Town to consider tax breaks for affordable housing

Town Council will explore the possibility of adding new affordable housing to its Revitalization Tax Exemption Program.

Creston Town Council will explore the possibility of adding new affordable housing to its Revitalization Tax Exemption Program.

After a brief discussion at Tuesday’s regular council meeting, the issue was referred back to staff, who will create a full report for Town Council’s consideration this year.

“RTEs are a tool that Council may use to encourage various types of revitalization, including environmental, economic, and social objectives. One method to enable social revitalization and residential infill development is to create an RTE program to encourage the construction and/or preservation of affordable rental housing,” Ross Beddoes, director of municipal services, wrote in a report for Tuesday’s meeting. “It is anticipated that the creation of an RTE Program for affordable housing will encourage the development and availability rental housing, and increase residential infill development.”

In other Town Council news:

• Neither of two scheduled delegations appeared at their appointed time. Mayor Ron Toyota reported that one, who wanted to discuss utility billing increases and fairness, withdrew his request to appear after being satisfied with the information provided by town staff. A second, who wants a public washroom for the Creston Dog Park, did not inform Council that she did not attend to appear.

• A development permit application for construction of a Kubota dealership at 1309 Northwest Boulevard was approved, pending receipt of an irrevocable $25,000 letter of credit by the applicant. Construction of the dealership would allow the Kokanee Ford and Kemlee Equipment to separate their farm equipment and car/truck dealership.

• Pre-budget approval for a number of planned projects for 2018 received spending approval for a total of $1 million. Existing projects needing 2018 budget approval include fire hydrant ($28,000), sewer line replacement ($106,000), RCMP detachment paving ($54,000), vehicle purchase and replacement ($343,000) and Schikurski booster station ($371,688). New initiatives include “inflow and infiltration ($50,000), Wynndel gravel pit ($5,000), zoning bylaw update ($29,916) and sub-regional fire service consultant ($15,500). The latter two projects are in progress.

Pre-budget spending approval allows staff to work on projects and prepare contract tenders immediately.

• Pre-budget spending of up to $120,000 for the community fire hall advisory committee was approved, in order to retain qualified technical expertise.

• Council voted to support the RDCK application for funding from the Union of BC Municipalities to upgrade its emergency operations centre and training initiatives.

• Town Hall will close from December 24-28 over the Christmas holidays. On the days that are not statutory holidays staff will use vacation time.

• Town staff are in the process of contacting applicants to sit on the Community Fire Hall AdvisorySelect Committee to confirm their interest and appointments will be made in the coming week. Council approved a plan to find a young person to participate. The committee will total 15 appointees, including 2 RDCK directors and 2 members of Town Council.

• The Town of Creston will once again partner with the RDCK for the delivery of FireSmart Home Partners and FireSmart Community Recognition Program, utilizing the expertise of Creston Community Forest.

• Steffan Klassen, director of finance, reported that the Town is working toward creating equity for local beauty salons, whose utility rates are currently based on the square footage of their buildings.

• A housekeeping item involving the rescinding of two readings for Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 1843 for the Hawkview development was approved. The developers have withdrawn a proposal made last year.

• The Revitalization Taxation Bylaw No. 1860 was adopted, extending the previous bylaw that gives municipal tax breaks for qualifying construction projects.