by Margaret Scaia, Reporter, LJI
Council is on the lookout for land for housing projects. Staff was asked to complete an inventory of all vacant and improved municipal property for potential housing initiatives. This was discussed at the June 22 Committee of the Whole meeting, and Mayor Ferguson restated council’s concerns about the shortage of not only affordable housing, but any housing. As Mayor Ferguson pointed out, there is not much use in considering housing projects if there is no land available on which to build.
Staff will also organize a meeting to discuss current housing trends in Silverton, look at successful housing initiatives undertaken by other local governments, and options available to Silverton council. Councillor Main thanked Councillors den Bok and Mills for moving this discussion forward.
Village office review
Staff was asked to do a review of the current structural, functional, and operational status of the Village office. This information will help assess “consideration of future building renovations of the facility or consideration of alternatives that would serve as a civic facility in the interest of operations that meet the needs of the organization and the community.”
Liquor licence for arts centre
Staff will look into the regulations around a full-time liquor licence for the Slocan Lake Arts Centre (formerly known as the Silverton Gallery). Councillor denBok, council’s liaison on the arts centre board, said the regular outdoor events at the centre have been community building and very successful. He pointed out that the centre currently has to apply for a licence for each individual event, and said a full-time liquor licence would enhance the enjoyment of the events and provide revenue for the organization. Staff will report back.
Expanded public time
Members of the public each now have three minutes rather than two minutes to address council during public input time at council meetings. The Council Procedures Bylaw was amended to reflect this change. Councillor Leah Main and Mayor Ferguson commented on the importance of encouraging public participation, and suggested that Committee of the Whole meetings may be the best venue for this.
Mayor Ferguson reported that he and members of council met with Michelle Griffiths of SIFCo (Slocan Valley’s community forest) to discuss FireSmart initiatives in Silverton. Ferguson said he was disappointed with attendance at the recent FireSmart event and feels another session needs to be held. He also reminded people that there is FireSmart information at the Village Office. He praised the Fire Smart program and made a point to say that people would be surprised at the common-sense and low-cost approaches to making our properties and homes FireSmart.
Councillor Brian Mills reported on the development of an emergency contact list for the community, with a focus on identifying individuals who may need assistance in case of emergency or evacuation. Congruent with this initiative is a review of public buildings in the town and consideration of installing heat pumps and back-up generators for emergencies.
John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice