Some highlights from the City of Castlegar council meeting tonight held Monday, Mar. 18 (in no particular order):
– Despite extensive work already being done, the Millennium Park ponds project will have to wait until the fall for work on the ponds themselves. Environmental “work windows” need to be adhered to for work to proceed near the river and because of delays due to the complicated nature of the work, the permitting necessary and work windows will need to align.
– Spring Fling ($1,000), Pee Wee Rep Hockey ($500) and Castlegar Bantam Hockey ($800) are all receiving grants to assist with expenses.
– A motion from Coun. Dan Rye to purchase or lease some new vehicles and a trailer for hauling equipment — what Chris Barlow, Director of Transportation and Civic Work called “right-sizing” to the correct vehicles for the work needed —was defeated after a discussion about why the vehicles were not included in budget talks earlier. Rye said the items were somehow missed. An option to lease the vehicles over a longer term instead of buying them outright did not get council’s approval. One of the vehicles in question was a “smart car” for Bylaw use, as the one currently in use is over 10 years old.
– 27 dog-catcher warnings were issued in the last report, something Coun. Russ Hearne said could result in $50 fines for owners of dogs off-leash and another $50 for not cleaning up after your pooch. Hearne wanted to remind pet owners to do both not just to avoid the fines but because, the poop issue “is gross.”
– A temporary use permit was granted to the Bargain Bin to allow a portion of it to be used for a small recycling depot.
– Mayor Chernoff spoke about the importance of Earth Hour (Mar. 23 starting at 8:30 p.m.) and encouraged Castlegar and area residents to turn off what they can that night.
– The City is looking to spend up to $3500 for a citizen-reporting mobile app that would allow everyone to report issues immediately to appropriate city departments. Coun. Deb McIntosh said many communities are using similar systems and experiencing good benefits from it.
– A drop in business licences was mostly attributed to the fact renewal reminder notices to existing businesses have yet to go out.
During “question period” residents raised the following issues:
– Pat West was concerned with the CPR crossing being blocked by a train for what she said was near 55 minutes recently. She worried what might happen if an emergency was to occur during such an incident. Mayor Chernoff said he had heard about it and thought it was s slow-moving train that took about 15-20 minutes to clear, which West disputed. Mayor Chernoff said he would follow up with CPR and if in the future they could be given notification about such events, they would attempt to notify the public, too. Fire Chief Gerry Rempel added that the trains have the right of way and there are secondary routes for fire apparatus vehicles to take to avoid the crossing.
– Carol Shypitka spoke passionately about the importance of social service workers in the community and hoped council would formally recognize the work they do. Coun. Deb McIntosh replied by saying the city doesn’t do proclamations (because there are simply too many) but said council supports and encourage social services workers.
– Rudiger Klaus also asked council about what restrictions were placed on heavy trucks along Columbia Ave. He said many large trucks are parking alongside parts of the road for extended periods. He also asked about the burning ban and what facilities were available to residents who are not equipped to haul branches and yard waste. He suggested that larger advertisements about the burning ban need to be placed in local media.
– Heidi Burger spoke about the ongoing work at Twin Rivers / Millennium Park. She said she was upset at the loss of trees and wondered what the plans were. CAO John Malcolm said the trees were cleared to access gravel from an old pit, that will be used for the new ponds. He added the costs to use the on-site gravel are less than those to bring it in from other sources. He also said the site would be refurbished with new ground cover after the gravel extraction is over. Chris Barlow said the area would become an enhanced beach area when complete and have vegetation added. He acknowledged it is possibly an eyesore right now but that improvements are coming.