Traffic bylaw under scrutiny

Ashcroft council to consider recommendations for changes to existing traffic bylaw, and other Council news

From the Ashcroft Council meeting on July 14.

Roll call: Mayor Andy Anderson; Councillors Alice Durksen, Jerry Fiddick, Helen Kormendy, and Doreen Lambert.

Revision of Traffic Regulation Bylaw

The Village of Ashcroft Traffic Regulation Bylaw No. 753 was adopted in 2008, but Council has recently received complaints and expressions of concern regarding a number of traffic-related issues that are not addressed by the current bylaw. These include:

– The proliferation of sandwich boards on Village sidewalks, which can pose safety risks.

– Trees which overgrow roadways, and who is responsible for keeping them trimmed back.

– Election signs: when and where they can be placed, what their size can be, and when they should be taken down.

– Snow clearing: should there be different times by which snow needs to be cleared from commercial and residential sidewalks (for example, 10:00 am for commercial properties, later in the day for residences).

– Logging trucks and semi-trailers in residential areas, which occupy large areas of frontage space and often operate at very early or very late hours.

It was recommended that Council include these items in any new traffic control and use of streets bylaw.

It was also pointed out that the current zoning bylaw requires two off-street parking places for each residence, but that a growing number of residences have a third vehicle, and many have an RV and/or utility trailer as well, which are parked on the street. In some areas this is causing safety concerns, as it can be difficult to navigate streets, or get in and out of driveways, in a safe manner. Another concern is travel trailers and motor homes which are parked on public streets while not in use, sometimes for several months.

The current bylaw states that RVs up to 35 feet in length are allowed to be parked on a public street for up to 30 days; the vehicle only has to be away for 24 hours for the 30 day limit to start again. Several members of the public spoke for and against the idea of limiting the amount of time RVs can be parked outside private residences on public property. Council pointed out that no changes to the 30 day limit are under discussion at this time. Administration has, however, reviewed a number of bylaws from other jurisdictions regarding the parking of any type of vehicle on public property, and presented them to Council for information purposes. Council will decide whether it wants to pursue any modifications to the current traffic regulation bylaw.

Medical marijuana facilities

While the federal government has passed legislation allowing medical marijuana grow operations (MMGOs) as a commercial business, the Village has indicated it will prohibit the cultivation, processing, drying, storing, packaging, distribution, or testing of marijuana or medical marijuana in all zones. Accordingly, Bylaw No. 789 was added to the regular agenda and given first and second reading, and the requirement for a public hearing was waived.

The bylaw does allow for the possibility of a developer approaching Council with a MMGO proposal; should this happen, a rezoning process (which would include at least one public hearing) could be undertaken with the specific proposal in mind, rather than the Village trying to develop a “one size fits all” bylaw regarding MMGOs which might not cover all the loopholes.

Visitor centre

Councillor Durksen reported that fewer people were coming to the Visitor Centre on Railway Ave. than in past years, but also said that fewer people are working there, and the hours the centre is open are limited. She asked that anyone with an enthusiasm for, and knowledge of, the Village who has a few spare hours contact her regarding volunteering at the centre (which has air conditioning).

BC Hydro

A letter was received from BC Hydro regarding the power pole with three transformers that had been marked as requiring attention, and which subsequently fell on to the Village’s garbage truck. The Village had asked “What is BC Hydro’s policy regarding the time from when a pole is identified as requiring attention to when it is replaced?” The reply was that “BC Hydro’s standard timeline for replacing a pole that has been deemed as not serviceable . . . is 12–18 months.” It was noted that the pole in question was inspected, and deemed as “requiring attention”, on April 29, and that it fell on May 6. Mayor Anderson stated that it was not satisfactory that BC Hydro was not changing poles more quickly, noting that there is a pole marked for replacement across from the pool. It was moved that a letter be written to BC Hydro, expressing dissatisfaction with the slow replacement time of poles and pointing out the risk of the marked pole near the swimming pool. Mayor Anderson also noted that a meeting has been set with BC Hydro at the forthcoming UBCM meeting.

Water Master Plan open house

On Sat., July 19 the Village will be holding an open house for interested residents to view the Water Master Plan. The self-guided presentation will incorporate storyboards to explain the Village’s plans, with engineers on hand to answer any questions. The open house will be at the old drug store location on Railway Ave. from 10:00 am–3:00 pm.

Barbara Roden