News bites -- Thursday, April 6

Apr 6, 2017

Trees group moves forward
Debbie Parhar has been elected chair and Nic Tsangarakis elected vice chair of the Interim Tree Bylaw Working Group. The proposed and agreed-to meeting schedule is twice monthly. The March 28 meeting focussed on understanding the purpose and goals of the Working Group with a visioning exercise led by Nic Tsangarakis. The working group's purpose is to review options, engage the community and make recommendations regarding the development of a bylaw to regulate trees on private property that balances tree management best practices with community interests. The working group’s webpage is here.

The world this weekend
Two “world café” style public events will be held Saturday April 8 and Wednesday April 12, where participants will be invited to share their priorities for the Official Community Plan review. Participants will help identify challenges facing the community and opportunities to make West Vancouver even better. Staff anticipate reporting to Council with a summary of all Phase 1 Outreach and Objectives findings (from stakeholder meetings, the survey, and public events) at a June Council meeting. Phase 2 events are anticipated to begin before the summer and continue into the fall with ideas forums and policy workshops. We will update you throughout.

Capital stuff
The 2017 Capital Funding – Community Projects report, which lists all of the community projects proposed to be funded in 2017 from the asset levy, along with those proposed for funding using community amenity contributions, was approved by Council on April 3. This is the second part of the new capital approvals process using the asset reserves, in which maintenance projects and community projects are presented, discussed, and approved separately.

Ten years of metering later…
In 2017, staff in Engineering and Finance are working with a consultant to review West Vancouver's Utility Rate Model for determining water and sewer utility rates. The current model was established in 2007 when the District initiated a universal water metering program. After nearly ten years of metering, we have better local usage data and a much better understanding of the lifecycle and replacement needs of West Vancouver’s utility infrastructure. The 2017 Utility Rate Model Review will recommend updates to the rate model that:
- ensure sustainable funding & responsible asset management,
- incorporate new fiscal policies such as the asset reserve policy,
- maintain customer equity and encourage water conservation, and
- help our community plan for costs associated with the yet-to-be-built Lions Gate Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Tax calculations underway
The completed tax roll for the District from the BC Assessment Authority was issued on March 31, which allows staff to begin the tax calculation process. Tax notices are expected to be issued in the third week of May. Taxpayers interested in having advance information on the probable taxes for specific properties can contact the Finance Department for a preliminary estimate at 604-925-7032.

Norooz and nature
The 27th Annual Nature Festival Family Picnic took place at Ambleside Park on Sunday, April 2. On the 13th and final day of Norooz, Sizdah Bedar is celebrated, which is also known at Persian Nature Day. The Iranian Canadian Congress of BC and District of West Vancouver staff from the Police Department Police, Fire & Rescue, Engineering & Transportation, Parks, Culture & Community Services, and Bylaws participated.

A pool full of registrations
On March 17, Community Services Aquatics Spring Registration Day saw 2,222 Aquatics registrations, including 1,601 online registrations and 621 front desk registrations.

Welcome to Canada!
The District of West Vancouver has been confirmed by Heritage Canada as one of two Metro Vancouver sites selected for a Canada Day Citizenship Ceremony. This ceremony, welcoming new citizens to Canada, will be held on the afternoon of July 1 at John Lawson Park, and will be a very special component of the annual Canada Day festivities that are coordinated by the Cultural Services team.

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