CONTRIBUTION · 10th September 2014
Last time I wrote about what electors should look for in a candidate for Mayor or Council members. This week I’d like to offer my opinion of what candidates should expect.
Over the past two years, the District of Kitimat has become very busy with the interest shown by industry wishing to locate here.
Regular meetings of Council are conducted twice a month, and every other week a Committee of the Whole meeting can be scheduled. In the past few years it is normal for a meeting to take place every Monday night. Various business and industrial leaders have visited Kitimat and wish to meet with Mayor and Council as well. More recently, developers are also coming to Kitimat wishing to build, and want to meet with Council. The current Council has worked diligently to establish better relations with neighboring municipalities including the Haisla First Nation and local industry, which also requires additional meetings. Be prepared for two, three or more meetings per week. Frequently some of these meetings are held on weekends as well.
The Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) and Deputy CAO are responsible for all administrative matters, hiring, firing and supervising staff. Council is responsible for setting policies, which gives direction to the CAO, adopting bylaws and approving the budget. Mayor and Council do not give direction to staff members except through the CAO or Deputy CAO. The Mayor needs to work closely with the CAO, but not usurp his time from his duties in managing the operations.
The CAO and Deputy CAO are always willing to help Mayor and Council in doing research, etc., but the elected officials need to be respectful of their and the staff’s time as well.
A number of outstanding issues need to be worked on that Council should consider over the next few years. Robin Rowland, Editor of Northwest Coast Energy News wrote an excellent article on August 20, 2014 suggesting that Kitimat needs to rewrite the development permit standards, look at development guidelines and permit rules that can act as a guideline for future changes that reflect the Clarence Stein vision for Kitimat as a Garden City, and rewrite the Official Community Plan with a strong well-defined approach. This article is well-written and a recommended read for new candidates.
A second issue related to planning for the District of Kitimat (DOK) is to budget and plan for replacement of municipal facilities, including the Fire Hall, Administration Office, Museum, Information Centre, etc. over the next 10 years.
A third issue for planning is the potential need for an industrial bypass road and west side industrial corridor, along with three new bridges between here and Terrace. A potential route could be planned in advance and be included in the OCP.
A fourth issue to do with planning and development is passing a bylaw to require all new developments to provide accessibility. ie. Commercial buildings with automatic door openers, properly equipped handicap washroom facilities, easy access to multiple floors, etc.
Another issue to be dealt with is improvements to the landfill and larger recycling facilities.
These are just a few issues that are not completed, and I’m sure that the residents could add a number more.
I’ve just provided food for thought for campaign issues, and I hope that all, or some of them, will be addressed.
Kitimat needs bright, enthusiastic, achievers on Council in November. Do you fit the bill?
Food for thought…….