I am back in the office after attending the Council meeting this evening and again I feel we have moved forward by many steps. The agenda was not huge but it certainly could have been a longer meeting. However, Council did some really good work attending to the important matters by giving the proper attention to those items that needed it and moving faster on items that had been abundantly discussed in other meetings. It is not easy to be an elected official but I again observed good leadership and thoughtful process.

One of the highlights of the meeting was the approval of a development variance permit that allows the Lakestone Development Group to continue their work and subdivide a number of lots on the lakefront. This is good news for Lake Country. We are experiencing some growth and in fact the building stats confirm the trend from 2012 which saw our municipality's growth at a good 2% the fifth highest in BC.

Most of the items on the Council agenda were financial in nature. In addition to bylaws regarding some work on Sawmill Road, Council reviewed the 6-month financial statements which are positive overall and a great improvement from 2012. Some concerns with lower than usual building inspection revenue were alleviated by the fact that, since the statements were produced, the revenue has almost tripled going from $100,000 to $290,000. Not yet at the levels we used to have before the economic crisis but a much better picture than other municipalities and certainly better than the last few years.

The most important thing was the approval of the budget process. Staff have provided an agile, yet intense, timeframe with clear expectations of what the process looks like; and when the public and Council can expect to see numbers and figures leading to the approval of both the 5-Year Financial Plan, which is mandated by legislation to be approved by May 15th together with the Tax Rate Bylaw, and the 2014 Budget. The intent is to again approve the budget early in the year to provide a solid framework for staff in order to meet Council priorities; tender critical projects early enough to realize potential savings; and move along with the daily provision of services. According to the guidelines, between now and February 2014, both staff and Council will meet, discuss, seek public input and deliberate with the goal of having the 2014 budget approved by February 6th, two weeks earlier than last year. If we truly strive to put a mechanism in place to be followed annually by Council and staff, the target of having our annual budget approved by the end of the year prior will become a reality in the next couple of years. It would be a great accomplishment for the whole community. Council was pleased with both the timeline and framework which we count on delivering as indicated.

Finally, I wish to point out that Council has heard from staff about the work by the Transportation for Tomorrow Committee. I wish to dedicate an entire blog to it in the near future. In a nutshell, though, and for the past three years, we have been telling the community that our infrastructure needs to be properly looked after. Some huge issues are: surfacing and a comprehensive road maintenance and replacement plan that looks into the next 15 to 20 years needs to be in place just as with our Water Master Plan. Council approved initiation of a public consultation process to last for six weeks starting at the beginning of November in order to seek feedback and make the community further aware of the infrastructure need. Some pictures of the conditions of our road are truly telling. We cannot ignore this issue any longer but we all need to work together to protect our quality of life through sustainable infrastructure.

At the end of the meeting, Council members acknowledged Lake Country accomplishments with the 2013 Communities in Bloom program in which we were given the maximum score of 5 Blooms'. We accomplished this in only three years and certainly thanks go out to Council, staff and the whole community especially those community members that actively participated in the process. Yes, Lake Country: there is much to be proud of.