Council briefs: Mayor and council talk wage increases

Also two subdivisions approved in Silver Creek, RiverMonsters wants to shut skatepark for swim meet

Highlights from committee of the whole and district council meetings Monday, April 24.

GIVING MAYOR AND COUNCIL A RAISE

Mayor and councillors plan to build a committee of residents to look into giving them a raise, as district politicians are paid less than many towns of the same size in B.C.

“It’s one of those tough things, my third term on council, we’ve never given ourselves a raise. It’s not an easy thing to do,” said Coun. Scott Medlock. “I do think we are behind and I think it would be a good thing to do for the next term.”

In 2018 the mayor will make $20,763, while councillors make $10,384: both positions are part-time. One third of the pay is in the form of allowances for expenses incurred in their role, and the pay is increased yearly by the Consumer Price Index for Vancouver.

One third of the pay is not taxable, yet the provincial government has moved to eliminate this by 2019. This would make the entire amount taxable.

Medlock said a raise could bring out more candidates to run for office.

Mayor Wilfried Vicktor agreed the council and his position are “significantly underpaid” compared to neighbouring communities. He said the low pay separates those who are really interested in the position from those who aren’t, but it also limits who have the ability to run for office.

A comparison chart was presented at Monday’s committee of the whole meeting, which showed mayor and council in similar-sized communities make significantly higher wages. For example the town of Merritt, population 6,998, the mayor gets $25,000 for working part-time and councillors are paid $15,000.

Comparison chart Mayor and Councillor renumeration by Ingrid Peacock on Scribd

The idea of a committee was agreed upon Monday, it will next go to council to be decided on.

SILVER CREEK SUBDIVISIONS A GO AHEAD

Two development permits were approved by council Monday, both in the Silver Creek neighbourhood.

At 20200 Cypress St., a permit for a 16-lot subdivision was approved, where single-family residential homes with secondary suites will be built. At 63951 School Rd., 30 single-family residential builds are approved.

Councillors Bob Erickson and Scott Medlock asked about the pressure these developments would put on water and sewer systems.

The director of community development,Jas Gill, who is also the district’s approving officer, said he would not approve anything until the district has finished a water capacity study. The developers have been asked to contribute money to get this study done, he added.

“We’re protecting the public’s best interest and I can’t approve anything that would create a deficiency on the system and a burden to the existing water users,” he said.

If these kinds of deficiencies were identified, Gill said the solution would be in the developers’ hands. He added there were no concerns about the sewer system.

Both developments have gone through a rezoning process, including public hearings.

RIVER MONSTERS ASK COUNCIL TO SHUT SKATE PARK

The River Monsters Swim Club is asking council to shut down the Hope Skatepark for three days during their swim meet June 8 to 9.

Organizer Stephanie MacClements said the event, which brought 210 swimmers to town last year, is a significant economic boon to Hope — each swimmer brings an estimated four members of their family along. She asked the skate park be closed for the comfort of those camping at the recreation centre. Twenty-six families did so last year, she added the park was a safety concern.

“This is the local hangout for many teens in Hope and there was drug and alcohol exchanges, cars and bikes driving around and live music, making this very unsafe and unnerving for the children that were attending the swim meet,” she said.

The police were called three times to report the activities of the youth at the park, MacClements said, but did not respond. One participant at the swim meet commented on the activity at the park, saying “we didn’t know we were camping in downtown Chilliwack.” MacClements added these types of comments tarnish Hope’s reputation.

No questions were asked by members of council following the River Monsters’ presentation.

Editor’s note:

A previous version of this story incorrectly identified which park the RiverMonsters Swim Club wanted shut down for the summer swim meet. The information has been corrected, the Hope Standard apologizes for any confusion this error may have caused.



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