At the regular District of Sooke council meeting on November 12, the following agenda items were dealt with:
Council gave first, second and third reading to Bylaw 580, Animal Regulation and Impounding Amendment Bylaw. This amendment will see an increase in the fees for dog licenses, impound and boarding fees. This is to reflect the fees with other Capital Regional District communities. The deadline for dog licenses is changed from March 31 to March 1. The fees will be increased by $5 for dog licenses. The cost of license for an payed or neutered dog is $25 and for an unpaid or un-neutered dog is $45. Impoundment fees rise to $75 for the first seizure and impoundment and rise to $100 for the second and $150 for the third. The penalty for an unlicensed dog is $50. Seizure of cats will cost $25, and livestock $50, for other animals the fee is $10. Check the District of Sooke website for more details, www.sooke.ca u under Bylaws. The fees have never been updates since Sooke became a municipality.
The policy on community amenity contributions is being reviewed and council agreed to table the Financial Analysis on Proposed Community Amenity Contribution Policy.
Mayor Wendal Milne said there was now a real case scenario and the implications of the affect on the community of a large development needed careful consideration as the community needs some amenities. The proposed policy would see the amenity contribution go from $5,000 per unit to $1,000 in the town centre and $2,000 outside the town centre.
In a report to council, a development at Belvista would see a contribution of $0 based on council’s proposed changes based on density and zoning.
Councillor Herb Haldane said nothing was written in stone and the policy was not a bylaw. He said, “we can’t get anybody to buy or build in downtown anyway,” and that Sooke didn’t need to scare off investment downtown. He said developers were willing to do stuff anyway and we should be willing to sit down and come up with a deal.
The Monthly Mayor Report presented by the Sooke RCMP showed an uncomfortable spike in call for service. Staff Sergeant Steve Wright said the community has been hit quite hard by prolific offenders.
“It’s a revolving door in the courthouse and unfortunately we all pay the price for that,” said Wright. He said much of the property crime was associated with the drug trade. He said people are still not getting the message of locking their vehicles. He stated that a lot of offenses occur late at night. There were 10 occurrences of theft from vehicles – under $5,000 in October.
While property crime is up, violent crime is down.
In October 2013, RCMP responded to 372 calls (3,777 year to date).
Request for Decision:
Council wants to attend a number of conferences in the next year including the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) five-day conference in Niagara Falls, Ontario which will cost the district $18,765 if five councillors and the mayor attend. Councillors specified which conferences they wished to attend. Not all councillors will attend all conferences. Coun. Maja Tait expressed interest in attending only the LGLA and AVICC conferences. Conferences include the Local Government Leadership Academy in February in Richmond, total cost to those attending $3,574. The Association of Vancouver Island Coastal Communities conference in Qualicum Beach in April, total cost $4,552.50; Union of BC Municipalities conference in Whistler next September, total cost for four attending $10,485. These are estimates only. The budgeted cap for conferences is $26,520.
In justifying attendance at conferences Mayor Milne stated that these were invaluable for networking and pushing through issues of importance to Sooke.
“This is our only source of education,” he said.
Coun. Haldane said conferences are added as part of council remuneration.
“I can’t even put a dollar figure on what we get out of these conferences. I want to get educated, that’s why I do this.” He mentioned the small stipend that council receives for the work they do and attendance at conferences as a “raise” of sorts.
Council will confirm their attendance at certain conferences and attempt to keep costs in line with the budget.
Local resident Ellen Lewers came before the Committee of the Whole following the regular council meeting and said council should send one person to each conference and they should prepare a report and present it to council upon return. She also stated that those who were not running in the election next November should not attend any of the conferences.
A construction contract was awarded to a local company for construction of the Church Road multi-use trail. 4-M Bobcat & Excavating Ltd. won out over seven bids. The bids ranged from $79,759.31 (4-M Bobcat) to $298,143.67.