Listen Live

HomeNewsSilverton requests municipal adviser

Silverton requests municipal adviser

Faced with a series of challenges, Silverton village council has asked the province for help.

A council resolution, passed unanimously this month, requests the government appoint a municipal adviser. Similar advisers are helping Harrison Hot Springs and Lions Bay, which have also encountered problems.

In an interview, mayor Colin Ferguson said the village conducted a review this year of basic infrastructure including its water system, fire hydrants, and dikes, which revealed several problems, including that the village wasn’t compliant with water testing. They also found the village-owned art gallery’s fire control panel needed replacing.

“We’re trying to instigate good maintenance processes here so things are checked regularly and nothing breaks down,” Ferguson said. “We’re making good progress in a lot of these things, but this is a very small community and we have a very small staff and limited budget.”

- Advertisement -

Ferguson said he and CAO Viv Thoss discussed the idea of seeking outside help and spoke to the provincial government before bringing it to council for endorsement.

“The CAO was feeling a bit slammed with the amount of work she had to do,” he said, noting Thoss and two public works employees constitute Silverton’s entire staff.

He said the adviser would provide advice to council on operational matters, but would not have any decision-making authority.

“We thought there are a quite a few things we’d like to get on track here. Let’s see if we can get some help,” he said.

Ferguson said the request has been received favourably by government and they hope to have something in place soon.

According to the Ministry of Municipal affairs, councils can ask for support to help them “navigate challenging governance issues. In extraordinary circumstances, the ministry can appoint a temporary independent advisor to help a council work together with staff to improve communications, clarify roles and facilitate effective decision-making.”

Silverton is also facing a by-election following the resignation of councillor Margaret Scaia last month, a day after a contentious meeting.

No date has been set for the vote, but Ferguson said he expects information will come before council at its next regular meeting in September.

Thoss also penned an extraordinary letter to a newspaper last month, stating council and staff have faced ongoing harassment and threats from a “small number of residents.”

“I have been accosted on the street, physically threatened and told to quit my job and leave town or be forcibly removed from office,” she wrote.

“The mayor and councillors have had people bang on the front doors of their homes and come into their places of work to threaten them, demand they fire me, and threatening to force them out of office. This behaviour will not be tolerated.”

Silverton is BC’s second-smallest municipality, with a population of 149 on the 2021 census, although the village disputed that figure as inaccurate.

- Advertisment -
- Advertisment -
- Advertisement -

Continue Reading