Monday, March 27, 2017

CCACS 2017 Project Grant Recipients Announced

Courtesy of the Cariboo Regional District:

The Cariboo Regional District, City of Williams Lake and Central Cariboo Arts and Culture Society (CCACS) are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2017 CCACS Project Grants Program. Project grants are available annually for non-profit organizations or community groups in Williams Lake and the Central Cariboo (CRD Areas D, E, and F) to support and develop arts and culture within the region.

The Cariboo Regional District and the City of Williams Lake provide funding for these grants through the Central Cariboo Arts and Culture function. A total of $25,000 in funding was available for 2017.

2017 CCACS Grant Recipients:

Arts on the Fly Festival Society – Safety Meeting Concert Series ($2,445)
Cariboo Chilcotin Child Development Centre – Uptown Art ($3,000)
Cariboo Friendship Society – Kukwpi7 ($2,810)
Cariboo Gold Dance Band – An Evening to Remember ($1,600)
Community Arts Council of Williams Lake – Soundscapes ($3,000)
Horsefly River Roundtable – Horsefly River Salmon Festival ($1,000)
Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin – 150 Events from WL & Cariboo Chilcotin History for Canada’s 150th Anniversary ($1,900)
Potato House Sustainable Community Society – Potato House Mini Mural Project ($1,000)
Soda Creek Indian Band (Xat’sull) – Aboriginal Day ($370)
Station House Studio and Gallery Society – Gallery Opening Nights with Live Music ($900)
Williams Lake Central Business Improvement Association – Buskers Fest ($1,000)
Williams Lake Community Band – Band Workshop and Evening Concert Celebrating Canada’s 150th Birthday ($2,150)
Williams Lake & District Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Centre – WORDS on Broadway (Ave) ($1,935)
Williams Lake Spinners, Weavers, & Fibre Artists’ Guild – Narrowgoods Weaving Workshop ($565)
Women’s Contact Society - #BeBoldForChangePoetry ($1,325)

For further information, please contact CCACS Executive Director Leah Selk at 778-412-9044 or email

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Willow MacDonald new SD27 Zone 3 Trustee

Yesterday - the electors of Zone 3 (District of 100 Mile House) in School District #27 (Cariboo-Chilcotin) voted to elect a new School Trustee for Zone 3 for the remainder of the 2014-18 Term after the former Trustee, Chris Pettman, accepted a new job opportunity

The successful winner was Willow MacDonald, who is also the Thompson-Nicola Regional District Electoral Area 'B' (Thompson Headwaters) Director.  See the preliminary (and likely certified) results here.  MacDonald received 40 votes versus her opponent, Cameron Jensen who received 16 votes

Director MacDonald will be sworn in as the SD27 Zone 3 Trustee at the Tuesday, April 25th SD27 Board of Education meeting at Peter Skene Ogden Secondary in 100 Mile House

Congratulations to Director MacDonald for her election win and thank you to Mr. Jensen for offering himself up for election...

Saturday, March 25, 2017

General Voting Day - SD27 Zone 3

Today, the electors in School District #27 - Zone 3 (District of 100 Mile House) will elect a School Trustee to serve out the remainder of the 2014-2018 Term.  The previous Trustee, Chris Pettman, resigned as he accepted a new job opportunity and was unable to continue serving as the Zone 3 Trustee

Today's candidates for election are:

1) Current Thompson-Nicola RD Area 'B' Director Willow MacDonald
2) 100 Mile resident Cameron Jensen

Full voting details can be viewed here but voting takes place from 8am - 8pm today (March 25th) in 100 Mile Council Chambers (385 Birch Avenue)

The newly elected School District #27 Zone 3 Trustee will be sworn in at the Tuesday, April 25th School District #27 Board meeting at PSO Secondary in 100 Mile House


Friday, March 24, 2017

Local Gov't Mtgs - Wk of March 27 - 31

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

Quesnel - Policy/Bylaw Review Committee meeting on Monday, March 27th at 1:30pm in Quesnel Council Chambers (4th Floor - 410 Kinchant St).  On the Agenda:

* Shipping Containers
* New Draft Branding Policy
* Local Election Documentation
* Street, Park and Facility Naming Policy

View the full Agenda here

Then a Regular Council Meeting on Tuesday, March 28th at 7pm in Quesnel Council Chambers.  On the Agenda:

* Delegation: Dakelh and Quesnel Community Housing Society - Proposed McLean Street Housing Complex - Anthony Boni, Boni-Maddison Architects, and Luanne Ruotsalainen, Executive Director, Dakelh & Quesnel Community Housing Society

* Various Committee Reports
* Surplus 2016 Report
* Final 2016 Capital Spending Report
* Reserve Accounts Update Report
* Five Year Financial Plan Bylaw for 1st, 2nd and 3rd Readings
* Solar Heat Ready Regulation for Quesnel
* Waiver or Discount of Transit for Special Events Policy
* Grant Funding Update
* Bylaw of the Month - Building Permits

View the full Agenda here

Wells - Regular Council Meeting on Tuesday, March 28th at 7pm in Wells Council Chambers (4243 Sanders Avenue). When available, the Agenda be viewed here

Williams Lake - Committee of the Whole Session on Tuesday, March 28th at 6pm in the Rick Hansen Boardroom (Basement - 450 Mart Street).  On the Agenda:

* Support from Municipal RD Tax (Hotels) - request from the Cariboo-Chilcotin-Coast Tourism Association

View the full Agenda here

100 Mile House - Regular Council Meeting on Tuesday, March 28th at 7pm in the 100 Mile House Council Chambers (385 Birch Avenue).  On the Agenda:

* Policy & Procedures – Liquor Licensing
* Grant for Assistance – Royal Cdn Legion for $1,900
* Alpine Loop Water Upgrade – Funding Approvals

View the full Agenda here

And don't forget Reid Street Redevelopment Meeting on Wednesday, March 29th at both 3 and 7pm at the Quesnel Seniors' Centre - 461 Carson Avenue.  For more details, click here 

CRD Board Highlights - March 24th mtg

Present: Chair A. Richmond; Directors T. Armstrong, J. Bruce, J. Massier, S. Forseth, B. Kemp, J. Sorley, M. Wagner, D. Cash, B. Anderson, B. Coakley, R. Sharpe, W. Cobb, M. Campsall and City of Quesnel Alternate Director L. Roodenburg

Meeting called to order at 9:45am

The Chair acknowledged that the meeting was being held on traditional Shuswap territory and welcomed City of Quesnel Alternate Director Laurey-Anne Roodenburg to the meeting

Meeting Agenda/Minutes of the March 3rd Board Meeting, both adopted

Resolved - Delegations MOB received


Development Services:

1) The Board gave 1st/2nd Readings to Green Lake and Area Official Community Plan Amendment Bylaw No. 5077, 2017 & South Cariboo Area Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 5078, 2017 (Area L)

2) The Board adopted the following Land Use Bylaws:

a) South Cariboo Area Official Community Plan Amendment Bylaw No. 4923, 2014 (Area L)
b) South Cariboo Area Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 4924, 2014 (Area L)
c) Quesnel Fringe Area Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 5011, 2016 (Area B)
d) South Cariboo Area Official Community Plan Amendment Bylaw No. 5048, 2016 & South Cariboo Area Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 5049, 2016 (Area L)

3) The Board authorized ALR Application #1672 (Area H) for submission to the Provincial Agriculture Land Commission with a recommendation for approval

Environmental Services:

1) The Board received the Refuse Site Inspection Report for December 13, 2016 to February 6, 2017

2) The Board received the 2016 Year End Report for the Invasive Plant Management Program

Community Services:

1) The Board approved up to $12,000 from Community Works Funding (2017 Community Halls Improvements envelope) for installation of a water filtration system and new fridge at the Mountain Spruce Community Centre (Area L)

2) The Board approved $2,750 from the Electoral Area Administration budget for marketing for the Gold Rush Trail tourism initiative with the intent to receive reimbursement from the Northern Development Initiative Trust under the 2017 Economic Development Capacity Building program.  Board divided - Approved by the following Electoral Area Directors' Stakeholder - Weighted vote:

Affirmative - Directors Armstrong, Bruce, Massier, Kemp, Sorley, Richmond, Wagner, Cash, William, Anderson and Coakley

Negative - Director S. Forseth (Area D)

3) The Board received a letter along with a petition in regards to management of the Bouchie Lake Hall and agreed to refer it to the North Cariboo Joint Committee


1) The Board received/ratified the Monthly Expenditures Board Summary Report and Mastercard Summary Report for the total amount of $6,203,421.53

2) The Board agreed to provide a Grant for Assistance to the Cariboo Aboriginal Youth Hockey Tournament in the amount of $1,000 to be funded from Electoral Areas D, F, G, H, I and K.

Board divided. Approved by the following vote:

Affirmative - Chair Richmond; Directors Armstrong, Bruce, Massier, Forseth, Kemp, Sorley, Wagner, Cash, Anderson, Coakley, Sharpe, Campsall and Alternate Director Roodenburg

Negative - Director W. Cobb (Williams Lake)

3) The Board received a report from the CAO concerning funding of local Canada 150 Celebration Events in 2017 and agreed to make $5,000 available from Electoral Area Administration for Canada 150 Celebration Events in 2017.  Board divided. Approved by the following vote:

Affirmative - Chair Richmond; Directors Armstrong, Bruce, Massier, Sorley, Wagner, Cash, Anderson, Coakley, Sharpe, Cobb, Campsall and Alternate Director Roodenburg

Negative - Directors S. Forseth (Area D) and B. Kemp (Area E)


Director S. Forseth declared a perceived conflict of interest on the next item (Municipal Regional District Tax (Hotel Tax)) as he works at a local Hotel in Williams Lake and left the meeting at 10:28am and returned to the meeting at 10:33am

Board recessed at 10:33am
Board resumed at 10:42am

1) The Board received a report of the Corporate Officer in regards to Special Voting on a defeated Board Resolution, as follows:

"That the Cariboo Regional District and City of Williams Lake be nominated for the North Central Local Government Association’s Community Leadership Award in the Social Responsibility category for creating Orange Shirt Day.”

2) The Board received a report of the CAO in regards to complaints received in 2016 under the Board's Code of Conduct/Ethics

3) The Board received the 'Consent Calendar' as of March 24th, 2017

4) The Board received a letter from the BC Minister of Transportation/Infrastructure in regard to a meeting at the 2016 Union of BC Municipalities Convention and directed that a follow-up letter to MOTI be authorized requesting an update and a copy of the engineer's study, as referenced in the Minister's letter

5) The Board received a letter from Harrison Hot Springs to support the District of Coldstream initiative in respect of the Provincial Private Moorage Program

6) The Board received a letter from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission in regards to Payphones in Rural Areas

7) The Board endorsed the Priority of Board Resolutions Report from the CAO

Committee or Commission Minutes/Recommendations: 

1) The Board received the following minutes from Committees/Commissions:

* Parcel Tax Roll Review Panel - February 27, 2017
* Central Cariboo Rural Directors Caucus - March 8, 2017
* South Cariboo Rural Directors Caucus - March 13, 2017
* South Cariboo Joint Committee - March 13, 2017
* Central Cariboo Joint Committee - March 22, 2017

2) The Board endorsed the following recommendations from meetings of Committees/Commissions:

* Central Cariboo Rural Directors Caucus (March 8th) -- Invitation - Scout Island Nature Centre Fund Raising Banquet (Director Forseth to attend); Lighting Options at Wildwood Transfer Station

* The Board deferred consideration of a recommendation from the Central Cariboo Rural Directors Caucus re: Support for Bill C-337 (Rona Ambrose's Judge/Lawyer Sexual Assault training House of Commons Private Members Bill) pending a report from Staff.  Board divided.  Approved by the following vote:

Affirmative - Chair Richmond; Directors Armstrong, Bruce, Massier, Kemp, Wagner, Cash, Anderson, Coakley, Sharpe, Campsall, Cobb and Alternate Director Roodenburg

Negative - Directors S. Forseth (Area D) and J. Sorley (Area F)

* South Cariboo Rural Directors Caucus (March 13th) -- Renew South Cariboo Transit Contribution Agreement with the District of 100 Mile House

* South Cariboo Joint Committee (March 13th) -- Renewal of the Martin Exeter Hall Complex Contribution Agreement with the District of 100 Mile House; Renewal of the Use and Occupancy Agreement with the 100 Mile Agriplex Society for the agriplex building adjacent to the South Cariboo Recreation Centre; Renewal of the 100 Mile Soccer Park Contribution Agreement with the District of 100 Mile House; Grant for Assistance Application from Royal Canadian Legion Branch #260 (Area G/L - $2,000 and District of 100 Mile House - $1,900) and Grant for Assistance Policy be waived

* Central Cariboo Joint Committee (March 22nd) - CCACS 2017 Project Grants Award

Corporate Bylaws:

a) The Board gave 1st, 2nd and 3rd Readings to Lexington Water Service Establishment Bylaw No. 5084, 2017
b) The Board gave 1st, 2nd and 3rd Readings to Lexington Water Loan Authorization Bylaw No. 5085, 2017
c) The Board gave 1st, 2nd, 3rd Readings to and adopted Cariboo Regional District 2017 Five Year Financial Plan Bylaw No. 5083, 2017, as amended

Directors' Requests:

a) The Board received a request of Director J. Bruce (Area B) in regards to discussing the issue of sanctuary cities

b) The Board received a request of Director S. Forseth (Area D) in regards to 2 amendments to CRD Bylaw #5055 (Director Remuneration Bylaw) to codify the Director appointed as Finance/Audit Committee Chair to review/approve Director submitted expense claim forms and to establish an appeal process with a Director and the Finance/Audit Committee Chair disagree as to a submitted expense claim form and referred it to the Finance/Audit Committee for review and that the Committee provide a recommendation back to the Board

c) The Board agreed to appoint Area 'K' Director Betty Anderson as the CRD Alternate Rep to the Fraser Basin Council

d) At the request of Directors' Forseth/Kemp - the Board agreed to fund providing self addressed stamped envelopes with the petitions to reduce the Building Inspection Service Area within Electoral Areas D/E, through the Building Inspection Function


Claudette Gouger, Community Manager for NewGold Inc., appeared before the Board to provide an update on the Blackwater Project.

A Question/Answer period ensued

Chair Richmond, on behalf of the Board, thanked Ms. Gouger for her time/information

Directors' reported out on their recent activities

The Board adjourned at 12:23pm

CCRHD Board Highlights - March 24th mtg

Present: Chair M. Wagner; Directors T. Armstrong, J. Bruce, J. Massier, S. Forseth, B. Kemp, J. Sorley, A. Richmond, D. Cash, B. Anderson, B. Coakley, R. Sharpe, W. Cobb, M. Campsall, TNRD Area 'E' Director Sally Watson and City of Quesnel Alternate Director L. Roodenburg

Meeting called to order at 9:30am

Meeting Agenda/Minutes of the March 3rd CCRHD Board Meeting, both adopted


1) The Board gave 1st, 2nd, 3rd Readings to and adopted Cariboo Chilcotin Regional Hospital District 2017 Five Year Financial Plan Bylaw No. 133, 2017

2) The Board received the 'Hospital Consent Calendar' as of March 24th, 2017

3) The Board received the Interior Health Authority Capital Projects and Planning Status Report for February 2017

4) The Board received a letter from Michal Smialowski, President of the West Chilcotin Health Care Society regarding equipment needs for the health care centre at Tatla Lake

5) The Board received a News Release from Interior Health announcing the award of a contract for the development of 70 new residential care beds in Williams Lake

6) The Board received a press release from the Government of BC in relation to Upgrades at G.R. Baker Memorial Hospital

7) The Board received a press release from the Government of BC in relation to Dr. Michal Smialowski of Tatlayoko being honoured with the Medal of Good Citizenship by local MLA Donna Barnett and directed a letter of congratulations be forwarded to Mr. Smialowski

8) The Board received a press release from the Government in BC in relation to Government Supports Planning for Redeveloped Cariboo Memorial Hospital

The Chair provided an oral update on a Primary Care Clinic in Likely. No resolution resulted

Meeting adjourned at 9:42am

BC Rolls out $95 Million to All School Districts

Courtesy of the Government of BC:

Government is providing school districts with a total of $95 million to help them extend the life of their facilities, put new supplies in classrooms and buy new school buses.

Every school district in the province will receive a portion of this funding, which is being allocated through four provincial programs.

Under the School Enhancement Program, all school districts will receive a portion of this year’s $53-million investment, supporting 223 school improvement projects. This program helps school districts extend the life of their facilities through of a variety of upgrade projects.

Every school district will also receive a portion of $27.4 million from the new Student Learning Grant, which was announced in February. Districts will use the funding to purchase classroom equipment and supplies such as textbooks, lab equipment and art supplies. Districts will begin back-to-school planning with parents and teachers now to determine how best to use the one-time funding to reduce costs for parents and help teachers deliver B.C.’s new curriculum.

Fifteen school districts will become more energy efficient with a $5-million investment under the Carbon Neutral Capital Program. School districts will use the money to fund projects that cut greenhouse gas emissions. These upgrades benefit schools by saving them money on electricity, natural gas and maintenance. Schools can put the money they save back into classrooms.

Students in 25 school districts will benefit from 71 new and replacement buses with a $9.4-million investment under the School Bus Replacement Program. The new buses will make traveling to school safer and more reliable for students.

As a result of B.C.'s strong economy and balanced budget, the Government of British Columbia is able to support record funding increases for students and B.C.’s education system. Budget 2017 commits an additional $740 million in operating funds over the next three years. Combined with $400 million in previously announced budget increases, this means an additional $1.1 billion in funding will benefit the K-12 system over the next three years. In addition, Budget 2017 supports $2 billion in capital spending to upgrade or build new schools over the next three years.

The Hon. Mike Bernier - BC's Minister of Education said:

“Through this suite of programs, we’re investing $95 million so that every school district can ensure students have the learning environment and tools they need to succeed.

“These capital investments will help school districts save money, protect their assets and support student learning. I encourage every district to continue to take advantage of these programs to support their students and schools.

“I can’t wait to hear what exciting new learning resources will be coming to B.C. classrooms for next school year as a result of the new Student Learning Grant. Districts will be talking to teachers and parents to determine how they can best use the one-time funding to help bring the new curriculum to life and cut costs for families throughout the province.”

Quick Facts:

Including today’s announcement, government has invested a total of $153 million under the School Enhancement Program since it was launched in 2014. In total, almost 623 school improvement projects have been approved under the program.

The Student Learning Grant provides one-time funding to help schools and teachers with the cost of classroom tools and equipment to support B.C.’s new curriculum. Of the $29.4-million grant, school districts are receiving a total of $27.4 million and independent schools are receiving $2 million.

Each year, government spends about $5 million in Carbon Neutral Capital Program funding for school projects that cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Each year, government provides about $10 million in School Bus Replacement Program funding to help school districts purchase new and replacement school buses to ensure students have access to safe and reliable transportation.

In School District #27 (Cariboo-Chilcotin):

School Enhancement Program – $261,753 to upgrade direct digital control systems and lighting at:

Peter Skene Ogden Secondary
Horse Lake Elementary
Lake City Secondary-Williams Lake Campus
Alexis Creek Elementary-Secondary
Tatla Lake Elementary-Junior Secondary
Horsefly Elementary

Student Learning Grant – $231,344

School Bus Replacement Program – $630,252 for five 34-76 passenger buses

Total – $1,123,349

In School District #28 (Quesnel):

School Enhancement Program – $987,000 to upgrade rooftop air handling units, direct digital control systems, boilers and fire alarm systems at Correlieu Secondary and Parkland Elementary

Student Learning Grant – $154,538

School Bus Replacement Program – $165,204 for one 80+ passenger bus

Total – $1,306,742

Thursday, March 23, 2017

BC Gov supports planning for redeveloped Cariboo Memorial Hospital

UPDATE - Terry Lake speaks to My Cariboo Now on this item here

Courtesy of the Government of BC:

With Budget 2017, the provincial government is supporting planning for hospital redevelopment for Williams Lake and region.

“Cariboo Memorial Hospital and Health Centre has provided excellent care for families in the area for many years,” said Health Minister Terry Lake, who was in Williams Lake to make the announcement. “I had the opportunity to tour the hospital in 2015 and was able to see first-hand the need for renewal. The planned redevelopment is great news for this community and will benefit patients, staff and visitors to the hospital for decades to come.”

The Ministry of Health is currently reviewing the concept plan provided by Interior Health. Concept planning is an important part of the planning process for a major capital project, and provides an opportunity to ensure the redeveloped facility will meet the needs of the community and future demands.

“Redevelopment of Cariboo Memorial Hospital is something that our community has been actively working toward and today’s announcement is great news,” said Donna Barnett, MLA for Cariboo-Chilcotin. “I’m pleased that government is supporting this project as it proceeds to the next stage.”

“A redeveloped Cariboo Memorial Hospital will help meet the long-term health-care needs of the region and I support the work currently underway as we near the next development step,” said Coralee Oakes, MLA for Cariboo North.

Once the concept plan is approved by government, the next step will be preparing a business plan that will focus on cost and services of a new facility. The ministry expects work on the business plan could begin in fall 2017. This process is expected to take 12 to 18 months, and would be followed by procurement and construction.

“Redevelopment at Cariboo Memorial Hospital is among Interior Health’s priorities,” said John O’Fee, Interior Health Board Chair. “I am pleased to see that work is underway to move redevelopment forward in Williams Lake – this is exciting news for residents, as well as our physicians and employees in the Cariboo region.”

“This project is a much-needed development for our hospital district. We are pleased to work with the Province and Interior Health to further enhance the quality of care provided to our communities,” said Margo Wagner, Cariboo Chilcotin Regional Hospital District Board Chair.

Cariboo Memorial Hospital and Health Centre was built in 1963. It has 28 beds and provides an emergency room, intensive care, operating room and obstetrical units. The centre also has lab and diagnostic imaging and an outpatient hemodialysis unit.

The B.C. government is making record investments in modern, safe infrastructure projects throughout the province. In doing so, these construction projects are creating well-paying, family-supporting jobs. These investments are possible because of the fiscal plan of the B.C. government.

Opening of updated Cariboo Fire Centre

Courtesy of the Government of BC:

The British Columbia Government has enhanced the province’s firefighting capability in the Cariboo-Chilcotin with the opening of a $7.1-million facility at the Williams Lake Airport.

The new, one-storey building, which covers 2,139 square metres (23,000 square feet), was officially opened today by Coralee Oakes (Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction and MLA for Cariboo North) and Donna Barnett (Minister of State for Rural Economic Development and MLA for Cariboo-Chilcotin).

One of the four existing outbuildings was renovated as part of the construction project, which got underway in August 2015. The updated facility is home to the Cariboo Fire Centre’s main office, associated support services, and ground crew and air crew facilities.

Other important amenities include the regional wildfire co-ordination centre, airtanker and pilot facilities, meeting and training rooms, staff offices, workshops, storage space, a firefighter fitness training area (gym) and changing rooms, as well as laundry and shower areas.

The new or renovated buildings have replaced 11 separate structures and trailers, some of which were about 40 years old. The old Cariboo Fire Centre was originally set up to accommodate about half the number of staff that work there now, so it had to be expanded and modernized to meet the needs of today’s firefighting operations.

Lauren Brothers Construction was selected to build the state-of the-art firefighting complex through a competitive process. About three-quarters of the project’s trade contractors were companies based in the Williams Lake area.

One of the goals of revitalizing the Cariboo Fire Centre was to centralize resources and improve communications between BC Wildfire Service staff throughout the region. When responding to wildfires, speed and efficiency aid decision-making, help minimize wildfire damage and enhance public safety.

This new facility will improve the BC Wildfire Service’s ability to respond to wildfires in the Cariboo and maintain its reputation as a world-class fire management organization well into the future. The government needs to make sure that the province’s firefighters and wildfire management professionals have the right facilities and equipment to do that crucial job and keep our communities safe.

Upgrading BC Wildfire Service facilities is one of the key ways that the B.C. government is taking action to strengthen, grow and diversify rural communities.

The construction and renovation of the Cariboo Fire Centre builds on the immediate investments and long-term action plan outlined in B.C.’s Rural Economic Development Strategy that are expected to create over 26,000 jobs and add $2.8 billion to the provincial GDP.

Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett said:

“BC Wildfire Service staff are highly trained and fully committed to protecting British Columbians from wildfire threats. The new Williams Lake facility enhances the Cariboo’s firefighting capabilities and has also provided important opportunities for local workers and contractors.”

Meanwhile, Cariboo-North MLA Coralee Oakes went on to say:

“The new Cariboo Fire Centre is state-of-the-art and will make it easier for our hardworking firefighters, air crews and support staff to do their jobs. I am confident that our government’s investment in firefighting infrastructure in the Cariboo region will make our communities safer.”

Celebrating Volunteerism

Courtesy of the City of Quesnel:

Council’s efforts to ensure the City is financially sustainable, to maintain and modernize its core infrastructure and amenities, and to promote our community using fresh, current, and relevant marketing tools would all be in vain if we did not have engaged and dedicated people living here who contribute so much every day toward making our city a wonderful place to live and to visit.

I constantly hear from new residents and visitors alike about the friendliness of our city; a sentiment that simply reflects how welcoming and helpful Quesnel residents and businesses are toward strangers.

That innate friendliness and our city’s natural beauty have garnered Quesnel a reputation as a great community to visit and to live in. A reputation we hope to broadcast and expand upon with our new branding and marketing initiative because it’s in our nature to be a welcoming and accessible community.

And, as our Volunteer Citizen of the Year Committee recently affirmed, it’s also in our nature to be a community of volunteers. In fact, without the ongoing dedication of our many volunteers Quesnel would not be able to offer the incredible diversity of amenities, events, sports and cultural activities, and support programs that our multitude of volunteer organizations and individuals offer all year round.

Every year we recognize our volunteers through the Volunteer Citizen of the Year (VCoY) nomination process and awards dinner. This is a community-based nomination process that seeks to recognize individuals (or on occasion couples and groups) who have dedicated themselves to serving the community in a volunteer capacity; people who make our community a more vibrant place to live through their personal investment of time and energy into the things they are passionate about.

On April 26, we will host the 37th annual VCoY Awards Banquet featuring the Correlieu Jazz Band and tickets are on sale now at City Hall. But, before we pop the bubbly and toast our volunteers, you have an opportunity to nominate those who will be recognized at this event. Nomination forms are available at City Hall and at the Observer (a much-appreciated major and ongoing sponsor of this community event), and the deadline for nominations is Monday, March 27 at 4 p.m. (completed forms can be dropped off at either City Hall or the Observer).

Council will recognize the community’s nominees for the Volunteer Citizen of the Year in Council Chambers at our regular meeting on Tuesday, April 18. This is always a much-appreciated opportunity for Council to recognize how important volunteers and volunteerism is to our community. At the award banquet, the VCoY Committee will also present two other awards to deserving volunteers: “Silent Hero” and “Lifetime Achievement.”

Our community would not be as vibrant, welcoming, accessible, and fun without the personal time and energy commitments of our volunteers. But, our core volunteer community is ageing and we need more people to step up and help out. Along with nominating a worthy volunteer for some deserved recognition,

I hope you will also consider volunteering in some capacity this year. That way the VCoY Committee’s desire for our community, as reflected in their new slogan, can be realized: “we’re all volunteers.”

The above column was written by Quesnel Mayor Bob Simpson.  He can be reached via email at 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Central Cariboo Joint Committee Highlights - March 22nd mtg

Present from CRD - Co-Chair J. Sorley; Directors S. Forseth and B. Kemp

Present from City of WL - Co-Chair W. Cobb; Councillors I. Bonnell, J. Ryll, and C. Smith

Meeting chaired by Director J. Sorley

Meeting called to order at 5:21pm

The Chair acknowledged that the meeting was taking place on traditional Northern Shuswap territory

Meeting Agenda/Minutes of the Joint Committee meeting held on Feb 22nd, 2017, both adopted


1) 2016 CCACS Project Grant Program Results - L. Selk from the Central Cariboo Arts/Culture Society was present for this item

The Committee had before it a report from the Central Cariboo Arts/Culture Society regarding 2016 Project Grant Program Results

Discussion ensued thereon

Resolved - Report received

2) CCACS 2017 Project Grant Recommendations - L. Selk from the Central Cariboo Arts/Culture Society was present for this item

The Committee had before it a report from the Central Cariboo Arts/Culture Society regarding 2017 Project Grant Recommendations

Discussion ensued thereon

Resolved - Report received and that the recommended Project Grants for 2017, as contained within the report, be endorsed

3) Sam Ketcham Pool Upgrade Project - Monthly Status Report for February 2017

The Committee had before it a report from the CRD Manager of Community Services (D. Campbell) regarding Sam Ketcham Pool Upgrade Project - Monthly Status Report for February 2017

Discussion ensued thereon

Resolved - Report received

Meeting adjourned at 5:29pm

Central Cariboo Rural Directors' Caucus Highlights - March 22nd mtg

Present: Chair S. Forseth; Directors B. Kemp, J. Sorley and B. Anderson

Meeting to order at 3:00pm

The Chair acknowledged that the meeting was taking place on traditional Northern Shuswap territory

Meeting Agenda/Minutes of the March 8th CCRC Meeting - both adopted, as amended


Inspector J. L. Pelley of the Williams Lake RCMP (Detachment Commander) appeared before the Caucus to provide an update

A Question/Answer period ensued

The Chair, on behalf of Caucus, thanked Inspector J.L. Pelley for his time/information


1) Late Item - Williams Lake Heritage Park Proposal

The Caucus had before it a report of the Chair
Discussion ensued thereon

Resolved - Report of the Chair be received

2) Action Page

The Caucus reviewed the status of items on the Action Page

Resolved - Action Page received and that Item 2 be removed

The Caucus adjourned at 4:30pm

Round 3 of BC Rural Dividend Applications (April 3rd - May 31st)

Courtesy of the Province of BC:

Applications for funding under the recently extended BC Rural Dividend will be accepted April 3 – May 31, 2017.

Funding is available in four categories:

Community capacity building
Workforce development
Community and economic development and
Business sector development.

The Rural Dividend was established in April 2016, with input from the Rural Advisory Council, to help small rural communities reinvigorate and diversify their local economies. In its first year, the program has already provided over $24 million in economic development grants to local governments, First Nations and not-for-profit organizations throughout B.C.

Balanced Budget 2017 extended the $25 million per year Rural Dividend Fund for a fourth year into 2019-20, enhancing the Province’s resources to assist rural communities with a population of less than 25,000 residents.

Local governments, not-for-profit organizations and First Nations are encouraged to apply to the third intake of the BC Rural Dividend program. Single applicants can apply for up to $100,000 for community-driven projects and must contribute at least 20% of the total project cost. Partnerships involving more than one eligible applicant can apply for up to $500,000, and must contribute 40% of the total project cost.

Applicant contributions can include in-kind contributions of up to 10%. A project development funding stream will provide up to $10,000 to help communities with limited capacity build business cases and feasibility assessments to support the development of strong projects and future project applications.

Downloadable application forms, a revised program guide, as well as detailed instructions on how to apply will be available as of March 31, 2017, at the BC Rural Dividend website:

The Rural Dividend Fund is one of the key ways the B.C. government is taking action to strengthen, grow and diversify rural communities. The Rural Dividend builds on the immediate investments and long-term action plan outlined in B.C.’s Rural Economic Development Strategy that are expected to create over 26,000 jobs and add $2.8 billion to provincial GDP.

The Hon. Donna Barnett - BC's Minister of State for Rural Economic Development said:

“Investing in rural communities is a key priority for our government. The Rural Dividend is already making a difference by diversifying the economy and creating jobs in small rural communities, I encourage more local governments, community organizations and First Nations to apply in this next round.”

Learn More:

A full list of grant recipients and details of each project is available at:

BC Rural Dividend:

Rural Advisory Council:

BC Rural Economic Development Strategy:

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

WL Council Highlights - March 21st mtg

Present: Mayor Cobb; Councillors Bonnell, Nelson, Ryll, Smith, and Zacharias

Meeting called to order at 6pm

Mayor Cobb acknowledged that the meeting was taking place on traditional Northern Shuswap territory

Meeting Agenda, as amended/Minutes of the March 7th, 2017 meeting of WL City Council, both adopted

Delegations/Presentations - None


1) Council received for information the accounts payable computer cheque listings dated March 9 and 16, 2017

2) Council received a report of the Director of Municipal Services (G. Muraca) in respect of installation of "No Parking Anytime" signage on Mart Street 20 meters from the intersection of Oliver Street and referred it to the General Governance Committee for review/recommendation to Council

3) Council received an application for DVP No. 1-2017 - Wave Properties Ltd. - 281 & 299 Oliver Street and directed that the usual notifications take place and it be further considered at a future Council meeting

4) Council gave Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 2262 (113 Mayfield Avenue) 1st/2nd Readings and directed that a Public Hearing be held on the bylaw on April 25th at 7pm in Council Chambers

5) Council gave Zoning Amendment Bylaw 2260 (1704 Broadway Avenue South) 2nd Reading and directed that a Public Hearing be held on the bylaw on April 25th at 7pm in Council Chambers

6) Council approved the sale to Oliver Street Investments Limited for the property commonly referred to as "portion of Oliver Street boulevard", shown as closed road on Plan EPP68314, for a purchase price of $49,000.00 plus all development costs, including survey and land title registration and that reconsideration and adoption of Road Closure Bylaw 2261 be held in abeyance pending receipt of legal undertaking to consolidate the properties and register at Land Titles

7) Council agreed to provide early budget approval for the replacement of two pick-up trucks at an approximate cost of $78,000

8) Council ratified several March 14th Committee of the Whole recommendations, as follows:

a) Council refer the subject of developing a policy for supporting local athletes to the 2017 budget deliberations

b) Council approve the request from Colleen Kielman and Jackie Nippon, DBA Fennel Cup to operate a mobile food truck on City properties located at 90 North 4th Avenue (Central Cariboo Arts & Culture Centre) and 1660 Broadway Avenue South (Tourism Discovery Centre) for the period of March 22, 2017 to December 31, 2018 subject to obtaining the necessary licenses and insurance policies and others may also apply for similar consideration, upon an application being submitted

c) Council approve the following resolution being submitted to the North Central Local Government Association for consideration at its' 2017 AGM/Convention:

WHEREAS forest health is essential to resource development and economic opportunities in our region;

WHEREAS British Columbia communities continue to struggle with the effects of the pine beetle epidemic that was exacerbated by restrictions imposed by park and protected area designations;

WHEREAS a fir and spruce beetle infestation has now taken hold as a result of inadequate measures to control beetle infestation;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that a proactive approach to the health of the forest be a priority, with extraction of diseased trees taking precedence over park or protected area designations, as well as other restrictions such as mule deer winter range or old growth designations

Council divided.  Approved by the following vote:

Affirmative - Mayor Cobb; Councillors Nelson, Ryll, Smith and Zacharias
Negative - Councillor I. Bonnell

d) Council nominate Communities That Care for the North Central Local Government Association's Community Leadership Award

9) Council approved use of the City Hall Parking Lot by the Boys/Girls Club of Williams Lake on Saturday, June 3, 2017 for the 'Race for Kids' fundraising event taking place in Herb Gardner Park.

10) Council proclaimed May 2017 as "Hospice Palliative Care Awareness Month" in the City of Williams Lake

11) Council received 3 In-Camera Reports reporting adopted In-Camera Resolutions at Council's In-Camera Meeting of Tuesday, March 14th as follows:

a) “That Council give early budget approval of up to $50,000 for Onetrix to purchase approximately six (6) security cameras"

b) "“That Council approve the Rural Dividend Grant Agreement for the development of a Heritage Park Business Plan, Strategic Development Plan and Infrastructure Study in Williams Lake and the Heritage Park initiative be included in the 2017 and 2018 Financial Plans”

c) “That Staff be requested to bring forward a report to engage a community consultant with the intent to create a Heritage Park Business Plan which includes but is not limited to a new Museum, accommodating the 153 Mile Store, a new Performing Arts Theatre / Convention Room Centre and tying into the trail network system; and further a public process be created with the intent to go to referendum in the next municipal election (October 2018).” 

11) Council received the 'Council Information Package' as of March 21st, 2017 as follows:

• March 3, 2017 - CRD Board Highlights.
• Williams Lake Hike for Hospice - Sunday, May 7 2017

Members of Council reported out on their recent activities
The CAO (M. MacDonald) provided an oral report

Media Question Period -- New Economic Development Officer (Beth Veenkamp) & Question re: DVP for Wave Properties (281/299 Oliver St)

Meeting adjourned at 6:38pm

Cariboo-North MLA race grows to 4

Richard Jacques
BC Green Candidate - Cariboo-North
This afternoon - the race to become the 2017-21 MLA for Cariboo-North grew to 4 with the introduction of Richard Jacques from the BC Green Party.  Mr. Jacques also ran in the October 2015 Federal Election for the Green Party of Canada in the riding of Cariboo-Prince George, where he was not successful in that election

His bio from the BC Green Party website is below:

Richard is married and has 6 children, the two youngest are still at home, the rest are pursuing post-secondary educational studies. Richard is currently completing his British Columbia Teacher Certification through Faculty of Education at UBC.

After a tenure with the Manitoba Dept. of Corrections, Richard attended the RCMP Training Academy in Regina, Saskatchewan; he was later posted throughout the Province of British Columbia where he would spend many productive years in First Nations Community Policing. For his work on the Organizing Committees for the 1997 APEC Conference and the 2001 Summit of the Americas, Richard was awarded two Prime Minister's Commendation for Service. In 2002, Richard was a founding member of the Sacred Wolf Native Friendship Centre in Port Hardy, BC. The Centre, which still operates today provides child protection, healing, and mental wellness services for the surrounding Indigenous communities.

During his lengthy career in First Nations policing, Richard and his family relocated numerous time across Canada; he spent much of his free time volunteering as a firefighter in both Fort St. James and Takla Landing before finally retiring in 2008 to pursue teaching full time.

In the fall of 2012, Richard was offered a teaching position in a remote First Nations community of St. Theresa's Point in northern Manitoba; he accepted the position, taught the Police Foundations Course; many of his graduates went on to join the Island Lake Tribal Police Force. He returned to UBC with his family in the fall of 2013 and continued his studies in Indigenous Education.

In the fall of 2015, Richard decided to pursue his passion for teaching at the K-12 level, he applied to the Faculty of Education University of British Columbia, he was accepted into the B.Ed./NITEP (Native Indian Teachers Education Program) where he is currently completing his Graduate Studies as Teacher Candidate

The other people in the race to become the 2017-21 MLA for Cariboo-North includes incumbent MLA Coralee Oakes from the BC Liberal Party, current Quesnel City Councillor (and BC NDP Candidate) Scott Elliott and current School District #28 (Quesnel) Board of Education Vice-Chair (and BC Conservative Party Candidate) Tony Goulet

The 41st BC General Election takes place on Tuesday, May 9th, 2017


UPDATED: International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

Updated at 1:11pm, Tues March 21st, 2017

Courtesy of the Rt Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada:

Today, we come together to recognize the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Whether here in Canada or around the world, racism devalues individuals, divides communities, and breeds fear and animosity throughout society.

“In Canada, diversity is a source of strength and a fundamental pillar of our country’s success. While we have made important progress in the fight against racism and racial discrimination in recent decades, much work still needs to be done. Far too many people around the world continue to be denied their most basic human rights simply because of the colour of their skin or their ethnic background.

“The Government of Canada strongly condemns any form of discrimination at home and in our global community. We will continue to promote inclusiveness, acceptance, and equality in Canada and around the globe, and will never stop working for a safer, more equal, and more respectful world.  

“On this important day, we reaffirm our ongoing responsibility to speak out against racism, hate, xenophobia, and bigotry in all its forms. Silence is not an option because progress is never permanent.”

From the Hon. Teresa Wat - BC's Minister responsible for Multiculturalism:

“Government is proud to reaffirm our commitment to a province free of discrimination by proclaiming March 21, 2017, as the Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in British Columbia.
“As B.C.’s Minister Responsible for Multiculturalism, it is my honour to celebrate B.C.’s diversity and the advantages of our multicultural society. Acts of racism and discrimination threaten to erode the fabric of our multicultural society, and that’s why the B.C. government continually seeks new ways to combat racial discrimination.
“Our role in government is to create an environment where an inclusive and diverse population supports our communities. Over the last two years government has spent over $1.6 million annually on programs that promote multiculturalism, address racism and build inclusive communities in British Columbia.
“This includes developing Organizing Against Racism and Hate (OARH) networks throughout the province, providing public-education programs to help students understand and challenge racism, and offering multiculturalism grants for community groups to help them develop strategies to address racism and celebrate B.C.’s multicultural heritage in their communities.
“As the most ethnically diverse province in Canada, the roots of multiculturalism run deep in British Columbia. It is up to all of us to ensure that it flourishes and grows for the benefit of all British Columbians, today and for future generations.”

Dr. M. Smialowski receives Medal of Good Citizenship

Courtesy of the Government of BC:

Donna Barnett, MLA for Cariboo-Chilcotin, on behalf of Premier Christy Clark, presented Dr. Michal Smialowski, a well-known Tatlayoko citizen, with the Province’s newest honour, the Medal of Good Citizenship.

Launched in July 2015 by Premier Clark, the prestigious Medal of Good Citizenship recognizes individuals who, through exceptional long-term service, have made outstanding contributions to their communities without expectation of remuneration or reward. The medal reflects their generosity, service, acts of selflessness and contributions to community life. Nominations for the Medal of Good Citizenship are accepted year-round.

Dr. Smialowski was honoured with the medal for selflessly giving his time and expertise to the people of the West Chilcotin as well as being an effective advocate for improved health care and services in the rural area.

For the past decade, he has dedicated himself to providing medical care to residents who otherwise would have a six-hour round trip to Williams Lake to consult a physician. The role had him essentially on-call 365 days a year. He was British Columbia’s first volunteer Community Response Doctor with the BC Ambulance Service and was dispatched to many emergencies over the years ranging from home deliveries to critical injuries and urgent medical complications.

Among his many other contributions, Dr. Smialowski was instrumental in establishing the West Chilcotin Health Society (WCHS), which advocates for improved health care along the 500-kilometre stretch of Highway 20 between Williams Lake and Bella Coola, and educates the community on health issues. Since taking the role of chairman, more than $90,000 has been raised for medical equipment and the WCHCS has also partnered with the Heart and Stroke Foundation to place automated external defibrillators (AED’s) in strategic locations throughout the Chilcotin region.

His service to community and countless hours of volunteering include efforts to have additional qualified health professionals serving the area. Before retiring, Dr. Smialowski and the WCHCS recruited a replacement physician, and the society successfully petitioned the Interior Health Authority (IHA) to place Tatla Lake on its physician manpower plan thus making it a permanent position. To attract future physicians to the area, UBC family practice resident doctors now spend a week working and travelling with the local physician as part of a three-month Williams Lake rotation.

Smialowski is among a select group of British Columbians who will receive the Medal of Good Citizenship over the next few months.

Donna Barnett, MLA for Cariboo-Chilcotin said:

“Dr. Mike, as many in the Chilcotin know him, is a true champion for rural health care, relentless in his pursuit of better equipment and services for the citizens in the region. Although retired, he continues to be active in raising funds and awareness of health and safety needs in the region. His dedication, skills and passion have made a difference and show that he is a great citizen in every way.”

Dr. Michal Smialowski, Medal of Good Citizenship recipient, went on to say:

“I accept this Medal of Good Citizenship on behalf of all Chilcotin-based health-care professionals and allied personnel who understand the difficulty of working in geographic and professional isolation. They do this at significant personal sacrifice and without the same support enjoyed by their urban counterparts.

“The West Chilcotin Health Care Society raises funds to purchase new medical equipment. More importantly, it raises awareness of the necessity for all levels of government to engage in the delivery of rural and remote health care. In order to advocate for the local patient population, the society has formed important relationships with Interior Health, First Nations and the Cariboo Regional District.

“A special thanks to Donna Barnett, MLA for Cariboo-Chilcotin, who has taken the time to listen and who has provided us with a conduit into the Ministry of Health.”

Monday, March 20, 2017

50 Days to 41st BC General Election

50 Days from today - BC Voters' in the Province's 41st General Election will elect 87 MLA's to represent them in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia

Over at which is run by former Kamloops Mayor/current Electoral Area 'P' Thompson-Nicola RD Director Mel Rothenburger -- the site was running an unscientific poll in the last few days asking if people have made up their minds as to the May 9th provincial vote. As of this past Saturday night -- 73.4% of respondents say they know whom they'll being voting for on May 9th while 10.64% of respondents say they haven't decided and a further 15.96% of respondents are uncertain but leaning towards a decision

These results are somewhat consistent with other professional-based polls that I have reviewed which is 75% of respondents have decided their May 9th vote with 25% not ready to make a decision.  It is that 25% that you will see the 87 MLA Candidates and their teams focus on, between now and May 9th.  Please note that the polls called the 2013 BC Election wrong, given the BC NDP had a 13 point lead at the start of the 2013 BC Election and they still lost and I sense that there will not be a reliance on polls but rather to do the hard work -- connect with voters directly and build your knowledge base that way...

Finally -- Here are the election races (as of today) in Cariboo-North/Cariboo-Chilcotin:


Hon. Donna Barnett - BC Liberals (incumbent)
Rita Giesbrecht - BC Greens
Sally Watson - BC NDP

4 Candidates ran in the BC 2013 Election vs 3 Candidates as of today (March 20th)


Hon. Coralee Oakes - BC Liberals (incumbent)
Scott Elliott - BC NDP
Tony Goulet - BC Conservative Party

3 Candidates ran in the BC 2013 Election vs 3 Candidates as of today (March 20th)

Finally - some fast approaching deadlines:

Dissolution of the 40th British Columbia Parliament - April 11th, 2017 (Day 29 to May 9th Election)

Deadline to register as a MLA Candidate with Elections BC - April 18th, 2017 at 1pm (Day 22 to May 9th election)


Sunday, March 19, 2017

Barkerville Management Agreement Extended to 2025

Courtesy of the Government of BC:

The management agreement for the Barkerville historic site has been extended to 2025 from its original date of 2020, MLA Coralee Oakes announced today, on behalf of Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

Extension of the agreement allows Barkerville Heritage Trust to develop long-term planning and explore more business opportunities for Barkerville. The trust began developing more tourism opportunities in 2016 to help diversify the rural economy of the region.

With almost $1.4 million from the Province, Northern Development Initiative Trust, Barkerville Heritage Trust, District of Wells and Canada 150 Infrastructure Fund, the trust was able to make many upgrades during 2016. Enhancements were made to the visitor centre, the Barkerville Fire Hall in Wells, and this funding also supported the establishment of a new multi-purpose activity centre, complete with ice skating rink.

The town of Barkerville, named after prospector Billy Barker, is a testament to the early days of B.C. Barkerville’s venue of more than 125 heritage buildings, authentic displays, restaurants, shops and accommodations creates a unique experience for visitors. Declared a National Historic Site of Canada in 1924 and a Provincial Heritage Property in 1958, Barkerville is now the largest living-history museum in western North America.

Some of the new business opportunities the trust has implemented involve upgrades to the campsites to include cabins in two of the three campgrounds, the creation of heated winterized cabins, a conveyor belt lift and tube run at the entrance to Barkerville Historic Town and Park.

The Barkerville Heritage Site Management Agreement will also include the management of Cottonwood House Historic Site, effective April 1, 2017.

Cottonwood House was built in the 1860s to offer accommodation, meals and provisions to miners and travellers on their journey along the Cariboo ‘Waggon’ Road to Barkerville or Quesnel. Today, Cottonwood still offers meals and accommodations, as well as historic attractions and recreation.

By amalgamating the management of the sites, the trust creates efficiencies by sharing maintenance, accounting, marketing and advertising staff. The inclusion of Cottonwood House fits in with the trust’s regional approach to tourism development.

Investment in B.C.’s heritage sites is one of the ways the B.C. government is taking action to strengthen, grow and diversify rural communities. The historic site builds on the immediate investments and long-term actions outlined in B.C.’s Rural Economic Development Strategy that are expected to create over 26,000 jobs and add $2.8 billion to provincial GDP.

The Hon. Donna Barnett - BC's Minister of State for Rural Economic Development said:

“I am pleased to see the ongoing diversification that the trust has created for Barkerville that enables more rural economic activity.”

While, Coralee Oakes - the MLA for Cariboo-North went on to say:

“Barkerville has always been dear to me and I am happy to see the site develop opportunities that will allow for more people to visit rural B.C.”

Quick Facts:

* Barkerville maintains and manages 107 heritage buildings and has 62 heritage replica buildings. Between 50,000 to 60,000 people visit Barkerville each year.

* Cottonwood Historic House is one of the last remaining road houses in B.C.

* British Columbia’s historic buildings, structures and sites attract more than 200,000 visitors annually, which create jobs for B.C. residents and supports sustainable communities.

* Heritage tourism brings over $170 million annually to the provincial gross domestic product.

Learn More:

Barkerville Historic Site:

Cottonwood House:

Rural Economic Development Strategy:

70 Residential Care (Seniors) Beds for Williams Lake

Courtesy of the Interior Health Authority:

After a thorough procurement process, Interior Health has awarded a contract for the development of 70 residential care beds in Williams Lake to inSite Housing, Hospitality & Health Services Inc.

“I am pleased to see this project progressing. It is another step in our ongoing work to enhance medical care and provide appropriate housing for seniors in our area,” said Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett. “Residential care facilities give seniors and their families options that support changing healthcare needs, allowing individuals to age in place.”

Interior Health issued a series of Request for Proposals (RFPs) in September 2016 for the design, construction and operation of 243 new residential care beds in communities across Interior Health, including these 70 beds in Williams Lake.

“This is great news for our communities’ seniors,” says Cariboo-North MLA Coralee Oakes. “Appropriate health care and housing for this vulnerable population is absolutely vital. We look forward to seeing the next steps in the process as inSite begins its design process.”

The RFPs called for building environments that are homelike and not institutional-feeling; safe for residents and staff; innovatively designed and flexible in function; operationally efficient; environmentally responsible in design, construction and operations; and include dementia-friendly elements.

“Our population is aging and becoming more medically complex. Conditions such as dementia are on the rise,” said Interior Health Board Chair John O’Fee. “The addition of 243 beds across Interior Health will benefit seniors and others who need around-the-clock care.”

The RFP sought proposals from operators with experience in residential care project development and operation and seniors care, with consideration of First Nations engagement and cultural safety.

Consultation with the local community, including First Nations communities, is required throughout design development and upon completion during operations. The successful proponents must develop a care model that supports the needs of residents, and includes residents and their families in care delivery planning. The care model will also include collaboration with local family physicians.

In addition to the 70 publicly funded beds inSite’s new care home will include two private-pay beds.

“inSite is thrilled to have been selected by Interior Health to build and operate a new residence to provide care and housing for 72 seniors from Williams Lake and the surrounding areas. The location, design and service offerings will enhance the quality of life for all residents while providing in excess of 80 regular and casual positions for care and hospitality staff,” said inSite President Johann Burger.

The residents’ new homes will be located on 4th Avenue in the downtown core of Williams Lake. Construction is expected to begin July 2017. The new facility is expected to open in summer 2018

Interior Health currently has 5,750 residential care beds, providing 24/7 care and support for individuals with complex care needs who are no longer able to live at home independently or with supports. This includes frail and elderly individuals with chronic conditions, such as those with dementia, whose needs may change over time.

Interior Health’s plan for residential care services supports the Ministry of Health’s strategic direction, which focuses on a more integrated system of primary and community care that better meets the needs of patients, including seniors with frailty and complex medical conditions.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Local Gov't Mtgs - Wk of March 20-24

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

Williams Lake - Regular Council Meeting on Tuesday, March 21st, 2017 at 6pm in WL Council Chambers.  On the Agenda:

* Installation of No Parking Signage on Mart Street at Oliver Street
* DVP No. 1-2017 - Wave Properties Ltd. - 281 & 299 Oliver Street
* Zoning Bylaw Amendment - 113 Mayfield Avenue
* Zoning Bylaw Amendment - 1704 Broadway Avenue South - Drive Through Restaurant
* Partial Road Closure and Land Disposition at 715 Oliver Street
* Early Approval for the Purchase of Two (2) Half Ton Passenger Vehicles (Pick Ups)
* 3 Recommendations for Endorsement from March 14th Committee of the Whole meeting: Council Options for Supporting Athletes, Fennel Cup Mobile Vendors re: Use of City Property and North Central Government Association Resolution - Removal of Diseased Trees, North Central Government Association Community Leadership Award - Communities that Care

View the full Agenda here

Cariboo Regional District - Meetings as listed below:

Central Cariboo Rural Directors' Caucus - Regular Meeting on Wednesday, March 22nd at 3pm in the CRD Committee Room (180D North 3rd Avenue, Williams Lake).  On the Agenda:

* Delegation: Williams Lake RCMP Insp. Jeff Pelley

Central Cariboo/City of WL Joint Committee - Regular Meeting on Wednesday, March 22nd at 5pm in the CRD Board Room (180D North 3rd Avenue, Williams Lake).  On the Agenda:

* CCACS 2016 Project Grant Report
* CCACS 2017 Project Grant Award Recommendations
* Feb 2017 SKP Project Report

View the full Agenda here

Cariboo-Chilcotin Regional Hospital District - Regular Board Meeting on Friday, March 24th at 9:30am in the CRD Boardroom.  On the Agenda:

* Consent Calendar
* IH Senior Beds in Williams Lake Announcement
* IH Capital Report for Feb 2017
* West Chilcotin Health Care Society - Equipment Needs

View the full Agenda here

Cariboo Regional District - Regular Board Meeting on Friday, March 24th at 9:45am in the CRD Boardroom.  On the Agenda:

* Delegation: Claudette Gouger, Community Manager for NewGold Inc. - Update on the Blackwater Project

* Various Planning Items
* Refuse Site Inspection Report
* 2016 Year End Report for the Invasive Plant Management Program
* Mountain Spruce Community Centre Society Community Works Funding (CWF) Safe Drinking Water and Energy Efficiency Project
* Request for Funding Support – Gold Rush Trail Tourism Initiative
* Grant for Assistance Application from the Cariboo Aboriginal Youth Hockey Tournament
* Code of Conduct Complaints - 2016
* Consent Calendar
* Various Committee or Commission Minutes/Recommendations
* Adopt 5 Year Financial Plan (2017-2021)/2017 Budget Bylaw
* Request from Directors Bruce re: Discussion of Sanctuary Cities; Director Forseth re: Amendments to Director Remuneration/Expenses Bylaw
* Appoint Director Anderson as Alternate rep to Fraser Basin Council

View the full Agenda here

City of WL NCLGA Resolution re: MPB Trees in Parks/Protected Areas

This past Wednesday - My Cariboo Now interviewed Williams Lake Mayor Walt Cobb in regards to his intention to submit a 2017 North Central Local Government Association (NCLGA) Resolution in regards to calling for the immediate removal of beetle infested trees regardless of their location whether they be in parks or protected areas in order to prevent an epidemic.

Read more here

All local governments in the NCLGA Region were told to have their proposed 2017 NCLGA Resolutions submitted by Friday, March 3rd, 2017 (60 Days to the 2017 NCLGA AGM/Convention in Terrace, BC)

There are two options available to the City at this stage:

1) Introduce this resolution as an "Emergency Resolution" at the 2017 NCLGA Convention with the criteria being that it is an issue that precluded consideration for submission by a local government in the NCLGA Region (District of 100 Mile House, north to the BC/Yukon border) to the NCLGA Convention/AGM prior to/or on March 3rd, 2017;

2) Submit a 2017 UBCM (Union of BC Municipalities) Resolution on the same subject, although it is the practice of UBCM that resolutions should, to the greatest extent possible, go through the local UBCM Area Associations first (NCLGA, AVICC, SILGA, AKBLG, LMLGA)

It will be interesting to see if the City of Williams Lake will be allowed to have their NCLGA Resolution accepted as a regularly submitted NCLGA Resolution at this stage, given it is past the deadline for NCLGA Resolutions to be submitted, or will they try to introduce this item as an "Emergency Resolution"on the floor at the 2017 NCLGA Convention or, as suggested above, put it forward as an UBCM Resolution with the deadline to submit 2017 UBCM Resolutions as June 30th, 2017


Thursday, March 16, 2017

Wildwood Sewer Meeting

Wildwood Sewer Meeting at the Wildwood Fire Hall
Earlier this evening - I held a meeting with Wildwood residents in regards to a pending user fee increase from $127/yr to $200/yr for the Wildwood Sewer System

About 10 residents' came out to hear the rationale for the increase from Peter Hughes, the Cariboo Regional District's Manager of Environmental Services.  My thanks, also, to my Alternate Director, Phyllis Webstad, for making the meeting as well.

After the presentation, there was a question/answer period where a 'conversation' was held between Mr. Hughes and the community

I felt the meeting went very well and my thanks to everyone who could make the meeting this evening

The next step is to bring forward the necessary Wildwood Sewer System User Fee Amendment Bylaw which should happen fairly soon (likely the April 13th Cariboo Regional District Board Meeting), in time for the Wildwood Sewer System user fee invoices which typically go out in mid to late April every year


Quesnel - An Award Winning Community

Weekly Column by Quesnel Mayor Bob Simpson:

Last Friday, I had the privilege to join some of our community partners on a stage in Prince George to receive another award for our community’s efforts to recruit doctors to Quesnel. This is the third award this initiative has garnered: the first was a provincial economic development award, the second was the Union of BC Municipalities recognition of our new primary care clinic, the one we received last week specifically recognized the leadership team that led this initiative.

The team that was recognized consists of Debbie Strang, Northern Health’s Health Services Administrator in Quesnel, Doctor Dietrich Furstenburg, Chief of Staff at G.R. Baker (and Dr. Helene Smith prior to Dr. Furstenburg taking over this role), CRD Director John Massier, in his role as Chair of the Cariboo Chilcotin Regional Hospital District Board, the MLAs office, and myself. This small group worked collaboratively to proactively address what could have been a major blow to our community when nine doctors announced they were leaving town early in 2015.

As I told the crowd at the award ceremony in Prince George, when we first learned about the doctors leaving we did not go into panic mode, nor did we seek to place blame by finger pointing at Northern Health or the Province or the City or whomever for causing this “crisis.” We also knew we had to avoid a bunch of negative press as a result of this exodus of doctors; our community had just recently experienced a mill closure and we didn’t want to give the sense that Quesnel was “dying.”

Rather than go into crisis mode and look to place blame, Northern Health and the Chief of Staff at the time (Dr. Helene Smith) worked with us to map out the system issues that had created the circumstances leading up to the doctor exodus. This process involved nearly all of the doctors in the community working with Northern Health to not only detail the issues associated with practicing medicine in a rural community but what innovative solutions might be available to resolve these issues. The solutions-oriented roadmap that came out of this collaborative planning session then became the work plan for the leadership team that was recognized last week.

The lion’s share of the work involved in this successful collaborative was borne by Northern Health under the very capable leadership and direction of Debbie Strang and the two Chiefs of Staff who were involved in this initiative, Dr. Helene Smith and Dr. Dietrich Furstenburg. The Cariboo-Chilcotin Regional Hospital District contributed funds to enable the City to hire a health care recruiter (Susan Paulsen, who proved to be perfect for the position and a major reason for our success at “landing” doctors and their families in Quesnel) and contributed capital funding toward the new primary care clinic. The City stepped in to provide temporary housing for some physicians who came to town to keep our emergency room open in 2015 and worked with Regency Chrysler to make vehicles temporarily available to physicians when they first arrived in the City.

Each member of the team and their respective organizations played a key role in the overall success of this initiative and while the major benefit to the community is having a full complement of family physicians in town and a new model of primary care delivery, the awards we are garnering as result of the collaborative effort that led to these successful outcomes presents our community in a very positive light to those looking to Quesnel as a place to visit, live, or invest in

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

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

2017 McLeese Lake Recreation Commission AGM

McLeese Lake residents' gather in the
lower part of the McLeese Lake Community Hall
for the AGM/March Regular Meeting
of the McLeese Lake Recreation Commission
Earlier this evening - it was my honour to attend the Annual General Meeting/March Regular Meeting of the McLeese Lake Recreation Commission

During the AGM portion - two members of the Recreation Commission decided to retire and not re-offer to serve another year.  I personally thanked them for their service to the Recreation Commission and the McLeese Lake community and gave one of the retiring members a big hug from myself!

During the March Regular Meeting - the Recreation Commission conducted its' usual business including making plans to renovate the Hall in 2017 including energy efficiency upgrades which the Cariboo Regional District will be able to assist the Commission with funding via Community Works Funding

Again, it was a real pleasure to come and observe this meeting this evening and talk with McLeese Lake residents'....


Happy 88th Birthday, City of Williams Lake

Surinderpal Rathor (Museum Society VP)
welcomes everyone to the City's 88th
Birthday Tea 
This afternoon, the City's 88th Birthday was celebrated at the Museum of the Cariboo-Chilcotin

Elected Officials present included Williams Lake Mayor Walt Cobb, Williams Lake City Councillor Ivan Bonnell, CRD Area 'D' Director Steve Forseth and former WL City Councillors Danica Hughes (2008-2011) and Geoff Bourdon (2008-2014)

Surinderpal Rathor, Museum of the Cariboo-Chilcotin Society VP, provided welcome comments, then words from George Atamanenko (Museum of the Cariboo-Chilcotin Society President), Jenny Huffman (Assistant to Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett) and Cariboo-PG Member of Parliament Todd Doherty via video message

Finally - it was wonderful to chat with former WL City Councillor Danica Hughes :)


UBCM 2017 Provincial Election Platform

The Union of BC Muncipalities or UBCM has today released its platform in regards to the 2017 BC Provincial Election

Key Themes:

* Infrastructure
* Finance
* Protective Services
* Climate Action
* Housing

You can view the Platform for yourself here.  UBCM will be provided updates on its Provincial Election Platform, which you can view here


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

District of Wells recipient of 2017 BC Age Friendly Grant

Courtesy of the Government of BC:

A housing study for First Nations Elders and developing social networks are among the projects benefiting seniors in the 18 B.C. communities receiving a total of $342,430 in age-friendly community planning and project grants this year.

“Seniors play an integral role in shaping our province and when we put supports in place that benefit older British Columbians, entire communities can benefit,” said BC Health Minister Terry Lake. “Age-friendly grants help seniors live better by helping them to stay involved, remain healthy, independent and maintain important local connections.”

The age-friendly communities grant program is a partnership between the Province and the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM). In September 2016, local governments were invited to apply for grants of up to $20,000 and encouraged to consider projects that focused on accessibility, aging well, physical activity and non-medical home supports. Successful applicants are eligible to apply for a range of services to support their project from BC Healthy Communities Society.

“These grants are an example of how the Province supports seniors in remaining socially active as well as staying in touch with their communities,” said Darryl Plecas, Parliamentary Secretary for Seniors. “Age-friendly grants help older British Columbians by improving quality of life through a variety of programs that range from programming on nutrition to making parks more accessible.”

Some examples of 2017 grants include: a seniors’ social program in the North Okanagan that will provide education and activities on a wide variety of topics including hearing loss, the importance of flu shots, and how to avoid scams; a seniors’ housing action plan in the Village of Lytton that will ensure facilities and services are in place within the community so that local seniors and First Nations Elders may remain close to their families as they age; and, improving dementia awareness in West Vancouver.

“This longstanding program has provided funding for close to three hundred projects in B.C. communities,” said Murry Krause, UBCM President. “We appreciate the continuing provincial support for local age-friendly initiatives.”

Since 2007, age-friendly communities grants have funded 286 projects throughout British Columbia, totalling $3.75 million.

Cariboo-Chilcotin Recipients:

District of Wells:

Project: Aging Well in Wells Community Plan
Amount: $20,000
Details: An age-friendly community plan will be created to identify the needs of older adults in the District of Wells. The plan’s development will include consultations with a diverse range of community members.

Accessibility Award of Merit Nominations Now Being Accepted

Courtesy of the City of Williams Lake:

The City of Williams Lake believes that public awareness about physical and attitudinal barriers will help improve the quality of life for all disabled persons, giving them the opportunity to participate in all aspects of community life. 
The mission of the City of Williams Lake Accessibility Advisory Committee is to remove physical and social barriers which impede the full participation of persons with disabilities in all aspects of community life. 
The Williams Lake Accessibility Advisory Committee would like to invite nominations of groups, individuals or businesses that have made a significant contribution to improve accessibility within the City of Williams Lake. 

Award Nomination Guidelines: 

- The nominee has demonstrated a commitment to increase accessibility above and beyond what is required by law or regulation. 
- The nominee has improved accessibility for persons with one or more of the following types of disability: mobility, agility, hearing, seeing, speaking, social and mental. 
- The business or group being nominated must be located within the boundaries of the City of Williams Lake and provide a service for the people of Williams Lake and others. 
- Businesses or groups may be nominated by any citizen or group who should provide strong evidence in support of their nominee’s commitments and contribution to improving accessibility. 
- Any citizen or group wishing to re-submit or re-nominate an individual, group or business who was, or was not, selected for an Award in a previous year may do so by completing a new nomination form and providing up-to-date information in support of that nomination. 

Access Awareness Award Criteria: 

An award will be considered for achievements in the following areas: 
1. Employing people with disabilities whenever possible. 
2. Providing adequate Handicapped Parking spaces close to the main entrance to business. 
3. Providing automatic door openers on heavy entrance doors and washrooms. Provide good lighting at any steps or entrance ways. Paint yellow or white strips marking the edge of any steps or lips in the flooring. 
4. Provide appropriate ramps for wheelchair and stroller users for any indoor or outdoor areas. Wheelchair accessible doors must be a minimum of 36 inches wide. 
5. Provide a wheelchair accessible washroom with easily opened doors. 
6. Provide Braille lettering at any signs for customers to read. 
7. Provide sufficient handrails beside steps in the interior and exterior of building. 
8. Provide wheelchair height counters at checkouts and reception desks. Provide extra width between aisles and at the ends of aisles to allow for easier turning. 
9. Provide a rest area with two armchairs or a bench with arms at each end. 
10. Provide snow and ice clearing in front of business. 
Nomination forms can be found online at The application deadline is April 28, 2017
For more information, please contact Stacey Miranda, Manager of Recreation at (250) 392-1788 or (250) 398-7655, or email