Midway council meeting briefs – Boltz gives report

Midway Council's last meeting of 2013 showed progress on the highway rescue radio frequency issue - on rural fire protection, not so much.

Midway Council’s last meeting of the year got under way on Dec. 16 with Public Works Foreman John Boltz attending to give his quarterly report to council.

It was suggested by Councillor Gary Schierbeck that Thomet Road be given a higher priority on the snowplowing schedule because it is a school bus route.

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Council passed a motion requesting that the province return to the negotiating table with the federal government to discuss establishment of the South Okanagan Similkameen National Park.

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Council was not amused to receive an 11-page questionnaire from MLA Darryl Plecas, Parliamentary Secretary for Crime Reduction to the Minister of Justice.

Plecas is chair of a blue-ribbon panel, which has a mandate to look at what can be done to reduce crime in B.C.

The questionnaire, dated December 4, was received by the village on December 5 and asked for written submissions before December 19.

Council will write back to them asking for an extension and will also contact the Midway RCMP for their input.

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Council supported a letter sent to the village by the regional district asking that the Federal Government reinvest any licensing fees received from the sale of broadband frequencies in rural Canada. “The reinvestment of funds would allow the leveraging of recent and current programs and make a connected Canada a reality even sooner,” said Former RDKB Chair Larry Gray.

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Council had to revise an earlier motion that had authorized Omega Communications to install equipment on the CBC tower above the village. The equipment is necessary to provide a separate radio frequency for West Boundary Highway Rescue.

For the past two years the Midway Volunteer Fire Department and highway rescue have shared the same channel, something that the firefighters insisted must be corrected for safety reasons. The issue prompted a walkout by the volunteer fire fighters last spring.

The amendment to the motion was necessary when it was discovered that federal policy would have required an assessment by a structural engineer before the tower could be used. Administrator Penny Feist reported the costs for the engineering study ranged from $3,000 to $10,000.

However a technological work-around has been found by Omega that will result in equipment installed in a building rather than on the tower, thus eliminating the need for a structural engineer, cut by one the number of visits needed by Omega technicians, and eliminate an annual $1,800 fee had the tower been used.

Tenders are approved and awaiting the work to be done.

Feist said the work would be done at the first window-of-opportunity weather-wise.

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When asked Mayor Randy Kappes said the status of expansion of fire protection to rural area outside of Midway is now in-camera, “because we are drafting the agreement.” He was unable to give a timeline on when it would move ahead.

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Council gave the okay for staff to prepare a one-page assessment for the community of the health infrastructure.

Kappes explained that he, Councillor Marguerite Rotvold and the administrator had met with Jim Gustafson from the Regional District of Central Kootenay who presented a proposal to get local elected officials to agree on a planning for acute care in the region.

“Our area has not in recent history been given a lot of money from IH due to the fact there is not a clear plan for improvements moving forward,” explained Kappes.

“There is some disagreement if whether it should be a combined building or old buildings should be upgraded.”

Kappes said the village will be contacting the local doctor and health nurse for input.

“Council supports this process strongly because we feel there is definitely a need to keep those services up to date and that even though we recognize there is little likelihood of any of those services being housed here in Midway we still believe that the area needs to cooperate with each other.”

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The village’s procedure bylaw will be amended to move in-camera items to 6:30 p.m. on the agenda and to allow two new periods on the agenda for questions from the gallery—one at the beginning of the meeting and the other immediately after mayor and councilor’s reports

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Council granted permission to the Kettle Valley Racing Association to use the airport runway in February for the 2014 snowmobile drag races.

 

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