Council dumps criminal record check fee

Council briefs

olunteers can rest a little easier. On April 26, Sooke council voted to amend and give third reading to Bylaw No. 488 Fees Bylaw.

After a lot of discussion and community input, council voted to not institute a $10 fee for criminal record checks for volunteers. There will be a cost of $65 for regular criminal record checks.

RCMP Staff Sergeant Steve Wright stated that criminal record checks are time consuming and funding has been taken away by the federal government. The funding used to pay a civilian to do the checks. The employee spends 70 to 80 per cent of their time on record checks and the remainder on transcribing audio statements, which, says Wright is now a requirement of the RCMP.

“We need a revenue source to hire someone from outside the detachment to keep up with the work demand,” said Wright.

This sat well with the contingent of Girl Guides and Boy Scouts who came before council to state how these record checks and the fees were affecting their fundraising efforts and volunteers.

Bylaws

District of Sooke council recommended the draft District of Sooke Bylaw No. 500, Sooke Zoning Bylaw, 2011 be forwarded, as amended, for  a three-week period of agency and legal review.

Tax Rate Bylaw

At the regular council meeting on April 26, District of Sooke council gave first, second and third reading to Bylaw No. 492.

Bylaw No. 490 has a requirement to generate $6,124,644 in municipal property taxes to balance the general operating fund. It is estimates that the average residential property tax will increase 2.99 per cent for 2011 for the municipal operations only. The annual increase equates to about $35 based on an average residential property assessment of $371,649.

Bylaw No. 491 Five Year Financial Plan Bylaw, 2011

Council amended and gave third reading to Bylaw 491. Councillors Ron Dumont, Bev Berger and Herb Haldane were opposed.

Line items they disagreed with included: spending money to monitor Notts Creek; $600,000 set aside for a Galloping Goose connector; and $260,000 for land purchase for right-of-way access for realignment of the town centre. This involved Development Cost Charges and roads which are eligible. Roads which would be eligible would include Goodmere Road and the non-existent Waterview Street.

Mayor Janet Evans said the money was in the budget and was approved in-camera. She said they were waiting for the design of the roundabout so they could go to the landowner to negotiate a land purchase.

“The DCC bylaw will be amended… and it will approve expenditures of land. The DCC money is not specific to any particular road. A DCC road is a community benefit,” said Evans.

Councillor Bev Berger said she had a hard time supporting the five year financial plan as the current bylaw does not allow DCC money to purchase land.

Council gave third reading to Bylaw 486, 487, 488 and 490.