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Council in Focus

A brief recap of council meetings, as viewed from the gallery

July 4, 2023 Edition

Event: Lions Bay Council Meeting

Time: Public meeting: 7:00 pm

Agenda: HERE

Video link: not yet posted


Present at the council table were Mayor Ken Berry, Councillors Jaime Cunliffe, Neville Abbott, Michael Broughton, Marcus Reuter, Controller Joe Chirkoff and Acting Municipal Coordinator Marina Blagodarov. Joining online was consultant Randy Diehl (as contracted through the Ministry of Municipal Affairs), and Corporate Officer Deanna Campbell. Acting Public Works Manager Karl Buhr sat in the gallery when not actively involved in the proceedings.


Summertime attendance meant numbers were a bit down, with 21 online and 8 in person.


Reporting Out:

Mayor Berry noted that there was nothing to report out from the closed part of the meeting. None of the councillors had items to add to the agenda, but Berry, invoking section 131 of the Community Charter, brought forward two items that had been decided in a closed meeting and reported out at the June 20 council meeting.


He expressed his concern that the resolutions had stifled his ability to communicate through the Village Update, and asked to add these items to the agenda under Business Arising. After a brief consultation, Corporate Officer Deanna Campbell said that since the resolutions had been reported out of a closed meeting, they could be debated a second time in an open meeting. The motion passed to add the items to the agenda, and the agenda was adopted.


Public Participation:

  • At the podium, resident Pieter Dorsman addressed housing affordability in the village. He said there is a lot of interest in development in the community, and support from the provincial government for increased affordable housing. His question for Council was whether they were willing to open up a discussion with the school district regarding the development of lands around the school for more affordable housing.

  • Resident and Lions Bay store owner Craig Doherty returned to address the result of the delegation he made at the June 6 meeting – in relation to a noise by-law exemption – which had been temporarily granted until today. He noted that he is not seeking an amendment to the bylaw, but an exemption for the duration of this council term, and was hoping to receive an answer. Councillor Michael Broughton asked council to ensure the item was on the agenda, as it hadn't been included. No objections were offered, so the item was added to Unfinished Business.

  • Kelvin Grove resident Kambiz Azordegan spoke of his disappointment that nothing had been done regarding his concerns with visitor behaviour in the parking lot in Lower Kelvin Grove. He asked that an answer be given at the meeting. The Mayor replied that council has been unable to address several serious issues including parking, fire and infrastructure and that they need to find a way to move forward together to tackle the needs of the village. The councillors agreed these issues need to be addressed by a parking committee, but not in this venue.

  • Resident Greg Weary reiterated the concerns he stated at the June 6 meeting, regarding speeding on the highway through the village. He noted that while he understands that more equipment for measuring speed over distance might be available, that until then, he still feels the most effective means of deterring speeders is a police officer in a bright yellow vest issuing tickets.

  • Speaking online, resident Norma Rodgers said that the Community Charter requires an Annual Municipal Report including an audited financial statement be generated no later than June 30, including time for public input. She added that the village has a Municipal Accountant, a Controller, a Standing Finance Committee, and had a Chief Financial Officer until May 30, and as of yet no information about an audited financial statement or annual report has been presented to residents. She asked why there has been no communication about the missed deadlines. She further noted that council's decision not to respond to questions during meetings means no answers are received, and asked if Council might create a public forum to address the issues brought forward by residents in the gallery and on Zoom.

  • Resident Randi Byrne addressed the importance of fire safety in the village. He referenced a campfire the Lions Bay Fire Rescue was called out to fight that had been lit only a few feet away from the wildfire they had just fought. He spoke to the importance of personal responsibility, including the trimming of trees overhanging roads, which are intended to provide fire breaks. He asked for the village to be more aggressive about cutting trees that overhang roads. The Mayor replied that many safety concerns and Fire Smart initiatives were addressed at a recent Emergency Committee meeting.


Review and Approval of Minutes of Prior Meetings:

The backlog of minutes from past meetings appears to be addressed, and this week council had only to review and approve the minutes from the last council meeting of June 20. The minutes were approved without discussion.


Business Arising from the Minutes:

  • The Mayor brought forward a resolution reported out of an earlier closed meeting on June 20, regarding the pre-approval of information from council that appears in the Village Update. During discussion, Councillor Michael Broughton proposed an amendment that Councillors would be free to speak to the specific areas of their own responsibility. Councillor Jaime Cunliffe noted that the motion was initially intended so that input to the Village Update would be readdressed in a strategic meeting. Campbell noted that the procedure bylaw allows for each member of council to speak only once. After further discussion, Broughton's amendment was defeated and the original motion passed again, as it was initially worded, with both Broughton and Berry opposed.

  • Berry brought forward a second resolution reported out of an earlier closed meeting on June 20, this time regarding the responsibility for the creation of the agenda. Broughton made a motion to strike this resolution entirely. During the discussion, Campbell said the current motion reflects the most common process for agenda formation: Council and staff submit items by a set deadline, which are reviewed by the Corporate Officer, and given final approval by the Chief Administrative Officer. Berry said that the Mayor, as chair, should have a chance to review the agenda before it is posted. After extensive discussion, consultant Randy Diehl reiterated that the existing motion reflects standard operational procedure. In the end, Broughton's amendment was defeated. The initial motion once again carried, with Berry and Broughton in opposition.


Unfinished Business:

  • Councillor Neville Abbott brought up resident Mary McLaughlin's remarks of last meeting, regarding the information provided with the taxation documents and asked how a correction will be made. Controller Joe Chirkoff confirmed that the information offered was phrased inaccurately, and suggested that a reworded correction will be put in the Village Update. He said he consulted the provincial advisor, and then read aloud the updated version. This suggestion was moved and unanimously supported.

  • Councillor Marcus Reuter spoke regarding the provincial Vacancy Tax. He said he had a chat with MLA Jordan Sturdy, who he says suggested a fact-based resolution be put forward by Council, to convey to the Minister of Finance, that Lions Bay be excluded from the tax. He outlined a number of reasons in support of this including the village status as a rural municipality, and the fact that other local municipalities including Britannia and Furry Creek homes are not subject to this tax. He recommended that communication go out to residents via the Village Update including both information and asking for input from residents who may be affected, while staff and council work toward creating a resolution that the village be exempt ,for a number of reasons. Reuter said he would get this process underway with staff.

  • Council members attended an Emergency Planning Committee meeting with Phil Folkersen.

  • Broughton said he spoke with the MP Patrick Weiler on Canada Day regarding stop signs, and reported receiving a supportive response. He plans to contact MLA Sturdy, and asked that the decision to proceed be deferred.

  • Public Works Manager (PWM) Karl Buhr will begin the process of applying for the Disaster Mitigation/Adaptation Fund on July 10, and noted he has been offered help from a few residents. Abbott reiterated his offer help from the Climate Action committee (CAC).

  • The FireSmart initiative continues with support of the Fire Chief, and remains ongoing.

  • PWM Buhr's review of diesel/bio-diesel use in village vehicles, which he noted is not a high priority, remains ongoing.

  • Cunliffe has received the minutes of Council Meeting of the Whole, and Reuter noted that council plans to reconvene and re-examine committee appointments in a forthcoming strategic meeting, so the process is ongoing. Abbott suggested that council meet as soon as next week to address the formation of these committees.

  • Finally, Council revisited the noise bylaw exemption as requested by Lions Bay Store owner Craig Doherty, and that the exemption be extended to the length of council's term. After discussion, a motion was made to pass this exemption, and then address it annually, and this was ultimately carried.


Staff Reports:


  • With regard to the AP cheque listing (page 16), Abbott asked Chirkoff to include a description column in future, and asked for further detail about the void cheque numbers. When Broughton asked the cost of the byelection, Chirkoff said it came in at $22,000, not including considerable staff time. Council asked Chirkoff to detail those costs and return with the information. Reuter noted that the final amount will likely come in around the $30,000 figure that was initially estimated. The report was received by Council.

  • PWM Buhr submitted the Email User Access Rationalization (page 20). He said he met with the Sea to Sky Network team, and is confident that the systems are working, files and emails are secure, and that problems with too many emails going nowhere, and too many emails going everywhere have now been addressed. The report was received by Council.

  • Buhr once again brought forward the Rail Crossing Stop Sign report (page 22). The now-customary lengthy discussion occurred, with the result being that Council moved to sign the CN agreement, as noted in the report, and which passed unanimously. As to the stop sign placement, Broughton will continue to meet with MP Weiler and MLA Sturdy on the subject of the stop signs and report back to council in future.


Climate Action Committee:

Abbott, speaking on behalf of the Climate Action Committee (CAC), asked that Council approve staff time to file the Local Government Climate Action Program report, (page 28) by July 31 so that the Village may receive $51,082 annual funding in 2023. Chirkoff said he would devote time to draw up a first draft, and then coordinate with CAC's support to get the grant in on time. The motion passed.



Correspondence:


List of Correspondence begins on page 53 of the agenda package. Reuter, in his role of correspondence representative this quarter, said he would respond to the letters to the best of his ability, in spite of being a bit behind. General correspondence came from Sandy Boates of Vernon BC, making a plea against the use of the herbicide RoundUp in the municipality (page 54). Abbott asked Buhr what product is being used to trap rodents. Buhr said that while he believed the product was specifically designed not to attract bears, he would look into this. Letters were also received from George Harvey, Chair of the Metro Vancouver Board regarding a zoning change in Langley, BC (page 55), and from Leslie Kellett of Prince George, asking for support of the Union of BC Mayor's resolution that the province reimburse municipalities for medical expenses paid out to emergency services (page 57).


Resident correspondence begins on page 59 of the agenda package, with a letter from Ute Phillips, who questioned Council rationale for suppression of Rose Dudley's letter to council, and asked if action will be taken regarding the public criticism of other residents specifically by a resident at the June 6 council meeting. Reuter asked for Council input for his response to this letter. Broughton suggested that education of residents is important. Cunliffe noted that Council can help residents understand how to craft respectful communication. Diehl weighed in, saying that letters that name neighbours or staff, or speakers who call out specific names of individuals are not acceptable. He said some existing Council policies are outdated, and need a legal and administrative review. In this case, he said, a statement has to be made that naming names is not acceptable.

Former Lions Bay Mayor Doug Pollock wrote regarding his concern about the proposed stop sign removal at the rail crossings (page 60).

Gail Craig wrote of her grave concerns regarding impact of the influx of hikers on residents in terms of parking problems, traffic, noise and the risk of fire, and asked what action Council plans to take to mitigate these concerns (page 62). Cunliffe said cars in front of hydrants should be towed. Buhr said the Village has a parking policy and he will bring a report to that end.

Charity Stelmach wrote of the vehicle-damaging nature of potholes in and around 230 Bayview Road (page 64).

Ingrid and Andrew Wray wrote expressing their concern regarding the possibly unregulated topping of trees along Soundview Trail and the resultant increased fire risk. (page 65). Buhr said the cutting was not approved, but Public Works can clear the wood by chipping or hauling it away.

Norm Barmeier offered appreciation to the new PWM Buhr for his plan to address water leakage in the village, and offered his help (page 66).

Former mayor Douglas Miller wrote Council to take ownership for a sign that was displayed on his property (page 68), and to express his concern over the waste of staff time and resources by Councillor Broughton. Broughton replied that he had not called bylaw in this case, but that he found the sign to be inappropriate for a number of reasons.

Norma Rodgers wrote to ask that the agenda package be delivered to the public in a timely fashion as agreed to by Council, and asked about the presentation of the village Annual Municipal Report, which has received no public discussion and was due to be published prior to June 30 (page 69). Diehl said Chirkoff is working on details that need to be put into place for the annual report. The report is late, still has to go through public process and needs to be approved as soon as possible. Campbell says the report needs to be publicly available for 14 days before it is addressed by Council. Chirkoff says it's almost ready to go, and hopes to get it to the finish line by the end of this week or early next week. Council agreed to move the discussion of the report to the closed portion of the meeting. And with this, the correspondence was accepted as read.


In the absence of new business or questions from the gallery, and at the comparatively brief time of two hours and 29 minutes, the public portion of the meeting adjourned.




The final regular Council meeting before summer break is scheduled for July 18 at 7 p.m.

As always, The Watershed welcomes your thoughts. We invite site members to comment below, or readers to email us at editor@lionsbaywatershed.ca


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