Council rescinds stage purchase plan

Agassiz mayor opts to open dialogue with community over legacy project

Kent council has taken a few steps back in a recent decision to purchase a mobile stage for the community.

At their Oct. 14 meeting, council had voted 2-1 to purchase a stage from a company called Stageline. The money to purchase it, at about $160,000, would have come from an unbudgeted $209,000 earned from the filming of Wayward Pines over the last year. It was planned that the stage would be a ‘legacy project’ that would enhance arts and cultural events at multiple sites within the District of Kent, with the possibility of renting it out to interested parties to help earn some revenue for the District.

While the decision to purchase the stage was based on a 2008 Community Needs Assessments, many residents contacted the District to complain after hearing about the purchase through a story reported by the Observer.

“It’s something that was in the works for a couple of years,” said Kerry Hilts, director of community services. “It’s not something that was pulled out of a hat.”

Enough people complained that at the Oct. 27, Mayor John Van Laerhoven asked council to consider rescinding their decision to allow the public to help decide how to spend the revenue earned from Wayward Pines.

Before deciding to purchase the stage, council had earmarked the money for parks and downtown improvement. That happened in September and was reported by the Observer. Some of the initiatives that were being considered in addition to the mobile stage were: improvements to the playground, chess set, banners and electrical wiring at Pioneer Park, creating a 50/50 matching grant for downtown business facade improvements, improving the weight room at the Community Recreation and Cultural Centre, fixing up the Aberdeen building, a spray park reserve fund, park improvements or a summer concert venue, land acquisition/reserve, an endowment fund for future grant-in-aid projects, an equipment reserve, parks and trails reserve and other projects and improvements.

Now all those ideas are back on the table. After rescinding their Oct. 14 motion, council voted to hold a public meeting where residents can offer input as to how the money from Wayward Pines should be spent.

That meeting will be held on Nov. 5 at 7 p.m. in the upstairs meeting room at municipal hall.

The decision was able to be rescinded because staff had not yet acted on the vote to purchase the stage, Van Laerhoven noted.

Coun. Lorne Fisher voted against rescinding the previous decision.

“I voted in favour before and I still like the idea,” he said. “I think this type of stage gives us a lot of flexibility.”

The District could include it in the Fall Fair, for concerts in Pioneer Park, and for outside rentals to neighbouring communities.

Coun. Holger Schwichtenberg, who was absent from the first vote, said the community is swirling with “misinformation, rumours, innuendo and hearsay.”

While he believes the purchase is a good idea, he said he was “reluctantly in favour of rescinding” the previous vote.

Van Laerhoven said that rescinding the vote and putting it to the public will help the community be a part of the project — if they participate.

“I hope the community gets engaged,” Van Laerhoven added. “We need to ensure the community ends up informed of the details of the stage. They may find that they agree with us.”

Coun. Darcy Striker, who was also absent for the original vote, noted that unfortunately the public does not get engaged with municipal politics.

“We try to get people involved but it doesn’t happen,” he said. “They come out after the fact, but they don’t come out before.”

He added that the most important public meeting of the year, the year-end financial meeting, is often attended by only one or two members of the public.

The meeting next Wednesday will be an open floor format where members of the public can ask questions, and have them answered, and make suggestions.

The next council meeting following the public meeting will be held on Nov. 10, just prior to election day.

For further information contact Kerry Hilts by phone at 604-796-2235 or by email at khilts@district.kent.bc.ca.

Related Stories:

District of Kent to buy mobile stage

Film activity to pay for improvements to Agassiz

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An employee at a Chilliwack McDonald’s location tested positive for COVID on Nov. 21 (File photo by The Associated Press)
Employee tests positive for COVID-19 at McDonald’s restaurant in Chilliwack

One case was detected at the Vedder Road location, which briefly closed its doors

Contributed graphic/District of Kent
Snow Angels seek volunteers

As winter is coming, volunteer shovelers are wanted

Cascade Falls Regional Park is one of several Fraser Valley parks that saw record usage during the summer of 2020. (File photo)
Residents flock to Fraser Valley parks amid pandemic

Some trails saw usage double during summer months of 2020

People take in the scenery at sunset on Kitsilano Beach in Vancouver, B.C. Thursday, March 19, 2020. The province of British Columbia and the provincial health minister are using people to practice social distancing to help curb the spread of the Coronavirus. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
COLUMN: Together, for a brighter future for all British Columbians

‘Time and time again, British Columbians have shown resolve and strength in coming together’

A horse on Yale Road West in Chilliwack peeks out from its shelter at the rainy weather on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Several days of rain in forecast for Fraser Valley after single day of sunshine

According to Environment Canada, rain and showers are expected today until Wednesday

Kyle Charles poses for a photo in Edmonton on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. Marvel Entertainment, the biggest comic book publisher in the world, hired the 34-year-old First Nations illustrator as one of the artists involved in Marvel Voice: Indigenous Voices #1 in August. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
VIDEO: Indigenous illustrator of new Marvel comic hopes Aboriginal women feel inspired

Kyle Charles says Indigenous women around the world have reached out

This 2019 photo provided by The ALS Association shows Pat Quinn. Quinn, a co-founder of the viral ice bucket challenge, died Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, at the age of 37. (Scott Kauffman/The ALS Association via AP)
Co-founder of viral ALS Ice Bucket Challenge dies at 37

Pat Quinn was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, in 2013

Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada David Lametti speaks with the media following party caucus in Ottawa, Tuesday, January 28, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Exclusion of mental health as grounds for assisted death is likely temporary: Lametti

Senators also suggested the exclusion renders the bill unconstitutional

Claudio Mastronardi, Toronto branch manager at Carmichael Engineering, is photographed at the company’s offices in Mississauga, Ont., Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020. As indoor air quality becomes a major concern in places of business, HVAC companies are struggling to keep up with demand for high quality filtration systems. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Business is booming for HVAC companies as commercial buildings see pandemic upgrades

‘The demand right now is very high. People are putting their health and safety ahead of cost’

Bank of Montreal, located on Burrard Street in downtown Vancouver. (Google Maps)
Heiltsuk man files human rights complaint against Vancouver police, BMO after bank arrest

Pair remains distraught after employee falsely reports fraud in progress leading to their arrest

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

RCMP Cpl. Cory Lepine pictured at BC Livestock Producers Co. in Kamloops, Nov. 16. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Meet B.C.’s only cowboy cop; a voice for the livestock industry

Cpl. Cory Lepine serves as a bridge between the law and those who make a living off the land

BCHL
BCHL pushes back season start due to provincial health orders

The delay is minimal, just six days, for now. But the league is open to starting up after Christmas

Most Read