District of Invermere corporate officer Kindry Luyendyk gave council a written briefing on mail-in voting during the most recent council meeting, saying a draft bylaw on mail-in voting had already been drawn up and would be presented at the first post-election meeting of the new Invermere council.
There is not enough time for a bylaw amendment to be made to allow mail-in voting prior to the upcoming Saturday, November 15th municipal election, said Luyendyk in the briefing, which was received by council during its October 28th meeting.
The briefing sparked discussion among the councillors about other means of remote voting, such as electronic voting (e-voting), with Invermere mayor Gerry Taft pointing out that e-voting is technically not allowed in B.C. and that a 2013 provincial electoral panel — which included Regional District of East Kootenay chief administrative officer Lee-Anne Crane — recommended against adopting it.
“There’s no doubt in my mind it will come. There are just a lot of glitches right now,” said Invermere mayor Gerry Taft.
One of the main issues raised by the panel was how to deal with e-voting fraud, according to councillor Paul Denchuk.
“For instance if you go to your Grandmother’s house and case a ballot for her, how do election officials even begin to try to deal with that?” he asked.
Council remuneration to increase
Invermere council officially adopted a remuneration bylaw during the October 28th meeting that raises pay for the next council, to be voted in during the upcoming municipal elections. The bylaw was adopted unanimously and will see pay for the next council’s mayor go from $20,240 a year to $21,500, and pay for the four councillors go from $12,144 a year to $12,900.
Invermere embraces IPC Alpine Skiing World Championship
Council members also voted unanimously to authorize the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Alpine Skiing World Championship parade in Invermere this coming February 28th.
The world championship is held by the IPC every two years and, this winter, will be hosted by Panorama Mountain Village for the first time ever. Panorama Mountain Village has successfully hosted IPC World Cup events in the past (including January 2014). The parade will be held in downtown Invermere to start off the event.
“It puts Invermere and Panorama on the world stage, so I think it’s an awesome idea to kick it off with a parade,” said Denchuk.
Taft said that, with this event being a world championship as opposed to just a World Cup race, he expects it to draw even more people to the valley that last January’s race.
“Any time we can link events at Panorama to downtown Invermere and create that ski town atmosphere, I think it’s great,” he said.
At the October 28th meeting council member also voted unanimously to revise external equipment charge-out rates (which were last updated two years ago), upping the rates of labour and equipment used when the municipality is requested to do non-routine work to a level at which the municipality is adequately able to cover the costs it bears when renting out equipment.
During discussion on the decision councillor Justin Atterbury suggested that instead of selling old trucks (the district currently has two pickups being sold on public offer), perhaps one could be donated or given at a discounted rate to a community group that might be able to put it to good use, such as the Car Share group.
“I just think there’s a better use for it,” said Atterbury.
Taft updated other council members on the work of the Columbia Valley Directed Funds Committee, pointing out that since the Columbia Valley was the first area to enter into a three-year directed funds contract with the Columbia Basin Trust, it will be a guinea pig in finding out what happens when such contracts are up for renewal (in six month’s time in the case of the Columbia Valley’s contract).
“There’s signs it’s going to change; it’s probably not going to look exactly the same,” said Taft.
Taft also pointed out that of the roughly $600,000 the Columbia Valley Directed Funds committee has to spend, about half is still left unused.