Friday, September 19, 2014

Boards of Education meet next week

With the 5 Local Governments in the Cariboo-Chilcotin (Cities of Quesnel/Williams Lake & Districts of 100 Mile/Wells Councils' and Cariboo RD Electoral Area Directors') off to the annual UBCM (Union of BC Municipalities) Convention in Whistler next week, only the two Boards' of Education are meeting next week as follows:

School District #27 - Regular meeting on Tuesday, Sept 23rd at 6:30pm in the SD27 Boardroom (350 2nd Avenue).  Agenda can be viewed here

School District #28 - Regular meeting on Wednesday, Sept 24th at 7pm in the SD28 Boardroom (401 North Star Rd, Quesnel).  Agenda can be viewed here

GreenJobs BC Town Hall Mtg - Sept 30th

The following information was provided to me by a blog reader for an event in a couple of weeks from now:

GreenJobs BC Town Hall Meeting on Sept 30th at 7-9pm at Signal Point Gaming Centre (1640 South Broadway Ave)

We heard that views of the “green economy” may use different languages, but community values are similar in prioritizing sensible use of resources and ensuring community benefits. We also found strong foundations of a green economy everywhere we went, from hydro power in the Kootenays, to local agriculture initiatives in the Fraser Valley, to sustainable fisheries on the island.
Climate Rally September 20

With UN climate change negotiations set to begin in New York , British Columbians are being asked to join forces with allies and First Nations from the US at the Peace Arch to send a strong message to world leaders that climate action is long overdue. This will be one action among many globally, including the People's Climate March in New York itself. This is a peaceful event taking place with the blessing of the Semiahmoo First Nation on their traditional territory. Carpooling, vanpooling, and public transportation are encouraged. You will not have to cross the border to join the rally. Further information is available at: https://wildernesscommittee.org/event/climate_change_knows_no_borders_peace_arch_rally Green jobs news from BC and beyond

While the UN climate negotiations signal a potential turning point globally, and their research shows that less carbon and a strong economy can go hand in hand . There was also great national news when the Premiers agreed to a national Energy Plan that prioritizes climate issues .
 Green jobs success stories also continue to roll in from communities across BC. The City of Kimberley and its partners broke ground on the largest solar plant in Western Canada . BC First Nations continue to produce some of the most exciting green jobs stories in BC, including the T'Souke First Nation's continued renewable energy push . And Vancouver was found to be one of the leaders in building transit over the last decade .

The Pembina Institute has research showing British Columbians support continued climate action , as well as advice for the next phase of a climate plan in BC . This amplifies the evidence that BC's climate policies have been successful .
There has been good news. And there has also been terrible news like the f ailure of the tailings pond at the Mount Polley mine , a disaster that has impacted lives and livelihoods, and should not be forgotten. The staff cuts and oversight issues that contributed to the disaster need to be reversed and remedied.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us. We look forward to working together to build a strong, green economy in British Columbia.

Jonathan Kassian
Green Jobs BC Coordinator
jkassian@greenjobsbc.org

604-695-2036

Strategic Voting in Municipal Elections

With some calling for an outright defeat of those members of Williams Lake City Council running for re-election on November 15th (Mayor Cook & Councillors Bonnell, Walters and Zacharias)...

Langley Times Editor Frank Bucholtz writes on the topic on strategic voting in municipal elections, particularly when there is a desire to rid a community of the entire municipal council and why, based on history, that would be a gigantic effort to do...

Although written for the forthcoming Langley civic elections (Township/City) - the message he conveys can apply to Williams Lake... read more here

~SF

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Pre-Candidate Info Sessions

Last night from 6:30pm to 8pm in Quesnel Council Chambers - the City of Quesnel hosted a "Pre-Candidate Meeting" to go over what to expect if elected and related matters.  View the meeting notice here.  I applaud the City of Quesnel for putting this event on to let candidates be aware of what they can expect if elected...

In the meantime - I have suggested to Williams Lake City Manager (CAO) Darrell Garceau that the City should consider doing the same here for Williams Lake Council candidates and maybe even in partnership with Mark Thiessen (SD27 Superintendent) and Janis Bell (Cariboo RD CAO) for candidates running for School Board or the Cariboo Regional District Board.  He has agreed to consider it.  I am hopeful that, if this occurs, it will give potential candidates a glimpse into elected life but I do hope that these sessions occur prior to the end of the nomination period which expires on Friday, Oct 10th at 4pm

On a related matter - I want to publicly commend the tremendous work that Cindy Bouchard (City of WL Chief Election Officer) and her Corporate Services Department has put into the nomination packages for Williams Lake Council - Mayor/Councillor.  Beyond the traditional content, she has included documentation on Local Government and that should allow candidates to fully decide if elected life is truly for them...

~SF



Christy Clark and Cabinet in Kamloops

Yesterday - BC Premier Christy Clark and several of her Cabinet colleagues address a packed Kamloops Chamber of Commerce meeting addressing a number of topics including the signed agreement with BC's 30,704 teachers.  Read here and watch a story from CFJC-TV here

Former Williams Lake Mayor (and heavily rumoured Williams Lake Mayoral or Councillor Candidate) Scott Nelson was in attendance.  See picture below:

BC Premier Christy Clark with Scott Nelson and the Ford Family
















When asked yesterday about his political plans for this November's civic election in Williams Lake - Nelson stated "Stay tuned!"

Finally - I was disappointed to read Premier Clark say this, in reference to the Ernst and Young report relating to pay for senior municipal staff:

“In the provincial government. we’ve been working hard to ensure we’re managing down our costs . . . We need to pay attention across government, whether it federal, provincial, regional or municipal at how much money we’re spending and how we’re controlling what we’re spending,” Clark said.

I find that offensive on two fronts:

1) Local governments DO NOT work for the provincial government although their powers do derive from Victoria and this flies in the face of the Community Charter which says local governments are a "order of government within their jurisdiction".  In talking with Cariboo RD Chair Al Richmond prior to this past Tuesday's Williams Lake Council meeting, the Ernst and Young report and the concerns of UBCM (Union of BC Municipalities) has been directly conveyed to Cariboo-North MLA and the Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development Coralee Oakes

2) Human Resource (HR) matters are incredibly complex and certainly can't be fit into "dollars and cents &a 30 sec sound bite".  If local governments are re-elected with higher local government labour costs, then that's between the local government and their electors...

I truly hope Victoria rethinks the conclusions in the Ernst and Young report and when local governments gather in Whistler next week for the annual UBCM Convention, this will be one hot topic of debate/discussion..

~SF

SD27 & SD28 Schools in Session Mon?

Last yesterday - School District #27 Superintendent Mark Thiessen reported to parents that should the proposed collective agreement between teachers and Boards' of Education be approved by both sides by tomorrow, then school would start Monday

View that information here

Meanwhile, and as of this writing, School District #28 has not yet updated their website for a school start up on Monday but you can go to their website and get the latest information here

~SF

Area B Newsletter - Sept 2014

In her recent newsletter to her residents - Cariboo RD Area B Director Heloise Dixon-Warren reports on:

Hello from Me to You… Across Electoral Area B
Upcoming Events and Meetings
2014 Town Hall Meeting for Electoral Area B: Monday, Sept. 29th, 5-7 pm at Parkland Community Centre
Healthy Community Update
Bouchie – Ten Mile Lake Community Shuttle Bus
Seniart – Bouchie Lake and Ten Mile Lake
Immediate Openings for Members of the Bouchie Lake Fire Services Advisory Commission

Read that here

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

CRD WL Town Hall Mtg - Sept 17th

Present: 

City of WL Mayor Kerry Cook and Councillors Bonnell (6pm), Rathor, Walters and Zacharias

Cariboo RD Area 'F' Director Joan Sorley, Area 'E' Director Byron Kemp and Area D Alternate Director Steve Forseth

Staff:

Ken MacInnis - City of WL Communications Coordinator
Scott Reid - CFO, Cariboo RD
Shelly Burich - Cariboo RD Mgr of Communications

Media - None
Public - 3

Presentation commenced at 5:30pm by Cariboo RD CFO Scott Reid

A Question/Answer period ensued with CFO Reid answering queries from those in attendance

Director Sorley/Councillor Walters briefed everyone on the Nov 15th Sam Ketchum Pool Referendum

A Question/Answer period ensued with Director Sorley responding to questions

Town Hall meeting concluded at 6:30pm

Central Cariboo Rural Directors' Caucus Mtg - Sept 17th

Present - Chair J. Sorley and Directors D. Bischoff & B. Kemp

Staff - A. Johnston, Corporate Officer

Meeting called to order at 3pm

Agenda adopted
Mins of the June 26th, 2014 CCRC Meeting approved

Delegation:

Sam McCarthy & Elsy LePage from Interior Roads appeared before the Committee to discuss their Winter Road Maintenance program and Summer Road Works program

A Question/Answer period ensued

The Chair, on behalf, of the Committee, thanked Mr. McCathy/Ms. LePage for their time/information

Meeting adjourned at 3:30pm

Evac Alert lifted for Chelaslie River Arm & Tatelkuz Lake

Courtesy of the Cariboo Regional District:

The Evacuation Alert for residents in the Chelaslie River Arm and the Tatelkuz Lake Area has been lifted by the Cariboo Regional District’s Emergency Operations Centre (EOC). The Chelaslie Arm and Tatelkuz Lake area is located in Electoral Area I of the Cariboo Regional District. This area has been on Evacuation Alert since July 29, 2014.

People living in, or travelling through the areas that have been affected by the recent wildfires should use caution as some hazards, such as dangerous trees or hot spots, may still exist. Please be aware that fire suppression activities will still be underway within these areas.   


For up to date fire information, please visit the BC Wildfire website at bcwildfire.ca. For more information regarding emergency operations, visit the CRD’s Facebook page at facebook.com/CRDEmergencyOperations or website at cariboord.ca  or contact the Cariboo Regional District at 250-392-3351 or toll free 1-800-665-1636.

Richmond/Wagner seek re-election

In today's 100 Mile Free Press -- Cariboo RD's Area G Director Al Richmond & Area H Director Margo Wagner both say that they will seek re-election this November

For Richmond - he wants to keep the Cariboo an affordable place to live.  Also he wants to work on a sustainable economic plan for the region

For Wagner - her primary focus is to work on Internet/Cell Service for remote parts of Area H, if elected

With their announcements, here is how the Cariboo RD Director races pan out:

Area A - Susan MacNeill (challenger) vs Ted Armstrong (incumbent)
Area B - No word
Area C - No word

Area D  - Deb Bischoff retiring.  Steve Forseth seeks to take over
Area E - No word
Area F - Joan Sorley (incumbent) seeks re-election
Area G - Al Richmond (incumbent) seeks re-election
Area H - Margo Wagner (incumbent) seeks re-election
Area I - No word
Area J - No word
Area K - No word
Area L - Bruce Rattray retiring.  No word on candidates stepping forward to run in Rattray's place

Candidates may file on September 30th at 9am and the nomination period concludes at 4pm on Oct 10th.  More local election information at http://www.cariboord.ca

~SF

NC Arena Project begins fundraising phase

Following a successful referendum for borrowing up to $7.5 million for a new Arena in Quesnel earlier this year - efforts are now underway to fundraise money for the project

A website has been established for this effort which you can find here while a Facebook page has been established here

The tender for this project is expected to go out during the first 3 months of 2015 with construction slated to begin prior to summer of 2015

Should the Sam Ketchum Pool referendum be successful on November 15th - I personally would like us follow the same path as the elected officials in the North Cariboo region (see above)

~SF

Bjornstrom introduces himself to WL Voters

On Monday - I noted that John Bjornstrom, infamously named "Bushman of the Shuswap" will be running for Williams Lake Mayor in November's civic election - read here

However prior to last night's WL City Council meeting - Bjornstrom met with local/provincial media to outline who he is and why the average Williams Lake voter should vote for him

Watch below: (Video courtesy of Got News Network)



It is my humble opinion that John Bjornstrom is not a suitable individual for being Mayor of Williams Lake , based on media reports and the above video interview, and I have and will recommend to others that they should look to other Mayoral candidates for their Williams Lake Mayoral vote in this November's civic election

~SF

Forensic Audit vs Value for Money Audit

Over the last little while - both on WL Speak Up (Facebook page) and the Facebook election pages for WL Mayoral Candidate SPS Rathor & WL City Councillor candidate Bobbie-Jo Macnair - the idea to have a forensic audit of City of Williams Lake finances being completed ASAP has recently come up

Let's look at the accounting definition of a forensic audit:

Forensic Audit involves the use of auditing and investigative skills to situations that may involve legal implications. Forensic audits may be required in the following instances:

Fraud investigations involving misappropriation of funds, money laundering, tax evasion & insider trading


Quantification of loss in case of insurance claims


Determination of the profit share of business partners in case of a dispute


Determination of claims of professional negligence relating to the accountancy profession

Findings of a forensic audit could be used in the court of law as expert opinion on financial matters.


While a Value for Money audit, which the Cariboo Regional District itself is undergoing right now, is defined as:

Value for money audits involves the assessment of the efficiency, effectiveness and economy of an organization's use of resources. Value for money audits are increasingly relevant to sectors which do not have profit as their main objective such as the public sector and charities. They are usually performed as part of internal audit or public sector audit.

While I can appreciate why some may feel strongly that a forensic audit is required of City of WL finances immediately - I would respectfully suggest that City of WL Finances do not require an immediate forensic audit as this type of audit could be perceived that fraud is, in fact, already occurring at the City which is there no public evidence of this while a Value for Money audit, while not laying blame, could address the concerns now being brought forward by some including local resident Jack Simpson on Ms. Macnair's Facebook election page.

I have already suggested to Ms. Macnair and Councillor Rathor, if both elected as Councillor and Mayor respectively, that both consider pursuing the idea of a Value of Money audit first and should circumstances warrant it, then a forensic audit could be ordered later, depending on the evidence gathered during a Value for Money audit...

~SF

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

WL Council Highlights - Sept 16th mtg

Present: Mayor Cook and Councillors Bonnell, Bourdon, Hughes, Rathor, Walters and Zacharias

Staff:

Darrell Garceau - City Manager
Cindy Bouchard - Mgr of Legislative Services/Corporate Officer
Alan Madrigga - Mgr of Economic Development
Ken MacInnis - Communications Coordinator
Nigel Whitehead - Planner

Meeting called to order at 6pm
Agenda approved/Minutes of Sept 2nd WL Council meeting approved

Delegations:

1) Cariboo RD Chair Al Richmond appeared before Council to present a plaque in regards' to the City's 85th Birthday to Mayor/Council

2) Willie Dye appeared before Council to discuss the 2014 Art Walk.  A video was played showing various murals throughout the downtown area

A Question/Answer period ensued

Mayor Cook, on behalf of Council, thanked Mr. Dye for his time/information

Resolved - That Council declare Williams Lake as the "Mural Capital of the Cariboo-Chilcotin"

Business:

1) Council received for information the accounts payable computer cheque listings for the periods ending September 4 and 11, 2014

2) Council awarded the contract for the supply of dried bulk highway salt for the 2014/2015 winter season to McTar Division of Lafarge Canada Inc. for the tendered price of $136.80 per metric tonne, excluding applicable taxes

3) Council adopted the following bylaws:

a) Bylaw No. 2218, 2014 - A Bylaw to Repeal Those Bylaws Replaced by Good Neighbour Bylaw
b) Bylaw No. 2219, 2014 - Bylaw Notice Enforcement Amendment
c) Bylaw No. 2217, 2014 - Zoning Amendment Bylaw (City of Williams Lake / Cariboo Fire Centre for 3020 Airport Rd)

4) Council received the letter from the British Columbia Achievement Foundation announcing the twelfth annual BC Community Achievement Awards and enclosed nomination booklet and members of the community were encouraged to submit nominations & Staff were directed to place the information on the City's website

5) Council approved the Walk for Harmony Parade on September 30, 2014

6) Council proclaimed the week of September 28 to October 5, 2014 as "Celebrate Life Week" in the City of Williams Lake

7) Council proclaimed the week of October 20 to 26, 2014 as "Waste Reduction Week" in the City of Williams Lake

8) Council received the "Council Information Package" for September 16th as follows:

• August 26, 2014 - Letter from Show Kids You Care re Feeding Hungry Kids Programs.

Meeting recessed at 6:41pm for Public Hearing
Meeting resumed at 7:02pm

9) After a public hearing - Council gave 3rd reading to Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 2220 (Mark & Sandra Chipman - 533 Gibbon St). The bylaw will now be referred to the Ministry of Transportation for formal approval, in accordance with Section 52 of the Transportation Act

Meeting adjourned at 7:05pm

Williams Lake: Mural Capital of the Cariboo-Chilcotin

Courtesy of the Cariboo Regional District:

At its regular meeting Sept. 16, Williams Lake City Council passed a resolution declaring the city as the Mural Capital of the Cariboo-Chilcotin. Willie Dye, aka Art the Artwalker, presented the proposal to Council.
A video highlighting Art Walk 2014, featuring 52 artists and businesses, and a mural tour is available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_r2fJ8qMm6Y.

UBCM responds to Municipal Compensation Report

Courtesy of the Union of BC Municipalities:

A report commissioned by the provincial government comparing levels of public sector compensation was leaked to the media yesterday. The report was undertaken by Ernst & Young and is now available on the Province of British Columbia’s Core Review website. I encourage local governments that have not yet reviewed the report to do so. I also want to share the perspective of UBCM’s Executive on the approach and content of the report.

In September of 2013, BC local governments unanimously endorsed the Strong, Fiscal Futures (SFF) report at UBCM’s annual convention. The basic thrust of the report was that while the system of finance for local government was currently sound, increasing cost pressures risked making the property tax unaffordable for many British Columbians. BC local governments called upon the Province to work with UBCM in a joint process to look at the entire system – expenses as well revenues – to look for ways to improve the system and address its weaknesses. The report received broad public support, including an endorsement from the BC Business Council.

Following its 2013 Convention, UBCM followed up with Premier Clark and Minister Oakes to secure a commitment to work with the Province in a joint process through the framework set out in SFF. At the time Minister Oakes told us that the Ministry did not have the resources to engage on SFF since all of its resources were dedicated to completing changes to local government elections legislation. UBCM went further in April of 2014 by bringing our full Executive to Victoria to meet with nearly thirty Ministers and MLAs to discuss the continued need for a joint working group. These meetings also failed to gain traction on the issue.

UBCM received the Province’s report, BC Public Sector Compensation Review from the Province on Friday, September 5, 2014. A preliminary analysis by staff raised significant concerns with the quality of the data available to Ernst and Young and the lack of objectivity in the analysis. Included in this preliminary analysis were the following:

The report has been developed under the Core Services Review. However, when UBCM Executive asked Minister Oakes in November of 2013 if local government would be considered under the core review, the Minister’s response was that relevant stakeholders would be consulted for any proposal accepted as part of the Core Review. As the Compensation Review clearly shows, the authors of the report never consulted UBCM, nor was a request to do so included in the mandate provided to Ernst & Young.

For unknown reasons, the report defines local government sector wages to include local governments, fire, police, BC Ferries and TransLink.

The report attempts to highlight that local government salaries across several classifications have increased at a higher and faster rate than their provincial counterparts in recent years. In particular, the report claims that in settlements with bargaining units, those in the local government (or “municipal”) category were double those in core government (the provincial public service) from 2001 to 2012.

The report seeks to compare senior local government positions, senior provincial positions (ADM, DM), and CEOs of crown corporations and quasi-governmental organizations. However, the report does not take into account the scope of the roles and responsibilities of the respective positions (e.g. budget, workforce, complexity, services), and readily acknowledges that further investigation is required.

Despite referencing ‘stakeholders’ when discussing data sources, the report’s sources are one-sided and limited to government sources. They excluded direct consultation with local governments or unions. Direct consultation focused primarily on government sources, and used secondary sources from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, Fraser Institute, and the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

The report cites limitations in the data collection on 26 occasions, and acknowledges that a comprehensive review of compensation has not been conducted. It also cites that data is unavailable to support the analysis of compensation in many cases. Nevertheless, a report was still developed.

Despite acknowledging the data limitations and the inability of the data to support robust conclusions, it did not prevent the authors from adopting a strong tone in their word choice and recommendations.

The report acknowledges that the Province is beginning to experience talent problems in some areas due to continuous wage freezes, particularly among exempt staff below the ADM level. The report also references a compression between provincial unionized staff wages and those of exempt supervisors and references incidents where unionized staff are unwilling to move up due to a feeling that the positions are not financially rewarded adequately.

The report shows very little knowledge of the role and function of local governments and concludes that a better local government compensation environment would exist if this function was centrally controlled. Local government autonomy is not valued in the report, and is instead viewed as a problem.

The report has very strong recommendation options with profound consequences to local government autonomy, including: centralized collective bargaining; changing the scope of the Auditor General for Local Government’s mandate to review compensation; implementing tax and expenditure laws and making grants conditional; and challenging and overriding the Community Charter.

The Vancouver Sun reported yesterday that Finance Minister Mike de Jong released a statement on the leaked report that included the following:

There’s only one taxpayer funding multiple levels of government and important public services, and it’s up to the provincial and local governments to ensure we’re working together [s]o those services aren’t costing citizens more than necessary. This report shows that while there’s alignment in some areas, there’s more work to do at all levels. Some local governments are paying more than market value for similar jobs, compensation levels have increased at local government levels significantly above inflation and the rate of increase in core government (and) the report also shows the Province needs to keep working to manage compensation and spending at Crown corporations — a recommendation that reflects our recent announcement of taxpayer accountability principles for all Crown boards.

Last week Minister Oakes provided correspondence seeking to enter into a “letter of intent” based on the findings of the review. I replied to the Minister to say that given the lack of direct consultation, the limitations of the report, and the absence of meaningful input from UBCM’s membership, it would be inappropriate to commit to a letter of intent at this time. Instead, I made a commitment to be available for further dialogue that concerns strengthening the system for local government finance and improving taxpayer value. Compensation is an issue that should be considered within a comprehensive framework as set out in SFF.

So where do we stand now? UBCM has been seeking provincial engagement to address the long-term sustainability of the system for local government finance for a full year. The Province has now prepared its own report, narrowly focused on compensation comparisons based on an incomplete data set. The first step in my view is that we need to stop working in isolation and begin working together through a partnership approach. I will be reaching out to the Province to find an appropriate forum to engage with the broad issues concerning the sustainability of the system for local government finance. UBCM will also seek to have the Province present to the membership on the findings of its Compensation Review at UBCM’s Convention in Whistler next week. We will provide details on such a session once they are confirmed.

Sternig runs for re-election in TNRD Area 'P'

TNRD Area 'P' Director John Sternig
On September 9th - I had noted that former Kamloops Mayor Mel Rothenburger was running to become Director of Electoral Area 'P' (Rivers and the Peaks) of the Thompson-Nicola Regional District.  Read here

Yesterday - current TNRD Area 'P' Director John Sternig emailed me and confirmed that he was indeed going to seek re-election.

He has also authorized me to publish the email he sent to me which is as follows:

Thank you for taking the time to announce Mr Rothenburger running for
director of Area P in the TNRD.  I also intend to file my papers of
nomination.

I would like to take a minute to comment on the recent CBC interview of Mr.
Rothenburger where he talked about improved fire service.  During that
interview Mel failed to mention the successes in Area P governance about
establishing the only two fire services in all of  the TNRD over the past 6
years.  This happened during my term of office. During my second term as
director, Area P also contributed  federal gas tax funds towards 82.5% of
the purchase of a newer fire engine for the community of McLure.

I sincerely recognize that rural  residents appreciate a balance between
rural values, governmental  rules/bureaucracy and lower taxes. The 10 TNRD
rural areas have different tax  rates that range from $169 - $249 per $ 100
thousand in 2014. Area Ps is the  lowest at  $ 169 per $100 thousand. I
think these issues have more relevance to the voting public than a
candidate's celebrity status.

I trust that good representation for the area and at the board table should
trump a person's popularity and his general interest in  politics. I suppose

that will become evident on November 15th.

Municipal Staff Pay Study Released

In a story broke by the Canadian Taxpayers' Federation - they report out on a 88 page study by Ernst and Young which states pay to municipal staff, particularly senior staff, is overpriced compared to wages for provincial civil servants and the private sector

Reaction to the report was swift.  UBCM (Union of BC Municipalities) President Rhona Martin called it “a direct assault on the autonomy of local government" and "I am shocked at their suggestion there should be a centralized bargaining unit across the province. That’s what happened with the teachers, and look how that’s turned out,”

Meanwhile - Vancouver City Manager (CAO) Dr Penny Ballem said "(Ballem) noted the report’s long list of government deputy ministers and public groups consulted does not include a single municipal or regional member. That is not proper consultation when the findings directly affect local governments"

Read more here. It will be interesting to see how local governments in the Cariboo-Chilcotin respond to this report in the next few days and also at the UBCM 2014 Convention which starts next Monday thru Friday at Whistler, BC

Read the full Cdn Taxpayers Federation press release below:

 A new provincial government report confirms the Canadian Taxpayers Federation’s (CTF) long-standing suspicion: municipal governments are overpaying their staff compared to both the province and the private sector. The 88-page report was prepared by Ernst & Young as part of the B.C. Government’s core review process, and obtained by the CTF over the weekend.
The report’s major finding was especially welcomed by the CTF: “The [provincial] government should do what is necessary to bring municipal government compensation into alignment over time, including using financial levers if necessary” (p. 4).
“Most municipal councils are too scattered in their philosophy and prone to pressure by unions to hold the line on spending,” said CTF B.C. Director Jordan Bateman. “With as much as two-thirds of a city’s operating budget going to employee wages and benefits (p. 15), it’s no wonder property taxes have skyrocketed in so many communities across B.C.”
It’s not just managers who have dined out on property taxpayers – municipal union employees received 38 per cent hikes in pay from 2001 to 2012, twice the 19 per cent increase paid to B.C.’s core provincial employees. Inflation during the same period was 23 per cent, 15 points lower than the municipal union pay increase (p. 3). 
Other report findings:
  • The City of Vancouver pays the highest salaries to “strategic leadership” managers of any government or Crown corporation in B.C. – even higher than UBC and BC Hydro (p. 11).
  • Municipalities are overpaying the provincial government for technical expertise (p. 13).
  • Cities have a higher percentage of employees making $75,000 a year or more than in the province (p. 14).
  • Some Crown Corporation boards “may not be adequately considering the interests of their shareholders [taxpayers] in setting compensation” (p. 16).
  • Of 10 local governments surveyed, only one reported publicly on how they set compensation (p. 17).
  • The municipal approach to collective bargaining is “highly fragmented and inefficient” (p. 20).
“Every municipal election candidate should read this report and articulate to voters how they would better manage labour costs,” said Bateman. “Instead of the usual platitudes and spending plans, let’s see some platforms with real ideas on how to save money for taxpayers.”

Two Weeks until start of 2014 Nomination Period

Two weeks from today - Chief Election Officers for the 5 Local Governments (Wells, Quesnel, Williams Lake, 100 Mile and the Cariboo RD) and 2 School Districts (SD 27 -- WL/100 Mile & SD 28 - Quesnel) can formally receive filled out nomination papers for the various locally elected offices including Rural Directors, Councillors', Mayors, and School Trustees

You may pick up a nomination package but it doesn't necessarily mean the person picking up that nomination package will necessary run but history shows the person picking up the package has already decided to run for local office

Yesterday - I polled all Chief Election Officers in the Region on how many nomination papers were handed out and they reported back as follows:

Wells - No report at this time (will update this when I receive a response)

Quesnel - No report at this time (will update this when I receive a response)

Williams Lake - 16 nomination packages have been picked up.  Note that there were 17 official candidates (14 for Councillor and 3 for Mayor) in the 2011 Civic Election - City of WL

100 Mile House - 5 Nomination Packages have been picked up.  In the 2011 Election - District of 100 Mile House.  The 4 sitting Councillors were acclaimed and there was a 2 way race for Mayor (Campsall vs Pinkney)

Cariboo Regional District - No report at this time (will update this when I receive a response).  I will confirm that the Regional District handed me a nomination package on Aug 22nd in my bid to become the next Area 'D' Director of the Cariboo RD.

School District #28 (Quesnel) - 7 nomination packages have been picked up.  In the 2011 Election - there were 10 candidates for 7 positions

School District #27 (Cariboo-Chilcotin) - 1 nomination package has been picked up.  In the 2011 Election - there were races in Zones 4 (2 candidates) , 5 (3 candidates) , 6 (2 candidates) and acclamations in Zones 1 to 3 and 7

Candidates may file formally their filled-out nomination package with their Chief Election Officer starting on Tuesday, September 30th at 9am and candidates have until Friday, Oct 10th at 4pm to file

~SF


Monday, September 15, 2014

Borland Street Reconstruction Update #7

Courtesy of the City of Williams Lake:


Public Works last week included water main and storm main installation in the western half of the project, up to the 4th Avenue intersection.
This week the water main and storm main installation will near completion on the west half of the project. Gravel road base will also be installed.

Bonnell makes five!

In an announcement I long expected - Williams Lake City Councillor Ivan Bonnell confirms his intention to seek re-election.  More here

Bonnell becomes the fifth candidate for Williams Lake City Council to declare his intentions for this November's civic election.  The others include Sue Lachance, Peter Bowman, Wayne Lucier, and Bobbie-Jo Macnair

~SF

CRD Area 'D' Town Hall Mtg - Sep 15th

From 5-6:30pm tonight - Cariboo RD Area 'D' Director Deb Bischoff hosted the annual Town Hall.

In attendance were:

* Area 'D' Alternate Director Steve Forseth
* WL City Councillor (and Area D resident) Sue Zacharias
* 2 Area D' residents
* CRD Community Services Mgr Darron Campbell & Development Services Mgr Karen Moores

The Community Services Manager ran through the usual PowerPoint Presentation and took no questions during the presentation

Director Bischoff took an opportunity to review a number of initiatives that she has been working in her 6 years as the Cariboo RD Area 'D' Director including:

* McLeese Lake Library
* Training facility for Wildwood Volunteer Fire Department
* Concern about 1 home in Pine Valley
* Dog issues

An interesting factoid - I was informed that the Area E Town Hall held this past Saturday saw no one show up.

The next Town Hall meetings are on Wednesday as follows:

Area 'J' - Xeni Gwet’in Community Hall from 1-3pm
Area 'K' - Alexis Creek Community Hall from 5-7pm

City of WL - CRD Boardroom from 5-7pm

~SF

Bjornstrom runs for WL Mayor

Huffington Post BC reports that "Bushman" John Bjornstrom will be running for the position of Mayor of Williams Lake in November's civic election.  Mr. Bjornstrom is notorious for being the "Bushman of the Shuswap" during his two year "hide and seek" with police from 2000-2002 (Read here)

This will now be an interesting Mayor's race in Williams Lake to follow...

Read the Huffington Post story here

Macnair makes four!

Update - Mon Sept 15th at 5:39am:

Local resident Jack Simpson says after meeting with Ms. Macnair - he feels compelled to vote for her as she represents the kind of change that Williams Lake needs.  Read more on Bobbie-Jo Macnair's Facebook election page here

Original Blog Post:

Yesterday morning - Local resident Bobbie-Jo Macnair announced her candidacy for Williams Lake City Councillor in this November's civic election.  Born and raised in Williams Lake - her election platform includes:

1) Challenging city council and management to look at issues from a new perspective and remain independent while decision making. With no ties to special interest groups, viewing each decision process to ensure it benefits the community at large.

2) Providing responsible fiscal leadership in this time of financial uncertainty in our community. Ensuring that your tax dollars are allocated to projects that benefit the entire community and that the city “lives within it’s means”.


3) Improving transparency within your city hall. Ensuring that the citizens of Williams Lake have access to information concerning the management of their tax dollars.


4) Engaging youth in the issues that are critical to our community’s vitality. Developing a two way conversation with youth, actively listening to what is important to them. Reaching out to young families across our province to showcase the attributes of living in our city.


I have personally met with Ms. Macnair at recent Williams Lake City Council meetings and I'm very impressed with her attitude & willingness to work hard on the voters' behalf and I believe she would be an excellent asset on Williams Lake City Council next term (2014-18) and her running is in line with my personal belief that we need more young people to be involved in local government - be it on City Council, School Board or the Cariboo Regional District Board.  I will be voting for her on November 15th and I hope that you will, like myself, find her worthy of your vote

With her announcement (and including the 3 incumbent WL City Councillors announcing soon) - we now know that there will be a general election necessary to elect 6 WL City Councillors on November 15th as we have seven candidates (so far) in Macnair, Sue Lachance, Wayne Lucier, Peter Bowman and WL City Councillors Ivan Bonnell, Laurie Walters and Sue Zacharias

Read the full press release below:

Bobbie-Jo Macnair
Bobbie-Jo was born and raised in Williams Lake.  She was an active member of the Williams Lake Figure Skating Club throughout her entire childhood and teen years.


Since graduating high school from Columneetza, she has attended TRU’s Williams Lake campus.  As well she has been an active participant in the Williams Lake Studio Theatre, acting in a local production.


Bobbie-Jo has spent the last two years working at a local social service agency.  She has spent her time there working with youth to improve their experience living in our community.  Having worked in a number of capacities serving youth she has recognized the need for strong leadership within our community.

Bobbie-Jo has committed to making Williams Lake her home after having lived away from the city for a brief time.    She is dedicated to working hard and bringing a mature yet youthful approach to your city’s leadership team.
BOBBIE-JO MACNAIR IS COMMITTED TO:

  • Challenging city council and management to look at issues from a new perspective and remain independent while decision making.  With no ties to special interest groups, viewing each decision process to ensure it benefits the community at large.
  • Providing responsible fiscal leadership in this time of financial uncertainty in our community.  Ensuring that your tax dollars are allocated to projects that benefit the entire community and that the city “lives within it’s means”.
  • Improving transparency within your city hall.  Ensuring that the citizens of Williams Lake have access to information concerning the management of their tax dollars.
  • Engaging youth in the issues that are critical to our community’s vitality.  Developing a two way conversation with youth, actively listening to what is important to them.  Reaching out to young families across our province to showcase the attributes of living in our city.
Contact Bobbie-Jo at 250-267-3262
Find her on Facebook at Bobbie-Jo Macnair for city council

Saturday, September 13, 2014

10 Weeks from today

Exactly 10 weeks from today - voters in the Cariboo-Chilcotin will be heading to the polls to elect their locally elected officials for a new 4 year term commencing in December until Oct 2018.

So far - no announcements for School Trustee candidates in either Quesnel or WL/100 Mile.  While we've had announcements for races for Mayors in Quesnel, Williams Lake and 100 Mile House.  3 Councillor candidates announce in Williams Lake, none in Quesnel/Wells and 1 in 100 Mile House and CRD Director election announcements as follows:

Area A - Ted Armstrong (incumbent) vs Susan MacNeill

Area D - Deb Bischoff doesn't seek re-election. Her current Area D Alternate Director, Steve Forseth, seeking to take over as Area D Director

Area L - Bruce Rattray doesn't seek re-election.  No announcements on anyone wanting to take over

As we approach mid-September and the two week mark before candidates can officially file with their local Chief Election Officer or their designate, here are two media articles I found that are relevant to the forthcoming race:

Prince George Free Press - Get Ready for Election Day! Read here

CBC Daybreak North - Columnist Ben Meisner talks about 4 year terms/cost of local gov't.  Listen to that below:



BCRA Finals in Quesnel - Sept 12-14, 2014


Friday, September 12, 2014

Local Gov't Mtgs - Wk of Sept 15th - 19th

The following local governments are meeting next week as follows:

Quesnel - Committee of the Whole meeting on Monday, Sept 15th at 7pm in Quesnel Council Chambers (2nd Floor - 410 Kinchant St) . The Committee will consider the following:

* West Quesnel Land Stability Program - Award Wetland Compensation Contract
* Master Fee Bylaw Annual Update\
* Temporary Signs
* Transition Funding

View the full Agenda here

Wells - Regular Council meeting on Tuesday, Sept 16th at 7pm in Wells Council Chambers (4243 Sanders Ave).  When available, view the Agenda here

Williams Lake - Regular Council meeting on Tuesday, Sept 16th at 6pm in WL Council Chambers (450 Mart St).  On the Agenda:

* Delegation: Willie Dye, aka "Arty the Artwalker", re Art Walk 2014 Update
* Dried Bulk Highway Salt - Award of Contract
* Several Bylaws for either 3rd Reading or Adoption

View the full Agenda here

There is also a Public Hearing on Zoning Amendment Bylaw #2220 (Mark/Sandra Chipman - 533 Gibbon St).  The hearing will be held at 7pm on Tuesday, Sept 16th in WL Council Chambers.  View the full Agenda here

Cariboo RD - Central Cariboo Rural Directors' Caucus on Wednesday, Sept 17th at 3pm in the CRD Committee Room (180D North 3rd Ave in Williams Lake).  The only item on the Agenda, as of this writing, is a presentation from Sam McCarthy, Operations Manager, Service Area 17 (SA17) and Elcy LePage Quality Manager, SA17 of Interior Roads to discuss winter preparedness plans

The Boards of Education for School District #27/28 will be meeting on Sept 23rd/24th respectively




Cariboo RD Board Highlights - Sept 12th mtg

Courtesy of the Cariboo Regional District:

Hen Ingram Lake Power Generation

Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Jane Nichol, Crown Lands Section Head appeared before the Board to provide information about their reviews of the Hen Ingram Lake Power Generation Proposal. The Hen Ingram Lake Hydro Project is a proposed pumped storage hydro power generation facility using Quesnel Lake as the lower reservoir and Hen Ingram Lake as the upper reservoir. The intake would be located near the shoreline of the upper reservoir and the powerhouse would be located near the Quesnel Lake shoreline, and an approximately five metre-diameter penstock (tunnel) would be used to connect the two reservoirs. More information about this proposed project can be found online at eclipsol.com/hen/.

“Culture Days” Proclaimed

At the request of the Community Arts Council of Williams Lake and Area, and the Central Cariboo Arts and Culture Society, the Cariboo Regional District proclaimed Sept.26-28, 2014 as “Culture Days” throughout the Cariboo Chilcotin. Culture Days is an annual national event that consolidates a number of cultural events under a common theme across Canada by promoting the widest possible access to the arts, heritage and culture, and is based on a true concern for cultural democratization. More information about Culture Days is available online at culturedays.ca.

Quesnel Fringe OCP Given Third Reading

The Cariboo Regional District gave third reading and adoption to the Quesnel Fringe Official Community Plan Bylaw No. 4844. The Quesnel Fringe OCP, including all schedules are posted on the CRD website at cariboord.ca.

Director Initiative Funds Endorsed

The Cariboo Regional District Board of Directors authorized up to $200 from the Electoral Area G Director Initiative Fund to purchase a gift for the family of Barney Pallen (posthumously), who served as a member of the 108 Greenbelt Commission for many years.

HandyDart Referendum slated for North Cariboo

The CRD Board endorsed a recommendation from the North Cariboo Joint Planning Committee to proceed to referendum on November 15 (in conjunction with local government elections) to seek consent to increase the taxation required to maintain the current level of HandyDart service.

Alexis Creek Outpost Hospital Centennial Celebrations

The Cariboo Regional District will be attending the Alexis Creek Outpost Hospital Centennial celebrations taking place on Saturday, Sept. 13 in Alexis Creek. The CRD Board representatives will be presenting a bronze plaque to be installed on the original building in commemoration of the centennial anniversary of the facility.

Sam Ketcham Pool Meetings Continue

The CRD and the City of Williams Lake Sam Ketcham Pool Referendum Public Information sessions will continue over the next week as follows:

Saturday, Sept. 13

150 Mile House Community Hall – 1–2 pm.

Area E Town Hall – WL Sportsmen’s Club - 1-3 p.m.

Monday, Sept. 15

Area D Town Hall - Wildwood Volunteer Fire Hall - 5-7 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 17

Williams Lake Town Hall - CRD Boardroom 5-7 p.m.

The referendum, which will be held on Nov. 15, 2014, will ask voters if they approve borrowing up to $10 million over 20 years. The remainder of the cost of the approximately $11.3 million project will need to be made up from grants, fundraising, and capital reserves. Proceeding with the project would result in a taxation increase for Central Cariboo Recreation services of approximately $40/$100,000 of residential assessment, including operating costs of the expanded facility.

Town Hall Meetings Continue

The annual Town Hall Open Houses got underway last week on Sept. 6 and conclude on Oct. 2.

Upcoming sessions include:

Sept. 13 – Area I – Nazko Community Hall – 1-3 p.m.

Sept. 13 – Area E – WL Sportsmen’s Club – 1-3 p.m.

Sept. 15 - Area D – Wildwood Fire Hall – 5-7 p.m.

Sept. 17 – Area J – Xeni Gwet’in Community Hall – 1-3 p.m.

Sept. 17 – Area K – Alexis Creek Community Hall – 5-7 p.m.

Sept. 17 – Williams Lake – CRD Boardroom – 5-7 p.m.

Sept. 18 – Wells – Council Chambers – 5-7 p.m.

Presentations for evening meetings will take place at 5:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. for daytime meetings. A full schedule is available on the CRD website at cariboord.ca.

Next Meeting

Oct. 3, 2014 – CCRHD & CRD Board Meetings.

1st Glance at 2014 WL Mayor's Race

With about 10 weeks to go before General Voting Day in the City of Williams Lake - I'd thought I would share a 1st glance at what it will take a successful Mayor-candidate in Williams Lake to win on November 15th...

As of this writing - we know that Kerry Cook and Surinderpal Rathor are running for the position of Williams Lake Mayor with possible bids coming from former Williams Lake Mayors' Scott Nelson (2005-08) and Walt Cobb (1990-96).  The last 4 way race for Mayor was in the 2005 Local Gov't Election - City of Williams Lake and here is how the actual vote numbers broke down:

Name of Candidate
Votes Cast
Percentage of all votes cast
Scott Nelson (elected in 2005 Local Gov't Election - City of WL)
1,109
28.9%
Kerry Cook (Current Williams Lake Mayor)
1,056
27.5%
Dr. Elmer Thiessen
868
22.6%
Debbie DeMare
809
21.1%

I am also advised, through my sources, that Mayor Cook has close to 800 votes secured for the forthcoming race.  Using the benchmark that former Mayor Nelson achieved to win an election - Mayor Cook does not need much more votes to secure a 3rd term.

Granted - a lot of things have changed from 2005 until today (issues, voters moving away, etc) but should it stay a 4 way race, the successful candidate would need probably the same amount of votes that Nelson obtained to win but it is still early days and as we know in politics - either local, provincial or federal -- anything can happen... whether that be an unpopular incumbent winning against all odds or someone else "written off" winning...

Stay tuned...

~SF

Thursday, September 11, 2014

MacNeill vs Armstrong in CRD Area A

As I heard a few weeks ago and is now confirmed -- Susan MacNeill,Coordinator of Quesnel's Seniors Advocacy Service, announced today that she will be seeking the Directorship of Electoral Area 'A' of the Cariboo Regional District

Ms MacNeill says her platform includes better transportation, recycling and sustainable communities to those in Electoral Area A

The current Director for that Area is Ted Armstrong and has remained Director since first coming on the Board as that Area's Alternate Director for 1 year starting in 1976 and has only been challenged a few times since then until the present time

Director Armstrong has not yet publicly stated if he plans to seek re-election or retire in this fall's civic election being held on November 15th

The Cariboo RD Electoral Area Directors' for Areas B, C, E, G, H, I, J and K have not publicly stated their re-election plans while Area F Director Joan Sorley has already announced that she'll seek re-election while CRD Directors Deb Bischoff (Area D) and Bruce Rattray (Area L) will not seek re-election in November's civic election

~SF

Dipnetting with Dad launches at CRD Williams Lake Library

Courtesy of the Cariboo Regional District:

The Cariboo Regional District (CRD) announced today that local First Nations author Willie Sellars and illustrator Kevin Easthope will be launching and reading their new children’s book, Dipnetting with Dad, at its Williams Lake Library on Saturday, Sept. 20, at 10:30 a.m.

Set in the striking landscape of the Cariboo Chilcotin region, Dipnetting with Dad is a story of a father teaching his son the Secwepemc method of fishing known as dipnetting. Together they visit the sweat lodge, mend the nets, select the best fishing spot, and catch and pack their fish through rugged bush to the family home for traditional preparation.

First-time author and Williams Lake Indian Band Council member Willie Sellars captures a sense of family values, and articulates the importance of storytelling, community living and coming of age in one of BC’s oldest cultures. The contemporary, colourful and dynamic illustrations of debut artist Kevin Easthope truly bring the characters to life.

The book launch will feature storytelling by Willie Sellars and Kevin Easthope, and books will be available for purchase and signing.

The entire family is welcome to attend this free event. The CRD’s Williams Lake Library is located at Suite A, 180 N. Third Avenue. Further information is available by emailing wlake@cariboord.bc.ca or calling 250-392-3630.

'New Prosperity' Region a Tribal Park?

Vancouver Sun is reporting on efforts by the Tsilhqot’in National Government (TNG) to create the area where 'New Prosperity' (mine proposed by Taseko Mines Ltd) would operate as a 'Tribal Park'

Both Victoria and Taseko Mines Ltd did not directly address their comments on this proposal by the TNG.

View the article here

~SF

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

South Cariboo Pool subject of heated discussion

At a meeting in 100 Mile Council Chambers this evening from 5-7pm - 20 people including members of the general public, Cariboo Regional District/District of 100 Mile House Staff, local media, 100 Mile Mayor Mitch Campsall and local Councillor Ralph Fossum participated in the annual CRD Town Hall meeting

After the presentation from CRD Chief Financial Officer, Scott Reid -- the topic that received the most discussion at this meeting was the proposed South Cariboo Pool Complex being driven by the local South Cariboo Aquatic Society (view their Facebook page here). Larry Badke launched a verbal tirade at 100 Mile Mayor Mitch Campsall and members of the Aquatic Society present at the meeting, against the project & how the CRD/District of 100 Mile was really the driving force for the project since Sept 2013, which degenerated, at times, into vitriol debate, which I personally regret as we can debate the issues without launching into personal attacks upon individual elected officials... view Mr. Badke's Facebook page opposing the proposed local Pool Complex here while you can view information on the proposed Pool Complex from the Cariboo Regional District here

As I mentioned to a few people in Williams Lake - you could not have such a stark contrast between pool upgrade discussions in Williams Lake/100 Mile House...

In 100 Mile House- bitterly opposed by quite a few in the South Cariboo and is very evident that this pool proposal is deeply dividing the South Cariboo region

In Williams Lake - very little if any opposition expressed to the proposed $11.3 million Sam Ketchum Pool upgrade and this may very well have to do with the long public consultation that the Regional District/City of WL has done since 2012....

~SF

Sjostrom seeks 3rd Term as Quesnel Mayor

As I long expected - Mary Sjostrom, the current Mayor of Quesnel will be seeking a 3rd term.  She made her announcement today with her husband, Butch, at her side at Quesnel City Hall.

Will any one else run for Quesnel Mayor?  Time will only tell but with the current race for Quesnel Mayor - I believe Mayor Sjostrom's chances are very good for re-election....

Find Mayor Sjostrom's announcement below in full...

Quesnel Mayor Mary Sjostrom with husband, Butch
Quesnel Mayor Mary Sjostrom announced today that she will seek a 3rd term as Mayor in the local government elections on November 15. Sjostrom believes a community in transition needs a leader who is positive, experienced in seeking solutions to community challenges and who has a proven track record of working collaboratively with governments, industry and local First Nations.

Sjostrom states “I am very proud of the accomplishments of our City Council in the past few years. The successful referendum for a new arena is a huge step forward towards renewal of our community. 


Everyone will enjoy watching this new recreation facility be constructed in the next year and look forward to the grand opening in 2016. The results of the West Quesnel Land Stability Plan will be announced soon and that will provide some positive direction on this critical issue. Completion of the ‘

Our Quesnel Sustainability Plan’ will provide strategic direction for our City for the next 25 years and help city council lobby the senior governments for funding assistance to implement the projects outlined in the plan.”

Sjostrom continued “As a forest dependent community timber allocation is at the forefront and I’m working closely with the Ministry of Forests to insure sustainability for our City and all our stakeholders large and small. I’m a team player who has always put our community first. My campaign slogan ‘Bringing Our Community Together’ describes my approach to being the Mayor and I will always consider the needs of our community our highest priority. I will focus on my duties as Mayor for the rest of this term and continue to represent the needs of our citizens. I plan to share more of my vision for a vibrant, sustainable Quesnel next month after everyone enjoys the Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends.”

Sjostrom believes Quesnel residents look for progress and not just promises when they consider who to elect to city council. She believes those choices will be even more important in this election as the terms for Mayors and Councillors are for four years. Sjostrom believes Quesnel has made good progress in the past few years while dealing with the transition in the local forest industry, as best as a community can under difficult circumstances.

"Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success." Henry Ford

Voter Turnout Competition - PG vs Kamloops vs Kelowna

As a result of the Kamloops "Vote 50" campaign (see blog post on that item here) - Kamloops Council, at the request of Councillor Arjun Singh, agreed to challenge both Prince George and Kelowna Municipal Councils' to get the highest voter turnout.  In light of civic elections having the lowest turnout of all governments (local, provincial and federal), I was pleased to see this happen.

I wonder if any of the 5 Cariboo-Chilcotin local governments (Cities of Quesnel/Williams Lake, District of Wells/100 Mile House or Cariboo RD Board) will seek to do the same as Kamloops Council for the 2014 Election

Finally - here are the voter turnout numbers for Prince George, Kamloops and Kelowna from the 2011 Local Government Elections:

Prince George - 28.96%

Kamloops - 29.75%

Kelowna - 33.10%

~SF

Bowman makes three!

In the continuing run-up to the Nov 15th election - former 2011 WL City Councillor candidate Peter Bowman announced today that he wants to try again for one of the six Williams Lake City Councillor seats

Mr. Bowman says his platform includes support for the Nov 15th Sam Ketchum Pool Referendum, the local economy and focussing on youth and seniors.  From Williams Lake Tribune:

Peter Bowman makes it official. He's running for City Council. "I'm really excited", Bowman said Monday evening sitting at his kitchen table. "I've known for a while but thought I"d wait until the fall to make a formal announcement"

He ran in 2011, however, at that time, he believed his chances were slim. "Afterwards, I was encouraged by the number of votes I received", he said. "I did have many people tell me they didn't realize that Peter Bowman was me"

Every candidate will no doubt peg the economy as a number one issue, Bowman said, as he suggested that local mills, mines and the area as a service hub are all important. I also want to focus on youth and retirees. We need things for our youth to do and as seniors live healthier and longer lives, so do they

Pushing in favour of the pool referendum will be part of his platform because the community needs a new pool and it's well overdue. The pool's a place that can be enjoyed by all ages, especially in winter when days are short and cold, he added

Bowman and his wife, Jennifer, moved to Williams Lake in 1996 from Vancouver and as soon as they arrived, they noticed how green and active the community was. They played soccer, ball and ultimate frisbee

Today, they have two school-aged children. Recently, Bowman changed careers after being a teacher and eventually principal at Alkali Lake's school for a decade. He's now the project manager at RL7 Mechanical.

As he anticipates the election and a possible victory - Bowman said he'd love to be part of a good council with a mayor who has experience

His years working in Alkali Lake with the school and community has instilled a desire to work with outlying communities

I think I have a respect of how to do that. It involves going in there with a willingness to understand the people who live there, he said

Anyone wanting to talk about issues with Bowman can contact him by email at petbow@hotmail.com

View a video of Peter Bowman at the 2011 All Candidates Forum, hosted by the WL Chamber of Commerce here

With that - Mr. Bowman joins Sue Lachance and Wayne Lucier in the WL City Councillor election race.  I have no doubt more election announcements are forthcoming including re-election announcements from incumbent WL City Councillors Ivan Bonnell, Laurie Walters and Sue Zacharias

~SF

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Quesnel Council Highlights - Sept 8th mtg

Courtesy of the City of Quesnel:

Tom Moffat honoured

Council welcomed Tom Moffat and recognized the honour that is bestowed upon the Quesnel resident.
Mr. Moffat will be spending his 92nd birthday in Amsterdam and will be honoured by the Dutch Government for his participation in Operation: Market Garden during WWII. He is one of two Canadians so honoured and one of ten from around the world.

Mr. Moffat was born and raised in Quesnel. He was delivered by Doctor Baker and his wife, Nellie in September, 1922. At 19, Tom joined the Royal Canadian Air Force and went overseas with his cousin Milton Hill, one of the 19 Quesnel boys who did not return from WWII.

Upon arriving in England, Tom was attached to the Royal Air Force, the only Canadian in the crew in the Lancaster Bombers. In 1944, Tom flew in a Lancaster bomber, one of the planes that dropped food supplies to the Dutch people in Operation: Market Garden.

Tom will be attending commemorations and events such as the Airborne Operation near the Bridge of Grave to link up with ground troops as well as the crossing of the River Waal in Nijmegen by the
82nd Airborne. He will then attend a huge celebration of the Operation: Market Garden. Tom’s invitation comes from Lieutenant General M.C. De Kruif, the Commander of the Royal Netherlands Army.

Permissive tax exemptions

City Council approved the three new applications for permissive tax exemptions and proceeded with the first two readings of the 2015 Tax Exempting Bylaw. Details of those exemptions are as follows:
Quesnel Community and Economic Development Corporation will receive a full permissive tax exemption as they are a subsidiary of the City of Quesnel; the North Cariboo Aboriginal Program Society will receive a 30% permissive tax exemption as this group receives the majority of its funding from other levels of government; and the Quesnel Tillicum Society will receive a 50% permissive tax exemption for the area of the building available for public programming.

Barkerville receives fire engine

Council approved the donation of the 1990 Ford Phoenix Fire Engine to Barkerville Heritage Trust. The engine has served the Quesnel Fire Department exceptionally well since 1990 and with the recent purchase of a new replacement engine, this engine is due to retire.

The disposal of used fire apparatus in the past has been by donation or sealed tender however, the sealed tender process usually results in a low dollar bid as the engines are stripped of all emergency equipment. This engine however, would be a significant improvement to what the Wells/Barkerville fire service currently has and there are discussions that the fire apparatus in their possession could be potentially donated to the McLeese Lake Fire Department.

Other News

- Council approved the disposal of the 1988 Amertek Airport Emergency Vehicle by sealed bid. The vehicle is not required under Transport Canada’s regulations and is in need of significant repair.

- Council confirmed that a Notice of Contravention will be placed on property at 1186 Purmal Avenue under Section 7 of Bylaw No. 1550, 2003. The Notice will serve as a warning to any prospective purchaser.

- Council provided a 60-day extension on a Notice of Contravention on property at 730 Oval Road.

- Council proceeded with the first and second readings of the Official Community Plan Amendment Bylaw No. 1746 and Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 1747 regarding an amendment application for Creekview Apartments and the number of permitted dwellings. A Public Hearing Date was set for October 6 at 6:30 p.m. in Council Chambers.

- Council received an update on Phase I of the West Quesnel Land Stability project. A public Open House is scheduled for October 2 at 6:00 p.m. with a presentation at 7:00 p.m. in the Royal Canadian Legion.

- Council extended an invitation to Spectra Energy Transmission to attend a Council meeting to discuss creating healthy and sustainable communities. A date has not yet be scheduled.

- Councillors Brisco and Roodenburg have volunteered to assist Tim Hortons during Smile Cookie Week on September 17 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Proceeds go to our local maternity ward to help purchase a new breathing machine for babies that are not fully developed at birth.

Proclamations

October 20 to 25 - Child Development Week
October - Foster Family Appreciation Month in Quesnel

NEXT Regular Council Meeting:

Monday Sept. 29, 7 p.m.
(no meeting on Sept. 22 - UBCM Convention)

NEXT Delegation/Committee of the Whole Meeting:

Monday Sept. 15, 7 p.m.

NEXT North Cariboo Joint Planning Committee Meeting:

Tuesday Sept. 9, 5:30 p.m.
@ Bouchie Lake Community Hall