Mayor Chernoff congratulates Rachael TeBulte for winning the BC Ambassador title.

Council Briefs September 8

Bears, Good Samaritans and promising building permit reports were on the council agenda.

Due to ongoing problems with equipment, the September 8 Castlegar City Council meeting was not recorded and will not be available for future viewing on the city’s web site. As an alternative, Shaw cable recorded the meeting and will be airing it twice.

Bears:

Wildsafe BC Castlegar coordinator Jenny Wallace made a presentation to council updating them on the present bear situation in town. Sightings and conflicts are up this year, mostly due to hot dry weather and the poor huckleberry crop. Most of the conflicts have revolved around fruit and garbage.

Wallace emphasized the importance of managing attractants. With fruit crops ripening early, the bears have arrived in town and unpicked fruit is causing a lot of the problems. One bear was even hit by a car in Robson last week as it was eating unpicked fruit.

Councilor Deb McIntosh responded by commenting that staff should be encouraged to take a more aggressive role in ticketing those who put their garbage or recycling out early. “No more warnings, I think tickets need to be issued because it is such a bad year,” said McIntosh. “It’s about keeping people safe.”

Wallace also encouraged council to strive towards becoming a Bear Smart community, a program that has been designed by the Ministry of Environment in partnership with the British Columbia Conservation Foundation and the Union of British Columbia Municipalities.

Skate club grant:

Council approved a $500 grant to the Castlegar Skate Club out of the City’s grants line item to assist with the costs associated with hosting the West Kootenay Invitational Skate Canada Figure Skating Competition in Castlegar December 4-6, 2015. At present time there is $4830.00 remaining in the grant budget line item.

Good Samaritan Award:

Castlegar will now have a Good Samaritan Award in order to acknowledge individuals who gratuitously perform gestures or random acts of kindness that improve the community’s appearance and/or assist another community member. The program will enable council to thank and acknowledge those citizens who take the time to care for the city and its citizens and who take pride in calling Castlegar their home. Residents can submit a letter or email the City of Castlegar detailing the gesture and nominating a Good Samaritan to be entered in a draw for $250. Nomination deadline will be set for November 30th of each year with the draw to take place at a council meeting in December. To be eligible a nominee must be a resident of Castlegar.

Building permits and business licences:

As of the end of August, building permits are still up drastically over last year. Year to date figures show 164 permits have been issued valued at $10.4 million compared to 100 permits last year valued at $3.8 million for the same period. “It speaks well for the healthiness of our community and what is going on here, that people are still willing to invest here,” said Councilor Kevin Chernoff.

The business license report shows figures very similar to last year with an increase of just one.

BC Ambassador:

Newly crowned BC Ambassador Rachael TeBulte appeared before council to present her pageant speech and to receive congratulations, a certificate and flowers from council. Mayor Lawrence Chernoff told TeBulte, “Thank you so much. We are so proud of you.”