Following are the council highlights from the Sept. 7 District of Clearwater regular council meeting.
Tax exemption for non-profits
Council passed a motion to provide permissive tax exemption for local non-profits, including Evergreen Acres Senior Citizen’s Home Society, Vavenby and District Branch 259 Royal Canadian Legion and the Clearwater Ski Club, among others.
The requested tax exemption timeline is for three years, from 2021 to 2024. In response to questions from council members about the length of time of the exemptions, Mayor Merlin Blackwell confirmed the three-year timeline and that the policy can be examined by council at any time.
The concern was the high cost of the permissive tax exemption, such as Evergreens Acres’ $18,000 price tag.
All non-profit entities under the tax exemption are to provide financial statements and budget by Sept. 20, 2022.
A recommendation was brought to council to allocate additional funds to repairing the district backhoe.
A major crack in the stick extension on the equipment was found through an inspection, with the possibility the damage could be welded, according to a staff report, though not confirmed.
It was recommended an additional $9,000 be withdrawn from surplus to repair the damage and that council also directs staff to bring forward a case to replace the unit in 2022. The recommendation was passed.
Council discussed and passed a recommendation that sought an amendment to the Council Procedure Bylaw No. 131 that would allow council to have permanent authority over whether to conduct their meetings electronically.
Blackwell noted that council and staff still have a lot learn about the system, a comment directed at some audio issues during the meeting. The decision would allow them to continue to operate over the pandemic, while also allowing council members to be included in decisions even if they cannot attend in person.
The discussion of whether council would like to change how meetings are run, for example, completely online or in a hybrid style, would be a separate discussion, noted Blackwell, but a discussion that’s worth having.
Grant for YCS
A $500 grant-in-aid was approved for Yellowhead Community Services Early Years Program from the 2021 grant-in-aid budget, as well as use of DOC tents, for National Day of Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day on Sept. 30, 2021.
A request for run a gravel pit was brought to council.
The owner of a large parcel of land off Clearwater-100 Mile Forest Service Road is seeking approval from the Agriculture Land Commission to remove aggregate and soil to operate a gravel pit, which is provincially approved and regulated. About half the land is within the Agriculture Land Reserve.
In response to a question from Coun. Taylor, public input is not required. The recommendation was passed by council.
Grant request not approved
Council and staff were not successful in their application to the province for funds to complete a sewer distribution project in the district. The $8-million-plus project is an expansion of the sewer distribution system for all properties around Dutch Lake.
Council passed a recommendation to provide a one year free-of-charge trial period for the Men’s Sheds group in the District of Clearwater. The group will occupy the vacant space at Centennial Hall.
To view the agenda of upcoming meetings, the minutes and agendas of previous meetings or more information about DOC mayor and council, visit the DOC website at districtofclearwater.com.
To view virtual council meetings videos, visit youtube.com/districtofclearwater.