By Raven Nyman
Village Council Briefs: February 27
At the regular meeting of council that took place on Wednesday, Feb. 27, two delegations were presented to mayor and council. The first delegation was from the Clinton Volunteer Fire Department (CVFD), and the second from ABC Communications.
Jim Rivett spoke on behalf of the fire department to propose amendments to the CVFD Remuneration Bylaw. Councillor Christine Rivett declared a conflict of interest and was excused from the meeting at 7:06 p.m. Fire Chief Wayne Walch introduced CVFD member and former Mayor Rivett, who provided a detailed PowerPoint presentation.
Rivett noted that his request to consider the proposed amendments should be prioritized in council’s 2019 budget discussions. Some of the CVFD’s proposed amendments to the Remuneration Bylaw include an increase in the annual remuneration made to the fire chief, from $2,400 to $3,500. These changes have been proposed on the grounds of increased responsibility and flexibility. Another request was that the Village issue annual tax slips to CVFD members.
The presentation also included a request to increase fire inspection fees, since the current $20 fee “does not even cover the cost of the paperwork involved,” says Rivett. He called fire inspections a Village responsibility, and likened them to bylaw enforcement, proposing that a new $50 inspection fee be imposed. Mayor Swan thanked Walch and Rivett for their presentation. Councillor Rivett returned to the meeting at 7:21 p.m.
Next, Falko Kadenbach provided a delegation on behalf of ABC Communications, the company bringing high-speed internet options to Clinton. Kadenbach noted that project funding is complete and construction of the project is set for the near future. ABC’s website will host a sign-up based area-wide competition to engage residents of Clinton, and a public forum was held in town on March 6. Mayor Swan thanked Kadenbach for his presentation.
During Question Period, a member of the gallery asked about the whereabouts of the old fire rescue truck. It was noted that this truck has been set aside by the CVFD for wildfire services. Another gallery member suggested that funding should be made available to invest in further training for Clinton’s volunteer firefighters. This was acknowledged by council.
CBC Radio Tower: location and contract
A hot topic at the Feb. 27 meeting was the new CBC tower that will soon be installed in Clinton, providing additional radio coverage to the Village and surrounding area. The point of contention regarding the tower’s installation was primarily its location and a potential visual impact on surrounding homeowners.
Cllr. David Park expressed these concerns foremost, and requested that council postpone a decision on the motion to approve the CBC-FM tower location until after residents in the area had been notified. As of Feb. 27, no notification had been made to residents. This motion was carried. After the Feb. 27 meeting, council chose to hand-deliver notification about the tower to homeowners in the Elliott Park area. This notification took place on March 7. On March 8, CBC also delivered a public notice to adjacent landowners, describing the construction and operation of the new FM radio service tower.
The tower’s proposed location is on a piece of Village-owned property at the eastern portion of land designated for the public works facility, across the street from Elliott Park. The exact location of the new CBC-FM service will be 51° 5’ 6.425” N, 121° 36’ 00” W, and the approximate location is 50 metres south of the Teal Road and Teal Street intersection and 10 metres east of Teal Road.
On March 13, council will also vote to endorse a five-year contract to be executed by staff between the Village of Clinton and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Council will reconsider motion R33-19 to approve the tower’s location then.
The ABC Wi-Fi tower stands at a height of 96 feet, and the CBC-FM tower will be 60 feet high. CBC-Radio Canada will incur all site preparation, installation, and facility costs for the project. The Village of Clinton will receive annual revenue from a license agreement with CBC.
R. Wayne Young, project lead for Capital Project Management Media Technology and Infrastructure Services at CBC Radio-Canada, will be at the March 13 council meeting to answer any concerns residents might have about the tower.
Business License Fee for Industry: complaints
Back in February 2018, council adopted amendments to the Fees and Users Bylaw, which included changes to the fees associated with business licenses in the Village of Clinton. As this was done shortly after renewal letters had been mailed out to business owners, the implementation of the new license fees was delayed until the 2019 year. The change in fee renewal cost went from $80 to $500.
Upon receipt of the 2019 business license renewal letters, resident Murray Kane of Clear Between the Knots Manufacturing Limited had complaints. Kane met with CAO Monika Schittek to request clarification and voice his displeasure about the business licence fee increase. He also spoke with Mayor Susan Swan about the issue.
On Feb. 13 the Village received a letter from Kane, suggesting an amendment to the bylaw. Specifically, Kane requests that the Village return the industrial business license fee renewal cost to $80.
In comparison to other small communities, CAO Monika Schittek says that Clinton offers one of the lowest tax rates for industrial zone in the province. Each year, business license fees are to be paid by Feb. 28 and fines are due for each day of contravention.
Presently there are six active businesses classed as “industrial or manufacturing” in Clinton, and the license fees charged annually to these businesses provide revenue to the Village.
At the Feb. 27 meeting, council decided to postpone a decision to consider the issues brought forward by the letter from Kane. Council also voted to arrange a Committee of the Whole meeting to provide an opportunity for further discussion.
Consequently, council also approved an extension to the current deadline (Feb. 28) for business licence fees, since that deadline was less than 24 hours away. This extension was declared applicable to all businesses in the industrial group.
Village of Clinton staff are currently readying the Village’s financial books for the 2018 external audit. Audited financial statements are expected in April 2019.
The next meeting of council will take place on Wednesday, March 13. As always, residents are welcome to attend council meetings, and agendas and minutes are made available to the public in advance via the Village’s website. For more details about council’s decisions and discussions, the Village website (https://village.clinton.bc.ca/) is a great resource for community members.