Monday, February 28, 2011

New Waiver Form for Drop-In Classes at local Rec Complex

From the City of Williams Lake:

Beginning Monday, February 28th, the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex (CMRC) will be asking all fitness patrons to complete a waiver form when they purchase daily, 10 drop-in or monthly passes. In addition, patrons who sign up for swim lessons and other recreation programs will complete waivers for their classes.

Waiver forms must be completed at the CMRC Administration Office at the time of payment. The completion of waiver forms reflects requirements outlined by the City of Williams Lake’s insurance provider.

"Our goal is to bring clarity and consistency to our waiver form process. We are committed to ensuring that the administration of this process is as simple and convenient as possible for our patrons," says Deborah Radolla, Manager of Active Living

You can contact Ms. Radolla for more information at or phone 250-398-7665

City of WL Budget Meeting - Thursday, March 10th at 6pm

From the City of Williams Lake:  I'll have a follow-up blog entry on this subject Tuesday

City Council has endorsed a preliminary 2011 budget and wants to hear from the public at an information meeting that will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 10 at City Council Chambers. Residents are encouraged to attend to learn more about the City’s budgeting process and to share their views on the proposed budget.

The budget proposes a three per cent (3%) increase in taxation over 2010, which is necessary to address general inflationary costs and increases to the RCMP contract, solid waste management, negotiated salaries and debt servicing. Growth in the tax base and utilization of general surplus funds have helped to offset the need for a higher tax increase. The budget does not propose any increases in water or sewer rates or any new borrowing.

The capital budget includes funding for upgrades to the traffic signals at 3
rd Avenue and Oliver Street, final design for Woodland Drive water and sewer services, completion of dewatering the City’s wastewater treatment lagoons, Phase II of the River Valley Trail stormwater system, irrigation at the Boitanio Park bike park; and the relocation of Station House Gallery.

The operating budget contains initiatives to undertake a City branding process; a citizen survey; a solid waste education program; and establishment of a pavement management reserve account.

"Council wants to hear from residents on this budget," says Mayor Kerry Cook. "I encourage everyone to come out, ask questions, and find out how your tax  dollars are being spent. We welcome concerns, questions, and ideas at the public information meeting before we finalize the budget."

A 2011 budget information package will be available for the public by March 4, 2011. Under the Community Charter, the City’s financial plan and property tax rates must be adopted by May 15th of each year.

WL Council meets in Committee of the Whole on Tuesday

WL Council will be meeting in Committee of the Whole on Tuesday.  - I apologize to my blog readers as the City didn't have their Committee of the Whole Agenda until today (Monday, Feb 28th) when it is usually uploaded by 4:30pm Friday prior to the meeting

See the Agenda/Reports here

Saturday, February 26, 2011

35th Premier of BC Christy Clark

As most know - Christy Clark surivived 3 rounds of voting to become the 35th Premier of BC and the new BC Liberal Party Leader

See here and here for media coverage.  Interesting story on Fight HST people protesting in front of the Vancouver Convention Center where BC Liberals' gathered to hear the selection of the next BC Liberal Party Leader and 35th Premier of BC.  See here

Congratulations to all of the candidates and their supporters for a hard fought battle and a job well done.  I had friends inside the BC Liberal family who supported other candidates but now it's time to come together to unite against the one thing that would be bad for BC - Same Old NDP and I look forward to this occurring as quickly as possible as 2013 or sooner can sneak up on us very quickly (date of next provincial election).  But for Christy Clark tonight, it is a chance to celebrate and thank all of her supporters/campaign workers for their hard work during the campaign

Mike Smyth from the Vancouver Province in his Sunday column which I have a copy of gives his take
on Ms. Clark's win as the 35th Premier of BC and BC Liberal Party Leader - see here

Help needed for local Science World event - March 5th

CRD Area 'D' Director Deb Bischoff has advised me of the following:

Help!  Williams Lake (TRU) Science World Free
Family event scheduled for March 5th needs volunteers.  Some students from Columneetza have backed out.  If you can help please contact:  Jo-Ann Coggan, Manager, Science World Community Engagement

If you can help - I'm sure it would be greatly appreciated as I know lots of families in Williams Lake took in this event the last time it was in Williams Lake.  Please help if you can!!


BC Liberal Party Leadership Vote today

Today, roughly 90,000 BC Liberal Party members, including myself, will be voting to select a new BC Liberal Party Leader and 35th Premier of BC.  Voting is to take place via the Internet and phone until 5pm today (this may be extended if people are still casting votes by 5pm).  I just voted myself for my selection as follows:

1) Christy Clark
2) Kevin Falcon
3) George Abbott
4) Mike De Jong

It takes two minutes to complete and you get a say in the 35th Premier of British Columbia.  If you didn't get a PIN for today's vote - phone 1-888-281-8683 or to get one (provided you are a BC Liberal Party member)

Good luck to all of the candidates and their supporters. But we're all winners at the end of the day!! because any of the 4 Candidates would make a Great Premier of BC over the "same old NDP" :)

Interesting Comment on City Finances

Yesterday, after blogging on the Station House Gallery coming to the March 8th WL Council meeting, I received the following comment (I should note that Councillors Barr and Bourdon with Mayor Cook sit on Council's General Governance Committee and not Councillor Rathor who sits on both the Planning and Operations & Community Services Committee):

I am being sarcastic when i say " why can't they just move the gallery" after
all the costs will not result in an increase in can just be absorbed
by the operational budget. Isn't that how the City finances are managed? Then we
can always learn from the mistake again, and again and again.

Mayor Cook, Councillors Zacharias, Bourdon and Hebert have shown no concern over the City of
Williams Lake financial expenditures...why start now (again I am being
sarcastic). I am curious as to why there is still no City Budget posted on the
website. How is anyone supposed to be informed before hand. Another concern I
have in light of the Mayors recent trip and recent much money is
spent on Council's and staff travel. How much is required. how much is desired?
most communities just allow for staff to attend one conference a year (not
counting those that are required for maintaining qualifications). I recent
report showed that management staff travelled the most...they do not need to
take courses to maintain they? I see we compared outselves
to other communites in a recent per diem report. Can it be posted how much is
spent on travel compared (percentage wise) to other communities.

We have  recently received some positive news about potential economic growth...I pray to
god that City Hall and Council do not see this as a way to justify the poor
financial management that is currently occuring. There truly needs to be some
people who are civic minded to either stand up and give current Mayor and
Council a run for their money and also to keep spending in check.

Someone should also investigate and expose the following:

How much money taxpayers put out in severance pay since Mayor Cook and the current CAO came to
work with each much money is spent sending staff on more then one
conference a year. Are we indeed funding the CAO's accreditation costs?Why did
the Firehall project manager get away with not submitting reports for at least
two of the months during the project. what is the physical calculation of the
wages involved in the oversight committee. The tourism grant status (did we get
that final $24,000 and if not why). Also why is that not being posted anywhere,
why has it not been brought up in Council. Who is running the show

I challenge Mayor Cook,and CAO Carruthers to explain this to the
taxpayers and I challenge them to do so in an open and transparent manner with
facts supporting their report. Councillor Barr - you sit on the
Governance Committee, you eem to show some concern...act on that concern.
It is only fair to those of us who have no opportunity.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Public Battle on Station House Gallery Move heats up

Today on the Station House Gallery "Facebook" Page, the following was posted:

Postcards are around town and at the Gallery - please sign one to show your support of MOVING IT OR LOSING IT (the Station House, that is). Or, write a letter to City Council and join us at the March 8th Council meeting at 6pm. Please contact us if you have any questions

It will be an interesting March 8th WL Council Meeting as the above indicates that the Station House Gallery is intending to appear as a delegation to aggressively push for the move of the Station House Gallery from the bottom of Oliver St and Mackenzie Avenue to a new home which could include the overflow parking lot owned currently by the Royal Bank. 

Some questions asked by community members include why not add to the existing Central Cariboo Arts and Culture Center (former City of WL Fire Hall)?  And will moving the Station House Gallery equate to their survival?  Keep in mind - the local Museum received $750,000 in face lifts and that hasn't translated to increased foot traffic at the Museum.  Expect WL City Councillor and Chair of WL Council's General Governance Committee Tom Barr to continue to be concerned about the move and whether or not at the end of the day that it makes financial sense and given the budget overrun at the new Fire Hall, strictly from a political sense - WL Council should be very careful right now on taking on new major projects.  The Station House Gallery move budget is estimated at $500,000 which includes a "Towns for Tomorrow" grant and there's no guarantee that the City will get the grant and there is no identified "Plan B" if the City does not get the provincial grant

WL Council, in light of community concerns over the budget overrun on the Fire Hall, should proceed with this project with extreme caution.  Failure to do so will see a majority of this Council including Mayor Cook turfed from office with less than 10 months to go before the Nov 19th civic election

Quesnel Council & CRD Board Meets next week

Quesnel Council will be meeting on Monday at 7pm in Quesnel Council Chambers (410 Kinchant St).  See the Reports/Agenda here

The Cariboo Regional District Board of Directors' will be meeting on Wednesday at 9:30am in the CRD Boardroom (Suite D - 180 North 3rd Avenue).  See the Agenda/Reports here

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Christy Clark and Provincial Debt

Yesterday, Christy Clark was in Williams Lake drumming up support for her campaign for BC Liberal Party Leader and 35th Premier of BC and I discussed my concern about the provincial debt of $60 billion, (yes that "B" as in 60 Billion) and the need to think about this while contemplating future projects.  She stated that her top priority is to balance the provincial budget ASAP and future projects will be considered with the provincial debt in mind.  Failure to do so will cause BC Liberals' political grief in the next election, whenever it occurs as BC Liberals' partially got into office on criticizing the BC NDP on the doubling of the provincial debt from 18 to 34 Billion in 10 years during 1991-2001.  As a society, we should not borrow and spend today and put that cost to service the debt on future governments, which may bind them in terms of how to finance the province's two biggest public services - Health Care and Education

See here for a picture of Christy Clark in front of the provincial debt clock (courtesy of the Canadian Taxpayers' Federation)

Donna Barnett backs George Abbott

In today's 100 Mile Free Press - Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett has now decided to support George Abbott as her 1st choice for BC Liberal Party Leader and 35th Premier of BC and Kevin Falcon #2.  With that - she becomes the 20th MLA to back George Abbott's campaign.  Mr. Abbott now commands a whopping 43% support in the BC Liberal Caucus in his bid to become the BC Liberal Party Leader and 35th Premier of BC

See the story here

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My 2nd Choice for BC Liberal Party Leader

As most know already - on Saturday, it is my intention to vote for Christy Clark as my number one choice for the BC Liberal Party Leader and 35th Premier of BC however at the Feb 12th special BC Liberal Party Convention, delegates approved a change which requires that each of the roughly 90,000 BC Liberal Party members signify their 1st and 2nd Choice for BC Liberal Party Leader.  Failure to do so means that your ballot will not count

As such - BC Liberal Party members' now must decide who they'll vote for a 2nd choice.  Earlier today, both Kevin Falcon and Christy Clark was in town to drum up support for their campaigns from the estimated 1,400 BC Liberal Party members' in Cariboo-Chilcotin.  Kevin Falcon's 2nd stop in Williams Lake was compelling for me as a party supporter to vote for him as my 2nd choice as many of the things he spoke to (HST, economic development, etc) are things that I personally support.  Although his leadership style is not entirely to my liking - I'm impressed enough that I will give him my number two choice. 

At this point - I can't support either George Abbott or Mike De Jong as I believe they don't bring the kind of vision or skill-set required to take on the re-energized BC NDP when they elect their leader on April 17th


Budget Meeting #2 - City of Williams Lake

Williams Lake Council will be having its 2nd Budget Meeting for the 2011 Budget Year on Thursday, February 24th at 6:00pm in Committee Room #1 for anyone whose interested in attending and seeing what Council is considering as it develops the 2011 Budget for public consideration/input in early March


WL Council Meeting Highlights - Feb 22nd meeting

Present: Mayor Cook and Councillors’ G. Bourdon, SPS Rathor, and S. Zacharias
Absent: Councillors Tom Barr, Natalie Hébert and Laurie Walters

Staff Present:

Brian Carruthers - CAO
Wendy Dahlman – Corporate Services Clerk
Ken MacInnis – Communications Coordinator
Geoff Goodall – General Manager of Planning and Operations
Annie McKitrick – Acting Manager of Social Development

Meeting called to order at 6:00pm
Minutes of Feb 8th, 2011 WL Council meeting approved


1) Craig Lodge from Pinnacle Pellet appeared before Council to lay out their 2011 plans for improvements to noise and dust issues

2) Jay Goddard from the Social Planning Council appeared before Council to discuss their recent activities including working on a “Living Wage”

3) LeRae Haynes from “Success By Six” appeared before Council to discuss early childhood activities in the City of Williams Lake


1) Council adopted two Recommendations from the Central Cariboo Joint Committee as follows:

a) Council awarded PepsiCo Canada a five-year contract to provide a Soft Drink Vending Machine at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex
b) Council agreed that a Grant for Assistance in the amount of $2,600 be provided to the Williams Lake Cycling Club subject to providing additional information regarding other fundraising activities and further, that the amount be divided as follows: $780 from Cariboo Regional District and $1,820 from City of Williams Lake

2) Council received a report from the City’s Manager of Human Resources regarding 2011 Student Employment with the City

3) Council approved the hiring of Peak Solutions Consulting Inc. to complete an Industry Attraction Strategy for the price of $25,000 including HST with the project to be completed by March 31st, 2011

4) Council approved DVP #1-2011 (Joy and Carl Hennig)

5) Council received the attached draft of Creating Our Future - City of Williams Lake Official Community Plan public engagement plan for information

6) Council authorized the Mayor and Corporate Officer to sign the CN "Change of Status From Private to Public" agreement for the grade level crossing at Mile 314.34 which is the current City access to the snow dump and public access to the river valley trail system (bottom of Comer Street and Mackenzie Avenue)

7) Council gave approval for the Annual Nutrition Fun Run on Sunday, April 3rd, 2011 and Council encouraged the community to come and participate

8) Council received a letter from the Hon. Mary Polak (BC Minister of Children and Families) regarding 2011 Child Care Award of Excellence and the community was encouraged to nominate an individual or facility

9) Council received an email from Science World regarding “Science World on the Road & Community Science Celebration” at Thompson Rivers University and in Williams Lake next week (Feb 28 – March 5th)

10) Council approved a “Special Occasion Liquor License” for the WL Indoor Rodeo on April 15-`17, 2011 subject to RCMP approval

11) Council encouraged the community to attend the City’s 82nd birthday party at the local Museum on Tuesday, March 15th from 11am – 2pm

12) Council proclaimed 4 events in Williams Lake:

a) Day of the Honey Bee – May 29th, 2011
b) French Immersion Week – Feb 28th – March 6th, 2011
c) Pay It Forward Day – April 28th, 2011
d) Community Social Services Awareness Month – March 2011

13) Council received the “Council Information Package” as of Feb 22nd, 2011

Council adjourned at 7:20pm and convened an In-Camera Meeting in accordance with Sections 90(1)(a) and (b) of the Community Charter

Monday, February 21, 2011

City of WL Mayor responds to Taseko Mines's revised proposal for Prosperity Mine

From the City of Williams Lake:

Williams Lake Mayor Kerry Cook today welcomed the news that Taseko Mines Ltd. has submitted a revised project description for the Prosperity mine to the federal government.

“I’m very pleased that Taseko is moving ahead on this project,’ Mayor Cook says. “This new proposal keeps Fish Lake intact, and this new design proposal adds another $300 million to the already huge amount of expenditures we can expect to see the mine contribute to our economy.”

The new submission to the government reduces environmental impacts, preserves Fish Lake and its aquatics, and enables all mine operations and related components to be contained within one single watershed, an important feature of the original design.

“My hope is that the government will consider the large amount of information in the original submission in addition to this new proposal, and that a decision about how it will be reviewed is made promptly,” Cook says. “This project is very important to the economy of the City and the region, and we want to see it proceed.

“There’s an opportunity here to learn from the past,” Cooks says. “I hope that the project can move forward in such a way that addresses the concerns raised during the Environmental Assessment process.

“As always, the City is willing to work to bring all parties to the table to address concerns as the government considers and decides on this new proposal.”

Editor's Note -   Mayor Cook would be better off to defend the interests of the City of Williams Lake for this project and let others bring their own perspectives to the table.  It is clear that local First Nations and environmentalists will oppose the revised Prosperity Mine proposal.  Mayor Cook would also do her re-election bid a better chance of success if she quit being a "fence-sitter" and being a "hold hands and sing Kumbaya" Mayor and start being a Mayor who "defends Williams Lake and damn the consequences"


Central Cariboo Search and Rescue elects its' 2011 Executive

On Tuesday, February 8, 2011 Central Cariboo Search and Rescue (CCSAR) held their annual general meeting. Both the Land SAR and Auto-Extrication teams had their busiest year over the last five years.

Auto-Ex Assistant Chief, Cody Grier, stated that their team not only had their highest call volume, but they were also presented with situations that demanded the highest use of their skills.

Land SAR Assistant Chief, Grant McPherson, shared that Land SAR not only had the highest number of call outs this year, but that the team also had three tasks going at once on two different occasions.

As the meeting progressed, and before elections, reports for 2010 were given regarding communication equipment updates and repairs, updating and replacement of general equipment, membership, safety, operational guidelines, upcoming training dates, and the budget. SAR Chief, Allen Schaad, who is one year into his three year term, then lead members through the process of electing the executive for 2011 with the following results:

• Search and Rescue Deputy Chief – Rick White
• Auto Extrication Assistant Chief – Cody Grier
• Auto Extrication Training Office – Blair Engel
• Land SAR Assistant Chief – Grant McPherson
• Land SAR Training Officers – Steve Richburg (Assistant - Tami Hampton)
• Safety Officer – Paul Airey
• Electronic Communications – Hal Giles (Assistant – Corbin Bartley)
• Equipment – Don Trim
• Secretary – Jaye Bryan
• Social Coordinator – Kathy MacDonald
• Membership – Nick van Helsdingen
• Public Relations Officer – Kim Zalay

For more information about Central Cariboo Search and Rescue or to join the unit, visit CCSAR online at or email or contact 250-398-5445

What Does Central Cariboo Search and Rescue Do?

This past Saturday morning, while most people were adding another log to the fire, pouring another hot chocolate, and deciding what to do indoors on such a cold day, members of the Cariboo Regional District’s Central Cariboo Search and Rescue (CCSAR) unit went swimming!

Flat ice rescue is one of the technical roles that selected volunteers practise for and hope they never need to do. CCSAR member, and Flat Ice Rescue Instructor, Garth Wakelam lead four currently certified members in helping to provide the newest Ice Rescue Team member Kathy MacDonald, an opportunity to practise her flat ice rescue skills.

Members used the thin ice on the edge of the aerator on Dewar Lake to simulate the rescue of a person having fallen through thin ice. Thanks to the Miocene Fire Department for the use of their fire hall as a warm place to change gear after the training session.

With the cold temperatures recently experienced throughout the Cariboo, many of the lakes are relatively safe right now, but care is still required at lake inlet and outlets where the natural current causes the ice to be thin.

For more information about Central Cariboo Search and Rescue or to join the unit, visit CCSAR online at or email or contact 250-398-5445.

Taseko submits new Prosperity Mine Plan & BC Liberal Candidates in Williams Lake

1) Prosperity Mine

Earlier today, Taseko Mines announced that they have submitted a revised plan for Prosperity Mine, west of Williams Lake.  See the story here from Welcome to Williams Lake

2) BC Liberal Party Leadership Candidates in Williams Lake

Tomorrow (Tuesday) and Wednesday - 3 of the 4 BC Liberal Party Leadership Candidates will be in Williams Lake drumming up support from the local 1,400 BC Liberal Party members.  Find below the details for when/where the candidates will be in Williams Lake:

Kevin Falcon:

When - 11:30am - 12:30am Tuesday
Where - Pioneer Complex (351 Hodgson Road - up from the new City of WL Fire Hall)

Christy Clark:

When - 1:00pm - 2:00pm Tuesday
Where - Pioneer Complex (351 Hodgson Road - up from the new City of WL Fire Hall)

George Abbott:

When - 10:30am - 11:30am Wednesday
Where - Pioneer Complex (351 Hodgson Road - up from the new City of WL Fire Hall)

If you are a local BC Liberal Party member like myself - I urge you to get out and talk with the candidates about your issues/concerns and decide which of the 4 Candidates will get your vote.  At this point, there is no information that Mike De Jong will be making a final visit to the Cariboo-Chilcotin prior to Saturday's vote


Friday, February 18, 2011

Upcoming Public Consultation Schedule for new City of WL OCP

On Tuesday, City Staff will report to WL Council on a proposed Public Consultation Schedule for the City of Williams Lake new OCP (Official Community Plan) as follows:

Confirmed Presentation Dates:

Feb 22nd - Present "Local Ecosystems" portion of Draft OCP to WL Conservation Society
Feb 23rd - Present "Local Food" portion of Draft OCP to Food Policy Council
Feb 25th - Present entire OCP to "Moving Leaders Forward" group
Feb 28th - Present "Social Well-Being" portion of Draft OCP to Social Planning Council
Month of March - Present entire OCP to Rotary and WL Construction Association
March 7th - Present entire OCP to Accessibility Committee
March 7th - Present "Arts, Culture and Heritage" portion of draft OCP to local Museum Board of Directors
March 17th  - Present "Lively Downtown" portion of draft OCP to local BIA (Business Improvement Area)

There is also plans to present portions of the Draft OCP to various community groups or City Advisory Committees in the short term - March or April 2011. There will also be a luncheon with local developers to discuss the Draft OCP as well as a "Open House" for the public on the new OCP in March.  In addition, City Staff will be out in the community promoting the new OCP for comment at the local library, grocery stores, etc, also during March

A formal adoption schedule has been proposed to Council as follows:

Feb 28th, 2011 - Legal Review

April 19th, 2011  - 1st Reading of City Draft OCP (City's Financial Plan to be presented for 3 Readings on the same night).  Referral Letters to government agencies to occur for formal comment on April 21st, 2011

May 3rd, 2011 - Draft OCP presented to City's Advisory Planning Commission for comment/recommendations to Council

May 4th, 2011 - Public Consultation Meeting (Draft WL OCP)

May 10th, 2011 - Council gives 2nd Reading to Draft OCP

June 7th, 2011 - Council holds Public Hearing on City's Draft OCP

June 21st, 2011 - Council gives 3rd Reading and Adoption to the new OCP

You can read the full City Staff report from Lilliana Dragowska, ICSP Coordinator here

Local Media & 2011 Civic Election - City of Kamloops

Earlier today, Kamloops Daily News reporter Michele Young wrote a story on the upcoming civic election in Kamloops and asked some former candidates for Kamloops Council if they'll seek election later this year & speculated who on Kamloops Council is most likely to run and those who are most likely to seek election (best tell-tale sign - who attends Council or Regional District Board Meetings or who writes the most "letters to the editor" to the local newspapers).  See the story here

I'd like to see the local media do the same here in the next little while, if for nothing else - it will promote the idea that we, as a community, need people to see that running for local government offices (Cities of Williams Lake/Quesnel, Districts of 100 Mile and Wells and the Cariboo Regional District) truly is a noble calling in life


Local Gov't Meetings in Cariboo-Chilcotin: Week of Feb 21-25

There are a number of local government meetings in the Cariboo-Chilcotin this upcoming week:

Monday, Feb 21st, 2011 - City of Quesnel:

Delegation/Committee of the Whole Session which starts at 7:00pm in Quesnel Council Chambers (410 Kinchant Street)

See the Agenda/Reports here

Tuesday, Feb 22nd, 2011 - School District #27

Regular Board Meeting which starts at 7:00pm in the Board of Education Boardroom (2nd Avenue - besides Marie Sharpe Elementary School)

See the Agenda/Reports here

Tuesday, Feb 22nd, 2011 - District of 100 Mile House

Regular Council Meeting which starts at 7:00pm in 100 Mile House Council Chambers (385 Birch Ave)

Tuesday, Feb 22nd, 2011 - City of Williams Lake

Regular Council Meeting which starts at 6:00pm in WL Council Chambers (450 Mart St)

See the Agenda/Reports here

BC NDP fears Kevin Falcon as BC Premier

In a interesting move - the BC NDP have started a "Are you Falcon Kidding Me" website to remind the public of what a Premier Falcon would be like (ie - Gordon Campbell gov't).  As Jordan Bateman (Township of Langley Councillor and Co-Blogger at LangleyPolitics.Com) tweeted this morning, the NDP must be really scared to lose in 2013 if Kevin Falcon is Premier next Saturday for them to do this

See the website here

See the Vancouver Province story here

Fire on Frizzi Rd

From the City of Williams Lake:

The Williams Lake Fire Department responded to a fire at 4019 Frizzi Road Thursday afternoon with three pieces of apparatus and 21 firefighters. Upon their arrival, fire was showing on the roof.

One male occupant of the home was taken to hospital by ambulance with smoke inhalation. Firefighters worked on the fire for two hours, and contained most damage to the roof area.

“It appears the fire started due to an improper chimney for a wood heater,” says Deputy Fire Chief Des Webster. There is no damage estimate available.  Webster reminds homeowners to ensure wood stoves and other heaters are installed according to manufacturer instructions or the Building Code.

“If there are any doubts about proper installation, people should call a wood stove inspectors to do an inspection.”

City of WL upgrades traffic lights for safety & accessbility

From the City of Williams Lake:

The City of Williams Lake has completed upgrades at the traffic lights of two intersections; adding a feature that informs pedestrians when it is safe to cross the street, and which street is safe to cross.
At the intersection of 2nd Avenue and Oliver Street and 8th Avenue and Oliver Street, a voice will inform pedestrians “Oliver. Walk sign is on to cross Oliver,” as an example.

“Late last summer, the City did a complete upgrade of the traffic lights at 2nd and Oliver, adding street lights to all four corners, adding efficient LED lights, adding cameras to assist in tracking traffic flow, and an audio signal for pedestrian crossing,” says Director of Municipal Services Kevin Goldfuss. “This intersection and the one at 8th and Oliver are now even safer for pedestrians, especially those who are sight impaired.” The system is activated by pressing the buttons on the poles at the corners of the intersections.

“We are always looking for ways to make our city more accessible,” says Councillor Sue Zacharias, who chairs the City’s Planning and Operations Committee. “I’m pleased we’ve been able to make these two busy intersections even safer.”

A further audio upgrade to the intersection of Hodgson Road and South Lakeside Drive will be made this spring.

Mayor Cook congratulates Taseko Mines for expansion at Gibraltar Mines

From the City of Williams Lake:

City of Williams Lake Mayor Kerry Cook today applauded the announcement by Taseko Mines Ltd. that expansion to the Gibraltar Mine, north of the city, will invest hundreds of millions of dollars in expansion, creating jobs both during and after construction.

“This is great news for Williams Lake and the region,” Cook says. “We welcome the jobs this expansion will bring – an expected 350 to 400 jobs during the peak of construction, and 140 direct jobs and about 300 indirect jobs afterward.”

Taseko Mines Ltd. announced earlier this week that it will increase capacity at the mine, building a 30,000 ton per day concentrator and increasing the mine’s annual copper production to 180 million pounds from 120 million pounds. Capital costs are expected to total $325 million; $235 million for the concentrator and a molybdenum plant, and $90 million for additional mining equipment. Construction is expected to begin this spring, and to take approximately 20 months. The mine currently employs 474 people, with approximately 83% of wages being paid in Williams Lake, and approximately 93% of wages being paid in the Cariboo. It is expected the newly created jobs will see a similar wage distribution.

The average mining salary in B.C. is more than $100,000 a year.

“Gibraltar has been an important economic driver and employer since it was re-opened in 2004, and now it will invest even more and create more jobs in the area – this is a positive development that we need to celebrate,” says Mayor Cook.

End of Week News Wrap Up

In Williams Lake:

* Taseko Mines announces expansion plans at Gibraltar Mines, near McLeese Lake - see here
* Cariboo MLA's give their take on the 2011 Provncial Budget - see here
* The local Social Planning Council reports on living wage standards in the Williams Lake area - see

In Quesnel:

* Quesnel Councillor Sushil Thapar questions Mayor Sjostrom & Councillors' Coralee Oakes and Laurey-Anne Roodenburg upcoming hotel expenses for the UBCM Convention in September.  Read here and here.  Read Mayor Sjostrom's response here

Editor's Note - I think that how Councillor Thapar handled this issue is deplorable and is quite frankly conduct unbecoming a Quesnel City Councillor. If he was truly concerned about Mayor Sjostrom and Quesnel Councillors' Coralee Oakes/L-A Roodenburg's expenses, instead of scoring cheap political points in the media, he could have and should have contacted Mayor Sjostrom personally and explained his concerns to her.  Finally - I believe Councillor Oakes has it right when she says this (from her Facebook page):

If you are going to judge me look at actual expenses vs what you think I might spend

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Local News Roundup - Tues Feb 15th edition

In the Williams Lake Tribune today:

* Old Sigurdson Sawmill near Hanceville to reopen this week - see here
* Central Cariboo Joint Committee approves $50,000 be spent on a RFP or Request for Proposals for a Indoor Turf Facility at the Comer Park, across from the TRU Campus on Western Avenue - see here
* BC NDP Leadership Candidate Harry Lali was in Williams Lake last week to discuss his hopes/desires for BC if he becomes the BC NDP Leader/Leader of the Opposition - see here
* Science World coming to Williams Lake in early March announced Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett - see here

Over at the Rush:

* Anti-HST forces have decided not to pursue a Recall Campaign against BC Liberal MLA Donna Barnett, in light of the recall failure in Oak Bay-Gordon Head and the slow start for the recall campaign in Kamloops-North Thompson.  See here

Quesnel Council Budget Meeting #3 Highlights

Budget 2011 process continues

Quesnel City Council met for the third time to discuss the 2011 budget.
The purpose of the meeting was for Council to:
Finalize the operating budget in principle.
Review the Capital project lists in detail.
Dollar figures or percentages referred to in Budget 2011 news are subject to change and should not be considered final until the budget process is complete.

Budget 2011 Pressures

As was the case last year, the City continues to face challenges with assessment. The City saw significant loss of its industrial assessment base, resulting in more than $325,000 in lost taxation revenue for 2011. There was also very little in the way of growth or new construction in 2010.

Operating Budget approved

Following the addition of some supplemental items, the operating budget was approved in principle by Council. A few items were added to the budget, such as new radios for Emergency Services and an increase to the asphalt patching budget of $25,000. Council also opted to add an utility employee to work in the water and sewer division. The costs for this employee are not paid for through taxation; they are funded through utility fees, so have no effect on property taxes.
Finally, Council opted to transfer $50,000 from the transit surplus to the operating budget to help offset some of the tax increase for 2011. As of last night, the average tax increase sits at between 5% and 5.5%, pending any final changes to the assessment role and any future Council decisions.
For details on debate, motions, and voting where the Operating budget is concerned, visit and click on the minutes and agendas link. This information will be posted as soon as it can be made available.

Capital Budget reviewed

Council reviewed the capital projects list for 2011, with department managers providing descriptions of each project.
The proposed general capital budget is $865,000. This does not include projects covered by reserve funds (such as major equipment or the Quesnel Works: Capital Reinvestment Program).
The projects deal with a wide range of City services, from improving City buildings such as the RCMP detachment, City Hall and the museum, to computer software, landfill and park improvements.
Staff rank each project to help Council evaluate them. Each project must be approved by Council, who will vote on capital items and spending at the March 7 budget meeting.

Quesnel Works

The Quesnel Works: Capital Reinvestment Program will again fund various infrastructure replacement projects in Quesnel. The program was launched in 2007, and was set as a separate levy on tax notices. Funding collected for Quesnel Works projects is spent only on infrastructure reinvestment.
Currently there is approximately $1.9 million in the reserve fund. Staff has presented $1.068 million in projects for Council to consider. These include projects like rehabilitating the 200 and 300 blocks of St. Laurent Avenue. (This $890,000 project was approved in 2010 but was delayed until this year.) Council will also review a list of various paving jobs throughout Quesnel. Council determines which jobs are completed with that $350,000 budget.
Council will also discuss the level of funding to be invested this year. About $900,000 on average is placed in the reserve each year.

Budget 2011 Points of interest

The average home assessment in Quesnel is $164,429 (up 4.4% from 2010).
If your assessment increased by more than 4.4%, you’d see a greater tax increase than the average number referred to throughout the City’s budget process. If your assessment increase was less than 4.4% you’d see an increase less than the average.
A 5.5% tax increase means the average house, whose assessment increased by the average of 4.4%, would be charged $33.52 more for municipal taxes in 2011 than 2010.
Each 1% tax increase equals approximately $125,000.

Next Budget meeting

March 7, 2011 - 7 p.m.
Quesnel Council Chambers (410 Kinchant Street)

Monday, February 14, 2011

CRD Board Meeting Highlights - Feb 11th

Interior Health

Allison Ruault, Health Service Administrator, Catherine Whitman and Deb Smith of Interior Health provided the Board with a brief update on issues relating to Interior Health in the Central Cariboo. An overview of the IH organizational structure, staffing levels and the recruitment of health care professionals, along with residential care services were topics of discussion. Further information about Interior Health is available online at

Community Works Funding for 108 Mile Ranch

The Cariboo Regional District will be supporting an application from the 108 Mile Ranch Community Association for up to $22,000 of Community Works Funding. The funds will be used to replace four old inefficient furnaces with new energy-efficient furnaces at the 108 Mile Ranch Community Hall. The replacements will improve the energy efficiency of the building, reduce green house gas emissions, and save money on heating costs.

NCLGA Resolutions

The Cariboo Regional District will be submitting resolutions to the annual North Central Local Government Association (NCLGA) annual general meeting and conference being held May 11 – 13, 2011. Some of the issues being considered include the implementation of an environmental fee in BC, rescinding the provincial ban of incandescent light bulbs, high speed and cell phone coverage for rural communities, invasive plants and the sale of nuisance alien species through horticultural centres are being considered. The CRD will also be re-submitting a resolution to support funding for the SPCA.

North Cariboo Multi-Centre

The Regional District Board endorsed a resolution from the North Cariboo Joint Planning Committee requesting an application for the North Cariboo Multi Centre to be submitted to the Northern Development Initiative Trust. The application is for a grant of $2 million with an additional $2 million, interest-free loan from the North Cariboo Regional Development Account under the Trust’s Economic Diversification program. The North Cariboo account currently has a balance of approximately $4.2 million, with $2.2 million available as grants and $2 million available as loans.

Heritage Week

February 21-27, 2011 is Heritage BC’s Heritage Week. In recognition of the 100th anniversary of B.C. Parks and Parks Canada, the theme for Heritage Week 2011 is "One Hundred Years of Conservation: Parks & Cultural Landscapes".

Forest Capital of Canada Update

On February 2, Members of Parliament, Dick Harris and Cathy McLeod, presented a gift basket of items donated by CRD Directors to Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada. All of the items were value‐added forest products from the Cariboo. The basket showcases the diversity of our forest land‐base, the unique use of pine beetle‐kill wood, and creates awareness for our Forest Capital program. A fundraiser was held on February 3 in Williams Lake to auction off the chainsaw carving from the CRD’s National Forest Week celebrations. The carving raised $500 for the Cariboo Growers Food Co‐op. The Forest Capital Committee is currently working to bring two renowned speakers to the region: Rob Kozak, Director of Forests and Communities in Transition and Department Head for Wood Science at the University of British Columbia, and Dave Leman of Resources North. Planning for a spring and fall lecture series is underway.

We Want To Hear From You!

Residents residing within the Central Cariboo Recreation Service Boundary are encouraged to fill out the Central Cariboo Community Recreation Survey. The survey is online at, with electronic links from the Recreation Services, City of Williams Lake, and Cariboo Regional District websites. Hard copies are also available at City Hall, Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex, and the Cariboo Regional District Williams Lake office. Residents can also email to receive an electronic copy. Survey results will be used to gather community feedback in order to properly plan future recreation opportunities within the Central Cariboo Recreation boundary. Information gathered through this survey will be utilized by elected officials to determine where resources should be allocated for the provision of recreation in our area. Your participation is vital in helping shape future recreation services in the Central Cariboo.

CCBAC Update

Hugh Flinton, Director of Community Economic Development, Mountain Pine Beetle Epidemic Response Division, Ministry of Regional Economic and Skills Development, appeared before the Board to provide an update on projects for the Cariboo Chilcotin Beetle Action Coalition. Further information on CCBAC and the current initiatives is available online at

Next Board Meeting

March 2, 2011

Sunday, February 13, 2011

City of WL CAO clears the air on Per Diem Rates at WL City Hall

Earlier this evening, I received the following clarification email from Brian Carruthers (City of WL Chief Administrator) on the Per Diem issue (raise from $60-68 to recover HST on meals). 

Please remember that it was Mayor Cook on the Rush who said this on Per Diems this past Thursday (Feb 11/2011):


From Brian Carruthers:

The Per Diem is remaining at $60/day. However, employees and Council will have the ability to claim an additional 12% for HST which is subsequently recovered by the City

Methinks it is not a good thing when the City CAO and City of WL Mayor can't keep their story straight on Per Diems or other issues when it is important that both the City CAO/Mayor are "singing from the same songsheet"


Saturday, February 12, 2011

BC Liberals endorse changes to their Party Constitution

Earlier today, BC Liberals delegates approved a change to require that each BC Liberal Party voter to vote for 2 candidates on each ballot.  The final vote was 751-606 for the change

Also - by a substantive vote of 1319-23 (or 98% of all votes cast), BC Liberal delegates approved a change to the Party's Constitution which will see each of the 85 Provincial Electoral District assigned 100 Points each and whichever candidate receives 50% + 1 of the 8500 Points or 4,251 Points will become the next BC Liberal Party Leader and 35th Premier of British Columbia.  The change only required a 2/3's majority vote or 66% of all votes cast to approve the change

The debates with regard to the above was vigorous yet healthy for the Party.  At one point, one delegate got tearful & emotional about the change from "1 person - 1 vote" to "weighted vote system".  The shift in the campaign will now be on candidates to acquire a "first" vote and a "second" vote between now and Saturday, February 26th. 

The campaign will get interesting from here on in...

WL RCMP Staff-Sgt Warren Brown addresses residents at CRD Area 'F' Town Hall Meeting

From the Rush:





Friday, February 11, 2011

Next Steps for Multi-Centre in Quesnel

From the Rush:







Quesnel Council meet next week

Quesnel City Council is meeting on Monday, here are the details:

Monday, Feb 14th - City of Quesnel

Budget Meeting #3 - Meeting starts at 3pm in Quesnel Council Chambers (410 Kinchant St)

See the Agenda/Reports here

WL City Councillors Rathor and Barr say "NO" to Mayor Cook's trip to Richmond next week

From the Rush:




Mayor Cook says no flip-flop on Per Diems

After a story on the Rush over WL Council flip-flopping on Per Diems, City of Williams Lake Mayor Kerry Cook said this on the subject:




Really....if this is true (Per Diem at $68 & no cost to taxpayers), then when the raise to per diems??  Why not just leave it at $60 and claim the HST through the City's accounting process.  This is clearly a case of flip-flopping - period.  If the general public gets no assistance on HST on meals - why should Council/Staff be any different?

This is simply a case of Mayor and Council being totally unable to say no when it counts.  What else are they willing to raise because they don't want to "rock the boat"?


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Closed Meetings of a Municipal Council

Over at his blog, Brian Carruthers (City of WL CAO) reviews how Closed Meetings occur and why?

See here

However, I would state that the City should and I believe could do a better job at advertising notice of both closed (In-Camera) and open meetings both on the City's website and at City Hall and on Twitter/Facebook which also could include the eventual act of publishing of the Closed Meeting Agenda which is something the City of Castlegar does already and would go a long way at ensuring that the City has 110% up front with the public on what Council is doing for the City of Williams Lake


2011 City of WL Budget Meeting

At tonight's CRD/City of WL Joint Town Hall meeting, City of WL Mayor Kerry Cook announced that the City will be hosting a Public Information Meeting on its' 2011 Budget on the week of March 7-11, 2011

It will not be on March 8th as that is when WL Council meets.  However, it could be on March 7, 9, 10 or 11.  Pls mark your calendars accordingly if you are deeply concerned about the City of WL 2011 Budget and tell your Council what should happen with this years' budget.   Should Mayor and Council raise taxes at all?  If so - by how much.  What services should be improved or cutback in some cases?

Let your elected officials know


Joint CRD/City of WL Town Hall Meeting

Earlier tonight, the City of WL/CRD held the annual 2011 Town Hall Meeting with 25 people in attendance which included the City of WL CAO (Brian Carruthers), CRD CAO Janis Bell, CRD Corporate Officer Alice Johnston CRD Protective Services Manager Rowena Bastien and CRD Executive Assistant Bernice Crowe. 

Politicians in attendance included:

* Mayor Cook, Deputy Mayor Rathor & City Councillors Sue Zacharias and Laurie Walters
* 100 Mile House Mayor Mitch Campsall and Quesnel Mayor Mary Sjostrom
* CRD Area 'D' Director Deb Bischoff and her Alternate Director John Andrews
* CRD Area 'E' Director Steve Mazur
* CRD Area 'F' Director Joan Sorley
Questions raised included:

* CCRHD (Cariboo-Chilcotin Regional Hospital District) - lowering of the tax rate of $50/$100,000 of assessment post 2015

* Need for Capital Plan for the CRD Library Network

* Solid Waste Management/Recycling

* Clarify working relationship on City of WL/CRD on Muncipal Water System - work with CRD Area 'E' Director Steve Mazur on possible extension of water to Dog Creek Rd area

* Lengthy discussion over Indoor Turf Facility - costs, role of public, etc

With that, the Town Halls on the CRD 2011 Budget now ends.  CRD Staff will now do up minutes from all 16 Town Hall meetings for the CRD Board's information.  This information may or may not change CRD Directors' mind as they vote on the 2011 CRD Budget on Friday, March 25th

I also discussed with Mayor Cook 1-on-1 about raising tax requistion on the local Victim Services Function while City Staff (Brian Carruthers/Elizabeth Hutchinson) is working on a plan for the future of Victim Services in the Central Cariboo-Chilcotin.  I stated to her that this is simply a case of "putting the cart before the horse".  Let's have the plan first, then decide how to raise the local funding which could include going back to the public to ask for a higher tax requisition rate for the Victim Services Function.  But let's make sure we do all the work to ensure Victim Services works for all - both in the City and Central Cariboo-Chilcotin Rural Areas (CRD Areas D, E, F, J and K)


Latest admail from Team Abbott attacking Christy Clark

On February 4th - the George Abbott campaign sent an admail letter to every registered BC Liberal Party voter criticizing Christy Clark's position on the HST, upcoming provincial election, etc.  See Team Christy Clark's response here (Editor's Note - anyone who wants a copy of the George Abbott admail, pls email at and I'll ensure you get a copy to see the hurtful comments about Christy Clark from the George Abbott campaign)

Now, let's look at some of his outrageous campaign suggestions:

1) Plunge our government into an early election, and ignore the law around set election dates, just to avoid running in a by-election

This is so outrageous it's not funny.  Firstly, like the Prime Minister of Canada in 2008, the Premier of BC can call for an election at any time as is his/her right as "First Minister".  Also - do we know for sure that Gordon Campbell or any other BC Liberal MLA will resign his/her seat for the new Leader?  Maybe (according to media reports) but that's not a sure thing, but I agree with Christy that the new BC Liberal Party Leader (if he or she is not a sitting MLA) should get a mandate from the voters' as soon as possible

2) Christy Clark is supported by NDP insiders who see her as the easiest chance to get the NDP back into power in 2013

This suggestion is so "out of touch".  There is not a shred of proof that the Christy Clark campaign is being assisted by NDP'ers of any sort.  In fact, this is so hypocritical of George Abbott himself who was once a NDP member himself

3) Christy Clark does not know Rural BC

Again - the suggestion is soo outrageous.  The fact is: Christy Clark is the only BC Liberal Party Leadership Candidate to state her 110% support behind the local "Prosperity Mine" proposal.  No other candidate has expressed their undying support for this mine.  This region needs Prosperity which is why I'm confident that Christy knows Rural BC issues, which includes resolving the Community Grants issue which is a huge issue in Williams Lake - a Rural community in BC

As far as this BC Liberal Party voter is concerned - George Abbott just lost my vote period.  I will not be voting for him whatsoever. 

However, I'm proud to state that Christy Clark is my choice for BC Liberal Party Leader and the 35th Premier of British Columbia!!!


Local News - Thurs Feb 10th edition (Updated)

In the Williams Lake Tribune today:

* Staff-Sgt Warren Brown of the WL RCMP calls the recently released BC Civil Liberties Association report on the RCMP "Misleading & Irresponsible" - see here.  See the reaction from the BC Union of Indian Chiefs here

* Woodland Drive residents plead with Acting Mayor Geoff Bourdon and Council to provide water/sewer (Note - Mayor Cook is unable to partcipate in these discussions as she lives on Woodland Drive herself).  See here

* Council is mulling over the future of the "Sosua Project" - see here

* IUOE (International Union of Operating Engineers) which represents City of WL workers says City Council should up the per diem from $60 to $80 per day.  See hereNote - I think that this is a sign of things to come as the IUOE's contract with the City of WL expires in 2012 and it looks like that they want more money.  As an aside - their colleagues in Quesnel (CUPE) just settled for 0, 1, and 2% over the next 3 years.  Also no one else is getting compensated for HST on meals so why should the IUOE be any different?

* Sacred Heart Catholic School is celebrating "Catholic Schools Week".  See hereDisclaimer Note - I'm a member of the Sacred Heart School Council which makes recommendations to the local Bishop on the operations of this school

* Letter write Mike Ramsey (who works for the Provincial Government) blasts the City over the possbility of regulating people not parking on the street during snow removal operations - see here

UPDATE - Greg Fry from the Rush does an excellent job reporting on the flip-flop of WL City Council over travel per diems from January 25th to Feb 8th - see here

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

CRD Forest Capital Gift Basket presented to Canada's Prime Minister

From the Cariboo Regional District:

Last Wednesday, MPs Cathy McLeod (Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo) and Dick Harris (Cariboo-Prince George) presented the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada with a gift basket from the Cariboo Regional District (CRD) commemorating the region’s 2010-2011 Forest Capital of Canada designation. Under the Strong Roots, Green Shoots slogan, the CRD continues to promote all aspects of the forest industry and its economic diversification

“The Cariboo Regional District was named the 2010-2011 Forest Capital of Canada by the Canadian Forestry Association: not for its high concentration of mills and logging operations, but for its plan for action – finding new opportunities in forestry through diversification,” stated CRD Chair, Al Richmond and Forest Capital Committee member. “Our two year Forest Capital program supports the development and promotion of four key non-traditional forest industries; non-timber forest products, value-added wood products, bio-energy, eco-tourism and agriculture.”

“It gave me great pleasure to present the gift basket from the Cariboo Regional District Board of Directors to the Prime Minister,” said Cathy McLeod. “It was truly symbolic of the region and its work to diversify the forest industry.”

MP Dick Harris stated “This was an excellent way to show the Prime Minister the spirit, the creativeness and entrepreneurship that makes the Cariboo Regional District so important to Canada.”

The offering from the Cariboo Regional District was presented to Prime Minister Harper as a symbol of diversification within the forest industry which is also creating new opportunities through human ingenuity and innovation. The gift basket included items donated by each of the electoral area and municipal directors representing industry from their respective areas. These included:

• Birch Syrup
• Forest Life – a book published by the Federation of BC Woodlot Associations
• Items made from pine beetle-kill wood
• bowl
• lazy-susan
• napkin holder
• picture frame
• USB Port with a wood casing
• Honey
• Canadian Natural Spa Oils
• Wood Christmas ornament
• Various promotional items from throughout the region
• Picture of a local logger sports athlete
• Promotional materials from the Likely-Xat’sull Community Forest

Geoff Paynton appointed to PG Canada Winter Games Board

From the City of Williams Lake:

The Director of Community Services, Geoff Paynton, has been named as a founding member of the 2015 Canada Winter Games Host Society, to be held in Prince George, and selected as the board secretary.

The Host Society will organize and conduct the Games in Prince George in early 2015. Paynton has been in involved in PacificSport North since its first day of existence as the Regional Multisport Network Centre in 1995, and was a staff member for the first 3½ years. He has since served as a board member at the
regional and provincial level since then, and has been involved with both provincial and national level Games.

He was involved 10 years ago in the early stages of the Prince George bid for the Games.

“The bid was built on years and years of hard work by many great people in that community that was started with a big dream by a handful of us 10 years earlier,” Paynton says. “At the time it seemed like an impossible goal but we dreamed big.”

While the exact roles of the board members have yet to be defined, Paynton anticipates his involvement will centre around sport issues such as fields of play and venues. Being from Williams Lake, he offers regional representation to the board. “One of the key aspects of the bid that made Prince George successful was
the goal to ensure that these Games were for, and involved, all of Northern B.C.,” he says. “I believe I am intended to be the voice of the regions on this board and to be able to bring that unique perspective to the table when key decisions are being made.”

Mayor Kerry Cook congratulated Paynton on his appointment. “From his years of involvement in organizations that develop athletes and coaches to eventually represent Canada, as well as his level of commitment and pride in northern B.C., I know Geoff will be a great asset to the Host Society,” Cook says. “I am proud we have such a dedicated and experienced person to represent the northern region of the province. His passion for sport and for communities will be clear to anyone involved in the 2015 Games.”
“„I‟m extremely humbled and very honoured to be chosen to be a part of this Host Society,” Paynton says. “This is a true once in a lifetime opportunity. I‟ve worked in sport for many, many years and I know that this opportunity is extremely rare.”
“I am in absolute awe of the level of talent and expertise that has been assembled on this Board and I know we will accomplish our goal to bring a best ever Canada Games to Prince George, Northern B.C., B.C., and Canada. It‟s also very gratifying to know that you are, in a sense, being recognized as a person who can help represent all of us on the biggest national stage we have. ”

As part of the preparation for the Prince George Games, Paynton will observe parts of the latter half of the 2011 Games later this month in Halifax.

Steve Rant - Outcome of Feb 8th WL Council Meeting

At last night's WL Council meeting, a couple of things took place that should worry residents:

Editor's Note - the full meeting can be watched on Shaw Cable - Channel 10 at 8:00pm tonight and 7:00am Thursday and Sunday

1) Debate Conduct - Local Gov't Leadership Academy

During debate on this item - Councillor Rathor was attempting to explain for a 2nd time why he could not support Mayor Cook going to the Local Gov't Leadership Academy with only 9 months to go before the election in November, when Councillor Zacharias attempted to have the question on the motion called forthwith by raising a "Point of Order" which usually refers to when an individual believes that a procedure of a governing body (local government or other) is breached and at that point, the presiding officer (Mayor/Chair) rules whether or not the Point of Order is valid or not.  It is not supposed to be used to subvert the democratic rights of individuals like Councillor Rathor to speak.  If Councillor Zacharias wanted the question called forthwith, the proper procedure was to wait until she was recognized by Mayor Cook then move a motion of "That the question be now called" and if she received a seconder, then and only then Mayor Cook would have to put the motion forthwith as it is not debatable.  If it passed, then the previous question (send Mayor Cook to the March Local Gov't Leadership Academy) would then be put to a vote.

This is not a question of rookie mistakes - Sue Zacharias has now 5 years of local government experience - 3 as the CRD Director for Area 'D' and 2 years as a Williams Lake City Councillor.  One would think that she would know how to get things moving, from a procedural point of view

2) Reconsider Per Diem Rate Increase

Also at last night's WL Council meeting, Mayor Cook used her power as Mayor under Section 131(2)(a)(ii) of the Community Charter to have Williams Lake City Council revisit their decision regarding the per diem rate increase (meals).  Section 131(2)(a)(ii) of the Charter says:

          (ii)  within the 30 days following that meeting"

During the ensuing discussion, it was revealed that Mayor Cook & Councillor Tom Barr were both contacted by John Dubé, Shop Steward for the City's Unionized employees and Mr. Dubé suggested that the current $60 per day per diem penalized his fellow employees when they were away on mandatory courses and when they pay for HST on meals when away and he didn't think it was fair for them to be out of pocket for mandatory courses to keep their specialized training.  However, it should be pointed out that everyone is paying for HST on their meals but yet the general public is not getting compensated for HST on their meals.  Council made the wrong decision last night, but the right one on January 25th

In a related matter, Councillor Rathor suggested at last night's meeting that the $125.00 per day that members of Williams Lake City Council receive to attend conferences like UBCM (Union of BC Municipalities), FCM (Federation of Canadian Municipalities) and NCLGA (North Central Local Gov't Association) be removed.  Unfortunately, he was unable to get Council support to refer to the 2011 Budget Process.  Councillor Tom Barr (Finance Chair) called Rathor's proposal "ridiculous".  I tend to agree.  If Councillor Rathor's idea have come to fruition, it may put a chill on those running for Council in the future because they would have to consider the impact of taking time off work at 100% "no compensation" to attend these very important conferences and that would be a step backwards for having qualified people come forward to serve on Council.  With November approaching and rumours abound that Councillor Rathor being approached to run for Mayor - this ill-advised and poorly thought out idea of eliminating the $125 per day to attend conferences should be reason enough to allow Councillor Rathor to make the appropriate and right decision to run only for Councillor for a 7th time.  If he runs for Mayor - I believe his days at 450 Mart St as an elected official would be over and that would be a sad day for Williams Lake as Council and this community would lose 18 years of local gov't experience

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

WL Council Meeting Highlights - Feb 8th

Present: Mayor Cook and Councillors’ T. Barr, G. Bourdon, SPS Rathor, L. Walters and S. Zacharias

Absent:  Councillor Natalie Hébert

Staff Present:

Brian Carruthers - CAO
Cindy Bouchard – Manager of Legislative Services
Tom Chung – IT Manager
Ken MacInnis – Communications Coordinator
Geoff Goodall – General Manager of Planning and Operations

Meeting called to order at 6:00pm
Minutes of Jan 25th, 2011 WL Council meeting approved


1) Julie and Martin Sills appeared before Council to plead their case for Water/Sewer services on Woodland Drive (Mayor Cook declared a personal conflict of interest and Acting Mayor Geoff Bourdon took the Chair at 6:06pm and Mayor Cook resumed the Chair at 6:23pm).  Residents will be advised when this matter is considered next by either Council or Committee of the Whole via email list.  Council to receive actual cost to install water/sewer for Woodland Drive by Feb 15th.  Possible consideration at Committee of the Whole on either March 1st or 15th

2) Nicole Roberts (2010/2011 WL Stampede Princess) appeared before Council to request sponsorship for her bid to become a BC Ambassador - matter referred to General Governance Committee for review and report back to Council


1) WL Council adopted a number of recommendations from its 3 Standing Committees:

General Governance:

a) Council approved travel, accommodation & registration for Mayor Kerry Cook to attend Northern Mayors' and Regional District Chairs' Transportation Roundtable on March 3rd and 4th at the Civic Centre in Prince George, BC

b) Council approved Mayor Cook attending the 2011 Local Government Leadership Academy Forum in Richmond on February 16-18, 2011 at a cost of $1,500 (cost to be charged to Mayor Cook’s travel budget). Councillors Tom Barr & Surinder Rathor opposed

Planning and Operations:

a) Council renewed the janitorial services contract with PACT Ltd. for the period of April 1, 2011 to March 31, 2012 in the amount of $75,516.24

b) Council approved the Lease assignment between Allied Aircraft Sales Inc. and Westcan Aircraft Sales & Salvage Ltd., for 1,253 m2 located at the Williams Lake Regional Airport subject to all City account balances with respect to Lease #CWL2900 being paid in full

Community Services:

a) Council agreed to send a letter of support to the Canadian Cancer Society for the development of the Northern Lodge (to be located in Prince George, BC)
b) Council agreed to support and encourage the creation of a stand-alone committee to further the work of the Sosua Sister City project on behalf of the greater Williams Lake community and referred this matter back to Committee of the Whole for further discussion

2) Council adopted two (2) recommendations from Committee of the Whole, as follows:

a) Council authorized Staff to have land appraisals being completed for Parcel A, District Lot 8848, Plan PGP46981 - 897 Midnight Drive and for Parcel A, District Lot 8833, Plan PGP36939 - 1819 South Lakeside Drive

b) Council agreed to write to the provincial government to support the TRU students’ society efforts to ensure that post-secondary institutions obtain a larger proportion of their funding from the Provincial Government, that the grant portion of financial assistance for students be increased, and that special consideration be given to universities serving rural populations so that there is sufficient funding for them to provide programs in places like Williams Lake

3) Council proclaimed the following events in Williams Lake:

a) National Aboriginal Day – June 21st, 2011
b) International Day for the Elimination of Racism – March 21st, 2011
c) World Autism Awareness Day – April 1st, 2011
d) Heritage Week – February 21st – 27th, 2011

4) Late Item – Council agreed to increase its’ Per Diem rate from $60 a day to $68 per day to compensate Staff and Council for the HST on food bills. Councillor Laurie Walters was opposed

5) Council received the “Council Information Package” for February 8th, 2011

Meeting adjourned at 7:26pm to resume In-Camera

Note - I will have a blog entry on my take of this meeting Wednesday.  Stay tuned!!!

Rejected Biomass Plant in the Chilcotin

Earlier today, both the Williams Lake Tribune (see here) and The Rush (see here) reported that TNG Chair Joe Alphonse expressing outrage that BC Hydro rejected their Biomass proposal which would have used Mountain Pine Beetle wood and wood waste to generate electricity.  I support this proposal because it would do three things:

1) Generate much needed economic development in the Chilcotin
2) Generate wealth for the Anahim Band
3) Help eliminate Mountain Pine Beetle as "food" for future wildfires in the Chilcotin

However, Joe Alphonse publicly speculated that if provincial/local politicians don't do something about this - he may consider blocking all logging activities in the Chilcotin.  I personally regret such strong language and I would have hoped Mr. Alphonse take the "high road" rather than suggest economic threats that could have unintended impacts on the regional economy.  I understand that he is upset with BC Hydro's decision.  He should use that energy to get BC Hydro to change their "no" into a "yes" and not make unwarranted economic threats.  That advice would apply as well to non-native politicians


Membership sign-ups in the Clark & Falcon camps

The media in the last couple of days have documented the on-going battles between Team Christy Clark & the Falcon/Abbott camps over mass signups of new BC Liberal Party members'

It's unfortunate that the debate has degenerated into "mud-slinging" and I suspect a local of voters will be cynical of the current political process and that is not good for our provincial political system's future

However, right after Team Falcon accused Team Christy Clark over alleged BC Liberal Party memberships as illegitimate, Vancouver Province political columnist Mike Smyth reveleaed that one Team Falcon supporter Tom Gaglardi (and current Kamloops Blazers' owner) signed up members of the Blazers team and as a result, Team Falcon has asked the BC Liberal Party to void the member sign-ups after learning of the act

I would think that you would ensure your "house and hands" are clean before you go around accuse others of bad political habits. 


This Week in Williams Lake

Coming up at WL Council tonight - two spending proposals which should concern taxpayers:

1) Mayor Cook to attend a Roundtable in PG for two days - March 3/4 - see the report here
2) Mayor Cook to attend a Local Gov't Leadership Academy - Feb 16-18 - see the report here

In addition to the above of about $2000, taxpayers in Williams Lake are looking at a hike in CRD taxes of $1,375 to help support District of Wells to come to Williams Lake to attend CRD Board meetings, this is not the time to spend foolishly but to spend where absolutely necessary.  The above spending proposals are not urgently necessary in my view

Also - a Recommendation from the General Governance Committee to walk away from assisting with the Sosua Sister City Project will certainly disappoint local organizer Glen Lahey who previously come before WL Council's "Committee of the Whole" pleading with Council, in addition to Sosua's Mayor, to coordinate a local Committee to seize on the opportunities offered from a relationship between Sosua and Williams Lake.  - see the report here

However, we know that the City of Quesnel has had their "Sister City" arrangement with Shiraoi, Japan for years now and Quesnel has benefitted from such a relationship and Williams Lake can as well with its relationships with Fusong, China and Sosua, Dominic Republic

While I have not talked personally with Glen Lehey - I can suspect that he will not be happy with Staff's recommendation.  If this Council proceeds with this recommendation, local non-profits and other community groups should wonder if a Council's word means anything in the moral sense, especially if one Council does one thing and the community supported that initiative widely and then the next Council kills it because it says it is not a community priority


Arts and Culture Function good for Williams Lake

In today's Williams Lake Tribune, letter writer Kathryn Steen from the local Cariboo Arts Society argues why the Central Cariboo Arts and Culture Function is good for quality of life

See here

Editor's Note - While I agree that investments in the arts is important for the public at large, there is a need to convince those who think it is inappropriate for local taxpayers to fund local arts groups also needs to take place including addressing the following:

i) Use of language which states it's "only 8 dollars per household" - I argued against this language when WL Council defended its' 2009 Budget.  Propose an initiative on its' merits and then let the public have its' say

ii) Politicians, not members of the local Arts and Culture Society, at political meetings (ie - Town Hall Meetings) should defend the Function as they (CRD/City of WL) created the Function

iii) Need to have a comprehensive Arts/Culture Strategic Plan which demonstrates a vision for investing the Arts on a Central Cariboo sub-region because as it stands now, the Function has been investing in Williams Lake, even though taxpayers' in CRD Electoral Areas D, E, F pay into this Function and haven't seen anything for it thus to date

Quesnel Council Highlights - February 7th meeting

Council to review travel policy

Quesnel City Council has directed staff to develop a policy around Council travel budgets. Concerns were raised around Councillors’ travel budgets, overspending and the lack of funding to appropriately represent the community as a councillor.

Staff will prepare a draft policy and bring it back to Council for review and comments.

City to apply for storm system funds

In January 2005 and again in August 2010, heavy rain resulted in widespread localized flooding. During both events, the lobby of the curling rink suffered water damage as the storm drainage system between the curling rink and Arena 1 could not handle the volume of water.

After the last incident, the curling club applied to the Municipal Insurance Association for compensation. This claim was denied, so the City has committed to fix the problem. The City will apply to the MIA for a Risk Management grant for $12,500. The work will include adding a catch basin in the area and tying it into the storm drainage system. If the grant application is successful, the City’s costs will be covered.

City presents at economic roundtable

Council received an update regarding the City’s presentation to an economic roundtable hosted by Cariboo-Prince George MP Dick Harris and the Hon. Gordon O’Connor, Minister of State. The City’s delegation included Coun. Laurey-Anne Roodenburg and April Cheng, the executive director of the Quesnel Community and Economic Development Corporation.

The City was asked to participate by submitting ideas regarding ways the federal government can help create jobs and promote economic growth, be more efficient and effective, and encourage private sector growth and leadership.

Several ideas were submitted by the City delegation, including: supporting previously introduced programs that were successful, such as the Gas Tax program; developing effective partnerships with all levels of government; continuing to deliver on the $1 billion pledged to assist communities hit by the effects of the Mountain Pine Beetle; be creative and innovative with funding programs; and continue to invest in much-needed infrastructure.

Census 2011 on the way

The City of Quesnel will help the federal government raise awareness of and promote the Census, following a request from Statistics Canada. Statistics Canada conducts a census every five years, with the next one scheduled for this May.

Census data helps the City in a number of ways, including providing information that helps when planning roads, waterworks, public transit, and police and fire services. It is also relevant when considering housing needs and other sustainability initiatives. Population estimates are also used to allocate transfer payments from the federal government to provinces and territories and from provinces to local governments.

The 2011 Census is staffing 35,000 jobs across Canada. These jobs are ideal for: students, recently retired persons, stay-at-home parents, and those wanting to supplement their income.

If you are over 18 years old and can commit to at least 20 hours per week including evenings, weekends and holidays, apply now.

For more information, visit and click on the census link or visit

Other News

Staff will investigate the availability of parking for large trucks in the City. Council received complaints from local truckers and businesses who are upset with the lack of available parking for large trucks near stores and public washrooms.


February - Heart Month
Feb. 23 - Rotary Day

Future Council or Joint Committee Meetings:

Next Budget Meeting: Monday, February 14 at 3 p.m.
Overview of the five year capital plan and 2011 capital budget.

Next Delegation/Committee of the Whole Meeting: Monday, February 21

Next Regular Council Meeting: Monday, February 28

Next North Cariboo Joint Planning Committee Meeting: Tuesday, March 8

Friday, February 4, 2011

Local Government Meetings in Cariboo-Chilcotin. Week of Feb 7-11

There are a huge number of local gov't meetings in the Cariboo-Chilcotin this upcoming week:

Monday, Feb 7th - City of Quesnel

Regular Council Meeting which starts at 7:00pm or following the 6:00pm Closed Meeting  (whichever occurs first) in Quesnel Council Chambers (410 Kinchant St)

See the Agenda/Reports here

Monday, Feb 7th - City of Williams Lake

2011 Preliminary Budget Meeting which starts at 5:30pm in Committee Room #1 at WL City Hall (450 Mart St)

Tuesday, Feb 8th - City of Williams Lake

Regular Council Meeting which starts at 6:00pm in WL Council Chambers (450 Mart St)

See the Agenda/Reports here

Tuesday, Feb 8th - District of 100 Mile House

Regular Council Meeting which starts at 7:00pm in 100 Mile Council Chambers (385 Birch Avenue) 

Wednesday, Feb 9th - Cariboo Regional District

Area 'F' Town Hall meeting which starts at 6:00pm at the Miocene Community Hall.  Open House from 6-6:30pm, then the formal presentation at 6:30pm - 7:30pm then Open House again from 7:30pm - 8:30pm

Thursday, Feb 10th - Cariboo Regional District:

At 3:00pm the Central Cariboo Rural Caucus will meet in the Committee Room at the CRD Office.  See the Agenda/Reports here 

At 5:00pm the Central Cariboo/City of WL Joint Committee will meet in the CRD Boardroom.  See the Agenda/Reports here

At 6:00pm, the Joint CRD/City of WL Town Hall will take place in WL Council Chambers.  Open House from 6-6:30pm, then the presentation presentation of the 2011 CRD Budget from 6:30pm - 7:30pm then the Open House once again from 7:30pm - 8:30pm

Friday, Feb 11th - Cariboo Regional District

Regular Board Meeting which starts at 9:30am in the CRD Boardroom.  See the Agenda/Reports here 
The Board will also be meeting In-Camera (behind closed doors) after its' lunch break.  The legal reason for the In-Camera Meeting is Section 90(1c) of the Community Charter - labour/employee relations

Thursday, February 3, 2011

City of WL Budget Meeting on Monday

There will a Budget Meeting of WL Council on Monday, February 7th at 5:30pm in Committee Room #1 at WL City Hall.

For those interested in running for Council in 2011 or want to find out where WL Council is taking its' 2011 Budget, I would encourage you to attend as I'm informed by City of WL Staff that the meeting will be open to the public


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Water Issues on Woodland Drive

This afternoon, the Williams Lake Tribune updated its' story on water challenges for the 35 residents' of Woodland Drive.  See the story here

However, having discussed this issue this afternoon with Brian Carruthers (City of WL CAO), I would like to clarify one line in the article

Council has invited members of the community to speak to them regarding this issue at its Feb. 8 meeting

It will not be an opportunity for the general public to discuss this issue with Williams Lake Council but rather residents' of Woodland Drive will appear before Council as a delegation to discuss this issue with Council and let them know how deeply concerned they are about access to water

The general community of Williams Lake will get its' say on the matter when/if the City decides how to finance the costs to connect the 35 residents of Woodland Drive to the City's water, sewer or both systems.  That could be either by a direct referendum or by counter-petition, depending on how Council of the day wishes to proceed (I would suspect that any decision on this matter will not occur until later this fall or after the municipal elections on Nov 19th or later)

Nevertheless - this will be a contentious issue for the whole community.  The chief issue will be - if you don't get a grant for the project from Ottawa/Victoria, is it appropriate to borrow money (debt) for the benefit of 35 people?  I would suggest that Williams Lake Council, if they go the route of long-term borrowing, will have to submit this to a referendum to allow each resident in Williams Lake to have a direct say on the issue


WL Committee of the Whole Highlights - Feb 1st meeting

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


Brian Carruthers - CAO
Cindy Bouchard - Manager of Legislative Services
Geoff Goodall - General Manager of Planning and Operations
Annie McKitrick - A/Manager of Social Development
Ken MacInnis - Communications Coordinator

Meeting called to order at 6:00pm
Minutes of Jan 18th Committee of the Whole Meeting adopted


1) Nancy Gale - Executive Director, Cariboo-Chilcotin Child Development Centre re: Changes to Provincial Gaming Grants

Presentation Points:

* $1.4 million in gaming grants down to $870,000
* Down to 30 charities locally
* Must compete for money provincially rather than locally
* Time between applying for grant and receiving confirmation much too long.  In some cases, as long as 2 years from start to finish

A Question and Answer Period ensued
Mayor Cook, on behalf of the Committee, thanked Ms. Gale for her informative presentation

2) Staff-Sgt Warren Brown & Sgt Ken Brissard re: 2011/12 Annual Performance Plan & Strategic Initiatives

* No vehicles stolen in January 2011
* Detachment Commander position: from Staff-Sgt rank to Inspector rank
* Officer retention still a problem for WL RCMP Detachment
* Violent crimes still a challenge
* Community policing a great asset for Williams Lake RCMP
* Clerk to be assigned to each RCMP Patrol Watch (4)
* "Street Crew" to be established (4 Officers)

A Question and Answer period ensued
Mayor Cook, on behalf of the Committee, thanked Staff-Sgt Brown & Sgt Brissard for their presentation


1) Land Deposition Request - 897 Midnight Dr & 1819 South Lakeside Dr

The General Manager of Planning & Operations reviewed the Planner's report with the Committee
Discussioin ensued thereon

Committee Action - Committee of the Whole recommends:

Council authorize Staff to have appraisals complete for Parcel A, District Lot 8848, Plan
PGP46981, 897 Midnight Drive and for Parcel A, District Lot 8833, Plan PGP36939, 1819 South
Lakeside Drive

2) Funding for Post Secondary Institutions - TRU Students Presentation

Mayor Cook and Councillor Hébert reviewed the Acting Manager of Social Development's report with the Committee

Discussion ensued thereon

Committee Action - Committee of the Whole recommends:

Council write to the provincial government to support the TRU students’ society efforts to ensure that post-secondary institutions obtain a larger proportion of their funding from the provincial government, that the grant portion of financial assistance for students be increased,
and that special consideration be given to universities serving rural populations so that there is sufficient funding for them to provide programs in places like Williams Lake

Opposed: Councillor Geoff Bourdon

The Committee adjourned at 7:34pm