Keremeos council received a donation from the Keremeos Volunteer Fire Department at the regular meeting of council on June 18.
The volunteers presented the village with a cheque for $750 to go towards the construction of an overhang for the serving area of the community kitchen, located at the village infocentre. The money comes from funds raised through the department’s famous pancake breakfasts in Memorial Park during the Keremeos Rodeo.
Cathedral Ridge Construction’s Evin Hartfield is generously donating his labour to the overhang construction project.
Council dealt with a request form the Keremeos Community Church for a donation towards a local children’s camp.
The Keremeos Community Church will be hosting its fourth annual kids’ camp, involving approximately 400 children from various communities in B.C., 60 of whom came from the Similkameen to last year’s camp. In the past two years, previoius council donated $100 to the event.
Councillors Evans and Thielmann excused themselves from council debate over the issue, as they are members of the church.
Debating the administrative recommendation – that council donate $200 to the camp – Mayor Manfred Bauer expressed reservations about donating public funds to faith based organizations, noting that the community has several churches that could make a similar request to council.
“It sets a precident,” Bauer told remaining council members. “I’ve spoken to a number of (RDOS) directors – they don’t use public funds for this type of donation.”
Bauer said that it would be more appropriate for council to make personal donations to this sort of function if they wished.
Councillor Cowling noted that previous council had donated to the group in the past, commenting that no other denomination had come forward to request donations.
“I’m starting to see your arguments for that side of it,” Councillor Arlow said in response to Bauer’s comments, “Thanks for bringing that up.”
“This recommendation also represents a 100 per cent increase over previous donations,” Bauer added.
Chief Adminstrative Officer Laurie Taylor pointed out to council that the village had no policy on donations, and a precident had already been set with the church because donations had been given for the past two years.
“There is usually a policy in place before denying,” Taylor informed council.
After a short discussion, it was agreed to reduce the request to $100, and direct staff to draft a policy with respect to donations
The motion carried.
CAO Taylor reported that the village road paving work was complete, with some pothole repair work remaining to be carried out in the next week. The sidewalk connecting the pool with Veterans Avenue was also finished. Taylor also reminded council that the Liquid Waste Management Plan would be back on the table in August, at stage three.
Cost estimates and construction timelines for the water reservoir are in the process of being calculated. A referendum on the project could take place in September. The village’s new website is expected to be online by September 1.
Concerns over recent changes to the intersection at Seventh and Seventh were expressed to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. Increasing summer traffic is sometimes backing up in the westbound lane, and fears were expressed that this could cause traffic problems during the peak traffic season.
Council adopted the fees and charges amendment bylaw in addition to the freedom of information amendment bylaw, both of which had been discussed and read at previous meetings.