At its meeting on March 1, members of Cache Creek council had to deal with two financial matters left over from the previous council and past administration.
2016 economic development grant
On Feb. 21, 2021, the village received an overdue notice from the Province regarding funding which had been applied for in 2016 and granted in 2017, but which had not been used.
The grant of $32,000 was to have been used for an Economic Development Action Plan. The Province’s records showed that the village had received the funds, but that the project had not been completed. The village was given the option of returning the funds or asking for an extension.
Coun. Sue Peters moved that the village request the extension. Mayor Santo Talarico asked where the money had been placed, and a summary of the timeline from when the money was received until now.
Chief financial officer Cristina Martini said that the money had been requested in 2016 for needs that the village had identified at the time. She said she assumed it had initially been recorded as revenue, adding that an audit in 2019 found emails from the Province requesting the funds be returned, since the village did not undertake the project. As the funds had apparently been placed in general revenue, they were now a liability for the village.
Martini said that when the Province asked recently if the village wanted to extend the project, it was brought to council to see what they wanted to do.
Coun. Wendy Coomber said she felt it was a good time to polish off the community’s economic development plan. After a brief discussion, council voted unanimously to proceed with the project under the original scope set out in 2016.
2017 flood mitigation grant
On Feb. 25, 2021 Emergency Management BC requested the return of $15,701.27 (out of $150,000 received) in unspent/ineligible funds the village received in 2017 for a Cache Creek flood assessment project. The request was presented for council’s information.
The $150,000 was received in 2017 and recorded as revenue, and the project was finalized in 2020. Martini noted that because of this, the village is now in a deficit position of $134,298.73 (having incurred expenses in 2020 without the revenue to cover it, as the funds had been incorrectly recorded as operating revenue in 2017).
The BC Community Foundation has asked for criteria on how the village wants to set up its Community Foundation fund and who is eligible/not eligible for funds, as well as information for its website, so that those who want to learn more about the fund can find it there. The matter was tabled until a subsequent meeting, to give council time to consider the request and come up with recommendations of what they would like to see.
After requesting more information about the Voyent Alert emergency notification system at the Feb. 16 meeting, council voted unanimously to join the program at a cost of $960 per year.
Cannabis bylaw questions
Williams Lake First Nation (WLFN) requested that the village amend proposed Bylaw No. 6-001 (Zoning Amendment 2021), which states that no retail cannabis business can be established within 200 metres of a school or within 50 metres of a community hall or park, prior to its adoption.
WLFN owns Unity Cannabis LP, and would like to establish a retail cannabis store in Cache Creek. They have identified 1153 Trans-Canada Highway (beside Junctions Coffee House at the base of the Castle Motel) as the optimal — and probably only — location they would consider for such a store within the village. However, while they believe the site is outside the 50 metre boundary for the community hall, it might be just within the 200 metre buffer zone proposed for Cache Creek Elementary.
WLFN asked that, if the location was within the 200-metre buffer zone, the distance be amended in the bylaw to 175 metres, to permit establishment of a store at 1153 Trans-Canada Highway.
Peters asked for the request to be tabled until council had time to discuss it with School District No. 74, as that was where the biggest concerns came from and it was the school district that had asked for the buffer zone of 200 metres. The motion passed unanimously, as did a motion to table second reading, final consideration, and adoption of Bylaw No. 6-001.
Internet security policy
Council discussed a proposed internet security policy which would, among other things, see each member of council assigned a unique email address that would be used while conducting village business via email. Council members currently use personal email addresses for village business.
There were some comments and suggestions about the policy and proposed changes. The policy will now be amended and come back to council for approval.
WorkSafe outstanding items
Council moved to receive and file a WorkSafe BC inspection report listing three outstanding items on which action is required. The inspection was carried out on Feb. 10, 2021 at the village’s water treatment plant, and the items pertain to the village not supplying a written copy of its confined space program; two uncalibrated gas detectors; and the lack of a written safe work procedure for the use of disinfectants at the plant.
Talarico said that the report and orders would be discussed at an in camera meeting. WorkSafe BC has indicated that it is considering imposing a financial penalty as a result of the health and safety violations.
There was a lengthy discussion, and many questions, about the future of the Cache Creek pool, an article about which appeared in the Journal on March 4. The meeting, which started at 6 p.m., went into closed session at 7:14 p.m.
All minutes and agendas for Cache Creek council meetings can be found on the Village’s website at http://www.village.cachecreek.bc.ca/. Meetings normally take place on the first and third Mondays of each month, and begin at 6 p.m. The next regular meeting will take place on Monday, March 15.