Courtenay Mayor Bob Wells started the Feb. 28 council meeting with a statement about Russia’s attack on Ukraine, which he described as unconscionable, unprovoked and unacceptable.
“We stand in solidarity and strength with our local Ukrainian community,” he said. “Although we are physically far away from the conflict, we are not without power, and there are things we can do to help the people of the Ukraine.”
The federal government is matching donations to the Canadian Red Cross, up to $10 million. The Canada-Ukraine Foundation is raising money on Go Fund Me (helpukrainenow).
As of Thursday, the campaign had raised more than $1.25 million to help people displaced by the bombing.
The Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC.ca) and the Charitable Foundation Voices of Children (voices.org.ua) are also accepting donations. Also visit Facebook: United Help Ukraine.
Fran Prince passing
Coun. Doug Hillian said the K’ómoks First Nation community suffered a loss on the weekend with the passing of Fran Prince, who served with the KFN since 2005. Since 2007, she had been the treaty co-ordinator.
“She was a lovely, lovely person, very kind, very gentle, and a tireless worker for her people,” Hillian said. “Her loss is a very significant one for the K’ómoks people.”
“Fran was just an amazing person,” Wells added.
Council directed staff to implement a pilot program until Dec. 31 to open the Urbaloo downtown public washroom round-the-clock, with three daily cleanings and four additional nightly security checks.
A Portland Loo-style washroom (Urbaloo) was installed at 6th and England in December. It opened daily from dawn to dusk with one cleaning.
COVID highlighted the need for accessible public hygiene facilities, and has exacerbated the need of the vulnerable and unhoused.
Cleaning and maintenance costs are estimated at $650 a week or $34,000 per year. In an effort to mitigate security risks, staff recommend four patrols between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. at a cost of $100 a month.
Feedback from neighbours will be gathered about an application to build an apartment complex at 1810 Riverside Lane, near the 17th Street Bridge. The three-storey building would contain nine rental units, parking, bike storage and landscaping. Council will make a decision March 14 about a development permit.
The proposed 2022 budget includes a recommended increase of 4.96 per cent in municipal property taxation to cover operating, capital and debt costs.
Letters of support
The city will write to Health Minister Adrian Dix to support ongoing funding for the CV Farmers Market Nutrition Coupon Program. Courtenay residents redeemed $45,201 with farmers last year.
Council also agreed to a letter to help the CV Affordable Housing Society obtain funds from the BC Rent Bank to open a local support branch. A rent bank offers interest-free loans to help low and moderate income earners who may be at risk of homelessness due to an inability to pay rent.
A letter to the Ministry of Children and Family Development will support a CV Child Care Action Plan to create childcare spaces at Arden Elementary and Glacier View School.