Big Valley plans for deficit in 2017

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Big Valley council reviewed the second drafts of the 2017 operating and capital budgets with CAO Michelle White at the Nov. 24 regular meeting.
Paving, sidewalks and quonset repairs remain the top capital priorities for Big Valley council.
A thorough analysis of the operating budget could not identify any cuts that could put a significant dent in a projected shortfall.  Still unsure whether Big Valley will receive the provincial MSI operating grant for 2017, a deficit of approximately $58,000 is projected.
Both operating and capital budgets were approved as presented.

Crime deterrence

RCMP Sgt. Phil Penny stopped by the meeting to introduce himself to village council, summarizing his background with the police force and offering an overview of detachment activities and focus for the area.
He emphasized the importance of increasing RCMP visibility and maintaining open lines of communication.
According to Mayor Johnson, the increased officer presence during larger community functions has produced a positive response in the village.
Presenting a sample Citizens on Patrol Program (COPP) vest, Penny offered design guidance, advising council to ensure Big Valley COPP vests are reflective and have an identifiable logo to improve recognition.
While acknowledging that property crime is still up all over the province, Sgt. Penny noted that solve rates are up as well, pointing out that citizens’ reporting of suspected criminal activities, no matter how small, is important in deterrence and crime solving.

Tiny homes next steps

Council will be working with Parkland Community Planning Services to create a tiny homes subdivision in Big Valley.
Using a list of questions researched since last month’s meeting, council produced the preliminary framework needed to proceed with the planning process.
Given that Big Valley’s current Land Use Bylaw has a minimum home size of 700 square feet, it was agreed that dwellings of 700 square feet or less would logically be considered a tiny home.
Council also agreed that 2-storey dwellings should be allowed, basements would be acceptable and all homes must be on a permanent foundation.
Further they would relax the current lot coverage rule of 50 per cent to a maximum of 75 per cent to allow for garages and/or outbuildings.
While hoping to have 18 to 20 lots in the proposed subdivision, it was agreed to rely on expert recommendations to suggest actual lots sizes, landscaping options and building setbacks.
Design guidelines determining exterior finishes and unconventional tiny home constructions would also be developed with expert input.
After addressing community member questions, CAO White reassured those attending that these suggestions were simply preliminary proposals to get the ball rolling and further public consultation would take place before any development began.

Nuisance and public safety

A new bylaw to regulate nuisances and dangerous or unsightly premises was presented to council for first reading
Some of the issues dealt with in the Nuisance Abatement Bylaw involve the accumulation of refuse and discarded objects, failure to remove hazardous objects which could prove dangerous to public safety or cause damage to adjacent properties, and the proper maintenance of properties including uncut grass, excessive weed infestation and the removal of snow and ice from sidewalks.

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