By Brian Lawrence
At its Nov. 27 regular meeting, Creston town council approved a half-dozen recommendations, including one that will help council direct staff regarding budget priorities.
Stemming from the Nov. 21 committee of the whole meeting, town finance, and corporate services director Stefan Klassen’s report will be revisited as council sets tax rates and manages inflationary increases prior to the preparation of the core operational budget.
“We were looking to receive direction,” said interim town manager Michael Moore. “Through that whole schedule, there will be opportunities for council to make recommendations.”
Core budget increases for 2019 include CUPE collective agreement wage increases, the new provincial health care tax, and pensions and benefits.
•Creston Valley Public Library board president Joan Hedstrom introduced chief librarian Saara Itkonen to town council. She moved to the Creston Valley this fall, assuming the role previously held by Aaron Francis since 2012.
“It’s amazing how friendly and warm this community is,” said Itkonen. “That’s the same in the library. We have incredible staff and volunteers, and I look forward to working with you all.”
•Council awarded WSP the $297,918 professional engineering services contract for the design, construction, and commissioning of a new solids dewatering facility at the wastewater treatment plant.
•Council approved appointments of representatives to government-related agencies: Coun. Joanna Wilson, Creston-Kaminoho Friendship Society; Wilson, Creston library board; Wilson, BC Transit; Coun. Jen Comer, Creston Valley services committee; Coun. Karen Unruh, physician recruitment; Coun. Arnold DeBoon, East Resource Recovery Commission; and Coun. Jim Elford, Economic Action Partnership.
•Bylaw No. 1872, authorizing the borrowing of the estimated cost of building a new fire hall, was approved. It allows the town to borrow a sum not exceeding $4.5 million, which must be paid off in a maximum of 30 years. Voters approved the borrowing in a referendum, which resulted in 1,301 votes in favor and 885 opposed following a Nov. 2 judicial recount.
•The Prince Charles Secondary School senior boys and girls volleyball teams will each receive $500 to offset expenses to travel to the provincial championships, held in Langley from Nov. 27-Dec. 2 (boys) and in Burnaby from Nov. 27-Dec. 1 (girls). The $1,000 donation leaves $1,250 in the town’s discretionary fund.
•A request by visually impaired golfer Darren Douma for sponsorship of the July 2019 BC Provincial and Invitational Championships at the Creston Golf Club was referred to staff. The town had previously sponsored the 2015 Canadian and 2017 world championships held locally, but the donations may have been made through the Regional District of Central Kootenay budget.
“I believe we fully support what he is doing, but we need to research what’s been done in the past,” said Mayor Ron Toyota.
Unruh suggested that the same support should be given to the 2019 Kootenay Lake Gran Fondo being spearheaded by the Creston Valley Chamber of Commerce.
•Council will send a letter of support to the Creston Community Forest regarding upgrades and expansion to the Mount Thompson Trail. Upgrades could include improvements and maintenance of the forest service road, a new bridge across Sullivan Creek and a new picnic site.
“The objective would be to have a well-maintained trail system that is capable of supporting a number of different, non-motorized uses and activities including hiking, mountain bike riding, horseback riding and possibly snowshoeing and cross country skiing,” said the CCF in a letter to the town.