“A public meeting without the public indicates we are doing something right but it’s disappointing, considering all the work done.”
That was Mayor John Harwood’s remark as he opened a meeting held to discuss District of Clearwater’s annual report on Thursday, June 21.
Only three members of the general public, including this reporter, attended the gathering.
The civilians were much outnumbered by the politicians and bureaucrats, with members of town council present, District staff, plus representatives from Urban Systems (Clearwater’s engineers) and Interior Health.
Harwood praised the municipality’s staff for their good work, noting that the District is receiving $1.22 million in grants from Union of B.C. Municipalities out of $1.3 million applied for.
“I think you’ll realize there are a lot of tremendous things that are happening,” Harwood said.
Last year they saw the amalgamation of the chief administrative officer and corporate administrator positions, said Leslie Groulx, the new CAO.
Presently, the administrative department has three full-time employees, including Groulx.
Another three work full-time in the finance department. There are also two full-time and one part-timer employees with Motor Vehicle/ICBC.
Clearwater is one of only about four municipalities in the province to offer a motor vehicle service.
Public works has two full-time staff plus one part-time.
The Community Charter requires that all B.C. municipalities publish an annual report. The 37-page document includes highlights of major projects achieved during the past year; plans and initiatives for 2012, statistics, permissive tax exemptions for churches and so on, and audited financial statements.
Highlights for 2011 for Administration and Corporate Services included strengthening relationships with external agencies, community stakeholders, provincial and federal ministers, and Simpcw First Nation.
The District adopted 16 bylaws and six policies during the year.
The old firehall is coming down this year, the meeting was told.
Its role has been largely replaced by a new locker room built last year.
A project to provide ultra-violet (UV) disinfection at Russell Creek is ongoing, Lisa Clark of Urban Systems reported.
The municipality received a $385,000 grant from Towns for Tomorrow for the project.
At present chlorination is the only treatment being used, which is not effective with some microorganisms such as giardia and cryptosporidium.
The work has been tendered and should be completed by this fall.
An emergency response plan for the water system has been prepared. Interior Health and B.C.’s drinking water protection regulations require such a plan.
The plan includes procedures to follow in the event of a forest fire in the watershed or power failure with the pumps. It also has contacts to call in the event of an emergency.