Kent – Kent Council February 27 Council Recap:
Proposed Financial Plan Presentation
The Director of Financial Services, Mr. Mike Veenbaas, presented the proposed 2023 – 2026 Financial Plan for the District during the Special Open Meeting prior to the regular Council Meeting. Highlights include a 5.32% tax increase, with water and sewer services increasing 2% each. It is important to note that general inflation in 2022 was 6.9% and rising costs associated are the main factor for increasing the tax rate. Council will also continue to focus on infrastructure renewal, which was also featured in the Financial Plan.
Mayor Pranger pointed out that the District is diligent with the budget compared to other municipalities and is conscientious with tax dollars while also providing sustained amenities for our community. You can view the entire presentation on our website:
Mayor Pranger received Council’s endorsement for her fundraiser for the Lets’emot Regional Aquatic Centre. She is collecting donations for her walk from Municipal Hall to the closest indoor pool facility, which is the Chilliwack Leisure Landing on Earth Day, April 22, 2023. More details on the Mayor’s walking route will be coming soon at https://www.kentbc.ca/en/explore-and-play/Fill_the_Pool.aspx .
If you are interested in pledging for the Mayor’s fundraiser, you can contact her directly email@example.com. Donations over $25 will receive a tax receipt.
MP Brad Vis Presentation of Certificates to Agassiz Fire Department
Member of Parliament for Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon, Mr. Brad Vis, attended the Council meeting to present certificates and pins to members of the Agassiz Fire Department (AFD) in appreciation of their response to the 2021 atmospheric river event. During his presentation, Mr. Vis recalled receiving a calendar from the Canadian Armed Forced that featured the Agassiz landslide on the cover. He said that while the attention of the nation was focused on our small community, members of the AFD did an incredible job carrying out their duties and he sincerely thanked everyone for their efforts.
Mayor Pranger also thanked the AFD for their brave actions during the November 2021 atmospheric river. Through their coordination with the BC Ambulance Service, Hope Search and Rescue, and BC Hydro they were able to rescue nine motorists trapped by the landslide. Mayor Pranger specifically thanked Chief Gerald Basten for his leadership and heroism that day, which led to the assembling of a human chain of firefighters to rescue the 9 individuals who were trapped in a water-filled debris field.
Chief Gerald Basten then thanked Mr. Vis for his kind words and the tokens of appreciation. Chief Basten also extended his appreciation on behalf of the AFD to the District of Kent, Mayor and Council, and the administration team. He went on to acknowledge the important work of support staff during the atmospheric river and recalled that the following Monday, Mayor Pranger and Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Wallace Mah came to the fire station for a debrief and to make plans to rescue the remaining 350 stranded motorists. He said that they could’ve easily stayed a Municipal Hall and just called for updates, but they instead decided to attend in person and that this show of support did not go unnoticed. Chief Basten then presented the Mayor and the CAO with Recognition and Appreciation Challenge coins engraved with the AFD file number for that specific event as gesture of gratitude for their support. The Director of Corporate Services Ms. Clair Lee, Executive Assistant Lindsay Jonk, Director of Financial Services Mike Veenbaas and Deputy Director of Financial Services Cheryl Price also received coins and letters of appreciation from the AFD for their assistance roles during the atmospheric river event.
Congratulations to our firefighters and staff who were recognized at the meeting and thank you to everyone at the AFD for the work you do day in and day out to keep our community safe!
The following members received certificates from Mr. Vis:
Chief Gerald Basten
Deputy Fire Chief (former) Mike Van Laerhoven
Assistant Chief Wayne Dyer
Captain Ryan Chiarot (current Deputy Fire Chief)
Captain Corey Shaffer
Captain Art Neels
Captain Casey Klop
Captain Ross McInroy
Lieutenant Edwin Pineda
Lieutenant Chris Renaud
Lieutenant John Pannekoek
Lieutenant Colin Kerkhoff
Lieutenant Lance Jarvis
Firefighter Eric Morrow
Firefighter Troy Globe
Firefighter Rene Visscher
Firefighter Brad Klootwyk
Firefighter Chris Wilson
Firefighter Matthew Griffith
Lets’emot Federal Petition Update
After his presentation to the AFD, Mr. Vis addressed Council directly and pledged to continue fighting for Agassiz to receive its fair share of public funds. He also acknowledged the professionalism and hard work of Mayor Pranger and CAO Mah with regards to the Lets’emot Regional Aquatic Centre project.
Mr. Vis is planning on educating his counterparts in Ottawa about the history of the Lets’emot Community to Community Forum and why the aquatic centre named in its honour is crucial for the development our community, and an important resource for current residents.
Councillor Watchorn thanked Mr. Vis on behalf of Council and the community for his work and dedication to the project. Councillor Watchorn also reiterated that the Lets’emot Regional Aquatic Centre is an important step towards Reconciliation on the local level and thanked Mr. Vis again for his support.
Agassiz-Harrison Mills Drainage Committee Appointments
Council has approved the following appointments for voting members for the Agassiz-Harrison Mills Drainage Committee for the term of January 1, 2023 to December 31, 2026:
- Gerald Struys
- Bill Klop
- Vince Vander Hoek
- Wentworth Bjarnason
- Detmar Schwichtenberg
- Peter Pennemann
- Tony Stoeckly
- Mike Duncan
Councillor Post will serve as the Chair of the committee with Councillor Schwichtenberg as the Alternate Chair. Councillor Post thanked former committee members Mr. Ted Westlin and Mr. Walter Dyck for their valuable input over the years. Congratulations to the new appointees, we look forward to working with you on future projects!
Modified Operational Hours for Statutory Holidays at the Community Recreation and Cultural Centre
Following a staff recommendation to extend the trial period for modified operational hours during statutory holidays at the Community Recreation and Cultural Centre (CRCC), Council voted to extend the trial period from April of this year to December. The extension will help staff gather extra data on facility operations/participation, which will then help Council decide whether or not to make the new hours permanent.