Big Valley village council addressed a feline issue in town by tweaking its animal control bylaw. The bylaw was approved at the July 22 regular meeting of council.
Village Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Tracy Mindus provided councillors with the updated animal control bylaw and noted there have been recent cat issues within the village.
Mindus provided two resident letters to council, both stressing something needed to be done to protect cats in Big Valley.
The second letter noted that the issue, which appeared to include cats damaging other people’s property, can get quite serious, including killing of cats and police involvement.
Mindus noted Big Valley’s bylaw only has rules for dogs and she proposed adding cats to the registration tag system with similar penalties.
Residents with cat problems can pick up a trap, but currently there is no way of knowing who the cat belongs to.
Mindus stated this would give the village the ability to know who owns which cat.
Mayor Clark German stated he was in favour of the change, as domestic animals should be under the control of their owner.
Coun. Harry Nibourg stated “free range” cats help control the mouse population and owners are to blame for any nuisance, not the cat.
Councillors passed all readings to immediately bring into effect cat registration in Big Valley.
Mindus presented a letter from a property owner requesting a reduction on the tax bill for residential roll #3370.
The CAO stated the village’s assessor re-examined the property in question and reduced the overall value of the property by $20,000, resulting in the annual tax bill dropping by $300 for the current year.
Mindus stated the property owner has requested the drop be applied retroactively to previous years, four in total.
Mindus stated council has the authority to do it, but such things are not commonly done.
It seems the previous owner passed away some years ago and the current owner inherited the property.
Mindus predicted if councillors approved this request it would set a precedent and other property owners would come forward to make the same request.
When asked who is responsible for requesting re-assessment Mindus answered, the property owner.
Both Mayor German and Tizzard stated they were opposed to granting retroactive re-assessments and councillors unanimously passed a motion denying the request.
Councillors unanimously agreed by resolution to offer paving work in Big Valley to Horseshoe Paving after looking at the results of a tender that attracted three bids.
The CAO noted six sections of road in Big Valley will be worked on.
Councillors budgeted $210,000 for 2021 paving. It was noted Horseshoe Paving has worked for the village before.
Councillors approved a new campground policy and also discussed adding more sites in the village as demand seems high.
Mindus presented a proposed campground policy, noting the village didn’t currently have one.
The policy governs such things as no generators in the campground, all pets must be leashed, fire pits must be cleaned up and the village not being responsible for lost of stolen property, among many other details.
The CAO stated the village office gets plenty of calls from people looking to camp in Big Valley.
Councillors discussed possible new camping spots.
Tizzard suggested “dry spots” by the curling rink which has ready access to power and sewer facilities.
Councillors approved the new campground policy and the village will investigate possible new camping spots.
The CAO reminded councillors the upcoming village election ballot won’t just have council nominees on it, it will also have senate nominees that the provincial government will forward to Ottawa.
As well, Mindus noted a couple of nomination packages have been picked up by members of the public but no candidates have yet been nominated.
Canada Day in August
The CAO gave an update on Big Valley’s cancelled Canada Day activities; the events will be held in conjunction with the street dance Aug. 28.
It was noted the ag society will also be holding events that day.
Coun. Nibourg asked if Big Valley's summer students could help with the events and Mindus stated that shouldn’t be a problem.
Councillors also noted they would pitch in and help with cooking.
Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, East Central Alberta Review