By David F. Rooney
An attempt by Councillor Phil Welock to convince Council to impose a hiring freeze on all municipal hiring was shot down in flames 4-1 at Tuesday’s Committee of the Whole meeting.
Welock argued that local residents would appreciate seeing City Hall clamp down on hiring from March 1 until December 31.
“We owe it to people to show some restraint,” he said.
However, other Councillors disagreed saying that a freeze would hamper the City’s need to replace employees who quit, retire or are fired.
Council is resurrecting the moribund Enhancement Committee, which “fell by wayside” in recent years.
Councillors voted revive the committee, which provides strategic advice and direction when it comes to revitalization and new development.
Under a plan outlined by City Planner John Guenther, the committee will consist of representatives from Council, the Chamber of Commerce, the Arts Council, the tourism and heritage sectors, the Economic Development Department and the Public Works Department. As well, the City will advertise for representatives from the development and downtown business communities.
The City plans to issue a Request for Proposals from interested consultants as it moves toward the creation of a Unified Development Bylaw.
Council voted during its regular Committee of the Whole meeting Tuesday to set the RFP in motion. The City has $100,000 from the federal Gas Tax Fund, a $25,000 grant from the Columbia Basin Trust and an Affordability and Choice Today grant of $5,000 from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to pay for the bylaw’s development. Staff are also seeking another $30,000 in grants from other agencies, Guenther said.
“This puts the City on a proactive footing,” Guenther said.
Councillors reacted positively to the proposals with Chris Johnston saying, “We’re not going to grow by leaps and bounds… (but) this can actually assist our growth.”
The RFP will address three main areas: the City’s Public Participation Master Plan; a baseline analysis of housing and buildable lands that will utilize existing studies; and the Unified Development Bylaw itself.
The bylaw will impose another set of criteria for developers over top of the existing zoning regulations. Those criteria are intended to help make future development in Revelstoke more people-friendly. (You can read more about the thinking behind the bylaw and some of the steps aleady taken towards achieving it at https://legacy.revelstokecurrent.com//2010/02/02/are-you-dreaming-of-a-greener-revelstoke-part-1/ and at https://legacy.revelstokecurrent.com//2010/02/02/are-you-dreaming-of-a-greener-revelstoke-part-2/.)
Revelstoke’s Community Energy Corporation (RCEC) will be better positioned to realize future growth through a Community Energy and Emissions Plan approved by City Council during Tuesday’s Committee of the Whole meeting.
The plan, which has a budget of no less than $80,000 ($30,000 from the City and $30,000 from BC Hydro plus $20,000 from Energy Canada) and possibly $110,000 (if the CBT decides to toss an additional $30,000 into the pot), will establish new initiatives for the RCEC in the coming years. These include: a pre-feasibility analysis of potential system expansion; a business plan; creating models for district energy-ready hook-ups; and governance and system management. Other initiatives could include a strategic plan that addresses design, expansion, energy sources and alternatives, marketing, hook-up expansion, carbon offsets and electrical co-generation.
RCEC currently operates a 1.5 MW wood residue-fired biomass boiler with a 1.75 MW backup propane boiler. Although originally envisaged as a heat and electricity generating system, RCEC scaled back its original project from $18.5 million to $5.6 million because of cost concerns. The current system is a heat-only one that provides heat to its clients.
“This is a fabulous idea,” said Councillor Steve Bender. “It will address a lot of the criticism levelled at RCEC.”