Councillor Lisa Dafoe was the only member of council unable to attend the regular meeting of Cache Creek council on Monday, Oct. 25, which started at 4:30 p.m. She arrived just after 5 p.m. as council moved to take the meeting to a closed session.
The minutes of the regular council meeting on Oct. 15 were adopted, but not before Coun. Annette Pittman asked that three matters she raised at the Oct. 15 meeting, and her comments, be included. It was pointed out that two of the matters had been discussed at a closed meeting and could not be included in open meeting minutes, while the third — which involved Coun. Pittman commenting on the Village’s advertising budget — had not been deemed pertinent to the issue that was being discussed, so had not been included in the minutes.
Coun. Pittman said she would like the advertising budget comments included, and Chief Administrative Officer Martin Dalsin said that they could be if council so wished. There was no motion made to amend the minutes, and they were adopted as presented.
Mayor Santo Talarico made three new committee appointments, with Coun. Wendy Coomber named to the Economic Development, Budget and Administrative Services, and Intergovernmental Relations committees. The appointments were necessary following Mayor Talarico’s removal of Coun. Pittman from all three committees at the Sept. 16 council meeting.
Council unanimously passed first reading of Zoning Amendment Bylaw 808, 2019 and the scheduling of a public hearing about it. The bylaw is the result of an application for rezoning from a property owner who would like to create 59 new lots in a new subdivision that would feature modular homes, and which would be located at the east ends of Stage Road and Woodburn Drive, with access to the new subdivision from both roads.
A late addition to the agenda was a request from Cameron Rittinger, secretary of the proposed Ashcroft-Cache Creek Golf Society, for a permissive tax exemption for 2020. In his letter Rittinger noted that he was writing on behalf of a group that is exploring the feasibility of re-establishing a non-profit society to operate the Cache Creek golf course, and noted that in past years the golf course was given a tax exemption.
While he realized that the deadline for applying for a tax exemption had passed, Rittinger hoped that council could give consideration to extending the exemption. “We believe the golf course is a valuable addition to Cache Creek and our region and as volunteers are attempting to keep it functioning. Financial support from the Village of Cache Creek in the form of a possible tax exemption would certainly help make our task more viable.”
Coun. Sue Peters said she felt that the matter should be brought up again when the society is going, and dealt with at that time. CAO Dalsin noted that a tax exemption needed to be agreed on by the end of Oct. 2019 in order for the property to be exempt in 2020. “If we don’t do it during this time period they’ll be paying full tax next year. Unfortunately, at this time they don’t meet the criteria for a permissive tax exemption.”
Coun. Coomber asked if an exemption could be given in principle, and the answer was no. “It all has to be filed with BC Assessment Authority,” explained Dalsin, who confirmed Mayor Talarico’s statement that as the group does not have official society status they cannot receive an exemption.
Chief Financial Officer Cristina Martini said she did not know how far along the group was in their society application. “It is not fair for the rest of the taxpayers to take over the burden for a business that doesn’t quite qualify at this point. They may apply for other loans; there are lots of financing options there for start-up businesses.”
Another late addition was a motion that council approve the hiring of Meraki Planning to develop a request for proposals for consultants to provide amendments for all relevant Village of Cache Creek bylaws to allow for the regulation of the production and distribution of cannabis. Coun. Peters asked for an amendment indicating that the budget for developing the RFP be no more than $2,000, and the amended motion passed unanimously.
Also passed unanimously was a motion supporting proposed activities outlined in the 2019 Application for a Structural Flood Mitigation grant through the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM), and agreeing to provide overall grant management. The application is for $750,000 to construct a bridge crossing over Cache Creek to replace the undersized culvert at Quartz Road. The overall cost of the project is estimated at $1.5 million, and the Village has already received $750,000 from the 2018 UBCM CEPF Structural Flood Mitigation Program for an upgrade of the Quartz Road culvert.
Council approved a motion which would see the Village donate $100 to the Christmas Hamper Fund. It was also noted that every community group gets one annual free use of the Cache Creek Community Hall, and free use of the hall on the day the group is accepting hamper applications was added to the cash donation. Council also approved the placing of a food donation box in the Village office.
CAO Dalsin noted that TRUE Consulting had been unsuccessful in applying for an extension to remove a logjam in the Bonaparte River .5km upstream from the bridge at the north end of town. A re-application to remove the logjam before the freshet starts in 2020 will be made, and an application will also be made to remove a logjam from Cache Creek. Permission will also be sought to do bank repairs on Cache Creek adjacent to the fire hall.
Mayor Talarico gave updates from the Thompson-Nicola Regional District, including news about several film projects in the area, the proposed opening of the Campbell Hill landfill in Dec. 2020, and the fact that plans for a potential new Eco-Depot south of Cache Creek were moving along, with construction hoping to start in spring 2020.
Coun. Coomber had one further late item which had not made it into the agenda: information about the Love Northern B.C. program run by Northern Development Initiative Trust to support small businesses in rural communities. She gave a brief synopsis of the program and how it helps small businesses, provided documents for council to review, and noted that Ashcroft is part of the program if other council members wanted to see what the program looks like.
She said that she had spoken to staff at the Village of Ashcroft and determined that there was no financial cost to the Village to be part of the program and that minimal staff time was required. Coomber said she hoped council would be in a position to discuss joining the program at their next meeting, as in the absence of a Chamber of Commerce the program would provide a much-needed profile and presence for small businesses in Cache Creek. She also offered to be a champion for the program and go around town to discuss it with local businesses.
There were no questions from the public, and at 5:02 p.m. council moved to take the meeting to a closed session.
The meeting was recorded by the HUB Online Network, and is available to view on the HUB Online Network Facebook page. Meeting agendas and minutes are available on the Village’s website (http://www.village.cachecreek.bc.ca/).