Revelstoke council to tackle hot-button issues at Feb. 14 meeting

Illegal rentals crackdown, new $200,000 sustainability plan, changes to the outdoor special events policy, Wood First concerns and more

The newly-elected Revelstoke city council hasn’t had much on their plate in the first couple of meetings in 2012, and even less in terms of controversial issues.

That’s set to change this Tuesday, Feb. 14 as council faces a jam-packed agenda filled with several hot button issues.

Of course, you can go online and read the agenda here, but here’s a summary of the bigger items:

Illegal rentals crackdown: The City’s planning director will report on an initiative to crack down on illegal rentals, including illegal suites and illegal vacation rentals. Currently there are 17 different properties being targeted by the department. The city is hoping warning letters will be the carrot that does the trick, but they’re reserving some pretty big sticks for non-compliant properties, including reporting them to Revenue Canada or the Provincial Assessment Authority. This report will be the first one since the new system was put in place.

Revelstoke Community Energy Corporation: They’re requesting $40,000 for a Request for Expressions of Interest to explore various approaches for running the corporation in the future. The request follows the creation of a task force created in late 2011 to explore the future of RCEC governance.

Wood First policy doesn’t cut it with Forest Workers Society: Revelstoke city council has adopted a “wood first” policy, but the Revelstoke Forest Workers Society wants them to go further, including changing the existing policy to a resolution, enact a wood first bylaw similar to one in place in Quesnel, and to extend the boundary to include Golden and Salmon Arm, where some types of lumber not produced here are made.

Parks, Recreation and Culture amendments to the OCP: Council will see the changes to the recreation sections to the OCP, and will likely set a hearing for March 13. Did your sports, recreation or culture group get fair consideration in the plan? You’ll have to read up and then speak up at that hearing.

Stop signs and speed grooves in Arrow Heights: A couple of residents have voiced their concerns in letters. What will council’s response to their concerns be? And how can you keep snow out of the grooves on powder days?

Outdoor Special Events policy set to change: Does your community group host a big outdoor event? Then you’ll want to keep abreast of changes to the policy. This is the first time this policy amendment has been before council, and it’s likely more public consultation will be sought. What’s changing? Lots. Deadlines, sanitation requirements, who you’ll report to, liability insurance requirements, liquor licensing and more.

Heritage Maintenance Standards bylaw getting a second go: This new bylaw was gunned down by overwhelming opposition at a public hearing in November, 2011. Residents said it was poorly thought out and draconian, and council agreed, sending the planning department back to the drawing board. This is their second go. Council will consider a request to host public information sessions about the revised bylaw during Heritage Week, Feb. 20–26.

Fees and Charges bylaw: The city received four letters about their proposed fees and services bylaw, and have made some amendments, such as a requested change to the tree removal fee.

Integrated Community Sustainability Plan: City plans to create the plan are starting to take shape, including a recommendation to appoint two councillors to the Integrated Community Sustainability Plan steering committee. Those with a keen interest in all things “triple bottom line” will want to check out the new terms of reference for that committee in the agenda package. The committee will work towards selecting a consultant to create the plan for the city. The project has a $200,000 budget.

Snow load amendments to the building code: Council will consider a report from the city building inspector that would amend the building code to increase snow load requirements. The problem? A rash of building collapses during the 2010/11 snow season. It’s estimated the new requirements will add about one per cent to the cost of building a new structure.

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Council regular meetings are on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month at 3 p.m. in council chambers and are open to the public.

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