Friday, October 26, 2012

Local Gov't Mtgs - Wk of Oct 29th - Nov 2nd

The following local governments are meeting next week:

Quesnel - Delegation/Committee of the Whole meeting on Monday, Oct 29th at 7:00pm in Quesnel Council Chambers (2nd Floor - 410 Kinchant Street)

Read the Agenda here

Williams Lake - Committee of the Whole meeting on Tuesday, Oct 30th at 6:00pm in the Rick Hansen Boardroom (Basement at WL City Hall - 450 Mart Street).  View the Agenda here

Cariboo RD Board Highlights - Oct 26th mtg

Courtesy of the Cariboo Regional District:

Beyond the Beetle

Beyond The Beetle – A Mid Term Timber Supply Action Plan, which was recently released following the extensive Timber Supply meetings held by the provincial government earlier this year was received by the Board. The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations are implementing the action plan in its ongoing response to the mountain pine beetle infestation. The key elements of the Action Plan include reforestation, forest inventory, fuel management and silviculture. The full report can be viewed online at

CRD’s South Cariboo Regional Airport

The CRD Board of Directors endorsed a recommendation for the South Cariboo Regional Airport Management and Operations Renewal Agreement. Mr. Nick Christianson of Nick’s Rag and Tube will continue to look after the management and operations of the facility. Further information about the CRD airport services is available online at

Budget 2013

On Thursday, October 25, the CRD Board of Directors started the process of reviewing proposed 2013 budgets and business plans. As part of this process, Directors ensure budgets and business plans fall in line with Board strategic priorities. The next Finance Budget meeting will be taking place on Thursday, November 15.

The proposed budget will be presented to residents through three sub-regional consultation meetings taking place in 100 Mile House, Quesnel and Williams Lake in January and February, 2013. The traditional Town Hall Meetings for 2013 will be held at the beginning of the budgeting process in each of the electoral areas and municipalities in September and October next year. Further information about the dates, times and locations of these meeting will be announced soon.

Reduction of local services by Greyhound

The Regional District Board will be writing a letter to Greyhound Bus Lines to express concern about the proposed service level reductions to communities throughout the Cariboo Chilcotin and northern B.C.

Invasive Plants Pilot Project

The CRD Board of Directors approved in principle a new 50/50 cost share Landowner Assistance program to supplement existing invasive plant management programs. This program will be in addition to the traditional herbicide dispensing and equipment loan programs. Results of the pilot program will be recorded yearly as a basis upon which to measure success of the program and its suitability for complete adoption within the Landowner Assistance Program.

Health Authority Updates

Margaret Sadlon, Health Service Administrator for Northern Health (NH) appeared before the Cariboo Chilcotin Regional Hospital District (CCRHD) Board to discuss the GR Baker Memorial Hospital Master Plan. The presentation included an overview of planning criteria, goals, the draft Master Plan and the next steps. Further information about NH is available online at

Earlier in the meeting CCRHD Chair John Massier provided an update from a recent meeting between the CCRHD and Interior Health (IH). On October 23 and 24, the CCRHD met with IH in Kelowna to discuss a number of items including prioritization of the Cariboo Memorial Hospital Master Plan and the need for the opening of more beds at Fischer Place Lodge in 100 Mile House.

Anahim Lake Airport Terminal Building Design Selected

The preferred proposal for construction of the new Anahim Lake Airport Terminal Building was a cross laminated timber design submitted by Zirnhelt Timber Frames Ltd. The proposal was selected based on the use of structural wood which is consistent with the CRD’s Wood First policy and a demonstration of energy efficiency options. Once design details are completed, construction will begin in the spring of 2013.

Upcoming Cariboo RD Rural Fire Protection Mtgs

Courtesy of the Cariboo Regional District:

Thursday, October 25, 2012

BC Liberal Party 2012 Convention starts today

Like myself later today - many of the registered BC Liberal Party delegates will be making their way to Whistler for the 2 day convention which starts with a "Convention-eve" reception, hosted by BC Premier Christy Clark and her provincial Cabinet

Then on Friday - it is "Free Enterprise" Day which includes policy discussions and a Unity Dinner

Finally on Saturday - policy discussions will continue and a keynote address by BC Liberal Party Leader/BC Premier Christy Clark.

And as usual - there will be the plentiful of hospitality suites to take in.  I expect that there will be more than the roughly 200 delegates that attended the recently-held BC Conservative Party AGM.  According to Vaughn Palmer earlier this week, some 800 delegates had registered so far for the BC Liberal Party Convention

I'm looking forward to the entire event and having great policy discussions with fellow delegates.

If you are on Twitter - follow the online discussion at #bcl12 or read here on my blog for daily posts as well as daily convention videos on Facebook which you can view here


WL Council perpetually debates Rural Fire Protection

In the latest round of "he said, she said" over Rural Fire Protection - WL City Councillor Ivan Bonnell continued his push to have the Cariboo RD pay for WL Fire Department service to CRD Rural Fringe residents' at a cost of $174 per $100,000 of property assessment while WL Mayor Cook said that it was impossible to do so now, given the Cariboo Regional District was submitting a question on the same topic which, if passed, would see those same residents' pay $129 per $100,000 to a maximum of $140 per $100,000 of property assessment

As an observer - neither side made itself look good and it looked like, at one point, Mayor Cook and Councillors Bourdon/Bonnell were fighting each other like a brother/sister fight.  The tape of this meeting will be on Shaw Cable 10 later today at 8pm

Mayor Cook, prior to the discussion, did ask the public to leave the room to go In-Camera (without a motion duly passed) and she should know that this act is clearly illegal under the Community Charter which states at Section 92:

Before holding a meeting or part of a meeting that is to be closed to the public, a council must state, by resolution passed in a public meeting,

(a) the fact that the meeting or part is to be closed, and
(b) the basis under the applicable subsection of section 90 on which the meeting or part is to be closed.

In fact, the 57 minute discussion on this file, given the City can do nothing until the Nov 24th CRD referendum vote is completed and the results known - this was a completely ineffective use of Council's time and Council would have been better off to have this discussion in a Committee of the Whole setting

The 5 part resolution that Council passed by a 4-3 vote Tuesday night may do the City of Williams Lake more harm than good in that negotiating in public and through the media, in times past, has shown not to be in a City's best interests but rather to leave negotating behind closed doors

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

WL Council Highlights - Oct 23rd mtg

Present - Mayor Cook & Councillors Bonnell, Bourdon, Hughes, Rathor, Walters and Zacharias


Geoff Goodall - Acting CAO
Cindy Bouchard - Manager of Legislative Services (Corporate Officer)
Ken MacInnis - Communications Coordinator
Tom Chung - IT Manager
Pat Higgins - Director of Finance
Geoff Paynton - Director of Community Services

Meeting called to order at 6:03pm

Agenda/Minutes from Oct 9th WL City Council meeting approved


1) Cariboo Youth Fiddle Society appeared before Council to play a couple of songs
2) RCMP Inspector Warren Brown & Safer Communities Coordinator Dave Dickson appeared before Council to give an update on crime

3) Dan Hutchins from Interior Roads appeared before Council to update Council on Interior Roads' Road Maintenance and Winter Preparedness Program


1) Council received for information the accounts payable computer cheque listings for the periods ending October 11 and 18, 2012

2) Council received the 2012 Third Quarter Economic Indicators Report for information.

Mayor Cook, on her own initiative, asked all media and members' of the public to leave WL Council Chambers immediately so Council could consider one item In-Camera relating to Rural Fringe Fire Protection. No motion was made to go In-Camera at that point

3) After some 57 minutes of very hostile debate, at times, between Mayor Cook and Councillors Bourdon and Bonnell -- Council resolved the following on the CRD Rural Fire Protection file:

a) The City of Williams Lake re-affirms its' support for an amalgamated fire protection agreement and will replace the provincial agreement and CRD Rural Fire Protection - Phase 1 and 2 agreements

b) That the new agreement be based on existing boundaries of the provincial fire protection agreement between the Province and the City

c) If the Nov 24th referendum results in fire protection boundary changes, that these changes be brought back to Williams Lake City Council for its' consideration

d) That the new agreement be based on a 5 year term with an option to renew for an additional 5 year term

e) That the City of WL/CRD have Joint Press Releases on this topic prior to the Nov 24th referendum to minimize public confusion

f) And the total cost be based on total net assessed values for all property classes, both in the City of Williams Lake and in specificied portions of CRD Areas D, E and F

The above resolution was agreed to by the following vote:

Yeas - Mayor Cook and Councillors Bourdon, Walters, and Zacharias
Nays - Councillors Bonnell, Hughes and Rathor

4) Council awarded the contract for the supply of dried bulk highway salt to McTar Division of Lafarge Canada Inc. for the tendered price of $126 per metric tonne (price based on a yearly consumption of 1,400 metric tonne.

5) Council referred to the 2013 budget process construction of a new salt shed as the last one was destroyed, due to a wind storm

6) Council authorize entering into a cost-sharing agreement with ICBC for the purpose of conducting a Sign and Pavement Marking Review; and further, the City's portion in the amount of $7,500 be taken from the sign maintenance account.

7) Council received a report from the City's Waste/Water Manager regarding new schedule of solid waste and recycling collection during the weeks that have Statutory holidays

8) Council received a report from the City's Waste/Water Manager regarding he success of the City of Williams Lake's Water Conservation Incentive Program

9) Council received a presentation from the City's Director of Community Services regarding Pool Feasibility Study - October 2012

10) The following Bylaws were adopted:

a) Permissive Property Tax Exemptions Bylaw No. 2166, 2012
b) Church Tax Exemption Bylaw No. 2167, 2012
c) 2013 Borrowing in Anticipation of Revenue Bylaw No. 2168
d) Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 2162 - Dove Real Estate Ltd. - 12 Lakeview Avenue

11) Council referred a press release from the Ministry of Forests entitled "BC government responds to committee's timber supply report corrected Oct. 9, 2012 - 2011 forest product exports totalled $9.95 billion" to various forestry stakeholders' including CCBAC to discuss next steps

12) Council received a letter/petition regarding speed and traffic safety concerns on Foster Way and referred to City Staff for a report back to Council

13) Council received a letter/petition regarding speed and traffic safety concerns on Third Avenue at Marie Sharpe Elementary School and referred to City Staff for a report back to Council

14) Council will be sending a letter to Greyhound opposing the proposed cuts in Greyhound Bus Services. Read the letter here.  Councillors Bourdon, Bonnell and Hughes opposed

15) Council received In-Camera Report #9-2012 for information, as follows:

“That Council appoint the Executive Committee to work closely with the Manager of Human Resources to find the best possible candidate for the Chief Administrative Officer position and report back to council on what the recruitment process will be and keep council as a whole informed during the entire process.”

16) Council received the Council Information Package as follows:

• October 11, 2012 - District of Maple Ridge re FCM Campaign 'Target 2014: Building Our Future'; (Council to send a support letter on this as well)
• October 15, 2012 - FCM News for Week of October 8, 2012;
• October 2012 - BC Hydro re 'BC's Brilliant Energy Future Springs from an Old-Fashioned Idea'.

Council adjourned to an In-Camera, after a short recess, at 8:55pm

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Workshop for those with Well-based Water Systems

Courtesy of the Cariboo Regional District:

Modernizing BC's Justice System

Yesterday in Kamloops - BC's Justice Minister (Hon. Shirley Bond) announced a 10 step plan to modernize BC's Justice System including streamlining routine practices and implementing administrative tools to improve transparency within BC's Courts

I congratulate the BC Government and specifically Shirley Bond for her dedication for this initiative and hope it leads to improved confidence within the BC Justice System

From the Government of BC:

The first 10 steps toward transforming B.C.’s justice system were announced today by Minister of Justice and Attorney General Shirley Bond, with projects aimed at reducing backlog, improving access to justice services and increasing transparency.

A Modern, Transparent Justice System is a white paper outlining government's immediate action on recommendations made in an independent review of B.C.'s justice system by Geoffrey Cowper, released in August 2012. Part two of the white paper, to be released later, will have further actions including those taking into consideration the findings of the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry.

Based on extensive stakeholder consultation and input from the public, Cowper recommended a series of changes that government and the judiciary could make to improve timeliness, court administration and the experiences of victims. His review was called after government performed an internal government audit and released a green paper outlining challenges affecting transparency, efficiency and access in the justice system.

The white paper identifies that timeliness, transparency and balance are essential parts of effective justice and public confidence. The action plan, which lays the foundation for achieving sustainable reform, focuses on creating a new model of transparent governance and reducing court delays through the use of evidence-based approaches.

Starting immediately, government will begin implementing the following 10 activities:

1. Establish a new governance structure, through a Justice and Public Safety Council, to set strategic direction and ensure co-ordination across the justice system.

2. Develop an annual Justice and Public Safety Plan that will set goals for the justice system and report publicly on performance measures.

3. Hold a regular Justice Summit, beginning March 2013, with justice system leaders to discuss the progress and direction of reforms.

4. Create better administrative management tools that will help enhance transparency and accountability within the system.

5. Transform justice information systems, beginning with the release of a Technology Strategy for Justice Information by spring 2013.

6. Construct a business intelligence system, starting with developing an Action Plan on Business Intelligence, that will help measure and report on how the system operates.

7. Create a costing methodology that considers the key cost drivers across the system and determines, in co-operation with the judiciary, the appropriate judicial complement for the Provincial Court.

8. Set performance measures that are relevant to the public and report on progress using tools like the Justice and Public Safety Plan and the JusticeBC data dashboard.

9. Reduce case backlogs and improve overall efficiency with a new court scheduling system, Crown file ownership, expansion of criminal duty counsel services, and an early resolution pilot project.

10. Streamline routine practices such as the way information flows from prosecutors to accused and their defence counsel, admission and discharges from corrections and workflow practices in courthouses to improve efficiency and service delivery.

B.C.’s justice reform activities are intended to address the paradox that British Columbia and other jurisdictions face with rising costs and delays, despite a declining crime rate and no increase in case load.

The B.C. government’s justice reform activities are a key commitment of the Families First Agenda, which strives to ensure that families have access to justice services and feel safe at home and in their communities. To read the agenda, share your ideas or provide feedback, visit:

BC's Justice Minister (Hon. Shirley Bond) said:

“With this action plan, we have the first part of B.C.’s agenda for reform that we will use to create a justice system that works better for British Columbians. These significant changes to the governance structure will lay the foundation for the innovative projects that will come.”

“We are beginning these reforms immediately and we will pursue these changes aggressively so the public can be confident that B.C.’s justice system will be fair, accessible, and timely when they need it.”

“The B.C. government is committed to being open with citizens about the progress of these reforms and providing the public with accurate information about how the system is performing so we can keep building a better system.”

Meanwhile, Chris Axworthy, QC, founding dean of law, Thompson Rivers University offered this:

“There is a general consensus on the importance of improving the criminal justice system. Lawyers and soon-to-be lawyers welcome initiatives focusing on improving the efficiency and outcomes of the justice system. Improved consultation with stakeholders and enhanced performance measures can only help to enhance the system.”

“Addressing case backlogs and delays, expanding duty counsel services and more early alternative resolution will all be seen by lawyers and law students alike as positive initiatives.”


a) White Paper Part One: A Modern, Transparent Justice System - read here
b) Geoffrey Cowper’s report and recommendations on a Criminal Justice System for the 21st Century - read here

c) B.C. government "green paper", Modernizing B.C.'s Justice System - read here

Changes coming to Quesnel landfill drop-off area

Courtesy of the City of Quesnel:

The Quesnel landfill is entering a new era of greater environmental responsibility, improved cost control, and long-term sustainability.

A new entrance and weigh scales will open in "test mode" on November 28. The scales will be in use from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week (closed Christmas and New Year's Day). The recycling and garbage drop-off will remain open 24 hours per day until January 8. On January 9 and moving forward, the new operating hours and a new fee structure will take effect.

The new system is designed to reward those who recycle and separate their waste. Residents who have less than 350 kilograms of household garbage, and who separate their recycling, will pay no fees. But an individual who wants to throw a mix of garbage, recycling, yard waste and other waste types in one bin will pay by weight ($50 per 1,000 kilograms). The fee structure will be posted at the landfill and at

The changes at the landfill are happening because:

. It is environmentally responsible. Residents already recycle a great deal of material. It is expected that will continue, as recycling and yard waste disposal will remain free of charge.
. It extends the landfill's life, saving taxpayers money. Today, the expected landfill closure date is 2030. Extending that date reduces how much the City has to put aside for final closure each year, while also providing more time to plan and save for a new landfill.
. The ourQuesnel sustainability planning process showed there is a desire in the community for projects that consider a wide range of sustainability pillars, such as finances and the environment.
. It provides greater control over what is disposed of in the landfill. Hazardous goods, chemicals and electronics can be diverted to appropriate disposal sites.

A special edition of the Q-City News (view electronic version here) will be mailed to all homes and businesses in the V2J postal code next week providing further information.

Quesnel Council Highlights - Oct 22nd mtg

Courtesy of the City of Quesnel:

Landfill fees, hours approved

Council approved the opening date, new hours of operation, additional employees and a new fee schedule for the Quesnel Landfill.

The new entrance and weigh scales will open in "test mode" on November 28. The scales will be in use from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week (closed Christmas and New Year's Day). The recycling and garbage drop-off will remain open 24 hours per day until January 8. On January 9 and moving forward, the new operating hours and fee structure will take effect.

The new system is designed to reward those who recycle and separate their waste. Residents who have less than 350 kilograms of household garbage, and who separate their recycling, will pay no fees. But an individual who wants to throw a mix of garbage, recycling, yard waste and other waste types in one bin will pay by weight ($50 per 1,000 kilograms). The complete fee structure for residents and commercial users will be posted at the landfill and at Council approved adding 1.6 full-time employees at the landfill, with a budget of about $104,000. It is anticipated that fee increases (some of which hadn't been adjusted in 20 years) will cover this cost; however, the fee structure will be revisited next year to determine if this is the case.

Transit fleet gets early upgrade

At its last meeting, Council approved upgrading the transit fleet by replacing three aging "Polar" buses with two new "Vicinity" and one "ARBOC" bus. Staff brought forward a revised plan that would see two additional aging Polar buses replaced by two ARBOC vehicles, one year ahead of schedule. The additional cost is $8,000 over three years. It is estimated that cost increase will be offset by savings in maintenance to the older buses. Once complete, the new fleet of buses will be low-floor, easy-entry buses, improving accessibility.

Other News

The City will provide three loads of gravel for the upcoming Rotary Auction. This falls in line with past practice and costs the City about $600.

Council approved the sale of a City-owned property at 1340 Twan Avenue. The City acquired the property at tax sale in 2001, and leased it out until 2012; it is currently vacant. Sealed bids will be accepted at City Hall until 2 p.m. PST on Friday November 23.

A local volunteer firefighter will be deployed to either Peru or Panama as part of the Firefighters Without Borders Canada program. It's an opportunity to share training and experience with a foreign fire service. Council approved using approximately $1,500 from the volunteer training budget to support the initiative.

A request to create a Community Garden at 325 Lewis Drive (near the skating rink) was approved. The Climate Action Group, in coordination with the Baker Creek Enhancement Society, made the request, which would see City property used for the initiative. This same group has run a successful garden at Quesnel Junior School for the past three years. It provides bags of fresh produce for those in need. Council also approved providing $4,800 to install a water service at the site.

Council approved the City renewing its Building Inspection Agreement with the District of Wells. The new contract will expire Dec. 31, 2016. The fee for 2012 was $1,500; that fee will increase by the Consumer Price Index percentage each year.

Important Dates

October 27 - Child Development Centre Variety Show Fundraiser
October 27 - Bras Across the Bridge fundraiser


October 2012 - Accessible Parking Awareness Month October - Foster Family Appreciation Month

October 22 to 27 - Child Development Week October 28 to November 10 - Veterans Days

November 18 to 25 - Restorative justice Week

Next Delegation/Committee of the Whole Meeting: Monday October 29, 7 p.m.
Next Regular Council Meeting: Monday November 5, 7 p.m.
Next North Cariboo Joint Planning Committee Meeting: Tuesday November 13, 5:30 p.m.

Above meetings held in Quesnel Council Chambers (2nd Floor - 410 Kinchant St, Quesnel)

BC Small Business Accord

Courtesy of the Government of BC:

Editor's Note - I look forward to seeing this fully implemented in BC as we know small business has a big impact on our rural communities in BC

Minister of State for Small Business Naomi Yamamoto was joined by B.C. Chamber of Commerce president and CEO John Winter and Kamloops-North Thompson MLA Terry Lake at Lee’s Music Experience in Kamloops today to announce a consultation process with British Columbians for the B.C. Small Business Accord.

The B.C. Small Business Accord will provide guidance to government to ensure that the proper tools, support and regulations are developed to make B.C. one of the most business-friendly jurisdictions in the country.

The B.C. Chamber of Commerce recognizes small business as a key driver of job creation and economic growth in B.C. and sent a letter to government in support of establishing the B.C. Small Business Accord.

Consultations will take place over the next few weeks, engaging small businesses and their partners. This process will be valuable in developing the accord and in forming the priorities of the new Minister of State for Small Business. This document will also build on the efforts of the Small Business Roundtable, the Action Plan for Small Business and the Regulatory Reform Branch.

The consultation process will determine what the small business community would like to see government focus on in order make it easier for business to do business. It will also determine if those recommendations require new programs or policy changes.

Engagement will begin on Monday, Oct. 22. In-person consultations will take place around the province over the next couple of weeks, and citizens can also share their thoughts online on the BC Jobs Plan website: – or on Facebook and Twitter using: #commitment2SB

Small business is a key economic driver in this province, as 98 per cent of businesses are small business, providing 56 per cent of all private sector jobs and employing over one million people.

Minister of State for Small Business Naomi Yamamoto said:

“My new portfolio recognizes the important role small businesses play in our communities and in the B.C. economy and the B.C. Small Business Accord will assist government further in establishing new tools, support and regulations to make B.C. the most small business friendly jurisdiction in Canada.

Meanwhile, B.C. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO John Winter said:

“The chamber is happy to support the government of British Columbia on the B.C. Small Business Accord. Chambers across the province are the voice of small business and this is another avenue for us to bring forward our recommendations and help improve the business climate in B.C.”

Yesterday's BCLdi event

BC Premier Christy Clark and Steve Forseth
At yesterday's BCLdi or BC Liberal "Digital Influencers" event which brought together the "who's who" of those on #bcpoli via the social media platforms of Twitter, Facebook and some (like myself) who blog plenty on #bcpoli, a good discussion was had about how to use these tools to promote our Party

Dave Teixeira ( spoke as did BC Premier Christy Clark on the power of social media, both today and in next year's election.  While I don't think the traditional doorknocking will ever go away, social media is but one tool available to a candidate, regardless of a local, provincial and federal election that can help one be successful

Some I talked with were impressed that I came down from Williams Lake just for this one event however it was an event that I didn't want to miss plus the networking opportunities were wonderful and allowed me to meet people that I only know through their Twitter handles

Next up: the BC Liberal Party convention which starts Thursday evening at Whistler


Great Debate on Fracking within BC NDP

In his column today - Vancouver Sun political columnist Vaughn Palmer looks into the 'great debate' within the BC NDP Caucus over the thorny issue of fracking

Recently selected BC NDP Vancouver-Fairview candidate George Heyman says fracking should be studied for impacts and I'm told that the Fraser Basin Council is doing a study on the whole issue and should be out by May

Meanwhile - BC NDP's energy critic (and the next Energy Minister if the NDP should receive the opportunity) John Horgan says fracking is worth billions to BC but also agrees fracking should be studied for its' various impacts

Should fracking go away in BC - I wonder how the NDP would make up those billions they'll need to keep their promises on healthcare/education - tax hikes for wealthy... will families, already struggling, be asked to pay considerably more for these two basic services

If I had to guess, probably more would lean towards Mr. Heyman's way of thinking than Mr Horgan but only to be a 'fly in the room' to observe that discussion...

Read here

Democracy in decline?

In a recent column in the Toronto Star - a question was asked:

Is Democracy in decline?

A fair question to ask, given prorogations in Ontario and Ottawa as of late however democracy is comprised by those who show up and participate in our democratic systems and institutions and I don't think attacking people, like Allen Gregg did in this column, is helpful in attempting to strengthen our democratic system

Read the interesting column here

Could Ottawa use 'disallowance' to approve Northern Gateway?

In a recent interview with the Globe and Mail - BC Premier Christy Clark warns that if Ottawa wants the Northern Gateway Project, it could use a special power called 'disallowance' where Ottawa can simply, by the wave of its' hand, revoke a provincial statute(s), however it hasn't been used since 1943

Read more here

In addition - some argue that the recently signed agreement between Ottawa-China could effectively make the hearings over NGP do the same as 'disallowance' as the agreement allows China investors to sue Canada , if a project to which it has an interest in Canada does not proceed- read here

Letter 'B' Newsletter - Oct 2012

Sunday, October 21, 2012

An Action Plan for Healthy Forests

Op-Ed by Hon. Steve Thomson, BC's Minister of Forests:

With the release of ‘Beyond the Beetle: A Mid-Term Timber Supply Action Plan’, we have outlined a clear strategy to help our forests recover from the damage done by the mountain pine beetle infestation.

Unfortunately the release of the action plan has led to the spread of misinformation and it’s important for your readers to know the facts.

Government is not advocating logging in reserves. Reserves have been set up to manage crucial wildlife habitat, biodiversity, viewscapes and old growth forests. Those reserves are important and need to be kept.

If a community believes the reserves no longer serve these purposes, they can initiate a discussion with government. Only then would government consider altering any of those designations. Along with having community support, any proposed changes must be ecologically sound and supported by science. Any such proposals will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Managing our forests is a complex issue, but the outcome we all want is simple: an industry that continues to support workers and communities. In coming up with this plan, we’re building on the $884 million we have spent since 2001 fighting the infestation and its environmental and economic impacts.

We’re advocating for better use of the wood in beetle-affected areas, as opposed to increasing the number of trees cut. Not all beetle-damaged timber will supply sawmills, but it will supply the growing wood bioeconomy sector. Any areas harvested will be reforested with improved seed and start to contribute ecological values sooner than they might otherwise.

The action plan includes a 10-year forest inventory plan, with the first five years focused on re-inventorying the hardest-hit mountain pine beetle areas – work which is already well underway. Critics say this work should have started sooner, but while the pine beetle epidemic was at its peak, the ever-changing landscape of the beetle’s destruction made it difficult to carry out a comprehensive inventory.

We are investing in innovative silviculture practices to grow more trees and grow them faster, and are working with licensees on comprehensive plans that cover the entire timber supply areas. These plans contribute to growing fibre but they are equally about growing healthy forests to preserve water, wildlife, visuals and other values. These five-year plans include our latest knowledge about the effects of climate change and fire management planning.

The action plan also proposes legislation to convert volume-based forest licences to area-based forest licences – but these conversions would only occur through local conversations and after consultation. We will also create a new supplemental forest licence to increase bioeconomy opportunities.

In 2001, our government inherited a forest industry that demanded reform – mired in out-dated and inefficient policies that were oblivious to a global marketplace. Despite unprecedented challenges, including the crash of the U.S. housing market along with the pine beetle infestation, we’ve implemented innovative and progressive measures to reclaim a position as a global leader in sustainable forestry.

Working together with communities, First Nations and industry, our accomplishments are many and varied, including new markets in Asia, a burgeoning bioeconomy sector, increased local participation in forestry through community forests and First Nation tenures, and new value-added wood building products like cross-laminated timber.

Based on the unanimous recommendations of an all-party legislative committee, ‘Beyond the Beetle: A Mid-Term Timber Supply Action Plan’ will position communities, First Nations and workers so they can prosper from a post-beetle forest industry in B.C.’s Interior.

Adrian Dix will raise your taxes...

Courtesy of the BC Government Caucus:

Adrian Dix’s recent visit to Toronto for a Globe and Mail editorial board chit-chat and online comments by Nelson-Creston MLA Michelle Mungall are leading to more questions about how high taxes will be raised under and NDP government, asserts B.C.’s finance minister Michael de Jong.

In an editorial this week, the Globe and Mail states, “Mr. Dix has yet to say how he would generate greater revenues without raising taxes, nor did he fill in the details about his industrial strategy and vision for economic development, including the conditions under which he would support future pipeline developments. That is a concern.” (Globe and Mail, Oct. 16, 2012, Online)

“We’re no longer a point of debating if an NDP government will raise the taxes of British Columbians, it’s now a question of how much will they raise them by,” said de Jong, MLA for Abbotsford West. “Given Mr. Dix’s refusal, once again, to spell out his spending plans he’s running out of excuses. Taxpayers should also share the Globe and Mail’s concerns.”

Adrian Dix has already repeatedly stated an NDP government would raise taxes on financial institutes which included credit unions, potentially increasing costs and fees for British Columbians who are members of institutes including Prospera, Island Savings, Central 1, and VanCity.

More questions were raised when Nelson-Creston MLA Michelle Mungall stated via Twitter that, “Canada is #3 in the world in giving up revenue via tax cuts.”

“Cutting taxes is not the government giving up revenue as Mungall likes to think, it’s called making life more affordable for B.C. families. We believe that individuals and families are best at managing and deciding what they should do with their money – not governments. It’s clear B.C.’s New Democrats have never left their tried-and-true roots of taxing working British Columbians in order to curry favour with their big union friends.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Cariboo RD Business - Oct 26th

The Cariboo RD Board will consider the following noteworthy items at its' meeting on Friday, October 26th:

a) Northern Health to present information on its' recent activities in Quesnel/North Cariboo

b) Soda Creek First Nation requests the Cariboo RD to provide Building Inspection services - read here

c) CRD Board to submit an application to the Federal Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund for the Gateway water system (Area H)- read here

d) Receipt of Greyhound Letter advising of cutbacks - read here.  As Quesnel Mayor Sjostrom noted earlier this month, I wonder if she will be successful in convincing the CRD Board to join the growing list of rural local governments protesting this act by Greyhound.  In contrast -- the Kamloops Daily News editorial says the proposed cutbacks by Greyhound are an opportunity for a transit business to step in and fill in the transportation needs by rurals - read that editorial here

e) Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett thanks the Board for a successful 2012 UBCM Convention - read here

Under CRD Committees meeting on either Wed Oct 24th or Thurs Oct 25th:

Central Cariboo Rural Caucus:

a) Receipt of two Grant in Aide applications from Area 'F' - read here (150 Mile Elementary PAC) and here (Likely VFD)

b) Discussion on WL Community Forest - read here
c) Grant in Aide MOU between CRD/City of WL - read here
d) MOU between City of WL/CRD - read here
e) Discussions on Misunderstanding between City of WL/CRD on Rural Fringe Fire Protection and WL Fringe OCP

Central Cariboo Joint Committee;

a) Updates from local Arts/Culture Society & Performances in the Park year end report - read here/here
b) Use of extra $$$ from Rick Hansen Celebration Committee - read here
c) 2013 Central Cariboo Recreation Budget/Business Plan - read here
d) 2013 Central Cariboo Arts/Culture Business Plan/Budget - read here
e) Pool Task Force update - read here

CRD Finance Committee:

As part of the annual budget process - the Committee will begin its' first of two meetings to put together the 2013 CRD Budget.  The first meeting will review the Annual Business Plans of the various CRD Functions.  The meeting starts at 1:00pm on Thursday, Oct 25th in the CRD Boardroom.  Once the Business Plans are approved, CRD Staff will then put numbers together to implement these business plans in 2013 and present those to the Committee at their November meeting

The following Functions will see proposed increases:

a) Airports for Anahim, Likely and South Cariboo -- increases from 3-7% (2012 vs 2013)
b) North Cariboo Transit - 3% increase
c) Central Cariboo Victim Services - 5% increase
d) EA Admin in Areas A, B, F, H, I and K
e) Invasive Plant Management - 4% increase
f) EA Admin (all areas) - 3% increase
g) Central Cariboo Arts/Culture - 7% increase
h) Central Cariboo Recreation - 5% increase
i) Lac La Hache, Deka Lake, Miocene VFD's, North Cariboo Rescue and 911 Emergency Telephone
j) Streetlight for Forest Grove, Lac La Hache, Lone Butte, Commodore/Pine Valley, Pacific Rd, Highway #26

View the full Finance Committee Agenda here

WL Council Business - Oct 23rd

For those in Williams Lake - your Williams Lake City Council will consider the following noteworthy items:

1) Cariboo Youth Fiddle Society to play at Tuesday's WL Council meeting

2) RCMP/Dave Dickson to present updated crime stats for the City of WL

3)Daniel Hutchins from Interior Roads to present information on Road Maintenance and Winter Preparedness Programs

4) Replace Salt Shed - read here

5) Changes coming to garbage/recycling pickup - read here

6) Wrap on 2012 Toilet Rebate Program/High Efficiency appliance rebate program - read here

7) Sam Ketchum Pool Replacement -- Public Presentation (Part 2) - read here

8) Two petitions from residents on 3rd Avenue near Marie Sharpe Elementary and on Foster Way asking WL Council to institute safety measures - read here (3rd Ave) and here (Foster Way)

9) Council will release from its' Oct 16th Special In-Camera meeting the following Resolution:

That Council appoint the Executive Committee to work closely with the Manager of Human Resources to find the best possible candidate for the Chief Administrative Officer position and report back to council on what the recruitment process will be and keep council as a whole informed during the entire process.”

While the above motion is a good first step -- I believe the ultimate process should be engagement of a headhunter who can ensure that the process is totally above-board and is not subject to any political influence except for the final decision to appoint a Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Williams Lake

Quesnel Council Business - Oct 22nd

For those in Quesnel - your Quesnel City Council will be considering the following noteworthy items:

1) Mayor Sjostrom and Councillors Brisco, Cave, Elliot and Roodenburg report on the 2012 UBCM Convention:

Sjostrom - read here
Cave - read here
Brisco - read here
Elliot - read here
Roodenburg - read here

2) Quesnel Councillor Scott Elliot will report on his experience at the recently held CCCTA (local Tourism Association) AGM - read here

3) Councillor Roodenburg to report on latest activities of NC Multicentre Fundraising Committee - read here

4) New Building Inspection agreement with the District of Wells - read here/here

5) Proposal by BC Transit for 5 new buses in 2013 - read here

6) Proposal for Westside Community Garden:

Staff report - read here
Actual proposal - read here/here

Friday, October 19, 2012

Local Gov't Mtgs - Week of Oct 22-26

Next week - the Cities of Quesnel and Williams Lake and the Cariboo Regional District Board and its' Central Committees will be meeting next week, as follows:

Quesnel - Regular Council Meeting on Monday, Oct 22nd at 7:00pm in Quesnel Council Chambers (2nd Floor - 410 Kinchant St).  View the Agenda here

Williams Lake - Regular Council Meeting on Tuesday, Oct 23rd at 6:00pm in WL Council Chambers (450 Mart St).  View the Agenda here

Central Cariboo Rural Caucus - Regular Mtg on Wednesday, Oct 24th in the Cariboo RD Committee Room (Suite D - 180 North 3rd Avenue, Williams Lake) at 3:00pm.  View the Agenda here

Central Cariboo Joint Committee - Regular Mtg on Wednesday, Oct 24th at 5:00pm in the Rick Hansen Boardroom, WL City Hall (450 Mart St, Williams Lake).  View the Agenda here

CRD Finance Committee - Meeting #1 (2013 Budget) starts at 1:00pm on Thursday, Oct 25th in the CRD Boardroom (Suite D - 180 North 3rd Avenue, Williams Lake).  View the Agenda here

Cariboo Regional District - Regular Board Mtg on Friday, Oct 26th at 9:30am in the CRD Boardroom (Suite D - 180 North 3rd Avenue, Williams Lake).  View the Agenda here

Note to Readers --  next week is the BC Liberal Party Convention at Whistler, BC from Thursday, Oct 25th to Sat Oct 27th.  Stay tuned for daily blog posts/videos as to what occurs in each day


European Debt crisis coming to Alberta/Ontario?

Yesterday - CBC News reported that a study from the MacDonald-Laurier Institute concluded that without changes -- the Europe debt crisis could be coming to Alberta and Ontario sooner that those provincial politicians think

The study cited unsustainable fiscal policies in a number of provinces including Alberta and Ontario with repercussions to include the spectre of debt crises, damaged credit ratings, and federal bailouts if corrective steps are not taken.

The study also cites a indirect link between bad fiscal/debt policies of the provinces and territories of Canada and how this may affect Canada's fiscal position in the world

The study also says Alberta/Ontario at the most at risk of defaulting while Quebec with the highest debt load, per province, has the lowest risk of defaulting

The study also says health-care costs are the chief factor in whether or not a province could default on its' debt obligations

While BC does currently have a debt load of $60 Billion, it is still small compared to other jurisdictions like Ontario/Quebec who has debt sitting in the hundreds of billions.  A strong economy & a strong BC Liberal government, going forward, will ensure that BC eventually will begin the long road of paying back its' debt obligations

Finally - I would not be in favour of Ottawa bailing out a province, especially if the crisis was of their own making

Read the story here

Friday News...

1) Kwaleen Elementary parents' agressively fight their school closure - read here and here

2) Mike Levitt to parents -- "Quit fearmongering over school closures" - read here

3) Accessible Parking 101 in Quesnel - read here

4) Williams Lake "KidSport" receives $4,000 from Victoria - read here

5) Few show for SD #27 'Initial Report" consultation in Alexis Creek - read here

6) Donna Barnett does not favour regulating gas prices unlike Bob Simpson of Cariboo-North - read here

7) On-going work at 'Memory Garden' - read here

A Ten Year Teacher Contract?

Update #1 on Fri Oct 19th at 3:52pm - Kamloops Regional Director for the BC Conservatives' Alan Forseth speaks to this item here

Earlier this week - BC Premier Christy Clark floated an idea of a ten (10) year teacher contract with the BC Teachers' Federation.  History does show that provincial government intervention also occurs with the exception of 2006 but it's still something worth pursuing

From the Government of BC:

Today Premier Christy Clark announced a review of the teacher bargaining process that will see government engage with the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) and other education stakeholders on how best to make systemic improvements prior to the next round of bargaining.

“As we settle into a new school year, a key goal for government is to create a more stable learning environment for B.C.’s students and their families” said Premier Clark. “Imagine being able to negotiate a ten-year deal. Imagine a child starting Grade 2 this year moving through to graduation without ever having to experience labour unrest again. Can it be done? I don’t know. Is it worth trying? Absolutely. We need to put our preconceptions aside, we need to put the past behind us, and we need to be flexible and work with teachers to achieve long-term labour peace.”

Clark added that in no other sector does bargaining so consistently generate stress, strikes and disruption. “For the sake of teachers, students, parents, administrators, school staff and school trustees, we must come together in a collaborative process to bring about labour stability. That will require compromise on all sides.”

Education Minister Don McRae and ministry staff will consult with key education stakeholder organizations on how the model for teachers’ collective bargaining can be improved. Consultations will occur through October and early November and are expected to include school trustees, school administrators and parent groups.

Feedback from these consultations will inform policy or legislative changes to be implemented before bargaining starts next spring.

“We will be canvassing all the issues in the teacher bargaining system with the goal of bringing about long-term labour stability,” said McRae. “We need to move quickly to ensure that when negotiations resume early next year, they start on the best possible footing.”

Consultations will cover everything related to the teachers’ collective bargaining structure and process. The Ministry of Education will work in conjunction with the Public Sector Employers’ Council (PSEC) secretariat and will consider those recommendations identified in previous third-party reports to government.

Over the last few weeks, our government has reached tentative agreements across the public sector without any major disruptions in services to British Columbians.

Read Jon Ferry's (Vancouver Province columnist) take on this here

SD #71 (Kamloops-Thompson) Board Chair Denise Harper and Kamloops-Thompson Teachers' Association head Jason Karpuk express misgivings about the proposal from Premier Clark here

Finally - Global BC has the story below:

WL Council meets with Hon. Ralph Sultan

Courtesy of the City of Williams Lake:

Mayor Kerry Cook and members of Williams Lake City Council met with minister of State for Seniors Ralph Sultan Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett Tuesday.

Following a tour of Cariboo Lodge, Council met with the minister to discuss issues for seniors in Williams Lake, including the state of Cariboo Lodge, assisted living and residential care beds, and other issues.

The minister indicated there is $20,000 available to the City for a project or projects that contribute to a more age-friendly community in Williams Lake. The City will submit an application for funding on a project to be determined. Council also learned that Williams Lake is one of 18 communities that will host a United Way pilot project called Better At Home, which provides seniors with services that will allow them to remain in their homes longer, such as housekeeping, grocery shopping, yard work, and friendly visits.

“We were pleased to welcome Minister Sultan to Williams Lake, and we were happy to hear Williams Lake will have a Better At Home program,” says Mayor Kerry Cook. “We have strong advocates for seniors in our community that have been successful in improving services such as transit, health, accessibility, housing and more. We look forward working with them and with the community at large to become a truly age-friendly community.”

Minister Sultan also visited Deni House, Retirement Concepts, and attended the Seniors Advisory Council’s Annual General Meeting while in Williams Lake. MLA Barnett announced Williams Lake will also be home to a DriveABLE centre, meaning seniors can access the program without travelling out of town.

Bouchie Lk Mtg on Sat

Courtesy of Cariboo RD Area 'B' Director Heloise Dixon-Warren:


Just a of reminder of the 2nd ELECTORAL AREA B OPEN COMMUNITY MEETING tomorrow, Saturday, October 20th, at BOUCHIE LAKE HALL from 1-5 pm

At last Sunday’s meeting at PARKLAND COMMUNITY CENTRE, the following topics were discussed with and by residents:

1) Rural Recreation / NCRP Taxation Function Boundary Expansion
2) Moose Heights Manor-Rehab Centre
3) Recreation Passes – proposal to implement these in the Rural areas served by Recreation Commissions
4) Fire Protection/Fire Advisory Commissions
5) Official Community Plan (OCP) –Quesnel Fringe
6) Potential Speaker Seminar Topics
7) Neighbourhood Watch
8) Dragon Boat Team - Kosta's Cove

EVERYONE WELCOME TO ATTEND. Check out the Event Listing on facebook.

Thank you!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Cariboo RD strikes back at City of WL over fire protection

In response to erroneous comments made by City of Williams Lake Councillors Ivan Bonnell and Surinderpal Rathor - the Cariboo Regional District took out a half page ad in the Cariboo Advisor today (and likely in Thursday's Williams Lake Tribune) to state the real facts on November 24th's rural fire protection referendum.  I wonder if the City of Williams Lake will either decide to respond to this ad or will they let "sleeping dogs lie"....

See the ad below:

Quesnel/Kamloops Councils' oppose Greyhound cuts, but not Williams Lake's

Both Quesnel/Kamloops Councils' will be writing letters to the BC Passenger Transportation Board vigrously opposing the proposed cuts by Greyhound Bus Lines Canada.

Read more here (Kamloops Daily News)


Quesnel City Council is taking action to try and prevent Greyhound's proposed cuts in service to the community.

Mayor Mary Sjostrom says they will write a letter to both the company and the B.C. Passenger Transportation Board asking that the cuts not happen or are not as severe as what is being proposed.

Mayor Sjostrom says they may do something collectively as a region as well as she says Williams Lake and the Regional District are also considering writing letters.

Greyhound plans to reduce bus trips from 3 a day in each direction down to two.

When contacted - Williams Lake City Councillor Surinderpal Rathor says that they are no plans, at present, for Williams Lake Council to write a letter like their counterparts in Quesnel/Kamloops to formally oppose the cuts proposed by Greyhound.  The next Cariboo RD Board meeting is on Friday, Oct 26th and I expect the letter from Greyhound to be on the Agenda.

Mountain Bike Tourism on the rise

Courtesy of the City of Williams Lake:

Mountain Bike tourism in Williams Lake and the Cariboo Region is a major contributor to the economy. It is also one of the fastest growing tourism sectors in the Cariboo.

Since 2010, the Cariboo Mountain Bike Consortium has been working in collaboration with the City of Williams Lake to develop and promote mountain bike tourism. Infrastructure such as the Boitanio bike park, kiosks around town and highway signage, was implemented early on and helped to set a structure for visiting riders. With a world class trail network and infrastructure in place to support it, the Consortium and City worked together to advertise the region using the website as an information portal.

With matching funds from Northern Development Initiative Trust and the Community Tourism Opportunities program of the Ministry of Jobs Tourism and Innovation, the City invested in an intensive advertising strategy. is the largest mountain bike website in the world and receives over 1.5 million visits per month. A series of ads that focus on regional events and the general Cariboo riding experience was initiated in April of 2012. With additional funding from Northern Development, a strategic billboard was placed on the Sea-to-Sky corridor to drive traffic to the website. These tactics, in combination with general visitor feedback and word of mouth marketing through events and other activities, have generated a substantial increase in website traffic. Compared to 2011, the 2012 activity has increased by 207% to over 7,800 visits at mid-point in the 2012 season. The number of page views has risen to 34,145 with a constant 30-50% new visitor trend. This indicates the web initiative is proving to be one of the most successful of the Consortium strategies to increase visitors to the area.

A current economic assessment completed by the Consortium shows that since 2010 there has been an average 30% increase in trail system usage. The 2012 estimates for direct mountain bike visitor spending are estimated at $294,538 annually. Total indirect mountain bike visitor spending impact is estimated at $427,081 annually. The 2012 data indicates a 21% increase in mountain bike visitor spending since 2010.

Moving into 2013, the City and Consortium will continue to work together to promote mountain biking in Williams Lake and the Cariboo with a second campaign, by renewing the billboard on the sea-to-sky highway and by attending the Outdoor Adventure Show in Vancouver where they will speak directly with travel minded mountain bikers. Website analytics indicate that this has been a great investment, and the City and Consortium look forward to seeing advertising lead to increased web traffic and visitor spending in future years.

“This economic assessment shows that our partnership is working, increasing trail usage and the number of visitors to the community,” says Mayor Kerry Cook. “Mountain Bike tourism has the great potential to attract even more visitors and economic activity as we move forward.”

"We are very pleased about our partnership with the City of Williams Lake. City staff and Council have shown great leadership in the mountain bike sector, and we will be looking to other Cities and the Regional District in search of similar partnerships,” says Justin Calof, Executive Director of the Cariboo Mountain Bike Consortium. “As we all attempt to diversify the regional economy in the wake of the mountain pine beetle, mountain biking will be an increasingly important sector to attract new visitors and retain workers.”

Area 'B' Rec Commissions need your help!

Lend a Hand - Rec. Commissions

Monday, October 15, 2012

BC Conservatives' delivers blunt message to 15 detractors'

Earlier today - the BC Conservative Party announced the following:

After several meetings over the weekend, the Board of the BC Conservative Party has settled the issue of internal Party discipline by voting to send out a total of 15 disciplinary letters, including terminations of membership and letters of censure. The discipline is being meted out to these 15 individuals for their ongoing and public calls for a leadership review in violation of the clear processes outlined in Section 11.04 of the Party's Bylaws.

The affected Party members will be receiving notification of the disciplinary proceedings by mail this week.

Out of respect for the privacy of those involved, we will not be releasing the names of the individuals in question, and neither the Party President, the Leader, nor any member of the Board will be making any further public comment on these internal matters.

The Board also passed two other motions.

One of them will create a new "Unity Committee".

"We recognize that there are things which can be done to improve our internal processes," said Party Leader John Cummins. "The motion was clear when it said that we are looking for ways to engage our members, Constituency Association Presidents and Boards, and improve communications within our Party."

Party President Al Siebring added: "We're a forward-looking Party, and we recognize we need to do more to engage our membership. There's always room for improvement."

The Committee will be chaired by Director Daniel Brooks, and will also include Vice-President Christine Clarke and Director Dennis Belliveau, who is an experienced mediator in his professional life.

The Board also passed a motion to express "its full confidence and support for John Cummins as the Leader of the BC Conservative Party heading into the May 2013 election."

For myself - I wasn't surprised as most of the BC Conservative Party's Board of Directors' has plenty of John Cummins supporters. But let's contrast this action by the BC Conservative to the 2 other major political parties in BC. The NDP when they were having leadership issues when Victoria-Beacon Hill MLA Carole James was the Leader of the BC NDP did not seek actively to terminate the membership of those MLA's, with the exception of Bob Simpson, critical of Ms. James leadership at the time including current Vancouver-Mt. Pleasant MLA Jenny Kwan

In addition -- the BC Liberal Party, through its' Provincial Council, when it had its' own Leadership challenge under former BC Premier Gordon Campbell, did not seek to kill the membership of those who directly challenged Mr. Campbell including myself, Scott Nelson and former MLA Sheila Orr or even current Peace-River South MLA Blair Lekstrom.  That, in my view, shows the maturity of these two political parties over the BC Conservatives.

Tough to say what the result of this action on the part of the BC Conservatives' will be but I suspect the fight is not over for those who remain opposed to John Cummins continuing to be Leader of the BC Conservatives, but those like Alan Forseth of Kamloops (read here) remain convinced that this is the right thing to do and hope that this ends this sad chapter in the life of the BC Conservative Party... methinks though that the in-fighting will continue.  Read the story from Black Press here


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Canadian PM on Small Business Week

Courtesy of the Rt Hon Stephen Harper:

Every year, during Small Business Week, we celebrate and honour small business owners and entrepreneurs, whose hard work and dedication create jobs, growth and long-term prosperity, keeping Canada’s economy strong.

“Accounting for 98 percent of all businesses in our country, small businesses truly are the backbone of the Canadian economy, and our Government is committed to ensuring that small business owners have the opportunities and tools they need to invest, innovate and grow in today’s ever-changing global environment.

“This is why our Government is reducing taxes, regulations and red tape that inhibit growth, putting in place digital and transportation networks to increase exports of goods and services, and enhancing access to international markets through new free trade agreements.

“These measures, along with Canada’s Economic Action Plan, are generating results: Canada has the lowest overall tax rate on new business investment in the G-7, and the International Monetary Fund and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development have predicted that we will have among the strongest economic growth in the G-7 in 2012 and 2013.

“This Saturday, hundreds of small businesses across the country will offer special deals to their customers for the first edition of ‘Small Business Saturday’.. It is a perfect occasion for Canadians all over the country to support their local businesses.

I invite all Canadians to join me in thanking our nation’s entrepreneurs for the enormous contributions they make to Canada’s continued success.”

Sunday Local Politics News...

1) Bob Simpson (Ind MLA for Cariboo-North) says time to regulate gas prices?? - read here.  Please note that this is already done in the Maritime provinces (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, etc)

2) Minister of State for Seniors' (Hon. Ralph Sultan) comes to Williams Lake this week - read here
3) WL Council seeks provincial financial backing for the South Lakeside upgrade project - read here
4) TNG Tribal Chair Joe Alphonse "shocked" at Victoria's response to the Timber Supply Committee report -- read here.  Alphonse says "If Victoria has invested $885 million on forest management/economic development in BC, I don't see any evidence of it in the Chilcotin"

BC Conservatives' dissidents' dismissal one by one

Over on his popular blog with British Columbians -- veteran blogger Alex Tsakumis reports that the BC Conservatives' Board of Directors' have decided late last week that they'll dismiss the dissidents from the party one by one including Dr. Alison Patton of Surrey and Ian G Pyper of Victoria - the individual who put up John Cummins' $10,000 fee to enter the BC Conservative Leadership Race and eventual coronation as Leader of the BC Conservative Party

Read more here

Meanwhile - Vancouver Province political columnist Mike Smyth asks if there is a conspiracy theory between the BC Liberals and the issues surrounding the BC Conservative Party

Best Quotes -- Patton says with a laugh. "I'm not a Liberal operative. I'm a B.C. Conservative trying to make our party better."


She (Patton) thinks any suggestion of a Liberal plot against Cummins is a smokescreen to hide his lousy leadership. And she says if anyone is playing down and dirty, it's Cummins and his minions"

Read his column here

In a related matter - my blog stats website says people are looking for blog posts concerning BC Conservative Kamloops Regional Director Al Forseth and Alex Tsakumis.  Read those here and here

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Interested Party Status for 'New Prosperity' Review decided

In September - a call was initiated by the Federal Review Panel which is reviewing the 'New Prosperity' mine proposal, west of Williams Lake, as proposed by Taseko Mines Ltd, to apply for Interested Party status, as per the new requirement of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012.  The deadline to apply was Sept 30th

The Panel has now decided that the following groups/individuals will get 'Interested Party Status' whenever the Panel starts its' formal public hearings (which I expect could occur early in 2013):

1. Proponent

Taseko Mines Limited

2. First Nations

(a) Tsilhqot’in National Government
(b) Xeni Gwet’in
(c) Tsi Del Del – Alexis Creek Band
(d) Yunesit’in – Stone Band
(e) Tl’esqox – Toosey Band
(f) ?Esdilagh – Alexandria Band
(g) Tl’etinqox – Anaham Band
(h) Esketemc
(i) Stswecem’c Xgat’tem – Canoe Creek Band
(j) T’exelc – Williams Lake Band
(k) Xat’sull – Soda Creek Band
(l) Llenlleney’ten – High Bar First Nation
(m) Ulkatcho First Nation
(n) Métis Nation of British Columbia

3. Federal and Provincial Government Agencies

Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Transport Canada
Natural Resources Canada
Environment Canada
Health Canada
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office
Ministry of Energy and Mines
Ministry of the Environment
Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations
Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation

4. Organizations

(a) Alkali Resource Management Ltd.
(b) Amnesty International Canada English Speaking
(c) Council of Canadians (Williams Lake Chapter)
(d) Fish Lake Alliance
(e) Friends of Nemaiah Valley
(f) MiningWatch Canada
(g) Share the Cariboo-Chilcotin Resources Society (and John Meech)
(h) St’át’imc Chiefs Council and St’át’imc Government Services (and Susan Senger)
(i) Taseko Lake Lodge
(j) Union of BC Indian Chiefs
(k) Upper Fraser Fisheries Conservation Alliance
(l) Wilderness Committee
(m) Williams Lake & District Chamber of Commerce (and John Meech)

5. Individuals

(a) Michael Atwood
(b) Mike Bird
(c) Stephanie Bird
(d) Jonaki Bhattacharyya
(e) Leonard Doucette
(f) James Hodgetts
(g) Stuart Kohut
(h) Titi Kunkel
(i) Robert McCandless
(j) Jack Monk
(k) Herb Nakada
(l) Marc Pinkoski
(m) Patricia Spencer
(n) George Wood
(o) Gary Young

Read more on this topic here

Oct 12th CRD Mtg on Rural Fire Protection Referendum Question

12-36 - One Referendum for WL Fringe Fire Protection

At yesterday's CRD Board meeting by a vote of 13-2, the Board reversed its' previous referendum questions to be put to voters' in Areas D, E,F for the continuation of rural fringe fire protection

The meeting started off by Area 'F' Director Joan Sorley raising a concern about a petition (read here/here) that had been delivered to the Cariboo Regional District earlier in the week (Oct 8th/11th) that was initiated by Kathy Ferguson, both a White Rd resident and a Cariboo Regional District staff member.  Director Sorley also suggested that the petition should be "received, noted and filed" as some who signed the petition asking that they vote on receiving fire services from Williams Lake FD, rather than 150 Mile House VFD, had since recanted.  Further, Director Sorley took umbrage by earlier comments from City of Williams Lake Councillors' Ivan Bonnell and Surinderpal Rathor about the current situation on rural fire protection, which Bonnell/Rathor made at the Oct 9th WL Council meeting

CRD Administrator Janis Bell clarified that it was not against CRD Policy for a CRD Staff member, in their capacity as a private citizen, to initiate a petition with regards to a pending CRD Referendum.  Area 'I' Director Jim Glassford then asked if residents' on a property to property  basis, after the vote, could request to have fire services be provided from 150 Mile VFD to Williams Lake Fire Department.  It was clarified that  it could happen but Victoria would require that the request be considered on an area basis, rather than property to property basis

Area 'D' Director Bischoff then asked Director Sorley what the consensus of the information that she had in her possession.  Director Sorley replied that cost was the overriding factor ($69 per $100,000 for 150 Mile VFD vs $125 per $100,000 for WL FD for the same fire service standard).  Area 'E' Director Byron Kemp also raised a concern saying that those who would be voting on 150 Mile VFD expansion would hurt those voting on staying with WL Fire Department

For her part -- Williams Lake Mayor Kerry Cook stated that the City of Williams Lake has no official position on the referendum except to ensure that voters' have all relevant information that make an informed vote

The Board, with Directors' Sorley/Bischoff opposed, threw out its' previous position on the Nov 24th referendum question and decided to send the following question to the voters' in Areas D,E,F:

"Are you in favour of the adoption of Bylaw No. 4776, 2012, which would establish a fire protection service in portions of Electoral Areas D, E and F, with a maximum annual requisition of the greater of $619,167 or an amount raised by applying a tax rate of $1.55/$1,000 to the net taxable value of land and improvements in the service area? (Based on 2012 assessed values, the current residential rate would be $1.37/$1,000, which translates to a residential rate of $129/$100,000.)"

Steve's Take:

While I congratulate Directors Sorley & Bischoff for putting up a brave fight, the rest of the Board should be ashamed for not "listening" to their colleague in Joan Sorley.  If she said that remaining with the current referendum question was the right thing to do, the Board had a "moral" obligation to back her up

As Joan Sorley herself told the Rush:

“I am disappointed, I feel like I have let down my constituents. It’s my job now to support the Board’s decision and I’ll do that to the best of my ability.”

While I share Director Sorley's frustration -- she should not feel that she let down her constituents, rather her colleagues let her down by not listening to her and take her comments at face value.  And for that reason -- Directors Armstrong, Dixon-Warren, Massier, Kemp, Wagner, William, Rattray, Cook, Sjostrom, Campsall and Sharpe should be ashamed for telling Director Sorley, through their votes, that they know what her residents' want better than Joan Sorley which is definitely, in my opinion, NOT the case

Finally - for the Regional District Chair Al Richmond to vote as if this was the right thing to do then decry about the situation at the end of the meeting, smacks of total hypocrisy.

Meanwhile - I have since emailed both Director Sorley/Chair Richmond and suggested that the Board might very well want to have policy on whether or not petitions should influence referendum question(s), especially after a Board decision.  If residents' were told when a Board decision was going to occur and then petitioned the Board anyways, then what's to stop the Board to change its' mind on a referendum vote on, say, borrowing to repair/replace the aging Sam Ketcham Pool or even Grants-In-Aid decisions.

Fight Greyhound Bus Cuts...

Over on their blog - Quesnel Ec Dev Corporation tells you how to fight the upcoming Greyhound Bus Line cuts set to take effect at the end of the year.  Read here.  These cuts would put a crimp on those who don't own a vehicle and need to get around for medical appointments, etc

Local governments are looking into this issue like PG, Quesnel, Kamloops and the Thompson-Nicola Regional District.  PG, Quesnel and Kamloops Councils' will discuss the Greyhound cut letter this week at their meetings Monday and Tuesday.  Williams Lake Council has already agreed to "receive" the letter with no further action.

However, in contrast, the Thompson-Nicola Regional District Board has vowed to fight the cuts calling it the "death knelt" of Rural BC

Local Gov't Mtgs - Wk of Oct 15-19

A number of local gov't meetings are occuring as follows:

Wells - Regular Council Meeting on Tuesday, Oct 16th at 7:00pm in Wells Council Chambers (4243 Sanders Avenue)

Quesnel - Committee of the Whole Meeting on Monday, Oct 15th at 7:00pm in Quesnel Council Chambers (2nd Floor - 410 Kinchant St).  View the Agenda here

School District #28 (Quesnel).  Regular Meeting on Wednesday, Oct 17th at 7:00pm in the SD #28 Boardroom (401 North Star Rd).  View the Agenda here

School District #27 (Cariboo-Chilcotin) - Regular Meeting on Tuesday, Oct 16th at 6:00pm - Alexis Creek School.  View the Agenda here

Friday, October 12, 2012

Updated Pool Consultation Materials Now Online

Courtesy of the City of Williams Lake/Cariboo Regional District:

Detailed information about potential options for the Sam Ketcham Pool is now online at,, and

The information posted includes diagrams and sketches, technical information, and public feedback emerging from the first round of consultation, as well as potential cost implications and recommendations from the City of Williams Lake/Central Cariboo Joint Committee’s consultant (PERC)

Residents are encouraged to review the information, and submit feedback via email to Feedback is vital to the Central Cariboo Joint Committee in the next steps for the future of the Sam Ketcham Pool.

All residents are reminded to visit the following locations on Oct. 12 and 13. Be sure your views are heard!

Public Information Sessions

Friday, Oct. 12

Safeway – 1:30 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.
Walmart – 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 13

Save On Foods – 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Canadian Tire – 12:15 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.
Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex – 2 p.m. – 3 p.m.

Garbage/Recycling Collection changes due to stat holidays

Courtesy of the City of Williams Lake:

Due to statutory holidays and the operational requirements of the City of Williams Lake and its solid waste contractor, collection days for wastes and recycling day will change during the weeks of statutory holidays starting with the Remembrance Day long weekend, Monday November 12th.

If your collection day falls on a statutory holiday, the collection of your solid waste will not happen that day. Instead the collection days for the week will move ahead by one day.
For example, if Monday is the statutory holiday then:

• Monday’s collection day will move to Tuesday,
• Tuesday’s collection day will move to Wednesday,
• Wednesday’s collection day will move to Thursday,
• And Thursday’s collection day will move to Friday.

On the next page is a map of the rest of the year’s solid waste collection schedule including statutory holidays. The map has been color coded for ease of use. A letter with the map will also be mailed to City households.

Please direct any questions to Joe Engelberts, Manager of Water and Waste, to 250-392-1785 or via email at

Emergency CRD Board meeting today

At 1:00pm today (Fri Oct 12th) - a special Cariboo Regional District Board meeting has been scheduled to discuss a resident petition relating to the November 24th referendum vote for continuation of rural fire protection for rural fringe residents' in parts of Electoral Areas D, E, F

Read the sole Agenda item here

2nd Round of Public Engagement - Sam Ketcham Pool

Last night before a crowd of roughly 70 members of the public  - Professional Environmental Recreation Consultants or PERC, consultants hired last year to guide the next steps as to what to do about the 30 year Sam Ketchum Pool, presented the Preferred Option on behalf of the Pool Task Force.  Politicians in attendance included Williams Lake Mayor Kerry Cook, local City Councillors Laurie Walters and Danica Hughes, CRD Directors Deb Bischoff, Byron Kemp and Joan Sorley

The first part of the Public Open House was a brief presentation as Option 5 (Preferred Option) including keeping the existing 6 lane, 25 metre pool and adding a new hot/kiddie pools, and a 3 lane 25 m "leisure pool"

A question and answer period ensued with questions ranging from let's do the least expensive option ($2 million to replace tank in the existing pool) to why not expand the Recreation Complex to host a wider variety of recreation groups for their needs

Financial Analysis:

Cost of Project -- $11.3 million
Money from benefactors/grants - $3.3 million
Money borrowed over 20 years - $8.0 million

Current Recreation tax rate -- $88/$100,000 of assessment (land/buildings)
New Recreation tax rate ($8 million borrowed) -- $121/$100,000 of assessment (land/buildings)

Please note the new Recreation tax rate (as I suspect will happen) will go up if the $3.3 million can not be recovered in grants or other received monies (Taseko Mines, foundations, etc)

As Williams Lake taxpayers' would be on the hook for debt, as of today, totaling $23-24 million until roughly 2030 and given forestry is in a flux and no guarantee around 'New Prosperity' - it would be foolish to borrow the $8 million at this time but rather to tax for one year to get the $2 million, fix the tank in the main swimming pool and save up for a while, then do the upgrade with cash, instead of borrowing

Read the story on this from the Rush/Wolf here

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Cherish Your Family...

In a 'non-political' blog post -- former City of WL CAO/current District of Lake Country CAO Alberto De Feo writes on his personal blog about a brother who hesitates to visits his dying brother and how that type of situation should influence how we cherish our own family (ies) of today

Read more here

BC Conservative Party now a joke political party?

In the very rapidly unfolding situation within the BC Conservative Party - Global BC Legislature Bureau Chief Keith Baldrey called the BC Conservative Party being a legitimate contender for government in BC's General Election on May 14th, 2013 to a 'joke' and Global BC reports a plan yesterday where John Cummins would have resigned yesterday (Wednesday) but still receive his party $4,000 per month stipend for six months

Read articles here (Global BC) and here (Surrey Leader)

In addition, Al Siebring, President of the BC Conservative Party gives his members an update on the whole 'dissident' situation here

Finally - watch the Global BC video clip below:

As I reported earlier today -- this is more evidence that the BC Conservative Party and its' small base is not quite ready to be a legimate force in provincial politics and consequently, either serving in Official Opposition or Government