Invermere expenses increasing in 2019 budget

Water and garbage going up; Athalmer land purchase potential to increase taxes further

The District of Invermere is poised to bump up your taxes, and has approved raising your water and garbage collection rates.

The proposed tax increases are for taxes to rise by $50 for the average single-family home and by $125 for the average business.

The water flat rate will go up by $50 and the consumption fee by 10 cents per cubic metre. The residential garbage collection fee will go up by $32.

This means the set costs for the average single-family home would go up $132 a year. Adding in the costs for the Athalmer land purchase, living in Invermere could cost an extra $236 annually if the tax increase earns Council’s support.

“Those costs are all going up as they are in a lot of other communities,” said Mayor Al Miller. “We are trying to keep that part as competitive as possible but at the same time looking after the necessary items such as infrastructure and such properly.”

Some items – such as a new trail and a sidewalk on the east side of the Columbia Valley Centre – that are included as recommendations in the financial plan came from residents.

“We were listening. We went out to the coffee meetings. We went out to the general public,” said Mayor Miller. “We tried to bring (their concerns) back and incorporate those into our plan. And if it wasn’t something that was already in our works budget or capital plan or whatever, like newer ideas, then they were set up as recommendations.”

One of the recommendations was to hire a leisure-services manager in part to have more recreational opportunities at the Columbia Valley Centre. Cortney Pitts, the events coordinator, will be taking on both roles and moving into a permanent position.

Invermere supports buying Athalmer land

Invermere residents are about to become the proud owners of a new chunk of public property after Council gained the community’s approval to purchase the Lake Windermere Resort Lands.

“It’s the last piece of waterfront property… available to the town to purchase,” Mayor Miller said, adding that there was “overwhelming support” to proceed.

The DOI received 111 responses to oppose the purchase in an alternate approval process. It would have required 239 objectors to stop the sale or force Council to hold a referendum.

Trail connection

The DOI is going through an engineering process and working with the provincial Ministry of Transportation to connect the Invermere trail system with the Markin-MacPhail Westside Legacy Trail.

“We have a couple obstacles there,” Mayor Miller said, adding that the entrance to CastleRock is so close to Westside Road that the DOI may need to shift the road to the east to allow for safe access on the west side.

“It’s going to happen. We’re going to move forward with it, but we’re just working first on the engineering,” he said.

He is hoping the trail connection will be completed this summer and will come in around $400,000.

“We want to be a part of that connection and get it joined in with the rest of our trail system,” he said.

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