but also about expectations. These would be key policies that I think should be exposed to anybody interested in running. It deals with people’s agendas but also makes sure they come in with their eyes wide open.”
“The policy will designate “Smoke Free Zones” with signage and will increase the distance that a person can smoke from any door, window or vehicle from 6.0 metres to 20.0 metres. This will also apply to all parks and facilities including the Municipal Office, Columbia Valley Centre, the Public Works Shop and the Fire Hall. Designated smoking areas will be signed and infrastructure put in place to ensure the safe disposal of cigarettes.”
Councillor Anderson said: “This brings us to a place we really should have been anyways.”
Council adopted the Workplace Smoking Policy 2018-04.
Strategic Wildfire Prevention Initiative – Firesmart Planning and Activities Program
The Strategic Wildfire Prevention Initiative, funded by the Province and administered through UBCM, is providing funding for a number of programs in 2018 one of which is the Firesmart Planning and Activities Grant Program. The goal is to “encourage communities and citizens to adopt and conduct FireSmart practices to mitigate the negative impacts of wildfire to assets on community and private property.
Councillor Anderson commented, “Firesmart is one of the areas that we probably could do a little bit more work on.”
He added that from his professional experience, “It’s pretty important to us (especially) when you live in a forested community as we are. We’re ahead of most of B.C. but we want to stay there and Firesmart is one of the components worth spending our time on.”
Councillor Miller said, “I certainly think it’s worth being proactive on this.”
Councillor Anderson raised his concern regarding having “some kind of backup plan in case we lose communications in the valley.”
Mentioning the Regional District of the East Kootenay, Mayor Taft added his concerns that there needs to be “a way of interfacing those preplanning on the fire side and preplanning on the emergency side, which may not just be fire, but could be other types of emergency.”
Chris Prosser, Chief Administrative Officer, clarified that “this would kind of collating all that information into one stop shop, so to speak.” He added, “a key piece is the Firesmart education piece.”
Council passed to support the submission of a grant application to Strategic Wildfire Prevention Initiative for $10,000 to complete a Firesmart and Structural review assessment of public lands and buildings to be used in the preparation of a Wildfire / Emergency Pre-Plan for the District of Invermere.
CORRESPONDENCE REQUIRING ACTION:
Wings Over the Rockies Festival’s request for funding. Council passed to grant the organization $250, as it did in 2017.
CORRESPONDENCE FOR INFORMATION:
Regional District of East Kootenay report with meeting highlights. Regarding the Akisq’nuk First Nation Recreation Facility item in the report, Mayor Taft commented, “Myself and Mayor (Clara) Reinhardt from Radium are involved in the steering committee with the Akisq’nuk to try to help them a little bit on the construction and the vision of the operating of the project and offering them wisdom we may have gained from us finishing the project and Radium still constructing the project.”
The next District of Invermere regular meeting is Monday, April 9 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 7:00 p.m. in the council chambers of the Municipal Office (914 – 8th Avenue, Invermere) unless otherwise indicated.