Council showing signs of tension

Discussions turn tense when Mayor Bauer calls on new councillor to prove where he's heard information from.

A discussion about enforcing an outdated

sign bylaw turned tense as Mayor

Manfred Bauer called out councillor Jason

Wiebe for what he described as a “completely

inappropriate comment.”

A report outlining challenges of enforcing

the village’s current sign and canopy

bylaw and the need for an update was

brought to council Tuesday night.

During discussions, council heard that

the Ministry of Transportation discontinued

a pilot project it designed for the South

Okanagan with regards to roadside signage

restrictions and enforcement.

The pilot project was discontinued as

enforcement proved too cumbersome for

the ministry, council heard.

During the roundtable, Wiebe made

mention of his concern and frustration that

higher levels of government were not held

accountable for seeing projects through.

He made specific reference to the

Agriculture Land Reserve not enforcing

regulations about an established fruit stand

and restaurant that he thought was building

a hotel just outside of the village’s

boundaries.

“We have have been told the ALR can’t

do anything about it,” Wiebe said.

Mayor Bauer quickly asked that those

comments be clarified to not include council

as a whole and asked who he had heard

it from.

“We haven’t been told anything so I

don’t think it’s appropriate for you to talk

for all of council,” Bauer said.

Wiebe took ownership of his comments

about the development just outside

of Keremeos but declined to provide information

about how he had heard the ALR

was not following up on complaints.

He continued to vent about higher levels

of government not following through

on regulations.

“This is an issue. Things are not carried

through,” he said.

He suggested the village

write a letter to the Ministry of

Transportation about the pilot sign

enforcement project.

Bauer said Regional District

Okanagan-Similkameen, which

includes Keremeos, has already

sent a letter.

Following the council meeting,

Bauer still heated about Wiebe’s

comments asked to speak to the

Review to ensure it was understood

the new council member

was only speaking for himself and

not the rest of council.

Bauer said he had not heard of

any formal complaints being filed

to the Agriculture Land Reserve

about the development outside

of town and that he understood

the building would be a packing

house and include housing units

for farm workers.

“This was councillor Wiebe’s

personal opinion. The Mayor challenged

him and he wasn’t able

to provide answers of where he

heard it from,” he said.

“I’ve heard of no official complaints

(against the development)

or anything.”

Despite tense moments around

the table, council voted unanimously

to direct staff to review the

bylaw and while doing so to no

longer enforce any of the current restrictions

regarding signs in the village.

Staff will investigate and prepare a

report with recommendations about the

bylaw for council to vote on during an

upcoming council meeting.

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