Council ready for electronic agendas

Coldstream is experimenting with eliminating paper council agendas and providing electronic agendas and wireless internet.

Coldstream is going paperless.

The district is experimenting with eliminating paper council agendas and instead providing electronic agendas and wireless internet at the municipal hall.

The move  will only affect staff, the mayor  and council, who must either print off agendas from home or bring their own laptops to access wireless agendas. Agendas will still be available in paper form for the public.

“You have to have your own computer, you just have the ability to get the information here at the municipal hall,” Mayor Jim Garlick informed his colleagues Monday.

Having gone through a similar process at Vernon council, Coldstream Coun. Pat Cochrane says the transition will take some getting used to, but provides a greater benefit.

“(Printing agendas) is certainly a waste of staff time and paper.”

Cochrane doesn’t suspect he will be lugging in a computer and will still be printing off the agenda, just not in its entirety (agendas vary from 50 to 200 pages, depending on the number of reports).

“I like having the actual agenda in paper form,” said Cochrane, who also prefers reading an actual book versus one on a screen.

Support limited

There will soon be a limit to how much support local projects and organizations can get from Coldstream.

The district is setting a maximum annual grant of $1,000 per applicant – currently there is no minimum or maximum.

“For 2011, the district received multiple grant applications that far exceed the total grant budget,” explains Trevor Seibel, director of financial administration, in a report.

“This option has the effect of limiting the volume of applications but also distributing the available funds to more applicants.”

The changes will also open up the scope of eligibility, offering grants to non-profit groups outside of the Coldstream area, but that contribute to the general interest, health and/or welfare of the municipality.

Preferential consideration will given, in the following order, to applicants operating in: Coldstream, Greater Vernon, outside of Greater Vernon.

Coldstream’s annual grant budget is $6,000.

Boaters banned

Boating season may be over but efforts to keep boat trailers out of Coldstream’s newest park are full speed ahead.

As part of the sale agreement of the log cabin property on Kalavista Road, efforts have been made to restrict boat trailer parking through a new bylaw.

“I think it’s important that this property is protected for the public to enjoy,” said Jim Cookson, former owner of the property. “We would not have sold it to (Regional District of North Okanagan) if this bylaw wasn’t in place.”

Further efforts will be made in January to enhance the bylaw, something Cookson said was also part of the sale agreement.

“It’s not just boat trailer parking, it’s anything to do with facilitating the boat launch period.”

The restrictions are welcome news to neighbours concerned that the change in ownership could mean an eventual creation of a parking lot – especially after the existing parking lot down the road was created several years ago.

“I just want to thank this council for taking seriously citizen’s concerns about the log house property and our concerns about preserving it as a park,” said Louise Christie, a member of the Society for the Protection of Kalamalka Lake (SPrKL).

The Cooksons have allowed such groups to use the home and land, therefore many are eager to continue doing so.

“It provided a home for us.

“It’s been a wonderful amenity for us.”