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The town meeting was a great success. There was a good turnout and everyone got to add their input. The best part was that we ended up with clear and positive directives. Diane Sterne was kind enough to write up the minutes for us and here is her report.

Minutes of Coalmont Meeting Held Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The second Coalmont Town Meeting for 2009 was held on Tuesday, February 17 at the Coalmont Hotel Pub. Twenty-Five people were in attendance and the meeting was Chaired by Ole Juul.

Ole explained the purpose of the meeting was to allow us to make a letter to Brad Hope, our Area H Representative requesting action on various concerns. Ole reminded everyone that there are various grants available.

Livestock in Town – Bert Rice wanted everyone to know that he and Lynda English are the “Pound Keepers” for Coalmont. He explained NO livestock (cows, pigs, goats or horses) are allowed to graze in the town. If anyone finds them in town, they are to contact RDOS (Regional District of Okanagan and Similkameen) with the complaint and they will contact Bert or Lynda. Bert will advise Ole regarding who to contact at RDOS. If an animal or animals are impounded, the owner is charged the cost of the impound. One question was raised as to what was the definition of “town boundaries” for range land. This could be important for some residents to know. We will ask Brad Hope to find this out for us.

Mirror on Coalmont Road – All agreed that it was difficult to see oncoming traffic when one is traveling west at the narrow section of the road. While all agreed that traffic must obey the yield sign, they also agreed that putting up a mirror would help solve the problem. Fern Aguillon stated that we must contact the Ministry of Highways to have any action done, as Argo gets their instructions from them. All agreed that we should pursue this solution with Brad Hope and ask him to push the Ministry of Highways for a mirror.

Truck Engine Brakes – All were in favour of placing three signs regarding the use of engine brakes in town. These signs are to be placed at: the Coalmont Road entering Coalmont from Princeton (where the river turns to run parallel to the road); the Coalmont Road entering Coalmont from Tulameen (where the road crosses the KVR); and on the Blakeburn Road entering Coalmont just this side of the ‘Y’ at Rice Road (Granite Creek). The sign should be the standard signage that reads something like: Residential Area – Please refrain from using engine brakes. We will ask Brad to get these signs made and installed for us. It was also suggested that we send an ‘Official Letter’ to ask the contractors to advise their drivers not to use Jake brakes in town. The Sternes will try to find out who to send this letter to and will send one out.

Offroad Vehicle Lane on Bettes – It was agreed that this would be too difficult to do. It was suggested that we put up signage that should read: Please respect our Community. Keep your noise and speed to a minimum. No offroad vehicles between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. We will ask Brad for three of these signs to be prepared and installed. Installation should be: at the south end of the bridge as you enter Coalmont from Blakeburn; on the KVR on the east side of where it crosses the Coalmont Road coming from Tulameen; and on the KVR coming in from Princeton before Bettes Ave.

Truck Damage to Roads – We will ask Brad to request the Department of Highways/Argo to repair our roads (especially Bettes) on a regular basis. It was agreed that, to keep trucks in Coalmont to a minimum, we want a bypass built to extend Bettes Avenue through to the Coalmont Road. This was done years ago but was closed down at the insistence of Peter Jacks (no longer living here). The truck drivers preferred using this bypass and the locals benefited from much reduced traffic through Coalmont. Bob Hart stated that the Vermilion Trails Society is in support of this, providing there is proper signage on the KVR warning people of the truck crossing. We will be sending a letter to the Trails Society asking them to send a letter of support to Brad Hope for this solution. We are aware that this road will cross some private property and request that the RDOS purchase or expropriate the land necessary for the bypass. We will ask Brad Hope to follow through with this for us.

Granite Creek Townsite – All agreed that we want signage placed in the Granite Creek Townsite stating No Camping Allowed at both entrances to the town and also a sign directing campers to the Granite Creek Campground. We will ask Brad to get these signs prepared and installed for us.

Cellphone Tower – Ole explained that Telus had told Brad that we couldn’t get cell phone service at the current time. We will let Brad know that when Telus CAN put in the service, we DO want it.

Dyke Park – Ole explained and illustrated with RDOS maps that most of the area along the dyke is ‘park zoned’. After much debate, it was agreed that we want a trail along the dyke from Shatford to Fraser, but do not want it ‘publicized’ (ie. no parking lot or picnic tables). It was finally agreed that we would like the holes filled in, knapweed removed and grass seed (drought resistant) planted. We were informed that RDOS has a knapweed control program. We will advise Brad to talk to Terry Rees about the correct grass seed to plant and maintenance. If Terry agrees to cut the grass on the dyke, how can he be reimbursed?

KVR Amenities – Bob Hart explained the Vermilion Trails Society will put in a 2-holer outhouse by the cottonwood trees on the KVR. All agreed on this location. We will contact Brad regarding dust control on the trail. Elaine Pattison stated she would look into having a concrete picnic table donated and installed in the vicinity of the outhouse. We will ask Brad if we can get a bear proof garbage can placed near the picnic table. If this isn’t possible, either Elaine or the Vermilion Trails Society will donate a regular garbage can. Elaine agreed to empty the can on a regular basis if Brad can’t get Argo to do so.

Granite Creek Cemetery – Ole told everyone that Brad would get the dead trees and abandoned refuse removed from the cemetery. We will follow up on this with Brad.

Fuel Reduction – It was agreed that Brad should get any dead trees removed from crown land around Coalmont as they are a fire hazard. Penny Aguillon asked if trees could be removed from private land at the same time? We will ask Brad.

7th Sister – Richard Votik, who currently owns the 7th Sister stated that his partners hadn’t made a decision about what to do about the building; consequently, this issue will not be pursued.

Power Poles – Ole explained that the poles in front of the General Store and the Hotel are not in keeping with what RDOS wants for Coalmont. Fay and Ken suggested we write a letter/petition together with photos to Fortis addressing our concerns. We will try to get signatures from all Coalmont residents supporting our cause. Brad Hope won’t be involved with this.

Cottages of Coalmont Septic Concerns – Bob Sterne explained the history of the correspondence regarding the septic fields and stated that RDOS and Interior Health are denying there is anything they can do and stating the other is responsible. It is clear that the situation has changed since the adoption of the new sewerage regulations in 2007. Previously there was a requirement of 100 ft. separation between wells and septic. Under the new rules this is a ‘recommendation’ and the responsibility of a ‘qualified professional’. Locals are concerned that there is a possibility we could be forced into installing sewers or a water system if there is a pollution problem from the high density housing proposed. The rezoning which would be required to put in houses along Main Street was also discussed. Mary-Ann Slager explained that the owner of the land was working on another project in Whistler and wouldn’t be returning to Coalmont until the spring. All agreed that the problems were not just aesthetic but also, a fire hazard, health hazard, and possible enforcement of public sewers at an exorbitant cost to all homeowners in town. Bob Sterne has agreed to follow up with Brad Hope and the RDOS as to a solution to our concerns. It was also agreed that in May we would hold a special town meeting and invite the head of the RDOS, the head of Interior Health and the press if nothing is resolved by that time.

Fire Protection/High Density Housing – Ole explained that there were no regulations in place to protect us in this situation. There were no comments and no action was planned.

2011 Centennial – Ole asked for suggestions for Coalmont’s 100th birthday. Most people wanted free beer and free Nanaimo bars. Ole recommended we think about this and talk about it again at the next meeting.

Other Concerns – Richard Votik is concerned with garbage being dumped on the road to Reichart’s burn pile. It was explained to him that the burn pile was for Fire Department practice and the gate was kept locked to prevent non-burnable garbage from being dumped there. We will send a letter to Mr. Reichart addressing his concerns about the garbage as it is coming onto his property.

We will contact Jodi Woodford (Fire Department) about having the garbage pile collecting at the end of Main Street burned in a practice burn.

Randy Folk expressed concern regarding the deterioration of the river bank from the end of Fraser St. proceeding along the north shore of the Tulameen River to where it turns at the KVR. All agreed that this was a major concern because if we experience a flood, it will come around the end of the current dyke and back up into the town from the east end. We will contact Brad Hope about reinforcing the KVR where the river turns and continuing the dyke from the end of Fraser to the KVR. There is also a beaver problem in this area which we will advise Brad of.

Randy Folk expressed his concern about the rock falls on the Coalmont Road. There are almost always rocks on the paved portion, particularly after any thaw or rainfall and those present agreed this needs more attention from Argo.

Meeting Adjourned – The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, April 21. We will invite Brad Hope and Bob Hart to this meeting. Notices will be posted closer to that date.

A formal letter will be drafted for Brad Hope addressing all of the above concerns. Other letters will be sent out as indicated in the minutes above and people contacted as indicated above.

~ Diane Sterne

Ed: Please note that all items that required Diane’s action (ie letters) have already been completed and mailed.