SPN DISCLAIMER: These takeaways are my best interpretation of what happened at Council tonight. The social media table was again invisible, and the writing of notes occurred on my laptop lap. (Please note I’m not really complaining! I actually enjoy sitting with my peers and wouldn’t have it any other way. I just like having a chuckle.) Final authoritative word on anything always goes to the approved final minutes. As always, readers are welcome to correct content, insert different observations, and add their own takeaways.
- The meeting started at 7:00 and was closed to the public minutes before 10:00 p.m.
- Elected Mayor Maja Tait was welcomed back with a round of applause.
- Applauding was discouraged.
- It was standing room only.
Sooke Soccer: Agreement was made to provide the 75% of funds required to receive the CRD’s initial offering of $300,000. An initial $400,000 was set aside at a previous meeting, and this time Council agreed to commit the remaining $300,000. I’m pretty sure they said the funds from come from the gas tax.
CRD Director: Rick Kasper moved that the CRD Director appointment be returned to mayor Maja Tait. After some discussion, Tait and Kasper settled on a September 1 transfer date so that Kasper could complete some of the projects he was working on at the CRD. Motion passed, with Brenda Parkinson opposed. ADDED LATER: On social media, Parkinson later explained the reason behind her opposition: “I was definitely not opposing Mayor Tait’s return to the position as CRD Director – I was in favour of an immediate return and looking forward to having the Mayor back in the seat to where she belonged.”
Capital Regional Hospital Board: Effective September 1, 2016, Maja Tait would be Director and Councillor Kasper the Alternate.
Council Procedure Amendments: Much time was spent on discussing time allocation changes (up from 5 minutes to 10 for delegations; up from 2 minutes to 3 for public input). Overall, Councillor Logins noted that there was “not much here I agree with except for a few things,” and given her many concerns said that it was too soon for a first, second and third reading. After discussing how to discuss these amendments, it was agreed that these amendments should go to the Committee of the Whole for more detailed discussion.
Budget amendments to Sooke Fire Services:
Background: about $192K is being shifted out of the fire department’s budget.
- The original budget proposed $45K for overtime shift; the revised was $20K.
- The original budget proposed $45K for professional development; the revised was $27K
- The original budget proposed $73,916 for relief worker wages/remuneration; the revised was $65,918
- The original budget proposed $80,700 for equipment replacement; the revised was $0
- The original budget proposed $60K for replacement of Squad 1; the revised was $0
An audit occurring in the next 2-3 weeks (depending on the availability of an auditor) would provide the final financial requirements of the Sooke fire department. Councillor Reay noted the necessity of a decision tonight in order to meet the legislated May budget deadline. The spokesperson from the Fire Commission assured Council that the operations of Sooke Fire Services would not be impacted. The CAO wanted to bring the fire department in line with other departments, all of whom require two signatures on budget items whereas the fire department only requires one. Council was also assured that while the funds were removed from the budget that the funds would not simply disappear. Both Councillors Logins and Parkinson indicated that they could not support a motion until after an audit showed that the cuts were necessary.
The recommendations were that Council approve the Five Year Financial Plan for the Fire Department as presented today; direct staff to implement the recommendations outlined in the report; and, that the total amount of budget reductions be re-allocated to the Council contingency.
Motion was approved, with Logins and Parkinson opposed.
Western Canada Mountain Bike Tourism Association: The MOU had completed its fifth year and a referendum would be required to continue beyond that. So, Council voted to discontinue the MOU. Discussion to follow on whether or not a partnership should be entertained, or membership, or…?
Sooke Saltwater Series funding request for $500 was approved, and it was suggested that this be moved as a regular sponsorship line item in next year’s budget.
Other things happened, much of which was turned back to staff and the various parties for more work. A proposed community sign might go from being one project to being two, because the two key community groups are wanting different things. Sooke staff and council are to consider alleviating staff “volunteered” contributions to the Flowers in Bloom event. And, various reports and communications were received.
CAO noted that Council Chambers now has WiFi, three screens will be installed to help the viewers at home, motions will be typed out and displayed on the screens, and a new sound system is being considered for Council Chambers.
Smokers are asked to exhale well away from any ventilation in-take systems, as occasionally Councillor Pearson gets an unexpected inhale of cigarette smoke from his Council seat—or rather, from the vent above it. Some mention was made of the moss on the roof attracting bugs, which would periodically fall from the vents onto various desks in the building.
By the evening’s end, we all packed up our various emotions and went home.