All five members of Cache Creek council were present at the open meeting on Sept. 16, which had been moved to a start time of 6 p.m., and the first order of business was Mayor Santo Talarico asking for a restructuring of committee appointments, as the mayor is allowed to do under the Community Charter. He then announced that he was rescinding Coun. Annette Pittman’s appointments to the Economic Development, Budget and Administrative Services, and Intergovernmental Relations committees.
Pittman read a prepared response: “I will not stand for bullying, harassment and intimidation by anyone. I was elected by the people for the people, I am not here for my own personal gains. I will continue to do my due diligence, by asking questions and making informed decisions that are in the best interests for this community.
“I am not going anywhere; I will continue to represent your voice on council and your best interests. I am in discussions with legal representation in this matter and cannot comment any further at this time. Thank you to the citizens of Cache Creek for your continued support.”
There was no report from the Economic Development committee, but Talarico noted that the Village is pursuing the possibility of utilizing the Northern Development Initiative Trust (NDIT) intern program, under which an intern works as a corporate officer for the Village. NDIT pays 100 per cent of the wages and benefits for the first year, 60 per cent the second year, and 30 per cent the third year. “The funding would allow us to get another body in the office.”
Talarico added that the Village was hoping they could work with NDIT to change the criteria, so that “we get someone who’s not right out of school.”
Asked what a corporate officer does, CAO Martin Dalsin replied that they would keep track of all the internal paperwork to do with the operation of the Village, such as looking after agendas and minutes and monitoring ongoing contracts. Talarico noted “That’s something we need help with,” to which Dalsin replied “Definitely.”
There was some discussion around Policy A–11, “Bullying and Harassment Policy”, with Coun. Wendy Coomber wanting to table the matter until the next meeting so that there could be some refinement of the language. Dalsin pointed out that the policy needed to be passed at the current meeting, as the Village was under orders from WorkSafe BC to have it in place by Sept. 20 otherwise the Village would be subject to fines.
He later explained to The Journal that the lack of a Village-wide bullying and harassment policy had been discovered earlier this summer, and the Village had been told they needed to implement one.
Pittman had several suggested changes to wording, with Dalsin explaining why most of them needed to remain as written. The policy was passed with minor amendments, and the explanation that Coomber’s suggested rewriting of one introductory section could be discussed and, if passed, adopted at a subsequent meeting.
The Cache Creek Beautification Society’s request for free use of the Community Hall at three indoor markets in October, November, and December was granted, after Coomber recused herself due to conflict of interest. Coun. Sue Peters noted that the Beautification Society does a lot of good things for Cache Creek’s downtown core.
Coomber reported on transit and health care meetings she had attended. She said that the possibility of a second bus stop in Cache Creek had been raised, and that Yellowhead Community Services, which operates the transit system, has said there is “wiggle room” in the schedule that could allow this. Coomber said that schedules showing the pick-up and drop-off times in Cache Creek are being circulated around the community, “To remind people that the service is there and that they need to use it.”
Regarding health care, she said that the Ashcroft Clinic is now back up to three doctors, and that the Cache Creek council members attending UBCM next week have asked for meetings with Health Minister Adrian Dix and the Liberal shadow critic for health, to ask why Interior Health is spending so much in Kamloops and Kelowna and not in smaller communities.
The last item discussed before questions from the public was the urgent need for repairs to the roof of the Cache Creek fire hall, which has water gathering inside. The cost of the repairs—estimated at approximately $37,000—is not covered by insurance and is not in the 2019 budget.
It was clarified that the damage was not caused by heavy rains or flooding, but is due to the age of the fire hall, particularly the roof. The work would entail replacing the membrane roof, as well as pulling out the ceiling tiles inside, removing the insulation and vapour barrier, and letting it all dry out.
The importance of getting the work done immediately was noted. Coomber asked if there was any funding available, and Dalsin said that to the best of his knowledge there were no grants for maintenance of fire halls. A motion to hire a contractor at a cost of not more than $40,000 to repair the fire hall roof was passed.
There were two members of the public in attendance, and Cache Creek resident Delila Chenery asked about the possibility of the Village hiring a Bylaw Enforcement Officer, citing an ongoing issue with one property on her street that has had neighbours frustrated for several years. Noting the many years she and others have spent pursuing the matter with the Village, to no avail, Chenery wondered what was the point of having bylaws if they were not enforced.
She asked if the Village was looking at the budget to see about hiring a Bylaw Officer part-time, adding that she knew of a retired Bylaw Officer who would like to work part-time. Dalsin replied that they had to have a number of things in place before hiring a Bylaw Officer, and added that the Village enforces bylaws as best it can.
Talarico thanked Chenery for her comments, and said that the idea of a Bylaw Officer has been discussed many times around the council table. He noted that the current complaint-driven system of enforcement can pit neighbour against neighbour, and said that while the Village has priorities that need to be dealt with, council will be holding budget deliberations in October, and will look at the issue very carefully.
At 6:48 p.m. council moved to go into a closed meeting.
The next open meeting of Cache Creek council will be at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 15.