Council identifies six top priorities

Council identifies six top priorities

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The east riverside trail and an airport operations manual are among the Town of Oliver’s top corporate priorities this year.

Council has approved six top priorities to be completed without further delay. These include the trail, the manual, the water regulations bylaw, Zoning Bylaw 1330, a back-up sewer treatment agreement with the Osoyoos Indian Band, and Public Works succession matters (hiring second manager in late 2013 and an additional utility operator in mid-2013).

Municipal Manager Tom Szalay said the Osoyoos Indian Band recently commissioned its own sewage treatment plant at Senkulmen Business Park.

Szalay said this small plant is inherently less able to buffer and average out incoming sewer flows.  “Because two of its largest customers will be Vincor and the new prison, the OIB has asked the Town to consider an arrangement to provide emergency back-up service in case the OIB treatment plant experiences short-term service interruptions due to mechanical failure or an upset in its biological treatment process.”

This back-up service would be provided by having the OIB pump raw sewage to the Town’s sewer system through the pipeline that currently delivers Vincor sewage to the Town’s system. Szalay said such sewage flows, if they occur at all, would be charged at commercial rates.

Another priority is the riverside trail paving project from Fairview Road bridge north to drop structure 13, which will start in the second quarter of this year. The airport manual will be completed in mid-2013.

Fifteen additional projects have been identified as a priority as time permits. One is promoting Oliver for hotel development based on a recent marketing study. Garnering the same level of priority is the Centennial RV Park survey (to set aside public park space at the south end).

Completing phase 3 of the water-twinning project is another priority (if grant funding application is approved).

The Town also wants to research best practices in establishing a drug policy, relating to drug and alcohol use and random testing for employees. Szalay said the Town currently has no written policy on this.

“Council has not asked for such policy to be developed necessarily. All they are looking for at this time is some research on what may be best practices used by other similar employers.”

Another priority for council is establishing a policy for maintaining reserves in water, sewer and general operating funds.

Next up is exploring options for sustainable, long-term funding of road capital and maintenance requirements.

As time permits, the Town wants to complete a revitalization area tax exemption bylaw, which is currently at first reading.

Continuing on the list: preparing a business case and phasing plan for LED street light conversion; a System 7 pump station; a development servicing bylaw (draft bylaw complete but needs review by Public Works and engineering and legal departments); Buchanan Road well (construction complete by March 2015); establish “riverfront park” with fitness stations (apply to province for tenure and obtain fundraising and maintenance commitments); and build a secondary bridge at McKinney Road and Veterans Avenue.

Mayor Ron Hovanes said council’s main goal is to continue to be as business and development friendly as possible. “Our tax exemption bylaw and revamped zoning bylaw allows for real creativity and we hope that both landowners and developers will recognize the intent and the spirit that we are trying to foster.”

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