Friday, April 30, 2010

In HST News

Yesterday, in a 46-36 vote, the BC Legislature gave 3rd reading and final adoption to Bill 9 (Consumption Tax Rebate and Transition Act). Bill 9 has also received Royal Assent from the Lieutenant-Governor.

Also, Finance Minister Colin Hansen expresses his displeasure at Elections BC' decision preventing the BC Liberals from mailing out pro-HST material until July 6th - more here

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

WL Committee of the Whole Meeting Highlights - April 27th, 2010

Present: Mayor Cook with Councillors Barr, Rathor, Walters

Absent: Councillors Geoff Bourdon, Natalie Montoya and Sue Zacharias

Staff Present:

Brian CarruthersCAO
Geoff Goodall – GM of Planning & Operations
Anne Burill – Manager of Social Development
Alan Madrigga – Manager of Economic Development

Meeting called to order at 6:30pm
Minutes of April 13th COW Meeting approved


1) Accessibility Committee re "Accessible Community Bylaws Guide" from Sparc BC

Councillor Rathor reviewed this item with the Committee
Discussion ensued thereon

The Committee recommended to Council:

Council include Accessibility principles when updating existing bylaws and enacting new bylaws. Item to be referred to Bylaw Review Committee for recommendation for consideration by Committee of the Whole

2) Economic Development Work Plan

The Manager of Economic Development reviewed this item with the Committee

MOU between Economic Development Corporation and City of WL coming forward for consideration by Council
• 6 Primary Goals + 25 Objectives to achieve the 6 Goals
• 2 Positions in Ec Dev Department (1 Manager + 1 Assistant)
• Build on trip to China (November of 2009 – Council report to come forward in next 30 days)
• Determine low-cost land to develop in the City and how to use those lands to maximize value in the City
• Continue support Prosperity Mine Proposal
• Stampede Campground Project – will be done in next 30-45 days. Federal Gov’t requires this project plus Aquifer Study Project and Mackenzie Avenue Preliminary Study to be completed by Dec 31/2010

Discussion ensued thereon

The Committee recommended to Council:

That Mayor and Council receive the information to be presented on the Economic Development 2010 Work Plan

3) Secondary Suites Policy – Draft

The Manager of Social Development reviewed this item with the Committee
Discussion ensued thereon:

• Protect Affordable Housing while ensuring minimum safety standards
• Build & Maintain Secondary Suites in R-1 and R-8 Zones. Doesn’t include Duplexes but could later on
• Deal with Secondary Suites in new or existing homes (compliant/non-compliant)
• Secondary Suite maximum size – 40% of building size or 970 square feet. One Suite only, owner occupied, Independent access to the suite with 1 designated off-street parking space, and suite must comply with BC Building Code
• Reduced Rates for Utility Fees for Secondary Suites – 0-40% of water/sewer fees
• Priority List for investigation of complaints on Secondary Suites including a proactive based enforcement approach (waiver of inspection fees if done within 1 year of implementation of Secondary Suite Policy)
• Public Engagement includes online questionnaire/mail-out to public on Draft Secondary Suite Policy, Information Booth at Construction Association Home Show, host information/education session for interested homeowners and produce Fact Sheets for public (Pros/Cons of Secondary Suite Policy)

The Committee recommended to Council:

Council receive the Draft Secondary Suite Policy and further that alternate life safety standards be permitted, a proactive enforcement approach be taking with regard to complaints on Secondary Suites, utility fees for water/sewer for secondary suites be set at 20% and finally, that Council direct Staff to implement a broad public engagement strategy to collect public input and to educate and inform the community with regard to potential changes to City policy regarding suites and the importance of ensuring the safety of all secondary suites and Staff report back on public input on the draft secondary suite policy.

4) ICSP "Imagine Our Future" - Final Draft

The Manager of Social Development reviewed this item with the Committee
Discussion ensued thereon

The Committee recommended to Council:

That the final draft of the ICSP be received for information

Meeting adjourned at 8:16pm

Breaking News - BC Legislature give 2nd Reading to Bill 9 (PST Repeal Bill)

Just a few moments ago, the BC Legislature voted on an amendment proposed by the BC NDP to refer the subject-matter of Bill 9 to the Legislative Standing Committee on Finance & Government Services and the 2nd Reading of Bill 9 (PST Repeal Bill)

On referring the subject matter of Bill 9 to the Finance & Government Services Committee

Yeas (BC NDP) - 35
Nays (BC Liberals) - 48

Motion defeated

On the question that Bill 9 be read a 2nd time:

Yeas (BC Liberals including Donna Barnett) - 48
Nays (BC NDP + MLA for Delta South including Bob Simpson) -35

Motion passed

The next step is that Bill 9 will now be considered by the Committee of the Whole House, starting Wednesday and terminating Thursday at 5:00pm (as per House order on Monday)

Dinner/Snacks & WL Council

Reading the Williams Lake Tribune this afternoon, I saw a comment around providing Williams Lake Council with dinner or a snack at its' new meeting time of 6:00pm.

I'd like to point out, at present, the following meetings is where a dinner or snack is provided to elected officials:

i) All Committee of the Whole Meetings' (where a meeting (either In-Camera or Budget) starts early and prior to the usual meet time of 6:30pm)

ii) All Regular Central Cariboo / City of Williams Lake Joint Committee Meetings'

Should WL Council decide that taxpayers' should provide their elected officials with dinner prior to or at the new Council meeting time of 6:00pm, then that would be another sign (in my opinion) that WL Council cares only about itself and not of the people it claims to care about.

While I'm at it, the CRD Chair (Area 'G' Director Al Richmond) has declared that the CRD Board will not attend the annual FCM (Federation of Canadian Municipalities) AGM being held in Toronto on May 28-31, 2010 due to economic circumstances here in the Cariboo-Chilcotin

My question is - why isn't Williams Lake Council doing the same on attendance at the FCM conference as the Cariboo Regional District? It's apparent that the CRD Board cares about its' taxpayers. Why doesn't Williams Lake City Council?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Closure invoked on Bill 9 (PST Repeal Bill)

The Legislature earlier tonight passed a time allocation motion (aka - closure) on Bill 9 (Consumption Tax Rebate and Transition Act) and it is as follows:

Tomorrow at 5:45pm - Question on Amendment (if not yet called) to Motion on 2nd Reading of Bill 9 (Refer to Finance Committee) and 2nd Reading of Bill 9 to be both called and voting by MLA's completed at 6:00pm

Thursday, April 29th at 5:00pm - Question called on all remaining stages of Bill 9 (Committee Stage & 3rd Reading)

The provincial government has mandated that all voting relating to Bill 9 be completed not later than 6pm Thursday

Local First Nations Bands suggest roadblock, lawsuits or worse could occur over the Prosperity Mine Project

CBC's BC website has a story on the Prosperity Mine Project and what local First Nations bands may be prepared to do if the project is approved by the Federal Government, later this year

Although lawsuits and roadblocks are a perfectly legitimate way to protest projects involved First Nations' rights, any suggestion(s) around violence on any matter is unacceptable and we, as a society, must avoid any actions that leads to that occuring. I also believe that we should stray away from making such comments, even if not directly said. We should not condone violence, no matter what form it takes

The story is here

145,000 signatures now collected by Anti-HST supporters reports that they have now collected 145,000 of the 300,000 signatures required by Elections BC to submit a proper Initiative Petition to the BC Legislature

They also indicate that 25% of BC's 85 Electoral District have now reached their 10% of voter signatures target

The bigger ridings, in terms of voter signatures, include the two local ridings of Cariboo-North & Cariboo-Chilcotin

More here

Friday, April 23, 2010

Local Debate on HST: Bob Simpson says 'Yes', Donna Barnett says 'No'

This past Tuesday, Cariboo-North MLA Bob Simpson issued an open challenge to Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett to hold a series of community meetings on the HST in Quesnel, Williams Lake and 100 Mile House

Here is Bob Simpson's open letter to Donna Barnett (as published in the Williams Lake Tribune):

Further to my open invitation in the Legislature and my staff’s call to your Constituency Office, I once again invite you to participate with me in a public debate and dialogue on the implications of the HST for the people of the Cariboo. I would like us to hold three public forums in the communities of 100 Mile House, Williams Lake, and Quesnel where we can both share our views, answer questions and hear directly from voters.

My calendar is open to times and dates of your choosing.

You have stated publicly your support for the HST and the benefits you believe it will provide the Cariboo-Chilcotin, despite the fact that more than 4,000 constituents in our ridings recently signed a petition opposing the HST that was presented in the Legislature by the Opposition. During the election you explicitly committed to the people of the Cariboo Chilcotin that you would take their interest to Victoria, not bring Victoria’s voice back to them.

Yet, that is precisely what you are doing with HST: merely reciting the unsubstantiated and false claims of the Liberal government about the benefits of the HST.

In the spirit of democracy, I feel it’s essential to give the people of the Cariboo Chilcotin the opportunity to hear us engage in an open debate and allow them to challenge both of us directly on the proposed transfer of $1.9 billion in taxes away from corporations onto the backs of citizens, many of whom are already struggling to make ends meet.

I hope you will honour your election promise and let us hear directly from constituents in The Cariboo Chilcotin what they think of the HST and make sure it is their voices that are heard in Victoria.

Donna Barnett, MLA for Cariboo-Chilcotin, in a letter to the editor and as published on the Welcome to Williams Lake website:


politely turned down his request for community meetings' on the HST in Quesnel, Williams Lake & 100 Mile House

Here's her response to MLA Simpson's letter:

From years as a Mayor and the past year as an MLA, my priority has always been to put people before politics. I enjoy working for and helping my constituents, but I could definitely do without all the political antics and games that creep into my job. A case in point is a recent letter by NDP MLA Bob Simpson challenging me to debate him on the Harmonized Sales Tax.

Mr. Simpson and I face each other day after day in the BC Legislature. He provides his daily objections to our government’s sound policies and I do my part in defending them. The Harmonized Sales Tax is good, responsible policy and I stand 100% in support of our effort to enhance our economic competitiveness and to stimulate job growth. But, it appears that isn’t enough to satisfy Mr. Simpson’s ongoing obsession with refighting the last election and ensuring I am defeated in the next election.

I will take this opportunity to state yet once again that during the past provincial election, I had never even heard the term “HST”. Since taking office and being tasked with enhancing our economy, we have been exploring further options and strategies to help our province. In that vein, I have learned all the facts on the HST and, quite frankly, if the election were still going on right now, the HST would be an excellent issue to promote. My campaign was about keeping B.C. strong and the HST is an invaluable tool in that regard.

What Mr. Simpson continually fails to understand is that we are not voting to adopt the HST. That has already been done by the federal government. Rather, we are currently moving to repeal the 7% PST legislation….that is what the debate is all about. I suppose if Mr. Simpson paid more attention to the extensive Legislature debates on the matter, he might realize the glaring error in his politically-motivated, highly charged challenge to me.

Mr. Simpson clearly does not understand that this is good public policy that will encourage economic growth in our local resource-based industries. For example, when a logging truck owner operator buys a new piece of equipment, he currently pays GST & PST (5%+ 7% =12%), but can only recover the GST portion. When the HST takes effect, however, that truck owner will now be able to get back the full HST amount (12%).

In terms of wasting time repeating my debates with Mr. Simpson yet again, it shocks me that he doesn’t seem to have the same busy schedule that takes up every moment of my time at home in the constituency. As our duties require us to be in Victoria for most of the time, my schedule in the constituency is very important to me and I prioritize those precious hours by meeting directly with constituents and working to solve their problems. Many involve case files that were neglected in previous years by my predecessor and, as a result, require a lot of work. My weekends in the constituency are for my constituents, not for partaking in silly political games with Bob Simpson and the NDP. They may have the time for that, but I and my constituents do not.

It will be now interesting to see what Bob Simpson and the NDP have to say after MLA Barnett's decision not to participate in community meetings' on the HST

City of Williams Lake releases final draft of its' ICSP (Intergrated Community Sustainability Plan)

I've just received word that the City of Williams Lake, through its' "Imagine Our Future" program, has now released its' final draft of the ICSP (Intergrated Community Sustainability Plan)

You can read the final draft of the ICSP here

Early Results (Riding by Riding) for HST Initiative Petition reports that the following 12 Electoral Districts have either met or very close to meeting their 10% voter signature threshold:

Kelowna-Lake Country
Kamloops North-Thompson
Powell River-Sunshine Coast
Peace River North
Peace River South

With 2 months to go, 12 of 85 Electoral Districts achieving their targets, the chances of the HST Intiative Petition failing do not look promising

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Email to MP Dick Harris on HST Referendum in BC

Earlier this evening, I sent the following email to Dick Harris (Conservative MP - Cariboo-Prince George) with copies to the Premier of BC's office and the Prime Minister's Office and thought I would share it with my blog readers':

As you may have heard by now, Jack Layton earlier today sent a letter to the Right Hon. Prime Minister asking him to delay federal implementation of the HST until a provincial referendum takes place on the HST as there is a HST Initiative Petition circulating throughout BC, right now, with a deadline of July 5th for completion.

I’m asking you, as my MP, to make representations in your caucus and to the Right Hon. Prime Minister to ignore Mr. Layton’s request

There is a procedure around if/when a referendum on the HST may occur and allow me to explain (pursuant to provisions of the provincial Recall and Initiative Act
1) The HST Initiative Petition will continue to collect signatures until July 5th

2) The petition is then handed to BC’s Chief Electoral Officer to confirm that 10% of voters in each of BC’s 85 Electoral Districts have properly signed the petition

3) If the petition is certified by the Chief Electoral Officer as proper, then the petition and the draft HST Extinguishment Act are referred to the BC Legislature’s Select Standing Committee on Legislative Initiatives for consideration

4) The Committee can recommend to the BC Legislature that the HST Extinguishment Act be introduced at the earliest opportunity or the Committee can refer the petition with the HST Extinguishment Act back to BC’s Chief Electoral Officer for the purpose of conducting an non-binding referendum on the HST Extinguishment Act. This referendum, as I’m told, cannot occur until September 24th, 2011

5) The referendum, if it proceeds, needs a double-majority of:
i) 50% of all registered voters’ in BC
ii) 50% of all registered voters’ in 2/3’s of the 85 Electoral Districts in BC

in order to force the government into introducing the HST Extinguishment Act for 1st reading at the earliest moment

However, there is the tool of recall available to British Columbians who are upset at the provincial government over the HST. This process may commence as early as November 15th of this year

In short, there are enough tools available to the voters’ of BC that the federal government need not intervene on the question of implementation of the Harmonized Sales Tax.

In my estimation, the federal government has lived up to its’ end of the bargain with regard to the HST Agreement between the Government of British Columbia & the Government of Canada signed in July of 2009

BC Court of Appeal shoots down appeal of Industrial Taxes - Catalyst Paper vs District of North Cowichan

Earlier today, the BC Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal from Catalyst Paper resulting from their industrial property tax bill in the District of North Cowichan for 2009

You can read the BC Court of Appeal decision here
The Vancouver Sun also has a story on this here

Breaking News - BC Liberals moves to invoke closure on Bill 9 (HST Bill)

Just a few mins ago, Hon. Mike De Jong (Attorney-General, acting Solicitor-General & Gov't House Leader) gave oral notice under Standing Order 81.1 of the BC Legislature that he intends to move a motion relating to scheduling of votes for Bill 9. The schedule will include when votes will take place on the amendment to Second Reading of Bill 9, Second Reading of Bill 9, Committee Stage of Bill 9 and Third Reading of Bill 9

Minister De Jong stated that this would be subject to discussions with the NDP House Leader (Mike Farnworth - NDP MLA for Port Coquitlam)

My view - the Government House Leader will move a motion formally on Monday or Tuesday of next week relating to scheduling of votes on Bill 9 under Standing 81.1 of the BC Legislature

Steve Rant - Mackenzie Ave Rehab Project Press Release & Public Works starting on Mackenzie Avenue (by Taylor's & Tasko)

On April 13th, 2010 - the City of Williams Lake put out a press release on the Mackenzie Avenue Rehabilitation project advising that delays were inevitable and that the project would include water pipe replacement. But no dates were included on when this would start

However, on April 19th - I observed some public works occurring on Mackenzie Avenue in front of Taylor's Automotive & Tasko Supplies but I assumed it was connected with the City's General Capital program for 2010.

The next day at the Williams Lake City Council meeting (April 20th), the Mayor announced that work had started with regard to the Mackenzie Avenue Rehab Project and that is when it clicked that the work I observed on April 19th was connected to the overall Mackenzie Avenue Rehab Project.

If the City knew on April 13th that work would commence on the Mackenzie Avenue Rehab Project on April 19th, then they (City of Williams Lake) should have said so on April 13th and provided City residents with a rough timeline as to when the work would start and work would be completed. That would adhere to the principle of proactive communications and not reactive communications

Thursday News Round-up

In the Williams Lake Tribune:

* Story about WL Council debating changing their meeting time, with some outrageous comments from City Councillors Natalie Montoya & Geoff Bourdon - more here

* Williams Lake Tribune columnist (and former City of WL Mayor/Cariboo-South MLA) Walt Cobb talks about Deni House and the costs of renovations - more here

* Vancouver Sun political columnists Vaughn Palmer discusses talk of leadership change in the BC Liberal Party - more here

* Vancouver Province political columnist Michael Smyth talks about the outcome of the Vaisakhi issue in Surrey - more here

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Steve Rant - WL Council Highlights Document

This afternoon, I received the Council Highlights from last night's Council meeting from the City's Executive Assistant and I noted the following error:

Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 2030
Rural Residential and Acreage Reserve Zones Connection to City Services

Council held a Public Hearing and subsequently gave third reading and final adoption to Zoning Text Amendment Bylaw No. 2030 which will require future subdivisions of properties within Rural Residential and Acreage Reserve Zones to connect to City water and sewer services.
Key points:
• The Rural Residential and Acreage Reserve zones, under the City of Williams Lake Zoning Bylaw No. 1825, 2002 are intended to accommodate rural residential development that may not be serviced with a community water or community sewer system.
• The City of Williams Lake has received queries from residents living on Woodland Drive for extension of municipal servicing in response to concerns related to water quantity and/or quality available from individual groundwater wells and/or from concerns related to individual on-site sewage disposal system function.
• Proposed text amendments will ensure that future subdivisions of rural lands within the City of Williams Lake boundaries are required to connect into the Community water and sewer infrastructure to ensure that the City and future residents do not incur future capital cost burdens for extensions of Community water and sewer infrastructure when problems arise with private sewer systems or wells.
• The proposed Bylaw will be forwarded to Advisory Planning Commission for review and comment.

Unfortunately, the last bullet highlight that Bylaw #2030 will be forwarded to the Advisory Planning Commission for review/comment is incorrect, given WL Council last night gave 3rd Reading and Adoption of Bylaw #2030. I personally advised Ellen Power (Executive Assistant)and the Mayor of this mistake and Ellen Power has made the necessary correction.

However, this tells me that City Hall is not taking the issue of good, honest communications seriously. I personally ensure my blog entries and summaries of:

i) Council
ii) Committee of the Whole
iii) CRD Board

are accurate and truthful, prior to me submitting them to both the Welcome to Williams Lake website and this blog. It really looks "amateurish" when you recall a press release an hour after you press the "send" button because of 1 or more mistakes in said press release or Council Meeting Highlight

I know that City Hall is capable of much better and I look forward to the day when Press Releases/Council Highlights are sent from City Hall with no errors to correct

Steve Rant - Outcome of April 20th WL Council Meeting

1) WL Council Budget Process

Last night, Mayor Cook expressed a concern she had prior to adopting the budget, that namely being, the public will not have an opportunity to comment on the full 2010 Budget & 5-Year Financial Plan prior to adoption. I agree with her that it was unfortunate but perhaps this can rectified for the 2011 Budget Process and she indicated that the 2011 Budget Process will be amended accordingly

2) Amending the Council Procedure Bylaw

Last night, Council gave 3 readings to an amendment bylaw which amends Council Procedure Bylaw #1940, 2004. Debate centered around two items:

1) Language on rotating Committee of the Whole Chairs (Mayor/Monthly Acting Mayor)
2) Time which a Council Meeting will start

I was absolutely disgusted when Councillor Montoya said this:

"No one has given me a reason as to why Council meetings' should not start at 6:00pm"

Now, let me give her plenty of reasons why Council should not mess with its' meeting time

1) Council serves at the pleasure of the public and not the other way around, as Councillor Montoya would have you believe. And while I'm at it, if she doesn't like the fact Council meets until 10:00pm, there are solutions to be used by Council including scheduling In-Camera meetings on a different day

2) The public has a right to attend and observe a Council at a time that is reasonable to the public (ie: 6:30 at mininum, but 7:00pm would be the best). For Councillor Bourdon to say that Council is hung up on changing the meeting time because of only 2 people is absolutely "beyond the pale". Sure, most times not many members of the public attend, but there is the odd time that an issue turns the public's crank and given that Council meeting times are not well advertised, meeting at 6:00pm will allow Council to decide on a controversial issue without the public observing what their elected officials decided and that is contrary to the public good which requires that Council either consults with the public or meets in public at a reasonable hour (ie - 7:00pm)

WL Council also directed at the time of adoption, that a review take place of the new meeting time in 3 months. But given that this Council took almost 15 months to actually get a look at the re-write of the Procedure Bylaw, I believe the next Council will take up the matter of the new meeting time and when the local government elections occur next fall, I intend to propose that Council Meetings be reverted back to 7:00pm and when Public Hearings occur on the same night, then there would not be a wait as the Public Hearing would be held and then the Council Meeting would occur and a decision could be rendered immediately on a bylaw referred from the Public Hearing and that would go a long way towards meeting efficiency - a major reason as to why this Council made the meeting time change in the first place

Public Hearings on OCP Amendment Bylaw 2112 & Zoning Amendment Bylaw #2030

Public Hearing on OCP Bylaw 2112 & Zoning Amendment Bylaw 2030 commencing at 7:00pm in Williams Lake City Council Chambers

OCP Amendment Bylaw 2112 (Water and Sewer Policy Statements – Text Amendments):


Mayor Cook and Councillors Barr, Bourdon, Montoya, Rathor and Walters

Staff Present:

Brian CarruthersCAO
Rena Schill - Corporate Services Records Management Coordinator
Geoff Goodall – GM of Planning & Operations
Tom Chung - Manager of IT

Rena Schill, Corporate Services Records Management Coordinator, read out the purpose and intent of Bylaw 2112

Mayor Cook called 3 times for anyone who wish to speak on Bylaw #2112. None came forward

Council closed this Public Hearing and referred Bylaw 2112 to the Regular City Council meeting to be held at 7:30pm

Zoning Amendment Bylaw 2030 (Text Amendments to A-1 & RR-1 Zones):


Mayor Cook and Councillors Barr, Bourdon, Montoya, Rathor and Walters

Staff Present:

Brian CarruthersCAO
Rena Schill - Corporate Services Records Management Coordinator
Geoff Goodall – GM of Planning & Operations
Tom Chung - Manager of IT

Mayor Cook declared a conflict of interest as she is a property owner in an A-1 Zone. Councillor Rathor took the Chair as Acting Mayor

Rena Schill, Corporate Services Records Management Coordinator, read out the purpose and intent of Bylaw 2030

Councillor Rathor called 3 times for anyone who wish to speak on Bylaw #2030. None came forward

Council closed this Public Hearing and referred this Bylaw to the Regular Council meeting to be held later at 7:30pm

The Public Hearing adjourned at 7:06pm

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

WL Council Meeting Highlights - April 20th, 2010


Mayor Cook and Councillors Barr, Bourdon, Montoya, Rathor, Walters


Councillor Sue Zacharias

Staff Present:

Brian Carruthers – CAO
Geoff Goodall – GM of Planning & Operations
Tom Chung – Manager of IT
Rena Schill – Corporate Services Records Management Coordinator

Meeting called to order at 7:30pm

Minutes of April 6th, 2010 Council meeting approved


Mayor Cook presented the Williams Lake & District Chamber of Commerce with a “Community Spirit Certificate”


1) Council gave 1st, 2nd and 3rd reading to Council Procedure Amendment Bylaw #2091, 2010
2) Council agreed to provide a "Final Confirmation Letter" to the RCMP for the Municipal Policing Expenditure Cap for the fiscal year of April 1st, 2010 to March 31st, 2011.
3) Council gave 2nd reading to Zoning Amendment Bylaw #2116, 2010 (James MacKay/MacKay Electric Ltd)
4) Council awarded the contract for traffic signal design and related construction services for the 2nd Avenue and Oliver Street traffic signal upgrade to DMD & Associates Ltd. in the amount of $17,812
5) Council supported the relocation of the light standard located at 409 Smith Street to approximately 1.5 meters south to the property line between 409 and 391 Smith Street. The City will now contract a local contractor to facilitate the move of the light standard at the sole cost of the owners of the property located at 409 Smith Street - Ken & Joline McNolty – Councillor Rathor opposed
6) Council authorized travel expenses, not to exceed $500, for Councillor Laurie Walters to attend a regional meeting of the Central Interior Regional Arts Council (CIRAC) in Prince George from April 23 to 24, 2010. Council also supported Councillor Laurie Walters letting her name stand as a political representative on the CIRAC Board.
7) Council adopted the following bylaws:

• 2010-2014 Financial Plan Bylaw No. 2107, 2010 – Councillor Rathor opposed
• OCP Amendment Bylaw No. 2112, 2010

Mayor Cook declared a conflict of interest as she is an A-1 Zone property owner. Councillor Rathor assumed the Chair

Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 2030, 2010

Mayor Cook reassumed the Chair

8) The following Committee of the Whole Recommendations were adopted:

• approval in principle was given for the Williams Lake Bike Park proposal in Boitanio Park as presented by the Williams Lake Cycling Club and development of the Bike Park be coordinated with City Staff; and further, Staff were directed to develop an operating and maintenance agreement with the Williams Lake Cycling Club
• Council gave approval to the proposed 2010 Municipal Property Tax Rates and Bylaw No. 2109 (2010 Property Tax Rates Bylaw) was given three readings – Councillor Rathor opposed
• Doug Wilson be advised that Council agrees that the need for long term public safety of the Bella Coola "Hill" is important and Victoria & Ottawa be encouraged to continue to invest in the maintenance and improvement of the existing route (Highway 20).
• Council gave approval to the proposed Sidewalk/Roadway Café Extension Policy and Staff were requested to bring forward an amendment to the Traffic Bylaw that includes the definition and use of Sidewalk Cafés.
• Council requested Interior Health to include the City of Williams Lake in discussions on the proposed Cariboo Memorial Hospital Site Master Plan Project; and further, Allison Ruault (Interior Health – Cariboo Region Administrator) was requested to attend Council meetings on a quarterly basis to provide Council with Interior Health updates.

9) Council received a news release from TELUS advising of its’ plans to spend $750,000 in Williams Lake to expand advanced broadband services

10) Council gave permission for the Great Cariboo Bed Race on Saturday, May 8, 2010 from 8:30 AM to 12:00 noon on Oliver Street between 2nd Avenue and 3rd Avenue. Council & City Staff will also enter a team at this event

11) Council gave permission for the 2010 Graduation Class Parade to take place on June 5, 2010

12) Council received for information the Cariboo Regional District's Board Highlights for its’ April 15th & 16th meetings’

13) Council authorized three Proclamations:

• Day of Mourning – April 28th, 2010
• Hospice Palliative Care Awareness Month – May of 2010
• Hearing & Speech Month – May of 2010

Round-Table Comments by Council Members:

Mayor & Councillors made announcements on events or issues occurring in the City

Meeting adjourned at 8:50pm

Tuesday News Round-up

In today's Williams Lake Tribune:

* Dinner event was held to raise funds for the TNG (Chilcotin National Government) to assist them to bring in their legal counsel and experts to present at the Prosperity Federal Public Hearings - more here

* School District #27 Board make cuts to balance budget for 2010/2011 - more here

* Donna Barnett (MLA - Cariboo-Chilcotin) & Tom Fletcher (Black Press Political Columnist) both argue that the HST is good for the Province - more here and here

Monday, April 19, 2010

Breaking News - BC NDP moves amendment to Bill 9 (Provincial PST Repeal Bill)

Just a few mins ago, Mike Farnworth, the NDP Opposition House Leader & NDP MLA for Port Coquitlam, just moved the following amendment to Bill 9 (Consumption Tax Rebate and Transition Act):


THAT Bill 9 be not now read a second time, but the subject-matter of Bill 9 be referred to the Select Standing Committee on Finance & Government Services and the Committee be empowered to invite witnesses to assist in its' deliberations

I have no doubt that government MLA's will vote against this amendment. I'm also curious as to when the government will invoke closure on 2nd Reading of Bill 9. I suspect given the provincial government's wish to have Bill 9 by May 1st, the Government House Leader will give notice to close 2nd Reading Debate on Bill 9 by April 26th

Site 'C' moves forward - Announcment by Premier Campbell & Energy Minister Blair Lekstrom

The Vancouver Sun reports that the provincial cabinet has given its' blessing to allow BC Hydro to proceed with the Site 'C' Mega-Dam Project

More here

Anti-HST Canvassers to file complaint with Elections BC on Provincial Government intention to send information out on HST Benefits

See below for story on Anti-HST forces intention to file complaint with Elections BC regarding the Provincial Government's intention to send information to BC voters' on benefits of HST:

Organizers of the anti-HST campaign in British Columbia plan to complain to both the RCMP and Elections B.C. if the provincial government goes ahead with an advertising blitz aimed at their initiative.

Finance Minister Colin Hansen told reporters last week that the government plans to send out information to British Columbians defending its harmonized sales tax.

Chris Delaney of Fight HST said they believe the mailing campaign violates the Initiative Act, which requires that opponents or proponents register with Elections B.C., either as an official opponent or advertising sponsor - something the province hasn't done.

"They're trying to dress it up as an informational (campaign) to people," he said. "But of course all the media reports are showing that it's a direct response to our initiative petition and that's illegal."

Registration for opponent status is long over, but it would have allowed the government to spend $900,000, while the advertising sponsor can spend just $5,000, Delaney said in an interview Sunday.

He said the cost of the government sending a mail-out to all B.C. households would far exceed the $5,000 limit.

Delaney points out B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell insisted the HST will be implemented as planned in July.

"So the mail out has no other purpose other than to persuade people not to sign our petition then, because it's certainly not there to ask people to support the HST," he added.

Former B.C. premier Bill Vander Zalm is leading the charge against the tax and launched the initiative petition in an attempt to force the province to hold a referendum on blending the HST and the provincial sales tax.

The campaign has been given 90 days to collect 10 per cent of the signatures from registered voters in every provincial riding.

Vander Zalm said the response has been overwhelming, both for their campaign and for Elections B.C. which has to cope with the "army" of volunteers applying to register as canvassers to take in anti-HST signatures.

He said there are at least 6,000 canvassers so far.

"The legislation was written so it wouldn't work, now we're going to fool them anyway," he stated.

The campaign will attempt to get 15 per cent of voters signatures in every riding because many signatures could be excluded in a review by Elections B.C.

"Everybody wants to sign," Vander Zalm said.

Delaney, a former B.C. Conservative Party executive, said they'll go first to Elections B.C. with their complaint, but they won't rely solely on that body.

"We're going to tell the police. If it's a prosecutable offence it's something the RCMP needs to look at."

Delaney said they've already reached the 10-per-cent target in many ridings including all the ridings along the B.C./Alberta boundary and the Okanagan. He said ridings within the areas of Nanaimo, Vancouver, Surrey, Terrace and Kitimat are also all very close to the 10 per cent level.

Vander Zalm agreed the anti HST sentiment has lifted the popularity of the New Democrats, his one-time enemy in the B.C. legislature, but he said that's not his fault.

He said when Premier Campbell said it didn't matter how many signatures the "no" forces gathered and that the HST would be pushed through, his phone went crazy.

"He really upset a lot of people. So now the issue is not only the tax, it becomes arrogance, it becomes truthfulness in government, it becomes so many other things."

Vander Zalm estimates it could cost the government about $1 million to send out pamphlets against their initiative.

They should have registered as an opponent, he said.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Are the BC NDP MLA's working for Bill Vander Zalm....?

In today's Vancouver Sun, Political Columnist Vaughn Palmer debunks a myth that the BC NDP MLA's who've signed up as canvassers for Bill Vander Zalm's HST Repeal petition aren't actually working for him

More here

Also, Angus Reid did a poll asking which provincial political party would the public support if a Provincial Election was held today? The poll puts the governing BC Liberals' behind the opposition New Democrats by a whopping 18 points. The HST is identified as the chief cause for the huge spread between the BC Liberals & BC New Democrats

More here

Friday, April 16, 2010

Steve Rant - 2010 City and CRD Budgets

1) 2010 City of WL Budget

Last Thursday, Mayor Cook did her usual "Town Hall" radio show with Dale Taylor and the subject of consulting with the public on the 2010 City of WL Budget came up and she admitted that she would like to see the final adoption of the budget delayed for 2 weeks pending a final meeting with the public on the City's 2010 budget however I have informed her that it would be better to adopt the budget at Tuesday's Council meeting, given 2 Public Consultation Meetings' on the City 2010 Budget has taken place already and then lay out the City's budget consultation process to the public later on this year for the 2011 Budget

2) $500 Request for Travel Costs for Councillor Walters to attend the CIRAC Conference in Prince George

At Tuesday's Council meeting, Council will consider a request from Councillor Laurie Walters to allocate $500 in travel costs in order for her to attend the CIRAC (Central Interior Regional Arts Council) AGM in Prince George on April 23rd & 24th. The money has not been identified, but I expect it will come from her travel expense account, contained within the City's global 2010 Budget

However, I would suggest as the region has an Arts & Council Function and as attendance at a Arts & Culture meeting would be good use of this Function's budget, Council should refer this request to the Joint Committee for consideration for approval. Council should use the City taxpayers' money for City only projects and projects that have a regional aspect to them, those projects should be funded from the Cariboo Regional District's budget

3) City of WL new Fire Hall Budget overrun

On Thursday, Mayor Cook, on the "Town Hall radio program" confirmed that the new Fire Hall construction budget has a overrun of $300,000. I've also heard from some that because of the overrun, this makes Councillor Barr look like a "hypocrite" given that he spoke out on budget overruns, as it pertained to the Tourism Discovery Center and the fact he committed to City taxpayers that budget overruns on City projects would never occur on his watch, however in this case, I think Councillor Barr did everything in his power to ensure that this project ran on time, on budget. I know he regrets profoundly that this project ran past the $6.5 million budget.

I have received a briefing from Councillor Barr on the reasons why the new Fire Hall budget overruns occurred and as one taxpayer, I'm satisfied that he and City Staff did everything in their power to keep the project on time, on budget.

But if you don't believe me, contact Councillor Tom Barr directly and I have no doubt that he will explain to you the $300,000 new Fire Hall Budget overrun and you will be satisfied with the reasons why this occured.

People can contact Councillor Tom Barr in the following way:

Email - or leave a message at City Hall for Councillor Barr and I'm sure he will return it

Local Government Meetings in Cariboo-Chilcotin - Week of April 19 - 23

A Number of Local Government Meeetings are occurring in the Cariboo-Chilcotin next week:

Monday, April 19th - City of Quesnel

Delegation Meeting - Starts at 7:00pm in Quesnel Council Chambers (410 Kinchant Street)

Link to the Agenda is here

Tuesday, April 20th - City of Williams Lake

Public Hearing - Meeting starts at 7:00pm in Williams Lake Council Chambers (450 Mart Street)

Bylaw #2112 (Text Amendments to OCP Bylaw #1800, 2000 on Policies re: Water/Sewer) & Bylaw 2030 (Zoning Bylaw Amendment re: RR-1 (Rural Residential 1) and A-1 (Acreage Reserve) zoning districts) will be under consideration at this Public Hearing. Council may give 3rd Reading and Adoption to these bylaws at the Council meeting to commence at 7:30pm following this Public Hearing

Link to the Agenda is here

Regular Council Meeting #8 of 2010 - Meeting starts at 7:30pm in Williams Lake Council Chambers (450 Mart Street)

Link to the Agenda is here

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Steve Rant - Premier Campbell & HST

Earlier today, Premier Campbell made the following comments on the HST & efforts from anti-HST supporters: (from News 1130's website)

"The HST has been done. We are moving forward with it. The issues that we're dealing with in the Parliament right now, or the Legislature today are, should we eliminate the PST, and we're saying yes we should eliminate the PST"


"Campbell says if you're against the HST, you're against economic development in B.C., and he says it's very important for generating jobs in the province"

I must say - I regret that the Premier said the above comments because I know that there are BC Liberal Party members who support the Party but don't support the BC Government moving forward on the HST and these comments do nothing to help bridge the gap between HST supporters and opponents, especially those within the BC Liberal Party.

I suspect these comments will galvanize efforts to begin recall proceedings' against BC Liberal MLA's starting on November 12th and there is a good chance that BC political history will be made because I believe at least 1-3 BC Liberal MLA's have a 90% chance of having their seats being declared vacant. So I would encourage the Premier and his officials not to made provocative comments when expressing support for the Provincial Government HST initiative

Steve Rant - Contacting City of WL Elected Officials, Part 2

As my blog readers recall, I recently expressed a concern I had with a majority of WL Council members, except Mayor Cook and Councillors Barr/Rathor, not acknowledging receipt (on most occasions) of my correspondence (written letter/email) to them on various topics.

Thursday afternoon, I heard from Councillor Montoya who clarified that she doesn't acknowledge receipt except to gather additional information from the letter writer to understand the point(s) that they wish to raise with her and if I want a response from her, I should say so

However, I can not reconcile her opinion on this subject with that of mine which is that all correspondence (phone call, written letter or email) must be acknowledged when you receive it and not leave people wondering if you have received it or not and I know that this is a practice that Mayor Cook and Councillor Rathor conducts all the time and I would encourage Councillor Montoya to practice what the Mayor does when receiving correspondence from community members. Although I would encourage not to take up to 5 days to return emails, letters, faxes and phone calls and suggest that the standard to return emails, phone calls, letters and faxes should be no more than 2 days at most.

In my opinion, it is simply the right thing to do

April 15th Special CRD Board Meeting Highlights


Chair A. Richmond with Directors Armstrong, Faust, Massier, Bischoff, Mazur, Alternate Area ‘F’ Director Sorley, and Directors’ Dumaresq, Glassford, Bracewell, Mumford, Rattray, Campsall and Cook (2:28pm)

Staff Present:

J. Bell - CAO
R. Hodgson – Deputy CAO
A. Johnston – Corporate Officer
S. Burich – Manager of Communications
D. Campbell – Manager of Community Services

Meeting called to order at 1:04pm

Special Board Agenda adopted


1) Outdoor Wood-fired Boilers (Powerpoint Presentation from Ministry of Environment officials)

• Dora MacMillian (Chair, Quesnel Airshed Roundtable) gave a few introductory remarks on Air Quality in the North and Central Cariboo areas
• Background on Air Quality
• How does Poor Air Quality affect us?
Airshed Management Plans
• Outdoor Wood-fired Boilers
• Wood-fired Boilers – Regulate by Bylaw

A Question and Answer period ensued
Chair Richmond, on behalf of the Board, thanked the delegation for their presentation

2) CRD Regional Economic Development Framework Feasibility Study
(Powerpoint Presentation from John Murray, Economic Growth Solutions, Inc)

• Background
• Mandate, Goals and Objectives
• Framework – Structure/Governance
• Scope of Activities
• Alternative Revenue Sources

A Question and Answer Period ensued
Chair Richmond, on behalf of the Board, thanked the delegation for his presentation


1) Final Report – Cariboo Regional Development Framework Feasibility Study

ResolvedCRD Board received the report

The Chair declared a recess at 3:05pm with the meeting resuming at 3:11pm

Business, cont.

2) Wood First

The Board Chair reviewed this item with the Board
Discussion ensued thereon

ResolvedCRD Board received this item and Staff were directed to prepare a report on a “Wood First” Policy or Bylaw for consideration by the Board

3) Water Act Modernization

The Deputy CAO & Manager of Environmental Services reviewed this item with the Board
Discussion ensued thereon

ResolvedCRD Board received this item and staff responses to the Water Act Modernization Discussion Paper be forwarded to the Ministry of Environment Water Stewardship Division prior to April 30.

Director Ted Armstrong declared a conflict of interest as he sells wood-fired boilers and left the meeting at 3:57pm

4) Draft Outdoor Wood-fired Boiler Bylaws

The Chief Building Official reviewed this item with the Board
Discussion ensued thereon

ResolvedCRD Board received this item and Staff directed to prepare the Regulatory & Service Bylaws on the basis of Building Inspection Areas and portion of Electoral Area ‘F not in the Building Inspection area and lot sizes be restricted to a size of 1.75 Ha

5) Proposed New Management Framework for Off-Road Vehicles as announced by Province of BC

ResolvedCRD Board received this item and a letter be forwarded to the Province advising it supports this, in principle, and looks forward to reading the actual regulations, when available.

Meeting adjourned at 4:50pm

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

NDP's Mike Farnworth & the Speaker of the BC Legislature on Kash Heed's resignation as Solicitor-General

In Tuesday's Oral Question Period, the NDP's House Leader and MLA for Port Coquitlam, Mike Farnworth asked the Premier the following question:

The police are currently investigating a leaflet that was used as part of a smear campaign during the last provincial election. The Premier has a responsibility as leader of the Liberal Party — but, more importantly, as Premier of British Columbia —to protect the integrity of the democratic process in British Columbia. So my question is for the Premier.

When the issues around this leaflet first surfaced during the election campaign, what steps did he take to ensure that no B.C. Liberal Party officials or B.C. Liberal government officials were involved in the planning, distribution or implementation of this smear campaign?

However, the House Speaker (Hon. Bill Barisoff) replied with the following statement:

Hon. Member (Member for Port Coquitlam), a matter under investigation by the police, while not sub judice in a strict sense, has by precedent not been discussed in this House. It's a matter of courtesy to the investigation to avoid debate in parliament, so I'd ask all members to observe this well-established rule

Later, in the afternoon, during an interview on Global-BC's "News Hour", Mr. Farnworth stated the following:

"Asking the question in the House today, I got shut down faster than any question I've seen in my entire time as a MLA (Member of the Legislative Assembly) indicates the Provincial Government is extermely concerned about this"

Now, I find it unfortunate that the NDP is suggesting that the House Speaker is acting as an "agent for the government" but it is not unprecedented. In October of 2007, the Speaker ruled that Carole James Private Members' Bill M-214 (Minimum Wage Fairness Act, 2007) out of order as it infringed on the Crown Prerogative. Hours later, the NDP issued a press release entitled: "B.C. Liberals Cut Off Minimum Wage Debate" in which it accused House Speaker of acting at the behest of the Provincial Government

Let's remember that the House Speaker is required to uphold all rules and practices (including previous precedents) of the Legislature regardless of his/her political affiliation and I would urge the BC NDP to keep this in mind when criticizing the House Speaker on which question(s) he has or has not allowed and which bill(s) he has or has not allowed to be debated

Letter from Deputy Community and Rural Development Minister

In early March, I sent a letter to the Hon. Bill Bennett (Minister of Community and Rural Development) about concerns I had about Councillor Sue Zacharias participating via phone in the Feb 16th Committee of the Whole Meeting. On Monday, I received a response from Dale Wall - Deputy Minister of Community and Rural Development. For the information of my blog readers', here is his response:

Mr. Steve Forseth
1197 North 3rd Avenue
Williams Lake, BC V2G 1Y2



Dear Mr. Forseth:

Thank you for your email of March 10, 2010, addressed to Honourable Bill Bennett, Minister of Community and Rural Development, regarding the use of teleconferencing at the City of Williams Lake’s (City) Committee of the Whole meeting. Minister Bennett has asked that I respond on his behalf.

I appreciate your interest in the operation of the local government system. You are correct that section 128 [electronic meetings and participation by members] of the Community Charter empowers local governments, by bylaw, to authorize the participation of council members electronically. I understand that in the case of the City, a councillor participated in a Committee of the Whole meeting by telephone. This was for convenience purposes and the councillor was not permitted to vote on any issue before council. Therefore, the City had input from all of its council members while mitigating procedural risks. As an autonomous, responsible and accountable body, the City appears to have weighed the benefits of its decision with the possible consequences.

I understand that the City is responding to your concerns by introducing bylaw changes that will allow council members to participate in council meetings electronically.

Thank you, again, for writing.


“Original signed by”

Dale Wall
Deputy Minister
Ministry of Community and Rural Development

Next Steps: HST and MLA for Cariboo-Chilcotin

As most know by now, the HST Repeal Initiative from Bill Vander Zalm is now underway. It requires 10% of the voters in BC's 85 Electoral Districts sign a Elections-BC endorsed petition.

Organizers have to get 2,068 signatures (10% of voters in Cariboo-Chilcotin) in the Cariboo-Chilcotin Electoral District to make the HST Repeal Initiative valid here

They have until Monday, July 5th to collect the required signatures in all 85 Electoral Districts to be valid. Of course, the organizers of this petition have indicated that they intend to collect 15% of voters' signatures in all 85 Electoral Districts to ensure the initiative petition succeeds. Should the petition should be certified by Elections BC as proper, then the petition is referred, with the HST Extinguishment Act, to the Legislature's Standing Committee on Legislative Initiatives. The Committee could then refer the proposed Act to the Legislature for introduction or refer the proposed Act to the voters' in a referendum which would happen on September 24th, 2011. If the referendum is successful, then the Provincial Government would be bound to introduce the HST Extinguishment Act but it is not required of the Provincial Government to pass this Act

In the meantime, those who are opposed to the HST on November 12th, 2010, which is 18 months after the last general election on May 12th, 2009, can initiate recall proceedings against MLA's. I have no doubt that those who are vocal about the HST will initiate recall proceedings against Donna Barnett and those Liberal MLA's who won on May 12th, 2009 and won their riding with less than 1,000 votes. The Recall and Initiative Act speaks to the mechanics around how a recall petition works. You can get more info at or

As an aside, in order to recall a MLA successfully, one has to collect the signatures of 40% of the voters in an Electoral District. So, if Donna Barnett were to be recalled (and I'm biased here - but I hope that voters do not recall her as I don't feel it is deserved), 8,272 voters would have to sign a recall petition agreeing to recall her as a MLA. If all NDP voters in the 2009 Election (6,171 voters) + 2,101 of the 6,259 BC Liberal voters signed a recall petition form in a 60 day period and Elections BC certified the recall petition as proper then the seat of Cariboo-Chilcotin would be declared vacant and a new by-election would be held to fill the seat in 2011

Indeed, provincial politics will get interesting as we get closer and closer towards the end of 2010. Get ready to see as many as 7 Recall Campaigns potentially get fired up by the end of the year

Will we see a by-election in the riding of Cariboo-Chilcotin and even Kamloops-North Thompson...? Time will only tell.

April 13th Committee of the Whole (WL Council) Highlights

Present: Mayor Cook with Councillors Barr, Bourdon, Rathor, Walters, and Zacharias

Absent: Councillor Natalie Montoya (sick)

Staff Present:

Brian Carruthers – CAO
Geoff Goodall – GM of Planning & Operations
Darcy Lazzarin – GM of Corporate Services
Cindy Bouchard – Manager of Legislative Services
Anne Burill – Manager of Social Development
Rena Schill – Corporate Services Records Management Coordinator

Meeting called to order at 6:34pm
Minutes of March 30th COW Meeting approved


1) Williams Lake Food Policy Council re Draft Plans for New Community Garden Site at Cariboo Lodge

• Discussed plans about the Cariboo Growers Co-Op including Grand Opening on April 30th at 4:00pm at the Community Corner)
• Discussed plans about the Community Garden at Cariboo Lodge including Grand Opening in May

A Question and Answer Period ensued

Mayor Cook, on behalf of the Committee, thanked the delegation for their presentation

2) Williams Lake Cycling Club re Bike Park Proposal – Power Point Presentation

• Overview of Mountain Biking in Williams Lake
• Define a Bike Park
• Outline Proposal to City Council
• Next Steps

A Question and Answer Period ensued

Mayor Cook, on behalf of the Committee, thanked the delegation for their presentation


1) Local Government Awareness Week, May 16th to 22nd - Discussion

The CAO reviewed this item with the Committee around different events in the community on promoting the City as a local government during the week of May 16th to 22nd.

Discussion ensued thereon.

2) 2010 Property Tax Rates Bylaw

Councillor Barr & General Manager of Corporate Services reviewed this item with the Committee

Discussion ensued thereon

The Committee then recommended to Council:

That Council approve the proposed 2010 Municipal Property Tax Rates; and that Bylaw No. 2109, being a Bylaw respecting 2010 Property Tax Rates, be introduced and read three times.”

Councillor Rathor opposed

3) Safety Issues Concerning Highway 20 West of Anahim Lake

Councillor Bourdon discussed this item with the Committee

The Committee then recommended to Council:

That a letter be forwarded to Mr. Wilson advising him that the City of Williams Lake supports maintenance of current Highway 20

4) Sidewalk / Roadway Cafe Extension Policy

The Mayor & General Manager of Planning and Operations reviewed this item with the Committee

Discussion ensued thereon

The Committee then recommended to Council:

"That Council approve the proposed Sidewalk/Roadway Café Extension Policy and Council advise Staff to amend the Traffic Bylaw to include the definition and use of Sidewalk Cafes”

5) Discussion of Audrey MacLise's Presentation of April 6, 2010 re Senior's Housing & Care Issues

The Committee recommended to Council:

A letter be forwarded asking that seniors’ be made part of the discussions on the Master Site Plan for the Cariboo Memorial Hospital and that Alison Ruault (IH Cariboo Administrator) be invited to give Council a quarterly update on health issues in Williams Lake

Meeting adjourned at 8:11pm

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

BC NDP Refuses to support Prosperity Mine in the Cariboo-Chilcotin

In the continuing saga on the NDP lack of support for mining, see below for outrageous comments from NDP Cariboo-North MLA Bob Simpson on the Prosperity Mine project

The press release from the Government of BC Caucus is below:

Cariboo North MLA Bob Simpson continues to refuse support for the Taseko Prosperity Mine project, while Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett is fighting for the economic growth and hundreds of high paying jobs the project will deliver.

“The NDP claim they support our rural communities and hard-working British Columbians, but their actions in Victoria clearly suggest otherwise,” says Barnett. “I have had it with the NDP and their obstructionist approach to mining projects in the Cariboo. Enough is enough. You either support the mine or you don’t.”

Yesterday in the B.C. Legislature, Simpson attacked the “one project ,one process” proposal of the provincial government that would allow the federal government to recognize B.C.’s environmental assessment process with its legislated timelines, and not embark on a second duplicate federal review.

Simpson argued that the Prosperity Mine should not proceed until all “territorial rights of First Nations” are resolved, in effect saying First Nations should have a veto. “Once again, this project will not proceed without the First Nations addressing their issues,” threatened Simpson. “One project, one process doesn't do it.”

Of note, both the provincial and federal consultation processes already invite input from all stakeholders, including First Nations. To date, the provincial process has never lost a legal challenge on the matter. Simpson’s comments continue the NDP’s refusal to offer support for the Prosperity Mine project.

Barnett, meanwhile, is standing firm in her defense of the more efficient certification process and reiterated her support for the Prosperity Mine project. “People throughout the Cariboo are facing some real challenges and they are looking for real solutions,” says Barnett. “Prosperity Mine is the single biggest project to strengthen our economy, improve our lives and create meaningful jobs.”

“It has approvals based on strict environmental regulations and it is time we move forward,” concludes Barnett. “Bob Simpson and the NDP aren’t helping anyone.”

The total capital cost of the project is approximately $800 million and annual operating costs are expected to be $200 million. The project is expected to directly result in an average of 375 jobs during both the two-year construction period and the 20-year operational life of the project and 325 person years of indirect employment annually over the life of the proposed project.

Another Grow-Op busted near Williams Lake

Williams Lake RCMP report the take down of a grow-op at Springhouse, a community within the Cariboo Regional District's Electoral Area 'E'

More here

Steve Rant - Hearing from Williams Lake Elected Officials

Over the last period of time (weeks/months actually), I've emailed Mayor and Council over various subjects including:

i) Concerns with City of WL 2010 Budget
ii) Various Matters on City Council Agendas

However, over the term of 2008-2011, I routinely hear from Councillor Tom Barr and Councillor Surinder Rathor and from time to time, I get to hear from Councillors Natalie Montoya, Geoff Bourdon and Laurie Walters. I never hear from Councillor Sue Zacharias. Even the Mayor likes to drag out communications over a 5 day period or even let's City Staff respond (even if the communication was between voter and elected official(s)).

Finally, all members of Williams Lake City Council should be answering emails/phone calls from voters, regardless of where it comes from, whether that is from myself or the media, or Joe Q Public. All voters must be treated equally, regardless of whether or not you agree/disagree with the individual

Steve Rant - City Press Release on Mackenzie Avenue Rehab Project

This morning, I received a press release warning City residents' about possible delays as the Mackenzie Avenue Rehab Project proceeds including the replacement of water pipes that are beneath Mackenzie Avenue. No problem there, except they give no dates which I think is problematic at best because if you intend to make this kind of announcement, then you should include a timeline when this work will begin and end so people/business can plan their schedules around this project, otherwise I see this as nothing less than a "good news" announcement, or as some like to call these press release - "fluff, and nothing else"

However, in order to please those on Council including Councillor Walters and Zacharias, here is the entire press release so you can judge for yourself:

The City of Williams Lake will be resurfacing Mackenzie Avenue from the intersection of Highway 97 North to Highway 97 South. To avoid future damage to the asphalt road surface from water main repairs, the City will be replacing older water services from Comer Street South along Mackenzie Avenue to Highway 97 prior to starting the road resurfacing project.
During these works, traffic patterns may be affected including the closure of certain sections along Mackenzie Avenue with traffic being detoured.

Councilor Sue Zacharias who holds the Public Works Portfolio states, “The work that we are doing now of replacing these older type water services will help mitigate potential water leaks in the future. The City appreciates that there may be an inconvenience to businesses and traffic however it is necessary to ensure that the water system is in good repair prior to the resurfacing of Mackenzie Avenue.”

The City will attempt to keep at least one lane of traffic open at all times on Mackenzie Avenue. However, there may be a need to close an entire block for safety reasons. All traffic detours or lane closures will be directed by flag persons and the City is requesting extra care and attention from motorists.

The City will provide as much notice as possible to affected businesses and property owners along Mackenzie Avenue and apologizes in advance for any inconveniences this project may cause.

Tuesday News Round-up

In the WL Tribune, they report on the loss of Ministry of Forests & Range jobs in both the Alexis Creek and Central Forest Districts - more here

Also, in the Tribune, TELUS is announcing that it intends to invest $750,000 in Williams Lake in 2010 - more here

In the Vancouver Sun, a panel of Ontario judges is deciding on whether or not blog and website owners have to reveal the IP (Internet Protocol) addresses of anonymous posters, with regard to libel and slander cases - more here

Friday, April 9, 2010

Williams Lake CAO updates public on CN Rail Ties and Wood Chip Issue

Brian Carruthers (City of Williams Lake CAO) has updated his blog on the issue on CN Rail Ties and Wood Chips

More here

Local Government Meetings in Cariboo-Chilcotin - Week of April 12th - April 16th

A number of local government meetings are occuring this upcoming week:

Monday, April 12 - City of Quesnel

Meeting in Delegation Session/Committee of the Whole - Meeting being held in Quesnel Council Chambers (410 Kinchant Street). Meeting starts at 7:00pm

The Agenda/Reports are here

Tuesday, April 13th - City of Williams Lake

Meeting in Committee of the Whole - Meeting being held in Committee Room #1 at WL City Hall (450 Mart Street). Meeting starts at 6:30pm

The Agenda/Reports are here

Tuesday, April 13th - Cariboo Regional District

Public Hearing on inclusion of Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets in both the 150 Mile OCP (Official Community Plan) and the Central Cariboo Rural Land Use Bylaw. The public hearing will get underway at 7:00pm in the Gibraltar Room at the Cariboo Memorial Complex (525 Proctor Street, Williams Lake). It'll be chaired by Area 'E' Director Steve Mazur with Area D Director Deb Bischoff and Alternate Area 'F' Director Joan Sorley being also in attendance, in addition to CRD Staff being present to provide technical advice to the elected officials and public

Thursday, April 15th - Cariboo Regional District

Special Meeting - Meeting being held in the CRD Boardroom (Suite D - 180 North 3rd Avenue in Williams Lake). Meeting starts at 1:00pm

The Agenda is here

Thursday, April 15th - Board of Education (School District #27)

Special Meeting - Meeting being held in the SD #27 Boardroom (2nd Avenue School District office). Meeting starts at 7:00pm

The Agenda is here

Friday, April 16th - Cariboo Regional District

Regular Meeting # 5 of 2010 being held in the CRD Boardroom (Suite D - 180 North 3rd Avenue in Williams Lake). Meeting starts at 9:30am

The Agenda is here

North Vancouver-Seymour MLA Court Case gets special prosecutor

The Court Case concerning North Vancouver-Seymour MLA Jane Thornewaite will now have a special prosecutor involved

More here from News 1130

Breaking News - Appt of Acting Solicitor-General & Minister of Public Safety

News 1130 reports that Premier Gordon Campbell has appointed the Hon. Mike De Jong (Attorney-General) as Acting Solicitor-General & Minister of Public Safety, pending conclusion of the RCMP investigation of Kash Heed's election as MLA in the Electoral District of Vancouver-Fraserview

Breaking News - BC Solicitor-General steps down temporarily

This afternoon, Kash Heed will step aside temporarily as the Solicitor-General of BC. No replacement has been named by the Premier as of yet. See below for a statement from Kash Heed on this matter (from Vancouver Sun):

VICTORIA - "On March 24 I was informed by the RCMP that they were investigating alleged Elections Act violations pertaining to a 2009 Vancouver-Fraserview provincial election campaign. At that time I was informed that I was not a subject of that investigation and that I may be interviewed as a witness. I understand that the deputy to the Premier, informed the Premier of this fact on March 26.

On late Tuesday evening, April 6, while I was out of the country, I was informed that the investigation was evolving and the RCMP would want to interview me to determine if I had any role in the allegations. On Wednesday, I informed the Premier of that development.

Upon returning to Vancouver on Wednesday, out of an abundance of caution, I immediately obtained a lawyer to engage the RCMP on my behalf and to establish the facts that were appropriate for me to know and to ascertain what was expected of me to help me make the appropriate decision for my office.

On Wednesday, my lawyer called the criminal justice branch to determine if a special prosecutor had been appointed and he subsequently advised me that a special prosecutor has been appointed in this investigation.

Today I have concluded, out of the respect and regard for the office of Solicitor General of British Columbia and to ensure the continued integrity of that office, that the appropriate action is to step aside pending the outcome of this investigation. I have spoken with the Premier and he has accepted my decision.

Over my 30-year career in law enforcement and public service I have prided myself on putting the public interest first and acting with the utmost integrity. It is with that in mind that I have chosen to step aside.

I am confident that I have done nothing wrong. I fully support the RCMP's efforts and will be co-operating fully with the investigation.

It is my sincere hope that this matter is concluded as quickly as possible. I will continue to represent my constituents as the MLA for Vancouver-Fraserview.

Until all aspects of this ongoing matter are complete, I will not be commenting further on the substance of the investigation as that would be inappropriate."

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Letter to Mayor and Council on City of WL 2010 Budget

Earlier today, I submitted the following letter to Mayor and Council on the 2010 City of WL Budget. See below for a copy:

Dear Mayor Cook and City Councillors:

Re: 2010 City of Williams Lake Budget

Given that Council will not be meeting the public with regard to the 2010 Budget prior to its’ adoption, I wish to provide some comments as I was away on holidays when the last public consultation meeting on the City 2010 Budget took place in March.

Firstly, I was disappointed to observe both City Councillors Zacharias & Bourdon either informally or outright suggested that a 5% property tax was the way to go. Given they do not reside in the City, I believe it was too convenient for them to say that. On the other hand, given that the New Fire Hall Loan Payments do not have to be budgeted for until 2011, I feel (like Councillor Rathor) that a property tax hike of 2 or even 2.5% would be appropriate and not the 3.5% that is proposed

Secondly, insofar as this year’s (2010) budget process, I submit that it has been a failure and would suggest that the entire process be scrapped in favour of the following process:

i) Questionnaire to go out with last quarterly Utility Bill Statement asking, among other things, satisfaction level on current City Services, suggestions/ideas for upcoming Budget, and service enhancements or cutbacks

ii) Budget Meeting after 1st, 2nd, 3rd reading of Annual 5 Year Financial Plan Bylaw

If the above were implemented, then compliance with Section 166 of the Community Charter (Duty of Council to consult with the public on a Financial Plan)

Thirdly, I am disappointed that Council has agreed to hire an individual to help the Director of Protective Services (Fire Chief). I do not believe that is necessary during these tough times and believe City Hall Staff could be used for the same purpose

Finally, I have a grave concern with the Mackenzie Avenue Rehab Project. From my perspective as a member of the public, I’ve yet to see a rehab plan laid before Council and given the concerns the public had last year around crack sealing done considerably late on Mackenzie Avenue just a month before the Williams Lake Stampede, I really fear that we will repeat history once again and given Ottawa’s determination that their stimulus funds must be spent before March 31st, 2011 (no exceptions according to media reports). I ask you to ensure that a plan with appropriate time lines and mitigation measures is laid before Council ASAP before we lose that $3.5 million from Ottawa and be forced as a community, potentially, to cough up that $3.5 million if we don’t have this important project done prior to March 31st, 2011

Thank you for considering my views prior to adoption of the 2010-2014 5 Year Financial Plan
Respectfully yours,

Steve Forseth

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Steve Rant - 2010 City of WL Budget

It is, with deep sadness, that I inform my blog readers that WL Council will not be hosting a meeting on the final draft of the 2010 City of Williams Lake Budget & 2010-2014 5 Year Financial Plan as public consultation on the 2010 Budget/5-Year Financial Plan was done previously in December of 2009 & March of 2010 where roughly less than 10 people participated in each of those meetings

This complies with Section 166 of the Community Charter which states:

A council must undertake a process of public consultation regarding the proposed financial plan before it is adopted.

I suspect that a lot of my fellow voters' will not be happy with this information but that is what I'm told by Brian Carruthers - CAO of the City of Williams Lake

Steve Rant - City of WL Council Actions & Hypocrisy from April 6th Meeting

Tuesday evening, WL Council met to consider various matters and I wish to pick apart some of their decisions

1) Changes to Council Procedure Bylaw

With the focus on seniors' at the very beginning of the meeting, Council agreed-in-principle to change its' meeting start time from 7:30pm to 6:00pm while leaving its' Public Hearing at 7:00pm and Committee of the Whole at 6:30pm. The amendment bylaw to Council's Procedure Bylaw will be considered at the April 20th meeting at 7:30pm. The amendment bylaw also makes some technical amendments removing language pertaining to commissions no longer in use in the City.

Council really should be ashamed for this action as it forces seniors' to rush through dinner or skip it until later in order to attend a Council meeting to which they have a interest in. If we truly respect what seniors' do for our community including volunteering then Council should be meeting at 7:00pm at the earliest or 7:30pm as it has been for years. This would also be keeping with the public interest which requires that Council consult or meet at a reasonable hour which I believe Council meeting at 6:00pm would be unreasonable for most if not all of the public

In addition, Councillor Montoya mentioned that meetings were starting at 7:30pm and ending by 10:00pm. This reminds me of the time that the CRD Area 'H' Director complained of long CRD Board Meetings' until Area 'G' Director Al Richmond reminded the Board that it agreed to it and if they don't like it then they should resign and let someone else do the work. If Councillor Montoya doesn't like the long hours at night dealing with Council business, then she should resign and let someone else, who doesn't complain, do the work of the community, no matter how many hours it takes.

Further to this, Council has agreed to authorize electronic Council meetings with the provision that it can be used no more than 4 times per year and no more than 2 Council members can participate electronically. In my opinion, this amendment is contrary to a Council member's ability to do his/her job. As long as a physical quorum (4 Council members) can be established, then there should be no reason to restrict how many make use of this feature and how many times per year that a Council member uses this feature. I don't believe Mayor Cook when she states the reason for this is to limit the consistent use of this feature. I believe that all Council members will be reasonable and attend meetings whenever possible and when they can't, they should be allowed to use this tool in order to serve the public to which they were elected (Note - I've submitted a letter to the Tribune calling on the community to ask Council to think long and hard about these amendments to the Council Procedure Bylaw before proceeding formally)

2) 2010 Budget

Councillor Rathor voted for a 2nd year in a row against the City's Annual Budget. He cited various increases in other costs (HST, Hydro, Terasen Gas, etc) as to why he couldn't support this year's budget.

I find it surprising that City Staff did not recommend a date for a Public Consultation Meeting for the Budget. I think that the 2010-2014 Financial Plan should be submitted to a meeting for the public's perusal prior to adoption by WL Council.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

WL Council Meeting Highlights - April 6th, 2010


Mayor Cook and Councillors Barr, Bourdon, Montoya, Rathor, Walters and Zacharias

Staff Present:

B. Carruthers - CAO
R. Schill - Corporate Services Records Coordinator
G. Goodall - GM of Planning & Operations
D. Lazzarin - GM of Corporate Services
T. Chung - Manager of IT
A. Burill - Manager of Social Development

Meeting called to order at 7:30pm
Minutes of March 23, 2010 Council meeting approved


Ms. MacLise was presented with a Community Spirit Award from Mayor Cook

Audrey MacLise presented information on Seniors Issues to Council including:

• Number of Seniors’ in Williams Lake & Area
• Status of Housing Options for Seniors’ in Williams Lake & Area
• Convert Cariboo Lodge back to Seniors’ Use


1) Council gave 1st, 2nd, and 3rd reading to City of WL Officers Bylaw #2095, 2010
2) Council authorized Mayor Cook, CAO Brian Carruthers, and City Councillors Bourdon, Barr, Rathor to attend the NCLGA (North Central Local Government Association) AGM and Convention on May 5th – 7th, 2010 in Smithers, BC
3) Council gave 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Reading to 2010-2014 Financial Plan Bylaw #2107, 2010 – Councillor Rathor was opposed
4) Council gave 2nd Reading to OCP Amendment Bylaw #2112, 2010 (Text Amendments to Infrastructure Policies – Water/Sewer). A Public Hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, April 20th, 2010 at 7:00pm in Council Chambers
5) Council approved the 2010/11 Annual Operating Agreement with BC Transit and the Lakers Go Bus Society
6) Council approved 2 Airport Leases with Sarver Wood Fibre Ltd & Seibert Investments Ltd
7) Council gave 1st Reading to Zoning Amendment Bylaw #2116, 2010 (MacKay Electric Ltd). Bylaw #2116 will now be referred to the City’s Advisory Planning Commission for comment/recommendations
8) Council authorized a Remedial Action Resolution for 123 & 127 Lakeview Avenue (Patricia Henderson & William/Sharon Whitely)
9) Council declined the request of the Northern Medical Programs Trust for a pledge from the City of Williams Lake to raise $312,280 for the Northern Medical Programs Trust and to join the Trust.
10) Council approved the proposed rental fees for the Potters Guild, Spinners & Weavers and Artists Society to occupy allocated space within the new Central Cariboo Arts Centre (old Fire Hall)
11) Council adopted Bylaws #2113 (Water Works Amendment Bylaw), 2114 (Sewer Works Management Amendment Bylaw) and 2115 (Solid Waste & Recyclables)
12) Council gave notice of its’ intention to amend Council Procedure Bylaw #1940, 2004. The Amendment Bylaw will be considered by Council at its’ Tuesday, April 20th, 2010 meeting
13) Council received for information:

CRD Board Highlights from their March 26th meeting
• Letter from BC Achievement Foundation advising that Audrey MacLise was selected as one of 44 recipients of the British Columbia Community Achievement Award. Mayor Cook will be in attendance at the Award Ceremony on April 28th in Victoria, BC
• Letter from Barkerville Heritage Trust on how Barkerville may be of assistance in furthering our relations with China and developing strategies to engage Chinese markets
• Letter from Burnaby City Council on lack of consultation from Government of Canada on trade agreements

14) Council gave approval for the Annual Williams Lake Stampede Parade on Saturday, July 3, 2010 at 10:00 a.m. City Council will also participate in this Parade

Information/Announcements by Council Members:

Mayor and Council made announcements on issues/events on-going in the City

Meeting adjourned at 9:20pm and reconvened In-Camera in accordance with Section 90 (1a) of the Community Charter

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Local Government Meetings in Cariboo-Chilcotin - Week of April 5th - 9th

There is only 1 Local Government meeting this week in the Cariboo-Chilcotin:

Tuesday, April 6th - City of Williams Lake

Regular Meeting #7 of 2010

The reports being considered by Council at this meeting can be seen here

Enjoy the Easter long weekend and please travel safely to your destination

Letter to Mayor and Council on Bylaw 2091 (Bylaw to amend Council Procedure Bylaw #1940, 2004)

This morning, I sent a letter to Mayor and Council - City of Williams Lake on concerns I have with Bylaw #2091 (Bylaw to amend Council Procedure Bylaw #1940, 2004). For my blog readers' information, see the letter in full below:

UPDATE - I've asked Mayor Cook, at our meeting this morning, to include in revisions to Council Procedure Bylaw # 1940, 2004;

i) Posting of Meeting Notices on City's Website
ii) Move Delegations to Committee of the Whole and keep presentations at Council Meetings'

Dear Mayor Cook & Council

Re: Amendments to Council Procedure Bylaw #1940, 2004

At the Tuesday, March 30th, 2010 Committee of the Whole Council meeting, the Committee considered a report from the City’s Legislative Services Manager on draft amendments to Council Procedure Bylaw #1940, 2004 with an attached draft of Bylaw #2091 (Bylaw of the City of Williams Lake to amend Council Procedure Bylaw #1940, 2004)

Consequently, the Committee agreed to provide Council with the following recommendation:

“THAT Council give public notice of its intention to amend Council Procedure Bylaw No. 1940, 2004, pursuant to Section 124 of the Community Charter”

In anticipation of Council adopting the above recommendation at its’ April 6th, 2010 meeting, I wish to provide some concerns I have with Bylaw #2091 and hope that this Council will take this concerns into consideration when you consider Bylaw #2091, 2010 at your April 20th, 2010 meeting

Concerns with Bylaw #2091:

1) Change Council Meeting time to 6:00pm

I was very disappointed to hear Mayor Cook & City Councillors Bourdon, Montoya and Zacharias express a view that because members of the public do not now show up for a Council meeting, then that is sufficient cause to change the Council meeting start time to 6:00pm, in addition to making it convenient for both them and City Staff

However, I am of the view that this change is the act of an “elitist” Council who only wishes to make this change in order to accommodate the Mayor & City Councillors’ lives and that is really unfortunate because I suspect that the next Council will want to review this in order that the 6:00pm meeting time is consistent with the “public interest” and it be moved back to 7:00 or 7:30pm. Another question that I have is – is this Council going to also move the start time of Public Hearings to suit their schedule?

2) Electronic Meetings

Under Bylaw #2091, it is proposed that a new Section 7A be added however, I really am very concerned with sub-section 5 under Section 7A which reads:

5) A member of council or a council committee participating electronically in a council or council committee meeting may do so a maximum of four times per calendar year

The above, in my view, is a 100% restriction on a member of Williams Lake City Council to do the job to which they were elected and they should not have any reasonable impediment to do their job and I respectfully request that this particular sub-section be removed otherwise a member of Council would have grounds to raise a point of privilege claiming that sub-section 5 of Section 7A is a complete restriction on their ability to do their job.

A member of Williams Lake City Council should be allowed to make use of electronic means in order to carry out their office, whether they are sick or away on City business, and no matter how many times they wish to make use of it provided that a physical quorum takes place at the meeting

Otherwise, the other amendments that Bylaw #2091 seeks to make to the City’s Council Procedure Bylaw are good ones and ones that I support wholeheartedly

In conclusion, I ask you to consider amending Bylaw #2091 as per above to ensure the amendments to the City’s Council Procedure Bylaw are good ones

Respectfully yours,

Steve Forseth