Thursday, February 26, 2009
1) After the 2011 Election, Council will hold an open and public Strategic Planning Session(s) with its' residents' to set the goals for the 2011-2014 Council. After all, City Council should be serving the residents', not the other way around. Obviously, if there were personnel or legal issues that needed to be discussed by Council, following the Public Strategic Planning Session(s), Council would need to hold an in-camera or closed meeting with City Staff to discuss those issues.
2) I would push Council to allow for a "Public Question Period" or "Public Input Session" at Council meetings' which would allow residents' to question City Staff/Council, without notice. Obviously, there would be some ground rules (ie: not to speak disrespectfully of City Staff, City Councillor/Mayor, etc)
3) In addition to the usual February Joint CRD (Cariboo Regional District) and City of Williams Lake Joint Town Hall meeting, I would push for a Fall Town Hall meeting with City residents' that would allow residents' to inform Council what it should be doing in the upcoming year including potential investments in our Arts and Council sector, roads, sewer/water, etc as well as solicit input on the City Budget for the following upcoming year
4) It would be City Policy that on any borrowing for City Projects (long term debt) exceeding $1,000,000 (1 million dollars) or more, that a referendum on the said project is to occur. Further, a Public Consultation Meeting on any borrowing is to occur prior to a referendum so that residents' have all the facts, prior to voting on a request to borrow funds for a City-sponsored project, by way of referendum.
UPDATE, at 9:32am:
Someone used a shotgun to fire through a window at Williams Lake Secondary School around midnight Thursday night.
The Williams Lake RCMP say a resident living near the school alerted RCMP to a suspicious noise and person at the school.
Principal Mark Thiessen says there was no one in the school at the time.
When police arrived, investigators determined that a shotgun bullet was fired through a front window and metal window covering of the school.
A person was seen running from the area and four other people were seen in the vicinity. RCMP say it's unclear if the four people were involved with the person running away.
The police are asking anyone with information on the incident to phone the RCMP, attend the detachment in person, or phone anonymously by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
"The vacation is to attend a very special family member’s wedding which was planned and paid for 10 months ago, before I was elected and before the economic crisis"
Fair enough....however I know Councillor Rathor also takes a usual 2 week break to India at around this time of year, which he rightly deserves and he has done more for Williams Lake than she has for the Arts and Culture people in Williams Lake and he has decided not to join his wife in India this year. Could he have joined his wife in India while his workplace is experiencing some downtime - sure. Does he deserve it - yes. Did he do it - no and it is because he and I both believe that when you decide to enter public life, you give up certain sacrifices including personal time, whether at home or away (City business or otherwise) as well as showing that you don't run away when your own residents' don't know where the next paycheque will come from and how to pay for the mortgage or rent payment or get food on the table. Right now, our local civic officials need to show, and in my view Councillor Rathor has, that they understand the pain that City residents' are experiencing and that may include postponing personal vacation time to a more appropriate time when things are more steadier than they are right now
Also - and I've stated this on the Williams Lake Tribune website in response to Ms. Walters' letter, whether or not a letter has value or not is up to the readers' to make that determination. If readers' determine a letter to the editor has no value, then they can either choose not to read it or choose to write a rebuttal letter to the editor.
As well, on the subject on Councillor Walters and factual correct letters - if a letter-writer believes that his/her letter is factual correct (subject to a paper's Editor reading over a letter to the editor for content and legal issues) then it would be up to the individual who is referenced in a Letter to the Editor to correct the record, if he/she feels the letter contains inaccurate information. In the case of Councillor Walters, all my information came from the City's own website, in her report to the Feb 17/09 Committee of the Whole meeting on her Portfolio activities. Don't blame me for using her own report to criticize her leaving on vacation (family or not) during a economic upheaval in the City of Williams Lake
1) Sage Birchwater is retiring from the Tribune newsroom, more here and here
2) 2 Letters to the Editors responding to my letter to the editor in the Tuesday, Feb 24/09 edition of the Tribune. You can read them here and here
3) Article on ESP services in the economic downturn. Story is here
4) Councillor Tom Barr (Finance Chair) "Prepare for Bare-Bones City Budget" - story is here
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Council is considering a 0% tax increase for 2009. This after Council was asked by staff for direction regarding any potential tax increase. The initial operating budget submitted estimated a 3.3% tax increase. Council directed staff to prepare a report indicating where savings in the budget could be found to meet a 0% increase and the impact those savings would have. That report will be considered at the March 23 budget session. That session will also be the formal public input session for this year’s budget process
NCMA Resolutions outlined
Council discussed a number of proposed resolutions to be submitted to the NCMA Executive for consideration at this year’s annual conference. Council decided to send three resolutions. They are:
A resolution supporting the introduction of a single licence plate that is transferable between fuel-inefficient and fuel-efficient vehicles owned by the same individual.
A resolution objecting to the potential removal of Remote Aerodrome Advisory Services at smaller airports such as Quesnel’s
A resolution supporting the return of environmental handling fees to communities where Encorp does not provide electronic recycling facilities to help support recycling initiatives.
A fourth resolution regarding the Carbon Tax will be reviewed and re-submitted to Council at a future meeting.
Two commission members named
Two people were named to two different commissions. Dwayne Sales was appointed as the City’s citizen representative to the Cariboo Regional Districts North Cariboo Recreation and Parks Commission. That commission is a new body that has been set up to govern the recreation function.
Brian Milthorp was also appointed to the Quesnel Museum and Heritage Commission. Both appointments carry two-year terms and expire on Dec. 31, 2010
Rail building improvements
The old BC Rail train station will see some more improvements made to it this spring. In 2005 the City received a grant from the Union of British Columbia Municipalities Community Tourism Program to renovate the exterior and part of the interior of the building. In 2008, the City received a further $65,200 grant from the same program to continue the project. The funds will be used to renovate the remaining unfinished areas in the building. The goal is to provide an area where either Rocky Mountaineer Vacations can have an expanded space, or other tourism-minded ventures can set up shop. The total bid for the project came in at $69,900. Staff will work with the leading bidder to meet the original budget of $65,200
Safety statistics great in 2008
Council received a report outlining the City’s safety record for 2008. An independent review of the City’s safety record performed by the Workers Compensation Board showed that in comparison with other employers within the same classification unit, the City had a below average injury rate and expected injury rate. This resulted in fewer claims with Worksafe BC and also dramatically reduced the overall claims cost to the City.
The City was commended by WCB for the 2008 performance.
Award announced for local citizen
Susan Maile, a long-time member of the community who’s been active in a variety of organizations, including Meals on Wheels and the hospital auxiliary, has been awarded a BC Community Achievement Award. She will be invited to a future Council meeting as Council wishes to formally congratulate and thank her for all the good work she does
Guide-Scout Week in Quesnel - Feb. 22 to 28
Important Community Event Dates - City of Quesnel:
SPCA Auction, Dinner and Dance on Saturday, Feb. 28, 2009 at the West Fraser Timber Room
Future Council Meeting Dates:
March 2nd,2009 at 7:00pm - Delegation Session
March 9th, 2009 at 7:00pm - Regular City Council Meeting
March 16th, 2009 at 7:00pm - Committee of the Whole Meeting
March 23rd, 2009 at 7:00pm - Budget Meeting (Public Input Opportunity)
All above Quesnel Council meetings' take place in Quesnel Council Chambers (410 Kinchant Street)
1) Christine Constable, Jane Perry and Devon Crosina trio performed two selections of Handel’s Water Music
2) Penny Robart from ESP Consulting presented information on the “Workers Adjustment
1) Second reading was given to the rezoning application for a proposed Manufactured Home Park on Wotzke Drive. StanCom Developments Ltd has proposed the development of a bare land strata gated mobile home development which will provide approximately 30 homes and one single family lot
2) Council rescinded the original resolution authorizing a development variance permit as the development plans for the proposed Aviator Hotel at 1820 South Broadway have been altered. The new application, to vary the maximum height restriction to 20 meters and allow for off-site overflow parking was accepted. The Advisory Planning Commission will now review the application and Staff will issue notice to the owners and tenants within 100 metres of the property
3) Council awarded the contract for the development of the City’s Official Community
Plan/Integrated Community Sustainability Plan Review to the Whistler Centre for
Sustainability, Smart Growth Advisory Services and the Natural Step for $175,000
4) Council awarded the tender for the garbage collection cart purchase to IPL Inc.
for a total price of $326,332.88. The new program will be implemented in the spring of 2009. Each household within the City will receive one cart for solid waste and one for recycling.
5) Council approved a bylaw amendment which will delay the 50% water & sewer rate increases which had been planned for 2009 until 2010 due to the current economic conditions
6) Third reading was given to Bylaw #2084 for Dairy Queen on Broadway Ave. S. It will now be forwarded to the Ministry of Transportation for approval, in accordance with Section 52 of the Transportation Act
7) Approval was given for the 15th Annual Spring Round-Up Car Show and Shine on Sunday, May 31, from 7:00am to 5:00pm between 2nd and 4th Avenues
8) Council endorsed a BC Law and Citizenship Curriculum Assessment Project which will
advance civic studies in the grades 7 through 12 Social Studies school curriculum
Next Council Meeting: March 10th, 2009 at 7:30pm
Next Committee of the Whole Meeting: March 3rd, 2009 at 6:30pm
The Director of Corporate Services (Sue Moxey) read the explanatory note and purpose for Bylaw #2084 and informed Council that no correspondence had been received either for or against Bylaw #2084
Mayor Cook then called for Oral Submissions:
1) Steve Forseth (1197 North 3rd Avenue) - spoke in favour of this application and requested Council to address Greenhouse Gas Emissions issue, with respect to drive-thrus, at the time that the City's OCP (Official Community Plan) and ICSP (Integrated Community Sustainability Plan) Plans are reviewed/formed
Mayor Cook then called 3 times for further Oral Submissions. None were forthcoming
Council agreed, by Motion duly moved/seconded, to refer Bylaw #2084 to the February 24th, 2009 Regular WL City Council for consideration of 3rd Reading
The Public Hearing adjourned at 7:07pm
Sunday, February 22, 2009
- The NDP oppose cutting your taxes: The NDP have voted unanimously against over 100 tax cuts that the B.C. Liberal government has introduced since 2001.
- The NDP will raise your taxes: The NDP have made billions of dollars in spending promises, with no explanation of where the money to fund those promises will come from. That means two things: tax hikes and deficits that your children and grandchildren will have to pay for.
- The NDP will cripple the oil and gas industry: The NDP want to cancel incentive programs that support hundreds of summer drilling jobs. They also plan to raise royalty rates and impose over $1 billion in new taxes on the industry – driving jobs out of B.C. and crippling an industry that provides billions for government to invest in services like health care and education.
- The NDP will kill clean, green independent power projects: The NDP has called for a ban on independent power project that would eliminate 1,100 rural jobs. This will destroy clean energy projects that provide economic opportunities to rural and First Nation communities in every corner of the province.
- The NDP are being dishonest about their hidden carbon tax: The NDP plan to impose a massive, punishing tax that would cost job-creating industries such as mining, forestry and oil and gas at least $1.5 billion, destroying rural jobs and investment.
- The NDP oppose a parent’s right to know: Carole James and her NDP MLAs have opposed Foundation Skills Assessment testing, which is a vital tool for teachers and parents to gauge student learning. They also refused to denounce the BCTF plan to stop teachers from providing written comments on student report cards.
- The NDP are against twinning the Port Mann Bridge: “The wrong bridge, and the wrong plan,” was the response of NDP leader Carole James to the B.C. Liberal plan to twin the congested Port Mann Bridge and bring transit to that crossing for the first time in over two decades.
- The NDP will cancel the Softwood Lumber Agreement: That would claw back $2.4 billion in duties from industry and cost $200 million in government revenues per year, and would re-impose a 30 to 40 per cent export tax on lumber exports eliminating certainty for the industry and destroying jobs in communities across BC.
- The NDP are against the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games: “I didn’t support the government trying to gain the Olympics.” – NDP leader Carole James, Jan. 16, 2004.
- The NDP have voted against critical projects: Including the new Abbotsford Regional Hospital, Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria, the Canada Line, and the new Surrey Outpatient Hospital.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
December 16th, 2008
January 13th, 2009
February 24th, 2009
Now, I don't know about anyone who may read this blog, but my personal feeling is Council meetings are for the expressed purpose of:
a) Receiving Delegations relative to requests of Council or general introductions to Council
b) City Staff or Council business (Reports/Bylaws)
Council meetings' should not be for the purpose of allowing musicians play their tunes at a Council meeting.
Council meetings are a formal event, such is the case in the Parliaments of BC and Canada. At the January 27th, 2009 meeting of WL Council, Mayor Cook announced several changes to how Council conducts its' business including:
i) moving the meeting place for Committee of the Whole Council meetings from Council Chambers to Committee Room #1 because the Committee of the Whole meeting was too "formal" in Council Chambers
Now, allowing musicians to play at Regular Council meetings but moving Committee of the Whole meetings' downstairs to Committee Room #1 brings to mind three words:
"Height of Hypocrisy"
If Mayor Cook keeps this up (musicians playing at Council meetings' once a month) I'll be writing a letter to the editor on this subject because we must differentiate between formal City Council meetings' and musicians playing their "art" for the general public.
As a point of interest, former City of Vancouver, now Liberal Party Senator, Larry Campbell and his Council of 2002-2005 allowed musicians to play at their Council meetings' and I was not a fan of his Council decision then
Thursday, February 19, 2009
In late November of 2008, I wrote a letter to the then-Minister of Community Development - Hon. Blair Lekstrom, who is the Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Products, expressing a concern that an individual who may not reside in the municipality in question is permitted, by provincial law, to run in the Local Government Election
His response is posted above
Harry Jennings - President of the local Community Arts Council said this, in response to the article:
My name is Harry Jennings, and as President of the Williams Lake Community Arts Council, it is very pleasing to observe the vocal support for the growth of arts and culture in our community expressed at the CRD Community meeting in Williams Lake. These community-based and largely volunteer-supported activities bring life to our city and the surrounding areas, support our citizens in joining together for positive and creative activities, and demonstrate that people enjoy living and recreating here. One good example of this positive energy is the Arts and Culture Centre downtown, a home, albeit temporary, for our artists, potters, spinners and weavers, which has brought life to a block where the lights were out for over three years. Another great example is the Farmer's Market in Boitanio Park every Friday from spring unti fall, a member group of the Williams Lake Community Arts Council. As positive as all these activities may be, their continued visible existence is tenuous at best, with the loss of a few support dollars or a few key volunteers the difference between thriving and disappearing. The positive energy brought to our community by arts and culture requires care and feeding and visible municipal support to survive in these times, and to provide the foundation for growth to position the Cariboo-Chilcotin for a dramatic rebound when the recession finally ends, keeping the great people we have now, and attracting the dynamic citizens of the future. I look forward to working with the CRD and the City on developing a business plan for the Arts and Culture function and I welcome any further discussion and questions anytime, and I can be contacted at 305-2324.
Unfortunately, while I agree with Mr. Jennings on the outcome that an Arts and Culture Function may bring, skipping reasonable Public Consultation on a New Function, like the Central Cariboo Arts and Culture is, and not allowing the public to decide for themselves if they wish to pay for this type of Function is not acceptable and makes a mockery of the entire Regional District system which essentially says that if you want a new Function, you have to convince the ratepayers' in the area in which the New Function will cover (Regional/Sub-Regional or Local Area) and they will either approve/reject the request.
Not to engage the public on either approval for establishment of the Central Cariboo Arts and Culture Function and the development of the Service Delivery Plan of this Function would be the same as saying: Two wrongs make a right.
We all know that two wrongs do not make a right
The Central Cariboo Joint Committee needs to ensure that the public is engaged on the creation and execution of the Service Delivery Plan before 2010 so ratepayers' can see what they are paying for, as the budget for this Function goes up, from $20,000 in 2009 to either $100,000 or $200,000 (at Central Cariboo Joint Committee's discretion) in 2010 or 2011
Letter to Mayor and Council (City of WL) and CRD Directors Bischoff, Mazur and Barnett (Areas D, E, F)
At the Feb 16th meeting of the CRD/City of WL Joint Town Hall meeting, I expressed some concerns I had with respect to the Central Cariboo Arts and Culture Function and the proposition of a Regional Arts, Culture and Heritage Function
See above for the letter I sent to the following individuals:
Mayor/Council - City of Williams Lake
CRD Director D. Bischoff (Area 'D' and Co-Chair - Central Cariboo/City of WL Joint Committee)
CRD Director S. Mazur (Area 'E')
CRD Director D. Barnett (Area 'F')
Janis Bell - CRD CAO (Chief Administrative Officer)
Alberto DeFeo - City of WL CAO
1. Creating Thousands of Jobs: We are investing $14 billion dollars in infrastructure projects that will build and renovate K–12 schools and post-secondary institutions, health care facilities and transportation projects, and create up to 88,000 jobs in every part of B.C.
2. Increasing Funding for Health and Education: Funding for the Ministry of Health Services will increase by $4.8 billion over three years while per-pupil funding for the K-12 system will reach its highest level ever and post-secondary institutions will get an additional $228 million over three years.
3. Investing in B.C. Communities: We are committed to ensuring our communities across the province have access to the supports they need to prosper including over $300 million in additional vital social services communities depend on.
4. Delivering the Lowest Provincial Income Taxes in Canada: Individuals earning up to $116,000 per year pay less provincial income tax than any other Canadians. Most British Columbians have seen a provincial income tax cut of at least 37 per cent since 2001 and an additional 250,000 British Columbians no longer pay any provincial income tax.
5. Capitalizing on Economic Recovery: We will take advantage of the opportunities provided by hosting the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, by leveraging our geographic proximity to the vast markets of Asia, and by preparing now to be a leader in the new green economy.
6. Maintaining B.C.’s Fiscal Advantage: Even after two necessary deficits, B.C.’s debt to GDP ratio will be 26 per cent lower than it was in 2002; both corporate and small business income taxes have dropped dramatically since 2001; and B.C. continues to carry a Triple-A credit rating. No province has a higher rating.
Making tough decisions - Proven fiscal management
• A seismic shift in the global economy has had a dramatic impact on B.C., resulting in a sharp decline in revenues necessary to fund government programs and services. Rather than increase taxes or dramatically reduce spending on priority programs — the B.C. government will run its first deficit in five years. The temporary deficit outlined in Budget 2009 will total $495 million in 2009/10 and $245 million in 2010/11. Provincial legislation requires a return to a balanced budget by fiscal 2011/12.
"Obviously, More Good News from the Provincial Liberals and hence why, on May 12th, the BC Liberal Party will be re-elected for a 3rd consecutive term and why also Charlie Wyse will be defeated in Cariboo-Chilcotin Electoral District because he, like his NDP colleagues, see the negative in life and why Donna Barnett, who sees the positives in life, will be elected as the new BC Liberal MLA in Cariboo-Chilcotin"
B.C. has identified $2 billion worth of infrastructure projects that might be accelerated over the next three years and has submitted proposals for nearly 400 projects to the federal government for cost-sharing. A further $10.6 billion in approved capital projects are scheduled for construction in the next three years and an additional $1.4 billion worth of local infrastructure projects will also be built.
Work will accelerate on key transportation corridors, including the Cariboo Connector, improvements to Highway 3, Highway 16, Highway 97, the Pine Pass, Kicking Horse Canyon and the Trans-Canada Highway from Kamloops to the border.
These infrastructure investments represent a total of $14 billion in new and ongoing public capital construction and 88,000 jobs throughout the province.
Work will accelerate on key transportation corridors, including the Cariboo Connector, improvements to Highway 3, Highway 16, Highway 97, the Pine Pass, Kicking Horse Canyon and the Trans-Canada Highway from Kamloops to the border.
The BC Liberal government will accelerate research investments this year in cancer, life sciences, cleaner energy technologies, and biotechnology.
Working with the federal government, B.C. will invest in renovating, retrofitting and upgrading existing buildings to make them more energy efficient, healthier and safer.
The BC Liberal government will help local governments access new funding to upgrade their infrastructure, and to capitalize on new funding for recreation facilities and flood prevention.
New legislation will be introduced this spring to advance the Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement and achieve true labour mobility for all Canadians wanting to work in British Columbia.
The BC Liberal government will set an integrated, expanded transmission plan that encourages small-scale power projects, economic opportunity and jobs throughout B.C. by year end.
The BC Liberal government will pursue a major expansion in electrical transmission capacity that will create thousands of new construction jobs and reduce energy loss through transmission.
British Columbia will build on its competitive advantage as a global leader in clean engine technologies through a new commercial vehicle program that will help to create cleaner air, lower greenhouse gas emissions, lower costs, create jobs in research, development and manufacturing.
The BC Liberal government will increase K-12 education funding in spite of falling school-age populations.
Previously-budgeted increases for health and education will be protected.
90 per cent of all budgeted new operating spending in the next three years will go to health care.
The BC Liberal government will increase K-12 education funding in spite of falling school-age populations.
Funding for advanced education will be increased. New capital investments will create jobs and provide essential upgrades and new space for B.C.’s colleges and universities, in partnership with the federal government.
New legislation will require wood as the primary building material in all new publicly owned and provincially funded buildings, consistent with the new BC Building Code.
Enabling legislation will be developed this year, so that B.C.’s new pension plan is up and running by Canada Day, 2010.
The BC Liberal government is working with First Nations to develop a Recognition and Reconciliation Act that will establish a new statutory framework to further the implementation of the New Relationship.
The BC Liberal government will expand supportive housing to combat homelessness and to shelter those with mental illnesses. That housing will be supported by a new integrated, personalized homelessness intervention strategy and a new community safety strategy.
Deputy Mayor Rathor
Alberto DeFeo - CAO
Sue Moxey - Corporate Officer/Director of Corporate Services
Geoff Goodall - General Manager of Planning & Operations
Brian Carruthers - General Manager of Community Services
Darcy Lazzarin - General Manager of Financial Services
Deb Bischoff - CRD Director (Area 'D')
Erin Hitchcock - WL Tribune
Aida Ortega - The Wolf/The Rush (Local Radio Station)
Meeting called to order at 6:30pm
Minutes of last Committee of the Whole Meeting were adopted
The Committee considered a report from the General Manager of Financial Services regarding a request from the Fraser Basin Property Society (FBPS) regarding waiver of the 10% late fee, after the City Utilities Bill was not paid as per the date specified on the notice
The Committee resolved the following:
THAT it be recommended to Council:
"That Council receive the Utility Invoice Penalty – 529 Carson Drive Report for information; and further,
That Council deny the request to waive the $834.30 penalty plus interest owing on the utility invoice and the Williams Lake and District People in Motion Society be so advised"
After discussion, the Chair (Mayor Cook) called the question was called on the Motion and it was Carried. Staff to also clarify how individuals may pay their Utilities Bill - either in a lump sum or quarterly
Councillors Barr, Montoya, Bourdon and Walters discussed activities that are occurring in their Portfolios
Mayor Cook advised the Committee that a master Schedule matrix was be drafted in order to prevent all 7 members of Council showing up at any one event in the City and to bring some coordination to all the different events in the City. This schedule will be a discussion item at each Committee of the Whole Council meeting
The meeting adjourned at 7:00pm, to resume In-Camera so Council can resume their Budget Discussions
Cariboo Regional District:
Lynn Paterson - CRD Chief Financial Officer
Rick Brundrige - CRD Manager of Planning Services
Alice Walters - CRD Corporate Secretary
Al Richmond - CRD Board Chair & Director - Electoral Area 'G'
Deb Bischoff - CRD Director - Area 'D'
Steve Mazur - CRD Director - Area 'E'
City of Williams Lake:
Sue Zacharias - Councillor (CRD Director - City of Williams Lake)
Surinderpal Rathor - Deputy Mayor/Councillor
Natalie Montoya - Councillor
20 Members of the Public
Sage Birchwater - WL Tribune
Reporter from Cariboo Observer
Reporter from The Wolf/The Rush (Local Radio Station)
The 2009 CRD/CC Regional Hospital District Budgets were presented for public comment
New Functions or expansion to present CRD Services were also discussed
I raised several concerns regarding how the development of a regional/sub-regional Arts and Culture Function have proceeded.
The full story is here
The purpose of the meeting was for Council to:
Review the Capital project lists in detail.
No decisions were made by Council at this meeting; it was once again designed as a budget overview session.
It is critical to note that all dollar values contained in the budget are subject to change and should not be considered final until the budget is approved by Council.
Budget 2009 update
At its first budget meeting on Feb. 2, Council reviewed the Preliminary Budget Overview (which is available on the City’s website), as well as supplementary requests. (Supplementary budget items are generally new spending items that are operational in nature and requested by Council, staff or Committees of Council.)
Capital items discussed
This meeting was the first opportunity for Council to review the capital projects list for 2009. A number of projects were outlined for Council from various department heads.
The current capital project list stands at $2.06 million. This does not include projects that are covered through various reserve funds (such as major equipment or the Quesnel Works Capital Reinvestment Program) or projects that are covered by grants (such as the completion of the Hwy. 97 underpass).
There are a number of projects on the list, spanning a wide range of City services, from improving various portions of the Riverfront Trail, such as paving sections in both South and West Quesnel, to seeing Council move towards using a paperless agenda.
Each are ranked by staff as being essential, important, or desirable to help Council evaluate them. Ultimately each project must be approved by Council.
Council will deliberate over the options in the coming weeks and vote on capital items and the total spending at a future budget meeting.
The Quesnel Works Capital Reinvestment Program (CRP) will likely maintain its strong presence in the community this year.
This initiative was launched in 2007, and was set as a separate levy on tax notices - funding collected for CRP projects is spent only on CRP projects.
The program assesses assets, prioritizes reinvestment needs, and establishes a stable funding source to ensure Quesnel’s infrastructure is replaced in a timely and efficient manner.
There is currently about $1.372 million in the reserve fund. Staff has brought forward $1.737 million in projects for Council to consider. These include projects such as paving Hydraulic Road from Juniper to Sanderson and $300,000 for several paving jobs throughout Quesnel. Council will review these items and determine which are to be completed.
Council will also need to determine what level of funding will be invested this year. The current investment sees about $820,000 placed in the reserve each year.
Last year a couple of major jobs, including the re-paving and new sidewalks for the 400 block of McLean Street, were part of the Quesnel Works program’s second year
The next budget meeting is scheduled for March 23. At this meeting, Council will continue to discuss capital and supplemental budgets. This will also be the formal public input session.
More timelines for the budget process will be laid out at that meeting. Reports will go to regular Council meetings dealing with various topics, including:
Setting tax rates for the various classes
Early approval lists
Next Budget meeting
Monday March 23rd, 2009- Time to be determined
Council Chambers - Quesnel City Hall
Saturday, February 14, 2009
BC Liberals - 52% voter support
BC NDP - 36% voter support
BC Green Party - 12% voter support
With less than 3 months before General Election Day on May 12th, 2009 and the Election Writ scheduled to be dropped on April 13th, 2009, the BC NDP have to be concerned with the fact that they are 16 points back of the governing party and the vote is less than 90 days away. Watch for the BC NDP "friends" (BCTF, BC Fed of Labour, etc) to help out with the BC NDP campaign as we get closer and closer to both April 13th, 2009 and May 12th, 2009
Meeting started at 9:30am
Directors Present: Chair R.Mumford with Directors Armstrong, Faust, Massier, Bischoff, Mazur, Barnett, Richmond, Glassford, Bracewell, Rattray, Zacharias, Sjostrom, Vermette and Campsall
Directors Absent: Area 'H' Director Art Dumaresq
1) Chair Mumford authorized to attend "Heart of the Matter Symposium" in Clearwater on March 26-28, 2009
2) Bylaw #52 (Cariboo Memorial Hospital - Medical Air Upgrade) was adopted
3) Bylaw #53 (100 Mile Hospital - Generator and Electrical Replacement) was adopted
4) Bylaw #54 (Cariboo Memorial Hospital - TC PACS Monitor Replacement) was adopted
Meeting adjourned at 9:39am
Cariboo Regional District:
Meeting started at 9:45am
Directors present: Chair A. Richmond, with Directors Armstrong, Faust, Massier, Bischoff, Mazur, Barnett, Glassford, Bracewell, Mumford, Rattray, Campsall, Zacharias, Sjostrom and Vermette
Directors' Absent: Area 'H' Director Art Dumaresq
Delegation (1) - Pierce Walsh from BC Safety Authority appeared before the Board at 11:30am to discuss the Province's new Modernization Strategy and how the BC Safety Authority could help the Regional District with Building Inspection to enforce the BC Building Code
1) Numerous Planning Bylaws were either granted 1st/2nd readings only or 3rd Reading only
2) Numerous DVP's were approved
3) Upon the urging of Chilcotin Directors, Alex Bracewell (Area J) and Rick Mumford (Area K), the CRD Board of Directors will send a letter to the Minister of Transportation, the Honourable Kevin Falcon, to outline the 2020 Vision project. The board will also present the plan to Cariboo-Prince George MP, Dick Harris next week. Highway 20 is the only connector from Highway 97 to Bella Coola.
This vital link for commerce, tourism and residents has been underfunded for 20 years and is a perfect candidate for immediate infrastructure investment. Plans and templates exist to make safe and inviting interchanges along the entire route.
Properly located lookouts and restroom facilities would enhance safety and make the drive more enjoyable. This project could serve as a pilot to open the door for additional infrastructure investment in our region to secure our communities future
4) Various Proclamations were passed, at no cost to the Board
5) 7 NCMA Resolutions were endorsed by the Board and will be going forward to the NCMA Conference at Dawson Creek, on May 6-8, 2009
Next CRD Board Meeting: March 6th, 2009 at 9:45am in Williams Lake
Monday, February 9, 2009
The City of Williams Lake has been increasingly impacted by the global recession with recent news that Tolko will be indefinitely suspending operations at their three Williams Lake saw mills. These shut-downs are in addition to a number of other curtailments and shut-downs in the local forest industry and workforce reductions in the mining industry.
Approximately 800 jobs have been directly affected, which will impact as many as 400 indirect jobs in the community. “This is unprecedented in our City” states Mayor Kerry Cook. “Never before have we seen so many individuals lose their jobs, with limited opportunities for them in other industries or sectors.”
Mayor and Council, some of whom have been directly affected themselves, are taking immediate steps to deal with these economic challenges in the short term and into the future.
The municipal budget is in the final stages of development and critical decisions will be required on the part of Council in order to continue providing the necessary levels of service while mitigating the financial burden on taxpayers. “Spending priorities will be closely scrutinized, both in operations and capital programs and all opportunities to reduce expenditures will be explored.” states Councilor Tom Barr who holds the Financial Portfolio for Council.
The Mayor is organizing a meeting with key business and industry leaders in the coming days to discuss how the various sectors are planning to deal with the current crisis and to gather input on how Council initiatives and policies can help mitigate the economic and social impacts and influence long term recovery.
Mayor Cook maintains a positive attitude, stating “We are a resilient community and we will get through this crisis by working together, making prudent decisions and planning for a better future.”
The City does have some tough budget decisions ahead, but with the RCMP Budget taking up almost 1/3 of the entire City budget, Council may be forced to reduce City services' for this year and next and hold taxes at 0% until the economy recovers, along with any other measure(s) that local business leaders' suggest to Mayor Cook to help re-start the local economy. Certainly, I wish Councillor Tom Barr the best of luck as he crafts the 2009 Budget with the state of the local economy in mind
Sunday, February 8, 2009
While the details heard were in Open Court, I don't think it would be fair or appropriate to go over all the details, however I will say Mr. Justice McKinnon (Judge assigned to hear this case) will be determining the following legal points and releasing a written decision on this case, probably sometime in March, I would guess:
1) Did the Cariboo Regional District Board have the legal authority to discuss an in-camera matter relating to Area 'F' Director Duncan Barnett's contact with CRD Staff, after having an in-camera discussion related to security of the property of the Regional District, in accordance with Section 90 (1) of the Community Charter
2) Was Duncan Barnett given a fair and reasonable opportunity to respond to Janis Bell's In-Camera Report in which allegations are alleged against Mr. Barnett in relation to his relationship with CRD Staff?
3) Was the Special In-Camera Meeting on Thursday, December 11th properly called, especially given that former CRD Chair Jon Wolbers was no longer a member of the CRD Board and what was the legal status of former Area 'C' Director Ronda Wilkins and that of her status as Board Vice-Chair
These questions plus others raised during the Oral Hearing will now have to be addressed, in law, by Mr. Justice McKinnon and I think all of us will now look forward to his written decision. But based what I heard in court, I think it is fair to assume that an appeal of Mr. Justice McKinnon's written decision is more than likely to happen but the final ruling on the case of Barnett v Cariboo Regional District will probably stop at the BC Court of Appeal, as I don't believe that the Supreme Court of Canada will grant leave to appeal. The Supreme Court of Canada traditionally hears cases that affect the Constitution of Canada or affect the National Interest
It will be Donna Barnett (BC Liberals) vs Charlie Wyse (NDP) for the riding for Cariboo-Chilcotin. No vote count totals are available at this time, reports WL Tribune
I have no doubt even Donna Barnett can whip Charlie Wyse and his NDP pals, come May 12th.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
I think that it is the right thing to do, given that Tolko is temporarily shutting down 3 of its' mills in Williams Lake. However, as the WL Tribune and WL City Councillor Geoff Bourdon rightly points out, it does have consequences down the road in 2010 and beyond, and the same logic applies also to having a 0% increase in property taxes during 2009. It can be done however Council does need to take in account in future years what consequences such a decision will bring. Certainly, Council does have its' work cut out for them entering into Budget discussions for the 2009 Fiscal Year.
In fact, all municipal councils' along with regional boards' will have to make some difficult choices (ie: freezing property tax + water/sewer rates, freeze capital budgets, etc) for this year and see what 2010 brings.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Tolko Industries Ltd. will be closing its doors at seven of its mills in B.C., including all three in Williams Lake and one in Quesnel.
Curtailments at the Creekside, Lakeview Lumber, Quest Wood, and Soda Creek operations will remain in effect until the market situation allows the company to resume production.
Bob Hicks, an officer with the United Steelworkers Local 1-425, says an estimated 650 workers in Williams Lake will be affected.
Tolko says about 1,300 employees in total are affected by all seven curtailments.
Curtailments at the Armstrong, Lavington, and High Level are scheduled to last for two weeks.
All curtailments will begin Feb. 9.
"Market conditions for our softwood lumber products continue to be the worst Tolko has seen in its 52-year history," says Mike Harkies, Tolko's vice president and general manager of Solid Wood and Kraft Papers. "This decision is difficult and unfortunate but we must take steps to match our production level to market demand."
The curtailments at the four Cariboo operations will reduce Tolko's lumber production by 18.5 million board feet for every week of downtime. The two-week curtailments at the other three mills will reduce Tolko's lumber production by an additional 68 million board feet.
Related woodlands activities are being adjusted accordingly, the company says.
"This announcement does not reflect the performance of our employees," Harkies says. "We appreciate their efforts and understanding while we work to manage our business through this difficult period. We will work hard to ensure that we continue to meet our loyal customers' product needs."
The Tribune hasn't yet reached Rob Fraser, general manager of Tolko's Cariboo and Alberta lumber division, for comment.
Cariboo South MLA Charlie Wyse says the effect of layoffs, reduced work weeks, and shutdowns continue to be devasting to the community.
“The immediate concern here is the employees directly affected,” he says. “As these direct jobs tighten, the ripple effect on the community will be very, very significant.”
Wyse estimates each direct job affected has a multiplier of another two or three jobs.
He stresses that adequate Employment Insurance is the most readily available cushion for the wokers affected, and says Premier Gordon Campbell should have been lobbying the federal government for EI changes and increased funding for retraining months ago.
“The only two people in B.C. who didn’t see this coming were Gordon Campbell and his finance minister,” he says. “The EI amount is not anywhere near adequate.”
In last week’s federal budget, the government proposed extending EI benefits five weeks to a total of 50 weeks.
Late last month, Tolko's dimension mills in Williams Lake and Quesnel went from a four-day work week to a three-day work-week, due to the company trying to match its production to a low level of demand in the North American market, affecting about 700 employees.
On Jan. 5, about 45 employees at Tolko's Soda Creek stud mill were laid off, as that mill went into a reduced work week, from three to two shifts.
At that time, Fraser said that Tolko and other forest companies are trying to gauge where the market is going in terms of price of and the demand for its products. He had said that the first quarter of the year looks "pretty tough" across the industry, due to demand and the continued uncertainty in the U.S., and that it remains to be see to what extent the industry will improve seasonally and to what extent it will improve annually.
Other mills in the Cariboo have also been greatly affected by the economy, market conditions, and the U.S. housing market recently.
On Thursday, Jan. 29, West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. announced curtailments at five of its mills, including the sawmill/planer mill in Williams Lake.
The West Fraser mill will be entering the five-day curtailment Feb. 9 and will then likely have its workweek reduced from five to three days through a work-share program through Human Resource Development Canada. About 150 of the 170 people employed at the sawmill/planer mill are affected.
Market conditions also affected Jackpine Forest Group in Williams Lake, as the company filed for bankruptcy in December, affecting more than 100 employees.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
As the Premier said, he doesn't relish in presenting a deficit budget to the people of this Province, but it is necessary to ensure that essential services, like Health Care and Education, are there today and for future generations. The House will be recalled on Monday, February 9th to pass a bill to suspend the Balanced Budget Act of 2001 to permit the provincial government to run a deficit for 2009/2010 with a return to balanced budgets in 2011. Accordingly, the Throne Speech will be read on Monday, February 16th, 2009 and the 2009 Provincial Budget will be presented to the public on Tuesday, February 17th, 2009.
* Former City of WL Mayor Scott Nelson
* Former District of 100 Mile House Mayor Donna Barnett
* Bridge Lake Resident/Former Saanich City Councillor Dorothy Hartshorne
Vote at Roe Lake Community Hall (Bridge Lake area):
Speeches (6 minutes per Candidate) and Actual Vote - 9am - 11am
Vote at Martin Exeter Hall (100 Mile House):
Speeches (6 minutes per Candidate) and Actual Vote - 12:00pm - 2:30pm
Vote at Elks Hall (Williams Lake):
Speeches (6 minutes per Candidate) and Actual Vote - 3:30-6:30pm
The counting of ballots will commence at 7:00pm
You must show 2 pieces of ID, which includes a photo ID and proof of address.
BC Drivers' License
BC ID Card
Voter ID Card
Utility Bill (Telus, BC Hydro, Terasen Gas, Shaw, etc)
The BC NDP will be holding their Candidate Selection Meeting on Sunday, February 8th, 2009 at the Longhouse in Williams Lake. Current MLA Charlie Wyse will be acclaimed as the NDP Candidate for Cariboo-Chilcotin in the 2009 Provincial General Election. After that is done, NDP members will have a "wine/cheese" event with Cariboo-South NDP MLA Charlie Wyse with Cariboo-North MLA Bob Simpson and current Yale-Lillioet NDP MLA and NDP Candidate for Fraser-Nicola Harry Lali, also in attendance.
Topics for discussion include:
* Central Cariboo Arts and Culture
* 2009 CRD Budget
* 2009 Cariboo/Cariboo-Chilcotin Regional Hospital District Budget
Also, Councillor Tom Barr, one of the two senior members on City Council, wished to correct her comment around City Staff however Mayor Cook completely cut off Councillor Barr in a way that, in my humble opinion, showed disrespect to Councillor Barr. She should, as a sign of respect to Councillor Barr being a senior member of City Council, apologize to Councillor Barr publicly for that regrettable action and ensure that she doesn’t repeat that mistake again
In private business, most business owners' do not openly criticize their Staff in public and I think that City Staff are no different. If she is genuinely concerned about how issues are brought forward from City Staff, then all she needs to do is to have a private, one-on-one conversation with Alberto DeFeo (CAO, City of Williams Lake) and explain her expectations on how liability issues or other issues are brought forward and when Council will get involved. After all, City Staff are human beings too and we should, as politicians, treat them as such.
1) Certificates of Appreciation (Length of Service) were presented to those serving in the WL Fire Department and Central Cariboo Search and Rescue
2) Gareth Williams (CDC - Williams Lake) with Monica Johnson (Chair, Social Planning Council & Boys/Girls Club of Williams Lake) made a presentation re: Keith Pattison's Upcoming Presentation "What Kids Need - Building Blocks for Raising Healthy Children and Youth"
3) Susan Nelson, Anne Burrill, Brad McRae and Monica Johnson from the Social Planning Council made a Powerpoint presentation to Council re: "Communities that Care" Project
1) After receiving several delegations on Road Closure Bylaw #2080 (Hutchinson Rd), Council agreed to adopt the bylaw
2) Council granted 2nd Reading to Bylaws #2085/2086 (Jamboree Hotel Development - BC Housing), Bylaw #2084 (Dairy Queen Re-Development). These 3 Bylaws will be the subject of a Public Hearing on February 24th
3) Council's 10 New Strategic Goals for 2008-2011 are:
1) Develop and Implement a Community Safety Strategy;
2) Improve First Nations Relations;
3) Create Affordable Housing Opportunities;
4) Develop and Implement an Arts & Culture Plan;
5) Review the City Economic Development Strategy;
6) Support the Prosperity Mine Project;
7) Develop and Implement a Road Pavement Plan;
8) Develop and Implement an Integrated Community Sustainability Plan and an Official Community Plan Review;
9) Downtown Redevelopment;
10) Service Review
with the Values of the City for the period of 2008-2011:
1) Setting a Positive Tone;
2) Leadership by City Council;
3) Partnering with Others;
4) Communications in all Directions;
5) Emphasis on Results;
6) Celebration, Recognition and Appreciation
4) Sosua Project - Council will continue to support the Kids Explore International project with our sister city Sosua and assist in-kind with the collection of items initiative without financial commitment to the City.
5) Council's New Recycling Program will move forward with the authorization to purchase 5,800 Carts (1 for Regular Garbage / 1 for Recycling Materials). The program is scheduled to commence in April/May of 2009
6) At the recommendation of Councillor Natalie Montoya, Council agreed to dissolve the Health Advisory Committee. Council thanked the volunteers who have served on the Committee previously for their dedicated work
7) The 2009 Grant-in-Aide for the Indoor Rodeo will be released early, in accordance with City Policy #18. The funds will be used for the operation of the Indoor Rodeo at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex
Next Meeting Date: February 10/09
Next Committee of the Whole Meeting - Tuesday, Feb 3/09 at 6:30pm
1) Council officially retired the City’s parade float as it is no longer usable. The float has been in service for more than 10 years, has been repaired many times and has outlived its life expectancy. Given the current economic climate, Council decided not to pursue the construction of a new float
2) Council has changed the amount it will contribute towards a new water well should the City receive a grant from the Towns for Tomorrow program. Council previously approved a grant application for a project valued at $550,000 On Dec. 15. The maximum grant allowed is $375,000, leaving the City to contribute $175,000 towards the project.
The project cost has increased, however, which means the City will need to contribute an additional $110,000 for a total of $285,000, should the grant application be successful. The City’s portion of the funding will come from the City’s water fund account
3) Council approved a variance to allow a special wall to be built along North Fraser Drive, subject to conditions. The owner of the Bel-Aire Estates Mobile Home Park asked permission to construct a 10-foot wall along the property’s edge to help reduce the impacts of dust, noise and debris from the road on the residents of the park. Council approved the request on the condition that:
A landscape architect review the proposed site to provide options that may minimize the impact of the wall between it and the front line of the property.
A professional engineer design and supervise installation of the wall under a building permit.
A view plan of the proposed wall be submitted to the City Planner for approval of the form and character of the wall’s final design.
Compliance with the six-metre setback provision of the zoning bylaw for visual clearance at intersections be met.
Council also added a provision that the wall be properly maintained after installation, including annual cleaning.
4) Council formally removed a Notice on Title on a property at 2400 Campbell Crescent. City staff took the opportunity to remind residents that if they own a property with a Notice on Title, it is always best to deal with the issue rather than waiting until attempting to further develop or sell a piece of property
5) An application that will see an additional six parking stalls at the downtown Tim Hortons site has been approved. A development permit was approved by Council that will see the enhancements fit in with the form and character of the neighbourhood.
6) Spirit of BC Week runs from Feb. 6 to 14, with a number of great events scheduled. Up first is the Winter Carnival at West Fraser Timber Park, set for Saturday Feb. 7 starting at 1 p.m.
There will be skating on the pond, snow shoeing, cross-country skiing, tobogganing, dog sleds and a variety of educational booths. The Quesnel Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremonies will also take place, starting at 4:30 p.m. Finally a torchlight parade will be held to celebrate the one-year countdown to the start of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. Council approved the use of family fireworks starting at about 6 p.m
1) Sandra Hawkins gave the Board an update on Restorative Justice Programs in Williams Lake
2) Denise Thompson (Wildwood resident - Area 'D') presented information to the Board, in relation to the planned closure of the Wildwood Transfer Station. A Community Meeting is planned for Saturday, Feb 7/09 at 1:00pm to discuss options to the planned closure of the Wildwood Transfer Station
1) Area 'K' Director Rick Mumford was elected Chair of the Cariboo and Cariboo-Chilcotin Regional Hospital District Boards. Mayor Mary Sjostrom was elected as Vice-Chair
2) At the request of Area 'E' Director Steve Mazur, the Board approved $3,000 from Rural Feasibility Fund to determine interest from Dog Creek Rd residents' on the interest of establishing a Local Service Area for a Community Sewer Service. This area has been subject of concerns from the Ministry of Environment/Interior Health around groundwater contamination of nitrates in the Dog Creek Rd area
3) The Board declared Jan 25-31 as Family Literacy Week
4) The new Quesnel Library grand opening will be on Saturday, Jan 24/09 at 1:00pm. In Attendance: CRD Chair Richmond, Quesnel Mayor Sjostrom, North Cariboo Directors' along with former Quesnel Mayor Nate Bello and former CRD Chair Jon Wolbers
5) The Cariboo Regional District will be looking into using goats in Invasive Plant Management projects throughout the region. The Regional District currently has a proactive invasive plant management program and is continually looking for new techniques in dealing with this issue
6) The Regional District will be sending a letter to the Ministry of Forests and Range, regarding the availability of pulpwood tenures in the Cariboo Chilcotin. Given the importance of the forestry industry to the region, the CRD is seeking clarification on the availability of a viable competitive or direct award pulpwood tenures
7) The Regional District is seeking further information on the opportunity in the seizure of grow operation assets. Information about the Civil Forfeiture Crime Remediation and Crime Prevention Grant Funding Program was discussed. The program aims to support communities in preventing and addressing issues of crime violence and victimization. Under this program, up to $20,000 is available for one-time community projects that address and prevent crime, violence and victimization issues