District of Kent Council Briefs

The last District of Kent Council meeting, held January 26, included a number of items of note to Agassiz residents.

Financial Finesse:

Mayor John Van Laerhoven presented an award to Judy Lewis, director of financial services, on behalf of the finance department. The Canadian Award for Financial Reporting recognizes excellence in governmental accounting and financial reporting, “and represents a significant accomplishment by a municipal government and its management,” notes a letter from the Government Finance Officers Association.

“Judy always prepares fabulous financial statements,” commented Van Laerhoven as he presented the award to Lewis. Lewis was quick to point out it was the entire department who earned this honour.

District staff get fit:

The District’s community services department organized several drop-in volleyball games for District staff, Council, firefighters and RCMP members. A staff report says they were pleased with the turnout, with anywhere from six to 13 players coming for the once a week, one hour session. The department looked to Council for permission to continue this event to promote workplace wellness, active living, socialization and play at the Community Recreation & Cultural Centre. Coun. Duane Post remarked that while he agreed the one-hour time slot was great for employees and protective services staff, he was concerned about providing the gym time for free. He said there are other groups that may want to do that as well and says the staff are already offered reduced rates at the fitness centre.

Van Laerhoven said in his opinion, it’s a good use of the time and space.

“It’s good from a corporate wellness point of view,” he said. “If there is another use for that space at that time, we will have to rethink.”

The Corporate Wellness policy passed, with Coun. Sylvia Pranger and Coun. Duane Post opposed.

Lighting up the Treatment Plant:

The Agassiz Wastewater Treatment Plant will be getting a complete lighting overall. District staff were looking into ways to reduce energy costs at the plant and found an incentive program through BC Hydro that will cover more than a quarter of the cost of upgrades.

“It’s a complete conversion to LED lighting,” explained Mick Thiessen, director of engineering services.

The proposed cost for upgrading all five buildings and the outside yard lamp posts, including installation, wiring, and any necessary modifications is $33,607.20 after the $16,09.80 incentive amount. Staff estimate the project upgrades will save $8,000 per year, resulting in an estimated payback period of four years. The Sewer Operation budget has enough money to cover the project costs.

Parks & Rec Committee:

Council approved the creation of a parks and recreation committee. The committee will fill an advisory role to the District on issues related to program service delivery and general use of recreation facilities. According to a staff report to Council, the committee “may be tasked with providing innovative ideas, and being focused on solutions with respects to parks, trails, recreation and cultural services.” Benefits of the committee outlined in the report included providing more public transparency on parks, trails, recreation and cultural services, establishing protocols for public engagement and promoting public awareness of parks trails, recreation and cultural services. Committee members will need to be residents with an interest in park, recreation and culture services delivery.

Tee up then drink up:

Council approved an application from the Harrison Resort Golf Course to increase their liquor license area to include a new patio. The old patio faces the parking lot on the south side of the clubhouse. The new patio, which has a 34-person capacity, faces the golf course.

In an email sent to the District, golf course manager Kimber Weenk stated, “The purpose of our new patio is to provide our clientele with a  more appealing area to enjoy a post-game beverage.”

In accordance with the Liquor Control and Licensing Regulation, District staff investigated any potential for noise and the potential impact on the community. Darcey Kohuch, director of development services, reported that letters were sent out to neighbours and no feedback was sent to the District. He said in the last six years, the District has never received any complaints about that business.