Council approves rainbow crosswalk for Kimberley
By Nowell Berg
On April 26, City of Kimberley council held its regular bi-monthly meeting.
Councillors Kyle Dalum, Kent Goodwin, Nigel Kitto, Jason McBain, Darryl Oakley and Sandra Roberts were present along with Mayor Don McCormick.
Councillors attended the meeting in-person, however, the press and public were not allowed in Council Chambers.
The meeting streamed live on the city’s YouTube channel. Watch the archive here.
Five-Year Financial Plan
First and foremost, COVD-19 impacts have been felt across city operations including the closure of the Aquatic Centre, which is expected to re-open in July, the Civic Centre and Marysville Arena. These facilities will have “reduced revenues and expenditures” for the rest of 2021 and are expected to return to full operation for 2022 and beyond.
The city received a B.C. Government Safe Restart Grant of $2,087,000 in 2020 “to help with financial challenges related to the pandemic. $1,552,481 of the grant funds remained at Dec 31, 2020 to fund COVID-19 related initiatives in subsequent years.”
Three city staff positions remain unfilled with the expectation they will be by year’s end.
The sale of Bootleg Gap Golf Course resulted in the termination of the yearly $70,000 fee the city received from its operation. Continued strong construction activity resulted in “$179,425 new property tax revenue.” A renewed collective agreement (CA) with the city employees’ union resulted in a “retroactive wage payment of approximately $64,192 in 2021.”
The CFO notes the city can expect, at best, government grants to cover 73.33% of construction costs. The city would be responsible for the remainder which would amount to $16,687,419, up from the initial figure of $6,257,000. The city’s share would be covered through municipal borrowing. If the construction and government grant figures remain fairly steady, then Hendricks anticipates a new parcel tax in 2024 “to help fund the associated debt payments.” His “very preliminary estimate” for the tax is “$150 per parcel.”
The Financial Plan details are available on the city’s website.
Council approved the 2021 residential property taxes. All classes of property tax will see a 1.6% increase which is a “significant reduction from the 3.8% increase,” said Hendricks.
This reduction is due to “higher than anticipated new property tax revenue,” recreation facility closures and delayed starts to vacant staff positions. Once the latter two items are back to full capacity, Hendricks said property tax increases in 2022 would be “in the 3.9% range.”
In a letter to the city, Caitlyn Birdsell requested a rainbow crosswalk be added to Kimberley. In her words, “I am advocating for the LGBTQ+ community to get this town a rainbow crosswalk, [which] is a visual demonstration of the towns commitment to improve diversity and inclusion for the LGBTQ+ community.”
“I fully support it. I think its great for our community,” said Coun. McBain. “It really demonstrates the inclusivity that we all want.“
Birdsell’s letter suggests the two crosswalks on Wallinger Ave. at the Platzl entrance “would be perfect.”
While supporting the concept, Coun. Oakley suggested the need “to get feedback” from all cultures, including the Ktunaxa, and “hear what these groups have to say.”
Coun. Roberts noted that “weather is hard on crosswalks with all the gravel and driving.” She mused as to whether “the object could be something other than a crosswalk.”
Saying the city and council “need to consider the broader implications,” Mayor McCormick suggested “punting it back to staff” for consideration on how a rainbow crosswalk fits within the Proclamation Policy and identifying “unintended consequences.
In the end, council voted to approve the request for a rainbow crosswalk.
Kimberley city council meets twice monthly starting at 7 p.m. Due to pandemic restrictions, the public is not allowed to attend Council Chambers.
The next scheduled Council meeting: May 10. It will be live streamed on the City of Kimberley YouTube channel.
Lead image: School District No. 5 opened a rainbow crosswalk in front of its Cranbrook offices in 2018. e-KNOW file photos