There is labour peace in Armstrong.
The city and its Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) members have reached agreement on a new three-year contract.
“Ratification was unanimous by both parties,” said Armstrong administrator Patti Ferguson.
The deal will see the eight affected employees receive a two per-cent wage hike this year – retroactive to Jan. 1 – and next, and a 1.5 per cent increase in 2015.
Coun. Kelly Rowe, the city’s finance committee chairperson, said one of the highlights of the new deal was increases to the employees’ benefits package for massage, physiotherapy, naturopathic, chiropractic, orthodontist services, laser eye surgery and eye exam services.
The eight CUPE members represent two-thirds of the city’s workforce with one of the eight being a permanent part-time employee. The other one-third are exempt from the collective bargaining agreement.
The city continues with its plan to withdraw from the planning services function of the Regional District of North Okanagan.
Planning services provides the city with all reports for things like development permits, rezoning requests or official community plan amendments.
“We just wanted a little more timely service, and we feel we’re big enough now that we want to have our own contracted services,” said Coun. Ryan Nitchie, chairperson of the city’s planning and development committee.
The city, in the past, has bought blocks of service hours from the regional district to perform the planning services function. Armstrong will now tender requests for proposals to have someone do its planning services.
“We’re hoping there’s some cost-saving measures for us,” said Nitchie. “It’s a service issue for us.”
Armstrong passed a resolution in Nov. 2012 directing its staff to give the regional district notice of its plan not to renew the existing agreement.
A confirmation letter was sent on Jan. 2. The city said it has received no communication from the regional district.
It’s never too early for council to consider requests from the Interior Provincial Exhibition.
Though there is one caveat with this year’s application.
Council approved permission for the IPE to use the city lot on Jackson and Sugden Avenue to facilitate overflow parking for its midway contractor, West Coast Amusements.
However, council is putting the kibosh on residents in the area selling potable water to West Coast Amusement’s trailers through garden hoses.
“We’re concerned with potential contamination somewhere between the houses and trailers,” said Coun. John Trainor, chairperson of the city’s public works committee. “We will ask West Coast Amusements not to borrow or buy water from those residents.”
Council approved closing Park Drive to vehicular traffic during the IPE, which runs Aug. 28 to Sept. 1, and installing temporary lighting on Adair Street.
Council gave unanimous consent to approving up to a maximum of $1,500 for use in 2013 to Armstrong’s Age-Friendly Community Advisory Committee.
Peter Rotzetter of Chocoliro Finest Chocolates was named chair of the committee, which has met once.
Also named to the committee were Ken Brandel, Rev. Bari Castle, Faye Magill, Esther Webb, Cindy Shipley, Dawn Jamieson, and Rob Nelson.
Coun. Ron (Sully) O’Sullivan will be the city’s representative.