District of Hope.

District of Hope.

Dec. 12 District of Hope council briefs

Topics include AdvantageHOPE directors, council appointments, transit bus and library tax increase.

AdvantageHOPE directors

The District of Hope has chosen Bryan Gagne, Erin Wilkins and Gina Bennett to the AdvantageHOPE board.

The three Hope residents will take the place of Peter Scherle, Glendon Keil and Hondo Stroyan on the board.

AdvantageHOPE received six applications including one from Art Green, Jannis Zimmer and Vernon Baker.

According to the Dec. 12 council meeting agenda, the rationale noted AdvantageHOPE was looking for people to augment the current board’s expertise, in areas they lack expertise in such as adult education, high tech, industry and property development.

The rationale highlighted that Bennett had expertise in adult education; Gagne had expertise in property development and Wilkins was selected because of her diploma in tourism management.

Council appointments

Mayor Wilfried Vicktor started the conversation about the 2017-2018 council appointments and committees by saying that the appointments “have been fairly working very well last year.”

“Unless anyone on council has any objections, I’d like to keep the committee appointments the same,” said Vicktor.

Coun. Bob Erickson questioned why certain councillors have more appointments than others.

“I just thought maybe some of the other councillors that only have one may want to help the one that has eight different positions,” said Erickson.

Excluding alternate positions and the labour management committee, Vicktor sits on eight, Coun. Gerry Dyble sits on five, councillors Erickson and Heather Stewin sit on two each. Councillors Scott Medlock, Dusty Smith and Donna Kropp sit on one each.

Mayor Wilfried Vicktor noted that some council members are more flexible on work scheduling.

“And no one is excluded from attending,” said Vicktor.

Erickson also asked whether council should have an appointee to the Station House committee, who will attend all meetings.

“That’s quite an important project that we’re doing this year. It’s a lot of money,” said Erickson.

District chief administrative officer John Fortoloczky noted that he does not know the value of having that appointee because all decisions of Station House go through council. Furthermore, he noted that councillors Medlock and Dyble are liaisons to AdvantageHOPE.

“I think there’s been larger projects in the District that we’ve entrusted our staff with in similar situations,” said Medlock. “Not necessary.”

The Hope and District Chamber of Commerce will also see a new appointee, after Erickson asked why they are not on the list. Coun. Stewin volunteered to be the liaison, with Coun. Medlock as the alternate. Coun. Erickson cannot be an appointee because he is a member of the Chamber’s board.

Hope-Agassiz bus costs

Costs of the new Hope to Agassiz bus created questions of caution from Coun. Scott Medlock.

CAO Fortoloczky presented a bylaw that, in summary, gives the District’s consent to establish a bus service.

The District will pay its $167,000 portion, less grants such as a $25,000 fund from Fraser Health and other partnerships. Currently, the District is the sole funding partner with BC Transit.

“If, for example, Chawathil First Nation wants to participate in the service, they would have to come on board and negotiate as either a partner or some other revenue-sharing entity,” said Fortoloczky.

Fortoloczky noted that potential partners are taking the stance of “let’s wait and see if they build it,” and suspects that once the bus gets on the roads, they will want to come on board.

Fortoloczky noted that there will be “short-term pains” as a result of the bus service.

“Transit never makes money,” said Fortoloczky.

Coun. Medlock highlighted that he supports the bus, and wants to ensure that the District is not committing to anything before knowing how interested potential partners are.

Coun. Medlock also asked whether the District could cease service if the plans do not work out.

Fortoloczky noted that the District could, with a possible notice time involved.

Library costs increases

The Fraser Valley Regional Library will see a 2.99 per cent cost increase.

Mayor Vicktor said that is reasonable because resources are bought from the United States, and the loonie has been weak compared to the U.S. dollar.