Are there “high flying” privacy issues in the Village of Clive? Councillors discussed the recurring problem of privacy complaints against drones inside the village at their regular meeting July 19.
Assistant Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Abby Notland presented the regular report of CAO Carla Kenney, who was away, which included a report about the village getting lots of contact from the public regarding drones, specifically complaints about the remote-controlled flying objects apparently observing people.
She stated village staff didn’t forward the complaints to police, but rather encouraged residents to report the incidents themselves.
Notland stated the village isn’t sure if all the complaints involve one drone or different vehicles.
Coun. Jeremy Whelan stated drones are actually under the federal government’s jurisdiction.
Notland stated some night-time security camera footage was available of at least one of the drones in question and it seemed as if a vehicle was slowly following the airborne unit, describing it as “suspicious.”
Coun. Tracy Hallman wondered if the drones are a new trend among criminals.
Transport Canada is indeed responsible for drone complaints, and the department’s website states that complaints can be filed through a form.
“Complete and submit this form if you believe someone is flying a drone in an irresponsible manner without a permit (for example, flying close to other aircraft, near aerodromes, or at a high altitude),” states Transport Canada.
However, privacy concerns are not mentioned.
Councillors approved two bylaws, the consecutively numbered Bylaw #550-21 and Bylaw #551-21, the former to repeal COVID-19 tax deadlines while the later to waive penalties for the business community.
Notland explained the village pushed back late property tax penalties last year to help residents during the pandemic and #550-21 would return penalties to their standard dates including Aug. 31.
Bylaw #551-21 waives the property tax penalty on Aug. 31 for commercial properties.
Coun. Whelan stated he felt it was important to offer support for businesses still recovering from the pandemic.
Coun. Susan Russell stated the next penalty date, Nov. 30, was close to the end of the year and perhaps help was needed there too.
Councillors passed all readings to bring both bylaws into effect, and stated council may consider waiving the Nov. 30 penalty later.
Councillors read a letter of concern from property owner Dan Madlung who stated an old, heaved sidewalk was creating a drainage problem for his property. He provided photographs.
Coun. Whelan stated this issue is on the village’s priority list and the village is aware some sidewalks need to be replaced. Notland suggested including the sidewalk in the asset management plan this fall, and Whelan agreed.
Whelan further stated other residents may have the same problem so the village should have a plan in place for them.
Councillors decided they needed more information about the problem before making a decision, and it will return to a future meeting.
Mayor Luci Henry introduced the village’s proposed bylaw to recognize buildings in the village that are over 100 years old. The mayor stated it covered both commercial and residential buildings.
It was stated a building’s owner could apply to the village to get a plaque or sign of up to $400 in value placed in recognition of the anniversary or possibly applying the $400 to a private sign. Signs have to be approved by the CAO.
Councillors discussed the policy and it will return to a future meeting.
Notland presented the results of research into aerial photographs for the village, which were last done in 2017. She stated it can be done by a company that uses drones.
The quote she received was $2,965 and Notland stated it would cost the village about $4,000 to do it in-house. She noted the photographs are usually used for development.
Councillors unanimously approved the quote and authorized funds from the subdivision and development operating account for the project.
Notland submitted the rest of Kenney’s regular report for council’s consideration. She stated construction of the new water lift station was expected for late July with the new station being in use by the end of August or early September.
In the report it was noted the village recently served six “high water consumption” notices to some residents.
During a recent meeting with the Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Dena Hinshaw it was noted that the most common age level for COVID-19 infections happens to be ages 20 to 29.
The CAO’s report noted the village has First Nations Treaty 6 and Metis flags ready to be flown at the village office.
The village is also looking into some legal advice on acquiring property while ensuring the taxpayers are protected from environmental liability.
Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative reporter