Back in the Slam after visiting family in the lower mainland and friends on the Sunshine Coast – a good trip!
… and time to start catching up with overflowing In Box and Draft baskets. Posts will be forthcoming over the next few days. But first …
Congrats to the Literacy Alliance of the Shuswap for the national and provincial recognition of their impressive community-based literacy initiatives. LASS‘s members and volunteers have been innovative, dedicated and inclusive.
My own favourite slice of LASS in action involved community members helping seniors with computer literacy. Cafes throughout Salmon Arm had seniors with laptops and volunteers with enthusiasm discussing techbits as well as their own families and life stories. Well done LASS!
A Sturgis North question: Up In The Air?
There seems to be little reporting on this year’s event. One website queries whether or not SN can be viable as both a biker rendezvous and a music fest in addition to noting concerns with camping, too restrictive liquor regulations and an oppressive police presence. Other sporadic blog comments questioned value for the money. In general though, there doesn’t seem to be any body of Sturgis North 2012 perspective.
Any SN insights as a participant? What was your take? Any chance that Sturgis North was successful enough to return next year (I understand that they have indicated that they intend to be back) and to pay off the local debts that they incurred in 2011?
Your takes on the Summer Stomp would be great as well.
Finally: Two posts (Having Your Say: Summer 2012 and the upcoming poll More Than A Pipeline: Enbridge’s Northern Gateway) will stick to the top of the blog for a while with all new posts following after them in the usual blog roll fashion.
*Click the ‘toon for a larger view
The Salmon Arm Observer has just posted the story Sturgis North moving out of Salmon Arm? (Jan 10 2012) that Sturgis North may be heading due south to Spallumcheen’s Motoplex Speedway.
Sturgis North president Ray Sasseville made a presentation to Armstrong council Monday afternoon.
“He mentioned that it was ‘99.9 per cent sure’ they were moving to the speedway, they were just waiting for confirmation,” said Armstrong Coun. Paul Britton.
Check out the article …
Plus, from the archives, Duncan Morris’ Sturgis North ‘toon.
The Observer has an article up this morning indicating that Sturgis North wants to return next year. See Sturgis North to return to Salmon Arm in 2012 (Hughes: Sept. 24 2011)
The Sturgis North organization says it will return to Salmon Arm for its second year and will be expanded from a five-day event to eight days.
In a press release issued Friday evening, the organization says the event will run from July 15-22, 2012 and will operate entirely on the Neskonlith Indian Band site on 50th Ave. NW in Gleneden. This is the same site where a portion of the festival ran last year.
Check out the article about the Sturgis North press release.
Hopefully the discussion about implementing a Special Events bylaw will take place sooner rather than later. See Our Non-Profit Community Groups – Special Events Collateral Damage? and Sturgis North Offers Deal for some previous thoughts.
Council’s Monday afternoon agenda also has some other interesting items.
Item 5.1 The RCMP are presenting their operational plan for Sturgis North to council. Details are on pages 1-14.
The costs associated to policing this event will be billed to the City of Salmon Arm.
The current estimated RCMP costs for policing Sturgis North are $82,000 with the city apparently slated to subsidize the difference from the $40,000 the city received from Sturgis North.
Item 8.1 City council is slated to extend the starting date for fines linked to curbside collection until the end of the year rather than coming into effect as of July 1st.
Item 11.1 Council is also considering how to proceed with a request from just over 1/2 of the residents of the proposed Gleneden water system expansion.
Options for the $3,850,000 project are nicely laid out in agenda item 11.1 – a snippet of which is below.
It is estimated that the costs to construct the Gleneden Water System is $3,850,000.00. There are seventy-seven (77) properties in the proposed Local Service Area that would benefit from the
Gleneden Water System – this equates to $50,000.00 per property. It is recommended that financing for this expansion be through a funding mechanism referred to as a “local area service tax levy’ of which approval may be obtained from the local service area by way of the three (3) processes described below. The elector approval processes are available to Council and property owners for establishing a service in an area that would otherwise not be undertaken due to the small benefiting area, the extension is not a priority in relation to other improvements scheduled or the cost of the extension will not benefit future growth, etc
Essentially, the local area service finances the extension that it will derive the benefit from (i.e. pay for the water expansion that will allow them access to the municipal water system). lf the elector approval process is successful, the City will establish the Local Service Area, borrow the required funds and the repayment of the debt will be collected annually from the local service area in the form of a parcel tax.
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It’s a full schedule at today’s council session. The council package is available here ( a 17 MB download).
On the agenda – among other things:
First Reading of the new Official Community Plan.
Council consideration of the adoption of the new OCP (Bylaw No. 4000) will begin at the June 6, 2011 Development and Planning Services Committee meeting. The bylaw will then proceed to the June 13, 2011 Regular Meeting of Council for consideration of first reading. Council may consider amendments to the bylaw at either first or second reading prior to the Public Hearing. It is recommended that Council consider first reading without any amendments so the bylaw and new OCP can be referred to governments and other organizations for feedback. Community groups, City Committees, project email list and public will also be informed that the new OCP is available for review and feedback. Feedback will be received for 30 days after the new OCP is made available for review after first’ reading. There will be no public open house. City staff and the OCP Review consultant will review the feedback and make recommendations to City Council if any changes should or should not be considered to the OCP at second reading. To assist in preparing its recommendations, City staff may hold another OCP Review Advisory Select Committee meeting depending upon the feedback received. The results of the feedback will also be made available to City Council and the public. This timing provides the possibility of the consideration of second reading in August 2011 and a public Hearing in September 2011 .
* See pages 73 – 81 of the agenda package
Introduction of bylaws:
(a) Bylaw # 3890 to post the financial disclosure statements of those seeking local government office – on the city website for easy public access.
(b) Bylaw # 3891 to permit putting out curbside bags after 8pm the day before collection with a proviso that the city can revert to same day placement where wildlife scavenging is problematic.
* See pages 27 – 34 of the agenda package.
Three requests for council to support liquor-licensing applications associated with Sturgis North festivities.
One is for the Old Dog/Sturgis North pub to have an outdoor beer garden in their parking lot, one is for Sturgis North to sell hard liquor at the Fairgrounds site with the last one requesting four licensed venues on the Fairgrounds site.
* See pages 161 – 186 of the agenda package
Councillor Jamieson has a motion requesting that city staff draft a bylaw to introduce a progressive fine system (starting at $10.00) as an amendment to the existing curbside fine system.
Council is also being asked to approve Temporary Use permits for camping for both the Roots and Blues and Sturgis North.
* No mention though of the requested report on the use of the Mosquito downtown. See Whose Buzz-iness Is It? and More and More Mosquito ‘Buzz”.
It’s not very often that I am able to attend an afternoon meeting of the city council due to the day job and all. I did have a chance to be at last week’s session though and here are some impressions.
Sturgis North and their request for the city to support their application to the ALC to permit temporary camping on agricultural land.
It was apparent that Sturgis North must have coughed up the promised $40,000 dollars for partial-payment of policing costs but the payment wasn’t mentioned at all. What also seemed apparent to me were hints of a tone of irritability towards Sturgis North – in the questioning and comments of the mayor and some council members. Council supported the ALC request but seemed somewhat abrupt with the Sturgis North representative.
Concerns of noise at the Salmon Arm fairgrounds and the adjacent camping venue.
Now that the primary venue for the Sturgis North concert and camping is out in Gleneden on Neskonlith land, council questioned the need for the earlier granted fairground hours-extensions and expressed concerns for the noise generated by hogs travelling back to the Salmon Arm camping venue during the wee hours. Sturgis North wanted to retain the fairground extensions as a backup and noted that the nearby camping would be mainly for vendors and families so that there weren’t likely going to be many motorcycles at that location. Mayor Bootsma noted that many campgrounds close down an 11 pm by locking the gates and not permitting any entrance after that. A good idea mayor!
Councillors Flynn and Harrison’s discussion of The Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) recent article on BC municipalities’ fiscal management
The UBCM publication was in response to blanket criticism by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business that municipal spending was growing at an unsustainable rate (see here for the CFIB article) as well as criticisms by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. The UBCM publication COMMENT ON FISCAL MANAGEMENT IN BRITISH COLUMBIA’S MUNICIPALITIES refutes the “unsustainable” allegations and notes:
- Contrary to the views of CFIB and CTF, local government spending on operations is not “out of control”. Municipal operating expenditures have increased over time in response to the demands and needs of communities for important local services. Expenditures have also increased thanks to the rising cost of key service inputs, and to downloading of new responsibilities — without matching sources of funding — by senior governments.
- Municipalities do not unfairly tax local businesses. Tax revenue data from the past 20 years in BC show that the property taxes received from business (Class 6) properties have remained constant as a percentage of overall tax revenue. The proportion of revenue from residential (Class 1) properties has increased.
- Local governments are not unaccountable to Class 6 taxpayers. The large numbers of business leaders who serve as Mayors and Councillors across BC help to ensure that the needs and priorities of local businesses inform municipal policy-making.
Councillor Flynn supported the UBCM report while noting that our commercial tax rate (multiplier effect) and flat-rate Tansportation tax served Salmon Arm businesses fairly well.
Councillor Harrison noted the UBCM report section that any change in the business tax apportionment would result in significant tax increases for residential property owners.
This issue of residential/commercial rates and apportionment is long-standing and likely to be ongoing. City councillors certainly appear to support the status quo. I would concur.
… and speaking of testiness
I’m not sure if it was just the session that I attended, or spring fever or an early start to the political silly season but there was certainly a degree of friction between the mayor and the younger councillors.
Today’s Observer is reporting that Salmon Arm council has held off supporting Sturgis North’s application to the ALC to allow camping on adjacent farm land until Sturgis North pays what they promised the city for policing costs – City withholds support for Sturgis North campgrounds (Wickett: May 18 2011).
I’m sure that the cheque will be forthcoming.
The delinquent $40,000 in question is but a portion of the estimate of the total policing costs – in effect a subsidy of this for-profit event by taxpayers. I kept thinking about this these past few weeks as I hauled our spring yard prunings to the dump. That curbside pick-up – one of the more tangible services that residents get for their tax dollars – was cancelled for this year because of tight budget issues!
Breaking news as carried in the Salmon Arm Observer article Sturgis North announces new site in west Salmon Arm (April 16, 2011).
Sturgis North has announced its plan B location for a portion of its motorcycle rally and music events.
According to the company’s website, a property on 50th Street NW in the Gleneden area will be the venue for events and camping.
The site could be accessed by turning off the Trans-Canada Highway at First Avenue SW, then following Gleneden Road to 50th Street NW. An alternate route would have bikers turning off the highway at 50th Avenue NW (which is across the highway from Pierre’s Point) until meeting up with 50th Street NW.
The company has been in discussion with both the Neskonlith Indian Band and the Adams Lake Band for use of their land, which would not be subject to restrictions from the Agricultural Land Reserve.
The Sturgis North website has the announcement along with this Google map markup.
Contrary to all Media reports you read or rumors you hear the Sturgis North Motorcycle Rally is on as Scheduled.
Lachlan Labere, in Sturgis North gets city noise restrictions altered (April 13 2011: Salmon Arm Observer) reports on Sturgis North’s request to city council asking for noise bylaw extensions for the Salmon Arm fairgrounds portion of the proposed event. The actual council vote approving the noise extensions isn’t referenced other than councillors Harrison and Jamieson being opposed.
What is referenced in the Labere article is strong language from the two councillors that does reflect widespread concerns in the community. Hmmm. I seem to have heard this before ! Clicking on the Sturgis North tag in the right hand column will bring up the collection of previous posts and perspectives here at Aim High.
Quoted phrases from the article:
“Jumped the gun; in a pickle; council feels pressured; don’t appreciate being put in that position; critical of how the event has been organized; going on the fly here; dismissed comparisons between Sturgis and Roots and Blues, noting the latter has a long history and is well-established and well-run; critical of how the event has been organized; suggested it be delayed until next year.”
The Sturgis North promoters of the proposal are still talking about Plan “B”. My understanding is that the backup plan likely involves discussions with the Neskonlith Indian Band to place the other Sturgis North venue there. It also sounds like that there may be quite the discussion going on at the band level as well.
Check out the link. Your thoughts as well as any confirmations about Plan B can go in the Comments section here.
Again, a re-statement for the record: I want to see a successful event. In my mind, that means a scaled back offering that aims for a 2012 launch, truly utilizes local event-expertise and plans with the community in mind. I’d sure like to hear this directly from the rest of city council as well.
I wasn’t able to attend yesterday’s council meeting where Sturgis North was slated to address city council about further bylaw extensions. Additionally, the city council document package for the council meeting – normally available online in advance – was not downloadable, at least the few times that I tried it.
If you attended that council meeting and would like to share your observations, please use the Contact form to let me know and we’ll make some easy arrangements to get your observations posted.
I’m writing this from a distance after hearing the news of the ALC decision against Sturgis North. As a further disclaimer, I haven’t had an opportunity to read the actual decision or to get the skinny on other SN options. Perhaps by the time that this gets online, other developments will have occurred.
What is clear to me is that Sturgis North has been trying to do too much too fast without a sufficient critical mass of local support or experienced community volunteers. While I am sure that they would vigourously deny it, one is left with the growing sense that the promoters are over their heads at this point.
I want to see a successful event. In my mind, that means a scaled back offering that aims for a 2012 launch, truly utilizes local event-expertise and plans with the community in mind.
You can volunteer your thoughts – commissioned or otherwise – right here.
Lachlan Labere, in City Councillor Kevin Flynn declares conflict of interest on Sturgis North (Observer: March 14 2011), provides the latest on the Sturgis North proposal.
A Salmon Arm councillor has declared a conflict of interest related to the Sturgis North motorcycle rally, and will be stepping out of all future city discussions on the event.
On Monday afternoon, Coun. Kevin Flynn read a prepared statement to council, explaining how two letters received in February from resident John McLeod, prompted him to review and reconsider his involvement in city decisions related to Sturgis.
Check out Labere’s article and leave your thoughts here on the wheels going ‘round.