Trail council had a lot on its plate Monday as they ran through a laundry list of to-do’s that heavily focused on family matters, community services and finally, pets.
First up, the panel approved a $40,000 cash grant for the revamped Silver City Day celebrations in May.
Keith Smyth, operations manager for “A Homecoming Celebration” festival slated May 4 to May 8, presented council members with an itemized budget for approval. By all accounts, the event is shaping up to be chock full of activities that highlight Trail culture, like the grape stomp and spaghetti feast, the return of the Sidewalk Cafe and Miss Trail pageant, Saturday’s firefighters’ parade and of course, an impressive fireworks display later that night.
Besides the cash grant, which Coun. Sandy Santori expects will be offset by event revenue but may be somewhat dependent upon the weather, council approved use of the city’s facilities and equipment as required.
Another first and only 2016 event will be the official unveiling of the Victoria Street Bridge lighting project. Council approved a $5,920 plaque concept by the Downtown Opportunities and Action Committee, to recognize those who donated to the downtown Trail enhancement, collectively adding up to almost $181,000. Council agreed an aesthetically pleasing finishing touch was warranted for the high profile project which is currently being installed.
Family friendly washrooms a go
Council supported a Family Action Network (FAN) initiative by allocating two lobby washrooms at the Trail Aquatic and Leisure Centre as “Easy Peezy” family-friendly as well as the disabled washroom on the Red Floor of the Trail Memorial Centre. Total costs for the improvements, such as signage and change tables, is estimated to near $2,200. Lack of accessible public washrooms in the downtown has long been raised as a concern, FAN’s Easy Peezy logo directs parents/caregivers of young children to the washrooms designated as family-friendly.
Investigating skate park site
Council approved $21,000 for New Line Skateparks Inc. to conduct a site analysis, and develop a skate park concept with budget planning details at the proposed location near the Gyro Park boat launch. The work is a necessary precursor for staff to work towards the July intake for a recreation infrastructure grant through Columbia Basin Trust. New Line has remained in close contact with the municipality and Friends of the Trail Skatepark Society over the years, cost breakdown includes $11,500 for the baseline scope of work and a $6,000 reserve for geotechnical data, if required.
Garbage contract extended
Alpine Disposal and Recycling’s refuse collection contract was extended another three years. Based on 3,251 weekly pick ups and 71 litter containers, the term includes an annual two per cent increase, starting at $196,000 in 2016. Council considered the positive relationship between Alpine Disposal and the city over the last seven years, taking into consideration the 2016 garbage rate was established based on a 5.4 per cent garbage collection contract rate.
Budget for Gyro Park concession passed
Council agreed to waive 20 per cent sales commission for Career Development Services’ (CDS) use of the Gyro Park concession. Additionally, the group reconsidered CDS’ earlier request for a $10,000 cash grant increase, but voted to maintain the current $20,000 grant parameter and forego percentage of sales instead, which equates to about $7,000 annually. Council is asking the organization to consider adjusting hours of operation to offset the difference.
Temporary permit for pet crematory denied
Trail council denied an application for a temporary commercial use permit for 3230 Highway Drive in Glenmerry, which would allow operation of a pet crematorium at the site. Consideration was given to the building’s close proximity to residential properties as well as strong opposition from the community, including 30 signatories on a counter petition, and opposition letters written to the city.
Victim Assistance not a core service
Council unanimously declined to support the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary’s requisition to increase the Greater Trail Victim Assistance Program. Trail pays almost $27,000 for the program’s current fixed requisition of $62,500. The proposed change would increase the city’s portion over $10,000. The request did not include adequate documentation such as caseloads, open or closed files and service demand.
Coun. Lisa Pasin commented, in a time when public spending and property tax levels are a concern, further increases must be carefully evaluated.
While the value of the service is not in question, Coun. Robert Cacchioni said the program is not a core service, the city’s budget for protective services currently exceeds $2.1 million and the matter is another example of the province downloading costs to municipalities.
West Trail stink a public nuisance
Accumulated fecal matter on a Kitchener Street property had council issuing a Remedial Action Requirement, thereby giving the property owner up to 10 days to remove the feces or the work would be carried out and the expense charged to the owner. If unpaid by year end, the amount would become part of property taxes in arrears.
Over the past year, the Trail SPCA and city have monitored the property’s condition, in particular a deck, and repeated requests by both entities to remove the defecated matter was not met with action.
A ticket was issued mid-November, and with the recent snow melt the deck requires immediate attention. The SPCA’s repeated attempts to contact the property owner have failed. In its current state, the condition of the deck can be considered so unclean that it is offensive to the community, allowing the remedial action order pursuant to the Community Charter.
Off-street parking fees waived for new downtown development
JJKL Properties, owner of 1277 Cedar Ave. is renovating the premises and combining two of the six commercial units for use as a martial arts instruction centre. The city’s zoning bylaw requires 12 off-street parking spaces to be provided on the property in connection with the change of use, however those spaces cannot be accommodated on the property. Moving ahead with the project, the company would have to pay $36,000 to the city, a sum of $3,000 per parking spot in lieu of each of the off-street parking spaces required.
Council agreed to waive the entire amount and directed city staff to investigate potential amendments to the zoning bylaw for off-street parking requirements and fees.