2017 Road Construction Plan stalled
Kimberley City Council Report
by Nowell Berg
City of Kimberley council met at its bi-monthly meeting November 28. Here is an over-view of City business conducted at the meeting.
All councillors and Mayor Don McCormick were present for the meeting.
2017 Road Construction Plan stalled
On November 7, councillors received the 2017 Road plan. It calls for annual patching and paving of the Nature Park Trail Parking lot along with sewer and water work on the 100 block of Norton Ave.
According to city documents, “During discussion of the proposed road capital program council questioned the absence of the 4th Avenue reconstruction project and also called attention to past flooding issues in the Morrison subdivision highlighting the need to plan for the prevention of future flooding in that area.” (The above image was taken during the April 2012 flood. e-KNOW file photo)
Coun. Albert Hoglund opposed adopting the 2017 road plan because of these exclusions. The mayor also noted that flood mitigation should be considered for 2017.
The motion to accept the 2017 Road plan was defeated. A motion to defer until the 4th Ave. reconstruction and Morrison flood mitigation were fully costed-out and presented to council was passed unanimously.
City documents show that preliminary cost estimates for the 4th Avenue reconstruction project and the Morrison subdivision flood mitigation project would be close to $4.2 million.
If these two projects are added to the Capital Road Program, it would represent a 50% increase in the proposed 2017 – 2021 Capital Road Program expenditures.
Climate & Energy Award Presentation
Upon receiving the city’s award, McCormick said, “eighteen agreements with eight organizations were developed to realize B.C.’s first municipally owned utility-scale solar facility.”
It’s a project that has garnered media attention not only locally, but provincially and nationally, he said, thanking partners Columbia Basin Trust, BC Hydro, College of the Rockies, School District No. 6 (SD6) and the Aq’am community for their commitment to the project.
As part of this prestigious environmental award, the CEA’s Meghan Lohmann and Kaylyn Gervais, Columbia Basin Trust, gave out plagues to SunMine partners not present at the UBCM Convention. Again, these partners are College of the Rockies, SD6 and ?aq’am.
Four young students from Lindsay Park School, along with teacher Doreen Sharpe and School Board member Mac Campbell, accepted the award on behalf of SD6. Marty Williams received the award for?aq’am. And, Jack Moes represented COTR.
For Mayor McCormick, the SunMine project is an “inspiring example of public, private and community collaboration supporting environmental sustainability.”
Community Energy Association (CEA) supports local governments in developing and implementing community energy and emissions plans.
City pockets funds from Gas Tax
Before the end of the year, the city will receive the second payment from the Gas Tax Agreement Community Works Fund, $165,556. These funds are directed toward infra-structure projects.
Coun. Darryl Oakley suggested that some of these funds be earmarked for the Mark Creek watershed. He also pointed to a letter from Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, regarding the Minister’s meeting with Mayor McCormick at the September UBCM convention. Thomson acknowledged the mayor’s concerns over BC Timber Sales (BCTS) logging in the Mark Creek Community Watershed. Thomson indicated he has “asked BCTS to set up a meeting, within the next three months, with mayor and council to discuss further how best to communicate their [logging] plans.”
Oakley also suggested money from the rental room tax be directed toward Mark Creek watershed maintenance and sustainability.
He noted a letter received from Barry Zwueste, Chief Executive Officer, St. Eugene Golf Resort and Casino. Swueste urged council to write a letter to the Minister of Finance, BC Government, requesting that a tax exemption for people renting “fewer than four rooms” be repealed. Swueste points out that local residents who use AirBnB and VRBO “do not have to collect provincial sales tax” when renting there homes.
Swueste stated that online platforms like AirBnB and VRBO have “negatively impacted the availability and affordability of monthly rental accommodations.” They also do not have to conform with “taxation, health and safety or insurance laws” like local accommodators. For these reasons he advocates eliminating the tax exemption for online platforms like AirBnb and VRBO.
Coun. Kent Goodwin asked about taxing AirBnB and VRBO. What could the city do to make sure it gets the room tax from these rentals?
Mayor McCormick told council the city has representation, through the BC Hotel Association, to the provincial government urging them to deal with this issue. He also noted that AirBnB representatives at the UBCM stated they were “not opposed to collecting the [sales and room] tax.”
He will keep council informed on new developments regarding this issue.
Garbage Truck purchase hits a snag
Council deferred a motion to add the purchase of two used self-lifting garbage trucks and 3050 bear proof residential containers too the city’s five-year Financial Plan.
These trucks use hydraulic arms to lift and empty each container. The total price tag for two used trucks and bear proof containers is slightly more than $388 thousand dollars, $175,000 and $213,500, respectively.
In the Operations Department report to council, it was noted that the three existing garbage trucks are beyond their useful lives. Replacement of the trucks was deferred in 2012 when they were initially scheduled for retirement. Since then, their current condition results in “excessive downtime and increased repair and maintenance costs.”
Mayor McCormick raised the issue of why the option of buying just one new garbage truck was not presented to council. Chief Administrative Officer Scott Sommerville replied that five working days was not enough time for city staff to compile information on that option.
Coun. Hoglund moved that the decision be deferred, seconded by Coun. Oakley. The motion carried five to one, with Coun. Bev Middleton opposed to the deferral. She wanted to have the purchase of the self-lifting trucks and bearproof containers added to the five-year financial plan as requested by city staff.
2018 55+ BC Games
Wayne Naka, President, BC Seniors Game Society announced that the cities of Kimberley and Cranbrook have been selected to host the 55+ BC Games in September of 2018.
Naka said, “The 55+ BC Games will have a lasting impact on participants, their families and hundreds of volunteers and participating businesses.”
Mayor McCormick will work with Cranbrook Mayor Lee Pratt to assemble a Nomination Committee that will select the Games President and Board of Directors. The Nomination Committee is expected to be in place by January 2017.
Kimberley City Council meets twice monthly. All meetings start at 7 p.m. and are open to the public. Check the city’s website here for the council meeting agenda. Click on the 2016 folder and follow the link.
The last council meeting for 2016 is Monday, December 12.
It’s your city, get involved.