The Village of Ashcroft held a regular meeting of council on Monday, June 10 at 4:30 p.m. in council chambers with only two members of the public present in the gallery. Mayor Barbara Roden and all village councillors were present with the exception of Coun. Jonah Anstett.
Following the adoption of the May 27 Committee of the Whole and regular meeting minutes, council responded to five items of correspondence.
First, Roden accepted an invitation from Desert Sands Community School to attend the class of 2019’s graduation ceremony at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, June 14.
The Cache Creek Elementary School Learning Exhibition invited council to attend “Dinner and Sharing Our Story” on Tuesday, June 18 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. which council agreed to attend. Roden noted that it is always exciting to talk to the students at the school.
Council also received and filed correspondence from the Northern Development Initiative Trust in the form of a letter indicating the village’s grant approval. The Village of Ashcroft received $50,000 through the 2019 Economic Development Capacity Building program.
Roden thanked staff for applying for this grant, which holds the purpose of supporting tourism strategies, business retention, and economic development. CAO Michelle Allen said that part of council’s strategic planning process will include determining the allocation of these funds.
Responding to new business, council responded to a request for a letter of support from the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association (CCCTA). During the May 27 Committee of the Whole meeting, council received a presentation from Jolene Lammers, CCCTA Destination Development coordinator, and Kristi Denby, the industry development manager for CCCTA. Roden said the presentation was excellent.
Coun. Nadine Davenport requested that a letter of support be written to the CCCTA’s Regional Destination Development Program. This motion was carried.
A Memorandum of Understanding between the Village of Ashcroft and the Off-Leash Dog Park Committee/Ashcroft Dog Club was approved as presented on June 10. Council briefly discussed the benefits of the Off-Leash Dog Park, with Coun. Anderson noting a preference for the park’s location.
Roden noted that the park can provide social benefits to both dogs and their owners. Anderson added that the dog park brings tourists into town.
“It’s an important economic development strategy.”
Next, council addressed the issue of trains whistling at the CN Railway Crossing in North Ashcroft. This issue has been a subject of discussion for a number of years. Roden advised that in 2014, the council received a presentation and report on the subject, but did not proceed with a study. At the May 27 meeting, Ray Bewza presented to council on his concerns that train whistles are causing health issues for residents in the area. His suggestion was to have a whistle cessation agreement developed, at a goal cost of $700,000.
Coun. Anderson made a motion to contact the MMM Consulting Group in order to obtain an updated quote to provide the Anti-Whistling Report at a cost not to exceed $12,000. Coun. Tuohey put forth a motion to request an assessment by CN to address any potential repairs. This motion was carried, and Roden added that it is a “good idea to have the investigation done” as council can only make “guesswork” as to the current railway situation.
Winding Rivers Arts & Performance Society (WRAPS) wrote a letter to council requesting support in the form of $500 to assist with the budget for Canada Day celebrations. WRAPS is a registered non-profit charitable organization of volunteers in Ashcroft that is dedicated to the promotion of Arts and Culture.
WRAPS will host the Canada Day celebrations for Ashcroft at Heritage Park for the sixth year. On June 10, council approved a request from WRAPS to closeRailway Avenue from 6th to 8th Streets for the Canada Day celebrations on July 1 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to facilitate the Legion Colour Party, Cadets, RCMP, and Volunteer Fire Fighters in their parade attendance. A Children’s Bicycle Parade will also take place that day, which makes closing the streets essential to public safety.
As in previous years, council also approved a request from WRAPS to open the Ashcroft Swimming Pool to the public at no charge from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Canada Day.
No formal written reports were set forth by councillors but were instead delivered orally. Councillor Davenport had positive reports back from her encounters with local business owners recently and shared that, “there’s a lot of growth happening in Ashcroft. It’s good to see.”
During the Question Period at the end of the meeting, resident Gloria Mertens voiced a few suggestions for council to put forth during their upcoming meetings during the 2019 UBCM Convention. Particularly, she requested that the village request use of the property in Ashcroft known as “the slough”. Mertens believes the property would make a wonderful addition to the community if used as a public park.
Additionally, she requested that another sidewalk be installed within the village to connect the Mesa area to downtown Ashcroft, increasing both accessibility and physical activity in the community.
Council thanked Mertens for her suggestions.
Council moved to take the meeting in-camera at 5:09 p.m. marking the public’s time to leave. As always, council meeting minutes and all documents referenced in those minutes are available for perusal at the Village office or on the Village of Ashcroft website at www.ashcroftbc.ca.