Regionial District of Okanagan Similkameen board meeting briefs

News from the January 9 RDOS board and committee meetings

Alternate director remuneration

The regional district board discussed alternate director remuneration at the Thursday, January 9  meeting of the corporate services committee.

A proposal to pay alternate directors $108.35 per meeting day for attendance at meetings beyond those of regular board and committee meetings, (in the absence of the director), met with some opposition before a motion to amend the bylaw to allow the proposal was made.

“Alternate directors are appointed, not elected,” Keremeos Director Manfred Bauer pointed out to the committee.

“It’s really a matter of, ‘Are you willing to do the work?’ Other volunteers don’t get paid – I can’t support it.”

Area “D” Director Tom Siddon supported the proposal, however, noting that alternate directors “serve as apprentices” to the director, often running for election when the current director steps down.

The proposed addition to to the board remuneration and expenses bylaw will be funded from the alternate director’s specific electoral area budget.

The proposal will come before the board at an upcoming regular meeting.

Staff proposes increase in tipping fees at Campbell Mountain

Regional district Solid Waste Management Coordinator Cameron Baughen proposed a steep increase in tipping fees at the Campbell Mountain landfill in order for the regional district to put away sufficient reserves to provide for the future closure of the facility.

Baughen reported to the Environment and Infrastructure Committee on Thursday, January 9 that the landfill was running a deficit that would have to be resolved through an increase in taxes or through tipping fees. Since the regional district is moving towards a user pay model for the facility, it was proposed to raise fees from $72 per tonne in 2013 to $95 in 2014.

Baughen also noted that waste volumes were down at the landfill, due to the current struggling local economy.

“At $95 we will have sufficient to catch up and put enough into reserves,” he told the board. “If fees are any lower, there will need to be a tax component.”

Board members had concerns about having sufficient reserves to cover the landfill closure in addition to a two million dollar proposed project to fund a greenhouse gas capture program at the  landfill. They also expressed concerns about falling revenue from tipping fees due to annual reductions in the amounts of refuse being brought to the site.

Keremeos Mayor Manfred Bauer advised the board that public education was needed to inform taxpayers about the challenges involved with the regional landfill.

“Tipping fees at Keremeos are also steadily rising,” he told the board.

Director’s motion for medical marijuana

Oliver rural Director Allan Patton’s lengthy motion over the placement of medical marijuana facilities wandered off topic to discussions about marijauna legalization during the board’s discussion of the issue.

Early in the discussion,  Patton simplified his motion to a single sentence  stipulating that the Agricultural Land Commission be requested to remove medical marijuana growing operations as a an allowable use on ALR lands.

Several members of the board spoke in favour of the location of medical marijuana facilities on ALR land, while others opposed the move on the grounds that it “wasn’t food”,  “produced unpleasant odours” and “created security risks.”

Princeton rural Director Brad Hope expressed the view that the board was arguing different things, including the legalization of marijuana.

“I’m really uncomfortable  – this is redefining what agriculture is,” he said.”We’re losing farmers – we need to support an industry that’s suffering.”

The board agreed to Patton’s scaled down motion, a copy of which will also be sent to the Southern Interior Local Government Association.


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