Coun. Pranger attended an information session with MP Jati Sidhu and MP Bill Blair who is the parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Justice on Feb. 23.
“The task force who had done their work on legalization of cannabis have delivered their report to government and now government will take that report into consideration when drafting legislation,” said Pranger of the duo.
There were many different community representatives who attended the meeting according to coun. Pranger.
“Mayor Hawes from Mission and myself talked about the community security issues, the policing costs and nuisance calls in regard to license to operate facilities and the problems that these are causing neighbours, particularly the elderly, as well as safety concerns.”
Coun. Pranger mentioned her concern about the downloading of costs to municipalities when dealing with federal and provincial legislation.
On Feb. 24 Pranger attended The Wildlife Management Area MOU signing between the province and the Chehalis people.
“It was a traditional ceremony and very well done,” she said.
The province recently signed the Health Accord, which indicates additional health transfer funding to the province.
“I would like to have council work with the Health Authority to provide better health services to Agassiz and Harrison. Our population warrants service that we are I believe not now receiving. These services are necessary and need to be located here, not just in Chilliwack and Hope,” she said.
Coun. Pranger referred to the 2016 Census data for the combined population of Agassiz and Harrison which shows a total of 7, 309, while that of Hope is 6,181.
“It’s time we demand more services for our area and in particular mental health services,” she said.
Coun. Pranger then made a motion to meet with Fraser Health to insist on better services for the area, specifying that the meeting be with someone who has the authority to make the necessary changes.
“When I look at some of the statistics and I hear some of the comments from the public on how difficult it has been for them, I think this a very important topic, and it shouldn’t be put on the back burner for some time in the future,” she said to council.
To which Mayor John Van Laerhoven responded.
“Mr. Mah if we were to do this, we would contact Fraser Health, and ask them for a delegation?”
Chief Administrative Officer Wallace Mah then replied…
“We can do that your worship, we can ask for a delegation to meet with them, or we can write them a letter raising our concerns with your signature your worship and move forward from there.”
Followed by Pranger who stated “I would prefer a letter be sent to them.”
It was decided by mayor and council that a letter regarding improved services for the District of Kent and The Village of Harrison Hot Springs would be drafted and sent to Fraser Health.
Mayor Van Laerhoven moved that the letter dated Jan. 26, 2017 from the Government Finance Officers Association — Canadian Award for Financial Reporting for 2015 Annual Financial Report be accepted.
The motion was seconded by coun. Spaeti.
“Once again Ms. Lewis and her staff have worked very hard to ensure that exemplary financial reporting has taken place,” said Mayor Van Laerhoven. “Ms. Lewis I’d like you to pass onto your staff our appreciation.”
The motion was carried.
The staff recommendation was adopted by council for item 9.1, regarding District of Kent, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems Inspection and Maintenance Program 2017-2019.
Staff recommended that council consider awarding a three year contract, from 2017-2019, with a one year extension option to Thermal Tech Refrigeration Ltd. To provide HVAC inspection and maintenance services to District of Kent buildings.
Staff recommended that council consider approving the award of engineering services for the Agassiz Avenue Infrastructure Improvement Project RFP No. 2017-01 to Onsite Engineering Ltd. In the amount up to $53,185 excluding taxes.
Coun. Pranger made reference to paragraph two of the report prepared by staff which states:
“Wells and systems that exist within the area from the leaky sewer mains under Agassiz Avenue need to be upgraded to provide capacity for growth. It’s not just for growth it’s to repair or to upgrade the very old sewer pipes in that area. That was one of the first areas that received sewer, it’s not just for growth,” she affirmed.
The recommendation was carried.
Preferential Address Change
It was brought to council’s attention by staff that council consider providing direction to set policy on civic address changes for staff to administer.
“Currently the district has a process in place to assign specific addresses for new properties as well as to correct an existing address — we do not have a policy with property owners to change their numeric address based on personal preference,”said Lee.
According to Lee other municipalities provide the service with fees, others without, and others like the city of Richmond have a policy of not permitting that type of practice.
Staff recommended a minimum $100 fee if council decided to go with the new policy.
“I guess it would be appropriate to have the address assigned by the planning department for emergency purposes, so there’s no confusion in emergency services locating where they need to get to in a timely manner,” said Mayor Van Laerhoven.
He questioned as to whether that would cause problem for them by allowing the practice.
“Based on the grid system that staff is currently using there is a little bit of leeway, so for example if you are on an even number of street, for example if you had an eight and you wanted to change that to a six or a four, there may be that capability, so there might be that capacity recommending that if we can’t find an address that’s suitable we will give a partial refund to the applicant if council decides to allow this practice.
“So the address could be personal but within limits,” said Mayor Van Laerhoven.
It was recommended that the report go back to staff. The motion carried.
Bylaws and Permits
It was recommended that Bylaw No. 1563 — be adopted. The bylaw was established to create a property tax prepayment plan.
“It is desirable to encourage the prepayment of property taxes and implement a monthly payment system for the convenience of taxpayers,” said a report prepared by District of Kent staff.
The prepayment plan stipulates:
Property owners wishing to pay their property taxes under the Property Tax Prepayment Plan must, no later than ten (10) days before their first payment, pay all of their outstanding property taxes, and give the Collector a void cheque and written authorization, in the manner the Collector requires, to automatically withdraw monthly tax payments from the property owner’s bank account.”
Approval was granted on behalf of mayor and council for the Sign Regulation Bylaw variance at 6281 McCallum Road to increase the maximum size of the face of a sign, advertising farm retail sales, from 0.56 m2 to 1.11 m2.
The Development Variance Permit No. DVP16-11 for a Farm Employee Residence – 2461 Bodnar Road, Agassiz B.C. (Bandara Farms Ltd.) was approved by mayor and council.
Freshet flooding losses could top $1.1 billion for Fraser Valley Agriculture
“This is an issue that the FVRD and all of us have been working on year after year, hoping that government will recognize that it would be a lot cheaper to do preventative maintenance and preventative work, instead of waiting for a severe flood, where this kind of loss would be incurred,” said coun. Pranger.
To which mayor Van Laerhoven replied.
“We absolutely have to push the government to do something proactive rather than reactive – I did mention at the FVRD meeting that I was concerned about one particular aspect of study of the report,” he said.
In all our communications with the government with Minister Thomson and Parliamentary Secretary John Martin, we made it clear that dyke improvements were very important and made it clear to them from our opinion and our neighbours opinion including Chilliwack, Abbotsford and the neighbouring First Nations” said Mayor Van Laerhoven. “There is a real unwillingness by the province to remove gravel and create a proper channel and the federal government needs to step up.”