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Council in Focus

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


March 19, 2024 Edition

Event: Lions Bay Council Meeting

Time: Public meeting: 7 p.m.

Agenda: HERE

On Table:

Firefighting Water Reserve Policy HERE

Water Shortage Policy HERE

Video link: HERE


Present at the council table were Mayor Ken Berry, Councillors Neville Abbott, Jaime Cunliffe, Marcus Reuter and Michael Broughton, Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Ross Blackwell and Deputy Corporate Officer Marina Blagodarov. Public Works Manager (PWM) Karl Buhr and Financial Officer Joe Chirkoff sat in the gallery, and joined the table during staff discussions.


There were three present in the gallery for the public participation element, and 17 online.


The meeting began with a closed session at 6 p.m., There was no public report afterwards. The agenda was adopted with a few additions.


Public Participation:


  • Brunswick Beach resident Mike Porter asked that the Lions Bay Beach Park committee (LBBP) be offered a letter of commendation from Council, in light of the report that was submitted this week. He noted that the group has held at least 53 meetings in the past 14 months. He singled out Scott Gordon, Susan Davis, David Lee, Oliver Ganske and Kirsty Pappas for special recognition. Councillor Michael Broughton was in support, but Chief Administrative Officer Ross Blackwell recommended that the information be received for consideration.

  • Online, resident David Shore also offered his thanks to the LBBP committee.


Delegations:


  • Resident Marek Sredzki spoke of his concern regarding the looming water shortage this summer, and recommended that Council explore alternative water sources and form a Water Task Force. He said that even if Public Works finds all the existing leaks, it will still not resolve the water supply problems. He noted that the option of creating a desalination plant would be too expensive and take too long. He recommended drilling wells as a more cost-effective and expedient option. He brought a report with him that he said he would like to see published in the Village Update. Councillor Neville Abbott said that Infrastructure Committee would welcome Sredzki's presence at the next couple of meetings, when they will be addressing water issues.


Approval of Minutes of Prior Meetings:


The minutes from the Special Meeting of Council on March 5, 2024 (Page 10), were approved.


Unfinished Business:


CAO Blackwell advised Council to focus only on issues of immediate concern (from the list found on page 14). The following items were addressed:


  • Councillor Neville Abbott said that the Climate Action Committee (CAC) is currently investigating rain barrels, and will report back.

  • Public Works Manager (PWM) Karl Buhr said that in spite of intensive efforts, he is unable to locate the information needed regarding the Canadian Protected and Conserved Areas Database (CPCAD). Abbott said that he understood these endeavours would not be at a cost to taxpayers, and said he would investigate further.

Staff Reports:


  • Blackwell presented a new Strategic Planning Policy (Page 14) for Council's consideration. He said that in a nutshell, the idea is to prioritize goals for the term of office, which are then supplemented annually with objectives and action items that are updated every year. These form a reference that will allow staff to develop operational plans, and the whole package feeds into the budgeting process to help assist with decision-making. The package offered here is a comprehensive overview of one approach, which was award-winning when it was released. Blackwell noted that having structure and predictability in a plan helps the public know what to expect. He recommended that as soon as Council completes this year's budgeting process, that strategic planning for the remainder of the council term should be next in line. Abbott directed Blackwell's attention to the previous strategic plan, and they agreed these previous plans should help inform the process.

  • Financial Officer (FO) Chirkoff joined the table to offer a few wording changes to the new Investment Policy (Page 21). Questions arose regarding the liquidity and the credit ratings of investments. After discussion, Councillor Michael Broughton moved that the policy be referred to the Finance and Audit committee for further recommendations, and this motion passed.

  • PWM Buhr brought forward a Firefighting Water Reserve Policy, which details water reserves with regard to firefighting for Council's consideration. He said that no formalized policy exists to reserve water for fighting fires in times of low supply. During water shortages the choice must be made between directing water toward the possibility of fighting a fire versus maintaining potable drinking water for village homes. Abbott moved that the report be reviewed by the Infrastructure Committee (IC) for recommendations and this was passed. Berry indicated that he'd also seek feedback from the Fire Chief, and it was suggested that Chief Germscheid be invited to the IC meeting.

  • Buhr then presented a Water Shortage Policy, outlining further water conservation levels for the Village. He presented Metro Vancouver conservation levels as a comparison, but noted that their systems are substantially better funded than our own, and their conservation levels refer to their untreated (raw) water facilities. Buhr asked Council to confirm existing conservation levels and endorse new levels established in the case of a water emergency.

    • Code Red: Three-day-average supply within 25% of demand, or in Water Short Supply status

    • Code Orange: Three-day-average supply within 10% of demand, or in Water Constrained Supply status.

    • Code White: Supply is less than demand.

Code White essentially means there is no water available. Measures listed include water mains throughout the village being shut off and a mandated citizen-led fire watch patrol. Curbside barrels would be made available and topped up so that residents would be able scoop enough water to flush toilets and wash dishes. Blackwell noted that Council has already submitted letters to the province seeking support for potential water shortages. Buhr said he was surprised during recent conversations with residents around the village that many are not anticipating this water shortage, and feel that people need to be informed. Council passed a motion to table both of Buhr's water reports for further consideration.  

Committee Reports:

  • Broughton noted that his report from the LBBP committee was under discussion in the closed session of the meeting, but wanted to reiterate the excellent job the committee has done. He noted that the committee had submitted a 70-page report, a summary of which was published in a special edition of the Village Update this week. The 286-page appendix of supporting information remained under discussion in the closed portion of the Council meeting.


Council Reports:


  • In what turned out to be a highly controversial move, Reuter said he'd been asked to bring forward a petition bearing 65 resident signatures asking for Council accountability regarding LBBP financing. Broughton strongly objected to the reading of the petition, stating that it offered inaccurate information, and insisted that the item being allowed onto the agenda was out of order. Blackwell confirmed that some of the material presented was inaccurate and suggested that when members of the community are concerned about an issue, their first line of recourse is to address it with staff. Following heated discussion, Mayor Berry called a 15-minute recess, and the meeting was halted. On resumption of the meeting, Reuter's motion on behalf of the 65 residents was defeated.

  • Berry brought forward his Parking Task Force and Connector Task Force reports, and asked that the recommendations be accepted by Council.

  • Broughton submitted his Highway Noise Task Force report, also with recommendations. He spoke of the group's concern regarding enforcement of the sound level agreement, and hoped that a committee would be formed so their concerns can be brought forward during the upcoming Miller-Capilano Highway Contract negotiations.

  • With regard to all three of these reports, Abbott noted that procedurally, task force reports needs to be received rather than accepted, as Council still decides what recommendations to implement. Reuter referenced information from consultant Deanna Campbell (who advised Council in 2023) noting that regardless of the name, (Task Force, Committee etc) all working groups require terms of reference that be approved by Council, and suggested this is the best practice to be used in future. Blackwell also made a case for the legitimacy of grass-roots initiatives. After extensive discussion of procedural issues, the three reports were received.


Emergency Reports:


  • Fire Dispatch report, February, 2024 (Page 42). Nine incidents were reported, along with 11 usages of apparatus. 48 members attended incidents.


Resolutions:

A request to relax the Noise Bylaw for events at the Village Hall on June 22, October 13, December 14 and 21, 2024 was approved.


Correspondence:


Broughton is handling correspondence this quarter. The list of general correspondence to February 15, 2024 (Page 48) included:

  • A collection of near-identical letters (as referenced from a Reddit Vancouver hiking page) from Rebecca Brunswick, Rohan Pais, Issac Keast, Jonathan Gugger, Jaime Robinson, Sagar Malhi and Megan Chalmers registering objections to proposed changes to parking, hiking and water protection. (Pages 49-62).

Resident correspondence included:

  • A letter from Gail Craig regarding secrecy surrounding the BDO Financial Statement Audit (Page 63). Broughton responded that Council is waiting to receive information. Abbott noted that in prior years, the audit has always been received in an open meeting, and that he doesn't think it should be in closed. Blackwell said BDO told him audits are always received in a closed meeting. There was discussion as to whether the financial statements have been released, but Blackwell confirmed that they have not, as BDO advises information not be released until the process is complete.

  • A letter from Ed Langford regarding the parking petition. (Page 66).

  • A letter regarding LBBP cost over-run concerns from Rose Dudley (Page 73).

  • A letter from Iain Mackie regarding power interruptions with BC Hydro (Page 75).

  • Two letters from Norma Rodgers regarding LBBP concerns and bears. (Pages 76 & 77).

  • A response to the letter from Norma Rodgers, who had written to ask about the status of the heavily-delayed Annual Municipal Report. (Page 78).


Public Questions and Comments:

  • The Watershed publisher kc dyer asked about accessing the water reports presented this evening by PWM Buhr, and was informed that they had been made available on the Village website. (Now linked at the top of this article).


As there was no further public comment, a motion was made to recess the meeting and return to a closed session. When the meeting resumed, Mayor Berry said that Council will entertain nominations for Citizen of the Year and Citizen of Distinction. He also reported the reappointment of the Curly Stewart Memorial Award committee, with Councillor Abbott to continue as chair. And with that, the meeting adjourned.


The next scheduled meetings for Council are the Committee of the Whole on April 2 and a regular Council meeting April 16, 2024. The Infrastructure Committee meeting is set for March 21, and a Climate Action Committee meeting will be on March 25.


As always, The Watershed welcomes your thoughts. Leave your comments below, or email us at editor@lionsbaywatershed.ca 

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1 Comment


Penny Nelson
Penny Nelson
a day ago

Just a quick comment re the municipal grants: Bird Friendly is not asking for $300, because we secured funding for our educational bird signs from Nature Canada last year. We typically apply for funding from outside of the Village or accept donations to avoid asking for tax dollars ;-)

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