Heated exchange in Parksville council chambers between mayor and councillor

That and other stories from city council's meeting on Monday night

Leanne Salter wasn’t about to let the opportunity pass.

What looked on the surface to be a housekeeping issue turned into a heated exchange between Coun. Salter and the mayor on Monday night in city council chambers.

Council was asked to give its approval to renewing a joint venture agreement between the Arrowsmith Water Service (AWS) and the Englishman River Water Service (ERWS). The agreement has traditionally been renewed every five years and the current agreement is set to expire at the end of this month. It lays out who owns and is responsible for what parts of the regional water system.

Salter seized the opportunity to re-introduce the concerns of Trill Drive residents who have asked the city to reconsider the route of the new pipeline that will carry water past their backyards.

The city, through the mayor, has declined to re-visit the issue.

“The Trill Drive thing is over,” Mayor Marc Lefebvre said when Salter raised the issue on Monday night.

“No, it’s not over,” said Salter.

“I can assure you it’s over,” said the mayor.

“It’s on the agenda, so I can speak to it,” said Salter.

“This is not up for reconsideration,” said Lefebvre.

Salter then tried to have the issue in front of council, the renewal of the joint agreement, tabled to a future meeting. Her motion failed.

Council then passed the motion giving its assent to the renewal of the agreement, with Salter opposed. Both votes were 5-1.

Other news from council’s meeting Monday night:

• After a presentation from members of the District 69 Living Wage for Families Coalition, council passed a motion directing staff to provide a report on what it would look like (budget implications, etc.) if the city became a certified Living Wage for Families employer.

The motion passed 5-1, with Coun. Al Greir opposed.

The discussion lasted about an hour and included talk about contractors potentially having to pay a living wage while performing a contract for the city (currently set at $16.76/hour) in order to be eligible for city work, including Coun. Teresa Patterson, who owns a catering business. See Tuesday’s edition of The NEWS for more on this debate.

• Resident Marilyn Lorenz appeared before council, asking for permission to apply for an adjustment to her water bill. Lorenz said she was away from her Panorama Place home for four of the six-month billing period ending March 31, but was billed for using 221 cubic metres of water, when she is normally billed for between 41-55 cubic metres for the same time period. No leak on her property or the city’s property could be detected, which meant she did not fall into the criteria for an adjustment. Council unanimous passed a motion to allow Lorenz to apply for the adjustment.

• Council passed a motion authorizing staff or a contractor to clean up an unsightly property at 505 Belson St., with the bill for the clean up being passed along to the property owner.

• Council passed a motion formally approving up to $5.6 million in borrowing for the new water treatment plant, which follows the referendum results from last year.