The most recent Radium council meeting was offered in a hybrid style, with councillors and staff meeting in person, and the public joining in via Zoom. All councillors were present for the in-person meeting on Wednesday, September 9th, all sitting six feet apart from each other.
As the days are going shorter, the council plans on reopening the Radium Hot Springs Centre to users groups, by reservation, after the long weekend in October. Users of the building will have to respect the provincial guidelines for COVID-19 for events. The manager of any given user group will be in charge of enforcing these rules. As per new regulations that the government of B.C. has recently issued: the sound level of music is not permitted to be louder than conversation voices. More precise instruction on use of the centre are to come from council.
Last May Sinclair Creek flooded due to heavy rain. The disaster damaged the trail system, and the public works garage and sewer treatment plant was threatened. The bill for the damage cost totalled $21,830. Radium chief financial officer Karen Sharp applied for funding to help cover the costs from the provincial regional emergency operation centre (PREOC) program. The province approved the application, and will reimburse all costs.
The main topic of the night was about the controversy stirring in Radium over short term rentals (STRs). What is are STRs? According to the definition the village is using in a draft policy on the matter, STR means ‘’guests’ commercial accommodation in a private residence, which could include a room, apartment, secondary suite, or house on a temporary basis, this being 30 consecutive days or less.’’ The purpose of Radium’s planned STR policy is to regulate the industry as currently no laws are in place governing STRs. With the policy, Radium council hopes to ensure that STRs are well managed, basic standards are met.
Radium council and staff are in the second draft of the policy, and are planning more public consultation as soon a draft bylaw is ready (likely by the end of the year). Council members do not agree on the number of permits that should be granted. Councillor Mike Gray wants a fixed number, but other council members disagreed.
As part of the master plan for the public park behind the Radium Hot Springs Centre, Radium Rotary Club has been fundraising for a splash park for the past year and a half. The club target raised $200,000. But after consultation on the cost of installing the splash park, the club realized it would need $300,000. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it put all fundraising efforts on pause. Rotary Club will continue to try raising funds.
Council also made some small changes to its fire services bylaw. The fees and charges now extend to the fourth ($500), fifth and each subsequent false alarm ($1,000). It is also specified that the services provided by the fire department must be within its capacity to undertake with a qualified workforce and resources. Radium fire chief Dave Dixon was satisfied with these changes.
Local resident Ken Becker requested the relocation of a fire hydrant placed on his property. He is responsible for annual servicing and service after each usage as he own it by the fact the hydrant is on his land. Once, he realized the hydrant was damaged and needed $1,000 in repairs, which Becker paid. A better spot will be beneficial for the safety of the neighbourhood, he said, adding that as the road work is occurring nearby, now is the ideal time to relocate it. Cracking a joke, he added that he is happy to donate the current spigot. Council approved his request.