Cache Creek Council Briefs – illegal suites and hotel utilities

Briefs from the Cache Creek Council meeting of March 11

From the Cache Creek council meeting on March 11.

Roll Call: Mayor John Ranta and councillors Lisa Dafoe, Herb Hofer and Darrell Rawcliffe. Missing: Coun. Wyatt McMurray.

Rental Units

Resident Georgette Evans made a delegation to Council in order to ask why she had to buy a business license when she was renting out her duplex, while others are renting out parts of their houses without needing one.

“People are renting out basement suites, having boarders. They should all be paying accordingly,” she said.

Evans said her duplex wasn’t being rented out anymore, but she is still paying for two utility hookups. “Are they paying?” she asked.

“Not that I’m aware of,” said Mayor John Ranta. He admitted, “We have yet to figure out the best way of dealing with this. Generally speaking, don’t want to close the door on those options” for homeowners who take in renters to help pay the mortgage and make ends meet.

Is cracking down on illegal suites a benefit or is it a hardship, he asked.

“It’s a benefit to the Village,” replied Evans. “Why would I pay for two units when others don’t have to?”

Duplexes are different, said Ranta, because they have two titles. Homeowners would be required to undertake significant renovations to comply with building standards for rentals, he said.

“What about a fire?” Evans asked, when there are no sprinklers.

Ranta said the issue had been discussed with prior Councils.

“Many people know it’s happening,” he said, “but to charge for a second suite, you have to make them compliant and bring them in line with building codes. I think Council should continue to turn a blind eye to it rather than force people to evict their tenant or raise the standard of their rental property.”

Coun. Darrell Rawcliffe said he would like to have more information on illegal suites in Cache Creek. Staff was asked to investigate how illegal suites are dealt with in other jurisdictions.

“If you want to force compliance,” added Ranta, “You force our staff to watchdog every house.”

Curling Club donation declined

Council considered a funding request for the Curling Club by executive members Andrea Bona and Hilda Jones but after some discussion, decided not to renew the five-year grant of $1,250.

“We’re struggling,” Jones told Council. “All of the recreation groups are.”

She said the curling rink’s utility bills were very high, but the club has been working to reduce them by replacing the ceiling. They’ve also received a federal grant for a new energy efficient furnace and air conditioner.

The air conditioner, said Jones, “should help us rent the building in the summer” and bring in some revenue.

“We’re hanging on at the moment,” she said. “We don’t want to close the doors because it’s hard to open them again.”

“Five years ago $1,250 probably wasn’t a lot of money,” noted Coun. Herb Hofer as Council discussed the request among themselves. “Money is tight now. Do we want to shut down the curling club? No. That’s one less thing for people to do here.”

“I’m not as convinced as I was five years ago to support the curling club,” said Mayor Ranta. Five years ago they had a leaky roof and no money to fix it. Now they want to spend part of our grant to go into competition with us in providing an air conditioned facility for rent.”

“Everyone is looking for money,” agreed Coun. Darrell Rawcliffe. “We have to draw the line, but where? We’re not here to spend money like drunken sailors.”

Council agreed with Coun. Hofer’s suggestion to “send nice letter to the curling club saying we sympathize but due to declining landfill revenue and an  expensive water treatment plant, we can’t afford it.”

Oasis Utilities

Council agreed to waive utility bills to 14 rooms of the Oasis Hotel on a temporary basis while they undergo renovations. The motion is on condition that those rooms are not used, nor are the utilities to be used during that time. The hotel still has 37 rooms in use.

Council also discussed whether to review the Oasis’ past utility bills for the pub and restaurant. The Village has been charging the business based on the number of seats allowed on their liquor license, but the owner felt that the bill should be based on actual seating, which is considerably less than allowed on the liquor license.

Treasurer Lori Pilon pointed out that the seating question should balance itself out even if Council starts to charge them on the actual number of seats, because they hadn’t been charging for the restaurant seating, which is a higher rate than the pub.

Council denied the Oasis’s request to review utility bills from 2010-12 and refund the difference, which was just under $2,000.

Seniors Health and Fitness

Council approved a new contract for Vicky Trill for the remainder of 2012. Trill facilitates the Village’s Seniors Fit For Life Program.

Radio/TV Society

Council agreed to the Ashcreek TV Society’s increased funding request for $2,273 for 2013.

Fall Fair

Council agreed to it’s usual sponsorship of the Ashcroft & District Fall Fair. Council agreed to a $250 donation and a $50 award for the Best Use of Recycling entry.

Rodeo Association

Council approved a donation request for $500.

Coun. Hofer said he spoke against giving money to the Rodeo Association last year, but he’s changed his mind about the event since then.

Cache Creek businesses benefit from the rodeo, agreed Mayor Ranta.

“And the Lions would be short by about $1,000 that they make at the breakfasts,” added Councillor Darrell Rawcliffe, president of the Ashcroft & District Lions.

Next Meeting

March 25 at 4:30 pm

March 26 at 7 pm – town hall meeting