PORT McNEILL—The Town’s on-again, off-again flirtation with a heritage registry is off. Again.
In a vote that effectively stalled any potential effort to secure the Hornsby crawler steam tractor — or any other heritage pieces — council last week tabled a motion it had passed two weeks earlier to request entry into the Regional District of Mount Waddington heritage registry bylaw.
“I just wonder how it looks when you pass a motion and you let them know you’re joining, and then all of a sudden, you know …,” coun. Gaby Wickstrom said.
“The mayor does have the authority to put a hold on something on second thought,” Mayor Gerry Furney answered. “And that’s what I did, essentially, was figure it needed a bit of second thought because I didn’t personally have enough information to make a proper decision on it.”
After extensive discussion council agreed to table to original motion, in which Port McNeill would have requested to join an RDMW heritage registry that currently includes two of the District’s rural electoral areas.
The change of heart resulted in part from information provided by Neil Smith, director of economic development for the RDMW, who provided a letter outlining the steps needed for Port McNeill to set up its own municipal heritage registry — which essentially boil down to simply making a motion to establish a registry.
“We need to clearly determine whether we want a registry or not,” said Furney. “And if we want a registry all we have to do is pass a motion that creates it.”
When the idea of a heritage registry was discussed in October of 2012, council got information from both the RD and from administrator Sue Harvey, but ultimately voted not to submit a registry proposal.
It changed tack on Feb. 4 with its vote to request to join the Regional District registry, citing a request from the Port McNeill Museum committee.
For the moment, council has postponed the choice between forming its own municipal registry or joining the RDMW registry. But Furney suggested inviting members of the museum committee, Smith and/or administrator Greg Fletcher from the Regional District, and representatives of the North Island Heritage Society — which will review any Hornsby proposals — to meet and discuss the issue before making a final decision.
“Doesn’t the Local Government Act say that you have to formally put it in the minutes that you’re rescinding the last motion, as mayor?” Wickstrom asked Furney.
“My recommendation is we table the motion for now, until such time as we get more information and determine exactly what we might be asked to do by our neighbours or Regional District friends or whomever,” he answered.
Councillors Shirley Ackland, Chris Sharpe and Grant Anderson voted to table the original registry motion. Wickstrom voted against tabling.
Gift for lift
Council voted to donate a family season swim pass, with a value of $360, to the North Island Community Services Society for its fundraising raffle. NICS is attempting to raise money to fund operations and maintenance on its fully equipped, wheelchair accessible lift van.
Back on Track
Council voted to renew its tradition contribution to assist local participants in Operation Trackshoes, a program which provides opportunities to developmentally challenged athletes. Port McNeill will provide up to $100 each for up to three local participants in the annual Operation Track Shoes athletic competition, to be held in Victoria in June.
Unity for the Union
Council voted unanimously to renew its membership in the Union of B.C. Municipalities.
Tourism ad OK’d
Council approved a request from the Port McNeill tourism committee to utilize $400 from its budget to place an ad highlighting the municipality in the annual Victoria Times-Colonist Discovery supplement. Wickstrom, who made the motion, provided anecdotal evidence from a local bed-and-breakfast operator who said the publication has provided her business with a regular customer base.
Emergency help requested
Council voted unanimously to approve a motion requesting assistance training local emergency response personnel in the wake of the cancellation of the Joint Emergency Preparedness Program (JEPP).
The motion requests the province provide an indeterminate level of funding “to provide funding for training programs for existing and future emergency personnel by 2014.”