One of the new working groups established by Ashcroft council will look at the structures, buildings, and trees in the Heritage Park. It was prompted by damage to the park when the 20-year-old wooden sign at the entrance to the parking lot was blown over by high winds in October 2020. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)

One of the new working groups established by Ashcroft council will look at the structures, buildings, and trees in the Heritage Park. It was prompted by damage to the park when the 20-year-old wooden sign at the entrance to the parking lot was blown over by high winds in October 2020. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)

Ashcroft working groups address fire, flooding, trails, and more

Strategic plan initiatives all the focus of separate groups that will advise on action

New HOG rules

The Village of Ashcroft is making changes to help residents apply for the Home Owner Grant (HOG).

Chief Financial Officer Yogi Bhalla said the province has taken over the HOG administration this year, which means everything will go online. This may make it difficult for Ashcroft residents who rely on village staff to help them fill out the necessary forms. As such, he said, the village has set up a public computer and will provide staff to help those who need it.

“It’s going to be challenging but we will do our best to work with our challenges to get this done,” he said.

Challenging year

The Village of Ashcroft has finished the year in a financially strong position, despite facing numerous challenges.

Bhalla said the village was under budget in every major area except for the water treatment plant, which went over budget by about $80,000. The increased spending was driven by BC Hydro charges, he said. The overrun was covered by surplus.

Working group appointments

Ashcroft council has appointed the following representatives to its Strategic Plan working groups:

– Emergency plan update: Couns. Jonah Anstett and Nadine Davenport

– Storm drainage and run-off study: Coun. Jonah Anstett and Mayor Barbara Roden

– Water to Ashcroft Indian Band: Couns. Marilyn Anderson and Nadine Davenport

– North Ashcroft Reservoir: Couns. Jonah Anstett and Deb Tuohey

– Trails Master Plan: Mayor Barbara Roden and Coun. Deb Tuohey

– Heritage Park Assessment and Community Garden: Couns. Deb Tuohey and Marilyn Anderson

– Fire Department Sustainability: Mayor Barbara Roden and Coun. Nadine Davenport

Flood mapping and planning

Ashcroft will submit a $52,550 funding application to the Community Emergency Preparedness Fund for flood risk assessment, mapping, and planning. Mayor Barbara Roden said there’s a good opportunity for members of the community to have some historic input into the patterns of flooding over the years and decades.

Cannabis petition

The Village of Ashcroft will post a cannabis petition in the village office.

The petition, which comes from the office of Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon MP Brad Vis and is being spearheaded by Cache Creek resident Carmen Ranta, is in response to concerns around medical cannabis licences and the lack of municipal and provincial jurisdiction over such licences and licence-holders. The petition requests the federal government review licensing and regulation processes for medical cannabis across Canada.

Roden said it’s important to support such petitions, even if they come from a resident in another municipality.

“It is an issue that is not specific to any one community,” she said. “As the law stands right now municipal governments have no say in medical cannabis grow ops within their village boundaries, so their hands are tied when it comes to questions like odours.

“It’s an attempt to get some control back into the hands of municipalities that are hosting these facilities.”

Bylaw enforcement officer

The villages of Ashcroft, Cache Creek, and Clinton are moving ahead with plans for a joint bylaw enforcement officer.

Chief Administrative Officer Daniela Dyck said they would like to have an officer in place by spring but are waiting for the B.C. Attorney General to add the three villages to a bylaw adjudication list. Once that’s done, the communities can sign the bylaw to establish the service and develop a ticketing bylaw.

The bylaw enforcement officer working group will meet next on Feb. 16.

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