The Village of Canal Flats Council began their regular meeting on June 8th with a familiar topic. Once again, talk centred on whether or not to vote down the proposed RV resort rezoning bylaw.
The contentious bylaw has been the source of public outrage for weeks, culminating in a public hearing attended by approximately 70 angry community members on June 1st.
“Council has the opportunity to vote tonight to fail the bylaw,” Mayor Ute Juras said during the council meeting.
Council was originally supposed to make a decision on whether to adopt, fail or ask for alterations to the bylaw on June 22nd. Councillor Paul Marcil took particular offence to Juras’ proposition.
“Frankly, I think this is a bad attitude for us to take,” Marcil said. “We need to have a proper discussion as a council before making any final decisions.”
Juras responded by reminding council that 400 concerned community members had recently signed a petition against implementing the bylaw.
Councillor Karl Sterzer suggested there are probably people who are in favour of the bylaw who did not attend the meeting. He asked Chief Administrative Officer Brian Woodward how much it would cost to hold a referendum.
Woodward said it would cost between $3,000 and $4,000, at which point council let the discussion wait until June 22nd.
Contest for community funding
Council discussed the opportunity to apply for funding as part of the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program.
The program is an initiative from the federal government to offer $150 million in funding to community projects across the country. Each project can cost a maximum of $500,000.
Woodward presented four separate proposals to council for projects that could be eligible for funding. Changes to the arena, community hall, walkway to the beach and to Tilley Memorial Park were discussed.
Sterzer proposed that council apply to the Community Infrastructure Program with the arena project, which would call for improvements to the dressing rooms and the insulation. The project would only cost the village $25,000 outside of the grant.
“The project would be the biggest economic driver without a gigantic cost to the village,” Sterzer said.
While she said she agrees that the arena could use an upgrade, Juras said it would be more prudent to apply with the Tilley Memorial Park project or the community hall project. She said council is often offered grants for recreational facilities, but it is rare they can upgrade other sorts of public landmarks.
Marcil proposed that council apply with the Tilley Memorial Park project, which would include improving docks, washrooms, tables and parking, but would not include making changes to the boat launch. If accepted by the Government of Canada, the project would cost Canal Flats $100,000 over the next two years outside the grant.
Council unanimously voted to accept Marcil’s proposal. If approved, construction will begin on the park in the next few months, since the improvements would need to be completed by March 2018.