Mayor Leo Facio and Councillor Michie Vidal appear on camera during Harrison Hot Springs' first village council meeting via Zoom. The meeting largely went without glitch until a power outage disrupted the meeting for approximately 10 minutes. (Screenshot/YouTube)

Harrison Council nixes proposed tech reimbursement

The reimbursement would have used grant funding to compensate for business use of personal devices

Harrison’s village council said no to using grant funding to cover personal electronic device use.

During the most recent meeting on Monday, the council nixed a proposal from village staff to use $1,000 per councillor per four-year term from the COVID-19 Safe Restart Grant funding meant to compensate council members for using their own personal devices in the course of their work as elected officials.

As of January of 2019, one third of remuneration for councillors is no longer tax-exempt; this exemption was meant to reimburse municipal officials for office consumables like printer ink and other office supplies. In the proposal from staff, $1,000 would be available to councillors on request to recoup supply and data costs. There was a second recommendation to draft a policy for council technology grants on a per-term basis starting in 2021.

However, the recommendations were turned down. While Coun. Gerry Palmer could see the merit in what staff was trying to accomplish, he couldn’t support the recommendations.

RELATED: Harrison Council to consider moving meetings to Zoom

“I think it’s totally appropriate not to support it,” said Coun. Palmer. “At this particular point, having a computer, iPads, phones, it’s just part of being a citizen. I really don’t expect the village to pay for my electronic equipment. I think the message in a tough year is not to go ahead with things like this.”

Coun. Vidal concurred.

“Although I understand the intent of the proposed policy, my view is that the restart grant funds should be allocated in a way that benefits the community as a whole,” she said.

Monday’s meeting marked the first official council meeting broadcast live online via Zoom. Attendance peaked at 14 people, including council members and village staff. By and large, everything proceeded without glitch for the first hour until the broadcast was interrupted and resumed nine minutes later. The village stated a power outage caused the meeting’s disruption.

The video is archived on the village YouTube page; it’s split into two parts due to the interruption.

In other council business, John Allen appeared as a delegation before council, calling in via Zoom from his vehicle outside Memorial Hall, where Mayor Facio, Coun. Michie Vidal and members of village staff were meeting. In his presentation, he stressed the importance of creating a new community hall as the village continues to grow. For a variety of reasons, Allen said, Memorial Hall would not be feasible as the population continues to increase.

Mayor Facio said there has been a strong local push for a cultural centre, but the lack of grant funding prompted the village to move on with other projects for the immediate future.

RELATED: Harrison Hot Springs lays down mask rules for village-owned spaces

The council voted 4-1 in favour of a tree replacement policy. Coun. Vidal was the sole opposing vote. Under this policy, for every tree the village removes, one replacement tree will be planted; the species and location of the tree will be at the village’s discretion. Coun. Vidal made a movement to plant two trees for every one removed, as discussed during the Nov. 2 meeting, but the motion received no second.

There were no questions from the public during the public questioning period.

The next regular village council meeting is scheduled for Jan. 18, 2021 via Zoom. For instructions on how to join the meeting, visit the village website at

City CouncilHarrison Hot Springs

Just Posted

(Adam Louis/Observer)
PHOTOS: Students leap into action in track events at Kent Elementary

At Kent Elementary, when the sun’s outside, the fun’s outside. The intermediate… Continue reading

Kindergarten kids from Evans elementary school in Chilliwack painted rocks with orange hearts and delivered them to Sto:lo Elders Lodge recently after learning about residential schools. (Laura Bridge photo)
Kindergarten class paints rocks with orange hearts in Chilliwack for local elders

‘Compassion and empathy’ being shown by kids learning about residential schools

Chilliwack potter Cathy Terepocki (left) and Indigenous enhancement teachers Val Tosoff (striped top) and Christine Seymour (fuchsia coat), along with students at Vedder middle school, look at some of the 500-plus pinch pots on Thursday, June 10 made by the kids to honour the 215 children found at Kamloops Indian Residential School. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack students make hundreds of tiny clay pots in honour of 215 Indigenous children

‘I think the healing process has begun,’ says teacher about Vedder middle school project

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay
Webinar looks at sexual abuse prevention among adolescents

Vancouver/Fraser Valley CoSA hosts free online session on June 15

One person was transported to hospital with minor injuries following a two-vehicle crash on Hot Springs Road June 10. (Adam Louis/Observer)
One hurt following two-vehicle crash on Hot Springs Road

Agassiz Fire Department, B.C. Ambulance Service attended with RCMP

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

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

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

Most Read