Contractor loses bid to avoid utility charges

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A request from a local developer to eliminate a 2015 water and sewer charge on 16th Avenue North apartment building was denied at the September 6th Town Council meeting.

The developer, Rob Shatzko Construction, informed the Town this summer that it has not been billed for water and sewer utilities. Town staff then discovered the apartment had never been added to the billing list.

“I called the town to see if I had missed paying the bill, and after some investigation it was discovered the town had never billed us for water and sewer for the apartments,” representative Colette Caron wrote. “Instead of expressing gratitude to us for pointing this out, we have been penalized. I have just received a bill, not just for this year, but backdated for last year as well. The levies for 2015 and 2016 total $8,429.30.

“As you can imagine, this is a huge hit for a small company.”

“I sympathize and agree with their concerns,” Couns. Jim Elford said. “But I don’t believe we have the right to give away the public’s dollars.”

Finance director Steffan Klassen said that the company had about six years of free utilities as the result of the oversight, and that no interest charges were added to the 2015 bill.

A motion to deny further exemption passed unanimously.

In other Town Council news:

•Creston Town Council has approved the adoption of minimum training standards for Creston Fire Department.

The motion, passed at the September 6th regular Town Council meeting, acknowledges the Creston operation as a “full service operations fire department” as defined in the British Columbia Fire Service Minimum Training Standards – Structure Firefighters Competency and Training Playbook.

Council also adopted a Fire and Rescue Service Level Policy that establishes training levels for firefighters.

•Mayor Ron Toyota was authorized to contact the Mayor of the District of 100 Mile House to get information about that district’s proposal to establish a travel reserve fund to assist KIJHL hockey teams with travel costs when participating in Keystone Cup competitions. The Keystone Cup is awarded to the Western Canadian Junior B champions each year.

•The Town of Creston will express concerns about an RDCK proposal to increase tipping fees at the Creston landfill.

•Steffan Klassen, director of finance and corporate services, presented a mid-year update on the 2016 budget.

•Staff will research costs to install an oversized Canadian flag in Creston in conjunction with Canada 150 celebrations next year.

•Work will commence in October on upgrades and expansion of the Creston Bike Park. The $51,000 project will be funded by a $26,000 CBT grant, a $15,000 RDCK commumity development grant and $5,000 donations from Telus and CIBC.

•Council approved $250 for sponsorship in the 8th annual Creston Valley Thunder Cats golf tournament fundraiser for Muscular Dystrophy Canada.

•Council received a letter from a local resident asking for support for a poverty reduction plan at UBCM later this month.

•Council received a request for support in a Canadian Cancer Society initiative for “smoke and vape-free outdoor public places” legislation that will be discussed at UBCM.

•Construction costs for the sidewalk project currently underway to connect Canyon Street and Railway Boulevard have been eased to the tune of $13,000, thanks to an ICBC grant, manager of engineering Colin Farynowski said.