Policies and Priorities Meeting: May 12, 2015

Trent Ernst, Editor


Present: Mayor McPherson, Councillor Howe (Chair), Councillors Krakowka, Scott, Kirby, Mackay, Caisley

Lion’s Flatbed Campground Operating Agreement

Councillor Krakowka recuses himself from this discussion as he is a member of the Lions Club.

In the early days, says CAO Barry Elliot, the Lions operated Flatbed campground. During downturn, they lost a number of volunteers, and turned it over to District. In 2011, they came and offered to run it again. We came up with this agreement, with the Lions keeping 70 percent of the revenue, and the District getting 30 percent.

For the new Operating Agreement, the Lions Club is proposing they retain 100 percent of the revenues.

Mayor McPherson asks if the District will still be paying for the expenses? “That said, the money comes back into the community.”

Finance Officer Chris Leggett says there was talk about a Grant in Aid to purchase a side-by-side, but didn’t get it in by the deadline.

Councillor Scott suggests an 80-20 split, as this is the deal they have set up with a number of other groups.

Councillor Howe asks if there is any reason this wouldn’t be put out to an RFP?

Elliott says no, though the season is starting. He also says the Lions have done a far superior job of delivering services than the District has.

Councillor Caisley points out that what we’re talking about here is about $1359; he doesn’t see a problem giving them 100 percent of the revenues, which would be less than $1500 out of the District’s pocket.

Leggett points out it has been higher in the past, but they did some work last year which brought revenue down.

Last year the District contributed $12,816 to the running of the campground for garbage pickup, etc.

Councillor Kirby says she would be fine with 100 percent as well.

Councillor Mackay asks if the Lions paid for the washroom upgrades and the playground equipment? Yes, they did.

“They’ve done a great job of running that place, they’ve put so much back into that. They’ve provided service to Tumbler Ridge and done a stellar job,” says Elliott.

Councillor Mackay says he doesn’t mind 100 percent, as the Lions are not doing this as a money-making venture, but as a way to give back to the community.

Councillor Scott asks if they pay insurance? Elliott says the District pays insurance on the land

Councillor Scott: I suggest 80-20 only for consistency, but it’s not a great deal of money.

Councillor Howe says each agreement is different. “I don’t think it needs to be 80-20 split. You have to have that ability to negotiate. A golf course lease vs a campsite? They’re two different beasts. We do have an RFP for Monkman RV Park right now. But are we heading down the wrong road if we agree to 100-0?”

Elliott reminds council that one group is a non-profit that gives back to the community, the other is a for-profit enterprise.

Councillor Caisley says he has no problem accepting this as written. “It’s not like we’re talking big dollars here.” Councillor Kirby agrees. “This is a not for profit business.” So does Mayor McPherson. “They’ve done a tremendous job down there,” he says. Councillor Mackay agrees, too, though he’d like to see it open up earlier in the year.

Tumbler Ridge and Community Garden and Composting Society Lease Renewal

Another lease renewal for Council’s consideration. The TR Community Garden and Composting Society has been leasing a portion of land since 2010 for the purpose of a community garden. There are approximately 30 beds that are available for rent.

Councillor Mackay says Community Gardens are becoming more popular. He likes what’s happened down there, and wants to see it continue.

Councillor Scott asks what happens if they don’t rent all the beds out. Does someone take care of them? Yes.

Mayor McPherson says he is happy with what’s happening down there. “I’d hate to lose it.”

Councillor Howe says he has no problem with the community garden, but he has heard from people who don’t like the location. “There’s crows all over the place,” he says. “And there’s rumours of rats up there. Quite a bit of mice poop around the playground up there, too.” He suggests looking at moving it to a different location.

Councillor Mackay says it was originally supposed to go down by the horse stables, but there was an uproar about that. He can’t speak about the mouse and rats. “Maybe they’re coming from the museum.”

Mayor McPherson says he was a part of the garden society last year, and hasn’t heard any complaints.

Councillor Krakowka says he has heard the rumours of rats, but hasn’t seen any personally.

Councillor Howe says “my opinion is if it isn’t in a residential area, it would be better. I’d like to see a one-year agreement on this, so we can look at moving it.”

Councillor Krakowka says Council should invite the group in. “If we do go for the one year lease, we’d need to figure out how to move it.”

Councillor Mackay asks who would move it? “I can see something like that killing the society.”

Councillor Scott asks about people with gardens in their backyards? “If we are worried about rats, do they attract rats?”

Councillor Mackay says he doesn’t want to see a one-year lease. “We’re talking about rumours and speculations.”

Councillor Howe says if there are issues that have arisen because of good intention, Council needs to deal with it.

Councillor Mackay agrees if there is an issue, it should be dealt with it. “If it’s rats, we should deal with it tomorrow.”

“We don’t lose anything by inviting the society before making a decision,” says Councillor Caisley. “We can talk to them and find out.”

Councillor Krakowka points out the complaint about rats is actually about packrats. “Those are everywhere in Tumbler Ridge. I saw one in the parking lot last year. They’re everywhere.”

Draft Budget

“As council is aware,” says Elliott, “you have an early meeting tomorrow to review, consider and make adjustments. The budget needs to be completed by Friday.” He says this time has been set aside to discuss any items before that meeting. As the budget has already been passed and a story written, the rather lengthy discussion has been cut from these minutes.