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Posted: July 27, 2017

City hears about Cenotaph demo; mulls deer cull funding

Kimberley City Council Report

By Nowell Berg

On July 24, City of Kimberley Council held its bi-monthly meeting.

Councillors Kent Goodwin, Albert Hoglund, Nigel Kitto, Darryll Oakley and Sandra Roberts were present along with Mayor Don McCormick. Coun. Bev Middlebrook was absent.

Military Ames highly critical of city demolition of old Cenotaph

The city’s decision to remove the 60-year-old cenotaph that stood “as a tomb for our soldiers that are buried elsewhere” drew the wrath of several people from Military Ames who attended the meeting.

In a letter to the mayor and council, Military Ames spokesperson, Cindy Postnikoff wrote: “We are deeply saddened and disturbed” by the brazen destruction of the cenotaph. Postnikoff also noted that she had many discussions with the “mayor [and] city employees” regarding a decommissioning ceremony.

In her verbal rebuke of council, Postnikoff said, “At the very least [it should have been] done respectfully.” Her letter states, “It is unconscionable that you [the city] would send a jackhammer in there to destroy it!”

The Ames removal proposal would have seen a fence erected around the cenotaph so “the public would not be exposed to the taking down of the cairn.”

Shirley Rossi said the city’s actions were “deplorable,” particularly using a jackhammer to tear the cenotaph apart.

Kyle Dalum said he was “gutted by the removal.” He added it is a “holy site.” He later towed his trailer to the site and loaded in the cement rubble and rocks. He asked council for permission to remove the rubble and rocks, which they agreed too.

Dalum and Postnikoff both asked council why there was a hurry to have the cenotaph demolished?

City chief administrative officer Scott Sommerville replied the Peak-to-Platzl trail project was “letting contracts” so it could be completed before winter. He also stated, “Once the plaque and stones were off, we thought it was okay to remove it.” He ended with an apology for what happened.

Tom Hradec said that when he saw the pile of rubble, “I saw a dead soldier not properly buried.” He too sought an apology from the city.

In wrapping up her comments, Postnikoff said, “The city should apologize to the people” of Kimberley, not just Military Ames.

Coun. Oakley thanked Military Ames for the new Memorial saying it was a “great asset” for the city. As for the removal, he said that it went “off the rails” due to miscommunication. He believed it was “not done with disrespect.”

Coun. Roberts said she “highly respected” Ames and the new Memorial park, but felt Ames had “gone overboard in reacting to the removal.” Adding, “Staff did not realize there was an issue.”

Coun. Hoglund did not agree that Ames “went overboard.” He said the removal was an “oversight by managers and staff.” He concluded his comments saying he was “very sorry it happened.”

Military Ames has performed a decommission ceremony at what was left of the old cenotaph.

To fund a mule deer cull or not to fund: That is the question

Funding of mule deer translocation for the next five years caused a lengthy debate among council.

Coun. Oakley led the charge to secure $50,000 a year over the next five years to get a handle on the “exploding” deer population within the city. He said that using $50K per year was a “worst case scenario” and that it would probably be less.

Coun. Hoglund spoke against the funding, saying, “It’s a provincial responsibility.” He said the provincial government needs to “step up and stop downloading” the cost of either a kill cull or translocation cull onto the city. He pointed out the “$250,000 could be better used in the community.”

Saying he agreed, in theory, with Coun. Hoglund’s argument, Coun. Oakley stressed that, “In practicality, it [the translocation cull] is needed to protect the public from aggressive deer.” He agreed the province “should pay, but we need to move forward while talks continue.”

While supporting Coun. Hoglund’s comments, Coun. Goodwin urged councilors to “put money aside” for the translocation cull. He suggested they should “front load dollars in the first two years and take less in later years.”

Mayor McCormick noted the 2012 kill cull reduced the deer herd by 200 animals and it took another four years before 100 mule deer returned. He said if the city pushed hard in the next two years to reduce the urban herd, then the city would “probably not use it all,” the full $50,000 for the latter three years.

For Mayor McCormick, the city “needs to be prepared” as “public safety is a priority.” He wasn’t prepared “to sit back and wait for something to happen before taking action.” He further added the translocation cull was more palatable to the public than a kill cull.

While Hoglund agreed with the mayor’s assessment, he said, “It would be a tough time to convince me to spend the dollars.”

Coun. Oakley noted the translocation cull was more successful than a kill cull as the latter would only take about 30 deer while the translocation allows for 100 deer to be moved out of the city.

Coun. Roberts said she was “tired of waiting for the province” to fund a translocation deer cull. She spoke of eight deer that live in her yard at Marysville, sometimes getting into the carport and causing “chaos” by jumping and darting around when she returns home. She concluded saying, “Some way it needs to happen.”

The original motion “to amend the Five-Year Financial Plan to include $50,000/year in the next five years($500 per deer x 100 deer) for the translocation project” was defeated.

A second deer motion presented by Coun. Oakley and Coun. Goodwin asked council to allocate “up to $50,000 per year in the next two (years to the translocation cull).”

This motion passed, five in favour with Coun. Hoglund the only one voting against the funding.

SunMine performance

Kimberley’s SunMine

The SunMine quarterly performance report shows that 607.1 MW/h of electricity generated $55,645 in revenue. Year to date (YTD), revenue has been $95,485 from 926.4 MW/h of generated electricity.

Scott Sommerville’s report also noted “Seven of the 96 tracker motors have failed due to the build-up of condensation in the housing.” Replacement motors have been ordered at a total cost of $11,000. The cost to install has yet to be determined.

Coun. Roberts ask “what caused the condensation in some motors and not others?”

Sommerville said the city was “looking into it” and a report would be presented to council when a cause was determined.

Coun. Oakley asked if the motor “failure” was due to the solar array location.

Sommerville said the mines location presented “a harsh climate to operate electric motors.”

Coun. Goodwin noted that with expansion talks underway would any future solar panel installation use the trackers or a fixed array.

Sommerville said that any expansion would “most likely no be tracker.”

Mayor McCormick said that commercial grade “solar [is] still in its infancy.” The city is “learning” from the experience and will use that in any future solar development.

RCMP report upswing in crime

Sgt. Chris Newel

In Sgt. Chris Newel’s quarterly report for Q2 to council, he noted that calls for service were “17% more than the same quarter in 2016.” He was not able to identify the cause for the significant increase in calls for service.

From April to June, 2017, 576 offences were reported and/or committed in Kimberley. RCMP statistics show that 98 traffic incidents or suspensions took place in Q2. The next highest infractions were property (44), assist fire or ambulance (39), abandoned 911 calls (38) and alarms (37).

In his presentation to council, Newel noted the detachment continues to “struggle” to staff enough officers. This leads to “increased pressure” on the amount of hours per day and contiguous days an officer works, which in turn leads to “burnout and staff not taking overtime.”

When asked by the mayor why these resource problems persist, Newel responded that it was not only a problem in Kimberley but across the province and the whole country.

Mayor McCormick asked why that was so. Newel said it was from RCMP HQ poor planning around being prepared for officer retirements and poor salaries. In terms of officer pay, among police forces across Canada, the RCMP ranks “lowest.” Newel cited statistics that show the RCMP are paid about $20,000 less than municipal forces in Surrey and Calgary.

Despite personnel issues, Newel said they would respond to service calls on a priority basis.

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 meeting agenda. Click on the 2017 folder and follow the link.

The next council meeting is Monday, August 14.

It’s your city; get involved.

Lead image: Military Ames’ Kyle Dalum and Cindy Postnikoff were this year’s Parade Marshals in the JulyFest Homecoming Parade. Ian Cobb/e-KNOW photo


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