Wednesday, November 30, 2011

CRD opens renewed Lac La Hache Library

Courtesy of the Cariboo Regional District:

The Cariboo Regional District Library (CRDL) Lac La Hache Community Branch has found a new home in the Lac La Hache Elementary School. The space has been renovated and rejuvenated and presents a bright welcoming presence.

The space includes new adult seating, along with new lounge seats and seats for the children’s space which will be arriving soon.

We are pleased this location ensures the library is in an evolving community centre that is sure to be well-used by Lac La Hache residents,” says CRD Chair Al Richmond. “We look forward to meeting the community at the Library and introducing our new Lac La Hache Community Librarian, Katherine McKibbin.”

The Library is located in the Lac La Hache Elementary School at 4787 Clarke Avenue with Public Hours of operation as follows:

Wednesdays 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Saturdays 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For further information contact the CRDL’s main office at 250-392-3351 or 100 Mile House Area Library Branch at 250-395-2332.

City of WL reports out on achieved 2008-2011 Corporate Goals

Courtesy of the City of Williams Lake:

At its regular meeting last evening, Council received a final report of the 2011 ‘Step Ahead’ Corporate Priorities, which summarizes the City’s achievements in addressing each of the ten priorities Council set at the beginning of the 2008-2011 term. The list of achievements and progress is provided in a PDF document below.

A focused, strategic direction set by Council early in the term provided clear direction for staff, the ability to effectively monitor progress and achieve desired results,” says Mayor Kerry Cook. “I am proud of the City staff, who implemented Council’s direction with hard work and dedication. They met or exceeded each one of the priorities’ goals. It is my expectation that we will build from that momentum to address the priorities of the newly elected council for the 2011-2014 term.”

View those here

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

WL Council Highlights - Nov 29th Meeting


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

Staff Present:

Brian Carruthers – CAO
Cindy Bouchard – Manager of Legislative Services
Geoff Goodall – GM of Planning and Operations
Tom Chung – IT Manager

Meeting called to order at 6:00pm
Minutes of November 1st, 2011 WL City Council meeting adopted


1) MLA Donna Barnett (Cariboo-Chilcotin) appeared before Council to present a Certificate of Appreciation to Councillor Tom Barr
2) Lyndsey Carter and Mark Hamm appeared before Council re: "Restorative Justice Week"
3) Allison Ruault from Interior Health Authority appeared before Council to discuss health care system activities in the Cariboo-Chilcotin (Williams Lake/100 Mile House & Chilcotin Region)


a) Council received for information a report of the CAO regarding Step Ahead: 2008-2011 Corporate Priorities
b) Council approved an appropriation from surplus in the amount of $27,150 and provided early budget approval of $32,850 from the 2012 City of WL Budget to initiate the fabrication of a Rick Hansen Monument.

Editor's Note - I was disappointed in this decision.  If Council could not fundraise the money for this item to now, then the project should have been killed and other ways to honour Rick Hansen found instead... and not spending $60,000 for a statue at a time when we need to cut spending, not spend money like there's no tomorrow.  See story from the Rush on this here

Pls remember we have the local Recreation Complex vision/financing discussions yet to come.  See below excerpt from the Nov 29th WL Council Meeting video and judge for yourself if Council made the right decision:

c) Council received the 2011 Local Government Election results report
d) Council received the results of the Fluoride Referendum and directed that adding fluoride to the City’s water supply be discontinued
e) After receiving no public input – Council approved Development Permit #6-2011 (BCR Properties/West Fraser Mills)
f) After receiving no public input – Council approved Development Variance Permit #9-2011 (David Cassidy – 1125 Latin Ave)
g) Council awarded the Elevator Maintenance Service Contract to Kone Inc. for the bid price of $330 per month for three elevators and $360 quarterly for two passenger lifts. The three elevators are located at City Hall, the Tourism Discovery Centre and the Museum and the two passenger lifts are located at the Arts and Culture Centre and the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex.
h) Council awarded the contract for the supply of unleaded gasoline and diesel fuel to Petro Canada for the tendered price of 1.1268 per litre and 1.3545 per litre respectively. All prices are based on a yearly consumption of 68,000 litres of unleaded and 97,000 litres of diesel.
i) Council accepted the GHG inventory report for information. Council also directed Staff to publicly report on the GHG inventory for 2010 by placing an update in the local newspaper and on the City of Williams Lake website; The draft SmartTool contract, as part of the Staff report, be considered by senior staff. A report outlining the benefits and options of the SmartTool program will return to Council to make a decision. Council will also consider in the 2012 budget process allocating the equivalent offset costs to a carbon neutral reserve fund.
j) Council gave first reading to Bylaw #2151 (Zoning Amendment) and referred to the Advisory Planning Commission for review/recommendations
k) Council referred Development Permit #6-2011 (Platform Properties – on Wal-Mart site) to the Advisory Planning Commission for review/recommendations. Council will formally consider DP #6-2011 at its’ December 20th meeting
l) Council appointed the Cariboo Regional District building inspectors as the City building inspectors, on an interim basis, and that they authorize the Corporate Officer to sign the contract with the CRD for building inspection services. Council also will perform a “Service Review” on this service to ensure client satisfaction for residents/businesses of Williams Lake

m) Council awarded a three (3) year contract to print the Active Living Guide for the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex to Web Express Inc. for the proposed price of $38,418.

n) Council supported an application for a Senior's Housing and Support Initiatives Grant from the 2012 Age-Friendly Community Planning and Project Grants fund administered by UBCM.

o) Council received the “Council Information Package” as of Nov 29th, as follows:

i) November 4, 2011 - Letter from Dr. Moira Stillwell, MLA Vancouver-Langara re 'Doctors for BC' - see here
ii) November 7, 2011 - Letter from Al Richmond, CRD Chair re: 2008-2011 Term - see here
iii) November 15, 2011 - BC Liberal Government Caucus News Release re Cariboo Region Grant in Lieu of Property Taxes - see here
iv) November 2011 - Information from Social Planning Council (meeting minutes, Yuletide Dinner Invitation) - see here
v) October 27, 2011 - Letter from FortisBC re Energy Inc. Franchise Fee Payment - see here
vi) November 1, 2011 - Letter from Ministry of Children & Family Development re Adoption Awareness - see here
vii) October 2011 - Letter from Nature Trust of BC re: 40th Anniversary of BC Nature Trust - see here

Councillor Tom Barr gave his “Farewell Speech” to Council

Mayor Cook asked Councillors Bourdon, Rathor, Walters and Zacharias to hand in their Inaugural Speeches before the Inaugural Meeting of Williams Lake City Council on Tuesday, December 6th

Meeting adjourned at 7:40pm

CRD looking for APC Members

Like Williams Lake - the Cariboo Regional District (CRD) is looking for members for their Advisory Planning Commissions (APC)'.  As someone who has just finished serving my first term on the CRD's Area 'D' APC, I found the work fulfilling and fun and I encourage rural residents' to give serious consideration to joining your local APC.  For further info, contact your local Electoral Area Director (if you are unsure how to do this, email me at and I'll give you specific details as to how to contact your local Area Director) or email Rick Brundrige (CRD Manager of Planning Services) at or phone him at 250-392-3351 or 1-800-665-1636

See below for CRD Ad for appointments to the Electoral Area Advisory Planning Commissions:

Cariboo Regional District Ad - APC Appointments

Quesnel Council Highlights - Nov 28th meeting

Courtesy of the City of Quesnel:

Land stability agreement closer

A massive $4.71 million work plan for the West Quesnel Land Stability Program is closer after Council approved the City entering a contribution agreement with the provincial government. The agreement is required for the City to access the grant funding it received through the Building Canada Program. The City had to complete a stringent environmental approval process before the agreement could be put in place. Now that environmental approvals are in place, the City can finalize the funding agreement and its work plan. Once the agreement has been signed by both parties, the City will begin a public information campaign, including a special newsletter and Open House, notifying residents of the next steps.

City thanks departing Councillors

Councillors Peter Couldwell, Ron Paull and Coralee Oakes were thanked for their commitment to local government, with each receiving a plaque of appreciation from the Mayor, Council and the City. Coun. Couldwell is wrapping up 21 years of service. Coun. Paull was a three-term member of Council, with Coun. Oakes serving two terms.

Other news

The City will apply for a $20,000 Age Friendly and Community Planning grant. The grant will support the City working towards a number of goals related to awareness and construction of accessible and age-friendly housing.

Council approved increasing indemnities for 2012 by 2.4 per cent. Council's policy is to increase its pay by the percentage increase to the BC Consumer Price Index, measured at the end of September. Council's pay will be $1,211.39 per month ($14,536.68 annually), with the Mayor receiving $3,530.75 per month ($42,369 annually). All figures are before taxes and deductions. The increase adds about $3,060 total to the City's budget. - Editor's Note: Councillor Sushil Thapar was opposed, see more details here

This year, $684,015 was budgeted for snow removal, but due to high snowfall levels in early 2011, that budget has been depleted, with the City spending $735,462 to date. Council approved continuing with regular snow removal procedures, with the funds to come from either the 2011 surplus or accumulated surplus.

Council approved three appointments to the Quesnel Museum and Heritage Commission. Current members Ellen Affleck, Bruce Steele and Andy Motherwell were re-appointed for two-year terms. Sandra Moore, a new commissioner, will also serve a two-year term.

A tree in the West Fraser Timber Park will be dedicated in recognition of the work Dora McMillan has done to support improved air quality in Quesnel. McMillan was the long-time chair of the Quesnel Air Quality Roundtable and a tireless champion for that cause. The Roundtable will contribute the plaque, with the City setting aside one of the 60 trees that were planted in the park last year as part of the TD Green Streets Program.

Council approved its 2012 meeting schedule. Of note, the inaugural meeting for the new City Council takes place Dec. 5, with preliminary budget meetings set for Feb. 6 and 20. For the full schedule, visit

Planning for the fourth annual Winter Carnival is underway. The event runs Feb. 4 at 1 p.m. at the West Fraser Timber Park. It includes skating on the pond, winter sports, tobogganing, dog sleds, a variety of educational booths and craft activities. Council approved the Quesnel Volunteer Fire Department setting off fireworks to close the event.

Special Council Meeting - November 14

Council approved staff submitting a joint application with the Cariboo Regional District to the Community Recreation Program for $7.5 million towards the North Cariboo Multi-Centre. The application deadline is Dec. 28.


November - Adoption Awareness Month

Important Dates

Nov. 29 - Heritage Speaker Series, 7 p.m., Council Chambers

Next Regular Council Meeting (Inaugural Meeting for the new City Council): Monday December 5 at 7 p.m.
Next Committee of the Whole / Delegation Meeting: Monday December 12 at 7 p.m.
Next North Cariboo Joint Planning Committee Meeting: Tuesday December 13 at 5:30 p.m

The above 3 meetings will be held in Quesnel Council Chambers (2nd Floor - 410 Kinchant St)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday News Wrap... Nov 28th edition

1) City of Williams Lake welcomes its' new Marketing and Events Coordinator - see here
2) Taseko and TNG in Court today over "New Prosperity" mine site work - see here
3) Participation federal funding of $110,000 available for "New Prosperity" mine proposal - see here
4) BC NDP Leader Adrian Dix in Williams Lake yesterday - see here
5) Christmas Dinner in WL on Wednesday, December 14th - see here
6) Quesnel Mayor Mary Sjostrom expresses "lukewarm" support for Municipal Auditor-General - see here

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Follow Up - Municipal AG and amending local gov't law

Yesterday, I blogged on the fact that Victoria had tabled its' legislation to enable the Municipal Auditor-General which you can find here

One thing I forgot to mention and it is beginning to be a disturbing trend for local government law...

Victoria will allow, subject to legislature approval, a local government (municipal council or regional district) to go behind closed doors' to consider the draft performance audit report of the Municipal Auditor General of which it is subject as per draft Section 90(2)(e) of the Community Charter which says:

A part of a council meeting must be closed to the public if the subject matter being considered relates to one or more of the following:

(e) a review of a proposed final performance audit report for the purpose of providing comments to the auditor general on the proposed report under section 23 (2) of the Auditor General for Local Government Act.

If approved in the Spring of 2012 - Municipal Councils/Regional Districts will be able to close meetings to the public under 19 different aspects of Sections 90(1) and 90(2) of the Community Charter and this is not good for our local democracy, given local governments should only be meeting behind closed doors under the traditional 3 L's - labour (staff), land and law...

A Thank-You from Oleh Lazarchuk (Candidate for SD#27 - Zone 5)

A Big Thank You to all those who voted for me!   Thank You to the Rush and the Wolf, the Tribune and the Advisor, to Welcome to Williams Lake, Steve Forseth , and the CBC Radio for allowing me to inform the electorate about my vision and thoughts about the education of our future generations.

Congratulations to Dr. Sheila Boehm for being elected as a school board trustee in
Zone 5.  I look forward to working with Sheila and her colleagues on the School Board as our community continues work to establish an after school and recreational programs at the Wildwood Elementary School.   

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Municipal Auditor-General Legislation Tabled...

As promised - BC Premier Christy Clark's government tabled a Bill to enact the new Auditor-General for Local Governments.  You can read the Bill in its' entirety here.  The legislation will be debated in the 2012 Spring Session of the BC Legislature

This past Thursday - BC Premier Christy Clark announced that Surrey would be home of the Auditor-General for Local Governments.  This is no surprise given Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts first expressed support for the idea.  See the BC Gov't press release here

Yesterday evening - debate arose on Twitter suggesting that the new Auditor-General for Local Governments could be dismissed by the hand of the BC Cabinet (Lt-Gov in Council), however after reviewing the legislation governing this post, it appears that it won't be that easy...

Firstly - an Audit Committee of:

1) accounting;
2) auditing;
3) governance of the Province;
4) local and regional governance;
5) a subject area set out in the regulations.

will be formed to make a recommendation either to appoint or remove the AG for Local Governments and the Minister (currently Ida Chong - a former Municipal Councillor herself) will be required to consult with the Union of BC Municipalities and others representing businesses, taxpayers and other local government professionals before making the appointments to the new Audit Committee

Given the wording of the legislation for the new Auditor-General for Local Governments - I'm fairly satisfied that sufficient protections exist to make the AG for Local Governments truly free... Although I was fairly critical of how this was introduced, the legislation now puts those concerns at ease...

City of WL buys more statues...?

At their final meeting of the 2008-2011 Term on Tuesday - Williams Lake Council will receive a report from the City's Ecomomic Development Manager (A. Madrigga) recommending that Council authorize taking $27,150 to come from the City's Surplus Reserve (Rainy Day Account) in 2011 plus an additional $32,860 from the 2012 Budget to begin fabricating a Rick Hansen "Monument" (Statue) - see Mr. Madrigga's report here.  City Staff do indicate that this project lines up with ICSP Goal #7 - Distinctive Arts, Culture and Heritage.  In addition, the Surplus Reserve should be used for "emergencies" like water main bursts or other emergencies... and not for personal pet projects...

Now, I'm disappointed for a few reasons:

1) Council previously said no taxpayer money would be sunk into this project...
2) How can Council look someone in the eye who used to work at Tolko - Creekside and say that this (Rick Hansen Monument) is an appropriate expenditure
3) Compliance with the ICSP Vision/Goals can not trump good budgetary practices... namely going on a wild spending spree when local residents' have cut back their spending themselves...

Mr. Madrigga's report did say that local business is supportive of the project but didn't offer up its own money.  Shouldn't that tell you something...

With that said - I'll be emailing Mayor Cook and Councillors Bourdon, Rathor, Walters and Zacharias expressing my personal disappointment in this and requesting that this recommendation be defeated...

The community's core focus should be:

1) Paying down the $19.4 million debt
2) Getting the local pool issue dealt with
3) Moving forward on local economic development...

Local Gov't Meetings - Week of Nov 28th - Dec 2nd

3 Local Governments are meeting this week:

Monday, Nov 28th - City of Quesnel:

Final Council Meeting (2008-2011 Term) which starts at 7pm in Quesnel Council Chambers (410 Kinchant St)

See the Agenda/Reports here

Tuesday, Nov 29th - City of Williams Lake:

Final Council Meeting (2008-2011 Term) which starts at 6pm in WL Council Chambers (450 Mart St)
See the Agenda/Reports here

Wednesday, Nov 30th - School District #28 (Quesnel):

Final Board meeting which starts at 7pm in the Boardroom (401 North Star Rd)

Recent City of WL Press Releases

Courtesy of the City of Williams Lake:

1) Call for Advisory Planning Commission Members

The City of Williams Lake is looking for members for the Advisory Planning Commission. There are currently three vacancies on the Commission.

What is the Advisory Planning Commission?

The Advisory Planning Commission (APC) is an assembly of community members who advise staff and Council during the development process and during the development of some new bylaws. The Commission consists of seven members who make recommendations to Council on zoning applications, development permits and any other matters referred to them. The Commission meets prior to each Council meeting. Volunteer members are appointed by Council for one year terms [and get a free lunch!]

Why is the APC important?

City Council expects to receive recommendations from the APC that reflect individual and collective knowledge, particularly from a citizen or local knowledge perspective. Recommendations may be transmitted as part of the staff report and are always transmitted separately to the City Council. The staff liaison for your committee assists with this submission.

Says current APC member Dan Hay: "I enjoy the discussions at the Advisory Planning Commission and having a direct input into how growth and changes are considered in Williams Lake."

What is rewarding about being part of the Committee?

The applications reviewed by the APC are often submitted in conjunction with minor and major construction and policy projects that have a lasting impact on our community. City Council and staff strongly value APC recommendations and this can have a considerable influence on decision making.

Says Hay: "The ability to have a direct voice to City Staff and to City Council on land use zoning within the City is a privilege, and it is satisfying to know my voice can be heard. The APC needs to be comprised of people from a variety of backgrounds that can provide the Mayor and City Council with regular input on land use and planning decisions. The work is important to the continued growth and betterment of Williams Lake. From that perspective alone, I find the work fulfilling."

What is required?

APCs perform best when they are well informed, passionate and transparent. Meetings occur through the entire year, with significant breaks only occurring in late July – mid August and during the holiday season. Members should be familiar with the agenda items prior to the meeting and bring questions and comments for discussion. Consistent attendance is required - Editor's Note - Council does not enforce this provision through the current APC Bylaw, but Council can remove an APC Member by a majority vote of Council.

Five of the seven APC members must be citizens of the City of Williams Lake.

Given the opportunity APC members are given to provide input on projects, expectations regarding discretionary conduct requirements within the community and in other consultation efforts of the City are in place.

How can I apply?

Submit an application to Cindy Bouchard, Manager of Legislative Services, on the second floor of City Hall. Applications must include name, address, home and work telephone numbers, together with an outline of the reasons for your interest in serving on the commission.  Ms. Bouchard can be contacted at 250-392-1773 or 

What if I have more questions about the Advisory Planning Commission or serving as a member?

Please contact Chris Hutton, Planning Technician, at or 250-392-1770.

Editor's Note - as a former 7 year member including various stints as Vice-Chair/Chair of the City's APC, I'll be writing the new City Council, once sworn in, to express how the APC Process can be improved which includes a total overhaul of the APC Bylaw (note - CRD just re-wrote theirs), given my experience serving on both the CRD - Area D and City APC's

2) Public Consultation on Proposed Dog Park

The City of Williams Lake will host an information gathering session on a possible community dog park on Monday, Dec. 5 at 6 p.m. in Council Chambers.

Interested dog owners and community members are invited to provide input on potential park locations and a potential range of amenities that the park could include. It is anticipated that a small advisory group would be formed to report back to the City with recommendations supported by the dog community for consideration by Council.

2011-14 Elected Local Governments - Cariboo-Chilcotin

With last Saturday's local elections and now the elections being certified by the local Chief Election Officers' - here are your local governments for the 2011-2014 Term:

District of Wells:

Mayor Robin Sharpe and Councillors Judy Campbell, Richard Wright, Mike Wallace and Virginia Wilkins

Inaugural Meeting - Dec 6th at 7pm

City of Quesnel:

Mayor Mary Sjostrom and Councillors Sushil Thapar, Laurey-Anne Roodenburg, Mike Cave, Scott Elliot, John Briscoe and Ed Coleman

Inaugural Meeting - Dec 5th at 7pm

City of Williams Lake:

Mayor Kerry Cook and Councillors Sue Zacharias, Geoff Bourdon, Laurie Walters, Ivan Bonnell, Danica Hughes and Surinderpal Rathor

Inaugural Meeting - Dec 6th at 6pm

District of 100 Mile House:

Mayor Mitch Campsall and Councillors Ralph Fossum, Spence Henderson, Dave Mingo and Bill Hadden

Inaugural Meeting - Dec 6th at 7pm

School District #28 (Quesnel):

Trustees Tony Goulet, Ron Caskey, Gloria Jackson, Caroline Mitchell, Charlotte Kunka, George Natalizio and Howie Schonke

School District #27 (Cariboo-Chilcotin):

Zone 1 - Will Van Osch
Zone 2 - Tanya Guenther
Zone 3 - Patricia Baker
Zone 4 - Jackie Austin
Zone 5 - Dr. Sheila Boehm
Zone 6 - Dr. Doug Neufeld
Zone 7 - Joyce Cooper

Editor's Note - watch for either Will Van Osch or Patti Baker to become the new SD #27 Chair given their length of service on the Board of Education (SD #27)

Inaugural Meeting - Dec 5th at 7pm

Cariboo Regional District:

Area A - Ted Armstrong
Area B - Heloise Dixon-Warren
Area C - John Massier
Area D - Deb Bischoff
Area E - Byron Kemp
Area F - Joan Sorley
Area G - Al Richmond
Area H - Margo Wagner
Area I - Jim Glassford
Area J - Roger William
Area K - Chad Mernett
Area L - Bruce Rattray

Editor's Note - Municipal Directors are likely to be Mary Sjostrom from Quesnel with L-A Roodenburg as Alternate, Kerry Cook from Williams Lake with Sue Zacharias/Surinderpal Rathor as Alternates (2 Alternates not permitted under the Local Government Act), Mitch Campsall from 100 Mile House with Dave Mingo as Alternate and Robin Sharpe from Wells

Finally, watch for Area 'G' Director Al Richmond to be returned as CRD Chair for a 4th term.  If he refuses a nomination, watch for either Ted Armstrong or even Bruce Rattray to become Chair for 1 year to allow Al Richmond to "rest" for a year, given he had a busy 3 year term as Chair

Weekly News Wrap ... Nov 26th Edition

In Quesnel:

* Ron Craigmyle plans no return to politics after his election loss on Nov 19th - see here
* Quesnel Cariboo Observer Editor Autumn MacDonald looks at voter turnout, not only in Quesnel, but in other locations - see here

In Williams Lake:

* Wrap on Election - Mayor (see here), Councillors (see here), and CRD Directors (see here)
*  Taseko back in BC Supreme Court Monday to begin arguments regarding work at "New Prosperity" site - see here
* Xeni Gwet'in (Nemiah Valley First Nations) Band to host forum on "New Prosperity" on December 8th at the Central Cariboo Arts Centre - see here
* Former TNG Tribal Chair Ervin Charleyboy refuses to back down on his "New Prosperity" stance - see here
* Elections Canada has released expense amounts for recent Federal campaign in May - see here
* Barry Penner to leave BC Politics in early 2012 triggering 2nd Provincial By-Election - see here.  Alex G. Tsakumis (Vancouver blogger) has an interesting relating blog post on this topic as well.  See that here

Editor's Note - why BC Conservative Leader John Cummins refuses to run in either Port Moody or Chilliwack is baffling to me... Gordon Campbell ran in a different riding (Vancouver-Quilchena) in 1994 after winning the BC Liberal Leadership and then ran in his own riding of Vancouver - Pt Grey in the 1996 General Election.  It would give Mr. Cummins more profile if in the House (BC Legislature), rather than on the outside...

* Former City of WL CAO Alberto De Feo has some helpful hints when it comes to debating municipal operations - see here
* More debate over Fish Lake from The Common  Sense Canadian - see here

In 100 Mile House:

* Election Wrap - Mayor (see here), Clinton Mayor/Council (see here)

In Kamloops:

* Interesting idea that Kamloops Council considered - take one Billion of its' $1.2 Billion taxpayer subsidy to CBC and give it to muncipalities for infrastructure improvements - see here but it went down to defeat in a tie vote (4-4).  Kamloops Mayor Peter Milobar and Councillors Pat Wallace, John DeCicco, and Tina Lange were in favour while Councillors Denis Walsh, Marg Spina, Nancy Bepple and Jim Harker were opposed

* Kamloops Blogger Alan Forseth looks at low voter turnout for municipal elections - see here

Monday, November 21, 2011

In-Depth Review: Voter Participation Rates in local elections

Today, CivicInfo BC released its preliminary municipal voter turnout figures for this past Saturday's civic elections' in BC - view their press release here with the initial figures here

In the Cariboo-Chilcotin:

Wells - 167 estimated voters' with 97 local voters' casting a ballot with a voter turnout percentage of 58.9%

Quesnel - 7,069 estimated voters' with 2,843 local voters' casting a ballot with a voter turnout percentage of 40.22%

Williams Lake - 7,649 estimated voters' with 3,638 local voters' casting a ballot with a voter turnout percentage of 47.56%

100 Mile House - 1,265 estimated voters' with 457 local voters' casting a ballot with a voter turnout percentage of 36.13%

Note - Municipal Councils in Belcarra, Canal Flats, Enderby, Fraser Lake, Hazelton, Highlands, Lake Cowichan, Lytton, Mackenzie, Port Edward, Salmo, and Warfield (12 municipal governments) were all acclaimed (Mayor/Councillor)

So, what did each elected muncipal councillor receive as a percentage of all votes cast?:

Wells - Richard Wright (79% of all votes cast), Judy Campbell (70% of all votes cast), Virginia Wilkins (69% of all votes cast), and Mike Wallace (67% of all votes cast) - 97 out of 165 voters' cast a ballot

Quesnel - Ed Coleman (61% of all votes cast), Scott Elliott (59% of all votes cast), Mike Cave (57% of all votes cast), Laurey-Anne Roodenburg (47% of all votes cast), Sushil Thapar (47% of all votes cast), and John Briscoe (43% of all votes cast) - 2,843 out of 7,069 voters' cast a ballot

Williams Lake - Laurie Walters (63% of all votes cast), Surinderpal Rathor (56% of all votes cast), Sue Zacharias (55% of all votes cast), Ivan Bonnell (48% of all votes cast), Geoff Bourdon (41% of all votes cast) and Danica Hughes (32% of all votes cast) - 3,638 out of 7,649 voters' cast a ballot

SD #27 set to release SOFI Report for 2010-11

Like all local governments, Boards' of Education are also required to release Statement of Financial Information or SOFI Reports.  However, unlike local governments, Board of Education SOFI's Report covers the school financial year which is July 1st - June 30th

See the July 1st, 2010 - June 30th, 2011 SOFI Report (School District #27) here

Interesting Points:

1) SD #27 Board Chair Wayne Rodier earned $16,470.48 and put in expenses totalling $8,903.30 with Trustee Richard Elliot (Zone 7) earning the least at $12,546.35 with his expenses totalling $4,173.12.  Total Remuneration and Expenses for all 7 SD#27 Trustees equalled $130,782.19

2) Total Wages to employees in School District #27 equalled $40,499,564 with total expenses claimed equalling $261,026

Black Press changing its' online commenting system

Black Press announced today that effective December 1st, access to its' online commenting system will only be via Facebook - see details here

As for here - anonymous comments will still be permitted, after I have reviewed them for appropriateness (note - I have not yet had to reject a comment)


Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Thank You to Williams Lake Voters...

In not an entire surprise - I was not successful in getting elected given there were 14 candidates for WL Council, but I do want to thank the 756 voters who placed their confidence in me which is an increase from 2005 (the first time I ran for WL Council) when I received 572 votes.

I respect the voters' decision and will continue to be involved on City or CRD Advisory Committees going forward and I will be a candidate in the 2014 Election which will be held on October 18th, 2014.  I have a fair sense of what voters' want and don't want in candidates and I hope to be able to practice this (discussing ideas without making it personal) over the next 3 years as we get to the 2014 Civic Election

See the the unofficial (and likely official) results for the City of WL Muncipal Election here

Finally - my uncle, Alan Forseth, has a blog post today that sums up nicely how I feel on the local election - see that blog post here

Election Results Review - Cariboo-Chilcotin

Well - it is over for another 3 years and we saw some surprising results throughout the Cariboo-Chilcotin in local elections:

In Wells - real quiet election, given Mayor-elect Robin Sharpe was elected by acclamation and there was five candidates for four Councillor positions so again it was the numbers game as one would be left out

School District #28 - All quiet here as two new Trustees join 5 incumbents in Tony Goulet, Ron Caskey, Gloria Jackson, Caroline Mitchell, George Natalizio, Charlotte Kurta , and Howie Schonke

In Quesnel - Mary Sjostrom received a 2nd term as Mayor of Quesnel, defeating Councillor Ron Paull and former Quesnel City Councillor Ron Craigmyle by taking advantage of the dynamics of a 3 person race in vote splitting.  Ms. Sjostrom received 1,057 votes or 37% of the vote with Ron Paull getting 955 votes or 34% of the vote and Ron Craigmyle bringing up the rear with 831 votes or 29% of the vote.  If I were Ms. Sjostrom - I would take note of this while governing for the next 3 years, in the fact that her competitors combined received the majority of votes (1,786) or 63% of all votes cast.  Meanwhile - the Councillors is a healthy balance of old and new - in the "old" department: Councillors Mike Cave, Laurey-Anne Roodenburg and Sushil Thapar (this result surprised me, given how negative he campaigned against Ms. Sjostrom.  Ms. Sjostrom has said that both Mr. Thapar and herself will have to have a "meeting of the minds" to move forward in the new term).  In the "new" department - it'll be Scott Elliot, John Briscoe and Ed Coleman.  Overall - a good Quesnel Municipal Council except "Will Sjostrom/Thapar be able to cooperate over financial and other matters in the 2011-2014 term?  Time will only tell" - listen to the CBC Daybreak North interview on Sjostrom/Thapar working together here

In Williams Lake - Some people that I've talked to expressed shock over the re-election of Kerry Cook for Mayor along with re-elected Councillors Laurie Walters, Geoff Bourdon, Sue Zacharias and Surinderpal Rathor.  New Councillors will be former WL City Councillor/Mayor Ivan Bonnell and first time Councillor Danica Hughes.  Personally - I wasn't surprised when I received the election results and this is backed by comments I've received on this blog last night who say that the "Scott Slate" in Scott Nelson with Mike Jacobsen, Mike Bouchard, Steve Forseth, and Paul Kandola was a major factor for them as they voted Saturday.  I personally likely had other things going against me that caused my defeat as well including being fairly harsh towards Councillor Walters after her election in 2008.  Looking at the Mayor's Race - Kerry Cook received 1,777 votes or 49% of all votes cast.  Scott Nelson received 1,077 votes or 30% of all votes cast with Walt Cobb received 747 votes or 21% of all votes cast.  Given this - Mayor Cook might want to keep in mind that just under half the City voted for her and the other half voted against her as she sits down and meets the incoming 6 City Councillors for what lays ahead for the upcoming 2011-2014 term.

Finally - the days of fluoride in City water is over as 71% agreed to end the practice of putting fluoride (an acid) in our City water system.  This decision will now see 7 out of 190 BC communities who still place fluoride in their water systems

In 100 Mile House - Fairly quiet race here, given the 4 Councillors (Henderson, Fossum, Mingo and Hadden) were acclaimed and the Mayor's race was tame.  Mitch Campsall returns for a 2nd term with a majority of votes for him.  He received 257 votes compared to his opponent , Maureen Pinkney, who received 200.  Mr. Campsall who got 56% of all votes cast clearly has a mandate to continue on the course he's set for the District of 100 Mile House since his election

In the Cariboo Regional District -

Area 'E' - Byron Kemp returns to the Board table after his defeat in 2005.  But it was a very close vote as Bill Carruthers came within 6 votes (Kemp 98 - Carruthers 92) of being the new Director for this Area

Area 'H' - In quite a surprise, Margo Wagner was elected over Ron Lister.  Ron had received the endorsement from the outgoing Area 'H' Director - Art Dumaresq

Area 'J' - In a first, Xeni Gwet'in Councillor Roger William will become the new Area 'J' Director after defeating Alex Bracewell in a 148-81 vote.  One issue that may have sparked Mr. Bracewell's defeat was a on-going debate about First Nations' consultation for the issuance of DVP's (Development Variance Permits') in the Chilko Lake area.  This will make the "New" Prosperity Mine debate a most interesting one to follow, when this topic returns to the CRD Board table (and I believe it will as the Board will want to make its' position known on it) and to see how Mr. William pleads his CRD Director colleagues not to give its' support to the New Prosperity Mine proposal, sometime in 2012

Area 'L' - In not a surprise - Bruce Rattray was re-elected in a landslide over his challenger, Tom Baraniak. I never doubted the end result.  At this point (with mail-in ballots to be counted), Bruce Rattray received 387 votes in comparison to Mr. Baraniak who received 208 votes, which translates to a vote percentage count of 65% for Rattray to 35% for Baraniak.  Mr. Rattray has done very well for CRD Area 'L' which obviously translates into his huge re-election support

The next CRD Board meeting is on December 9th where I expect that CRD Area 'G' Director Al Richmond will be given a 4th 1-year term to continue as the Chair of the Cariboo Regional District

In School District #27 - Last night's election saw two incumbents (Will Van Osch in Zone 1 and Patti Baker in Zone 3) return with 5 new Trustees in Tanya Guenther in Zone 2, Jackie Austin in Zone 4, Dr. Sheila Boehm in Zone 5, Dr. Doug Neufeld in Zone 6 and Joyce Cooper in Zone 7.  And they certainly will need to get to work right away as they have lots of challenges (financial and otherwise) facing them over the next 3 years.  One question of who will be Chair of the local Board of Education for the remainder of this school year will be answered at their Inaugural meeting on December 5th, 2011 at 7pm, but I believe it'll likely be either Will Van Osch or Patti Baker, given their previous experience on the Board and the need to have that in the Chair's role over the next little while given declining student enrollment.  I don't believe it would be a good time to put a rookie in Jackie Austin, Dr. Sheila Boehm, Dr. Doug Neufeld, Joyce Cooper or Tanya Guenther as SD #27 Chair, given these Trustees will be "learning the ropes" for the next few months

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Unofficial Results - Cariboo Regional District Elections

Electoral Area 'E' - Byron Kemp (98) to Bill Carruthers (92) to Brandy Dickey (75) to Stacy Wong (61)
Electoral Area 'H' - Margo Wagner (232) to Ron Lister (125)
Electoral Area 'J' - Roger William (148) to Alex Bracewell (81) to Ted Hlokoff (47)
Electoral Area 'L' - Bruce Rattray (407) to Tom Baraniak (210)

Results official as of Wednesday at 4pm

Unofficial Results - School District #28

1) Tony Goulet - 1,855
2) Ron Caskey - 1,826
3) Gloria Jackson - 1,795
4) Caroline Mitchell - 1,764
5) Charlotte Kurta - 1,701
6) George Natalizio - 1,693
7) Howie Schonke - 1,690

Results to be official Wednesday at 4pm

Unofficial Results - District of Wells Local General Election

Mayor - Robin Sharpe
Councillors - Richard Wright, Judy Campbell, Virginia Wilkins and Mike Wallace

Results official on Wednesday at 4pm

Unofficial Results - School District #27

Zone 1 - Will Van Osch
Zone 2 - Tanya Guenther
Zone 3 - Patricia Baker
Zone 4 - Jackie Austin
Zone 5 - Dr. Sheila Boehm
Zone 6 - Dr. Doug Neufeld
Zone 7 - Joyce Cooper

Results official on Wednesday at 4pm

Unofficial Results - District of 100 Mile Local General Election

Mayor - Mitch Campsall
Councillors - Spence Henderson, Ralph Fossum, Dave Mingo and Bill Hadden

Results official on Wednesday at 4pm

Unofficial Results - City of Quesnel Local General Election

Mayor - Mary Sjostrom

Councillors - Laurey-Anne Roodenburg, Scott Elliot, Ed Coleman, Mike Cave, Sushil Thapar and John Briscoe

Results official on Wednesday at 4pm

Unofficial Results - 2011 City of WL Local General Election

Mayor - Kerry Cook (1777 votes)
Councillors - Laurie Walters (2296), Surinderpal Rathor (2022), Sue Zacharias (2004), Ivan Bonnell (1742), Geoff Bourdon (1501) and Danica Hughes (1156)

SD #27 Zone 6 - Dr. Doug Neufeld (2057)

Fluoride Referendum Question - Yes (970) & No (2,453)

Note - Above Results official on Wednesday, Nov 23rd at 4:00pm

Friday, November 18, 2011

General Voting Locations - Cariboo-Chilcotin Region

Over the last couple of months - the candidates have introduced themselves and made their pitch to you, the voters', so now it is your turn to decide who governs you from Dec 1st, 2011 until Nov 1st, 2014

As Ben Meisner said, in part, in his editorial on (Full Editorial here)

Now to the matter at hand, municipal politics creates for each and every one of us an opportunity to be directly involved in local government.

If you don’t like the manner in which the city has operated over the past three years then you owe yourself the responsibility of going to the voter’s box and expressing your displeasure. By contrast, if you feel the incumbents have done a reasonable job, your vote is also required.

We have a good list of candidates both for Mayor and for Council. It is now up you to decide in just who you place the most trust.

That opportunity will be presented to you this Saturday, exercise it.

As such - I beg you to show up and vote - it need not matter that you are personally supporting me or someone else, but please show up and vote.  Before I give the voting locations, let me advise that this will be my last blog post prior to Saturday's Vote, as soon as I'm able Saturday night after 8pm - I'll post the unofficial results for all jurisdictions... with official results on Wednesday at 4pm


Don't forget to bring two pieces of ID with you (Drivers License, BC Care Card, etc) to vote

District of Wells - Wells/Barkerville School (4386 Mildred Ave, Wells)

City of Quesnel:

a) Quesnel City Hall - 410 Kinchant Street
b) Correlieu Secondary School - 850 Anderson Drive
c) Dragon Lake Elementary - 2655 Quesnel-Hydraulic Road

School District #28 (Quesnel):

a) Quesnel City Hall - 410 Kinchant Street
b) Correlieu Secondary School - 850 Anderson Drive
c) Dragon Lake Elementary - 2655 Quesnel-Hydraulic Road
g) BARLOW CREEK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, 816 Barkerville Highway
j) WEST FRASER FIRE HALL, 243 Jackpine Flats

City of Williams Lake:

Marie Sharpe Elementary Gym (260 2nd Avenue North)
Extra City of WL Transit Buses available Saturday - see details here

School District #27 (Cariboo-Chilcotin):

Zone 4 - Big Lake School, Horsefly & Likely Schools, 150 Mile House Elementary
Zone 5 - Chilcotin Road School, Dog Creek School, McLeese Lake Community Hall, and Wildwood School
Zone 6 - Marie Sharpe Elementary Gym (260 2nd Avenue North, Williams Lake).  Note - those in Zone 5 but within the City of Williams Lake municipal boundary will vote here as well

District of 100 Mile House:

District of 100 Mile Council Chambers (385 Birch Avenue - enter on 4th Street side)

Cariboo Regional District:

Electoral Area 'E':

Mountview School 1222 Dog Creek Road, Williams Lake
Chilcotin Road School 709 Lyne Road, Williams Lake
Dog Creek School 753 Dog Creek Road, Dog Creek
Cariboo Regional District Office 180D North Third Avenue, Williams Lake

Electoral Area 'H':

Buffalo Creek School 5282 Canim-Hendrix Lake Road, Buffalo Creek
Forest Grove School 4497 Eagle Creek Road, Forest Grove
Cariboo Regional District Office 175 Airport Road, 100 Mile House

Electoral Area 'J':

Anahim Lake School 22484 Chilcotin Hwy 20, Anahim Lake.
Naghtaneqed School 8350 Nemaia Valley Road, Nemiah Valley
Tsi Deldel Cultural Centre (Redstone) Redstone Reserve, Puntzi Lake
Tatla Lake School 16776 Chilcotin Highway 20, Tatla Lake
Cariboo Regional District Office 180D North Third Avenue, Williams Lake

Electoral Area 'L':

Bridge Lake School 7567 Bridge Lake Bus. Rte, Bridge Lake
Horse Lake School 6548 Ryall Road, Lone Butte
Watch Lake Community Hall 6453 Little Green Lake Road, Watch Lake
Cariboo Regional District Office 175 Airport Road, 100 Mile House

My Voting Choices... WL Mayor/Council, SD#27 - Zone 6 and Fluoride Question

On Wednesday... I selected my choices for Mayor and Council - City of Williams Lake, School District #27 and the Fluoride Question as follows (given I'm a candidate and was advised to vote early by the City of WL's Chief Election Officer):

Mayor and Council - Williams Lake:

Mayor - Scott Nelson
Councillors - Mike Bouchard, Steve Forseth, Mike Jacobsen, Paul Kandola, Surinderpal Rathor, and Richard Vollo

School District #27 - Zone 6

1) Dr. Doug Neufeld

Fluoride Referendum:

The cost to add fluoride to the City’s water system is increasing from $22,000 per year to approximately $94,000 per year. Are you in favour of the City continuing to add fluoride to its water supply? - No

Rationale for Above:

WL Mayor - For years now, my blog readers' know that I've been a vocal opponent of Mayor Cook and should come as no surprise that I would not vote for her.  As Walt Cobb - while there are aspects of his platform that I like (zero based budgeting), his frank talk with regard to First Nations' was the deal breaker for me.. he is not the type of Mayor we need right now which left me with no alternative but Scott Nelson.  Although there will be times when Mr. Nelson and I will disagree - on balance, I'm comfortable with his leadership style and his overall platform and hence my personal decision to vote for Scott Nelson and I humbly request that those who voted for me to please for vote for Scott Nelson on Saturday

As for WL Councillors - Mssrs. Bouchard, Jacobsen, Kandola, Rathor and Vollo - I've met all these gentlemen personally, one on one, and I'm comfortable that all bring a unique skill set to the table to benefit the community overall and I present these names for the voters' most favourable consideration.  The rest I do not believe are ready to be at the table and the incumbents (Walters, Zacharias and Bourdon) deserve defeat as I don't believe their record demonstrates re-election

School District #27 - I believe the time for new blood is required and Rob Zacharias had his shot in 2005-2008 and didn't do much for the people of Zone 6 on the School Board and Mr. Neufeld is worthy of a try and Mr. Neufeld's wide/varied experiences leads me to believe that he is the best choice for School District #27 - Zone 6 Trustee

Fluoride Question - I voted No as I find the question misleading.  It is "intellectually dishonest" to suggest that you are doing something (add fluoride to City's water system) when in fact you are not.  The more appropriate question should have been - Given fluoride has not been added to the City's water since 2005, should the City continue to put fluoride in the water system, even at a cost of $94,000 per year?.  Finally - given that only 8 communities, in fact, place fluoride (an acid) in their local water system, it is time, in my opinion, to close the chapter on this story and vote NO and I encourage all to do the same

The Candidates Final Pitch to voters in Central Cariboo...

Courtesy of the Williams Lake Tribune:

School District #27:

Zone 4 - Heather McKenzie (see here) and Jackie Austin (see here)
Zone 5 - Jim Ritchie (see here) and Oleh Lazarchuk (see here)
Zone 6 - Rob Zacharias (see here) and Doug Neufeld (see here)

Cariboo Regional District:

Area 'E' - Stacy Wong (see here), Byron Kemp (see here), and Bill Carruthers (see here)
Area 'F' - Joan Sorley (see here)
Area 'G' - Al Richmond (see here)
Area 'J' - Alex Bracewell (see here), Roger William (see here) and Ted Hlokoff (see here)

City of Williams Lake:

Mayor - Walt Cobb (see here), Kerry Cook (see here) and Scott Nelson (see here)


Ivan Bonnell - see here
Mike Bouchard - see here
Geoff Bourdon - see here
Peter Bowman - see here
Tenessa Fairburn - see here
Steve Forseth - see here
Danica Hughes - see here
Mike Jacobsen - see here
Paul Kandola - see here
Gordon Keener - see here
Surinderpal Rathor - see here
Richard Vollo - see here
Laurie Walters - see here
Sue Zacharias - see here

Local Gov't Meetings - Week of Nov 21st - 25th (Updated)

The City of Quesnel, School District #27 and the District of 100 Mile House are meeting as follows:

Monday, November 21st - City of Quesnel

Regular Meeting which starts at 7:00pm in Quesnel Council Chambers (410 Kinchant Street)
See the Agenda/Reports here

Tuesday, November 22nd - District of 100 Mile House

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

Tuesday, November 22nd- School District #27

Regular Meeting which starts at 7:00pm in the SD#27 Boardroom (350 2nd Avenue, Williams Lake)
See the Agenda/Reports here

Thursday, November 17, 2011

CRD Finance/Budget Committee Meeting #2 (2012 Budget)

Although not at the meeting today, the Cariboo Regional District's Finance/Budget Committee Meeting was held today at 3:00pm and the following recommendations were set to be considered (these will be adopted at the CRD Board Inaugural Meeting on Friday, December 9th) and I want to bring these to your attention:

a)That the agenda item summary from Graham Barbour, Chief Building Official and Manager Responsible for Bylaw Enforcement, dated November 8th, 2011, regarding increased resources for the Bylaw Enforcement Function, be received. Further, that the Board endorse the recommendation to create an additional position in the Bylaw Enforcement Function. See Agenda Item here

b) That the agenda item summary dated November 8th, 2011, from Janis Bell, Chief Administrative Officer, and Scott Reid, Chief Financial Officer, regarding the proposed 2012 five year financial plan, be received. Further, that the financial plan be approved in principle for presentation at the town hall meetings. 

That feasibility reserve funds in the amount of $15,000 be allocated for works associated with the establishment of a new consolidated Williams Lake fringe area fire protection service.

That resolution No. 07-05A-19(1) to undertake a forest planning policy be rescinded and removed from the Level 3 Corporate Priorities

See Agenda Item for above Recommendations here

c) That the agenda item summary from Janis Bell, Chief Administrative Officer, dated November 15, 2011, regarding a proposed amendment to the Electoral Area F Economic Development function, be received. Further, that an additional $25,000 be requisitioned for the Electoral Area F Economic Development function to support the following goal:

Goal: To develop a framework to allow the communities of Big Lake, Miocene and Horsefly to benefit from the proposed Community Forest to be located surrounding the communities.

Strategy: Work with the City of Williams Lake and the Williams Lake Indian Band to ensure that the communities have a meaningful voice in management decisions that best support, preserve and enhance the communities within the influence of the Community Forest proposal.

Rationale: Community forests offer an economic benefit, a portion of which should flow to those communities most closely linked to the forest land base. In addition to the economic benefit, there are many management decisions that will need to be addressed to protect community viewscapes, recreational attributes and other community values and priorities.

See Agenda Item for above Recommendation here

CRD Board Highlghts - Nov 17th Meeting

Courtesy of the Cariboo Regional District:

2012 Central Cariboo Grants for Assistance

The Cariboo Regional District Board endorsed the recommendation from the Central Joint committee regarding the 2012 Cariboo/City of Williams Lake joint grants for assistance applications. A total of $19,958 in grants for assistance was approved under the CRD and City of Williams Lake Memorandum of Understanding. The City of Williams Lake will contribute $13,970.60 while the CRD will contribute $5,987.40 which will be shared equally between Electoral Areas D, E, and F.

Canadian Mental Health Association $1,500
Cariboo Chilcotin Partners for Literacy Society $1,408
Williams Lake Farmer’s Market $500
Williams Lake Curling Club $10,000
Williams Lake Food Policy Council $3,550
Gavin Lake Forest Education Society $3,000

Total $19,958

The Board also referred two other requests back to the Central Cariboo Joint Committee. These applications are for requests from the Williams Lake Dry Grad Committee and the Williams Lake Daybreak Rotary Club.

Barkerville Photographic Exhibit to Tour China

The Regional District received information in a release from Premier Christy Clark regarding a new Barkerville exhibit slated to tour China. The document announced the signing of a letter of intent between Barkerville and the Guangdong Museum of Overseas Chinese that will form the foundation for a tour of the Barkerville photographic exhibit in China. The exhibit, entitled “Who Am I?”, explores the lives of Chinese migrants who came to Barkerville in the late 19th and early 20th centuries during the gold rush. It is expected to be on display at the Guangdong museum in Guangzhou in the spring of 2013.

Building Inspection Services for Williams Lake

The City of Williams Lake and the Cariboo Regional District have developed a five year agreement to provide Building Inspection Services to residents of Williams Lake through a shared Building Inspection Service. The Cariboo Regional District Board endorsed this agreement and it will now be presented at the next Williams Lake Council meeting for consideration on Tuesday, November 29th.

CRD Service Recognition

The Cariboo Regional District recognized five directors who will not be returning to office for the next term. The Directors were awarded with tokens of appreciation for their years of public service. The Directors include - Art Dumaresq (Area H – 12 years), Roberta Faust (Area B – three years), Steve Mazur (Area E – three years), Rick Mumford (Area K – seven years), and Jay Vermette (six years).

Community to Community Forum Scheduled

Cariboo Regional District Board members have been invited to attend a Community to Community Forum with the Nazko First Nations. The forum is tentatively scheduled to take place in January, 2012 at the Nazko Community Hall.

BC Community Recreation Grant Program

The Cariboo Regional District will be submitting two applications to the new BC Community Recreation (BCCR) Grant Program provincial funding program. The first project is a joint application with the City of Quesnel for $7.5 M for the North Cariboo Multi-Centre. The second application will be for the continuation of the CRD’s Wheelchair Accessible Trails. The deadline for applications is December 28, 2011. The BCCR program will provide up to 80 percent of eligible costs. The Project Categories for the funding program include:

Recreation and sport projects such as indoor sports and recreation infrastructure
Bike paths
Amenities related to the above infrastructure
Capital projects that get children and youth playing again

The Selection Criteria for the BCCR grant include advancing the principal of being active, community health benefits, and additional criteria such as financial planning, partnerships, sound risk management. Eligible projects must be completed by March 31, 2015.

Editor's Note - Sue Zacharias, acting for WL Mayor Kerry Cook, asked the Board to include a project for Esler Sports Complex to build a new road access.  The Board turned her down, not once, but twice in the same meeting

Upcoming Meetings

Friday, December 9 – CRD Inaugural Board Meeting

Editor's Footnote - A little health scare today as the Board recessed its' meeting a couple of times after smells of natural gas was detected.  In all of the years that I've attended Board meetings (since 2004), I can not recall a time that I've smelled natural gas in the Boardroom.  The Regional District did bring in a contractor to look into it so hopefully  the Inaugural CRD Board meeting on Dec 9th will go off without a hitch

CCRHD Highlights - Nov 17th Meeting

Present: Chair R. Mumford and Directors Armstrong, Faust, Massier, Bischoff, Mazur, Sorley, Richmond, Dumaresq, Glassford, Bracewell, Rattray, Sjostrom, Vermette, Campsall and Alternate Director Sue Zacharias (City of WL)

Staff Present: 

J. Bell - CAO
R. Hodgson - Deputy CAO
A. Johnston - Corporate Officer

Meeting called to order at 9:30am
Agenda adopted


1) CCRHD Minutes of October 28th approved
2) Memorandum of Business - CCRHD was received
3) Consent Calendar - CCRHD was received
4) The presentation from Northern Health on Men's Health was recived
5) A invitation to attend the Grand Re-Opening of Deni House on Monday, December 5th was received
6) The Chair then reviewed items that the CCRHD Board will want to work on, going forward (Rick Mumford did not seek re-election):

a) Beds for Fischer Place in 100 Mile
b) Modernize washrooms in 100 Mile General Hospital
c) More beds for Deni House in Williams Lake
d) Master Plan for 2nd Floor at Cariboo Memorial Hospital in Williams Lake
e) Residential care in Quesnel

Meeting adjourned at 9:42am

Sage Birchwater's New Book Launch at WL Public Library

Courtesy of the Cariboo Regional District:

The Cariboo Regional District Library is pleased to announce that Betty Frank and Sage Birchwater will be on hand at the Williams Lake Library Thursday, November 24 at 7p.m. to launch their new book, “The Legendary Betty Frank: The Cariboo's Alpine Queen”.

Betty Frank grew up playing on log booms and living in float houses, and at nine years old she learned to shoot a rifle and hunt game. Strong-willed and independent, she always had a difficult time following the rules laid down by others. In spite of her distaste for sitting still, Betty soon realized that becoming a teacher would take her to the wilderness where guiding opportunities were available. She finished school and decided to get her teaching certificate.

However, the schoolroom was neither adequate nor exciting enough to contain her imagination. Three years into her career Betty met game guide Alfred Bowe, and from that day forward she followed her dream, embarking on a long and colourful career that spanned five decades.

Betty Frank grew up in Coastal British Columbia in the logging and fishing community of Owen Bay just off Sonora Island. After an exciting career in the Cariboo, she relocated to Quadra Island. To this day, she still takes care of the lodge and cabin on Quesnel Lake where she once guided, trapped and cut shakes.

The free event will include a visual presentation, as well as conversation, and book signing.

Thursday, November 24, 2011 -7 p.m.
Williams Lake Area Branch
Suite A, 180 N. Third Ave
Williams Lake, BC
250-392-3351 ext 220

2nd Advance Voting Results - City of WL

Courtesy of Greg Fry (Rush reporter) - Twitter account:

Yesterday, 599 voters' in Williams Lake took the opportunity to vote early in the Williams Lake Civic Election.

985 voters' took advantage of the two Advance Voting Opportunities (Nov 9/16) which is a new record, smashing the old record of 840 voters in the two Advance Voting Opportunities in 2005

Transit extended Saturday for local municipal vote

Courtesy of the City of Williams Lake:

There will be two additional transit route runs on Saturday, Nov. 19 to allow elector more opportunities to vote in the local general elections.

The extra runs (at the exchange at Boitanio Park) are as follows:

5:25 p.m. S. Lakeside
5:55 p.m. Community
6:25 p.m. Broadway

6:55 p.m. S. Lakeside
7:25 p.m. Community
7:55 p.m. Broadway

HandiDART service will also be available.

The polls for City of Williams Lake local general election are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Marie Sharpe Elementary School on Saturday, Nov. 19.

You can vote in a civic election in Williams Lake if you:

• Are a Canadian citizen;
• Are 18 years of age or older on general voting day;
• Have lived in B.C. for at least six (6) months on the day of registration;
• Have lived in Williams Lake for at least thirty (30) days on the day of registration;
• Are not disqualified by law from voting.

All City of Williams Lake residents who meet these requirements can vote. It does not matter whether you rent or own your home. If you own property in Williams Lake but live somewhere else in BC, you are qualified to vote in the City of Williams Lake election as a "non-resident property elector." You can vote as long as you:

• Are a Canadian citizen;
• Are 18 years of age or older on general voting day;
• Have lived in B.C. for at least six (6) months on the day of registration;
• Have owned real estate in Williams Lake, registered in your name, for at least thirty (30) days on the day of registration.

Non-resident property electors can vote only once, regardless of the number of properties they own. If there is more than one registered owner of a property, only one of those individuals may, with the written consent of the majority of the other owners, register as a non-resident property elector. There is no corporate vote.

While preliminary election results will be available after the close of polls on Saturday evening, the Declaration of Official Results will be made at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 23.

WL News - Nov 17th edition

* Election News - SD #27:

a) Doug Neufeld - see here
b) Rob Zacharias - see here

* Tribune gives wrap on Monday's All Candidates Forum on WL City Councillor candidates - see here
* Ervin Charleyboy to meet with Taseko officials - see here
* Bob Simpson - First Nations may not have a veto on mining, but they can bring it to a halt - see here

Editor's Note - I was pleased to see Mr. Charleyboy using his own personal money to see if there was a way to bridge the gap between aboriginals/non-aboriginals on the "New Prosperity" mine proposal to ensure jobs and other economic benefits for all people of the Cariboo-Chilcotin and I wish him the very best in his meetings in Vancouver with Taseko Mines

* PG Citizen reports that PG based Barker Minerals is buying the Spanish Creek mineral claim near Likely - see here

* Finally - local Member of Parliament Dick Harris wrote letters of support for both Quesnel Mayor Mary Sjostrom (see here) and Williams Lake Mayor Kerry Cook (see here).  I profoundly regret that this was done as the letters give the impression that he supports both Sjostrom/Cook for re-election.  As John Rustad posed to his readers' on his Facebook page - should MP's or MLA's be endorsing candidates for local government elections?  My reply - an unequivocal NO (in my humble opinion) as MLA's/MP's should always be prepared to work with whom is elected...

Live Chat with Ron Paull

Good morning to those in Quesnel...:

Quesnel Mayoralty Candidate Ron Paull will be hosting a live chat on Facebook tonight at 7:30pm...

To get in on it, you may post a question at the following locations:

Facebook -
Website -
Twitter - @RonPaullQuesnel
Phone - 250-992-8994

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Advance Voting Over...

With the Advance Voting Opportunity #2 Poll (City of WL) having closed at Williams Lake City Hall at 8:00pm tonight - all opportunities to vote early in the local government elections are now over with the exception of Mail In Ballots which must be in to the Chief Election Officer's hands by 8pm Saturday which means you must have it mailed back to your local municipal hall or the Cariboo Regional District WL Office by 4:30pm Friday.  

With luck, numbers for the 2nd Advance Voting Opportunity should be out tomorrow.  Please remember - 386 voted in the 1st Advance Voting Opportunity on November 9th (which is a record).  Voting today was steady, that I observed when passing by WL City Hall on a couple of occasions

With that - there is now the General Voting Day to occur on Saturday, November 19th from 8am - 8pm at Marie Sharpe Elementary (260 Cameron Street) in Williams Lake

As I won't be blogging for most of the day Saturday (from Saturday at midnight to 8pm Saturday) to comply with the "spirit and intent" of provincial legislation that requires no advertising (radio and newspaper) on the day of the election...On Friday night - I'll post the voting locations for all elections in every community and Saturday night after 8pm (and when I have the information) - I'll post the election results here in addition to whom I voted for and why...

2nd Advance Vote - City of Williams Lake

Today from 8am - 8pm in the Williams Lake City Hall Foyer (450 Mart Street), you can vote for 1 Mayor, 6 City Councillors, 1 Zone 6 School District (SD) #27 Trustee and vote in the Fluoride Referendum

Also - you can vote for a Zone 5 SD #27 Trustee (for those who live outside the City of Williams Lake but live in CRD Electoral Areas D and E) at 350 2nd Avenue (SD #27 Admin Office) from 8am - 8pm

You are reminded to bring 2 Pieces of ID with you.  Examples of ID include:

* BC Drivers' License or BC Identification Card
* BC Care Card or BC Gold Care Card
* Vehicle Insurance papers in personal name
* Utility Bill in personal name
* Social Insurance Card
* Citizenship Card
* Credit Card or Debit Card

After 8pm tonight - there will be no further Advance Votes scheduled before Saturday's General Voting for all local governments (Wells, Quesnel, SD #28, SD #27, Williams Lake, 100 Mile and Cariboo Regional District - Electoral Areas E, H, J and L)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

'Turf War' in Courtenay Municipal Election...

In a strange municipal politics story - The Province is covering a story where local RCMP in Courtenay have laid charges of "Creating a Disturbance" and "Mischief" against a local Courtenay resident in relation to local campaign signs

See here

TNG seeks injunction to halt drilling/road building

In not an entirely unexpected move... the TNG (Chilcotin National Government) has filed a motion in BC Supreme Court asking that drilling/road building being done by Taseko Mines in relation to the "New" Prosperity Mine development be halted

See more on this item here

Quesnel Mayoral Candidates interviewed on CBC Daybreak North

Yesterday, Quesnel Mayoral Candidates Mary Sjostrom, Ron Paull, and Ron Craigmyle were interviewed by CBC Daybreak North co-host (Prince Rupert) Carolina de Ryk

You can listen to the interview here

Sue Zacharias on 2008-2011 WL Council Accomplishments...

This morning, WL City Councillor Sue Zacharias published a Facebook note citing all of the good things, and, as she cites, under the leadership of Mayor Kerry Cook, that the 2008-2011 WL City Council has done

Read her full Facebook note here

However, I'd like to take a moment to discuss my own thoughts on it:

1)Develop and Implement Arts and Culture Plan

Supporting the existing local Arts & Culture Function is not and does not constitute "A Plan".  A Plan is how you will achieve a health Arts and Culture Sector with a plan for a new Performance Arts Centre (long overdue).  This should have been done at the beginning of the term by the local government (City of WL/CRD) and not the Central Cariboo Arts and Culture Society, who is a stakeholder in the process, but should not be doing the work itself (reminds me of the fox in charge of the henhouse)

2) Update City Economic Strategy

Again - this is something that should have been started at the very beginning of this term and not mere months before an election... economic development should be something that has our attention everyday and not when we're close to an election

3)Completion of Courthouse Square improvements including 1st Ave sidewalk replacement - just a friendly reminder that this project was overbudget by $40,000

4) Complete a Service Delivery Review:

a)Implemented a Service Delivery Review process designed to objectively review specific departments or functions in order to maximize efficiency, improve customer’s service and/or reduce costs. - WL Council put Staff in charge of looking at existing services - talk about a double standard. When reviewing services - it should be done by someone external... Of course, if WL Staff are looking at it, it only stands to reason that they'll keep existing services where they're at.. and not look at new opportunities to do more with less, especially if it means less City workers'...

b) Prepared and adopted Secondary Suites, Nuisance Property, Graffiti, Boulevard Parking and False Alarm Bylaws - meanwhile voters' are mad over the Registration Fees for the False Alarm Bylaw and how this Council handled the issue of consulting the public on the thorny issue on regulating parking on City owned Boulevards'

c) Passed Industrial Tax Revitalization Bylaw - considering Williams Lake has the #1 Heavy Industry Tax Mill Rate in BC, I don't expect industrial companies to make use of this tax tool for the foreseeable future...

Finally - I'd point out that this Council could cut deeper by eliminating the Executive Assistant position, roughly $60,000 in savings. In this time of restraint - Council needs to do more of its' own work, like writing its own reports and doing research..

TNG endorses a re-elected Kerry Cook for Mayor of WL

Courtesy of a Tsilhqot'in National Gov't Press Release:

The Tsilhqot’in National Government (TNG) supports the re-election of Kerry Cook as Mayor.

“We appreciate Kerry Cook for her fiscal responsibility, honesty and dedication. These are elements of a good leader, ” said TNG Tribal Chair Chief Joe Alphonse.

Kerry Cook has shown first nation support and attended many of the different Tsilhqot’in functions including a trip to Punky Lake Wilderness Camp, a camp dedicated to providing services aimed at crime prevention and community healthy development. Her involvement at the camp was admired by the youth and recognized by the Tsilhqot’in leadership.

“Since Kerry Cook has been mayor her collarboration with the Tsilhqot’in Nation and other key stakeholders have helped to reduce the crime rate in Williams Lake,” said Chief Alphonse. “Crime is at the forefront of issues that effect the health of the communities. Without her support and positive intention we wouldn’t be moving towards a healthier community.”

In Mayor Cook’s platform she expressed that on day two as Mayor the city made a commitment of over $120,000.00 towards crime reduction which resulted in a 90% reduction in some areas.

“As an instructor for the Thompson Rivers University for so many years we believe the current Mayor supports education and most importantly we believe that when she states she has a sound financial plan for Williams Lake she is speaking the truth,” states Chief Alphonse. “I believe that Kerry Cook is the best candidate that reflects the overall true population of Williams Lake with a straight-forward and honest approach. Although we have had different opinions over matters concerning the Tsilhqot’in Nation we have be able to deal with them in an open and respectful way.”

Mayoral Candidates debate Tolko - Creekside Operations

This past Sunday, WL Mayoralty Candidate Walt Cobb spoke out on what he would do with regard to operations at Tolko - Creekside Division.  See his press release here

Meanwhile, yesterday, WL Mayoral Candidate Scott Nelson also revealed his plans for Tolko - Creekside.  See that here

Today, Kerry Cook responded to this by calling Mr. Nelson and Mr. Cobb's plans as "grandiose & empty campaign promises" - see that here

My own question to Kerry Cook would be:

If you've been working on this -- how about progress reports??  How does this community know that this issue has been a priority for you and your Council?  Because right now - it doesn't appear that way..

New Grant Research Tool Available...

Recently... Victoria set up a new website for non-profit groups and local governments to look up grant opportunities

The website can be viewed here

BC Communities receive Grants in place of Property Taxes

Today, the Government of BC reports the list of communities that will receive "grants-in-lieu".

See the full press release here

Here, in the Cariboo-Chilcotin, the following communities received grants:

Wells - $1,434.08
Quesnel - $52,991.48
Williams Lake - $49,721.32
100 Mile House - $23,065.09

Total Received - $127,211.97 out of $16,927,132.32

Top 3 Communities for Grants received:

1) Victoria - $3,056,317.78
2) Vancouver - $2,883,676.05
3) Prince George - $2,123,940.49

WL News - Nov 15th edition

Candidate Election Coverage:

City of WL - Tenessa Fairburn (see here)
School District #27 - Oleh Lazarchuk (see here) and Dr. Sheila Boehm (see here)

Other News:

a) Cariboo-Chilcotin Conservation Society releases the candidates responses to its' questions - see here
b) United Steelworkers endorses Scott Nelson's plan for Tolko - Creekside.  See here but Greg Fry from the Rush tweeted out this morning that the Steelworkers will endorse any plans for tolko's creekside operations including Walt Cobb's

c) Diana French says - Who (and how) will you choose? (candidates for WL City Council) - see here
d) Tribune editiorial - Tick, Tick, Saturday's local gov't election vote - see here
e) Doug Wilson - ICBC driving exam tough on seniors? - see here
f) Russell Myers - TNG face "colonial burden" - see here
g) New episode over at WLCTV - view here

Editor's Note - With last night's All Candidates Forum (WL City Councillor) done for this election - I wish all voters' the best of luck in selecting six from the 14 candidates for WL Council.  I heard some grumbling that voters' didn't observe enough to influence the voters' choices... the City of WL/CRD should give consideration to waiving the rental fees for the Gibraltar Room where there is more space as well - the format should be reverted back to the 2005 election consisting of:

a) Opening Statements
b) Question Period w/rebuttals permitted by candidates and even a challenge period between candidates
c) Closing Statements

Also - On the Rush this morning (Tues Nov 15th) that it was stated that the Cariboo Regional District was holding their 2nd Advance Vote today for Electoral Areas 'E', 'H', 'J' and 'L'.  This is false.  It was held yesterday (Mon. Nov 14th)

Tomorrow - in the last of advance voting - the City of Williams Lake will hold its' 2nd Advance Vote at WL City Hall [450 Mart Street] from 8am - 8pm as well as the School District #27 will hold its' 2nd Advance Vote for Zone 5 (for those who live outside the City of Williams Lake boundary.  If you live inside the City and Zone 5 - you can vote early at WL City Hall)

Monday, November 14, 2011

2nd All Candidates Forum - City of WL Councillor candidates

Candidates present: Ivan Bonnell, Geoff Bourdon, Peter Bowman, Mike Bouchard, Steve Forseth, Danica Hughes, Mike Jacobsen, Paul Kandola, Gord Keener, Surinderpal Rathor, Richard Vollo, Laurie Walters and Sue Zacharias

Candidate absent:  Tenessa Fairburn

Other Candidates present: Jackie Austin (SD #27 - Zone 4), Dr. Sheila Boehm (SD #27 - Zone 5), Walt Cobb (WL Mayor candidate), Kerry Cook (WL Mayor candidate) and Scott Nelson (WL Mayor candidate)

Public in attendance: Roughly 50

Forum started at 7:03pm
Ross McCoubrey (Moderator) gave opening remarks including the format to be followed for this forum

An Question/Answer period ensued with candidates giving 1 minute answers to the following questions:

1) I am concerned that small towns like WL are losing their individual character and vibrant locally owned business opportunities because of impossible competition from trans national corporations and distantly controlled franchises. Who do you see being the future owners of local businesses and how can city council encourage and support young local entrepreneurs?

2) What are your top 2 priorities for maintaining the environmental quality (water quality, pesticide use, green space…) for Williams Lake residents into the future and what would be some of the actions that you would propose to move ahead on these priorities?

3) Do you have ideas on how the City of Williams Lake can assist School District #27 in providing a quality education to our local students?

4) Declare if you are a business partner with either a mayoralty or councillor candidate and further state how you will act independent on Williams Lake City Council?

5) What is your opinion on small business owners have a vote, even if the property is owned by a corporation?

6) What is your position on an aquatic centre? And where should it be located?

Forum adjourned at 8:45pm

Province of BC moves to strengthen ALC

Courtesy of the Government of BC:

Farmers and ranchers on Agricultural Reserve Land will have more tools to protect their way of life as a result of proposed legislation, increased funding and other measures to improve the operations of the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC), Minister of Agriculture Don McRae and ALC chair Richard Bullock said today.

“By improving the structure and sustainability of the ALC, we’re improving the lives of 20,000 farming families in British Columbia and the $9.6-billion agri-food sector our province supports,” said McRae. “The changes and support the Province is providing the ALC is a commitment to ensure the ALC will be a proactive organization dedicated to preserving farms, and expanding opportunities for producers.”

These initiatives will enhance the commission’s ability to preserve B.C.’s agricultural land and encourage farming,” said Bullock.

“A stronger ALC means stronger operations for current and future B.C. farmers and ranchers, and a stronger agricultural industry for the tens of thousands of British Columbians working in it,” said Reg Ens, executive director of the British Columbia Agriculture Council. “We are encouraged to see the B.C. government taking steps that should help strengthen farming, and moving forward we anticipate working with the Province to implement the changes.”

Improvements to the ALC will be made in several areas:

· Preserving farmland by placing a five-year moratorium on repeat applications for items such as excluding land from the ALR.
· Sustainable operations through additional funding and provisions for increased revenue generation by the ALC.
· Increased enforcement capacity through shared resources.
· Strategic governance provisions give the chair additional oversight over regional panels and more time to focus on commission matters by hiring a CEO (Chief Executive Officer) to look after administrative issues.
· Upgraded online application tracking system to provide enhanced web services to clients.
· Encouraging farming by working more proactively with local governments rather than simply reacting to applications.
· A new minister’s bylaw standard regarding residential uses in the ALR.

Today’s comprehensive reform package responds to recommendations contained in two independent reviews of the ALC. One was prepared by the auditor general of British Columbia and the other by commission’s chair.

The chair’s report is available at:

The proposed legislation is posted as part of Bill 19 at:


Details on the improvements to the ALC include:

· Preserving Farmland: Legislation introduced today supports the ALC focusing its resources on its core functions. The legislation would place a five-year moratorium on repeat applications to the ALC.

· Sustainable Operations: An additional $1.6 million provides the ALC with resources to transition to a more self-supporting operating model by 2013. The proposed legislation would also allow the ALC to charge service fees to augment provincial funding. The fee structure will be set by provincial regulation following consultation with producers, local governments and other stakeholders.

· Increased Enforcement: The Province has already increased the number of provincial government officials authorized to investigate and respond to ALR violations to approximately 30 through coordinated multi-ministry enforcement. The proposed legislation would further expand enforcement by allowing qualified officials from other government agencies and levels of government to conduct enforcement activities.

· Strategic Governance: The recruitment of a chief executive officer (CEO) for the ALC is underway. The CEO will lead the ALC’s evolution into a sustainably structured organization. The proposed legislation would also enable the chair of the ALC to have greater oversight of regional panels to ensure fairness, transparency and consistency in the decision-making process.

· Upgraded Information Services: Government ministries and agencies are already working to improve the ALC’s business processes and information management capacity through its online application tracking system. Upon completion, this effort will provide enhanced web services to clients through full integration with the Province’s online mapping database and interactive tools.

· Encouraging Farming: These changes will free up resources to allow the Province and the ALC to be more proactive in their work with local governments to encourage agriculture in their land use plans, bylaws and policies, and to promote agriculture, farm diversification and value-added processing in their communities.

· A new minister’s bylaw standard: The bylaw standard provides local governments with a ready-to-use model that restricts building large residential homes in the centre of ALR lots and ensures the majority of the land is preserved for agricultural use. The resulting standard follows extensive consultation with local governments, agriculture producers, stakeholders and the general public. The standard is posted at: