All members of Cache Creek council except Coun. Lisa Dafoe were at the regular council meeting of Feb. 10, which began at 7 p.m.
At the Jan. 27 meeting, council had voted to excuse Dafoe from the meetings of Feb. 10 and 24 and March 9 in order for her to meet educational requirements. In discussing business arising from that meeting, Coun. Annette Pittman — who had voted against excusing Dafoe from the meetings — asked that it be ensured that Dafoe not be paid her monthly stipend and communications allowance for her absences.
When informed by Mayor Santo Talarico that she would have to make a motion to that effect, Pittman asked for clarification as to whether Dafoe would continue to be paid despite her absences. CAO Martin Dalsin explained that there was no provision in the Village’s bylaw requiring a council member to attend council meetings in order to receive their stipend.
Asked again to make a motion for the purposes of discussion, Pittman moved that the Village not pay Dafoe’s monthly stipend and communications allowance for absences in February and March for her personal education obligations. The motion did not receive a seconder, and died on the floor.
Coun. Sue Peters reported on a meeting of the drag races committee that she had attended, noting that registration at some of the races might have to be capped because of the high level of interest.
“They’re doing some amazing things,” she said. “They’re already worried that they’re going to have too many people. It’s bringing people back like the [Eagle] race track used to.” She also noted that the committee had been asked to make sure to involve the Village in their plans and discussions.
Council spent some time discussing a zoning amendment application for a property at 805 Trans-Canada Highway (on the east side of the highway between the entrance to Sage and Sands Mobile Home Park and the Riverside Motel at the south entrance to the Village). A request has been received to develop a 20-unit apartment building on the site with retail space on the ground floor, and Dalsin wanted council to be able to discuss the proposal, as approval would mean staff moving forward with drafting a zoning bylaw amendment.
“I would like a general feel from council if you feel this is a good idea,” said Dalsin. “If it is then we’ll have a bylaw for first reading at the next council meeting for rezoning. It [would be] pretty much the first property you’d see when you’re coming in from the south, so I wanted to make sure council was okay with having an apartment building with maybe a business or two on the ground floor.”
The current zoning for the property is commercial, and the development would require zoning for mixed residential and commercial. Dalsin noted that in the Official Community Plan, that sort of zoning for downtown is encouraged and supported.
Coun. Wendy Coomber noted that the biggest hurdle would be access to the property from the highway, and Dalsin agreed. He said there was a possibility — a poor one — of turning off the highway into Sage and Sands and using an existing Village road to the wastewater treatment plant, but noted challenges if that route was used. Coomber replied that as there is currently only one road in and out of Sage and Sands, adding another 20 units in an apartment building would be a concern.
Talarico said that the Ministry of Transportation had to provide access to a property off the highway if there was no other means of access. Peters and Coomber both cited the positive impact the development would have. Dalsin said that given council’s views, staff would draft the appropriate zoning amendment.
Council moved a recommendation that the Village, through TRUE Consulting, apply for funding for the development of a new well on the Bonaparte aquifer at the Cache Creek park. The cost of the well is estimated at $750,000, and the funding (if granted) would cover approximately $550,000 of that cost. The motion passed.
A request from the Graffiti Days committee for free use of various Village facilities and equipment, as well as two grants totalling up to $4,500, was considered. After some discussion, Talarico asked that the motion be tabled in order to seek clarification from the committee about their funding needs for 2020. This was passed.
The next item was a discussion about the Village rejoining the provincial Communities in Bloom program, which Coomber said would cost approximately $2,500 (registration, accommodation and meals for the judges, and community events). The last time the Village participated was in 2018, and Coomber noted the amount of work involved in having the judges visit. “It’s just too much for the small group that we have these days.
“If the Village wants to be part of Communities in Bloom — and it is an excellent program — there’s going to have to be a lot more input and assistance from the Village.”
Pittman noted that it was a lot of money, and asked what the actual benefit to the community was. Coomber replied that the judges provide a very detailed report about what they see in the Village and how to improve it in a number of different categories. “The problem was that we always present this [information] to the Village year after year — and we were with Communities in Bloom for five or six years — and we could never get the Village to take a serious look at the recommendations and act on any of them. Unless we’re willing to look at these recommendations and take them and do something with them, it’s not money that goes very far.”
Pittman suggested looking at the program for next year, but said she would not support it for 2020. Talarico moved that the matter be referred to the Cache Creek Beautification Society so that they could make the decision about what they wanted to see and whether or not they would need financial support. The motion passed, with Coomber voting against it.
Dalsin noted that a grant request to UBCM to purchase equipment for the Cache Creek Volunteer Fire Department had not been successful, as the program was heavily oversubscribed. Another grant request to UBCM — for $750,000 to help construct a bridge on Quartz Road at Highway 1, to mitigate flooding there due to an undersized culvert — was also unsuccessful.
A questioner in the gallery asked if, instead of a bridge at Quartz Road, a barricade could be put up barring access to Quartz to and from Highway 1, then removing the road over the creek. It was noted that that would only leave access to and from the area off Highway 97, which could lead to issues if that highway was compromised, and might also affect the fire department when responding to calls.
Asked when a public budget meeting might be coming, Talarico said “Shortly,” noting that the Village was still collecting information about items such as the water system and the pool.
The meeting went into a closed session just after 7:30 p.m.
The next regular meeting of Cache Creek council will be on Monday, Feb. 24 at 4:30 p.m. at the Village office on Quartz Road. Meeting minutes and agendas can be found on the Village’s website at http://www.village.cachecreek.bc.ca/.