Wednesday, July 16, 2008

WL Committee of the Whole Proceedings - July 15th


1) Dr. Elmer Thiessen (Chair, Water/Waste Water Advisory Committee) - Dr. Thiessen formally presented the Committee's report to Council and undertook to answer Councils' questions' and where he couldn't answer a question, members of the Water/Waste Water Advisory Committee helped answer Councils' questions. Staff to bring back a report to implement all recommendations from the Water/Waste Water Advisory Committee in 60 Days

2) Gian Sandhu / Rick Jones from Jackpine Forest Products came before the Committee to request that Council considered implementing a tax-exemption zone for properties owned by Jackpine for future expansion over a 5-year period. Council, generally speaking, was prepared to favourably consider the request. Staff requested to bring forward a report at the next Committee of the Whole with Financial Implications on implementing Mssrs. Jones and Sandhu's request.


1) Council agreed to deny request of Williams Lake Curling Club for waiving Water/Sewer Fees during the summer as it may set a dangerous precedent for other non-profit clubs. Council also agreed to send an application form to the WL Curling Club to apply for a Grant-in-Aide for 2009 Budget year.

2) Council adopted all Staff Recommendations concerning An Affordable Housing Policy in Williams Lake. Staff to work on Recommendations flowing from their report on this subject

3) Council agreed to waive its' Strata Policy, following a request from Pal Nijjar for his property at 1000 Maple Street

4) Letter from Tyler Bronowski (request to turn former Poplar Glade property into a bike park) to be referred to Central Cariboo Recreation Commission for consideration

Sub-Regional Services and Muncipalities/Regional Districts

For the last 2 years, a group called the Quesnel Technics Club (local gymnastics club) has sought the help of the North Cariboo Joint Planning Committee or NCJPC for a new building. The NCJPC membership consists of the CRD (Cariboo Regional District) Directors' for Areas A, B, C and I as well as the entire Quesnel Council. The NCJPC passed a resolution, in October of 2006, to work jointly (CRD + City of Quesnel) to come up with $1,000,000 of capital funding for a new building for the Quesnel Technics Club. This particular issue has been an irritant between the CRD Northern Directors' and Quesnel City Council. The particular issue has been that the City of Quesnel has found its' $500,000 and wants the CRD to do the same without using money inside of the NCRP (North Cariboo Recreation and Parks) Function, which is funded on a 70-30 (City of Quesnel - CRD) split. Now, the CRD Northern Directors' wanted the City of Quesnel to have Quesnel Technics Club funding through NCRP. Quesnel Council considered the request at their Committee of the Whole meeting on June 23rd and made a motion to recommend to Quesnel Council that the request of the CRD Northern Directors on this subject be rejected. Quesnel Council met on July 14th to adopt their motion from their June 23rd Committee of the Whole meeting. Mayor Bello then informed his Council of a conversation he had with Quesnel City Manager Charles Hamilton and CRD Directors Ted Armstrong (Area 'A') and Ronda Wilkins (Area 'C'). Both Directors Armstrong and Wilkins indicated to Mayor Bello and Mr. Hamilton their willingness to increase the CRD's contribution from $500,000 to $750,000 provided that the Quesnel Technics Club was funded through NCRP. Councillors' Thapar and Paull suggested that Council reject the new offer to which Quesnel Council agreed to turn down the request, on the basis that it wasn't in the best interest of Quesnel taxpayers'.

I think sometimes municipal politicians, when discussing funding of sub-regional services, like Recreation, tend to put the "me-first" attitude, rather than the "region first" attitude when it comes to Sub-Regional Services. Having the "region-first" attitude when it comes to Recreation Budgets truly serves both the taxpayers' interest, rather than rural/urban politicians fighting each other over who funds what. I would obviously encourage, strongly, the City of Quesnel Council members to keep this in mind when considered future Sub-Regional Recreation Budgets with the rural CRD Northern Directors. Playing petty politics on this issue really does a disservice to the taxpayers' in both the City of Quesnel and to those who reside in Electoral Areas A, B, C, and I.