A brief and informal summary of the latest decisions made by Penticton City Council.
Motions, Motions, Motions
Council dealt with a host of notice of motions, including one that called for the City of Penticton to immediately hire four firefighters. Costs will be phased in by adding one firefighter to the budget for four years with the difference being funded from general surplus.
After discussion, that motion which was brought forward by Councillor Campbell Watt, was passed by a 5-2 vote.
Mayor Julius Bloomfield introduced two motions, both of which passed. The first called for staff to prepare options for the implementation of a Car 40 program funded by the City to be considered as part of the upcoming budget should the Province fail to implement a plan. The second motion asked that staff prepare a report focused on the possibility of the City providing land for affordable housing projects, potential locations and types of housing needs, including worker accommodations, and approximate costs.
A motion from Councillor Isaac Gilbert to have the City of Penticton examine a living wage policy was successful. Staff will prepare a report that examines the potential cost of implementing the policy and it will be reviewed as part of the 2023 budget.
Councillor Helena Konanz’s motion that the remuneration rate paid to members of Council be frozen and that the annual adjustment based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) not be applied in 2023 passed by a vote of 5-2.
And Councillor Amelia Boultbee’s motion to pause the final phase of the Lake-to-Lake Bike Lane in order to review lessons learned and receive ridership information was defeated. Like any large project, Council will receive a review of the entire project once it is complete as best practice.
Another step forward for project
City Council gave second and third reading to a zoning development bylaw that furthers along a project that could see 234 units built at 270 Riverside Drive.
The project, which would feature a mix of studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units, was requesting a change to allow for vacation rentals, mobile vending and a minor setback correction.
Council voted in favour by a 5-1 margin.
This bylaw requires final approval from the Ministry of Transportation because of the proximity to the highway and will come back to Council for final consideration following their response.
New future for King’s Park clubhouse
Council approved the demolition of the clubhouse at King’s Park and directed staff to bring forward a design and engagement budget for a new facility in the 2023 budget.
The current building was built in 1985 and has suffered extensive weather-related damage. Council unanimously approved the plan.
Staff have been working closely with the Penticton Soccer Club and Pinnacles Football Club through the process and both organizations have supported the direction taken.
With King’s Park being home to four fields that are in use from April to October, staff will also work with user groups to create temporary change/washroom facilities that will be in place for the spring soccer season.
Utility rate approved
City of Penticton electric utility users will see a small rise in monthly costs in 2023, after Council gave final approval for a two per cent increase.
The two per cent increase will amount to an extra $2.34 for residential users and $12.83 for business users. After several years of freezing or reducing rates, the City is now in a position that it has to draw from surplus in order to cover operating costs. In 2022, approximately $2.2 million will be utilized from the reserve in order to fund annual operations and support the zero per cent rate increase for that year, and the recently approved two per cent rate increase for 2023 will require a further $2.5 million withdraw from this reserve to fund annual operations.
As well, council gave approval to a variety of fee increases for 2023. Fees and charges are used to recover the cost of services provided by the City wherever possible as an alternative to property taxation. Consideration is given to a number of factors when setting fees and charges including: inflation and contractual changes, neighboring markets and cost recovery and revenue shortfall.
Council receives safety review, will be part of strategic planning
The City of Penticton has invested heavily in public safety over the past five years in response to deal with the issues of mental health and addictions, prolific offenders and housing as provincial responsibilities were downloaded on to the municipality.
Recognizing that the current course is not sustainable for the community, in 2021 Council commissioned a review of its RCMP, Fire and Bylaw services earlier this year to guide decisions about future investments in community safety.
City Council has now formally received the Community Safety Resource Review and findings from the review will be considered by Council as they identify their strategy priorities.
The 200-page report details the challenges faced by the RCMP, Penticton Fire Department and Bylaw Services due to providing services that fall under provincial jurisdiction.
For more on the report and opportunities to share feedback, click here
HELP extended on climate change
The Home Energy Loan program from the City will run for another two years.
Designed to assist local homeowners, HELP is a loan service available to residents through the City of Penticton for eligible energy-efficiency upgrades including insulation and space and water heating systems. The Loan program allows for these upgrades to be repaid through monthly payments on your utility bill. More on the extension of the program available here.
Indoor Parkour gets temporary permit
After searching unsuccessfully for a new home, the operator of Ethos Parkour will be able to stay in the current location.
Council approved renewal of the temporary use permit for another three-year period in order to continue operating their indoor parkour gym.
Parkour is an activity that involves participants clearing various forms of obstacles by running and jumping, which is considered as an ‘indoor amusement, entertainment and recreation’ use by the City’s Zoning Bylaw. This use is not permitted under the M1 (General Industrial) zoning on the property. This permit would allow the use to be permitted at this location for an additional three-year period, allowing the business to continue to operate.
These highlights are intended to provide a brief summary of recent Council proceedings. The summary is not inclusive of all agenda items. For a detailed account of the full agenda, including staff reports, other supporting documents and official meeting minutes, please consult the City’s website (www.penticton.ca/council) or call the City’s Communication Department at 250-490-2400.