Town Meeting Report

The Coalmont Town Meeting Tuesday, January 20, 2009.

Sixteen Coalmontians showed up at our Town Meeting with our RDOS Area H Representative, Brad Hope. The meeting was held in the Coalmont Hotel Pub and various items were discussed which are highlighted below:

– Can we get funding to build a park along the existing dyke, from Shatford Ave to Fraser St., with a small parking lot located at the foot of Campbell Avenue?
– An outhouse is needed at the entrance to town on the KVR.
– Some large, dead trees at the Granite Creek Cemetery (together with some piles of abandoned cement, timbers, and branches) need to be removed.
– Can we obtain some funding for a 2011 Centennial celebration in Coalmont? What do we want to do for that celebration?
– Can we get funding to have the 7th Sister dismantled and moved to the entrance of the KVR? The current owner of the Sister isn’t sure it can be saved so it will be looked at in the spring to determine if salvaging it is possible. This is an original building from 1911 so maybe we could get special funding and declare it a heritage building. The current owner stressed that if the building is moved, he wants to ensure no debris is left and the area is leveled and seeded with grass.
– We would like signs put up at the Granite Creek Town Site advising tourists that camping and fires are not allowed. Signs are also needed to direct the tourists to the actual campsite. Many visitors do not realize that the campgrounds are across the other bridge.
– Would it be possible to construct an ATV/Snowmobile lane on Bettes Avenue? If we had a designated lane for offroad vehicles, the police would not be able to hassle people when they ride from the KVR to the Forest Service Road across the bridge in town.
– Can we get a cell phone tower (or locate it on the existing tower that we have for high speed internet)?
– We would like a mirror placed on the narrow part of the Coalmont Road so that cars traveling through this stretch could see oncoming traffic.
– What are the laws regarding cattle grazing in town? What can be done if the cows cause damage to personal property?
– How can we get the logging and coal trucks to stop using their Jake brakes in town? Would it be possible to have some signs placed?
– Last spring Fortis put up new telephone poles in town and one particular pole is directly in front of the door of the General Store. How was this allowed and can anything be done about it?
– There was much discussion regarding the Cottages of Coalmont and what rights we have regarding this development. Apart from the obvious fire danger, there seemed to be a general fear that the proposed septic installation could cause much trouble for the existing residents. Experience in other communities shows that the problems could also be severe for those who do not live beside the development as everyone in Coalmont could be forced, by law, to make very expensive changes.
– There were other problems raised in regard to high density housing. It was particularly interesting to note that the RDOS is not concerned about the fire hazard of so many homes constructed close together. There is no requirement that the recommendations of the Tulameen Volunteer Fire Department be implemented. It would appear that both the RDOS and Interior Health are prepared to allow potential problems to occur and then deal with the aftermath by passing the buck.

Brad Hope said that he would look into the following immediately:

– He will continue talking with the RDOS and lawyers to determine what we can do about potential problems if the high density homes are built.
– He will try to find out about piggybacking a cell phone connection to the internet tower.
– Brad thinks the Trail Society had already planned on putting an outhouse at the entrance to Coalmont and will follow up.
– He will try to find out who actually owns the Cemetery property and see if we can have the dead trees and debris removed.
– Brad stated that if a cow damages property that isn’t fenced, it is the homeowner’s responsibility. He believes that there are specific dates that apply and if a cow does damage after that date, it would not be the homeowner’s responsibility. He would look into the applicable dates and what a homeowner could do if cattle caused damage after the date.
– Brad will see if he can get a mirror installed on the Coalmont Road as it would be an inexpensive solution to a very serious problem.

At the end of the meeting Brad advised us that we need to get together as a community and agree on exactly what our priorities are. Those in attendance decided that another meeting should be held on Tuesday, February 17 at 7:00 p.m. at the Pub. Brad Hope won’t be present at this meeting. It will be held for us to organize what we want to present to him. When we have determined what our needs as a community are, we can send Brad a letter or email outlining them.

Since the meeting, a couple of other important items have been raised:

– The commercial traffic (logging and coal trucks) are causing damage to our roads. We need to make sure they are repaired in the spring. Rather than trucks driving through our residential streets and kicking up dust and spewing out fumes, can a bypass be punched through to the Coalmont Road at the end of Bettes? The development of an ATV lane could go hand in hand with this construction. The Trails Society may not approve of this idea, however, our rights as tax paying homeowners should take priority.
– Three signs “Please refrain from using engine brakes in residential areas” should be placed at the following locations: The entrance into Coalmont from Princeton, on the Blakeburn Road near the Cemetery coming towards Coalmont, and coming into Coalmont from Tulameen.

Hopefully more Coalmontians will show up at our meeting in February (we will put up reminder notices at the mailboxes). Brad Hope seems to have a genuine interest in our community and it is now up to us to make our voices heard. We hope to see you at the February meeting. Bring your ideas and suggestions and let’s do what we can to make Coalmont the community WE want it to be.

Diane Sterne