At the Aug. 15 council meeting Sechelt resident Jancis Andrews asked that council consider offering a citizen of distinction award that would be similar to the Gibsons’ Golden Girl award, but open to any gender.
“We’re twice as big as they are, and yet we haven’t seen fit to honour any of the many outstanding people living in this community,” she said.
Coun. Alice Lutes agreed Sechelt should have their own award to honour community members making a difference locally.
“Thank you for this suggestion. I think it’s a marvelous one. I have wondered in the past why we don’t pick out a volunteer or somebody to honour,” she said.
Council didn’t make a motion to support Andrews’ suggestion, but Mayor John Henderson noted Andrews may be called upon in the future to sit on a committee and help Sechelt develop the award.
It looks like Sechelt will hire Innovative Research Group to conduct a 10 to 15 minute telephone survey of random residents in the District later this year. The cost for the survey will be between $13,500 and $16,000 before tax and it is meant to gauge citizens’ satisfaction with District services and facilities.
That cost caused some councillors to vote against doing the survey at the Aug. 22 committee of the whole meeting.
“I’d like to suggest that this be postponed for a year as I think there’s some better things that could be done with the $13,500 to $16,000 before taxes that would benefit Sechelt more than what this report is going to give us,” Coun. Doug Hockley noted.
Coun. Chris Moore agreed, saying a study done last year could inform council of citizens’ wants and needs.
Lutes felt a new survey was warranted, however.
“I think what we need is to have a baseline from which to work and if we wait a whole other year that would be less time for us to try to enact what we find coming out of the survey,” she said.
When the vote was called to contract the satisfaction survey Lutes, Henderson and councillors Mike Shanks and Darnelda Siegers were in favour, passing the motion by a four to three vote. Hockley, Moore and Coun. Tom Lamb voted against.
Councillors decided to waive permitting fees up to a maximum of $2,000 for the building of a storage room at the Sechelt Seniors Activity Centre.
After some debate about whether the group could find the funds themselves by upping membership costs, all but Hockley voted in favour of waiving the fees.
Moore noted he voted in favour of waiving the fees simply because he found the permit cost too high.
“I just find that’s a heavy fee for this size of a 10 by 20 shed,” he said.
Development planner Angela Letman noted permitting fees were raised under the last council to “discourage people from applying for variances.”
As a condition of waiving the fees for the seniors’ centre council also stipulated property tax exemptions and grants in kind that have been given to the group be advertised by the District and the seniors’ centre.