At the Aug. 13 regular meeting, Creston town council received letters from two Creston residents concerned about highway traffic through town.
One, from 20th Avenue South resident Jan Zacharias, expressed displeasure with the summer increase of motorcycle traffic on Canyon Street, which creates “unwanted and unnecessary noise.”
“Creston promotes itself as a retirement community and this is at odds with the driving style of many of the local residents, as well as tourists, in terms of noise levels,” her letter said.
She said Creston RCMP Staff Sgt. Bob Gollan told her it is not in excess of traffic noise laws, but has also been told that “those driving motorcycles can alter their driving style so as to minimize this noise.”
Zacharias asked for council to consider placing prominent signage at either end of town, “messaging that is respectful but asks for a change in driving habits both from tourists and local citizens whose driving habits create excessive noise.”
Coun. Scott Veitch, who used to live in that part of town, agreed that there can be a lot of traffic noise, but Coun. Judy Gadicke felt that seniors should appreciate the extra volume from motorcycles.
“When you’re riding a motorcycle, they don’t see you, so you need the volume,” she said.
A letter — copied to, among others, B.C. Premier Christy Clark — from Michael Bunn also requested signage at either end of town, these to direct large truck traffic to use Highway 21 and Erickson Road/Street instead, thereby reducing the concern of accidents downtown.
“Also, application to the provincial government could be made to have the Erickson Road designated as [Highway] 3 as opposed to Canyon Street, otherwise Canyon Street is an accident waiting to happen,” he added.
News of potentially hazardous truck traffic travelling through downtown didn’t come as a surprise to council.
“It’s not as if we’re unaware,” said Gadicke.
Both were received for information, and as is policy, both writers will receive a letter from the town thanking them for their input.
•In response to a request from the local Ducks Unlimited Canada branch, council will donate a town duffle bag to the annual silent auction and banquet, which will be held on Oct. 5. Couns. Joanna Wilson, Jerry Schmalz, Wes Graham and Veitch supported the motion, while Gadicke was opposed, feeling that the donation should have been a local product.
•A letter from the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) informed council that the union is working with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to support rail safety efforts following the July 6 Lac-Mégantic, Que., derailment, and asked for feedback regarding safety concerns.
Council’s first concern was whether local services are prepared for a similar situation.
“We do have an emergency response plan, as far as hazardous materials,” said Creston Fire Rescue Chief Michael Moore. “The challenge is the limited resources in the event of an emergency.”
Mayor Ron Toyota asked if it was possible to find out what hazardous materials are carried through town, and Moore responded that those related to Teck Cominco are known, as are those that can be read on the sides of rail cars. More information would be helpful, though.
“The day we find out it as a community could be the day we have a derailment,” said Moore.
•Council passed three readings of bylaws 1785 and 1789, respectively, an election voting machine bylaw and an amendment to the tax exemption bylaw.
The voting machine bylaw will permit the town to use an automated vote counting system to count and record votes, and process and store election results. If council chooses to purchase a electronic voting system, it could be used in the 2014 municipal election.
The bylaw amendment was basically a housekeeping item, requested by BC Assessment to “more clearly identify the amount of assessed value to be exempted.”
“We’re just following their suggestion,” said finance and corporate services director Stefan Klassen.
•Water Smart ambassador Sara Huber presented her final report to council. Over the course of the summer, she conducted 35 residential irrigation assessments, responded to over 50 instances of residents watering outside of recommended or mandatory watering times — providing education to those interested — and read 17 Erickson water meters to compile water usage information.
In her report, Huber also suggested that the town should consider the cost of a xeriscape learning garden outside Creston Town Hall as an “interactive way to engage community members about drought tolerant plants and ways to conserve water outdoors.” For the town to convert approximately 1,000 square feet of its property to xeriscape, the initial cost would be about $7,700.