PORT McNEILL—In a brief special meeting held Dec. 19, council approved an amended Fee Setting Bylaw for 2013.
The bylaw, which sets rates for solid waste collection, water and sewer rates, recreation and administrative fees and harbour use, will take effect Jan. 2, 2013.
Bylaw 558.9 2012 was brought before council’s statutory meeting for first readings Dec. 3 and was originally scheduled for final approval during the final regular meeting of the year Dec. 17.
But two amendments regulating monthly residential and commercial harbour-use rates were added during the first two readings Dec. 3 and town bylaw required a minimum 24-hour period between third reading on Dec. 17 and final approval.
Mayor Gerry Furney was joined by coun. Grant Anderson and Chris Sharpe in a quorum for the special meeting, with coun. Shirley Ackland and Gaby Wickstrom both traveling and unavailable to attend.
New fire chief
Council approved the appointment of Chris Walker as chief of the Port McNeill Fire Department and Tasos Baroutis as deputy chief after being notified current fire chief Larry Bartlett would be stepping down effective Jan. 1, 2013.
Bartlett, who has served 35 years in the department, will remain active as immediate past chief, as well as maintain his role as Local Assistant to the Fire Commissioner.
The recommendation of Walker, the current deputy chief, was made by coun. Chris Sharpe, who met with both Walker and Bartlett.
“Chris (Walker) is willing to step up to chief, and I’d recommend it,” said Sharpe.
The vote was unanimous, with Gaby Wickstrom traveling and not in attendance at the meeting.
Hall fee waived
Council agreed to a request by the Northern Vancouver Island Regional Science Fair Committee to waive the rental fee for the Community Hall and Old School Gymnasium for the organization to host the 2013 Regional Science Fair in April, 2013.
The regional science fair, which was held in Port Hardy in 2012, is scheduled to return to Port McNeill next year featuring projects and experiments from North Island primary and secondary students. In 2011, the Regional Science Fair was held in Port McNeill at Sunset Elementary School. But the committee wants to include a related student activity in 2013 at Port McNeill Museum, and requested the Community Hall for the science fair and Old School gym for the awards ceremony based on their proximity to the museum.
“I think it’s a great idea,” said coun. Ackland. “due to the fact they do this on an annual basis, and it’s our turn. The kids do a great job. I support it.”
Coun. Chris Sharpe reminded council previous groups approved for fee waivers at the hall or gym were required to pay the cleaning fee, with council agreeing to refund it when satisfied the user had cleaned appropriately.
Administrator Sue Harvey replied she had spoken with Rena Sweeney of the fair committee and was assured the committee was prepared to pay the cleaning portion.
Council approved the request unanimously.