Muni Morsels: controversial bylaws adopted and new public art policy

Correction: the print and earlier version of this article said that the business licence bylaw passed unanimously. Mason and Skeels in fact voted against the bylaw. 

The last council meeting before the election began with a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday” from council and audience alike and ended with a table of long faces as end-of-term business prolonged the penultimate meeting.

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This council will sit one more time, after the election, to tie up some of the term’s loose ends.

The following are reports from the regular council meeting October 9.

So now can we get a sabre toothed tiger? Council adopted a Public Art Policy for Bowen Island (it was one of this policy’s presenters who had the birthday.) The document is to act as a guide for acquiring and integrating public artwork on Bowen. The policy calls for BIM to establish a Public Art Advisory Committee with the mandate of developing and administering the policy, establishing a public art inventory and developing public art priorities.

Both mayoral candidates are on the steering committee: Rounding the bases toward a (loosely) projected 2021 opening date, council approved the completion of gate four of the community centre project. Councillors unanimously voted to release previously-budgeted funds so that the design team could get to 95 per cent complete working drawings.

As the community centre project is eligible for a substantial federal infrastructure grant (it could pay up to 73 per cent of eligible costs,) the project’s steering committee is scrambling to build the best case it can for the January grant application deadline. With this in mind, council also authorized staff to apply for a building permit for the community centre.

Two and a half months left until conformity: Council adopted Bowen’s business licence bylaw. Before passing to vote, councillors Melanie Mason and Gary Ander said that they were uncomfortable with the vocal public dissent but attributed it to lack of communication between council and populace.

Mayor Murray Skeels, the only elected person at the table not standing in the upcoming election, bluntly disagreed. “It’s absolutely not a communication problem,” said Skeels. “It’s a culture problem.

“We don’t have a lot of government in our face and we like it that way.”

Bowen’s chief administrative officer, Kathy Lalonde, noted that it’s very important to her that the new council review the bylaw in a year’s time and to look into how business licenses could regulate short term vacation rentals.

Mason and Skeels voted against adopting the bylaw. 

It will come to effect in the new year.

Ron Woodall submitted this week’s cartoon before this happened: One of the more divisive bylaws in recent months passed in the twilight hours of council. No new dock that physically divides a beach shall be built. However, a last minute amendment from Mason (to the dismay of Skeels and councillors Maureen Nicholson and Sue Ellen Fast) added the words, “Except for community docks which may physical divide a beach.” A community dock is defined as a public dock in the Land Use Bylaw.

The four-to-three vote (Kaile, Ander and Morse against) followed a discussion that critiqued the subjectivity of the bylaw (what is a beach) and proposed mapping out all the beaches on Bowen and noting which ones cannot be divided. 

 

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