Monday, September 25, 2017

UBCM 2017 - Day 1 of 5

Good morning:

Today is Day 1 of the 2017 Union of BC Muncipalities Convention being held in Vancouver

Today - I will be attending:

* Funding for Local Governments -- Study Session
* Advancing Local Government and First Nations Relations -- Study Session
* Electoral Area Directors Meet and Greet

As of scheduled meetings today -- I have a meeting with Todd Stone (MLA - Kamloops-South Thompson) and the BC Liberal Official Opposition Critic for Local Government to brief him on local government matters pertaining to my Area

Have a wonderful Monday!

~SF

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Cariboo Local Gov'ts off to UBCM 2017

Elected officials from the Districts of 100 Mile House/Wells, Cities of Quesnel/Williams Lake and the Cariboo Regional District are off to Vancouver to attend the 114th Convention of the Union of BC Muncipalities (UBCM) being held from September 25-29, 2017

The full 2017 UBCM Convention Guide can be viewed here along with the 2017 UBCM Resolutions Book here

The Convention consists of two days of Pre-Convention events (Mon/ Tues Sept 25-26) with the Convention officially getting started on Wednesday, Sept 27th with the Convention adjourning at noon on Friday, Sept 29th

I will be posting daily reports from the Convention so stay tuned for those here, starting Monday morning

If you are on Facebook - you can follow my UBCM posts here
If you are on Twitter - you can follow my UBCM posts here

Upon my return from Vancouver  - I will publish an Post Event Report on my attendance at the 2017 UBCM Convention

~SF

Friday, September 22, 2017

School District #27 Board meets Tuesday

The Board of Education for School District #27 (Cariboo-Chilcotin) will be the only local government in the Region to meet next week (Tues Sept 26th) at 6:30pm in the SD27 Boardroom (350 2nd Avenue, Williams Lake).  On the Agenda:

* Consent Agenda
* Reports from the Superintendent of School and Secretary-Treasurer
* 2016-17 Audited Financial Statements
* Unexpended Funds Targeted Dollars - First Nations (Request to BC's Minister of Education)
* Ministry of Education Finance Audit of SD27
* 2017 Wildfires Issues - Report from SD27 Board Chair Tanya Guenther
* Framework for Enhancing Student Learning

View the full Agenda here

~SF

Campfire Ban rescinded in Cariboo Fire Centre!

Courtesy of the BC Wildfire Service:

Effective at noon on Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, campfires will once again be allowed throughout the Kamloops Fire Centre, Southeast Fire Centre and Cariboo Fire Centre. A return to more seasonal weather conditions and recent precipitation has reduced the wildfire risk in these areas.

The BC Wildfire Service reminds the public that Category 2 and Category 3 open fires, which are fires larger than 0.5 metres by 0.5 metres, remain prohibited in these three fire centres. A poster explaining the different categories of open burning is available online at: http://ow.ly/znny309kJv5

The use of sky lanterns, binary exploding targets, air curtain burners, fireworks (including firecrackers) and burning barrels or burning cages of any size or description remain prohibited throughout the Southeast Fire Centre, but will be allowed in the Kamloops Fire Centre and Cariboo Fire Centre as of noon on Sept. 22. The use of tiki torches and chimineas will be allowed in all three fire centres as of noon on Sept. 22.

People wishing to light a campfire must have ready access to eight litres of water or a shovel during the entire time the campfire is lit. They also must completely extinguish the campfire and the ashes must be cold to the touch before they leave the area for any length of time.

Open burning prohibitions apply to all BC Parks, Crown lands and private lands, but do not apply within the boundaries of a local government that has forest fire prevention bylaws and is serviced by a fire department. Always check with local authorities to see if any other burning restrictions are in place before lighting any fire.

Anyone found in contravention of an open burning prohibition may be issued a ticket for $1,150, required to pay an administrative penalty of up to $10,000 or, if convicted in court, fined up to $100,000 and/or sentenced to one year in jail. If the contravention causes or contributes to a wildfire, the person responsible may be ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs.

Although the off-road vehicle prohibition in the Cariboo Fire Centre, Kamloops Fire Centre and Southeast Fire Centre was rescinded on Sept. 20, 2017, the public is reminded that area restrictions are in effect in the vicinity of some wildfires in these fire centres.

More information about current area restrictions and open burning prohibitions can be found online at: http://www.gov.bc.ca/wildfirebans

To report a wildfire, unattended campfire or open burning violation, call *5555 on a cellphone or 1 800 663-5555 toll-free.

For the latest information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, road closures and air quality advisories, visit: www.bcwildfire.ca

You can follow the latest wildfire news on:

* Twitter at: http://twitter.com/BCGovFireInfo

* Facebook at: http://facebook.com/BCForestFireInfo

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Quesnel Council defers further readings of the Elliott Street supportive housing bylaws

Courtesy of the City of Quesnel:

Due to significant and ongoing confusion surrounding the operating model for BC Housing’s proposed supportive housing complex on Elliott Street, Quesnel City Council has voted to defer any further readings of the two bylaws needed to give this project the go ahead. Despite pressing pause on this particular project, Council remains committed to enabling BC Housing to invest in supportive transition housing in Quesnel and to working with our community’s health and social service agencies to provide much needed mental health and addictions services to some of the most vulnerable and marginalized citizens in our community.
Quesnel City Council will not consider these bylaws again until the following conditions are met:
  1. The operating model for this supportive housing facility is clearly communicated to Council and to the public.
     
  2. All questions from the public received at the September 18 public hearing have been answered and posted on the City’s website.
     
  3. A Housing Agreement (between BC Housing and the City of Quesnel) is finalized and signed by BC Housing, and a Good Neighbour Agreement is approved by Council and signed by the operator.
     
  4. A transition plan is developed that clearly outlines what services will not be offered at the proposed supportive housing complex and where those services will be delivered in the community. This transition plan must also outline how the current facility (Seasons House on Carson Avenue) will transition to the service delivery model proposed for the new supportive housing facility as soon as possible.
“We hope that BC Housing will work with the community to clarify the confusion about what services will and will not be offered at their proposed supportive housing facility,” said Quesnel Mayor Bob Simpson. “This confusion has come as a result of the proposed operator (the Quesnel Shelter and Support Society, which currently runs Seasons House) refusing to work cooperatively with the City to develop agreements that will avoid a repeat of the significant community safety issues created by the way the current homeless shelter is being managed.”
Council also passed a resolution strongly advising BC Housing to issue an open Request for Proposals for the operations of their proposed new facility so all qualified service providers interested in operating this new facility can bid on the operating contract, including the Quesnel Shelter and Support Society. “Unfortunately, the Quesnel Shelter and Support Society has lost the confidence of too many citizens in our community to simply be awarded the contract without having to compete with other qualified organizations,” stated Mayor Simpson. “There are a number of agencies in our community and in Williams Lake and Prince George that should be given an equal opportunity to bid on this contract; agencies that have strong and unblemished track records and years of experience running supportive housing facilities.”
Mayor Simpson reaffirmed the City’s commitment to work with Northern Health, the RCMP, and all the other social services and mental health and addictions agencies to develop a strategy to provide comprehensive supports to people with addictions and mental health issues. The City has been actively working with Northern Health in an effort to develop this strategy since early March this year, but these efforts have been stymied by the refusal of the Quesnel Shelter and Support Society to engage in this process in a proactive and productive manner.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Quesnel Council Highlights - Sept 19th mtg

Courtesy of the City of Quesnel:

Elliott Street Supportive Housing Development

A Public Hearing was held on Monday, September 17, 2017 regarding the proposed Elliott Street Supportive Housing Development. Many questions were brought forward from the public stemming from the lack of clarity regarding the proposed operations of BC Housing’s proposed Supportive Housing Development. As a result, Council has deferred any further Bylaw readings for this proposed development until:

1) The operating model is clearly communicated to Council and to the public;

2) All questions from the public received at the September 18th Public Hearing have been answered and posted to the City’s website;

3) The Housing Agreement is finalized and signed by BC Housing, and the Good Neighbour Agreement is approved by Council and signed by the Operator; and
4) A transition plan is developed that clearly outlines what services will not be offered at the proposed Supportive Housing complex and where those services will be delivered in the community. This transition plan must also outline how the current Seasons House facility (located on Carson Avenue) will transition to the new service delivery model proposed for the new Supportive Housing facility.

Further, Council passed a motion recommending to BC Housing to issue a Request for Proposal for the operations of their proposed Elliott Street Supportive Housing facility so all service providers interested may bid on the operating contract for this proposed facility.

Ministers Meetings

At the upcoming Union of British Columbia Municipalities Annual Convention, from September 25 to 29, Council will be meeting with 11 Ministers and the Premier to discuss various City initiatives. To view the full schedule, and topics to be discussed, please see the report attached to the September 19th Agenda.

Age Friendly Advisory Committee

Quesnel is now one step closer to becoming an “Age Friendly Community”. This initiative encourages and supports communities to ensure that older citizens can age in place, enjoy good health, and remain active in their home-community. Council passed the necessary motions required to create a Select Committee and approved this Committee’s Terms of Reference. Next steps include completing an Age-Friendly Community Assessment and accompanying Action Plan for the City of Quesnel.

Water Ambassador Program

Council heard the results of the City’s new Water Ambassador Program that ran this past summer from May 15 to August 26, where to two university students went door-to-door and attended the Farmer’s Market to promote education of water conservation, the City’s Watering Bylaw 1763 and the City’s West Quesnel Land Stability project. The students visited 2052 homes, spoke to 726 residents and increased awareness to where approximately 60% of residents canvassed were aware of Bylaw 1763 watering restrictions. Council has asked the Financial Sustainability Committee to look at incorporating into the 2018 budget an Environmental Sustainability Ambassador Program for next summer.

Maximizing Parking – Museum/Visitors Information Centre

One of Council’s 2017 strategic initiatives is to increase RV Parking for the City. With this in mind, Council approved the re-design and re-build of the Museum parking lot that will maximize parking, including some RV parking, by the relocation of the existing circular flower bed and Billy Barker wooden carving to the south side of the museum entrance.

Spirit Centre – Grand Opening on Sept 23rd

The City of Quesnel, in partnership with the Quesnel Downtown Business Association, will host the Grand Opening of the Spirit Centre facility on Saturday, September 23rd from 10 am – 3 pm. There will be a vendors’ market, speeches at 11 am followed by free cookies for the public. The Spirit Centre public parking lot will be closed to make way for this community celebration.

Bylaws

Bylaws 1829 & 1830 – OCP & Zone Amendments – Supportive Housing (Elliott Street) – Deferred further Bylaw readings until conditions have been met. Please see above.
Bylaw 1833 – Permissive Exemption Amendment – First Reading

Next Meetings

7 pm, October 3, 2017 – Regular Council Meeting

5:30 pm, October 10, 2017 – North Cariboo Joint Planning Committee

Timely Community Celebration of new West Fraser Centre!

Courtesy of the City of Quesnel:

The opening weekend for the new arena was a real, and very timely, celebration for our community. Timely, because for many people it signalled both the end of this summer’s challenging fire season and the end of a very long struggle to get this new venue built. Real, because everyone from our community was able to participate in an affordable and accessible celebration of what our entire community has accomplished together. From the sold out concert attended by over 1800 people, to the free afternoon tailgate party and free skate, to the sold out Canucks Alumni game enjoyed by over 1300 people, everyone in our community had an opportunity to participate in the celebration of this milestone achievement.

When the current North Cariboo Joint Planning Committee (NCJPC), which oversees the sub-regional recreation function and is made up of the four Northern Directors of the Cariboo Regional District and all of Council, was presented with the first real cost estimate for the arena days after being sworn into office in 2015 there was a collective gasp and groan, as the $27 million price estimate was $10 million over the cost estimate that had gone to referendum. We simply did not have the taxation authority to build that project without going to referendum again. It is a testament to the leadership of the NCJPC, our staff, the project team and the arena user groups that we were able to work together to come up with a project we could afford and a $20.6 million price cap that we could manage within the existing taxation authority and recreation budget without compromising the maintenance of our other recreation facilities.

Having set the budget, NCJPC established some key goals for the project that we expected staff and the project contractor to achieve: it had to be on time and on budget, the facility needed to be truly multi-use and be able to easily host entertainment and cultural events, the project itself had to deliver local economic benefits, and the final result should be a facility that our community would be proud of for years to come. I’m happy to report that the project was on time and on budget – a very major accomplishment! The opening concert this weekend immediately proved it is a venue that can easily host quality concerts and cultural events. And, over 50% of the project involved local contractors and suppliers. Our first three goals were handily achieved.

Only the public can determine if we achieved our final goal, but based on feedback we received all weekend and the applause of the hockey game audience when I asked if they were proud of the new arena, I believe that goal has been accomplished as well.

Over the first season in the new arena finishing touches and refinements will be made (including rubberizing the walking track). But, by all accounts, we now have a new community asset that will boost our local economy and assist us to attract and retain visitors, residents, and investment to our community. I want to personally thank everyone who had a hand in making the new arena a reality, this was truly a community accomplishment.

Bob Simpson is the Mayor of Quesnel.  He can be reached via email here

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

ATV Ban gone tomorrow at Noon!

Courtesy of the BC Wildfire Service:

Editor's Note - the campfire ban will still remain in place along with forest area restrictions, as a result of the ongoing wildfires in the Cariboo Fire Centre area.  Read more here

The operation of off-road vehicles will once again be permitted on Crown land throughout the Cariboo Fire Centre, Kamloops Fire Centre and Southeast Fire Centre, effective at noon on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017.

Cooler weather conditions and recent precipitation have reduced the flammability of fine fuels in these regions, which has significantly reduced the chance of a wildfire starting from a spark or a hot engine.

However, the BC Wildfire Service reminds the public that some area restrictions are still in effect on Crown land in the vicinity of large wildfires in the Cariboo Fire Centre, Kamloops Fire Centre and Southeast Fire Centre, to help protect public safety and allow firefighting operations to continue efficiently. The use of off-road vehicles will continue to be prohibited in the restricted areas around these wildfires.

Additionally, campfire prohibitions remain in effect throughout the Cariboo Fire Centre, Kamloops Fire Centre and Southeast Fire Centre.

More information about these area restrictions and campfire prohibitions can be found online:

* Factsheet on fire-related prohibitions and restrictions: http://ow.ly/qUPm30fhyGz

* BC Wildfire Service website: http://www.gov.bc.ca/wildfirebans

Individuals found to be in contravention of an area restriction may be issued a violation ticket that carries a fine of $767, while individuals found to be in contravention of a campfire prohibition may be issued a ticket that carries a fine of $1,150. If a person's activities causes or contributes to a wildfire, the person responsible may also be ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs.

To report a wildfire or open burning violation, call *5555 on a cellphone or 1 800 663-5555 toll-free.

For the latest information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, road closures and air quality advisories, visit: www.bcwildfire.ca

You can also follow the latest wildfire news on:


Monday, September 18, 2017

Editorial: 2017 UBCM Cabinet Minister Meetings

Editorial:

During the summer of each year - BC's 190 Local Governments' consisting of Regional District Boards and Municipal Councils ranging from small villages or districts' to big Cities will usually discuss which BC Cabinet Ministers' they wish to meet with at the annual Union of BC Municipalities' (UBCM) Convention held during the last week of September and is traditionally held in either the Cities of Vancouver/Victoria or the Resort Municipality of Whistler.  This is followed up by a letter from the Premier of BC and his/her Minister for Local Government, currently styled "Minister of Muncipal Affairs/Housing" with the deadline to apply for such meetings being late August (this year's deadline was August 18th).  View this year's letter to local governments here

UBCM Cabinet Minister Meetings are then usually confirmed with local government staff in early September so they can prepare binders for their elected officials as they travel to the UBCM Convention in late September. 

This year is no different, except for one exception, many local governments including my own, I have been told, have very few or no confirmed cabinet minister meetings and there is only one week left before the start of the 2017 UBCM Convention in Vancouver on Monday, September 25thI would not be surprised if some elected officials from local government bow out of UBCM because there don't have confirmed meetings by this Friday and they wouldn't see much point of attending the UBCM Convention without confirmed cabinet minister meetings.

I hope that these meetings can be confirmed this week, as it would be extremely stressful for UBCM Delegates trying to re-arrange their schedule at the UBCM Convention itself, if they had no cabinet minister meetings before leaving only to be told about confirmed cabinet minister meetings' while at the UBCM Convention itself!

~SF

The above editorial is my own and is not reflective of my elected position as the Cariboo Regional District Electoral Area 'D' Director

Saturday, September 16, 2017

SKP Construction moves to Final Stages

Joint Release of the Cariboo Regional District/City of Williams Lake:

Starting Monday Sept. 25, some Phase One elements will be closed for three weeks as construction enters the final stages for the Sam Ketcham Pool upgrade project. The lap tank, hot tub, sauna and steam room will be closed starting Monday, Sept. 25 and will re-open on Monday, Oct. 16.  The fitness centre is unaffected by this closure and will remain open for regular hours during this time.

A short-term closure is necessary as crews remove the temporary wall and complete the tiling between Phase One and Phase Two. During this time, crews will also connect vital mechanical systems, including heating, ventilation, air conditioning and water treatment system, into the new leisure pool area. The lap tank area is unable to stay open while this work is completed.

When the lap pool, hot tub, sauna and steam room re-open on Monday, October 16, Phase Two will remain closed. Final cleaning and commissioning for Phase Two will occur over the following few weeks.

The wildfire evacuations this summer have affected the originally anticipated October opening of the entire project. The pool’s full completion is projected for mid-November, barring unforeseen circumstances. An opening date will be announced as soon as possible.

See a live webcam of the progress on Phase Two construction at the Cariboo Regional District website here: http://bit.ly/2f9OthA

The Sam Ketcham Pool upgrade project is a joint initiative of the Cariboo Regional District and City of Williams Lake. For more information and regular updates, follow the project’s Facebook page at facebook.com/SamKetchamPool or Twitter feed at @SKPProject. Find further information on the Cariboo Regional District website at cariboord.ca and on the City of Williams Lake site at williamslake.ca

Friday, September 15, 2017

Local Gov't Mtgs - Wk of Sept 18-22

The following local governments of the Cariboo-Chilcotin are meeting next week, as follows:

Wells - Special Council Meeting on Wednesday, Sept 20th at 7pm in Wells Council Chambers.  On the Agenda:

* Draft Letter of Support for the City of Abbotsford's 2017 UBCM Presentation on the Prevention of the Opioid crisis, as per Council Resolution 17-222 from the September 12,2017 Regular Council Meeting - For consideration of APPROVAL

* Upgrades to District of Wells Water Supply System
* Proposed 2018 Permissive Tax Exemptions
* Tractor Report (report to be presented at the meeting)
* Consent Calendar

View the full Agenda here

Quesnel - Meetings as listed below:

Special Meeting of Council - Monday, Sept 18th at 5pm in Quesnel Council Chambers (4th Floor, 410 Kinchant St) to discuss the Proposed Elliott Street Supportive Housing Development. On the Agenda:

* Executive Committee Report - Social Media Commentary on BC Housing Elliott Street Supportive Housing Project
* Administration Report #92E/17 - Proposed Elliott Street Supportive Housing Development - Draft Good Neighbour, Housing and Operations Agreements

View the full Agenda here

Public Hearing - Resumption of Hearing from August 29th at 6pm on Monday, Sept 18th in Quesnel Council Chambers for  the proposed Elliott St Supportive Housing Proposal (Bylaws 1829 and 1830). View the full Agenda here

Regular Council Meeting - Tuesday, Sept 19th at 7pm in Quesnel Council Chambers.  On the Agenda:

* Committee Reports from Financial Sustainability/Audit & Policy/Bylaw Review Committees
* 2017 Union of British Columbia Municipalities Requested Minster Meetings
* Schedule of Upcoming Strategic Planning or Special Meetings (Closed/Open)
* 2017 Second Quarter Report for the City of Quesnel
* Quesnel Age Friendly Advisory Committee
* City's Water Ambassador Program
* Museum Parking Lot Rebuild
* Permissive Exemption Bylaw Amendment
* Spirit Centre Grand Opening
* Letters -- Strategic Wildfire Prevention Initiative - Approval of Community Wildfire Protection Plan/Update for Quesnel/Area & Quesnel Women’s Resource Centre – Take Back The Night – Request for Road Closure and Bridge Lights

View the full Agenda here

School District #28 (Quesnel) -- Regular Board of Education Meeting on Wednesday, Sept 20th at 7pm in the SD28 Boardroom (401 North Star Rd, Quesnel).  When available, the Agenda can be viewed here

CRD Board Highlights - Sept 15th mtg

Present: Chair A. Richmond; Directors T. Armstrong, J. Bruce, J. Massier, S. Forseth, J. Sorley, M. Wagner, D. Cash, R. William, B. Anderson, B. Coakley, R. Sharpe, B. Simpson, W. Cobb, M. Campsall and Alternate Director M. Neufeld (Area E)

Meeting called to order at 1:00pm

Meeting Agenda/August 31st CRD Board Meeting Minutes, both adopted

The Board received the Delegation MOB

Delegation:

1) David Weir, Water Section Head for the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, appeared before the Board to provide a presentation with respect to the Water Sustainability Act.

A Question/Answer period ensued

Chair Richmond, on behalf of the Board, thanked Mr. Weir for his time/information

Business:

Development Services:

1) The Board received the Municipalities’ Building Inspection Statistics Report, Cariboo Regional District Statistics Report, and the Inspection Activity Report for July 2017

Finance:

1) The Board received/ratified the Monthly Expenditures Board Summary Report and Mastercard Summary Report for the month of August 2017, in the amount of $5,166,906.65

2) The Board approved a request by Area 'F' Director Sorley for authorization of Grants for Assistance funding for community barbecues in Area F (Horsefly, Likely, Big Lake, Miocene and 150 Mile House)

Meeting recessed at 1:57pm
Meeting resumed at 2:04pm

Delegation, cont:

A delegation from the Ministry of Forest, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development appeared before the Board to discuss the Post-Fire Recovery Process

A Question/Answer period ensued

Chair Richmond, on behalf of the Board, thanked the delegation for their time/information

Business, cont:

Administration:

1) The Board received a report of the Deputy Corporate Officer, in regards to an application before the Passenger Transportation Board to authorize Greyhound to eliminate routes in Northern BC and directed Staff to forward a letter indicated that the Cariboo Regional District is not in support of Greyhound's application and should it be approved, Greyhound should lose access to their freight routes in BC

2) The Board received a recommendation from the Sept 12th North Cariboo Joint Committee in regards Post-Wildfire Recovery wherein the recommendation was:

That the Cariboo Regional District support the City of Quesnel’s application for a Recovery Coordinator position to be funded by Emergency Management B.C. without delay.
And that the Cariboo Regional District support the concept of economic recovery efforts being managed and delivered on a sub-regional level, with significant involvement from key local stakeholders, with some coordination between all the Recovery Coordinators throughout the Cariboo.


3) The Board agreed to provide a letter of support to the City of Williams Lake for its' UBCM Application for Strategic Wildfire Protection Funding, with the understanding that Central CRD Directors' will be engaged

4) The Board received the Consent Calendar, as of September 15th

5) The Board received two items, pertaining to FCM, UBCM and NCLGA items, as follows:

a) Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing and UBCM Green Communities Committee - Corporate Carbon Neutrality- Reduction of GHG Emissions
b) NCLGA - 2017 Resolutions

6) The Board received and endorsed the Prioritization of Board Resolutions reports, as of September 7th

At 4:21pm -- The Board recessed its public meeting to conduct an In-Camera Meeting, as per Section (90 1a - appointment) of the Community Charter

At 4: 33pm -- The Board resumed its' public meeting

The Board adjourned at 5:00pm

CCRHD Board Highlights - Sept 15th mtg

Present: Chair M. Wagner; Directors T. Armstrong, J. Bruce, J. Massier, S. Forseth, J. Sorley, A. Richmond, D. Cash, R. William, B. Anderson, B. Coakley, R. Sharpe, B. Simpson, W. Cobb, M. Campsall and Alternate Director M. Neufeld (Area E)

Meeting called to order at 12:46pm

Meeting Agenda/Minutes of the August 31st CCRHD Board meeting, both adopted

Business:

1) The Board received the Hospital Consent Calendar, as of September 15th

The Board adjourned at 12:49pm

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

City of Quesnel Fire Recovery Initiatives

Courtesy of the City of Quesnel:

Over the past month, we’ve been working with the new provincial government to secure the resources we need to both recover from this summer’s fire season and to continue to manage our way through the economic transition we were already experiencing as a result of the Mountain Pine Beetle epidemic. I’m pleased to report that we are finding willing and eager partners in the new Cabinet and we’re looking forward to continuing our discussions with key Ministers when we meet with them at the Union of BC Municipalities annual convention at the end of September.
As members of our business community pointed out to us, we don’t want a repeat of the so-called recovery assistance the Province provided after the Canfor mill closure or the more recent “community transition pilot” that was initiated by the Cariboo North MLA without consultation with the City or the Cariboo Regional District. In both cases, senior bureaucrats from Victoria flew into Quesnel to offer “help” and then went away without actually delivering any incremental long term programs or resources to our community. We still haven’t seen the final report from the Canfor transition process and nothing concrete came out of the MLA led process. In both cases, the provincial bureaucrats only made us aware of programs that already existed and that we were either already taking advantage of or had been denied access to.
We are now making the case that we need a local, ground-up process; one led by a local recovery team and based on our already existing economic and social development strategies and plans that will be refined to incorporate any new challenges which have emerged as a result of the fire impacts. What we need from the province is the incremental resources to facilitate and coordinate our own recovery and transition efforts, not some team of provincial bureaucrats second-guessing our ability to manage our own destiny or educating us about funding programs we already know about.
Over the coming weeks, leading up to our Minister meetings at UBCM, I will be working with the Cariboo Chilcotin Beetle Action Coalition and the Northern Development Initiative Trust to see what steps can be taken to realign the financial resources they have available to them so that they more directly and more readily support fast-tracking our economic transition and recovery initiatives. These two organizations have significant funds available that can be quickly marshalled to support our efforts. I will also be speaking with senior government officials about the future of the Rural Dividend Fund and the Forest Enhancement Fund – again, two already existing funding programs that simply need to be adapted to meet our emerging needs.
The key message we are giving to the new provincial government is simple: the time to start developing recovery strategies is now and these strategies need to be based on refining economic and social development plans that have already been developed for our City and region; a local recovery team made up of our business associations and sectoral representatives is best positioned to lead this process with incremental financial assistance from the province to support the facilitation and coordination of this team’s efforts; and, already existing funding programs simply need to be adjusted to meet our emergent needs before any new programs and funds are created.
If we can convince the new government to align their offers of support with this approach we’ll be best positioned to create the most robust and effective strategies and initiatives to both recover from this summer’s fire season and to manage our way through the current economic transition.
Mayor Bob Simpson

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

WL Council Highlights - Sept 12th mtg

Present: Mayor W. Cobb; Councillors I. Bonnell, S. Nelson (via phone), J. Ryll, C. Smith, L. Walters and S. Zacharias

Meeting called to order at 6pm

Meeting Agenda approved & Aug 29th meeting minutes of WL City Council adopted

Delegations:

1) Ashlee Hyde from United Way Thompson Nicola Cariboo appeared before Council to discuss the'Welcome Home Celebration' Fundraising BBQ & Movie Night on September 22, 2017

A Question/Answer period ensued

Mayor Cobb, on behalf of Council, thanked Ms. Hyde for her time/information

2) Court Smith & Lorne Doerkson from the Williams Lake Stampede Association (WLSA) appeared before Council to discuss the upcoming 'Wildfire Relief' Fundraising Event (Sept 29th/30th and Oct 1st) and WLSA AGM

A Question/Answer period ensued

Mayor Cobb, on behalf of Council, thanked Mssrs Smith/Doerkson for their time/information

Business:

1) Council received for information the cheque register for August 31 and September 7, 2017

2) Council authorized registration, travel, accommodation and associated expenses for the Mayor, Councillors and the CAO to attend the 2017 Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) Annual Convention from September 25 to 30, 2017 in Vancouver, BC at an approximate cost per person of $3,315.

3) Council authorized a joint Cariboo RD/City of WL Late UBCM Resolution entitled "Fire Mitigation Strategy", to be considered at the 2017 UBCM Convention in Vancouver as follows:

WHEREAS wildfires have plagued much of British Columbia’s Interior this summer, and will continue to threaten communities, particularly with predicted climate change;

AND WHEAREAS forest restrictions continue to hamper fire mitigation efforts, and public safety should be the number one priority;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that, under the Forest & Range Practices Act, the Government Actions Regulation (GAR) include regulations that initiate a Fire Mitigation Strategy that prioritizes public safety over other forest management initiatives including harvesting and reforestation of the affected areas


4) Council gave 2nd Reading to Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 2249 (Leif & Sarah Dressler - 101 Mason Road) and directed that a Public Hearing be scheduled for October 17, 2017 at 7:00 PM in the Council Chambers

5) After receiving no public input -- Council approved DP #04-2017 - Sprucelee Construction (1135, 1145 & 1155 Murray Drive)

6) Council adopted two Committee of the Whole recommendations, as follows:

a) Council approve the proposed timeline for the 2018 budget and five-year financial plan and Council provide budget development direction to Staff at Committee of Whole Council meetings

b) The City of Williams Lake’s Strategic Plan to 2020 be approved as presented

7) Council agreed to support the applications of the Cariboo Chilcotin Partners for Literacy and the Social Planning Council to the Vancouver Foundation and to Cariboo Strong for funding towards their Community Poverty Reduction project

8) Council passed two Proclamations as follows:

a) "Waste Reduction Week" - October 16 to 22, 2017
b) "Orange Shirt Day" - September 30, 2017

9) Council received the 'Council Information Package' as follows:

August 25, 2017 - Letter from MLA Barnett to Minister Farnworth re Wildfire Recovery Assistance - click here

Members of Council reported on their recent activities

The CAO provided an oral report on his recent activities

Media Question Period -- Tribune: WL Airport/Fire Guard & Update on construction of new residential beds (old Cariboo Lodge site)

Council agreed to adjourn at 6:47pm and after a 5 minute break, Council then resumed its In-Camera Meeting as per Section 90(1e/k - land and negotiations) of the Community Charter

Monday, September 11, 2017

New Session of BC Legislature starts off with a bang!

This past Friday - a normally mundane and quiet prorogation address by the Lt-Gov of BC to the BC Legislature to terminate one session that leads to a new session of the Legislature commencing was anything but

The night before - provincial media had reported that all of the 42 BC Liberal MLA's had handed in the required notice to the Clerk of the BC Legislature (Craig James) that they were not interested in seeking the position of Speaker of the BC Legislature and it was anticipated that Raj Chouhan, the Deputy Speaker during the 1st Session of the 41st Parliament of BC and NDP MLA for Burnaby-Edmonds was set to become the new Speaker

However, before the Prorogation Address by the Lt-Gov, the Legislature needed to elect a new Speaker as former Speaker Steve Thomson resigned back on June 29th and the Clerk announced that Abbotsford South MLA Darryl Plecas, a former BC Liberal (more on that later) was elected, by acclamation, as the new Speaker of the Legislature.  Mr. Plecas's former colleagues used one word in describing their former colleague's effort in seeking to become Speaker - betrayal.  Read more here

After the Lt-Gov accepted Mr. Plecas as the new BC Legislature Speaker - the Lt-Gov proceeded to the Prorogation Address which led to the Legislature rising until the afternoon when a new Speech from the Throne was read.  You can read the full 2nd Session of the 41st Parliament of BC Speech from the Throne here. Most media commentary following Speech from the Throne praised the Speech except from the opposition BC Liberals' who critiqued it for lacking details on supporting the BC Economy

On Saturday, Sept 9th - at the request of the BC Liberal Abbotsford South Riding Association, the Executive of the BC Liberal Party passed a "Special Resolution" revoking the BC Liberal Party membership of Darryl Plecas.  Read more here while Mr. Plecas talked with Mike Smyth of the Vancouver Province as to why he sought the Speaker's role.  Read here

At the moment -- the BC Legislature, minus the Speaker, has 41 NDP MLA's, 41 BC Liberal MLA's and 3 BC Green MLA with 1 vacant seat (Kelowna West), due to the resignation of former BC Premier Christy Clark.  The by-election for Kelowna West must be called by Feb 2018 and it is currently expected that Ben Stewart, the BC Liberal Party nominee for Kelowna West will easily win back that seat and thus the House make up, post Feb 2018, would be 41 NDP MLA's, 42 BC Liberal MLA's and 3 BC Green MLA's (2 seat majority between government and opposition) between Feb March 2018 to Fall 2021, with the Confidence/Supply Agreement between NDP/Green Party Caucuses in place.  Read the agreement here

There is also the potential for a recall campaign against Mr. Plecas (or other MLA's) to start as soon as mid November 2018, as per the Recall and Initiative Act which requires that 40% of registered voters in the riding that voters wish to "recall" their MLA must sign a petition and if the petition is determined to be successful, that MLA is no longer elected and a subsequent by-election will be necessary.  Read more information on the recall process from Elections BC here.

25 Recall Petitions have been approved by Elections BC since 1995 and none to date have been successful.  The closest successful recall petition was in 1998 when Elections BC had started the verification process for a recall petition against former BC Liberal Party MLA Paul Reistma who represented the then riding of Parksville-Qualicum from 1996-1998 after he was revealed to use aliases to praise himself and attack his political opponents in the media and it was assumed that the petition and resulting by-election would be successful in removing Mr. Reistma.  View here

Finally - Prince-George Valemount MLA Shirley Bond speaks to 250News about the revoking of Darryl Plecas's membership in the BC Liberal Party.  Click here

Conclusion:

Given the above and how very challenging it is to do a successful MLA Recall Process - it is all but certain that the NDP, with BC Greens' support, will govern BC all the way to the Fall 2021 Provincial Election, failing either the NDP or Greens' "walking away" from their Confidence/Supply Agreement or an "accidental" vote of non-confidence where the opposition outvotes the government, which is highly unlikely, if the NDP Government Whip manages everything correctly.  A historical note -- the last BC NDP Government in 1996-2001 only had a 3 seat majority and was able to govern the entire term.

~SF

Saturday, September 9, 2017

MLA Barnett calls for Property Tax Forgiveness (Small Bus/Tourism) in 2018

Editorial:

At their meeting this coming Tuesday (Sept 12th)  -- Williams Lake City Council will receive a copy of a letter, dated August 25th, from Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett to the Hon. Mike Farnworth (Minister of Public Safety/Solicitor-General) where she calls on the Provincial Government to waive 2018 property taxes from small business/tourism operators charged by the local/provincial governments

You can read the letter here.

Meanwhile, the Cariboo Regional District (CRD) has recently received funding for a "Recovery Coordinator" funded through Emergency Management BC (EMBC) reports Quesnel City Manager (CAO) Byron Johnson, in a report going to North Cariboo Joint Committee on Tuesday

However requests to fund a similiar position in the municipalities (Wells, Quesnel, Williams Lake and 100 Mile House) have been put on hold for now, until EMBC determines the success of the CRD's Recovery Coordinator position.  Quesnel City Manager Byron Johnson will be asking the North Cariboo Joint Committee (Quesnel City Council/CRD Directors for Areas A, B, C and I) to endorse the following resolution:

THAT the North Cariboo Joint Planning Committee supports the City of Quesnel’s application for a Recovery Coordinator position to be funded by EMBC without delay.

AND THAT the North Cariboo Joint Planning Committee supports the concept of economic recovery efforts being managed and delivered on a sub-regional level, with significant involvement from key local stakeholders, with some coordination between all the Recovery Coordinators throughout the Cariboo
 Read CAO Johnson's report here.

Back on August 29th -- Williams Lake City Council called on the provincial/federal governments to put aside a minimum of $1 Billion dollars for wildfire recovery in the Cariboo-Chilcotin region including impacted First Nations.  Read more here

It is imperative that that "one voice" goes to Victoria from the local governments of the Cariboo-Chilcotin on the question of wildfire recovery and not 5 different voices, otherwise each will get a fraction of what is required.  While municipalities were impacted indirectly (closure of highways/wildfires in rural areas), the Electoral Areas of the Cariboo Regional District were the most impacted and why it makes the most sense to coordinate everything at the CRD Board table.  Anything less than that, the elected officials, including myself, are doing a disservice to those we collectively serve, some 62,000 residents' of the Cariboo-Chilcotin that were impacted in some measure during the 2017 Wildfires

~SF

Editor's Note -- the above editorial is my own and does not reflect the official views of the Cariboo Regional District, its' Staff/Volunteers and that of my elected position as Cariboo Regional District Electoral Area 'D' Director 

Friday, September 8, 2017

Local Gov't Mtgs - Wk of Sept 11 - 15

The following local governments of the Cariboo-Chilcotin are meeting next week, as follows:

Wells - Regular Council Meeting on Tuesday, September 12th at 7pm in Wells Council Chambers (4243 Sanders Ave).  When available, the Agenda can be viewed here

Quesnel - Bylaw/Review Standing Committee meeting on Tuesday, Sept 12th at 2pm in Quesnel Council Chambers - 4th Floor, 410 Kinchant Street.  On the Agenda:

* Single-Use Plastic Bags Ban/Bylaw - Plastic Recycling Contamination
* Committee Priorities for Fall/Winter 2017
* Shipping Containers (Commercial Use in Development Permit Areas/Communications with Existing Residential Owners)

View the full Agenda here

Williams Lake - Regular Council Meeting on Tuesday, Sept 12th at 6pm in WL Council Chambers (450 Mart St).  On the Agenda:

* Delegations (2) -- Ashlee Hyde, United Way Thompson Nicola Cariboo re 'Welcome Home Celebration' Fundraising BBQ & Movie Night - September 22, 2017 & Court Smith & Lorne Doerkson, Williams Lake Stampede Association re Upcoming 'Wildfire Relief' Fundraising Event and WLSA AGM

* Authorization to Travel to 2017 Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) Convention
* Joint CRD/City of WL UBCM Resolution Submission re Fire Mitigation Strategy (CRD Board approved this at their Aug 31st meeting)
* 2nd Reading to Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 2249 - Leif & Sarah Dressler - Allows for Second Single Family Residential Home - 101 Mason Road
* Development Permit Application - DP #04-2017 (1135, 1145 & 1155 Murray Drive) - for APPROVAL
* Two recommendations from last week's Committee of the Whole meeting for Adoption -- 2018 Budget and 2018-2022 Financial Plan/2017-2020 Strategic Plan

View the full Agenda here

100 Mile House - Regular Council Meeting on Tuesday, Sept 12th at 7pm in 100 Mile Council Chambers (385 Birch Avenue).  When available, the Agenda can be viewed here

Cariboo Regional District - Meetings as noted below:

South Cariboo Joint Committee - Meeting on Monday, Sept 11th at 12 noon in 100 Mile Council Chambers. Receipt of South Cariboo Recreation Centre Expansion Project Working Group meeting held on July 4, 2017 and an In-Camera Session as per Section 90(1e - land) of the Community Charter are the 2 items on the Agenda.  View the full Agenda here

North Cariboo Rural Directors' Caucus - Meeting on Tuesday, Sept 12th at 3pm at the CRD Quesnel sub-office (101-410 Kinchant St, Quesnel).  On the Agenda:

* Request for Support - RCMP Victim Services Educational Awareness Production
* NC Agricultural Development Advisory Committee Work Plan and Budget
* Discussion Item: Shaw TV Talk Show

View the full Agenda here

North Cariboo Joint Committee - Meeting on Tuesday, Sept 12 at 5:30pm in Quesnel Council Chambers.  On the Agenda:

* Delegation: Arena Opening Ceremonies Timeline Review - Charlene Lawrence, Project Coordinator
* North Cariboo Arena Project/Fundraising Status Reports
* Junior B Hockey Team Advertising Update
* Post Fire Recovery Initiatives (Recovery Coordinator Position paid by Emergency Management BC)
* Cenotaph Memorial Update
* Concession Agreement - Ratification of August 11, 2017 Email Poll
* CCBAC Update - Report from Mayor B. Simpson
* Determine Date of Fall Strategic Planning Session to discuss Committee Terms of Reference, Quesnel Regional Airport Discussion and Committee Strategic Priorities

View the full Agenda here

CCRHD Board - Meeting on Friday, Sept 15th at 12:45pm in the CRD Boardroom (180D North 3rd Avenue.  On the Agenda:

* Delegations List
* Hospital Consent Calendar

View the full Agenda here

CRD Board - Meeting on Friday, Sept 15th at 1pm in the CRD Boardroom.  On the Agenda:

* Delegation - David Weir, Water Section Head for the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, to appear before the Board to provide a presentation with respect to the Water Sustainability Act

* Grant for Assistance Request – Area F Community Associations (Community BBQ's)
* Consent Calendar
* In-Camera Session as per Section 90(1a - appointment) of the Community Charter

View the full Agenda here

Thursday, September 7, 2017

2017 ArtWalk - Sept 8th - 30th

Courtesy of the City of Williams Lake:

Williams Lake Mayor Walt Cobb is encouraging residents to come out for the annual Artwalk Show and Sale that kicks off on September 8th and runs to September 30th. With more than 50 participating merchants, it is a great opportunity for the community to explore our downtown and enjoy the annual event that celebrates the artists in our community while increasing traffic into participating merchants and businesses.

“On behalf of the City of Williams Lake, we would like to thank “Arty the Artwalker”, Willie Dye for his perseverance in rescheduling this event into September for the benefit of our community.” said Mayor Cobb. “This year we have a lot to be grateful for, so I am encouraging our citizens to take the opportunity to get out and support our local businesses and arts community, and reconnect with each other.”

The grand opening of the 2017 Artwalk Show and Sale will take place on Friday, September 8th at 11:30 am at Hopkins Design Studio at 262A South Third Avenue. Attendees at the opening will have the chance to get out with Arty the Artwalker for a guided walk around downtown.

The 2017 Artwalk Show and Sale Guide will be distributed in the Friday, September 8th edition of the Tribune/Advisor, and is a personal guide for individuals to plan their own tour. Artwalkers can have their passports filled in by the merchants at each stop, for a chance to win an array of prizes including the grand prize of a carving created by Ken Sheen, who is well known for his two large carvings prominently featured at the city’s “Y” intersection. This year, participants have the option of filling out their passports in the booklet, or using their smart phones to check in with the QHR codes that will be available at all of the participating locations.

“We look forward to seeing many community members in City Hall during the month of September. We are proud to once again host a local artist and be an official Artwalk Show and Sale site,” says Mayor Cobb.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Williams Lake to Host Rogers Hometown Hockey

Courtesy of the City of Williams Lake:

Williams Lake Mayor Walt Cobb confirmed the official Rogers Hometown Hockey announcement that Williams Lake has been selected as one of the tour stops for the popular festival that is now in its fourth year. 
"We are thrilled that Rogers Hometown Hockey has reached out to our community with an unexpected offer to bring their tour to Williams Lake", says Cobb. "The team at Rogers Hometown Hockey wanted to do what they could to help our community recover from the wildfires this summer, and reached out to us to see if we would be up for hosting this festival. The opportunity for us to showcase, in a national broadcast, the generous hearts and strong community spirit that we have seen this summer is something that we feel will be a great boost to us as we work to overcome the challenges that we have been through." 
Details are still being worked out, but the Rogers Hometown Hockey Tour is confirmed to be in Williams Lake on January 6 and 7, 2018 with a free family-friendly hockey festival full of activities, alumni appearances, giveaways and more. Sunday afternoon will feature an outdoor viewing party of the live broadcast of Vancouver vs Montreal starting at 4PM local time on Sportsnet and Sportsnet NOW with hosts Ron MacLean and Tara Slone. 
"This is going to be a great way for our community groups to come together to capitalize on all the different ways that we can use this festival to celebrate not only our hometown, but our Cariboo region, the people, landscapes, and stories that make us unique and special," Cobb added. "In the coming weeks we will be communicating plans to establish a planning committee that will give groups like Minor Hockey, the Downtown Williams Lake Business Improvement Association, First Nations communities and other non-profits the opportunity to be a part of this festival and showcase everything that makes us great." 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Shipping containers are no longer allowed on Quesnel residential properties

Courtesy of the City of Quesnel:

As of August 29, 2017, shipping containers are no longer able to be located on residential properties within the City of Quesnel. Containers existing prior to August 29, 2017, may remain as lawful nonconforming on those properties. This bylaw was put in place to deal with the growing number of containers being located on properties as accessory buildings. Aesthetics and safety concerns were reasons for implementing this bylaw. As these containers are not built as structures under the BC Building Code they are not adequately vented to ensure the release of explosive emissions and they are industrial in form and character.
Recommendations for existing nonconforming containers:
  1. Do not store any explosive substances inside - even in small quantities (ie. gas in recreation vehicle). If they are stored it’s strongly recommended that you seek advice from a qualified professional on how to properly vent the container.
  2. Place containers to the rear of the front wall of the home with at least a 3 m separation from any building.
  3. Exterior painting should match or accent existing buildings and be maintained.
  4. Remove any signage.
This bylaw doesn’t relate to the temporary use of shipping containers for moving or building renovation and demolition purposes.
Questions about this bylaw or the recommendations can be directed to the City Hall Planning Department at 250-992-2111.

Monday, September 4, 2017

2018 Election Campaign Start - 1 Year from Now

Exactly one year from today -- Chief Election Officers' for the Cities of Quesnel/Williams Lake, Districts' of 100 Mile House/Wells, Boards of Education for School Districts #27/28 (Cariboo-Chilcotin/Quesnel) and the Cariboo Regional District will be able to start accepting nominations for the positions of City Councillor, Mayor, School Trustee and Electoral Area Director for the 2018-22 Term

The nomination period for the 2018 Election will be Tuesday, September 4th to Friday, September 14th, 2018.  To run for local elected office, the provincial requirements are:

a) Canadian Citizen
b) Lived in BC last 6 months prior to General Voting Day (October 20th, 2018)
c) Not disqualified by Local Government Act from running for public office

The usual local requirements are above AND 2 electors of the trustee zone/electoral area or municipality

I expect the 2018 Candidate's Guide for Local Government Elections in BC is currently or soon will be worked on.  Meanwhile, you can read the Candidate's Guide for Local Government Elections in BC from the November 2014 local election here.  Other relevant information from the individual local governments should be out by summer 2018.

Meanwhile - you can expect that all of the incumbents currently holding the various offices of City Councillor, Mayor, School Trustee and Electoral Area Director are reviewing whether or not to run again in Fall 2018 and make decisions by Spring or early Summer 2018.

Finally - if you are thinking about running yourself, I would strongly encourage you to attend a meeting of the local government you are interested in running for and see if that is what you want to do for a 4 year term and then take the forthcoming winter and following spring to reflect if that is what you want to fully commit to.  A 4 year term is a long time to commit to and many people need to take a lot into consideration (work/family obligations, ability to deal with public criticisms, ability to attend conferences to build your capacity to serve your constituents more effectively, etc) prior to making a formal bid for public office.

~SF

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Steve's Meeting/Expense Calendar for July/August 2017

During the months of July/August 2017 -- I attended the following meetings or events:

July 1st - Canada Day celebration in Boitanio Park in Williams Lake

July 15th - Received Evacuation Order from City of Williams Lake and directed to evacuate to Kamloops

July 17th - Attended evacuee meeting at Sagebrush Theater in Kamloops for evacuated Williams lake/Area and 100 Mile/Area evacuees.

July 18th - Observed Kamloops City Council meeting

July 23rd - Attended evacuee meeting at Sagebrush Theater in Kamloops wherein 100 Mile and area residents' told they could return home

July 25th - Allowed to return to Williams Lake

August 21st - Met with the Hon. Selina Robinson, BC's Minister of Muncipal Affairs/Housing

August 24th - Soda Creek Road tour of impacted homes from the White Lake Fire and Area D Wildfire Update Meeting at Wildwood Fire Hall

August 26th - Tyee Lake Community Association AGM

August 31st - Cariboo Regional District/Cariboo-Chilcotin Regional Hospital District Board meetings

July/August 2017 - responded to many Area D or Central Cariboo wildfire related inquiries

For submitted expenses for the months of July/August 2017:

Aug 31st - $185 for CRD/CCRHD Board Meetings

Friday, September 1, 2017

Local Gov't Mtgs - Wk of Sept 5th - 8th

As a result of the Labour Day long weekend, next week is an abbreviated one however the following local governments of the Cariboo-Chilcotin are meeting:

Quesnel - Regular Council Meeting on Tuesday, September 5th at 7pm in Quesnel Council Chambers (4th Floor, 410 Kinchant St).  On the Agenda

* Delegation: Coralee Oakes, MLA for Cariboo-North
* Executive Committee Report - Social Media Commentary on BC Housing Elliott Street Supportive Housing Project (Councillor S. Thapar)
* 2017 Union of British Columbia Municipalities Minister Meetings Requests/Topics
* Wildfire Recovery Efforts
* 2017 Second Quarter Report for the City of Quesnel
* Quesnel Age Friendly Advisory Committee
* Strategic Wildfire Prevention Initiative - Approval of Community Wildfire Protection Plan/Update for Quesnel and Area (Letter from Local Gov't Program Services, UBCM)

View the full Agenda here then on Thursday, September 7th at 1:30pm in Quesnel Council Chambers, the Finance Sustainability/Audit Committee of Quesnel Council will meet.  On the Agenda:

* Permissive Tax Exemption Requests - 2017
* 2017 to 2021 Financial Plan Amendment
* 2018 Budget Introduction
* Institutional Sewer Charges

View the full Agenda here

Williams Lake - Committee of the Whole Session on Tuesday, September 5th at 6pm in WL Council Chambers (450 Mart St).  On the Agenda:

* Draft Strategic Plan until 2020
* 2018 City of Williams Lake Budget Planning

View the full Agenda here


SD27 Update to 2017-18 School Year/Wildfires in Region

Courtesy of School District #27 (Cariboo-Chilcotin):

Thursday, August 31st, 2017:

Dear Parents and Guardians:

Re: Wildfires and Safe Return to Schools

Further to our letter to Parents and Guardians on 23 August 2017, we provide the following updated information regarding the safe return to schools. The School District will continue to monitor the safe operation of schools in the weeks to come as evacuation orders and alerts are updated.

This summer has been extremely difficult on our families and communities. The Province of BC has extended a state of emergency until September 1 as wildfires continue to burn throughout the province. The state of emergency applies to the whole province to ensure public safety and a coordinated response to the wildfire situation.

In considering the opening of schools for student attendance, the following parameters were considered:

The safety of students and staff is paramount;

Schools will remain closed to students if the school is under evacuation order or alert; and
School busses will not operate in, or through, areas that are under evacuation order or alert.
Any updates to the following information will be posted to the School District’s website (www.sd27.bc.ca) on Monday, 04 September 2017, by 11:00 am. Updates after 04 September will then regularly be posted by 11:00 am daily and will normally take effect the following day.

Student Safety While at School

Principals will consult the Air Quality Health Index and make decisions regarding students being outside (much the same as on cold days). If your child has any existing health issues that may be exacerbated by air quality, please contact your school.

School Evacuation Alert

In the event a school that is open for students is put on Evacuation Alert during school hours, parents will be required to pick up their child(ren) immediately. The School will begin its emergent notification process and contact parents. Parents are urged to register with the CRD’s Emergency Notification System, if they have not already done so (Emergency Notification System Sign Up). Upon learning of an evacuation alert, do not wait for the school to contact you – please pick up your child immediately. Circumstances will dictate whether school busses will operate in this situation.
If your home area is put on Evacuation Alert during school hours, please contact your school immediately to initiate a Student Safety Plan for your child(ren).

School Evacuation Order

In the extreme circumstance of an Evacuation Order during school hours, busses will be immediately called to the school and all students will be transported to a safe zone, based on the evacuation orders. Information will be posted to the School District’s website as soon as possible once the students have been moved. Emergency contact numbers will be posted as well.

Schools Closed to Students

Anticipated school openings are listed here. Effective today, 31 August 2017, the following schools will not be open for students on 05 September 2017: Horse Lake Elementary School, Alexis Creek School, Anahim Lake School, Dog Creek School and Tatla Lake School. Opening of these schools is dependent on wildfire activity.

Bus Routes

As of today, 20 bus routes in the District have been impacted, affecting many of our schools. As previously advised, busses will not be operating in, or through any areas that are on evacuation alert or order. See the list here to verify affected bus routes for your child(ren).

Alternate Transportation for Students and Student Safety Plan

Parents who choose to transport their child(ren) through evacuation alert areas to attend their school (that is open for students) will be required to have a School Principal approved Safety Plan in place for each child, prior to the child being allowed to attend classes. A copy of a Safety Plan form can be found here. It is imperative that if parents are making alternate transportation arrangements for their child(ren) the Safety Plan must be completed and approved by the School Principal PRIOR to the child(ren) attending school. If this affects you, and you require further assistance, please contact your school for details.
If parents are planning to meet the school bus at an alternate bus stop (outside an alert or evacuation area) parents MUST contact the Transportation Department for approval PRIOR to your child(ren) being transported on the bus. Contact numbers are included on the list (below) of bus routes affected.
 http://www.nctsn.org/trauma-types/natural-disasters/fires/wildfires#q2
Transportation Assistance

Temporary transportation assistance will be made available to qualified parents/guardians who are experiencing interrupted bus service due to the current wildfire situation. Application must be made on the appropriate form. (Transportation Assistance Wildfire Form)

Recovery after a Wildfire

The physical and emotional recovery process following wildfires can be lengthy. Children react and recover from fires and other traumatic events in various ways depending on their personal experience of the fire and other traumatic events that have occurred in their lives. The National Child Traumatic Stress Network –http://www.nctsn.org provides guidelines for parents, caregivers and educators to help support the recovery process for children after wildfires.

Children’s Reactions (Click on Recovery Tab)
What Parents Can Do to Help Their Children (Click on Recovery Tab)
Therapy for Children (Click on Recovery Tab)
What Parents Can Do to Help Themselves (Click on Recovery Tab)

Upon return to school, School Staff will also be available to assist any students affected. Parents of students who may require this assistance are asked to advise the school.

To support BC residents who have been affected by the wildfires, Morneau Shepell has opened a 24/7 crisis line for anyone impacted to speak with a counsellor. This complementary offering is available province wide outside of your individual Employee/Family Assistance Plan program (1-844-751-2133).

Thank you for your patience in dealing with the wildfire crisis, we will get through this together.

Yours truly,

Kevin Futcher                                                                        Mark Wintjes
Secretary Treasurer                                                                  Superintendent of Schools

Thursday, August 31, 2017

CRD Board Highlights - Aug 31st mtg

Present: Chair A. Richmond; Directors T. Armstrong, J. Bruce, J. Massier, S. Forseth, J. Sorley, M. Wagner, D. Cash, B. Anderson, B. Coakley, R. Sharpe, B. Simpson, W. Cobb, M. Campsall and Alternate Director M. Neufeld (Area E)

Meeting called to order at 9:45am

Meeting agenda approved/Minutes of the CRD Board meeting held June 29th adopted
Delegations MOB received

Business:

Development Services:

1) The Board rejected 150 Mile House Area Official Community Plan Amendment Bylaw No. 5086, 2017 and Williams Lake Fringe and 150 Mile House Area Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 5087, 2017 (Area F), at the request of Director Sorley

2) The Board agreed to give 1st/2nd Readings to North Cariboo Area Rural Land Use Amendment Bylaw No. 5109, 2017

3) The Board agreed to give 3rd Reading to the following Planning Bylaws:

a) Central Cariboo Area Rural Land Use Amendment Bylaw No. 5088, 2017 (Area F)
b) Interlakes Area Official Community Plan Amendment Bylaw No. 5089, 2017 and South Cariboo Area Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 5090, 2017 (Area L)
c) North Cariboo Area Rural Land Use Amendment Bylaw No. 5091, 2017 (Area A)
d) South Cariboo Area Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 5099, 2017 (Area H)

4) The Board agreed to remove a condition of third reading of Cariboo Regional District Quesnel Fringe Area Amendment Bylaw No. 4387, 2008 and replace it with " the establishment / maintenance of a 15 m vegetative buffer" with the costs of the covenants to be borne by the applicant

5) The Board received Municipalities’ and Cariboo Regional District Building Statistics Reports for May/June 2017

Finance:

1) The Board received/ratified the Cheque Registers/MasterCard reports for the months of June/July 2017

Delegation:

Cariboo-North MLA Coralee Oakes appeared before the Board to provide an update

A Question/Answer period ensued

Chair Richmond, on behalf of the Board, thanked MLA Oakes for her time/information

Business, cont:

Directors' Requests:

1) The Board received a request from Area B Director Jerry Bruce in regards to staff assistance in preparing a draft recreation commission bylaw for Electoral Area B and agreed to the request

Meeting recessed at 11:01am to CCRHD Board
Meeting resumed at 11:32am

Delegation, cont:

Peter Urbanc, Chief Administrative Officer for the Municipal Finance Authority (MFA), appeared before the Board to provide a presentation on the MFA.

A Question/Answer period ensued

Chair Richmond, on behalf of the Board, thanked Mr. Urbanc for his time/information

Meeting recessed to lunch at 11:58pm
Meeting resumed at 12:40pm

At 12:40pm - the Board recessed to an In-Camera Meeting as per Sections 92/90(1a - appointment) of the Community Charter

At 1:55pm - the Board resumed its public meeting

Business, cont:

Finance, cont:

2) The Board agreed to the following in respect of Grant for Assistance applications:

a) $500 to Chimney and Felker Lakes Landholders Association (Area E)
b) Receive deferred applications from Rocky Mountain Rangers/1st Williams Lake Junior Cadets
c) $800 to the Big Creek Community Association (Area K), provided an Grant for Assistance application form is received from the Big Creek Community Association for this amount
d) Approve change of use for the 2017 Grant for Assistance - McLeese Lake Volunteer Fire Department (Area D)
e) $1,000 to 100 Mile House Wranglers (divided equally between Areas G,H,L)

3) The Board received a report of the Manager of Financial Services in regards to Unused Canada 150 Contributions and consented to allowing the Friends of the Quesnel Museum and SkyFest to retain their Canada 150 Grants

4) The Board agreed to allocate an additional $103,000 from Community Works Funds to complete the 103 Community Water System

Administration:

1) The Board received a request of Director Anderson, in regards to a late UBCM resolution in regards to ranchers working collaboratively with the BC Wildfire Service during wildfire situations and agreed to the Resolution as follows:

WHEREAS many ranchers have heavy equipment, local expertise, and will stay to fight wildfires to protect their livestock, structures and land, sometimes for significant periods before the BC Wildfire Service is able to arrive;

AND WHEREAS the BC Wildfire Service does not make exceptions to rules and procedures for ranchers or work collaboratively with ranchers during wildfire events:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that in recognition that ranchers have equipment and local expertise that can assist in fighting wildfires, which can save structures, livestock, and lands, the BC Wildfire Service be urged to find ways to work collaboratively with ranchers in the suppression of wildfires


2) The Board approved 4 Resolutions as to the Alternate Approval Process for South Cariboo Cemeteries Contribution Establishment Bylaw No. 5071, 2017 (Areas G,H,L)

3) The Board received the Consent Calendar as of August 31st

4) The Board received NCLGA/UBCM/FCM Items as follows:

a) City of New Westminster - Request for Support of Resolutions for 2017 UBCM Convention
b) District of Squamish - Request for Support of Resolutions for 2017 UBCM Convention
c) Metro Vancouver Regional District - UBCM Resolutions on Electric Vehicle Charging

Committee or Commission Minutes/Recommendations:

1) The Board received the following minutes from its' Committees or Commissions:

a) Central Cariboo Joint Committee Minutes - June 21, 2017
b) North Cariboo Joint Planning Committee Minutes  - June 13 and July 11, 2017

2) The Board ratified recommendations from its' Committees/Commissions:

a) Central Cariboo Joint Committee - June 21st -- Fees and Charges Bylaw Amendment - Private Pool Rentals and Sponsorship Swims; Esler Recreation Advisory Commission - 2017 Spring Meeting Minutes and Recommendations; Pool Upgrade Project - Monthly Status Reports for April and May 2017 and Paid Parking Lot Behind Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex

b) North Cariboo Joint Planning Committee - July 11th -- North Cariboo Recreation and Parks Budget Amendment; West Fraser Centre Official Opening Celebration and Lhtako Dene Recognition Sign

Corporate Bylaws:

a) The Board agreed to give 1st, 2nd, 3rd Readings and Adoption to Quesnel-Hixon Subdivision Erosion Protection Works Service Parcel Tax Bylaw No. 5110, 2017
b) The Board agreed to give 1st, 2nd, 3rd Readings and Adoption to North Cariboo Recreation and Parks Fees and Charges Amendment Bylaw No. 5113, 2017

Directors' Requests, cont:

a) The Board received a request from Area F Director Joan Sorley to Discuss Compensation for Directors Working during Emergency Situations and referred it to the Finance/Audit Committee for consideration

The Board agreed to adjourn at 3:03pm


CCRHD Board Highlights - Aug 31st mtg

Present: Chair M. Wagner; Directors T. Armstrong, J. Bruce, J. Massier, S. Forseth, J. Sorley, A. Richmond, D. Cash, B. Anderson, B. Coakley, R. Sharpe, B. Simpson, W. Cobb, M. Campsall and Alternate Director M. Neufeld (Area E)

Meeting called to order at 9:30am

Meeting agenda approved/Minutes of the CCRHD Board meeting held June 29th adopted

Business:

1) The Board gave 1st, 2nd, 3rd Readings and Adoption to Capital Expenditure Bylaw # 135,2017 (GR Baker Memorial Hospital – Anesthesia System Replacement)

2) The Board received the Consent Calendar, as of August 31st

3) The Board received a number of information items from Interior Health, in regards to the summer wildfires/health facilities in the IHA Region

4) The Board received the IHA Capital Projects and Planning Status Reports for the months of June/July 2017

5) The Board received a number of information items from Northern Health regarding Wildfires and Northern Connections Bus Service Schedule Changes for August for Maintenance

6) The Board received a report of the Chair concerning meetings with Northern/Interior Health Authorities at the 2017 Union of BC Municipalities' Convention. Directors' requested topics to be raised including

Meeting recessed at 9:45am
Meeting resumed at 11:01am

Delegation:

Laurie Walters and Trevor Barnes, from the Central Interior Rural Division of Family Practice, appeared before the Board to provide an update on recruitment and retention activities.

A Question/Answer period ensued thereon

The Chair thanked the delegation for their time/information

The Board adjourned at 11:32am

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Quesnel Council Highlights - August 29th mtg

Courtesy of the City of Quesnel:

Elliott Street Supportive Housing Development 
BC Housing has submitted an Official Community Plan and Rezone application to develop a supportive housing complex on Elliott Street. The proposal is for BC Housing to purchase 11 lots on Elliott Street to develop a supportive housing complex that would better meet the increasing mental health and addictions healthcare needs of the proposed facility’s residents and would result in the relocation of Season’s House from Carson Avenue. The City’s Public Hearing for the proposed Official Community Plan and Rezone application has been rescheduled to Monday, September 18, 2017 at 6:00 p.m. at City Hall Council Chambers due to new information being brought forward from City staff in two different reports that were presented to Council include a summary report of the Proponent’s (BC Housing) Public Open House held on August 15, 2017, as well as, a report of the operational agreements for this proposed development with the following highlights from each report.
Public’s Input - Summary 
  • Present: 
    • 171 members of the public signed-in for the August 15, 2017 Open House
    • 3 City of Quesnel Staff, 2 BC Housing representatives, 1 JTW Consulting representative (consultant for BC Housing), and 14 individuals from the Quesnel and Shelter Support Society
  • Feedback Data: 
    • 83 public written submissions with 63% being received from West Quesnel residents, business owners, or both.
    • More than half of all the participants had an overall positive stance on the proposal
    • West Quesnel business owners and resident submissions show just over half of those respondents had an overall negative stance on the proposal; with 39% being clearly positive.
Operational Agreements - Summary
Agreements will be brought to a future Council meeting and must be established prior to Council’s consideration of any final readings of the proposed OCP and Zone Amendment bylaws. These agreements include:
  • Operations Agreement – between the shelter operator (Quesnel Shelter and Support Society) and BC Housing.
  • Housing Agreement – between the City of Quesnel and BC Housing that requires BC Housing to keep in good standing a Good Neighbour Agreement with the City and other identified community partners (ie. RCMP, Northern Health, Neighbourhood Association)
  • Good Neighbour Agreement – develops a timely process where community/neighbourhood stakeholders will have neighbourhood concerns/issues addressed by the shelter operator of the facility and is managed by a committee of community stakeholders.
Next steps include the Operational Agreements being finalized and the September 18, 2017 Public Hearing.
U-Pass Program – North Cariboo Community Campus 
U-Pass agreements between the City of Quesnel, BC Transit, University of Northern British Columbia, College of New Caledonia and both students unions for these post-secondary institutions located in Quesnel have been approved. Effective September 2017, students at the North Cariboo Community Campus in Quesnel will all contribute, some exemptions apply, to the U-Pass program that will provide transit at a reduced-rate, and free drop-in admission to the Arts and Recreation Centre for the pool, gym, and drop in fitness classes.
West Fraser Centre – Concession Agreement 
Rocky’s Concession has been awarded, through an Expression of Interest process, a five-year management and operation of the food and beverage concession at the newly constructed West Fraser Centre that is scheduled to open September 16, 2017.
Shipping Containers in Residential Areas
Zone Amendment Bylaw 1828 received final adoption and prohibits any further additions of shipping containers for residential properties. The primary concern for prohibiting shipping containers for residential properties is the safety of Quesnel’s Fire Fighters.  There have been fatalities of fire fighters, in the province, due to sealed shipping containers exploding. For more information regarding shipping containers, please contact the Development Services department.
Bylaws
  • Bylaw 1828 – Zone Amendment – Prohibit Shipping Containers in Residential Areas – Final Adoption
  • Bylaws 1829 & 1830 – OCP & Zone Amendments – Supportive Housing (Elliott Street) – Rescheduled Public Hearing Date to 6:00 pm, Monday, September 18, 2017 at City Hall Council Chambers
  • Bylaw 1831 – Municipal Ticket Information Amendment – Ticketing Changes for Business Licensing – Final Adoption
Next Meetings
  • 7 pm, September 5, 2017 – Regular Council Meeting
  • 5:30 pm, September 12, 2017 – North Cariboo Joint Planning Committee

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

WL Council Highlights - Aug 29th mtg

Present: Mayor W. Cobb; Councillors S. Nelson, J. Ryll, C. Smith, L. Walters and S. Zacharias

Meeting called to order at 6pm

Meeting agenda adopted/Minutes of the August 15th WL City Council meeting adopted

Business:

1) Council received for information the accounts payable computer cheque listings dated August 17, 21 and 24, 2017

2) Council received re-zoning applications for 850 Oliver St (Boitanio Mall) and took the following actions:

a) Gave 1st Reading to Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 2266 ('Community Care Facility' Use), refer the Bylaw to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) for initial consultation prior to scheduling a Public Hearing

b) Gave 1st Reading to Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 2259 (Drive Thru Restaurant), refer the proposed Bylaw to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) for initial consultation and a traffic analysis be submitted to the City prior to a Public Hearing being scheduled

3) Council gave 1st Reading to Zoning Amendment Bylaw 2249 (Leif - 101 Mason Rd) and directed Staff to refer the application to necessary external agencies prior to consideration of 2nd Reading of Bylaw #2249

4) Council received a Development Permit application for property at 1135, 1145 & 1155 Murray Drive, directed the usual notifications take place and the application be formally considered at its' September 12th meeting

5) Council approved the request of the WL Stampede Association for their Special Occasion Liquor License for the Wildfire Relief" Fundraising Event, subject to RCMP approval

6) Late Item - Council received In-Camera Report #8-2017 from the June 27th In-Camera Meeting of WL City Council.  The following Resolution was reported:

“That the remedial action order for 27 Seventh Avenue imposed on July 21, 2015 by Resolution No. 288/15, and amended on August 18, 2015, September 8, 2015, March 8 2016 and September 20, 2015, be further amended by requiring the owner to obtain an occupancy permit on the buildings by December 31, 2017 with monthly progress reports supplied jointly by the Building Inspector and owners, and further, if said permit is not obtained by the deadline, the City may elect to enforce the order or complete the work at the expense of the owner.”

7) Late Item #2 - That Council urgently requests the federal/provincial governments to establish a minimum $1 Billion Recovery Fund to assist BC Communities, including First Nations, impacted by the unprecedented wildfires of 2017 and the Fund be called the Rural Fire Recovery Fund 2017 and the City requests the provincial/federal governments to inject cash to encourage economic recovery in all communities impacted by the 2017 Wildfires

8) Council received the 'Council Information Package', as of August 29th, as follows:

August 15, 2017 - Response Letter from Minister Farnworth to MLA Barnett re Community Impacts of Wildfires.

Members of Council reported out on their recent activities

The CAO (M. Macdonald) provided an oral report as to his recent activities

Media Question Period -- Creating a Fire Guard around the City of Williams Lake

Council adjourned at 7:00pm