Thinking proactively about fire season and wild summer storms, two Montrose residents voiced concerns about illicit dumping and leaning cottonwoods to village council Monday night.
Signs don’t work
First up was a 9th Avenue gentleman who pointed out that the “No Dumping” message isn’t being heard.
“A new sign has just been put behind the community hall..there’s two dump trucks full there now,” he said, mentioning the problem has been ongoing for years. “It’s a miracle on a hot summer day (there hasn’t been) spontaneous combustion…the stuff is dumped right in thick bush. You’re wasting your time and our money with the signs.”
Another dump site near 2nd Street is even more concerning, he added.
“There is always a wind and sometimes I have to hang onto my hat, there’s a real breeze,” the resident said. “There’s always (cigarette) butts along there and it’s thick grass that goes into bush and trees all the way down to the creek, then out to Fruitvale and Salmo,” he noted. “If you think a fire can’t go that far, think again – just look at Kelowna, Slave Lake and now up north in Alberta. You get a wind and a fire there, God help you.”
Council discussed the man’s concerns later in the meeting, directing staff to inform the Bylaw Enforcement Officer to patrol the area behind the community hall, Montrose park and the bank end of 2nd Street. As a first measure, anyone found dumping yard waste will be sent a letter requesting the practise be stopped. Mayor Joe Danchuk noted residents would be receiving personal emergency preparedness recommendations after a June 15 FireSmart meeting at the regional district. Additionally, he pointed out the village provides pick up for grass clippings every third Thursday of the month (May 26, next) as well as a fall and spring pick up strictly for trimmings and branches.
Next up were homeowners living on 9th Street, following up their previous concerns about unstable cottonwood trees adjacent to the couple’s property.
The pair attended council in the fall after receiving an assessment of the trees, but no subsequent action. The gravity of the situation hit home after the recent incident of a Port Coquitlam house being flattened by a tree during a lightning storm and the homeowner injured, explained the woman.
“The honest truth is we don’t feel safe in our house when the storms come,” she said. “I don’t think that’s fair and it’s not a good way to live.”
Mayor Danchuk confirmed the village’s tree removal budget was doubled to $15,000 this year and an arborist is just beginning an assessment throughout the identified problem areas.
The matter is twofold, he said, adding, “if the branches are a hazard (that’s one) problem, the other problem is if those trees come out, we have an issue with bank sloughing.”
Council agreed to direct resolution to the incoming Chief Administrative Officer, not yet named.
Phasing out a crosswalk
The village has okayed the removal of the 6th Street crosswalk on Highway 3B, though the lines will remain in place for now. An overhead LED back-lit and down-lit sign is being designed for the 5th Street crossing, and when installed, the 6th Street pedestrian markings will be removed. Additionally, the transportation ministry is collaborating with village staff on upgrading the highway corridor illumination, as well as other standard highway crosswalk signage to the most current retro-reflectivity and sizing.
Deputy Clerk Amy Gurnett provided a staff report regarding the village’s 2015 Statement of Financial Position (SOFI). Highlights include the village’s total equity increased by about $200,000 since the year previous, and now totals $9.4 million. Total remuneration including elected officials, employees appointed by cabinet and members of the board of directors, neared $400,000. Almost $73,000 was invested through parks, recreation and culture for the community hall, parks and play fields, education services, and the (former) Montrose skateboard park.
The Montrose recreation committee will soon complete the roster for the village’s upcoming 60th anniversary celebrations slated June 9 to June 11. Coun. Mary Gay confirmed the ball park will be full during the main event, Saturday’s Family Fun Day. Coun. Rory Steep is working with the Beaver Valley youth group to bring a popcorn and movie night to the community hall Thu