Creston Town Council approved the appointments to a Community Fire Hall Advisory Select Committee at Tuesday’s regular Council meeting.
The mandate of the committee, which includes elected officials and applicants, is to create recommendations to Council for short and long-term solutions to address the deficiencies of the fire hall on 10th Avenue North.
“We wish to thank Creston’s many civic-minded individuals who responded to our invitation to join the Committee,” said Mayor Ron Toyota. “We received an impressive number of applications since mid-January when we first reached out to the community.”
Eleven members were chose from the applications: Brandon Vigne (construction/project management), Wendell Marshall (construction/business), Harry Haberstock (Creston resident), Gertie Brown (Creston resident), James McLeod (Area C in RDCK fire protection contact area), Tony Mulder (business), Don Cherkas (Committee for an Affordable Fire Hall), Randall Fabro (Firefighters Society), Larry Hogan (Area B in RDCK contract fire protection contract area) and RCMP Cst. Ryan Tucker. Representing a younger generation will be Olivia Kettle, PCSS student. Toyota and Couns. Jim Elford, or their alternates, will represent Creston Town Council. Area B Director Tanya Wall and Area C Director Larry Binks, or their alternates, will also be committee members. Both have portions of their areas that have fire protection and/or support services provided by the Creston Fire Department.
Couns. Adam Casemore requested clarification of a statement that indicated that Town Council had selected the committee, and also stated concerns over the $120,000 budget that was previously approved by Council. A committee of Town staff and consultants made the selections based on Council-approved criteria.
“I struggle with the costs,” he said. “We’ve already done a lot of this legwork.”
“Council appreciates the considerable time and effort that has been spent by all parties to ensure that the candidates presented to Council for ASC membership are representative of a broad cross-section of our community,” Toyota said. He said that the selection process was challenging, given the quality and broad experiences and backgrounds of each candidate. Toyota also said that he believes that the selection committee endeavored to recommend candidates to Council who would provide diverse representation on behalf of the community and the ASC.
Accordingly, the ASC is composed of a broad range of individuals, including: Town of Creston residents; representatives of the downtown business community, construction, fire and emergency services; youth representation; RDCK fire protection contract areas; community groups; and the Committee for an Affordable Fire Hall.
The Community Fire Hall Advisory Select Committee will hold its first meeting on March 7th. Creston Valley resident Kerry McArthur has been hired to facilitate the meetings and to act as communications coordinator.
In other Town Council news:
• Myrna Johnson appeared as a delegation representing the Citizens for an Affordable Fire Hall and, in one brief sentence, asked that public-private partnerships (PPPs) be considered for a new fire hall.
“I am unable to take questions at this time,” she said, adding that written questions could be submitted.
Council members seemed startled by the brevity of the request and lack of information it included.
Couns. Jim Elford had a copy of the Oyosoos fire hall process in his hand and said the possibility of public-private partnerships had been considered and rejected in the Osoyoos project.
“I know you aren’t taking questions, but perhaps you could come back and explain what makes our situation different from theirs,” he said.
“I’ve done some research about PPPs,” Couns. Kevin Boehmer, who holds a Chartered Professional Accountant designation and teaches accounting at the College of the Rockies in Cranbrook, said. “They typically cost about 16 percent more than public projects, so I am not seeing the benefit to them for us.”
Toyota said that Council has directed staff to research the criteria used for public delegations to make presentations at Town Council meetings.
• Council has directed staff to report on the issue of costs for non-profit organization volunteers who require criminal record checks.
• A letter from the Creston Hotel about an intent to apply for a license to operate a recreational marijuana retail store in one of its premises was received as information.
• A letter of support for the BC Farmers’ Market nutrition coupon program in Creston to continue will be written.
• St. Stephen’s Presbyterian Church will get a letter of support for its application for upgrade funding under the Columbia Basin Trust Built Heritage grant program.
• Council approved the use of the lot south of Millennium Park by the Blossom Festival Association.
• Council approved $500 grants to help with travel costs for a senior’s curling team to participate in BC championships and the PCSS girls’ team to play in the High School Curling Provincial Championships.
• Council approved expenses for Toyota to attend the 52nd annual BC Leadership Prayer Breakfast in the Lower Mainland this month, at which he will be a head table guest with Premier John Horgan, Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon, and Opposition Leader Andrew Wilkinson. Most of Toyota’s travel expenses will be covered by his attendance at previously scheduled meetings.
• Amendments to the cemeteries regulations and operations bylaw were given three readings.