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Hinton to become ‘one-stop-shop’

Council discusses four action items during Standing Committee

Masha Scheele
Local Journalism Initiative


Despite the current global situation, councillors held their standing committee meeting via zoom call to allow for self-isolation and social distancing on March 24.

Four action items were addressed at the meeting, including amendments to the business license bylaw no. 1126, rescinding several development services policies, an amendment to the asset management policy PD-6100, and the safety codes services delivery model.

Safety codes services delivery

Committee recommended Council approve the Town of Hinton (TOH) becoming an accredited Municipality for Safety Codes Services, as well as proceeding with implementing Safety Codes Service Delivery Model one.

Model one will establish the Town of Hinton as an administrative function for permit sales and file management with all inspections in all disciplines performed through a contract with an accredited agency.

Peter Vana, director of development services, explained the town had reviewed the department and found room for improvement in offering safety codes.

The town hired a company to look at the different options to offer safety code inspections and permits.

Currently the town is a licensed discipline under fire through emergency services.

Building, electrical, plumbing, gas, and sewage disposal would be added through a contracted service provider if the town adopts the suggested model.

Administration for the safety codes would be taken on by existing TOH staff and become a ‘one- stop-shop’ for development in the community, Vana explained.

The contracted agency would review building plans and inspect the property before signing off on permits.

Revenue from the permit itself would pay for the agency and additional money would go back to the municipality, Vana explained.

Coun. Dewly Nelson questioned if additional revenue would be charging the end user more or force the contractor to take a lower margin.

Vana explained that the province currently takes a share of the permit costs, instead of the province, the municipality would receive that revenue.

“I don’t want to do anything as a municipality that increases any costs for business currently,” Nelson said.

Vana explained that it is not about any additional costs but the efficiency of having the services in one spot, council will have control over setting the fees and charges.

Asset management policy

Committee recommended Council approve the amended Asset Management Policy PD-6100 as presented.

An asset management policy was adopted last year by council.

“The next phase is before you today, we have completed the asset management strategy. The asset management strategy is a component that really outlines how administration through the direction of the CAO is going to implement council’s policy on asset management,” Vana explained.

Two amendments to the policy were proposed from the strategy.

First, adding a community service focus based on defining levels of service that support the communities needs, and secondly, is documentation and knowledge sharing, Vana stated.

“Both of these items really derive from when we look at what the federation of Canadian municipalities has put forward as best practice,” Vana said.

The second amendment also acknowledges there is an asset management coordinator, which is not a new position but an added responsibility, Vana added.

Vana walked through the powerpoint with council that was included in the meeting agenda.

Development services policies

Administration asked council to rescind a number of policies during the meeting.

Vana explained that council created a reference manual in 2018, which set out policies and procedures.

Planning and development services is in the process of bringing a number of policy amendments to council, but found there are five policies that are either irrelevant or out of date.

Policies rescinded were No. 046, development deposit; No. 049, residential land development tax credit; No. 06, building permit plans; No. 091, municipality in land development; and No. 094, waiver of development permit application fees.

Business license bylaw

The business license bylaw amendment addressed some issues around the requirements for a new Cannabis-Related Business application.

Changes were made to definitions and regulations, reflective of bylaw services, explained Vana.

One question asked referenced the removal of a requirement for retail cannabis to have two employees present on the premises.

Vana explained that business owners stated they don’t always have two employees available to be on the premises, it can be difficult for the town to monitor, and there is no provincial stipulation on this.

Committee recommended council refer the business license bylaw amendment 11261-1 for first reading at next regular meeting.

The town of Hinton has cancelled both the April 7 Regular Meeting and the April 14 Standing Committee Meeting due to COVID-19 concerns.

Go to hinton.ca for more up to date information.