Council notes: Recreation program re-think needed

An update on the KDL bike park re-build, news about the recreation program, and more from the Council meeting of Aug. 12.

Notes from the District of Fort St. James Council meeting of August 12, 2015.

Roll call: Mayor Rob MacDougall; Councillors Dave Birdi, Brenda Gouglas, Kris Nielsen; CAO Kevin Crook; Deputy Corporate Officer Emily Colombo; Fire Chief Michael Navratil

KDL bike park rebuild

A report on the progress of the rebuild of the KDL bike park stated that due to the rapid growth of grass and weeds in some parts of the park, the use of Round-Up or a similar pesticide might be appropriate. It was noted by Council that while the District does not have a policy specifically banning the use of pesticides on District land, pesticides are not sprayed on them, and there is currently no District employee able to use them. If pesticides were to be used in the KDL bike park a contractor would have to be hired.

It was reported that the bike park is being used, and presumably enjoyed, although it was also noted that garbage and empty bottles (not liquor bottles) have also been left at the site. It was suggested that once school re-opens a bike competition might be organized for the KDL park and advertsied to local youth.

Community Hall fees

Council discussed usage of the new Community Hall, noting that several groups have indicated they would like to use the space for various meetings but cannot afford to pay the rental fee. CAO Crook suggested that staff look into establishing lower rental fees for non-profit organizations. Council also voted to approve funding of $2,000 to assist with the cost of events being held on October 3 to mark the Hall’s official opening.

Financial Plan amendment

Council gave first, second, and third reading to 2015 Financial Plan Amendment no. 2, Bylaw 951. The amendment will allow Council to increase expenditure for the purchase of a new dump truck from $215,000 to $245,231. The increase comes from a change in the configuration of the proposed truck, which will now have a stainless steel dump box. This will make the truck more durable and extend the life of the dump box by 8 to 10 years, meaning the new truck should have a life of between 15 and 20 years.

The new truck is expected to be here by October.

Summer recreation program re-think

CAO Crook informed Council that there has been a significant drop in the number of youth taking part in the District’s summer recreation program this year. This was attributed to a number of possible factors, such as the good weather in June and July leading to more people being away, more options for kids during the summer, and competing summer programs at other places, such as the library.

After the meeting, EDO Colombo suggested that a survey might be conducted to take the pulse of what the community wants. “We’d be looking for public input,” she said, but noted that last year they heard that extended hours for child-minding during the summer program would be appreciated by many parents who had to be at work. “There was very little uptake on that this year.”a

She suggested that the District might focus on the more popular courses, such as cooking and theatre; run shorter programs; and perhaps be a facilitator for other people or groups who want to use their expertise to run summer programs and activities in the community.

IDL Projects

Council voted to approve a development permit for a proposed 9,000 square foot construction shop with office space, to be built by IDL Projects at 5904 Highway 27 North. The property is currently vacant. A concern was raised about access to and from the highway, but it was noted that there is high visibility along that stretch of road, and that access should not be an issue. It was also noted that the proposed building would assist in moving light industry out of the centre of town.

Barbara Roden