Imagine Invermere 2030 action items contested

Briefs from the District of Invermere council meeting on July 10.

Imagine Invermere 2030 is now the new name of the Imagine Invermere Integrated Community Sustainability Plan (ICSP) after council approved a three-part motion outlining suggested steps by the  Imagine Invermere 2030 Implementation Team on how to move the ICSP forward. The other two parts of the original motion included receiving and adopting the Imagine Invermere 2030 Implementation Team 2012-2013 Communications Plan as well as adopting nine actions to be undertaken by the team for 2012 and 2013.

However, the original motion was amended to include just seven items after Mayor Gerry Taft and Councillor Paul Denchuk voiced concerns about the action items. The two actions struck from the original motion were: initiating the process to build partnerships to facilitate the creation of a multi-use complex within the community, and; commence the investigation of options directed towards the establishment of an economic development/sustainability officer.

The nine action items are to help implement Imagine Invermere 2030 and get word out to the community, said Councillor Greg Anderson, the implementation team’s chair.

But Denchuk said the team was putting the cart before the horse and sending the wrong message to the community.  Councillor Justin Atterbury disagreed, stating the long-term nature of the plan was obvious.

“There’s a lot more hanging fruit that we can pick on that would be really great for the community,” replied Denchuk, adding that lofty goals should be avoided.

Anderson said that beginning conversation around partnerships for the creation of a multi-use complex over the next year and a half wasn’t a guarantee to the community that the complex would be built in that timeframe.

“It’s really about partnerships,” he said, “initiating a process, not guaranteeing anything.”

“What I find distinctly lacking from this is anything to do with our water, the quality and quantity of our water,” stated Denchuk said, to which the district’s director of development services, Rory Hromadnik, responded that water quality improvements had already been initialized which was why they weren’t on the implementation team’s action list.

“It might just be wordsmithing,” said Taft, but the two aforementioned action items also caused him concern because he had missed several meetings when the ICSP was being finalized due to the demands of his business and would require further opportunity for dialogue with the team on the points they had chosen to focus on.

Anderson reminded the others the seven-person implementation team was driven by volunteers and that time is of the essence.

Denchuk questioned why chief administrative officer Chris Prosser and Hromadnik were listed as spokespersons for the plan, stating he felt it was an inappropriate designation for district staff and suggested they be replaced by Councillor Springs Hawes.

Anderson explained they were listed as spokespersons to deal with the technical issues that he, also a spokesperson, didn’t have the knowledge to explain, to which Denchuk replied their designation should then be categorized as “staff support.” The motion to replace Prosser and Hromadnik with Hawes was carried with Anderson and Atterbury opposed.

RCMP quarterly report

In his quarterly report to council, Columbia Valley RCMP detachment Staff Sgt. Marko Shehovac said the detachment was down one constable but that a replacement from Vancouver Island had been named and was expected to arrive either in August or September, as soon as his house sold. While some transfers have been cancelled in B.C. because members haven’t been unable to sell their homes, Shehovac hopes this won’t be the case.

The detachment will also be losing two more members come September, he said, and while one cadet out of Regina is slated to be stationed here after he graduates in August, it takes six months of working with a senior officer before new graduates can work alone, which will restrict operations for that time.

From January through to the end of June, the detachment received 349 calls, which is up from 283 in 2011, most likely to do with a revised reporting system with more accuracy, said Shehovac, as well as a brighter economic situation with more valley visitors.

The detachment’s main priority will continue to be dealing with drug and alcohol abuse, enforcement and education in addition to improving police visibility in the valley, he told council, and that an extra $10,000 added to his budget was being used for bike, ATV and lake patrols when possible.

The detachment’s commitment to community involvement was high despite its human resources concerns, he noted. The challenges will always be manpower issues, he said, and a Citizens on Patrol program was still lacking in Invermere.

Over the course of the summer, members won’t be able to attend the situations they normally have in the past, such as theft to unlocked vehicles and break and enters, Shehovac warned.

“It’s going to have a bit of an impact,” he said. “I’m hoping we’re just going to have to do this over summer, just to keep our heads above water.”

It’s unfortunate the summer population explosion in the valley isn’t taken into account when it came to staffing numbers, he concluded.



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