By David F. Rooney
City Council greeted the New Year with a mercifully brief meeting on Tuesday, January 10.
I say “mercifully brief” because each Council meeting this fall and winter was preceded by public hearings on vacation rentals that stretched the meetings by two or more hours. The December 20 meeting was a monster that lasted almost five hours. Although there were no pubic hearings at Tuesday’s meeting — and only a few people in the public gallery, which felt a little odd after the scores of people who attended each meeting since September — Council’s not yet done with vacation rentals; there will be more hearings later this winter.
Well, now down to business. Acting Mayor Connie Brothers welcomed 42 new residents to Revelstoke. These are the Thomas Brook water users who were annexed into the City as of January 1.
Council passed a bylaw requiring it to provide assistance in the event of a fire on along Meadows in the Sky Parkway in Mount Revelstoke National Park. Please click here to read the bylaw. If you activate the YouTube player below you can watch Council deal with it at the 2:50 mark.
Councillors also approved a Council Procedure Bylaw that answers virtually every question you might possibly have regarding Council and why it works the way it does. This will be of particular interest and use to individuals and groups that are personally appearing before Council or who wish to submit letters, reports and other items of public interest to the Mayor and Council. If you are interested in public engagement with Council this is definitely worth a read.
Council was also apprised of the resignation of School District 9 Trustee Leslie Savage, who is moving to Toronto on January 20. You can view that discussion beginning at the 8:52 point on the video recording.
Trustees also received a report written by now-departed development services manager Dean Strachan that confirmed something many people had suspected: 2016 was a very dynamic year in terms of development. “In 2016 Development Services received and processed 133 Development Applications (Rezoning, OCP Amendment, Development Permit, Development Variance Permit, Heritage Alteration Permit and Sign Permit),” he wrote. “For comparison in 2015 and 2014 Development Services received and processed 75 Development Applications while in 2013 there were 45.” You can watch Council’s discussion starting at the 13:33 point on the recording.
This is welcome news for Revelstoke as it suggests continued economic development, higher employment rates and demographic growth. This particularly good o hear as the City prepares to review, and possibly increase its schedule of Development Cost Charges.
Acting Finance Director Tania McCabe also presented Council with a timeline for the 2017-2021 Financial Plan. She said that the plan should be ready for review in February. This is at the 15:30 mark.
Council also received two letters: one from Bear Aware Coordinator Maggie Spizzirri who was seeking a letter of support for its fundraising efforts and another from Assistant Deputy Minister Jim Standen of the BC Parks and Conservation Officer Service politely refusing a request from Mayor Mark McKee to reinstate a Conservation Officer position in Revelstoke. Standen noted that there are a “number of other compliance and enforcement agencies(that) may also respond to complaints (about bears) including Ministry of the Environment Environmental Protection Officers, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations staff, as well as regional district and municipal staff.” You can watch Chief Administrative Officer Alan Chabot’s discussion of that at the 23:30 point.