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Powell River council considering Hemlock Street options

POWELL RIVER, B.C. – The City of Powell River’s council is looking into issues surrounding Hemlock Street.

The road is in focus because a section of the roadway was built on land in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR).

In October, the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) ordered the city to remove the section of road in focus.

The city has been ordered to remove the road and all-fill, re-mediate the property in and around the road to ensure the soil is similar or better to before the fill was brought in, and make an application to have the right of way removed.

At this afternoon’s Committee of the Whole meeting, resident Patricia Martin presented a report to council, detailing some concerns about the issue, and the remediation order sent to the city.

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Martin presented certain points, in the hopes of offering constructive suggestions on how the city can move forward without drastically affecting taxpayers.

One of her points suggested that the ALR add the developer of the land to the remediation order.

A second suggestion was for the city to obtain a legal opinion on whether there is merit in contacting other professionals involved to help with costs.

It was suggested that the city consider asking councillor Cindy Elliott, who is on her first term with council and has no previous involvement with the issue, and councillor Rob Southcott (in charge of the city’s planning portfolio) to work with an “out of town” professional to develop a timeline of events leading up to when the remediation order was issued.

Martin recommended that the city conduct its own investigation under section 134 of the community charter. She said this could allow others to testify under oath on when professional errors were made.

“This would go a long way in restoring community’s faith in their elected officials,” she said.

In conclusion, Martin asked if the city, whose officials are entrusted to act in the taxpayer’s best interests, still wanted to claim 100 per cent liability on the issue.

Following a thank you from council, it was decided that council would put together the information provided by Martin and other details they have received in closed camera meetings to create a report that will be presented to the public.

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