Eerie feeling in near-empty chamber
Monday’s meeting had an eerie air to it, with only three council members seated at the table meant for seven.
Mayor Martin Johansen, Councillor Dave Mattes and Water Councillor Rick Machial were present in the chamber. Councillors Aimee Grice, Petra Veintimilla and Larry Schwartzenberger and Water Councillor Parminder Sidhu joined the meeting by telephone.
There were no members of the public the press in the gallery.
The distance meeting was part of the town’s response to the Covid-19 crisis, as was the scheduling of the meeting at 1:30 in the afternoon rather than the usual 7 pm.
Chief Administrative Officer Cathy Cowan told the webcast audience for the meeting that while the town hall remains closed, the town is open for business through telephone, email and regular mail.
Public input sought on closing Packing House Lane
The town will seek public input through its website and social media around the options for traffic patterns in the area between Oliver Place Mall and the BC Tree Fruits packing house.
Two main issues are on the table:
- How to best improve traffic and pedestrian safety at the intersection of Co-op Avenue, Packing House Lane and mall parking access.
- Whether to retain Packing House Lane as a thoroughfare or replace it with a pedestrian pathway.
Several options were presented to council Monday, but a consensus arose that doing something as drastic as closing a roadway shouldn’t happen without public consultation.
The decision to at least begin the consultation on line was based on the social distancing regime necessitated by the Covid-19 crisis.
Whatever the decision eventually is, it appears the cost of the redesign project will be in the area of $1 million.
Planning begins for Oliver’s 100th anniversary
The town will donate $5,000 from its grant-in-aid budget to the Parks and Recreation Society to help fund planning for the 100th anniversary of Oliver becoming a municipality.
A letter from Parks and Rec quotes former Heritage Society executive director Manda Maggs: “The reason 1921 is significant and considered a milestone is because that is the year the post office opened, which officially designates it as a municipality for the purpose of the federal census.”
The $5,000 will fund 100 hours of the society’s events coordinator, which will be “required for engagement and coordination. … and (to) support the development of 2021 branding materials.”
The motion to grant the funding passed easily, with only Councillor Dave Mattes objecting that the society did not attach a budget along with its request letter.