Council briefs: Requests tax exemption bylaw; supports recreation finance program expansion

Requests tax exemption bylaw
At its meeting on Thursday, September 7, City of Powell River council voted in favour of directing staff to move forward with developing a new revitalization tax exemption bylaw for paper mill lands owned by Catalyst Paper Corporation. The maximum taxation payable in each year between 2018 and 2020 will be set at $3,050,000, a $300,000 increase from 2017.

Supports recreation finance program expansion
An existing city program that provides recreation passes for residents living on social assistance will be expanded. Council voted to support a proposal to make the program more accessible to lower income families by employing Statistics Canada’s low-income measure to determine eligibility. The number of annual admissions for each person in the family to attend Powell River Recreation Complex will be increased from 20 to 52 per year at no cost to the resident.

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Adopts bylaw amendments
Council adopted changes to the city’s zoning, business licence and fee bylaws that regulate street vending and urban farming in the city. Amended bylaws identify where street vendors may sell and where carts may be located. The changes also permit urban farmers to purchase business licences so they can cultivate fruits and vegetables for sale from their residential properties.

Directs park designation
For the past year, dog owners have been taking their four-legged companions to the new but not yet officially designated dog park near Duncan Street and Joyce Avenue. City of Powell River’s committee of the whole recommended at its meeting on Tuesday, September 5, that the park be officially designated as the city looks at winding down use of its unofficial dog park at Henderson Park in Townsite. Staff will be preparing amendments to the city’s animal-control bylaw to prohibit dogs from city sports fields and a report of possible expansion of off-leash, dog-permitted public areas.

Recommends marijuana producer permit
Committee of the whole recommended council approves a motion at its meeting on Thursday, September 21, that medical cannabis producer Santè Veritas Therapeutics’ development permit application be approved for renovations at the former Catalyst administration building on Yew Street. Santè Veritas leases the building from the city and is required by Health Canada to erect security fencing around its facility. The company plans to erect an eight-foot high, chain-link fence without barbed wire around the back of the building and metal, palisade-style fencing along Yew Street. Few changes are proposed for the exterior of the building, except in some areas between ground-level pillars where voids will be filled to improve structural integrity.

Library use increases
City of Powell River councillor Rob Southcott, council’s representative to the Powell River Public Library board,  reported at the committee meeting that almost as many new library cards were issued in July alone as in the preceding six months. After the meeting, chief librarian Terry Noreault confirmed that 365 new cards were issued in July and 271 more in August, compared to 368 new cards issued between January and June. Noreault said the norm is approximately 90 per month. Visits to the new Alberni Street location were up by 50 per cent in July and 40 per cent in August while circulation of library materials increased by almost a third.

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