A representative from the Okanagan Regional Library, Don Nettleton, attended the second monthly meeting of the Town Council for April. It was a positive report that showed great promise for the future of the ORL who have been able to transition between books only to the increasing world of technology. Nettleton was pleased to announce that circulation at the Princeton branch is up 5 per cent and that is even after the shut down while the old library was moved to the new one.
ORL has almost 30 branches and has relocated the Sorrento branch and Rutland branch. The new Vernon branch is halfway through its construction phase and Sicamous is scheduled for its move to the new facilities in the new Town Council and museum building. The library group has been monitoring the changing landscape of reading and computer literacy as it goes along. Feature film usage is up 150 per cent and “library to go” offers downloadable books. “We have a wide diversity of clients,” said Nettleton, “from extreme rural to inner city, so we need to find a way to accommodate everyone and keep up with all the changes technology brings with our strategic plan.” Nettleton commended the members of the ORL board from Princeton for being very involved. Don also pondered whether it might be time to re-evaluate rural resident’s support of the library. “A referendum was held in 2003 in Area H and residents turned down a vote to support the local library.” Right now it costs rural residents $75 to get a library cards while for town residents the card is free.
The re-zoning of 223 Burton Avenue was also on the agenda. A request was put forth by Grgich Holdings Ltd. to amend the Official Community Plan for the said lot from Low Density Residential to Town Centre and rezone it from M2 heavy Industrial to C2 Central Business. “The intent of the application was to accommodate the redevelopment of property on Burton Avenue from its current use as a storage/warehouse to a mixed use commercial/residential property,” stated council briefs.
“The applicant is proposing a three story building. The first floor is proposed to contain 632 square metres of mixed restaurant and two or three commercial leasehold spaces. The second and third floors would each contain approximately 8 one bedroom residential units with approximately 550 square meters on each floor. On site surface parking is being proposed.”
Grgich Holdings described the re-zoning as providing a buffer zone from Industrial to the proposed low density residential lots which are identified in the Official Community Plan. After amending the Official Community Plan designation to provide a buffer zone, as is common in OCP’s to buffer the impacts between commercial and residential council adopted the re-zoning amendment. “I find this a difficult issue,” said Mayor Randy McLean. “If we don’t approve this buffer zone, this lot had the potential of becoming heavy industrial and we know that is not what the residents want. Council is not in the business of restricting free enterprise, but we are also trying to make Princeton aesthetically more pleasing.”
Councillor Frank Armitage was very positive about the zoning change. “I think that by us creating this transitional zone, it will be very positive. This is an improvement and positive for this area of town.
Council also approved the need to hire consultants to help the Aquatic Centre Committee prepare for the September referendum. Councillor Marilyn Harkness asked for clarification on the need for consultants.
“We need to engage their service to clarify numbers for the pool costs and to help us prepare for the referendum. We need their expertise to do our job properly.”
“We want to make sure both sides are clearly represented and the financials are very clearly identified,” added McLean.
“RDOS will be helping us with the expenses,” informed Thomas. “We have an unbiased committee who are required to present facts for and against. We need to gather costs to the tax payers and we want to gather as much up-to-date information as is possible.” Thomas was pleased to inform council that a Facebook page that has been developed by the Nurse Practitioner Tanya ter Keurs to help open up the lines of communication amongst the committee and the community. “It will be a valuable tool,” stated Thomas.
Deputy Treasurer Shirley McMahon, while usually quiet during the meetings, did report that Councillor Ray Jarvis is recovering well from his leg surgery. “We all wish him our best,” added McMahon.
Councillor Jason Earle reported that “our Princeton girls did incredibly well in Hawaii and Princeton was well represented.” Earle also reminded everyone that the Princeton Rodeo is being held on May 14 and 15 starting at 1:30 p.m.. Earle also was enthusiastic about the upcoming dinner on the bridge being planned for Saturday, June 18. “I can’t wait,” said Earle. The Legion Poker Tournament was also on Earle’s agenda. “I encourage everyone to come out. It is really fun.”
Earle concluded by commending this year’s ambassador candidates. “It is going to be hard to judge.”
Councillor Armitage said, “the museum reno is on time and on budget.”
Armitage visited Councillor Jarvis and said “Ray is recovering from the loss of his leg below the knee and will need to learn to walk again on a prothesis, but I have no doubt Ray is up to the challenge.”
Mayor McLean attended a SIBAC conference and said a cheque for three million dollars was released to help stimulate pine beetle affected communities. McLEan was impressed by a website which is in the development stage to help bring fibre suppliers and sellers together. “It gives small businesses some new opportunities.”
At the meetings end, Council declared May 9-15 Western Week.