Policies and Priorities Committee Meeting, Tuesday June 24th, 2008
In Attendance: Councillors Holmlund, McPherson, White, and Schembri. Councillor Holmlund chaired the meeting
Official minutes for the meeting can be obtained from Town Hall.
1. Call to Order: 7:00pm
2. Approve Minutes from Policies and Priorities Committee Meeting of June 10th , 2008-adopted as amended
3. Business Arising from Minutes- The business sign that had been attached to the True Sport sign upon entering Tumbler Ridge has been removed. All the Verbenone pouches have been placed in their designated areas.
4. Review of Agenda-Item 8. Business Road Signs, 9. Dr. Gilles Wendling 10. Adjourn
5. Mobile Veterinary Clinic Lease Consideration
A temporary commercial use permit was granted to Dawson Creek Veterinary Clinic (DCVC) (2002) Ltd. in March, 2008 for the establishment of a mobile satellite vet clinic in Tumbler Ridge. The DCVC has not signed the lease agreement as of yet because they are not prepared to pay the lease amount approved by Council, which is $528.00/month. The DCVC prepared a counter offer for the lease amount of $250.00/month. The new lease agreement will go to the next Regular Meeting of Council for final approval.
Comments: Councillor White: ?How long is the lease??
Mr. Proulx stated the lease would be for one year and then will be revisited at the end of the year for consideration of extension.
6. Revitalization Tax Exemption Program-Discussion
New legislation in May of 2007 provided municipalities broader authority to provide revitalization tax exemptions for the economic, social and environmental well-being of their communities. Some examples in which there can be tax exemptions (municipal taxes) are facade improvement and beautification, redevelopment of contaminated sites, construction of new commercial properties and innovative design or ?green? building technology. If Council were to direct staff to implement this program, there would be no capital expenditures required but a great deal of staff time will have to be spent on its development. Also, Council would have to decide what properties/areas they want to be designated as revitalization areas.
Comments: Councillor White: ? I see this as a good thing for the town but it also looks like a lot of work.? ?To implement this by the end of the year seems impossible.?
Trevor Seibel, CFO, stated the actual deadline to have this program in place is the end of September for exemptions in 2009. If the program is continually worked on and put in place in the spring of 2009, then the tax exemptions would be applied in 2010. The exemptions cannot be retroactive.
Councillor Holmlund: ?Can this be done?? (referring to getting the program implemented by September 2009).
Mr. Proulx stated that yes, it can be done, but it would be a detriment to other priorities.
Mr. Seibel explained there is a lot of paper work involved and if you don?t get something like this done right the first time, then you will need to change it later on.
Councillor Schembri: ?Can we do it in stages?? ?For example, the first year exemptions are offered can be towards something specific like energy efficiency. Start small, then grow.?
Mr. Proulx stated that regardless, there is a time crunch.
Mr. Seibel explained to Council that they must decide what they want to accomplish with this tax exemption program. Also, there is a major time crunch to get this in place by September. Therefore, people who build in 2009 would not see the benefit until 2010.
Councillor White stated he is not in a hurry to see this in place. He also requested to see copies of bylaws from other towns that have this program implemented already.
Councillor McPherson stated he would like to see it get done right but he would also like to get it in place as soon as possible.
7. Tumbler Ridge Golf Course
A long term strategy for the golf course is required. Due to many different factors, CK Golf solutions and the District of Tumbler Ridge terminated their contract effective June 14th, 2008. At this time, The District had to decide to either close the golf facility or to assume the operations of the golf club to ensure that it remains open for the remainder of the 2008 golf season. It was decided that District would continue through with the business plan that was already in place(CK solutions).
Trevor Seibel, District CFO, has stepped in to ensure the golf course has remained open. He stated that he has put in 50 hours of over time since June 15th, ?not because I wanted to, but because I had to?. The restaurant is now open and with limited advertising, sales over five days was almost $9000.00
Seibel explained that ?people are excited by the food, the service and a new gathering place? in Tumbler Ridge. Because the contractors(CK Solutions) have left, Seibel explained it is necessary for Council to decide on long term plans for the Golf Course sooner than expected. For now though, the golf course is in need of kitchen staff(prep cooks and chefs) as well as a food and beverage manager.
The long term plan options are: 1. the district manages the course, 2. find another lessee for the golf course, and 3. sell the golf course.
Councillor White: ?Are wages in the restaurant higher than others restaurants in town?? Councillor White stated he had complaints from other restaurants that the higher wages at the golf course are unfair to other businesses in town.
Mr. Seibel explained the average wage is $10-14/hour at the golf course and he said the wages are ?nothing to write home about?. The wages are based on the business plan created by CK solutions, they are not union wages. Mr. Seibel stated that if other restaurants have a concern over the wages at the golf course, then perhaps they need to be looking at what they are paying their staff.
Councillor Holmlund: ? Thank you(Mr. Seibel) for all the work that you have been doing. What do the numbers look like??
Mr. Seibel gave Councillor Holmlund an example of the positive numbers with regards to the golf carts. The new carts were bought for approximately $50,000. They golf carts average $500/day in sales. Therefore, by the end of the season, the golf carts will already pay for themselves.
The consensus amongst the Councillors is to sell or lease the golf course. Mr. Seibel explained he would start the advertising for expressions of interest/proposals nationally to create as much interest as possible.
8. Business Road Signs
There has been some confusion as to where businesses can place signs along the roads/highways. Some signs have been removed by CRS(Caribou Road Services) and some have not. Mr. Proulx stated staff would ask CRS on Councils behalf how they apply their rules and why some have been removed and some haven?t. Proulx also explained there will be some new directional signs(to help locate the industrial park and airport) up by the end of July.
9. Dr. Gilles Wendling
Councillor Holmlund would like to bring back Dr. Gilles Wendling, who specializes in groundwater supply and protection, to speak to council about how to find the aquifer and how to acquire our own data that will be useful to Tumbler Ridge. Due to the timing of the request, it was decided to keep this in mind for the fall when people are back from holidays.
10. Adjourn: 8:35pm