Council briefs – April 28

Compost program, business licence fees, fire chiefs ready rail plans

Businesses move towards organic compost program

The city will continue consultation with the business sector on composting organic materials and report back to council in June. As Metro Vancouver moves to ban all compostables from the garbage by the end of 2015, it is expected the Fraser Valley will follow.

The Chamber of Commerce sent a letter containing concerns that collecting compost could increase costs for businesses and advised the city to consider models from other communities.

City data shows that some larger businesses saw savings for implementing a compost program.


Changes to parks and recreation subsidy

Council approved changes to the parks, recreation and culture subsidy program to help make programs more accessible to those living on low incomes, while ending the possibility of those who are not in financial need of accessing the program. The subsidy will now allow those who qualify to access certain activities at no charge, instead of the current method of allotting an amount that may not cover the whole cost.

The changes were implemented May 1. To qualify, applicants must be a low-income family or individual as determined by Statistics Canada Low Income Cut Off (LICO).


Business licence fees to increase

City council has approved an increase to business licence fees, effective May 1. The majority of businesses will see a roughly eight per cent increase, while some will be subject to greater increases, including bingo halls, pawn shops, scrap metals dealers, and liquor establishments that do not currently follow Bar Watch standards.


Chiefs ready rail plans

Abbotsford’s fire chief submitted a report to council Monday, identifying risk levels and mitigation related to the transport of dangerous goods by rail.

Chief Don Beer said much of maintenance and regulation for railways falls outside of the city’s jurisdiction, but the plan does prepare both Abbotsford and Mission’s first responders for a transportation incident.

The chiefs will now create a hazard specific emergency plan related to transportation incidents to add to the city’s emergency preparedness plan.