The Village of Ashcroft held a regular meeting of council on Monday, Nov. 25 at 7 p.m. in council chambers with only Coun. Jonah Anstett absent, due to health issues.
The HUB Online Network was again on-site to record the meeting for public access via The HUB Online Network Facebook page and YouTube channel. Meeting agendas and minutes are always accessible via the Village website (https://ashcroftbc.ca/).
After the adoption of past meeting minutes and the night’s agenda, two delegations were included, beginning with a presentation by Marcie Down of the Gold Country Communities Society (GCCS) that outlined some of their current services and future plans.
Down noted that in 2020, GCCS will publish a new visitor’s guide and trail map. She also recapped some of the society’s programs and initiatives, such as the Gold Country Geocaching program, which began in 2009.
“We’re going to be changing, we’re looking at doing some rebranding,” said Downs, noting the use of technology in many of GCCS’s future plans. “You’re going to see some exciting stuff coming up shortly.”
To follow GCCS and their current creative endeavours promoting local tourism, visit the Explore Gold Country Facebook page.
Community Futures Sun Country general manager Deb Arnott offered a presentation next, updating council on some of the positive things that have taken place in the region since the wildfires of 2017, and adding that the organization will be in a bit of hibernation this winter, before picking up steam again in the New Year.
“We had over 700 individuals attend [our regional workshops],” noted Arnott. “I’m the chair of the Disaster Recovery Team for the Community Futures Association for the province, so I’ve been quite ingrained as to what has been going on and the lack of support for small businesses.”
Moving on to unfinished business, council voted to participate in budget deliberations with the Age Friendly Program. Coun. Davenport noted her support for the community’s proposed participation in the program.
Next, council addressed whether or not to defer a decision on the Ranchlands Mosaic until a public art policy has been developed.
“We have discussed a public art policy before; it is fraught with difficulties,” said Roden, noting that the Village’s previous CAO did much research on the process. “From what I remember… there were issues with placement. There was just no way we could go down that road.”
In the end, Roden said that the Village determined that a public art policy was not necessary. She added that the development of a public art policy would take up a lot of staff time and would also delay any potential future mosaic art projects on Village property for probably up to a year.
The motion was ultimately defeated, with Roden making a successful motion instead that council approve staff to estimate the installation and operational costs of the Ranchlans Mosaic and report back to council.
“I think that this will address some of the issues,” she said. “I know Daniel is an architect, so if he says the building will support the weight of the mosaic I’m inclined to trust him, but we do need to ascertain that, and there are issues with the backlighting.”
All such costs will be assessed and brought back to council at a future meeting.
Coun. Davenport raised concerns about the maintenance and upkeep of art projects such as the Ranchlands Mosaic, which Roden noted was an excellent point. She said that having the costs associated with the Ranchlands Mosaic sorted out would be a good first step.
Moving on to the Strategic Priority report, council successfully passed a motion that staff create a survey regarding communications to be distributed via mail-drop, the Village website and office, as well as other appropriate venues. All completed surveys will then be entered into an “Ashcroft bucks” draw.
Next, council voted to endorse the submission of a C2C grant application to UBCM, and for staff to organize a Community To Community forum, inviting the Ashcroft Indian Band (AIB) to participate. Coun. Tuohey expressed her enthusiasm for council to collaborate further with AIB.
Council also decided to review the documentation regarding a curling rink ice plant update and directed staff to seek additional funding sources for a new chiller for the curling rink, to supplement funds already available, as the estimate for the chiller came in much higher than expected.
Council voted to waive the purchasing policy in obtaining quotes for the chiller. Under the policy, anything over $100,000 must go out as a Request for Proposal (RFP), but information received indicated the chiller would be less than that. The two quotes received so far are both for well over $100,000.
When council moved to the gallery’s open question period, frequent gallery member Gloria Mertens thanked Mayor Roden for getting back to her on some of the inquiries she expressed during the previous council meeting.
She also inquired about the recently cancelled Committee of the Whole meeting, to which CAO Anne Yanciw replied that council did not originally have delegations to present, which was why that CotW was cancelled. Subsequently, staff felt that the two delegations could be incorporated into the regular meeting’s delegation portion.