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Council In Focus

Updated: Nov 22, 2023

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



November 21, 2023 Edition

Event: Lions Bay Council Meeting

Time: Public meeting: 7:00 pm

Agenda: HERE

Video link: HERE


Present at the council table were Mayor Ken Berry, Councillors Jaime Cunliffe, Neville Abbott, Marcus Reuter and Michael Broughton, Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Ross Blackwell and Acting Municipal Coordinator Marina Blagodarov. Financial Officer Joe Chirkoff joined the table during staff discussions.


Despite the downpour, the meeting drew three stalwart residents in person, while 23 attendees joined online. Mayor Berry began by noting there was nothing to report out of the closed portion of the meeting, and put forward the agenda for adoption. After discussion of several items, a slightly amended agenda passed.


Public Participation:


  • Kambiz Azgordegan thanked Mayor Berry for distributing the one-year summary of his accomplishments, and for moving forward with the parking committee.


Review and Approval of Minutes of Prior Meetings:


The minutes from the special Council meeting held September 21 (Page 5) were discussed, and while councillors commented on an inaccuracy in the motion's wording (regarding trail closure vs trailhead and parking closure), the minutes passed without amendment. The minutes from the regular Council meeting held November 7 (Page 7) and from the special Council meeting on November 9 (Page 15) were also adopted.


Business Arising from the Minutes:


  • Councillor Cunliffe spoke with regard to the September 24 minutes (Page 6) in response to former Councillor Bain's question regarding putting a process in place to deal with emergency closures. It was decided to address this at the next Emergency Planning Committee (EPC) meeting, seeking a recommendation to bring back to Council.

  • Councillor Abbott spoke to resident Greg Weary's request, also on the subject of fire risk (Page 9) and it was decided to invite him to the next EPC meeting to discuss his concerns.

  • Abbott then spoke to the Lions Bay Beach Park Committee (LBBPC) resolution (Page 9), noting that he held concerns regarding achieving the established timeline of completion by Canada Day. CAO Blackwell recommended to Council that regular updates be received from the committee to keep abreast of progress.


Unfinished Business:


  • Councillor Broughton said he would offer a motion later in the agenda with regard to stop signs at village rail crossings.

  • Public Works Manager (PWM) Buhr was not present, so Blackwell reported that only a few of the "finer details" remain before the 325 Bayview Bridge is completed.

  • With regard to the on-going process the audit and the annual report, Financial Officer Chirkoff said the request for the minutes from the auditor has been met. He also noted that the Finance Committee met on Monday and adopted their outstanding minutes, which were also provided. He said the auditor is not available until next week, but added that in his opinion as a former auditor, with the level of scrutiny the process has received, they are "basically done".

  • Cost-benefit analysis on document storage options remains on-going.

  • Blackwell's effort to call an Emergency Planning Committee (EPC) to review the evacuation plan/brochure remains ongoing.

  • As to the review of secondary suites revenue with regard to Lions Bay Fire Rescue (LBFR) members, Chirkoff reported that the system works under an opt-in model, with residents having to self-report if they operate a secondary suite. He noted the revenue had dropped to $17k from $23k the previous year, which he said may reflect the number of suites occupied by Firefighters. Abbott clarified that he had asked for the exact number of residents who report housing firefighters to see if it equates with the drop in revenue, and asked Chirkoff to bring the number back to Council.

  • Chirkoff said that he will offer the monthly up to date budget report at the next council meeting.

  • Blackwell and Councillor Reuter's efforts to advise the province of the Village's request for an exemption from the Speculation Vacancy Tax are ongoing. Broughton asked if there is a process for a review for special circumstances pertaining to residents who don't use their homes full time. Reuter said that anticipated hardships faced by residents as a result of this tax will be part of the case he will make to the Ministry.

  • Broughton noted that Buhr should have received copies of the LBBPC files with the exception of the minutes, which Broughton said will be delivered shortly.

  • The discussion of rain barrels will be brought before the Climate Action Committee (CAC) at the meeting next week.

  • Blackwell said he will offer preliminary guidelines on public participation and correspondence response, and best practices for correspondence and communication policies later in the meeting. He added that these policies continue to be works in progress.

  • Calendar dates for upcoming meetings will be addressed later in the agenda.

  • Chirkoff noted that a draft Purchasing Policy and Purchase Card Policy has been circulated to Council and a draft incorporating council feedback will be put forward later in the meeting.

  • In the absence of the PWM, Blackwell noted that Buhr has been in touch with Translink regarding re-envisioning the Connector Project, and will report back to council. He also noted that Buhr's efforts to proceed with Wayfinding Signage Project are similarly ongoing.

  • Mayor Berry said that he had called for a parking task force meeting to be held next Thursday. Discussion arose as to the best practices for calling townhalls and task forces, as some councillors had not been informed of the date of the upcoming meeting. There was a question, also, of the distinction between the terms 'townhall' and 'task force'. Blackwell said that townhalls are common tools to engage with the community and encourage dialogue, and that they can be called by council or staff. He noted that a Mayor's taskforce is another such vehicle, typically in the form of a focused engagement for a limited period of time to find information that is then directed into another process. Blackwell noted that based on the type of feedback received from either type of event, the results can influence the decisions that council makes. Berry said his intention for this taskforce is to brainstorm ideas for no more than 90 days, and to form a committee, as was the case with the LBBPC. After further heated discussion, Blackwell asked that Council not lose sight of the fact that, as imperfectly as it was rolled out, the upcoming taskforce achieves the larger purpose of community engagement.

  • Blackwell said that staff hope to get the report on Canadian Protected and Conserved Areas Database (CPCAD) signed off shortly.


Staff Reports:

  • Blackwell brought forward a draft Corporate Communications Policy (Page 19), seeking direction from Council. He pointed out that are four iterations each addressing communications policy, each having significant detail. He said that this draft has been created to plug the gaps in the existing documents, with the ultimate goal of turning these four into a single policy. Much discussion arose, and it was decided that councillors would direct questions and suggestions to the CAO for redrafting.

  • Chirkoff noted that a Finance Committee meeting was held yesterday, and a Committee of the Whole meeting is scheduled for next week, and brought forward his timeline for 2024 Budgeting Milestones (Page 28). He said that while it is behind the ideal timeline, it will still allow sufficient time for the budget to be "done right". There was further discussion of the importance of public engagement, which was sporadic and rushed the last time. Chirkoff noted that firm dates will be established once he has discussed any conflicts with Council members.

  • A report on parking at Kelvin Grove Beach was presented by Blackwell for Council's direction, but Broughton made a motion to table this report until after the Parking task force meeting. The motion was carried.

  • Blackwell brought forward an updated draft Respectful Workplace Policy (page 32). He said that workplace policy is set by Workplace BC, and agreed that it is not uncommon for Council to have its own Bullying and Harassment policy. In this case, the previous harassment policy had been signed off by then-Council, and this policy is intended to update that existing policy. He added that he forwarded the document to the union, who were comfortable with the wording. Abbott noted that the policy doesn't address a situation where a the complaint is against the CAO. Blackwell agreed this is a gap, but requires clear direction as to what is legally viable and reflects current case law. He reiterated that this document is for staff, and that Council can create a document that applies to Council. Blackwell said this document brings the current harassment policy up to Workplace BC standard, and that this is the first of a number of steps that need to be taken. The motion passed.

  • Blackwell brought forward a Holiday Closure motion to close the office over Christmas week, which passed. A motion made to cancel the December 19 Council meeting also passed.

  • Chirkoff returned to put forward an amended Purchasing Policy (Page 42) that he reminded Council had been presented at an earlier meeting, and that requested amendments had been made. The motion passed.

  • In a related motion, Chirkoff said the Purchase Card Policy (Page 54) now has had its wording aligned with that of the Purchasing Policy. Some discussion arose, and he explained that the cards are limited to $1500 transactions. The motion was amended at the Mayor's request to remove the Mayor as a card recipient, and it passed.


Committee Report:


  • Broughton brought forward a progress report from the Lions Bay Beach Park (Page 58), but discussion was deferred until after the next meeting.


Mayor and Council Reports:

  • Berry brought forward a motion to institute the One Employee Model (Page 59), establishing the CAO as the point person for all corporate communications. Corporate communications, defined as anything to do with the business of the Village, would go through the CAO, who would then deploy the appropriate staff person. Blackwell noted this model helps manage workload, and allows for organization of priorities. There was some discussion of the distinction between a collaborative model and a One Employee Model. Blackwell noted the collaborative model is predicated on the fact that all members are well experienced in municipal politics. He says in the general application, the One Employee Model is the simplest method. Berry added that the suggestion to institute this policy was first made by provincial advisor Randy Diehl. The motion passed.

  • Broughton brought forward a motion regarding the relocation of railroad crossing stop signs (page 60). He recommended that the north, south and eastbound traffic control stop signs at the three Lions Bay rail crossing be installed, consistent with the ISL Engineering report of January 16th, 2023, and that the westbound stop signs at each location be retained for resident safety. This motion was reintroduced as it was not addressed in the last agenda, and after 20 minutes of discussion regarding jurisdiction issues, it passed, with Reuter voting against.

  • Abbott asked that council support City of Port Moody in their quest to establish an Office of the Municipal Government Ethics Commissioner. The idea is to provide a fair and unbiased resource for municipal governments to turn to for guidance on issues such as legality, conflict, code of conduct violations, and bullying. He asked that staff inform all local authorities of the resolution. Blackwell clarified that the word 'resource' does not include an ability to adjudicate. The motion passed unanimously.


Correspondence:


The list of correspondence begins on Page 74 of the agenda package. Abbott takes over response duties from Cunliffe for the next quarter.


  • Two letters of general correspondence came from Ivan Scott of Concerned Citizens of Surrey and a third from Mayor Brenda Locke regarding the ongoing Surrey policing issue. (Pages 75, 81 and 76).

  • Ian Bushfield of the BC Humanists, provided information about the Inclusive Remembrance Day Services (Page 78).

  • Brian Anderson of BC Ferries wrote of the upcoming 'Charting the Course Workshop' (Page 79).

  • Samantha Bauer of the City of Kamloops, writing to invite council members to the upcoming IDEA Conference (Page 80).

  • Honourable Mitzi Dean, Minister of Children and Family Development wrote regarding Adoption Awareness Month (Page 83).

  • Chief Superintendent Bruce Singer of the RCMP wrote to inform Council of RCMP "E" Division new Operations Officer & Assistant District Commander and new Assistant Operations Officer at the Lower Mainland District (Page 44).

  • George Harvie, Chair of Metro Vancouver wrote to discuss a recent resolution regarding Streamlining the Delivery of Rental Housing through pre-approved plans and Off-Site Construction (Page 88).

  • Surrey Regional Fire Dispatch wrote with the Lions Bay Fire Rescue monthly response numbers for October (Page 90). Unusually, this document was included in correspondence rather than under Reports. (Abbott commented that this and the following report should be returned to the agenda in future).

  • The Emergency Services RCMP report for September and October, 2023. (Page 94). This comprised 71 calls for service, 41 of which took place on the Sea to Sky Highway, within the boundaries of the Village. Of these, 21 were moving violations, plus one collision with damage of over $10,000 and two with damage less than that amount, with two non-fatal accidents. There was one suspicious person investigation, one unspecified assist, and an animal reported. There were three specific accident-prevention instances, two well-being checks, one lost property check and six false alarm calls reported for the month. The remaining 30 calls for service within the village included a report of sexual assault, four reports of harassing communications, one report of fraud, a report of theft under $5000 and two further reports of theft under $5000 from a vehicle. Two breaches of the peace were reported, along with two moving violations on Village streets, one stranded person and two missing persons. Two false or abandoned 911 calls were recorded, along with one report of lost property and two unspecified assists. There were also two suspicious persons or vehicles reported, and one collision under $10,000. (Page 94)

  • Two late entries were letters from MP Patrick Weiler regarding accessibility funding (Page 99), and from the Local Government Management Association (LGMA) regarding funding for municipal support when needed. (Page 100). These letters were addressed in an earlier meeting.


Resident correspondence begins on Page 96 of the agenda package.


  • John Dudley wrote to suggest redirecting hiker parking to the gravel pit (Page 96). Berry said he would respond.

  • Val Morton and Hana Boye wrote to share the Lions Bay Butterflyway Project certification (Page 97). Abbott offered congratulations to the team.

  • Norma Rodgers expressed her concern about a report from the Finance Committee responding to the concerns of a resident (Page 98). Blackwell said he would have a conversation with Rodgers to answer her question.

The correspondence was received as read.


In the absence of any new business or public comments, the open portion of the meeting was recessed, rather than adjourned, to give Council members a break before going back into the closed portion of the meeting.



The final regular Council meeting of the year will take place December 7, with the public portion commencing at 7 p.m. As always, The Watershed welcomes your thoughts. Leave your comments below, or email us at editor@lionsbaywatershed.ca


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3 comentários


Os comentários foram desativados.

It was very enlightening to learn on Tuesday (at last) why the 2022 audit has been held up for so long; for whatever reason, the minutes of the Finance Committee from January to April this year were the problem. You can hear Jo Cherkoff make this revelation at the 34:08 mark in the video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3nxdhcZlsGE). This is a red flag for me. Cherkoff claims the minutes were approved at the Monday finance committee meeting, however they were not provided with the agenda for the meeting. Given that this committee discusses public money, one has to wonder why their minutes are being withheld from the public to whom the money belongs? And: why did the committee go in camera when there…

Curtir

Norma Rodgers
Norma Rodgers
23 de nov. de 2023

I attend council meetings by zoom. When I read kc's summary I am amazed at her ability to present the facts without commentary. The council meeting was actually more dramatic, with raised voices, continual interruptions and debate over details. I very much appreciate the time kc takes to provide accurate council meeting summaries.

Curtir

Reading Karen’s summaries of council meetings beats the hell out of sitting through the meetings! Many thanks for your dedication to the community and for keeping us informed.

Curtir
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