Craft Sale brings plenty of vendors
The 11th annual Clinton Fall Craft Sale took place on Saturday, Oct. 26 at the Memorial Hall, and served as another successful event for the village’s Communities in Bloom Beautification Society. In total, 21 vendors participated and donated door prizes, too.
“Thank you to everyone who came out on this brisk fall day to shop and enjoy [a] lunch of chili and soup,” said Clinton’s CiB chair, Yvette May.
Stay tuned for more details about upcoming holiday events hosted by the group, including the Christmas Light-up and another potential Midnight Merchant Madness night in December.
Village Council Briefs: Oct. 23
Dramatic start to meeting
The RCMP were called to Clinton council chambers at the start of the regular meeting of council on Oct. 23 to speak with one member of the public, who was asked to leave. After speaking with the RCMP for some time, the man returned to the gallery without any further problems for the remainder of the meeting.
After that dramatic start to the evening, council proceeded with their regular agenda, which included no new business. About 15 people attended the meeting, but no formal delegations were presented. All council members were present with the exception of Coun. Sandi Burrage.
New Community Forest director
Recently, Clinton’s Community Forest began searching for a new individual to join their board of directors, which currently consists of six directors who were approved and appointed by mayor and council. Stephen Alexander was chosen and approved as a new director during the meeting.
Fees and Charges bylaw committee will not include member of public
Next, council went on to address a report from acting Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Tom Dall, which sought input to develop a working group to review the community’s Fees and Charges bylaw.
Mayor Susan Swan noted that the Village has been committed to reviewing this bylaw before the end of the year. CAO Dall’s report recommended that a committee of council be formed to include one member of the public, who would be included to review and make changes to the bylaw if needed, ensuring that the fees are fair and meet the Village’s long-term needs.
Multiple members of council expressed concerns with the proposed committee make-up.
Coun. David Park was the first to voice his concern on the subject. “Usually in the past we have a committee that is composed of staff and a member of council,” he said, indicating that he did not see the need for a different make-up that would include the public.
Coun. Kim McIlravey agreed with Park, stating that she saw some value in a member of the public sitting in on the committee, but felt that council could also encounter some potential “negativity” as a result. Coun. Christine Rivett agreed, and added that if someone does come in and puts up barriers, they should be asked to leave and thanked for their service.
Park said that the views of one resident would not be able to stand in for the views of the entire community, and as an alternative, he suggested using a survey to collect public input on the bylaw. He made an amendment to leave the motion as it stood, removing the inclusion of one member of the public.
The motion as carried therefore indicates that the Fees and Charges Committee will include one member of council along with members of staff. Additionally, the bylaw must be brought back before council by the middle of December, so that any recommended changes can be implemented for the new year.
This discussion and decision drew whispers from the gallery, which did not seem to approve of council’s decision to disallow a member of the public from joining their committee. Concerns about transparency were quietly raised amongst the audience, but the evening’s question period had already passed at the start of the meeting.
Fire Department changes
Council went on to seek approval of the Fire Department Remuneration Bylaw, ultimately agreeing to approve the changes requested.
Earlier in the year, the Village increased remunerations for the local Fire Department, at which time Clinton was paying its volunteer firefighters through a semi-annual payroll system. Prior to that, the Village paid the fire department, and the department dispersed funding to its members.
A meeting with Fire Chief Wayne Walch determined that the department would like to return to that original system, which was in place prior to 2017.
After brief discussion from council, the fire department’s request was approved. The Village will continue handling their payroll for the year, before moving to a full payment method in 2020. The department will then receive a payment of $15,000 as outlined in the 2020 bylaw.
Community Forest Audit
Next, council addressed the alleged redundancy of employing two audits of the Village’s Community Forest.
At the past two regular council meetings, the mayor was asked to sign the Shareholders Resolutions form provided by the Community Forest, but council requested more information before proceeding with approval.
The most pertinent resolution requested asked to waive the appointment of an auditor for the next financial year, since the Village of Clinton is the only shareholder of the Community Forest and already publishes its own audited financial statement each year.
After a request from Coun. Rivett, Mayor Swan read out an explanation of the situation provided by the Community Forest’s lawyer, Nick Weiser.
“If the Village is satisfied with the current accountant and their preparation of the financial statement, then point #3 of the resolution is simply to let the Village waive the hiring of an auditor and save the cost,” wrote Weiser, adding that auditors are very expensive.
“Again, the only shareholder is the Village […] so what is the point of hiring an auditor at a very great expense?”
Coun. Rivett made a successful motion that council approve the mayor to sign the Shareholders Resolutions of Clinton and District Community Forest of BC Limited, which was unanimously agreed upon.
Woodlot update: Logging burnt timber
Council approved logging of the community’s woodlot, once all contracts are in order.
The Village of Clinton Woodlot #557 was scheduled to begin logging at the start of 2019, but did not receive approval until the end of January. In his report, Dall noted that there “has been no one available to harvest the permit”.
With the mill closures and current market, Dall indicated that the price for burned fir has now dropped significantly. Consequently, West Fraser is willing to purchase timber for the indicated price. There are no other available buyers.
“All of the wood to be removed is burnt timber and estimated at 12-15,000 m3. There are no current agents available to take the pulpwood, however the Woodlot Manager is currently in discussions with a possible buyer. As the burnt wood has a limited shelf life, there is a need to have the wood removed in order to get the best value.”
After approving the logging of burnt timber within the Village’s woodlot, council presented their usual reports. Councillors McIlravey and Park did not submit verbal or written reports of their experience at this year’s Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) conference and AGM.
Mayor Swan presented a lengthy report on her time at UBCM. Overall, she indicated that the conference included several pertinent workshops and clinics, but Swan felt that the events were geared more towards larger local governments. Nonetheless, she noted that “the extra meetings and the networking were very useful.”
Councillors Rivett and Burrage also submitted detailed written reports about the workshops they attended and all they learned at UBCM. Those reports, and the meeting’s agenda, are available for public perusal online at Clinton’s website (https://village.clinton.bc.ca/) or in person at the Village Office.