Council’s meeting on Mar. 25 spanned a wide range of topics, and they’re next meeting is scheduled for April 8. (Hope.ca)

District of Hope council tackles a variety of topics at most recent meeting

Topics ranged from electric fueling stations, food waste, and bylaws, to funding more RCMP officers

As blossoms bloom across the Fraser Valley, the District of Hope council rolled up their sleeves for some spring cleaning of sorts as their last meeting broached a wide range of long-standing topics.

Green energy

The evening meeting started with a presentation by Julie McKenna, program manager at Electrify Canada, a company attempting to create an electric fuelling network within the province and across Canada. Their bid was to ask the District of Hope to sign on as their first host municipality in British Columbia, having previously focused on major retailing sites.

“Hope is my best option,” explained McKenna, who said Electrify Canada hopes to create a network of electric vehicle charging stations every 150 to 200 kilometres.

READ MORE: District council ponders future of Hope’s existing visitors’ centre and museum

But after McKenna explained how her firm would be footing the entire six-figure bill for installing a charging station at 349 Fort St., if granted permission, Coun. Scott Medlock asked what may have been the most important question: “What’s in it for us?”

“It’ll be the draw of getting people into an area of town, (so it should be) good for business,” answered McKenna, but she did not offer any monetary compensation.

No decision was reached, and council advised McKenna they would discuss it and respond with an answer within a timely manner.

Revitalization Tax

Another detailed discussion occurred when council moved on to the Revitalization Tax Exemption Bylaw Renewal report, which was prepared by chief administrative officer John Fortolosczky, at the behest of Mayor Peter Robb, who has suggested council renew or replace the tax.

“My intent was to give the Chamber of Commerce another tool in their toolbox to approach some of their members about maybe changing the facade of their building, upgrading the exterior of their building, and working with some of the landlords,” Robb explained during the March 25 council meeting.

The bylaw, which was adopted in 2013 and expired in 2018, encourages industrial and commercial development through the creation of a tax exemption based on a certain cost carried over a certain amount of years. However, as the District has a new governing body, and considering how much has changed in the six years since its creation, council agreed to discuss the renewal in an upcoming Committee of the Whole meeting.

Bylaws and fines

From there, Council carried motions passing other bylaws, including Bylaw No. 1454, which saw the District of Hope join the City of Chilliwack in the Upper Fraser Valley Bylaw Notice Adjudication Registry System (BNARS). Simply put, people who are given bylaw notices and fines are now subject to the rules within the BNARS.

Food waste

Mayor Robb spoke about his recent meetings as a member of the Fraser Valley Regional District Board, and of two interesting changes that may be coming to Hope: a food waste program and more police officers.

Last year, the Food Mesh program began in Chilliwack: started in 2015 and publicly launched in 2017, the program partners charities and retailers to maximize food usage. The program moved into Chilliwack last year and connected at least eight local charities with food industry producers and processors.

READ MORE: Surrey needs 350 more cops, activist tells council

Since its conception, Food Mesh has diverted more than 200,000 kg of food from processors to food service providers that would have otherwise ended up in a landfill. This equals about 330,000 meals at savings of approximately $1.3 million dollars. And Mayor Robb wants in on that for Hope.

“I’ve asked for the pilot to be extended to Hope and they suggested they could look at in in the fall. Save-on and Buy-Low are on already on side … it’s a win for all involved,” said Robb.

Robb also mentioned that he’s joining forces with elected officials from other small communities within the Fraser Valley Regional District to “lobby the Province for increased funding for RCMP.

“Everyone’s feeling the pinch on trying to bring more members into their community, and it hasn’t been changed for many years,” Robb explained. “So all the area reps and the smaller community mayors will be putting together a task force to present to the Province the need for more funded RCMP officers.”

Council’s next meeting is scheduled for April 8, at 7 p.m., in the District Hall.


 

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