McNeill council hits ground running

PORT McNEILL - Newly sworn members pass bylaw given three readings by previous council

PORT McNEILL—The Town’s newly installed councillors picked up where their predecessors left off, approving a recreational fee bylaw during their first official meeting last week.

Mayor Shirley Ackland and councillors Jay Dixon, Shelley Downey, Aaron Frost and Graham MacDonald were sworn in Dec. 1 in a public investiture ceremony.

In their inaugural meeting Dec. 15, they picked up what was largely a bylaw given first three readings in November by the preceding council.

And they asked much the same questions that came up during the initial readings.

“Were there any changes to the (recreation) rates at all?” Downey asked, and was assured by Ackland and Town Administrator Sue Harvey that rates for rentals, deposits and cleaning fees for municipal facilities remain unchanged.

“This was just very basic housekeeping,” said Ackland, noting it updated language and terms initially written into a bylaw established in 1999.

 

Money banked

The new council avoided any contentious issues in its inaugural meeting, and got to approve some good news in the process.

Council accepted a $76,509.89 “gas tax” payment from the Community Works Fund, money paid by the federal government to eligible municipalities through a Gas Tax Agreement with British Columbia. The amount includes $1,189.68 in accumulated interest.

Council was then presented with a $100,000 payment from the North Island Community Forest, in which Port McNeill is a joint stakeholder with the Village of Port Alice and the District of Port Hardy.

Council voted to place the money in a reserve account set up with the first deposit from the Community Forest, in 2013, and which now has a $300,000 principal.

“We were hoping that we’d have a reserve fund that we’d (use to) bank the monies coming in from the community forest towards leverage … to bring more monies in for a project, if we’re looking at grants and such.”

Council also approved the reappointment of Dave Nelson as a member-at-large on the Community Forest Board for another one-year term.

 

Appointments

Council approved a series of portfolio appointments recommended by Ackland, following consultation with the incoming councillors.

None of the councillors is an incumbent, but Downey and Frost have previously served on council and each was given a six-month term as Acting Mayor, on a rotating basis, for 2015.

Downey will also carry the Health Network Steering Committee and Regional District Transit and Ferry Advisory committee portfolios. Frost will serve as liaison to police, fire department and airport. Dixon, principal at North Island Secondary School, will serve as council member on the Vancouver Island Regional Library advisory committee and serve as liaison to the Chamber of Commerce, Advanced Education and Training, and Rec and Pool Facilities. MacDonald will be liaison for harbours, the Provincial Emergency Program and Museum and Tourism.

 

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