Town Council Briefs

Life in the town office is never dull. Last Monday night's town council meeting was a reminder of just how busy the Town of Princeton is with a new commercial development in the re-zoning phase, a new summer event slated to take place and two days of horse racing on the agenda. An invitation by council for Fortis to do a special presentation on their upcoming rate hikes was of interest to many in attendance.

  • Apr. 5, 2011 6:00 p.m.

Princeton’s Town Council was the only community’s council who invited Fortis to a town council meeting to explain in detail the reason behind the six year rate hike rate payers will be subject to.  The rate hike is 8.6 per cent for 2011, 8.4 per cent for 2012, 6.2 per cent for 2013, 5.4 for 2014, 8.5 per cent for 2015 and 7.4 per cent for 2016 for a total rate increase of 44.8 per cent.  This substantial increase will have a negative impact on many lower income families and is a concern to council.  Fortis explained the increase as a result of necessary upgrades to their existing infrastructure, as well as, increased costs for operations and maintenance.  Power purchased from outside sources to feed Fortis customers and future planned capital expenditures were also included in the rate hikes.

Council received and approved a request by the Vermilion Trails Society to hold an event to celebrate Summer Solstice, the grand opening of Two Rivers Park and the completion of the Trail Lighting Project.  VTS plans to fundraise for a Public Art creation which will become a centre piece for the park through an elegant dinner on the Bridge of Dreams.  The request was met with a favourable response.

Vicky Jones, Cultural Planning Consultant presented Town Council with a ten year Cultural Plan for Princeton.  The plan was the result of a community survey, several public meetings and some solid brainstorming sessions.  The plan has been submitted for approval from council, Brad Hope of the RDOS and the Cultural Plan Committee.  The plan includes an implementation plan with proposed time lines.  The Princeton Community Arts Council has stepped forward to oversee the implementation process.

The Town of Princeton is working towards a zoning amendment bylaw on the property at 680 River Road referred to as the old Mego Wood site.  At the February 21, 2011 meeting the following resolution was passed:

“That staff be directed to begin the process of re-zoning Mego Wood Products property located at 680 River Road, legally described as Plan B5676, District Lot 706, PID: 011-767-791 and 014-004-520, from M2 Heavy Industrial to residential.”

The property had been leased by Mego Wood Products from Crown provincial, but Mego cease operations at the site in 2010 and since then has begun dismantling their operation.  This dismantle process is slated for completion in April of 2011.  Council wishes to follow the re-zoning proposal in the Official Community Plan approved in 2008 and re-zone this particular property as quickly as possible.  A public hearing is scheduled for April 4, 2011.

Another property up for a re-zoning proposal is located at 223 Burton Avenue.  The present owner wishes to build a three level commercial/residential property on the site.  The first floor of the building is proposed to contain a fast food drive thru restaurant and two or three commercial lease hold spaces.  The second and third floors are proposed to contain eight one bedroom residential units.

Town Council has re-entered into an agreement with Argo Road Maintenance for a “Winter Road Maintenance Exchange Agreement.”  Argo is responsible under the agreement for the maintenance of the following roads during the winter driving months:

Road 40 (Princeton-Summerland Rd.), from Old Hedley to Rainbow Rd. for a distance of two kilometers; Road 116, (Old Hedley Rd.) from Hwy 5A to Portland St. for a distance of one and a half kilometers; Tulameen Ave, all of the Town of Princeton’s portion of the road for a distance of three kilometers.

The Town of Princeton is in process of reviewing a proposal that they “enter into an agreement with Barry Beecroft Fuel Distributors Ltd. for the purposes of grading Town of Princeton lands in exchange for the provision of fill material to be deposited on land within the Town’s Industrial park owned by Barry Beecroft Fuel Distributors Ltd.”   The agreement would allow Beecroft Distributors to flatten lots in the industrial park that need to be flattened before they are viable for sale and development at no cost to the town in exchange for fill for the Beecroft lot.  “The proposed agreement is a win-win arrangement, where both parties of the agreement will save money.  The Town will improve the value of its land it wishes to sell by flattening this land, and Barry Beecroft will be able to utilize the materials they extract in order to develop their lot,” stated the proposal.

Councillor Frank Armitage attended the museum meeting and was happy to announce that the the renovation is going well.  “I had a good session with our contractor, Fred Bergsma,” stated Armitage.  “I am very pleased with the way things are coming along.”

Mayor McLean responded to the renovation of the museum with enthusiasm.  “I am dying to compare the heating bills now that the walls are well insulated in the museum,” stated McLean.  “It should make a significant difference in our overall operational costs.”

Armitage attended the Business to Business session held at Around the Corner Cage with owner Stephanie Mintzler and numerous other business professionals from the community.  “Stephanie has been in business for six months and has been very encouraged by all the community support she has received,” said Armitage.  “It was really nice to hear that.”

Councillor Marilyn Harkness attended the Spirit Festival and was pleased to state that the festival actually earned some money in its first year.  “It is a three year government funded event,” stated Harkness, “with a three year grace period for the organizers to find funding outside their present grant source and this is very encouraging.”

“Our Princeton Community Arts Council is thriving,” announced Harkness.  “They have about 200 members and are involved in a variety of cultural activities.  It is really wonderful. Cultural activities are used to define a community and I think they are doing a really wonderful job of giving Princeton a good cultural base to grow from.”

Harkness was also pleased to find out recently that two different ladies who are new to Princeton said that one of the things they liked most about Princeton was the safety.  “The one lady said she has never felt so safe as she does in Princeton.  I think that is something we can be proud of and possibly use to encourage professionals to set down roots here.  We should somehow be able to build on that sense of safety and turn it into a positive asset of our community.”