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council briefs

Vote early and vote often. Several novel approaches to breaking a tie in November’s municipal elections were discussed by council Monday, including a beer chugging contest. Under the Municipal Act, a process for determining who will sit on council must be established in the unlikely event of a tie vote after a judicial recount. Municipal clerk Brenda Sims presented a report that recommended drawing lots, which is what many municipalities across B.C. do. Whistler councillors were stunned that such an arbitrary measure could be the final determinant in what is supposed to be a democratic process. While council discussed the merits of drawing lots, administrator Jim Godfrey interjected that perhaps a skill-testing question could be added to break the tie. Councillor Ken Melamed then suggested the final outcome be determined "the Canadian way, with a beer chugging contest." After due consideration council decided that the best way to break a tie would be to have another election. The cost of holding an election is approximately $30,000. The days of cycling and skateboarding in Village North are coming to an end. Council gave first, second and third reading to a bylaw that will prohibit skateboarding and cycling in the mall area of Village North, just as the activities are banned in the original village area. The mall area in the original village is zoned Commercial Core 1, while the mall area in Village North is not. The bylaw, as it was originally written, applied specifically to the CC1 zoning. In addition to modifying the area that the bylaw affects, the fine for skateboarding or cycling in the village was increased from $10 to $50. Getting tough Tougher fines are coming for people who leave garbage or food out where bears can get it. The municipality will soon be considering a bylaw which increases the fine from the current $75. However, the municipality can’t increase the fine on its own. A request to increase the fine must be submitted to the Chief Justice. Consumers pick up part of 911 cost An additional 23 cents per month will be added to all phone lines in Whistler to cover part of the cost of 911 service. The municipality has covered all costs associated with the 911 service since its inception in 1992. The annual costs are currently approximately $75,000. Slightly over one-third of the cost, $27,600, is paid to the Greater Vancouver Regional District, which answers 911 calls originating in Whistler. Other costs are charged by BC Tel. In 1997, after a death in an area of B.C. that was not serviced by 911, the provincial government pressured the phone company to provide 911 service province-wide. B.C. Tel responded by going to the CRTC to request rate changes to implement the service. Since sparsely populated areas would have to pay more than densely populated areas, the CRTC ordered a flat rate of 23 cents across the board. As of June 1 this year the flat rate was applied. It will begin appearing on phone bills in the next 90 days. Input invited Two more public open houses will be held in July to gather input on Intrawest’s proposals for redevelopment of Creekside. Councillor Ken Melamed noted that council is "not 100 per cent behind all that’s proposed," and is relying on public input for some guidance.