Cache Creek website, October 2021.

Cache Creek council looks at updating policies, bylaws, website

Mobile home parks bylaw from 1991 in serious need of updating, described as ‘huge grey area’

On Oct 4, new Cache Creek Chief Administrative Officer Damian Couture took council through his first committee of the whole meeting, which considered a number of items.

Cybersecurity/internet use policy

Coun. Wendy Coomber singled out the passage in the policy stating that “Each employee and council member will be assigned a unique email address that is to be used while conducting Village business via email,” noting that she had a single note written beside it: “When?” At present, there is no standard email address (i.e. for the village, meaning council members use personal accounts to conduct village business. “We’ve been talking about this since the last administration,” said Coomber. “Bring it on.”

Couture said he is actively working on the email aspect, which will tie in with proposed changes to the website (see below). He added that changing the website hosting to a different provider would result in “significant” cost savings, as the village is overpaying for that service at the moment. Any cost associated with standardized emails would be offset by savings on website hosting. He also noted that cloud storage and accessibility to files would be benefits of a new system, and that everything would be compliant with privacy regulations. “It really tightens up personal use of things … they’re dedicated services and apps that are only to be used for work.”

Disciplinary procedures

Couture said he has been reviewing Policy No. C-6 (Disciplinary Procedures), noting its importance and the fact that while it is basically sound, it dates back to 1999. Council discussed the length of time that documentation about disciplinary matters should be kept on file, and Coun. Sue Peters said that while council should be apprised of serious issues, it was important not to undermine the CAO.

Couture also noted that the policy only lists three things under “gross misconduct” — drugs, liquor, and abiding by the law — adding that there was nothing about harassment or bullying or discrimination, and that “abiding by the law” is “pretty vague”. He added that the policy should also tie in to the cybersecurity policy.

Good neighbour bylaw

Council discussed what they might like to see in a “good neighbour” bylaw, which regulates requirements in relation to nuisances, disturbances, and other objectionable situations between neighbours. It is often used as an omnibus bylaw that amalgamates several others, such as unsightly premises, to put them all in one place and streamline matters. “Having them all in one place makes it a simpler process, for our bylaw officer as well,” said Peters.

Mobile home parks bylaw

Couture had a “lot of notes” about the village’s Mobile Home Parks Bylaw No. 451, which was adopted in 1991, specifically the issue of travel trailers in mobile home parks. He added that the entire bylaw was a huge grey area, and the village is now encountering issues with some trailers that have been “grandfathered” in, and which owners now want to sell, or replace with another RV.

Overhauling the bylaw would require community input, but Couture says that travel trailers should be struck from the bylaw, as they do not meet building codes and are not classed as buildings, so are not taxable, even though they use services in the community. He also added that if some of them were moved, a replacement could not be put on the same spot, due to issues such as riparian areas and easements.

Mayor Santo Talarico suggested getting in touch with the Thompson-Nicola Regional District, which has been dealing with the issue of people living in travel trailers and RVs. “It’s something that is happening more frequently today; it’s an affordable housing issue.” Peters added that a number of residents wanted reassurance that the new development going in on Stage Road would be a subdivision, and not a mobile home park.

Website upgrade

Couture said that the current website is “not very good.” Coomber’s assessment was “It’s horrible.” Couture has been speaking with the vendor, who the village has been working with since 2006, and who has moved away from domain hosting. They have, at the village’s request, continued hosting the website, but it has stayed status quo since then apart from minor changes, with the result that a lot of material is out of date and/or difficult to find.

Couture said that the site is not user-friendly, and making changes to it is increasingly difficult. Talarico suggested that if the village was successful in its funding request for a grant writer, that person could apply for funding to have a professional design a new website for the village and bring it back to council. Peters said she would also like the community to have input on a new website.

Noting that if the village is successful in getting a grant writer, the position would not start until April 2022, Couture presented a placeholder website he had developed as a temporary measure that could do the job for a few months and then be replaced. It would contain key information such as bylaws, agendas, and minutes, and could include items such as Voyent Alert notifications and a calendar.

Couture said that with council’s approval he would go ahead with the placeholder website — using free tools from GoDaddy — until a better version can be developed. Peters said it could be a time drain, and Couture said he would ask council for direction on what to include on a placeholder website, which would determine the time needed. He also said that it would cost about $500 a year: “It’s cheap: that’s why I like it. Our current website costs $4,000 a year.” The current host needs three months’ notice about discontinuation of the hosting, which Peters noted would give Couture time to set up a temporary website.

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