PORT HARDY—Council made the first steps towards laying the groundwork for the upcoming November 15 general local elections last week, appointing Director of Corporate & Development Services Jeff Long as Chief Electoral Officer.
The appointment also carried a timetable outlining key dates in the run-up to polling day. Early September will see the release of the nomination package for prospective councillors, and a Declaration of Election (if required) will take place October 20.
Advanced and special voting days on an if-required basis are planned for November 5, 12, 13 and 14 with an official announcement of results expected by November 19.
Port Hardy residents will be voting for a new mayor, six councillors as well as School Board 85 Trustees under SD85’s newly reconfigured system.
For more information see www.porthardy.ca and follow the links under the Community News header.
Council heard quarterly reports from Fire Chief Schell Nickerson and RCMP Staff Sergeant Gord Brownridge on the second quarter of the year.
Nickerson reported a a total of 24 calls during the period, including callouts to God’s Pocket and a forest fire on Jensen Cove Road.
The Fire Chief also noted member participation in a host of training and community events.
Questioned on the effects of the continued dry weather on the North Island, Nickerson said that the main issue was backyard fires. “We’ve been having lots of bylaw complaints,” he said. “It’s amazing that some people still don’t know that there’s a ban on provincially. But everyone, when you go there and you ask them nicely to put it out, they do. There’s been no problems with that so far.”
S/Sgt. Brownridge reported an overall drop in files, down to 922 compared with the 955 in the same period of 2013.
There were some unusual spikes in the figures, he noted, including a jump in missing persons cases.
“A lot of missing persons you see on here are often just kids that don’t get home on time and they get reported as missing, which is still high-risk, it’s still an issue, but it’s not like people are going missing off the face of the earth; we have an idea where they are.”
The figures also showed a jump in impaired driving files, something the officer was pleased to report.
“‘I’m glad to see that 11 there over the four from last year. The way I look at that is that’s because of the enforcement that we’ve been doing, that they’ve been identifying them. I don’t think that it’s an indication that there’s more impaired drivers, I think it’s just that there’s a lot more being caught, which is good.”
Council thanked the pair for their efforts.
Councillors accepted the recommendations from staff brought forward in light of a Council Renumeration Committee review.
The review, which takes place in each election year, recommended that council maintain the current levels of indemnity — $24,000 for the Mayor and $12,000 for councillors — and that future rises within the term be linked to the BC Consumer Price Index.
The council passed three bylaws in the last meeting, approving amendments to the Municipal Ticket Information System to accommodate the garbage and recycling, zoning and harbour regulations bylaws in addition to giving first, second and third readings to amend the water regulations and council remuneration bylaws.
The motions were passed without discussion.