Parksville city council news: Lighting up the downtown

Also, Mayor Marc Lefebvre has some terse words for Trill Drive residents

It was beginning to sound a lot like Christmas at the August 8 meeting of Parksville city council.

Parksville Downtown Business Association (PDBA) president Sandy Herle gave council a recap of last year and a look ahead to this year’s plans for sprucing up the downtown for the Christmas season. She also asked for, and received, a financial commitment from the city (up to $1,000) for the purchase of more lights for the downtown for the festive season.

Last year, the PDBA hosted a tree-lighting ceremony downtown under the big sequoia at the end of Morrison Street. The event was well-attended and the PDBA wants to expand it this year.

“We can certainly build on this event,” said Herle. “This year we hope to have even more lights and some coloured lights on that tree.”

The Memorandum of Understanding between the city and the PDBA — one of the few such agreements in the province between a municipality and a business improvement area — has a clause that states the city will support the PDBA with the beautification of the downtown and for downtown promotional events, including financial support.

Council agreed Monday to provide up to $1,000 for the PDBA to purchase more lights for the big sequoia and possibly to light trees that line the downtown portion of the Alberni Highway, along with the labour to install/take down the lights and the increase in BC Hydro costs.

Also from city council’s meeting Monday:

• Trill Drive residents, still unhappy council decided to position a new water main on the side of the railway tracks that’s closest to their homes, tried to raise the issue again before the meeting started Monday.

Mayor Marc Lefebvre would have none of it.

“As far as I’m concerned, all of the questions asked and all of the concerns raised were answered,” said Lefebvre. “I’m not going there; I’m not wasting our time.”

That didn’t sit well with some people in the gallery.

“This is more and more like a dictatorship, not a democracy,” said one woman before leaving the council chambers.

• Medical Officer of Health Paul Hasselback provided council with a local health area profile, although the statistics are based on data from as long ago as 2013 and have been previously reported. You can view them on Island Health’s website:

(http://www.viha.ca/mho/stats/lha_profiles.htm).

• A delegation led by Vancouver Island University’s Omar Karim told council about the National MBA Games (master’s of business administration) coming to this area

Jan. 2-4, 2017.

Tigh-Na-Mara Resort will be the epicentre of the Games, which include a case component (strategy, finance, marketing plans), a spirit component (fundraising) and a sports component (basketball, volleyball, soccer). Karim said 600-800 MBA students from 20 universities across the country are expected to attend.

Karim was asking for the city’s support: $5,000 in cash and $5,000 in kind. Council passed a motion to consider the request in upcoming budget discussions.

• Council passed a motion authorizing the city to clean up and bill the owner, if the owner doesn’t do the work, for what’s been deemed an unsightly property at 255 Lodgepole Drive.

• Council passed a motion to advocate to the provincial government to develop and implement a provincial poverty reduction strategy to reduce the number of people living in poverty in B.C. and to support a resolution to that end at the 2016 Union of B.C. Municipalities conference.

• The next regular meeting of city council is set for Monday, Aug. 15 at 6 p.m. at city hall on Jensen Avenue.

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