All members of Cache Creek council except Coun. Lisa Dafoe were present for the first regular council meeting of 2021, which began at 6 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 4.
Road maintenance update
David Rhodes of Dawson Road Maintenance provided an update about work on area roads throughout summer and fall 2020 and discussed plans for the 2020/21 winter season. Mayor Santo Talarico asked when the debris flow warning signs — erected after the mudslides of 2018, which killed a woman travelling on Highway 99 near Hat Creek in August of that year — would be removed. Rhodes said that they will remain in place until re-growth in areas affected by the 2017 Elephant Hill wildfire is more substantial, which will likely take a few more years. The signs, which are along Highways 1, 97, and 99 between Ashcroft, Lillooet, Clinton, and Walhachin, warn drivers not to stop during rain events, and are the only ones of their kind in the province.
COVID relief spending
Chief Financial Officer Cristina Martini advised that staff have asked the Cache Creek public works department if they have any projects or plans that they would like to see COVID relief funding go towards. In November 2020 the village was advised that it would receive $461,000 under the provincial COVID-19 Safe Restart Grants for Local Governments program. The funds are intended to help support local governments as they deal with increased operating costs and lower revenues as a result of COVID-19.
Cannabis regulation petition
Council approved a motion to have a petition seeking regulation of the production of cannabis for personal medical use placed at the village office for members of the public to sign, and to promote the petition through social media. Signed petitions will be forwarded to Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon MP Brad Vis so that he can address the issue in parliament. Online signatures are not allowed, but anyone who wants to sign can do so by visiting the village office Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The request for the petition came from School District No. 74 trustee Carmen Ranta, who said that she was concerned by the odours coming from a grow op in the former Wander Inn building in Cache Creek.
“The odor [sic] of the grow op negatively impacts our local school grounds at Cache Creek Elementary School and students or parents who walk or drive near the Wander Inn grow op on their way to or from school… [MP Vis] is passionate about this topic and wants to help communities and individuals suffering the negative impacts of federally licensed grow-ops that are otherwise secret and unregulated by provincial and municipal authorities.”
The petition notes that “Licences for the production of medical cannabis are often abused”, that “Municipal enforcement agencies have little to no power over cannabis grow-ops in their own jurisdictions”, and that “The federal government has failed to subject personal registered medical cannabis production to examination and inspection, allowing grey and black-market cannabis growing operations to flourish under this program.” It seeks to reform the licensing and oversight of the production of cannabis for personal medical use, and to give provincial and municipal governments more power when it comes to regulation and enforcement of sites being used for this purpose.
Coun. Wendy Coomber provided an update about the local transit service, noting that there would be a replacement driver for several weeks. Council discussed possible construction of a bus shelter, with BC Transit accepting applications for funding of such shelters, but Coomber did not recommend that the village support the initiative at this time.
The meeting went into closed session at 7:02 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 (with some exceptions), and begin at 6 p.m.