Tiny house project by-law stalls at second reading

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The land use bylaw amendment to establish a tiny house residential district in Big Valley was given second reading at the April regular council meeting.
Information gathered from the April 13 public hearing was reviewed in detail with no new legal implications brought forward.
Total development expenses for the subdivision are still unknown and as a result lot prices could not be set.
Twenty-one prospective buyers are on the official waiting list anticipating notification.
The conundrum of how to fit ‘park models’ into the subdivision’s proposed architectural guidelines was debated at length, with council weighing amendments to the guidelines against excluding potential purchasers.
Not able to uncover a satisfactory solution to the issue, council requested that administration seek recommendations from the planners and bring back a report to the next council meeting.

Clean audit
Council approved the 2016 financial statements after being presented with a clean audit report from Justin Tanner of Gitzel and Company Chartered Accountants.
According to Tanner, everything is being done as approved and it is safe to say nothing goes out of the office without council knowing about it.
The village ended 2016 with $3,117,145 in accumulated surplus consisting of $540,709 in unrestricted surplus and $2,586,436 equity in tangible assets.
Outstanding taxes were up at $68,766 compared to $51,908 in 2015.
Tanner stated that the increase in taxes in arrears is a trend he has been seeing in municipalities.
With $764,523 in financial assets, up from last year’s $670,690 and liabilities of $248,699 up from $170,139, Big Valley continues to maintain a strong financial position.

Taxes increase
A property tax increase of approximately two per cent overall was approved when council passed Bylaw 831, bumping up the municipal mill rate to 9.7700 for residential and 11.5275 for non- residential.
Water, sewer and garbage charges did not increase.
Not changing the mill rate would have resulted in a $6,848 budget deficit.
Though tax increases are never popular, ensuring Big Valley has a balanced budget is a good move for the community.

Capital Budget
An amendment to the capital budget will result in an $8000 increase to sidewalk repairs this year.
Originally set aside for the purchase of a street sander, administration was unable to locate one for less than $14,000.
Public works did not request an increase to the budget, instead recommending council reallocate the funds to the sidewalk budget.
Staff will be checking all sidewalks in the village to “risk assess” the need for repair and replacement.
The 2017 capital budget also includes a significant amount of much needed street paving and a new roof for the village Quonset building.

Métis exhibit
Hivernant Métis Cultural Society delegates presented council with an update on development plans for their lots on Railway Avenue.
The society is eager to create a permanent interpretive exhibit of Métis history and culture on the property.
Plans include the installation of authentic tipis, trapper’s tent, Métis arts and crafts displays, a Red River cart and a proposed story board project involving twelve double-sided free-standing panels with images and text.
Though the story board project is contingent on securing government funding, plans to install a tipi and Red River cart in time for the June Rails and Tales exhibition will go ahead.

Village cleanup
Staff will conduct a whole village inspection to check for compliance with the village nuisance abatement bylaw.
Property owners with unkempt yards or stockpiles of debris will be issued warning notices accordingly.
Big Valley usually does complaint based bylaw enforcement, however village inspections and associated warning notices in both 2014 and 2015 resulted in a marked increase in compliance.

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