A divided council approved a motion authorizing the travel of three council members to visit Castlegar’s sister city of Embetsu, Japan for its 120th anniversary celebration August 1-8, 2017.
The Castlegar/Embetsu relationship has been in place since 1989.
The City of Castlegar received an official invitation from the Town of Embetsu inviting Mayor Chernoff and councillors to send a delegation for the anniversary celebrations.
Expenses during the stay in Embetsu including accommodations, meals, ground transportation and sightseeing in and around town will be paid by the Town of Embetsu. Air travel costs will be the responsibility of the City of Castlegar. The estimated cost per person is $3,337.
In 2014 a delegation from Embetsu including the mayor travelled to Castlegar to honour the 25th anniversary of the sister city agreement. In 2008 a delegation including the Embetsu mayor and a councillor travelled to Castlegar to attend the grand opening of the new Castlegar City Hall.
Coun. Florio Vasillikakis spoke in favour of the motion citing the relationship building opportunities it provides and strengthening further youth exchanges.
Coun. Deb McIntosh spoke against the proposal feeling that sending three representatives was excessive, but noted she would be in favour of sending two. She would rather see the money go towards supporting the student exchange portion of the Embetsu relationship.
Coun. Bruno Tassone was also against the motion, preferring to follow Nelson’s example for their exchange trip, paying for the mayor’s expenses, but requiring councillors to pay for their own. He would like to see the money spent in other places.
Supporting documents stated that the exchange program has brought in approximately $200,000 to the community and over 300 flights between Castlegar and Japan have taken place.
Tree companies cut off from yard waste facility
Castlegar’s yard waste collection site at the Community Complex has become a little too popular, resulting in council passing a motion to prohibit tree care companies from dumping tree limbs and debris at the site. Grass clippings and leaves from the firms will still be accepted.
Increasing costs and having to then pass those costs off onto local residents was one motivating factor in the decision. In 2016, costs for operating the facility jumped to $110,000. During 2017 budget deliberations council asked staff to look into ways to reduce operating costs and this motion was the primary recommendation.