Ashcroft works to co-ordinate voting days

Staff and council are trying to ensure that the upcoming referendum and by-election can take place on the same date.

Ranch Road concerns

At the Committee of the Whole meeting on June 27, a delegation from the Desert Sands Community School Parent Advisory Council (PAC) approached council about the possibility of having a line painted along the east side of Ranch Road between Government Street and the school, until such time as the village was in a position to put in sidewalks.

PAC chair Juanita Little also asked if more crosswalks could be painted across Ranch, to assist students in crossing the road more safely. It was noted that with a school population of some 280 students, DSCS is now the largest school in School District No. 74, with students ranging in age from pre-school to 18. Little said that the increase in students and traffic along the road is a safety concern to some parents.

Council was sympathetic to the situation, and at the open meeting which followed directed staff by a vote of 4–0 to investigate the cost of painting a line and crosswalks along Ranch, as well as installing the appropriate signage.

Mayor Jack Jeyes told the PAC that even if council voted to go ahead with the project once staff reported back, it might be some time before a line-painting contractor could be found. “We don’t have the in-house capability for this, and this is the busy season for these contractors,” he said, noting that many are booked up in advance for the summer months, and that the likelihood of finding one at the drop of a hat was “very poor”.

However, he said that if the project goes ahead, staff could see if any contractor was in the area and could add the work to what they were already doing.

Council asked Little if any steps had been taken by the school to discuss road and bike safety with students following the opening of the combined K–12 facility in September 2015, noting that this would possibly help alleviate the problem. No school-wide discussion seems to have taken place, although individual classes walking to the Art Show in April were taught about road safety. Councillor Doreen Lambert also asked if SD74 had been approached about putting a crosswalk guard on the road, to help with safety and encourage the students to behave appropriately. Little replied that such an approach has not been made.

Annual Report now available

The 2015 annual report for the Village of Ashcroft is now available online (http://www.ashcroftbc.ca/index.php?page=67) and at the Village office. The report gives an overview of what was accomplished in 2015, looks at council’s plans for the future, and also includes the 2015 audited financial statements.

Referendum and by-election

Ashcroft staff and council have been working to ensure that the assent voting opportunity (referendum) on “Ashcroft Water Treatment Plant Upgrades Loan Authorization Bylaw No. 803, 2016” and the by-election to elect a new member of council can be held on the same day.

According to provincial legislation, the latest the referendum could be held was August 27, while the earliest that a by-election could be held was September 10. In order not to make voters go to the polls two times in three weeks, council defeated Bylaw 803, 2016 at the open council meeting on June 27; then, at a special open council meeting on June 29, it gave Ashcroft Water Treatment Plant Upgrades Loan Authorization Bylaw No. 809, 2016 first three readings.

That bylaw has now been sent to the Inspector of Municipalities for approval; when approval is received, a special open council meeting will be called to give the bylaw final reading. At that same meeting, a chief election officer and deputy chief election officer will be appointed, which means that both processes can proceed in tandem, and the by-election and referendum can be held on the same date, tentatively scheduled for Saturday, September 17.