Rev. Greg Powell. (Tom Brownlee/File)

Castlegar Council hears basic income pilot proposal

Castlegar City Council heard a presentation for a basic income pilot project at Monday’s meeting.

Castlegar City Council heard a presentation from Greg Powell about why he thinks Castlegar would be perfect for a basic income pilot project at Monday night’s council meeting.

Unlike a livable wage, which still requires those who benefit to be employed, a basic income would apply to everyone.

“Every citizen in the land receives money on a regular, predictable basis. If they need that money, they keep it. If they don’t need that money, it goes back by way of taxes,” Powell explained.

He says that basic income could potentially replace the welfare system, and while it hasn’t been adopted anywhere else yet, Finland and Ontario are in the midst of pilot projects.

Powell is a minister at the Castlegar United Church, but did not present in that capacity.

Coun. Deb McIntosh suggested that Powell meet with council again through the community wellness committee after he’s had a chance to meet with MLA Katrine Conroy regarding the issue.

As of yet, the provincial government has not announced its intention to launch a basic income pilot, but it was part of the BC Green Party’s platform during the election.

Installing red light cameras

McIntosh referred a concern to the public safety committee about installing red light cameras at the intersection of Columbia Avenue and 18th Street.

The suggestion came from John White, editor of the Castlegar News, who watches motorists run lights at the intersection on a daily basis.

Mayor Lawrence Chernoff pointed out that the intersection should fall under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, and McIntosh replied, “Yes, and if the committee can determine that and then send a letter to them to deal with it, that would be great, but the process has to start somewhere.”

Coun. Bruno Tassone also recommended requesting a left turn signal at the intersection of Columbia and 18th.

Grass needs to be cut

Coun. Sue Heaton-Sherstobitoff made a request to the planning and development committee that the bylaw requiring residents to keep their grass under one foot tall be enforced — not just because it’s the bylaw but also because of the associated fire hazards.

Tassone, chair of the committee, said the matter would be passed onto Phil Markin, director of development services.

Business licenses up for June

The number of business licenses sold in June increased four per cent, from 587 in 2016 to 611 in 2017. Fees also increased, but only by two per cent, up from $71,095 in 2016 to $72,886 in 2017.

There were eight new licenses issued in June 2017, as compared to three in 2016. The eight new licenses were sold to Interior Quality Contractors Ltd., Postill Construction, Turning Pointe Dance Studio, Southridge Yoga, Axis Family Resources Ltd., Two Thumbs Up Greenhouses, Tribe Contracting and Kootenay Society for Community Living.

Number of building permits up 23 per cent

The number of building permits issued to date are up 23 per cent from 95 in 2016. So far 117 permits have been issued in 2017 (as of the end of June), but revenues are down 75 per cent.

The significant decrease can be attributed to the new FortisBC building. Last year the construction accounted for $13,800,000 in revenue under institutional/government permits. This year, revenues for residential and commercial permits are up, but there is no revenue for institutional/government, accounting for the large discrepancy.

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