Penticton Council Highlights

The following is a snapshot of what transpired during the June 23, 2014 regular meeting of Penticton Council.

PenMar Community Arts Society

Council supported the PenMar Community Arts Society with a contribution of $125,000 from the City's amenity contribution capital reserve fund, which was created from density bonuses provided by developers who applied for previous projects. The amount was loaned to the society to purchase theatre equipment, and must be repaid to the City over time.

South Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Program

South Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Program Manager Bryn White presented to Council an outline of the Local Conservation Fund concept. A biodiversity conservation strategy (Keeping Nature in Our Future) was completed as a result of the South Okanagan Regional Growth Strategy and is considered a high-level guidance document similar to the Regional Growth Strategy. The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen directed staff to undertake a number of priorities related to environmental conservation arising from the strategy, including finding dedicated and reliable sources of funds to support environmental sustainability. A conservation fund is a dedicated funding source established by a regional district or municipality to support those initiatives.

2013 audited financial statements

Council approved the 2013 audited financial statements, which represent fairly, in all material respects, the financial position as of Dec. 31, 2013. Leanne McDougall, Senior Manager of BDO Canada LLP, presented an overview of the auditing firm's findings for the year. The City strengthened its financial position in 2013 with accumulated surplus by increasing $197,000 to approximately $5.2 million. The contribution to surplus was due in large part to a change in accounting standards regarding traffic fine revenue sharing.

Reports on the annual statements of financial information and development cost charges were approved in accordance with legislation.

Property tax notice

A verbal update was provided to Council outlining what transpired on the 2014 property tax calculations that required amended notices to be issued. The 2014 property tax calculations for Class 1 residential included the incorrect school district – Okanagan-Similkameen (District 53), not Okanagan-Skaha (District 67). This impacted the total tax rate charged to Penticton property owners, and tax bills were higher than they should have been. Taxpayers are required to pay less than originally indicated, and those who have already paid are eligible for rebates. Although the situation was brought to light by a taxpayer, the miscalculation would have been picked up during a routine audit planned for the next day.

Finance staff outlined that additional controls have been put into place to ensure administrative inputs into the tax calculations are accurate, and a more rigorous documentation process will be put into place for validation and management approval.

All 2014 property tax notices have been recalculated. Staff have personally called property owners to inform them of their rebate options if they have already paid. These include giving the individual a refund or crediting their account with the difference for 2015. People who use MyCity to claim their Provincial Home Owner Grant are asked to check the welcome screen message for information. E-bill customers using the MyCity online tax notice portal are asked to use the most recent tax notice dated June 11.

Property tax owners who still have questions canvisit MyCity (http://mycity.penticton.ca)for their Home Owner Grant application or e-bill tax notice, phone 250-490-2485 oremail taxclk@penticton.ca.

3388 Skaha Lake Rd.

Penticton Council passed bylaw changes to remove the north/south walkway dedication at 3388 Skaha Lake Road. The current property owners are proposing to subdivide the property along the boundary between the two different OCP designations with the intent to develop the portion of the property fronting Wilson Street as a strata townhouse development and the remainder of the lot as a mixed-use development with residential and commercial.

Cannery Brewing lounge

Council endorsed Cannery Brewing Co.'s liquor application. The brewery at 118-1475 Fairview Rd. currently operates with a brewery manufacturing retail license, and applied to add a lounge area that would accommodate 50 patrons. This will allow the brewery to offer tastings and conduct focus groups with customers testing new brews and variants. Delegations were taken on the application before the Council decision.

Transit expansion options

BC Transit sent a letter to the City of Penticton indicating that the Penticton transit system had not been identified for any expansion between 2015 and 2018. In the past, City budgets have contemplated various transit expansions: starting Sunday service earlier, an additional Sunday service route, allowing for special events, and increasing the frequency of Route 5. Other suggestions brought forward during the Transit Future Plan and through the City's Transportation Advisory Committee included three-hour extended night route service, extend Route 5 service by five hours for Peach Festival, extend night route by three hours every second Monday to allow alternate transportation to Council meetings.

Council referred the options back to the Transportation Advisory Committee for further consideration.

Joy Road agreement

Council had previously approved the Water Service Agreement enabling the City to provide metered potable water to 105 Joy Rd. The next step in the process was to amend Schedule F of the Irrigation, Sewer and Water Amendment Bylaw to include 105 Joy Rd. This was adopted by Council.

Canada Day

Council approved the Downtown Penticton Association application for a community grant to host a Canada Day party, a 14-hour event featuring family oriented activities and community celebrations including free entertainment, public market, food concessions, children's crafts, cake and other official ceremonies. The DPA proposes to expand offerings by hosting a family dining experience with food catered by Downtown merchants and beverages by Cue's catering, which holds a special liquor licence that allows portable licences to venues away from a home base. Food must be served at these venues to allow liquor consumption without a special occasion licence.

Penticton Art Gallery special event

Council endorsed the Penticton Art Gallery's application to obtain a special occasion liquor licence. The Tastes of the Palette fundraiser event will be held at 199 Marina Way as well as within the Ikeda Japanese Gardens on July 5, 2014, from 6 to 10 p.m.

Federal Gas Tax Funds agreement

Penticton Council approved the 2014 Community Works Fund Agreement with the Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM), which outlines available Federal Gas Tax Funds available. Municipalities must sign off on individual agreements in order to access the grant, which is estimated to be $463,000 more in 2014 than the year previous, for a total of $1.37 million.

Zoning Bylaw

Penticton Council adopted housekeeping amendments to the Zoning Bylaw to ensure the City's zoning is efficient, accurate and as simple to interpret as possible.

Fees and Charges Bylaw changes

First three readings of changes to the Fees and Charges Bylaw were passed by Council. Earlier this year, staff reviewed and updated the bylaw and the current amendment captures a reduction in rates, a missed fee and addresses park donation program charges.

Council Highlights are written by communications staff at the City of Penticton. A PDF version [PDF - 74 KB] is available for download. If you require an official record of Council meeting resolutions, the Minutes are also available online.