By Betsy Kline
Castlegar News Contributor
The public was largely absent from the March 3 meeting of the Castlegar City Council, outside of the press, only one citizen braved the snowy weather to attend. Also missing from the meeting were councillors Dan Rye, Kevin Chernoff and Mayor Lawrence Chernoff.
Council approved a grant application from the Castlegar Arts Council for the Castlegar Embetsu Educational Exchange Committee. The $1,200 grant will come from the City’s grants line item budget and will assist with the travel costs for eight students and two chaperones who will visit Embetsu, Japan as part of the 2014 exchange program.
Council also approved a grant application for $300 to the Castlegar Highland Games to assist with the cost of hosting the Annual Castlegar Highland Games which will be held September 27, 2014. The games have been going on since 2004 and showcase Kootenay dancers, pipers, drummers and bands. This grant will also come from the City’s grants line item budget.
Because Councillor Florio Vassilakakis excused himself due to a conflict of interest, resulting in the lack of a quorum, a decision on a sponsorship request by the Castlegar Golf Club to assist with hosting the 2014 Men’s Sunflower Open was tabled for a future meeting.
Council decided to purchase a quarter page ad in the Kootenay Robusters 2015 calendar. The ad will cost $250 and come from the advertising budget. The Kootenay Robusters Dragon Boat Team is a non-profit organization that supports people living with breast cancer.
For the past seven years, the profits from the calendar have been used to support the team and the oncology unit at the Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital.
A request from Hope Air for a grant of $500 was approved to support their work at the West Kootenay Regional Airport. Hope Air is a national charity that helps financially disadvantaged patients with the costs for transportation required to receive medical care.
Council agreed to purchase a half page ad in the 2015 Invest in BC magazine to promote Castlegar. Invest in BC is the official magazine of the Economic Development Association of BC. The ad will cost $3,350 and will come from the 2015 Economic Development budget.
The City of Castlegar’s Fees for Services will be updated to more accurately reflect current costs. Many of the fees have not been increased in 14 years. The new fees were set by comparing the fees of the surrounding jurisdictions and setting a fee that in most cases was below the average of those fees. The increases will be seen in building permits, development permits, subdivisions, rezoning, etc. The cost of administrative fees will also go up for services such as business licenses, tax certificates, engineering drawings, etc. Fees for criminal record checks will also be amended to include more activities such as employment, landlord and Canadian Pardon checks.
Discussion on an amendment to the Zoning Bylaw regarding placement of temporary signs on public utility poles, also referred to as “nuisance signs”, was tabled for another meeting when the Mayor and more councillors would be present to provide more input. A public hearing on the matter will also be held at a later date.
The city has agreed to exercise the second year of a two year contract with Waste Management for garbage collection and to enter in to a one year contract with Waste Management for curbside recycling.
The meeting ended on an exciting note with Councillor Sue Heaton–Sherstobitoff giving an update on the work being done to promote Castlegar as Kraft Hockeyville 2014. The finalists will be announced this weekend. If Castlegar is selected, voting stations will be set up around town to help citizens cast the votes that will be needed to proceed to the next level.