Penticton Council Highlights

The following is a snapshot of what transpired during the March 16, 2015 regular meeting of Penticton Council.

Graffiti management

Council endorsed the graffiti management strategy and the pilot program in Downtown Penticton. The program involves three key elements: enforcement and education, reporting and recording, and eradication. Bylaw Services prepared a Graffiti Management Policy, which outlines the need for public education, timely eradication and enforcement of graffiti throughout the City. The policy requires cleanup within seven days, and if compliance is not obtained, the property owner will be subject to a $100 fine. Council also endorsed the pilot program with the Downtown Penticton Association, which will clean up graffiti on public infrastructure and private businesses within seven days of the incident being reported. The professional graffiti removal company will be cleaning Downtown Penticton in the coming months to establish a baseline. For more information, visit www.penticton.ca/graffiti.

Council benefits

At the beginning of each elected term, UBCM invites municipalities to take part in group insurance for elected officials in B.C. In order to be eligible, there must be a minimum of three elected official applicants. The deadline to sign up is March 31, and UBCM requires enrolment to be for the full term of office. The cost of extended health is $37.89 per month for a single, or $85.25 for family coverage, and dental costs are $46.48 per month for a single or $120.59 per month for family coverage. Council chose to share 50% of the costs of benefits personally, with $7,187.64 of the cost coming from the City.

Planned power outages

Planned power outages are being scheduled in the area of Penticton north of Huth Avenue, as a key part of upgrading the electrical infrastructure. These planned outages will happen between March 30 and May 1.

The upgrades are an important step in updating the Westminster Substation supply voltage from an 8 kV to 12 kV system. Having a 12 kV system consistently throughout the City of Penticton will increase the system's capacity to handle larger loads and the flexibility to restore power during emergencies. The initial work must be done by May 1 to facilitate the conversion.

How customers will be impacted: Each planned outage will last between 4 and 6 hours, and will mostly happen very early in the morning (1 to 5 a.m.). Commercial and industrial customers are being contacted to make arrangements.

Electric Utility crews will provide residential owners with hand-delivered notices advising them of the proposed date and time of the outage. This notice will happen approximately one week before the outage. The outages will happen in stages, based on what the infrastructure supplies power to.

Drivers are asked to slow down and keep an eye out for Electric Utility staff, vehicles and signage, and to ensure everyone is safe. Traffic control personnel will be at light-controlled intersections to help drivers. Crews will have to occupy on-street parking, and these areas will be marked off with signs the day before.

Maps, FAQs, the information report to Council and sample notices are available in Latest News.

Those customers with questions are welcome to contact the Electric Utility at 250-490-2535 during business hours from 7.30 a.m. until 3 p.m., Monday to Friday.

Penticton assessments

BC Assessment's Deputy Assessor Tracy Wall presented an overview of what the provincial body does each year, including the assessment roll for almost two million properties throughout B.C. each year. Details on the City of Penticton assessment roll for 2015 were presented, including Penticton's15,000 properties and only 64 appeals were requested locally.

Ecole Entre-Lacs

Ecole Entre-Lacs Principal Fariba Daragahi requested Council consider offering reduced fees for swimming and recreation services like skating for students and staff, as provided to School District 67. The school has 150 students from kindergarten to Grade 8 and 35 high school students as part of a Pen-High joint program. Their governing school district, Conseil scolaire francophone de la Colombie-Britannique, does not have a joint-use agreement with the City in line with School District 67.

Confined space resolution

The City of Penticton will be submitting a resolution to the Southern Interior Local Government Association (SILGA) and UBCM conventions seeking support around WorkSafeBC's confined space entry regulations for waste water treatment plants. Staff outlined to Council how the provincial regulations amended its regulations in 2011, and municipal design standards are not in sync with the WorkSafeBC regulations – forcing municipalities to undergo costly and time-consuming alternate approval processes.

Electrical disconnect fees

To save some customers money, Council decided to implement a new, lower fee for customers who are subject to power disconnection in certain circumstances. Some customers reported having to pay the full disconnection fee of $68, even though the service technician would arrive at their home to disconnect power for non-payment, they would discuss the situation and the customer agreed to make arrangements immediately with the Utilities Department. The new fee would be $34 for “site visit without a disconnect” in the situation of payment in arrears.

Electrical service payment plan

The city will establish an electrical service payment plan for new or upgraded electrical connection infrastructure that supplies power to properties. Customers will be eligible to pay for necessary upgrades costing between $5,000 and $50,000 over five years, providing they meet criteria such as having a good history with the City of Penticton electric utility.

Winnipeg duplex

Council passed zoning changes for 783 Winnipeg St. from duplex housing to medium-density multiple housing. The property owner intends to rezone the property and build a three-storey, 13-unit apartment building. Currently the lot is vacant, except for the parking area for 797 Winnipeg St, and the neighbourhood character features three- and four-storey apartment buildings. A public hearing on the matter will be held March 16.

Retaining wall challenges

Council resolved to place a Section 57 notice on title and being injunctive action on two properties in the industrial area struggling with long-standing issues around retaining walls and uncontrolled drainage. Action Steel (2365 Barnes St.) and Penticton Self Storage Ltd (2360 Government St., operating as 101-380 Industrial Ave.) began reporting issues in 2013, and despite several attempts to find a resolution for the two parties, a retaining wall between the two properties failed. The nature of the grade and uses above cause a safety concern for the below property, and surface water has flooded the on-site premise. Under the Section 57, both property owners have 30 days to repair the retaining wall. Both owners will be invited to the April 7 Council meeting to speak to the matter.

Ontario Street improvements

Council supported proposed street improvements to Ontario Street as well as the reorganization of the intersection between Ontario and the lane, to address neighbourhood concerns around traffic in the area. A public hearing last fall highlighted neighbourhood concerns about traffic in the area, and Council directed staff to investigate what was happening and consider options for improving the situation. A survey was developed and delivered to nearly 100 residents, and findings from public reporting and staff investigation found drivers were short-cutting through Ontario Street and the lane to avoid Government Street and Eckhardt Avenue intersection.

Potential solutions were developed including temporary measures like a speed counter on Ontario, and permanent fixes to sidewalks, intersection changes and speed humps in the alley. The price of the permanent changes will be estimated and included in the 2016 capital budget.

Kinney Avenue zoning

Penticton council adopted zoning changes for 115 Kinney Ave. to allow a four-unit multi-family residential development. The current lot is zoned for large-lot residential, and a single family home currently exists on the site. Preliminary plans show parking and setbacks are within the zoning allowances.

Detached garage on Sudbury

Council passed a development variance permit to allow for a detached garage at 319 Sudbury Ave. that would be slightly higher than allowed under zoning. The building plan calls for a garage that is 5 metres high, .5 metres higher than the maximum level allowed in zoning.

55+ BC Games bid

Council endorsed the City's bid application to host the +55 BC Games in either 2018 or 2019, and contributing in-principle $60,000 in cash and $55,000 in kind. A local host organizing committee will need to be formed, and they will likely have to fundraise for a significant portion as well. The 55+ BC Games involve between 3,500 and 4,000 participants, including athletes, coaches and officials. Athletes compete in 20 to 30 different sports over four days of competition held Tuesday to Saturday of Games week. The economic impact is estimated at $2 million to the host community.

OCP changes for South Beach Drive, Sudbury Avenue

Council passed first reading of Official Community Plan changes to re-designate South Beach Drive and Sudbury Avenue from park and recreation to medium-density residential. In 1993, the area was designated as park in the OCP and Council of the day was advised to purchase the lands as part of a community beautification project. To date, the City has only been able to purchase one property of the acquisition plan, and the neighbourhood has requested returning the OCP land designation to some form of residential. A public hearing will be held on April 7 to receive information from the public on the proposal.

Council Highlights are written by communications staff at the City of Penticton. A PDF version [PDF - 78 KB] is available for download. If you require an official record of Council meeting resolutions, the Minutes are also available online.