The start of the New Year was actually pretty quiet as far as Town Council business was concerned. However, by mid-January it got intensely busy with what appeared to be an endless stream of meetings in and out of town. Let me break some of it down for you.
Town Council Meetings
Due to the Christmas Break, Town Council held just one public meeting in January. It was not nearly as full an agenda as I had expected but we did take care of a number of things. Probably the two most talked about items will be the announcement of the members selected to sit on the KVR Mixed Trail Use Select Committee and the Repeal Bylaw.
KVR Mixed Trail Use Select Committee
I sat on a similar Town-appointed committee prior to the October 2018 Municipal Election. That committee was charged with the task of establishing an alternate route connecting the two ends of the KVR trail without cutting through the Town of Princeton on the existing rail bed. The matter became an election issue and a new committee has been struck.
This one has a different mandate. The recommendations to be made to Council are to be on such topics as the proposed route to join the KVR trail between the two ends of Princeton with a focus on safety, noise/dust control, maintenance, ground cover and policing. The new committee also has to create a survey for residents who live along the corridor and must work with the RCMP to identify issues.
The Town of Princeton Repeal Bylaw
This document was given first, second and third reading during the January 21st meeting of Town Council. It is essentially a housekeeping action to permit the removal, repeal and deletion of a number of outdated bylaws. I looked through a few of them and will share a couple here so you’ll understand why they are getting axed.
Bylaw No. 102, 1961 is a bylaw to “prohibit the sale of raw milk in the Village of Princeton.” It was better known in the day as the Milk Protection Bylaw which defined raw milk as milk that had not been pasteurized “to the satisfaction of the Medical Health Officer.” Another one I found interesting was Bylaw No. 135, 1964 which posed the question, “Shall the water supply of the Corporation of the Village of Princeton be fluoridated?” to electors as part of the Municipal Election set for December 12, 1964.
Meetings and Seminars
The monthly meeting schedule for me included the Princeton Health Care Steering Committee and Princeton Exhibition Association (both on January 15) and Princeton Museum Society on January 17 followed by a ‘Meet ‘n’ Greet’ session later that night with representatives of a major industrial corporation.
Seminars included two days of Strategic Planning (January 16 and January 22) where all members of Town Council and Management spent several hours working on priorities for 2019. The sessions were valuable to me as it got all of us in the same room working together to build a better Princeton one step at a time. The rest of that week was spent in Kelowna at an Elected Officials Seminar with all members of Town Council and the Interim CAO.
Elected Officials Seminar
Organized by the Local Government Leadership Academy (LGLA) and hosted at the Delta Grand Okanagan Resort, this was a long and involved series of presentations. Although a lot of it would be considered dry and uninteresting to the average person, these mini-workshops – each running no more than 90-minutes and strung together – were very important to any elected official.
Here’s a list of some of the presentations I sat through from January 23 to 25:
Lessons For A Happy Political Journey
The Local Government Weather Outlook
Dynamics and Decision Making
We’ve Got To Stop Meeting Like This
Local Government Law 101
Overview of Municipalities and Regional Districts
Public Hearings 101
Local Governments & Indigenous Communities Working Together
Local Government Finance 101
Local Government Planning 101
Making The Media Work For You
I took copious amounts of notes (which reminded me of my old reporter days) and many of these presentations can be found online at the LGLA website.
And The Month Ends With Numbers
January wraps up for us with two full days working on the annual Town of Princeton budget. I have my Wish List ready but I’m sure I’ll have to revise it somewhat in the next day or two. What we can’t come to consensus on by the end of the month will have to be hammered out in early February.
What I Gained From The Extra Activity This Month
I personally felt a much better working relationship forming within the walls of Town Hall following the Strategic Planning Sessions. We all get along well, already. I just think that the two day exercise helped in solidifying that cooperative and forward-thinking direction.
As for the Elected Officials Seminar, I made contact with several Councillors and Directors in other communities including Revelstoke, Montrose, Oliver, Osoyoos, Peachland, Kamloops, Keremeos and Hedley. These contacts may be helpful when I need some assistance in dealing with an issue. One thing I did discover was that all communities in BC represented at this event are faced with the same two main issues: housing and infrastructure. That, alone, made the two and-a-half days worthwhile to me.
My name is George Elliott. I have been in the Media Industry since 1978. I spent 23 years in Broadcasting and worked in a total of six different radio stations located in southern British Columbia Canada during my career. In 2000 I switched gears and moved into the Print Media Industry at a small town, local weekly community newspaper. In 2004 I bought the paper and operated it with my wife, Brenda until July 2016 when we closed it. I launched a freelance web content and article writing business from my home in January 2014.