Council Briefs: Regular Meeting, Aug. 11, 2020

Murals, grants and tax sales discussed

MURAL PROGRESS

Smithers council is more comfortable with a proposed mural for the side of the Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre following a presentation at the Aug. 11 regular meeting.

The mural, a project of the federal Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Commemoration Fund, is intended to honour the families of local women and girls who have gone missing or been murdered.

At a previous council meeting Coun. Lorne Benson raised concerns that the subject matter was potentially political.

A Dze L K’ant delegation led by Lydia Howard, the centre’s housing appeared to assauge those concerns.

“It’s a remarkable responsibility you’re undertaking, and it was great to hear more about the details involved with the process and how well-handled this will be,” he said.

Dze L K’ant had previously planned on garnering wider community buy-in with a big event, but COVID-19 derailed that plan.

Coun. Casda Thomas asked how the wider community could feel more involved.

Howard said they are working out the details of that and will keep council in the loop as and do whatever they needed to do to keep lines of communication open. She also assured council they would get a chance to see the design and talk to the artists and stakeholders before painting begins.

GRANT DECISION

Two organizations went into the Aug. 11 council meeting hoping for support from the Town for an infrastructure grant application, but only one came out with the answer they wanted.

Both the new Library/Art Gallery fundraising committee and the Smiters Skate Park Society (SSPS) had asked for the Town to partner with them on the second intake for the Community, Culture, and Recreation Program (CCR) of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP).

Consensus around the council table was that the library/gallery was top of the list and a motion to support that application passed unanimously.

Council did pass a separate motion to release $24,500 of the money they are holding in trust for the SSPS so the group can complete Phase 2 of their project, detailed design and construction documentation.

The library/gallery project was denied a $12.8 million grant last time around.

Council also decided to apply under ICIP Rural and Northern Communities Program for a grant to upgrade the Town’s sewage treatment system.

TAX SALE DEFERRAL

Smithers council has decided to take advantage of a provincial decision to allow municipalities to defer its statutorily required tax sale due to COVID-19.

At its Aug. 11 meeting, council passed three readings and adopted a bylaw that will give delinquent property owners another year to get up to date.

Those properties on the list for 2020 will be rolled into the normal 2021 tax sale if back taxes are not paid by Dec. 31.

Properties that become eligible for the annual tax sale are those with three years of arrears.

By law the tax sale must be held on the last Monday in September.

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