Castor town council will spend a little more time researching “sea can” storage units, they decided at their Mar. 9 regular meeting.
CAO Christopher Robblee provided councillors with an update on the “sea can” issue; previously, a Castor resident requested councillors allow the metal storage structure in the town’s residential areas.
Technically, Castor prohibits sea cans in residential areas but allows them in other zones, principally industrial.
Robblee told councillors he researched to see how others handle sea cans in residential areas; Robblee stated in his report no member of the Palliser group currently allows them in residential zones.
“The assessor informed administration that CCANs do not add to the total assessment value and are seen as more of a detriment to the area,” stated Robblee.
The CAO also said there was a problem with sea cans currently located in castor residential areas: the town, at present, can only prove that one of them was placed after 2011, when the current Land-use Bylaw, which prohibits sea cans in residential areas, was passed.
Mayor Richard Elhard said he recently received a request from another resident wanting to place a sea can in town.
Counc. Kevin McDougall stated he couldn’t see how a sea can could be placed in a residential area anyway, as its weight could damage utilities and were too big to fit on most lots.
Coun. Lonny Nelner stated a 20-foot sea can might fit.
Coun. Brenda Wismer stated she talked to several residents and all of them opposed sea cans in residential areas.
Council discussion also included comments about how the sea cans must look to neighbours.
Councillors decided by a 6 – 1 to prohibit the use of sea cans in residential zones.
However, they also instructed Robblee to investigate the existing ones placed before 2011.
A letter from Carol F. Ries, on behalf of the Duke of Cornwall Chapter, Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire (IODE) asked, if the Town of Castor would agree to continue doing the rummage sale poster photocopying for them. Council agreed.
Councillors read a request from Julia Croucher and Mary Ellen White of Beaver Catering, which asked if council would accept a proposal to use the kitchen and common area of the arena to offer a Saturday morning breakfast to residents, guests and visitors of Castor.
They noted the breakfast would run for the summer from 7 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
They also proposed a flea market in the arena the last Saturday of each month. This would also run in the summer months.
Much of council’s discussion revolved around liability if someone gets hurt at the events.
“It’s still our liability if someone’s in that building,” said CAO Robblee. Coun. Nelner said he wasn’t dead against the proposals but he needs to see more definite numbers before deciding.
Robblee stated he’d return to a future meeting with more information about insurance issues and rental rates for the areas in question.
Golf course funding
The Town of Castor received a request from the Castor Community Golf Club for $5,000 in funding, which also included a request to commit to multi-year funding.
“This allows both our club and the town the ability for forecasting and stable budgeting,” stated the letter signed by president Todd Pawsey.
Staff recommended council consider the funding request but not commit to multi-year funding.
The CAO stated Castor is seeing costs go up, predominantly policing, and seeing grants go down which makes the future uncertain to a degree.
Councillors unanimously agreed to support the golf course financially to some degree but declined a multi-year deal.
The Town of Castor will revise its Fire bylaw after councillors debated changes to uncontrolled fire pits and false alarms.
The fire pit issue was discussed at a previous meeting; residents will be responsible for damage caused by a fire they started on their property in a fire pit which spreads onto someone else’s property.
Also, council debated how false alarms should be handled, particularly repeat offenders.
Mayor Elhard noted false fire alarms are common. Coun. Tony Nichols inquired what causes them.
Nelner responded many different things can set off an alarm, including a faulty sensor, dust, something moving in the building or temperature.
Council discussed fines for more than one false alarm. Coun. Rod Zinger didn’t like the idea.
Coun. McDougall stated he felt the rules should be different for residential, commercial and institutional zones.
Robblee said he would add the changes to the draft bylaw and bring it back to a future meeting.
Councillors decided to table a proposed new Workplace Harassment policy after some questions arose during debate.
The CAO stated harassment seems to be more prevalent and stated it might be because the Town of Castor is becoming more formal with its bylaws, such as utility cut-offs.
Robblee stated the Castor town staff have recently had incidents that justify the need for this policy. Coun. Kilner agreed. “I think it’s out of hand.”
The policy covers workplace violence, harassment, sexual harassment and discrimination.
However, during debate some questions arose surrounding how and when staff call the police.
Robblee noted if someone is out of hand with a town staff member, for example, they can be asked to leave town property and if uncompliant, police could be called.
Some councillors felt senior staff should be called first, however, to act as witnesses.
After discussion, council approved a motion to have Robblee bring the policy back to a future meeting with changes.
Councillors briefly discussed increased policing costs announced by the provincial government in 2019.
Robblee noted it appears the province will apply the costs in 2020, but won’t bill municipalities until 2021.
However, some municipalities are putting the increase on their tax roll now, so they won’t have to levy both the 2020 and 2021 increases at the same time.
He noted the Town of Castor is facing about $16,000 in increased costs because of this.
Stu Salkeld, LJI Reporter