top of page

Council in Focus

Updated: Jun 20, 2023

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


May 2, 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 Neville Abbott, Michael Broughton and Marcus Reuter. Also present was acting CAO/CFO Ron Miller and Administrative Assistant Marina Blagodarov. Joining online were consultants Randy Diehl, as contracted through the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, and Deanna Campbell, as contracted by the Village.


Viewer attendance was down a little from recent meetings in this, the last regular Council meeting before Saturday's by-election, with five residents present in person in the gallery, and 29 residents attending on-line.


Editor's Note: A Committee of the Whole meeting has been called for May 4 at 4:00 p.m. The agenda link to this meeting can be found HERE. Subjects of the open part of the meeting include the 2023 Preliminary Budget, a budget Q&A, and resident questions and comments.


In reporting out from the closed meeting, Mayor Ken Berry noted that two by-law officers have been hired – Kevin Tufts, returning to the position from last season, and a Lions Bay resident.


Before the agenda was adopted, Councillor Neville Abbott asked that the motion to accept the minutes be deferred to a later meeting, as the package had only been made available the day before, and there hadn't been sufficient time to read the material. A few other additions were made and agreed upon, and the amended agenda was adopted.


Public Participation:

  • Stepping forward from the gallery, resident David Shore remarked that while a lot of people in the village have been suggesting the sky is falling, he would like to take a balanced view and focus on the positive aspects of volunteerism in the village. He named several committees: Finance, Beach Park, and a potential Infrastructure group that are working to get the village involved. He thanked the Council and noted that the village has two very good candidates prepared to fill the remaining position. He asked the Village to embrace whoever wins, to focus on the positive, and to "get back to the Lions Bay way."

  • At the podium, Council candidate Tanya Cosgrave echoed Shore's gratitude for all Council has accomplished thus far. Her main focus addressed the fatality on the Sea to Sky highway, and how it highlighted the ongoing issues with parking in the village. She called for a committee to be formed with residents from all affected areas including Brunswick Beach, Kelvin Grove, and the Mountain/Sunset trailhead, with the aim of creating a seasonal parking plan to mitigate these issues.

  • Resident Rose Dudley began by noting that the beach was left a complete disaster after the sunny weekend. She also asked if there had been any inspections carried out in the absence of a qualified building inspector. She was concerned that short-cuts might be taken to mollify frustrated residents who are struggling to finish their projects, and that if work is not signed off according to strict codes by qualified people that there will be insurance and other repercussions to the village in the long run. She referenced a fatal accident on Vancouver Island that resulted in a lawsuit and the ultimate closure of the business, adding that this matter should be a concern to every member of the community. She also noted that last year, the village received $80,000 in building permit revenue. She asked how the CFO intends to make up for this shortfall.

  • Online, Council candidate Jamie Cunliffe noted that Friday's Village Update asked for resident input with regard to the budget. She noted that the next Council meeting is on May 16, while the budget needs to be passed by May 15. She asked if residents should expect a series of meetings in the next week to ensure the budget is passed on time, and when budget notes would be released for public review.

  • Online, resident Emilie Montgomery said she wanted to comment on the April 27 Finance Committee meeting. She said she was very pleased to see the committee has a good grasp of the funds available, which funds are allotted to which projects and the availability of government grants. She was also happy to see innovative and efficient ideas, and with the additional $100,000 in interest the village will be earning going forward. She added she supported the availability of the budget materials to residents and the opportunity for resident feedback that Council is providing.

  • Resident Leslie Nolin who was online, asked about censorship of community engagement and participation. She wondered if there are guidelines around what public participation can contain, as her comments during the April 18 meeting, and the letters exchanged with Councillor Michael Broughton on April 11, 12 and 17 were not included. "I understand you don't want people ranting and raving but when questions are asked about the duties that you have all upheld an oath to, I want to understand what's going to be deleted." Deanna Campbell, a second representative of the Ministry who was present, replied that the guidelines for public participation are outlined in the Council Procedure bylaw on the website. She said that while Council's correspondence policy is a bit outdated, it provides a number of exceptions for types of correspondence that will not be placed on the public agenda. She said that while all correspondence addressed to Mayor and Council will be circulated to them, and that exceptions to items included on the agenda are at the discretion of Mayor and Council or the CAO. These include letters that are deemed repetitious, inappropriate, defamatory, slanderous or vexatious. Following this explanation, Acting CAO Ron Miller noted that Leslie Nolin's email was "extremely critical of Council, extremely vexatious and this close to a by-election had no place in this venue, so I took it out."

  • Online, resident Norma Rogers reiterated her request from the last meeting, asking Council to adopt some changes to provide transparency including: publishing agendas on the Friday before Council meetings, including written management reports with the agenda, requiring require committees to report to Council regularly, disclosing resident selection criteria for committees, minimizing closed council meetings or portions of meetings, requiring residents who speak at Council to provide full names, explaining CAO deJong was terminated and justifing the expense, and publishing all resident opinion letters to allow for free speech. She noted that these have been suggested by many residents, along with Councillors Abbott and Reuter. In regard to what she called the dismissive reply she received from Broughton, she asked if anything will change to create trust on the part of skeptical residents. Broughton noted he would defer the question for the moment, but plans to respond.

  • Resident Carmon Leeson, also speaking online, said utilities bills are typically issued long before this time, and asked when residents should expect them, so residents are not hit with a tax bill and a utility bill at the same time. Leeson also asked about the seven percent tax increase mentioned at the Finance Committee meeting, and whether this was a firm figure. Berry said both questions would be addressed later in the meeting.

  • Online, former Councillor Fred Bain said that in the last council, the CAO had negotiated a contract change without consulting Council, that greatly cut green waste limits. He added he wants to ensure unlimited green waste collection will continue. Broughton said that bylaw just makes reference to the billing, and that the contract will be up for renegotiation later in the year. Abbott clarified that the contract is actually two years past due, and that quantities of green waste have not been limited.


Unfinished Business:

  • Councillor Marcus Reuter followed up with the Ministry of Finance regarding confusion with regard to the Lions Bay's inclusion in Vacancy Tax scheme, and also inquired as to the number of days residing at home are required to qualify it for the principal residence. Reuter said that Lions Bay residents will be required to participate, and noted that in order to not be subject to the tax, homeowners must be staying in the residence for longer than any other place in a calendar year. He clarified that the required number is not a flat number of days, but can change depending on the individual household.

  • Acting CAO/CFO Ron Miller reported that six firefighters have registered as exempt to the secondary suite surcharge. He also corrected the wording in the Draft Water Budget regarding construction on Creekview Place, and held a discussion with the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) regarding the public posting of candidate information.


Reports:

Mayor's Report:

Berry presented his report verbally. He said he had spoken with Translink on the question of bus schedules, and reported that starting June 26 bus service scheduling will return to summer schedule beginning at 7:18 a.m., adjusted from the 10:18 a.m. during the springtime. Abbott suggested that since hikers start arriving earlier, perhaps the summer schedule could be changed earlier next year.


At the Metro Vancouver meeting, Berry said there was a very preliminary discussion about water, sewer and gas pipelines from West Vancouver. Currently, the systems don't go past Horseshoe Bay.


Finally, Council received a memo from Fire Chief Barret Germscheid noting that Lions Bay Fire Rescue (LBFR) has developed a three-part plan for fighting wild fires, and is communicating with other emergency response teams. Abbott asked Miller if Phil Folkerson has received a contract so he can come up with an evacuation plan. Miller said he didn't remember discussing a contract. Abbott reiterated that we need an evacuation plan, so Council needs to look into this.


Staff Report:

The Acting CAO presented the Accounts Payable Cheque Listing report (found on page 21 of the agenda package), which was received. A few outstanding questions from Council members were reserved for a later date, as this information was just received by Council yesterday.


Council Reports:

  • Broughton said Miller/Capilano have confirmed they will go ahead with the re-installation of quiet (pervious) pavement along Highway 99, one aspect of the sound mitigation plan for the community. As a result of the notice he placed in the Village Update, he has received offers to help from residents. He said he would consider them in case a highway committee is formed. Reuter asked if the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) plan also includes the installation of sound barriers, as the piece in the Village Update would indicate. Broughton replied that the village already has sound walls. He noted that there is ongoing discussion, including monitoring sound levels, and added the highway advisory group negotiated with MOTI back around 2008. Reuter said that since sound reduction is very minimal from pervious pavement, (perhaps a 3-5 decibel reduction from 55), this will not address the bulk of traffic noise coming from semi-trucks and motorbikes, and that other measures are needed.

  • Broughton, acting as school liaison attended a Parent Advisory Committee (PAC) fundraising pancake breakfast at Lions Bay School on April 27.

  • Broughton also attended the Howe Sound Community Forum on April 21, representing the village and as 'dock host' in Lions Bay. Broughton reported that 24 people, including local MP Patrick Weiler, attended, travelling to Gibsons in two water taxis. He said that discussion topics included watershed protection, water shortages, well-water and aquifer protection, growth in the Sea-to-Sky corridor including a proposed 1,000 housing units in each of Britannia Beach and Furry Creek, abandoned vehicle remediation and carbon tracking. Broughton added that hot topics included the hiring issues in various jurisdictions, where 36% of positions in Municipalities are currently open. He also said Lions Bay has very high electric vehicle (EV) use, and per capita has the highest rate of EV ownership in Metro Vancouver. The event was chaired by Lions Bay's Ruth Simons.

  • Reuter commented that the increased density and highway use is "the elephant in room," and must be addressed. Broughton replied that this needs to be be a multi-faceted effort involving ICBC, the RCMP, MOTI and others.

Committee Reports:

  • Broughton attended the Lions Bay Beach Park Advisory Committee (LBBPAC). The Request for Proposal (RFP) for the built-form design (including the washroom, Lori Beck Memorial and and hard surface area) closed last Friday, and bids are being considered. The group is now working on the RFP for playground enhancement and replacement of both the tots and children's playground. Abbott noted that committee recommendations for the RFP go to staff and council for final decisions.

  • Lions Bay Climate Action Committee (CAC) information report (found on page 26 of the agenda package) was received. Abbott reported that the committee met last week, moving forward on three information items, although there are no resolutions as yet.

    1. Trial-run for a mini-recycling depot at the Works Yard. The cost would be $350 per month for collection from small bins, with a possible $50 per month reduction for working with Recycle BC. Berry asked the difference from simply using the current blue bin system. Abbott noted that residents currently can't recycle items such as plastics, styrofoam, batteries and lightbulbs, and have to drive to the North Van transfer station for disposal. Redirecting these items to a mini-recycling plant at the Works Yard encourages better recycling practices, reduces the cost to the village, and saves residents the drive. He noted that since the service would run same hours that the Works Yard is currently open, there would be no increased cost in staff time.

    2. Application for the Disaster Mitigation Adoption Fund: This requires staff action now or the grant opportunity will be lost. Abbott suggested a village-wide drainage program as a possible project, since it is a project the village needs. A successful grant application would mean the village could save 60 cents on the dollar for something that must be completed anyway. The grant deadline is July 19, with 2032 slated as project completion.

    3. The final request of the CAC is that the CAO not edit any CAC messaging without checking with the authors first. There was some discussion as to the Village Update policy, and the CAO was asked to commit to consulting with the writer before any edits are made on committee submissions.

The three items were received.


Bylaws:

Council gave the final reading to the Water Rates, Sewer User Rates and Garbage and Recycling Collection Bylaw amendments, which were adopted.


Correspondence:

General correspondence (beginning on page 47 of the agenda package) came from Cathy Martin of BE AMAZING, who wrote on the topic of Child Sex Trafficking in BC. She noted that the Canadian Sexual Exploitation Summit is May 3-5, and is a virtual and free event. Reuter noted that he was shocked to learn that Federal laws are not enforced in BC, and added there will be a booth at Union OF BC Municipalities (UBCM) with more information. A letter from Bowinn Ma addressed climate emergency preparedness funding and reimbursement for climate change.


Resident correspondence:

Letters from Leslie Nolin and David Butler were suppressed.

On behalf of The Watershed, kc dyer's letter requested comment on the resignation of Public Works Manager Nai Jaffer (p. 54). Broughton noted that newly-hired consultant Deanna Campbell suggested this letter be removed.


Paula McLachlan wrote about her disappoinment that there was no all-candidates meeting (p. 55). Alison Dudley invited Council and staff to a fund-raising slug race on May 7 at the south end of Sunset Drive, (p. 56). Tom Caspersen registered his objection to a resident interrupting Leslie Nolin while she asked Mayor and Council a question, and asked for Council's response (p. 54). Berry said this was an oversight, and should not be repeated.


Norma Rodgers repeated her request for an answer to specific questions (noted above in the Public Participation segment) regarding transparency in council (p. 59). Upon questioning from Reuter, Broughton said since Rodgers was not satisfied with his initial response, he will respond again. Rodgers' second letter asked whether it would not be more financially responsible to hire experienced staff, rather than hiring consultants to train inexperienced staff, (p. 60). Reuter asked for the direction of Council on answering that question. Berry then asked Campbell how other councils deal with public correspondence.


In response, Campbell said that in other municipalities, correspondence is usually divided on the agenda into those letters that request action and those that just offer information. The letters requiring action are then decided by council, and it is up to Council if they choose to respond. After discussion, it was noted that while Council may consider modifying this policy, currently the letters are rotated through the councillors each quarter over the year. Campbell offered to help Council develop an updated correspondence policy.


John Dudley's letter requested the Mayor speak to Tranlink about bus schedules to accommodate hikers and reduce parking woes, (p. 61). Gail Craig's letter cited the best practices from the Ombudsperson's Guide that council is not following, and asked if that would change (p. 62). Campbell offered an opinion here, and said that the Ombudsperson's guidelines as noted refer to closed meeting minutes. She suggested that for open meeting minutes, while Robert's Rules emphasize the importance of minutes, they are not meant to be a play-by-play of what was said, and are meant to be a record of the decisions that are made. She added that as Lions Bay's meetings are recorded on Youtube, the public can go back and review the detailed discussions.


Abbott asked Diehl if a review of these Ombudsperson Rules would be possible in the workshops he will be offering to Council. Diehl noted that this is an element of the Governance workshop he offers, if they choose to take him up on it.


Charity Stelmaker's letter asked about the replacement of the Village flag at the firehall (p. 63).


Rose Dudley's letter referred to her concern that inspections were being held in the absence of a building inspector. (p. 64). CAO Ron Miller responded that "we don't issue permits or inspections without a licensed person there to do it. Some of the responsibility has been passed on to architects and engineers – a lot of permits are just on hold. The last thing we would do is issue a permit without having the right background or authority."


A motion receiving the correspondence was passed.


New Business:


Miller stated that a draft of the 2023 Budget has been posted to the website, and promised explanatory notes to follow. He said that Council is seeking feedback, and to that end has created a specific web address to gather residents' comments:

budget@lionsbay.ca "We welcome any feedback," said Miller. "Where would you like to see changes? To see a change costs money. We will gladly consider any input as to where changes should be."


Miller confirmed this is the first time the budget has been publicly posted. However, Abbott noted that in the past, the budget was available to residents through the minutes, and a process generally taking six to ten meetings beginning in January meant there was a lot of opportunity for resident feedback. He noted the timeline is much shorter this year, and he said Council has "a hell of a lot of work" in front of them in order to get the budget out on time.


A short discussion of budget questions and topics followed. Berry asked if the seven percent increase discussed at the Finance Committee meeting is firmly set. Miller said it is not, and the percentage reflects a bit of a cushion. Miller added that the Finance Committee has saved the village at least $100,000. Reuter expressed concern that the notes were not available to the public as yet, and that since this is a very accelerated process this year means there is less time for public engagement. Other discussion centred around consultant and senior staffing costs, Broughton's opposition to tax deferment for older residents, and recognizing the increased costs residents are coping with. Abbott pointed out that a large percentage of village tax money goes to other things than capital projects, including the school and other expenses.


As there were no questions asked by the public, the meeting adjourned in under two hours, for the first time this term. The next regular Council meeting is scheduled for May 16, 2023 at 7:00 p.m., and will take place with a newly-elected Council member seated at the table. As noted above, a Committee of the Whole meeting has been called for this afternoon, May 4 at 4:00 p.m. The agenda link to this meeting can be found HERE. Subjects of the open part of the meeting include the 2023 Preliminary Budget, a budget Q&A, and resident questions and comments.


Clarification: Municipal Advisor Randy Diehl is contracted by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs on behalf of the village. Deanna Campbell and Doug Rae have both been temporarily contracted by the Village on Diehl's recommendation. ~Editor.




330 views3 comments

Recent Posts

See All

3 Komentar


From Dave Butler:

In response to Emilie's comments, there is no mention of the $5.8 million dollars which was in the Village account when the new Council took office. That amount was there because of three departed employees who over their seven years were able to accumulate this sum through good management. Prior to their appointments, seven years before, there were almost zero dollars. Over the past several years, the banks offered almost zero interest, so the money that had been accumulated stayed safe until the former CFO had the pportunity to move the $5.8 million to earn the Village a better return.

According to the most recent AP cheque listing in the May 2 agenda, the new interim CAO/CFO…

Suka

Anggota tidak dikenal
04 Mei 2023

Actual wording of 2nd half of my statement available here...

.....greatly pleased with the additional $100,000 annually the village will now be making in interest going forwards. I was also pleased to see that the Mayor is keeping to his platform promise of transparency by asking staff to provide villagers the ability to see online not only the draft of the 2023 budget plans, but also the budget from 2022 and the Actuals from 2021 and 2022. More importantly Mayor Berry you asked if residents will be able to give feedback and so a link will also be provided for residents to comment and ask questions about the budget, (first time ever) you also indicated that resident feedback is to…

Suka
Membalas kepada

With all due respect to Emily Montgomery's interpretation of the situation, I would like to point out that while much emphasis has been placed on the amount of $100,000 in "lost interest", there has been no recognition that through the exceptional fiscal responsibility, of our previous CAO, CFO and Village Manager, this new Council inherited the sum of $5.8 million which in my estimation is now being squandered.

That sum of $100,000 is being based on today's interest rate, and anyone with an interest-bearing bank account knows that back in the spring of 2022, the interest rate was lower than 0.5% and stayed low until the previous Council convened for the summer and beyond, so the $100,000, of which w…

Suka
Comment policy:

Only site members of The Watershed may comment. User names are open to choice, but members

must register with real first and last names before commenting.

We are looking for comments that are productive, insightful and contribute to the conversation.

We're interested in your perspective!

Disrespectful and anonymous comments will be removed without explanation.

Comment sections will remain open for a month, and after that time, further commentary may be directed to editor@lionsbaywatershed.ca

Thank you for joining the discussion!

small magnesia creek.jpg

Stay in the know...
Subscribe to The Watershed HERE

bottom of page