HIGHLIGHTS FROM JOINT TOWN AND COUNTY COUNCIL MEETING, MARCH 14, 2017
By Marianne Cole
The meeting began with all members of each council present and about 23 people in the “gallery”.
These are the highlights of the meeting:
1. Presentation by Clearwater Broadband Foundation Michelle Swanson and John Reid gave a brief
outline of their vision and efforts to promote the improvement of broadband services in the area. This
is the first time that the town has heard, publicly, about their efforts so it was suggested by Councillor
Mizera that the town needed more information on the costs involved before making a decision to get
2. Area Structure Plan The meeting then proceeded to the main item on the agenda which was
discussion on developments to the north. These are the highlights of that discussion:
Ron Leaf gave a brief introduction indicating that the Open House meeting on February 16 was
to introduce the Area Structure Plan and gather information. There was no intent to short
circuit the process. He then asked that the councils consider 2 questions:
Do you agree with what the 2 councils are doing?
Would you review the documents in that context?
Mayor Nash said he believed that the process is there and he is willing to look at the plans but
that there are more questions that need to be considered. He indicated that this if for the long
term and that we’re here to do what’s best for the area.
Reeve Alexander said that the whole reason for this development is for the town. This
development could have been taken a 5 miles or more out of town but that wouldn’t be
helpful. He further added that we are only one community and he thinks we can find a
Rick Emmons then gave a history of the process that lead up to the presentation of the Area
Structure Plan in February. Both councils had met in 2014 to discuss future development. From
there an Intermunicipal Development Committee was struck with representatives from both
the town and county administration and councils. They met “in camera” and no information
about their discussions was presented to either council. Neither council had heard/seen the
information on the ASP prior to the open house on February 16.
Bill Shaw, planning consultant, then addressed the meeting and presented information on the
ASP and the process that had taken place.
The meeting then proceeded with each member of each council giving their opinion on the process and
the plans. Below is a summary of the general feelings of each council:
Town: Generally the town council was in favor of moving forward with the development plans but
concerns were raised about:
The process (the lack of information/transparency given to both councils)
The need for more information on the economics of the plan and the status of the lagoon
The economic benefit has to be equal for both areas; unfair to kill development/business in one
area in favor of another
County: Generally the county council was in favor of moving forward with the following a summary of
Being ready for development (have infrastructure in place for developers) is necessary
• Need to be careful not to over invest
Moving forward together is better than individually
Need results of the lagoon study and the economic feasibility study before any final decisions
Concern with tone expressed by some of the town councillors
Disappointment with the blame for lack of transparency on the county as the town also had
representation on the Intermunicipal Development Committee
Towards the end of the discussion the question was raised if there will be a new Intermunicipal
Development Plan or will the Joint Development Agreement take precedence? Ron Leaf indicated that
there would be a new IDP but that involves due process and public consultation. Todd Becker, town
CAO, indicated that the Joint Service Agreement also needs to be approved.
Town councillor Mizera suggested that in order to promote greater transparency that joint council
meetings be held instead of the planning/discussions/decisions being made by the Intermunicipal
Development Committee. Discussion took place suggesting that a joint council group is too large to
effectively manage so it is best that the committee meet with better communication to follow.
Ron Leaf concluded the session by saying that a public hearing will be held on these documents before
any final decisions are made. If the hearing went in September/October a second one would be needed
after the election if there were new councillors that hadn’t been given the opportunity to be involved.
The meeting then proceeded “in camera”.