Cache Creek Council Briefs – rising taxes and park renovations

Briefs from the Cache Creek Council meeting on March 25.

From the Cache Creek Council meeting on March 25.

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

Taxes still rising

Council gave first three readings to its Five Year Financial Plan, containing a $5.2 million budget for 2013/14.

The budget calls for a 2.5 per cent increase on both utilities and residential taxes every year for the next five years.

“I think Council is coming to grips with the erosion of landfill revenue,” said Ranta.

“We’re still in good shape,” he said, “we don’t owe anyone, and we still have money in the bank. That we cannot continue on as we have been is becoming clear.”

He said the Village had some hard decisions to face in the future, such as either increasing taxes or abandoning the landfill legacy – “which I would not support.”

He added that the Village is still looking for alternative sources of revenue.

The 2013/14 budget is still anticipating $550,000 in landfill royalties, $1.5 million in grants and $332,400 in property tax. Among other things, the Village is planning to spend $1.6 million in capital expenditures.

The Five Year Financial Plan, contained in Bylaw761, needs a fourth reading before Council can approve it.

Street banners

Cache Creek students, parents, the school’s principal Brenna O’Connor and the banner program leaders Jo Petty and Shirlee Johnson crowded into the Council chambers to thank Council and the United Way for making the program possible.

“I have to tell you,” said John Ranta, “I had some doubt about this project…”

He was used to, he said, getting banners from a company that specialized in making street banners.

“But I was wrong,” he said, calling it a “blessing to have these banners in our town.”

He congratulated the group on job well done.

Park renovations

Pam Astbury and Shannon Gadsby from Focus Corporation presented two options for landscape work that would reduce the impact of Spring flooding in the park. They estimated that the work would cost approximately $280,000, which included a federal infrastructure grant of $128,000.

Both options involved raising the area where the playground is now, to be more or less level with the swimming pool. Gadsby told Council that the two main benefits would be opening up the play area to be seen from the street, and taking care of the annual flooding from the Bonaparte River. Both are wheelchair accessible, she said, and would use the current site furnishings. Some of the trees between the playground and the swimming pool would have to come out, but they would be replaced by other trees. There would be a paved area between the playground and the gazebo, which they called a “gathering area”.

Astbury described how the elevation in the play area would be raised by truck loads of fill and then covered with soft material for the children to play in.

The rest of the park north of the gazebo would not be changed and would still be subject to “ponding” from floodwaters.

She anticipated that work on the park would begin after the normal flood season in May and would be finished by late August or early September.

The paved area would “provide a formality that grass doesn’t,” said Astbury when Mayor John Ranta questioned the $160,000 worth of pavers that they planned to use for the gathering area. It could be used as a plaza, providing a place for outdoor concerts, dance, or a starting place for events.

Accounting for more than half of the project’s budget, Coun. Wyatt McMurray felt they could cut back on the pavers.

“I think we need to have further discussion,” said Ranta, who thought it could be done for a lower cost. He said he was happy to be able to sit on the grass.

Family Physician Recruitment

An Interior Health committee made up of Andrew Neuner, Dr. Shirley Sze, Dr. Rod Dickey and Bohdan Zacjew made a recent presentation to the TNRD Board of Directors on a regional family physician recruitment strategy, reported Mayor John Ranta. The  regional district was invited to provide input on the family physician recruitment strategy through a web-based consultation process that will start in mid-April.

Ranta said that Neuner provided a map with red dots representing all of the communities – except that Cache Creek wasn’t on the map. He said he asked Neuner if Cache Creek residents were persona non grata at Interior Health facilities.  Neuner advised that he would have his map amended.

“I wonder if Interior Health views Cache Creek and Ashcroft as one community,” said Ranta, who suggested to Council that they place a request on IH’s doctor recruitment website for a doctor, nearing retirement, looking for a great place to raise horses or just enjoy being in a rural town. He suggested that they could share doctor services with Bonaparte.

Next Meeting

April 8 at 7 pm in the Village Office. Everyone welcome.

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