District of Kent council briefs Mar. 13

The latest happenings at district hall for the District of Kent

Preferential Address Change

After careful deliberation regarding the recommendation that council consider providing direction to set policy on civic address changes for staff to administer, it was adopted by mayor and council that with a fee set at $500 they would concede for residents who wish to instigate a change in their private address.

The motion was brought to the table by mayor John Van Laerhoven.

“Should we allow it first of all, and what would be the fees we should charge if we decide to go that route?” he said.

To which coun. Striker responded…

“I think we’ve had one request in the last whatever, so I would allow it, and I would charge them $100,” he said.

Van Laerhoven moved for discussion, as coun. Pranger took the floor.

“I don’t have a problem with this except the fee for me is too low, I know Abbotsford charges $100, but the other municipalities charge substantially more — I would like to see the fee go to $500,” she said.

To which Van Laerhoven replied…

“And that would either generate covering costs or it would generate discouraging people to want to pick their numbers so to speak,” he said.

It was agreed to set the fee at $500 and the motion was adopted.

Council reports

Coun. Pranger: On Mar. 2, Pranger attended The Touch of Brass concert that was sponsored by the Cheam Vista Classical Society.

“It was a wonderful experience and I would like to congratulate the group for bringing great classical music experiences to Agassiz,” she said. “People are already signing up for the next season and I believe the tickets for this year are sold out already.”

On Mar. 3, Pranger attended the retirement lunch for Tim Morrow.

“Thank you to Tim for many years of service,” she said.

Pranger also attended the Women’s World Day Prayer Service in Harrison Hot Springs chapel with the focus this year on the Philippines.

Coun. Spaeti:

On Mar 1, Spaeti attended the Budget Open House.

“Thank you to Ms. Lewis and her department for an informative and complete presentation.”

On Mar. 2, Spaeti chaired the Parks and Recreation Committee meeting.

“The committee discussed the Experience the Fraser presentation and discussed previous projects and the potential for positive and negative impacts that this trail could have on our district residents,” she said.

On Mar. 3, Spaeti attended the retirement lunch for Tim Morrow.

On Mar. 4, Spaeti represented the Agricultural Advisory Committee at the New Farm Growing Your Farm Workshop, presented by Mark Robbins and hosted by the District of Kent and the Ministry of Agriculture’s Growing Forward 2 Program.

“The workshop was attended by 15 participants — the workshop participants were largely from the district and were starting out their agricultural business or had small lots and wanted to see what opportunities there were but didn’t know where to start.”

According to Spaeti, topics covered how to get your farm status, managing risk, building your team, and marketing.

“The Ministry of Agriculture provides assistance largely in the form of developing business plans — they do not provide financial assistance,” she said.”

The main question asked by participants at the event were. How to make the maximum profit with the least amount of work?

Spaeti explained that the workshop asked participants to take inventory of what they liked to do and that farming is not a nine to five job, and that it is a lifestyle and a way of life.

“The participants had some great ideas and I hope they are successful at starting their small lot agricultural business and that they are supported by our community,” she said.

The workshop was followed by a farm tour in which the group visited Mike Duncan at the Bonnie Dune Dairy Farm, George Boyes at The Farm House Natural Cheeses, and Dan and Lynda Scobie at the Back Porch.

“Thank you to them for opening up their operations to the participants and for answering questions and supporting our community.”

On Mar. 10, Spaeti attended the Agassiz-Harrison Museum Fundraiser.

“The event was a sellout and was well organized — fun was had by all who supported this community’s society.”

Spaeti also attended the special council meeting with the Ministry of Agriculture, regarding the agricultural land use in the district on Mar. 13.

“The statistics given, were that the district of Kent uses 83 per cent of the ALR land in our district — most of the remaining ALR land is in small parcels, under four hectares, and could have the potential for small lot agriculture. It was fortunate that a few of these new land owners attended the start-up workshop and started asking the questions they needed to start these operations.”

Spaeti maintained that great potential exists within the district and that working together to support diversity in farming would be an asset to the community.

The minutes of the Parks and Recreation meeting of Dec. 1 were accepted by mayor and council and it was recommended that council consider establishing the old cemetery sub committee into a council advisory committee to advise on conservation and preservation issues pertaining to cemeteries throughout the district.

The motion was brought to the floor.

After some deliberation among staff and councillors…mayor Van Laerhoven commented… “I think we want to hear what they have to say but I don’t want to increase workload for you (to Spaeti) and we don’t want to increase staff work load as well. I would suggest that if it’s working well right now and they have a voice that’s being listened to that the status quo should continue, and if we feel that way then we need to defeat this motion,” he said.

The motion was defeated to establish a council advisory committee.

The fate of the spray park

It was recommended by coun. Spaeti, in Centennial park on the north side of the Community Recreation and Culture Centre, that option 2 be selected for the location of the spray park, an issue that was brought up at a previous meeting late last year. The motion carried.

Coun. Striker attended the annual breakfast kick off for the Chamber of Commerce which was held at the Rivers Edge.

“They’re sure spending a lot of money to find hot water up there,” he said.

On Feb 28. mayor van Laerhoven attended the FVRD and the Fraser Valley Regional Hospital District meeting.

“We have a freshet update and there’s a workshop being organized to draw tourism to the area because the Regional District is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Randy Hawes was the honourary chair.

On Mar. 1, Van Laerhoven attended the joint emergency program meeting.

On Mar. 3, Van Laerhoven attended Tim Morrow’s farewell and was able to present him with a gift. “He was touched by the comments made, and he was a fabulous equipment operator for many years here and he will be missed.”

Van Laerhoven had an opportunity to sit down with MP Jati Sidhu.

“We talked of many things, one of them being the Agassiz-Harrison Museum and our surprise at not getting the New Horizons grant this year — the claim was made that we didn’t meet the criteria and when I read all the documentation I pointed out to MP Sidhu and his staff that clearly we met the criteria and he said they would take it back and they would do some more research and they would get back to us and I will press them to see that they do.”

Van Laerhoven mentioned the number of volunteers that contribute to the museum as well as the recent hire of a very capable manager as they move forward.

“I also shared with MP Sidhu, that we have a number of buildings and properties in the district that are Public Works Canada, and they include: Mountain Institution, Kent Institution, the Ag Research Centre, the RCMP building and so fourth – it seems that over the years, the federal governments contribution in lieu of taxes, (the federal government doesn’t pay taxes, they just provide grants, in lieu of taxes) have reduced. It’s tough enough to have to deal with government downloading across the municipalities and when the government also decides to reduce their contribution to municipalities it becomes doubly difficult,” he said.





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