Friday, November 30, 2012

Local Gov't Mtgs - Wk of Dec 3-7

A number of local governments are meeting next week as follows:

Wells - Regular Council Meeting on Tuesday, Dec 4th at 7:00pm in Wells Council Chambers (4243 Sanders Ave)

Quesnel - Inaugural Council Meeting of 2013 term on Monday, Dec 3rd at 7:00pm in Quesnel Council Chambers (2nd Floor - 410 Kinchant Street).  View the Agenda here

Williams Lake - Regular Council Meeting on Tuesday, Dec 3rd at 6:00pm in WL Council Chambers (450 Mart St).  View the Agenda here

Upgrades coming to Kiwanis Park...

Courtesy of the City of Williams Lake:

The City of Williams Lake will be in a position to begin work on two projects in Kiwanis Park next year, due to a generous donation from the Kiwanis Club. The Club has donated $20,000 to the City: $15,000 to improve the gazebo, and $5,000 to rebuild the water fountain.

“Partnerships are critical when it comes to community projects, and this contribution from the Kiwanis Club is a perfect example,” says Williams Lake Mayor Kerry Cook. “I know my grandchildren are among the many that make use of Kiwanis Park, and these improvements will make a fantastic park that we can all be proud of even better.”

“The Kiwanis Club has always been a part of this park, and always will be,” says Alison Sutherland-Mann, President of the Williams Lake Kiwanis Club. “We’re proud to continue this tradition with this

In June 2012, City staff were invited to do a presentation to the Kiwanis Club regarding park improvements, staff presented a variety of projects to the club that they felt would be beneficial for a City-Kiwanis Club partnership. The Kiwanis Club of Williams Lake has been an active service club since the 1950s, and has donated to the park many times since then.

City staff will begin planning for these projects, which will include concepts on how a new and improved water fountain should function and what it may look like. The gazebo will require a complete upgrade with a new look and possible larger size in order to accommodate families and children that use the park on a daily basis.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Taseko suffers another setback (Updated)

Update (Fri Nov 30th) - Read the response letter from Taseko Mines to CEAA re: cumulative environmental impacts assessment here as well as the Williams Lake Tribune article on this item here

This past Tuesday - the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency or CEAA sent a letter to Taseko Mines, proponent of the 'New Prosperity' requesting that an assessment of cumulative environmental impacts be completed.

Read the letter from CEAA to Taseko Mines below:

For their part - Taseko Mines said:

Taseko has responded with its own letter expressing both disappointment and disagreement with the panel’s decision.

John McManus, Taseko’s senior vice-president of operations, says it is “discouraging that the panel has used an apparent technicality to stop the timeline remaining for the panel to complete its review.”

He noted that a previous federal panel review of Taseko’s earlier environmental-impact statement in 2009 expressed concerns over cumulative impacts related to fish and grizzly bears but he argued that the company’s revised statement addresses those concerns.

McManus said the company disputes the decision and insists “there is no need to complete additional cumulative-effects assessments....”

Read the full Vancouver Sun article here

Meanwhile - Marilyn Baptiste of the Xeni Gwet'in First Nation Band said:

Long overdue and not surprising whatsoever. the rejection should be enough to put the brakes to the project, “if it does go through to the panel proceedings then people better start seriously questioning the Canadian Government because with that kind of process and those kinds of deficiencies not being addressed it shouldn’t be part of a review.” The proposed mine a very serious threat to her people’s being, their way of life and their future generations.

Finally - Brian Battison, Taseko Mines's VP of Corporate Services said at today's Williams Lake and District Chamber of Commerce meeting:

"We were surprised, but it's just part of the process. Well we were surprised to receive their letter. What they’re asking for they actually already have so when we responded to them we told them that look what you’re looking for already exists and you have it and we don’t see it as a deficiency.”

For myself - I was very surprised to see this development and hopefully this won't lead to a lengthy delay. At worst, the public hearings should be held not later than March, but I hope to see the public hearings commerce much sooner as in mid to late January or February of 2013.  It was also commented by Walt Cobb (past President of the WL and District Chamber of Commerce) that local MP's Dick Harris (Cariboo-PG) & Cathy MacLeod (Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo) that both were disappointed with Tuesday's letter from CEAA to Taseko Mines and were both committed to get the process moving forward to the Public Hearing Stage...

Extreme Weather Spaces in Quesnel/100 Mile

Courtesy of the Gov't of British Columbia:

Editor's Note - interesting that there is emergency weather shelter spaces in Quesnel and 100 Mile but not Williams Lake, but thanks to Rich Coleman and Donna Barnett for getting the spaces avaliable for those who need it in Quesnel and 100 Mile House

More than 1,200 additional emergency shelter spaces have been identified in approximately 70 communities to help those in need of temporary shelter access a warm place to stay during extreme winter weather conditions.

The B.C. government will provide up to $1.3 million for the temporary shelter spaces that are available from Nov. 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013, when a weather alert is activated. Each community decides when to issue an extreme weather alert based on current conditions and forecasts and how many spaces should be made available on a given night.

These additional spaces supplement the more than 1,600 permanent, year-round shelter beds in B.C., more than double the number of beds available in 2001. The Province also funds outreach teams who connect homeless people with permanent housing, income supports, and a range of health services. Last year, more than 3,200 people throughout B.C. were provided with stable housing through outreach services.

The Hon. Rich Coleman - Minister responsible for Housing says:

“Every year volunteers and community organizations across the province make extra spaces available during the cold weather months. Our government provides the funding and the community makes sure there is a warm, safe place to stay, for anyone who needs it.”

Extreme Weather Spaces in Cariboo-Chilcotin:

Quesnel -- Quesnel Shelter and Support Society (Seasons House), 146 Carson Ave. / 10 spaces

100 Mile House -- 99 Mile Motel, 896 Alpine Ave. (Highway 97) / 4 spaces
The Cedars, #204 - 476 South Cedar Ave. / 6 spaces

Affordable Housing discussed in Quesnel

Affordable Housing discussed in Quesnel Council Chambers
Courtesy of the City of Quesnel website:

The City of Quesnel hosted an Open House on Monday November 26 to discuss Affordable Housing through the ourQuesnel: Sustainability in Action process. More than 25 members of the public attended, and were provided:
  • An opportunity to learn more about the different types and availability of affordable housing in our community.
  • A review of the City’s Draft Affordable Housing Strategy.
  • An opportunity for local housing stakeholders to meet and discuss projects, with an eye towards creating or fostering partnerships between them.

New Quesnel Landfill Entrance Open...

From City of Quesnel Website:

The Quesnel landfill is entering a new era of greater environmental responsibility, improved cost control, and long-term sustainability. The new entrance and weigh scales are now open in "test mode."
The scales are 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 mentioned above and a new fee structure will take effect.
For more information, click here.

WL Council Budget Mtg - Wednesday Nov 28th

In a budget meeting that saw idiocy from Mayor Cook & Councillors Rathor, Bourdon and Zacharias fighting over the number of jobs lost at Tolko - Creekside.  Rathor says 140 while Cook says she understand that only something like 22-24 will have lost their jobs at the end of the day to Mayor/Council and City Staff unable to decide what constitutes a "provisional" budget and what process should be used to arrive at an adopted provisional budget on December 18th - Yesterday, Council received a presentation on and discussed the 2013 General Fund numbers (Operations/Capital).

Later today - Council will receive a briefing on the utility funds (Water, Sewer and Transit).  Council will also have to prelimenary decisions about the provisional budget with a final decision on it to be decided by Council at its' December 18th meeting

Particulars from the meeting below:


Mayor Cook & Councillors Rathor, Bourdon, Bonnell, Hughes, Zacharias and Walters (left meeting at 7:01pm)


Pat Higgins - Director of Finance
Rena Schill - Corporate Services/Records Coordinator
Geoff Goodall - Acting CAO/GM of Planning & Ops

Meeting called to order at 6:00pm

Mayor Cook asked for public input & Elke Reimer spoke on the necessity to have no tax increases in 2013, and Monica Yorski-Lamb of WL Tribune asked potential assessment loss of Tolko - Creekside closure and possible assessment value of new Sprucelee building (3rd Ave and Cameron St).

Members of WL Council also attempted to get Steve Forseth to provide input but he politely declined

Pat Higgins presented a Powerpoint presentation on 2013 General Fund with a question period ensuing during the presentation:

2012 Expenditures - 16,570,660
2013 Expenditures - 16,819,992

Reason for increases (1.5%) - Landfill costs and wages

2012 Revenue - 18,566,910
2013 Revenue - 18,289,653

Revenue increase of 1.5%

Surplus of 624,500 (224,500 available)

Strategic Community Investment Reserve - $117,750 available

Fiscal/Debt payment - $2,088,780

Options to balance budget in 2013:

A) Take $224,500 from General Surplus Reserve
B) Increase transfer from operating reserve - $100,000
C) Defer repayment of Internal Borrowing - $214,000
D) User fee increase
E) 1% tax hike = $100,000 roughly
F) Reduce Services

2013 Capital Budget Requests - $5,420,700 (General Fund)

Deferred Station House Gallery upgrades to 2014 - $160,000

Direction required on:

* Legislative Budget
* Supplementary Requests
* Possible reductions
* Capital requests
* Transfer to reserves?
* Other items for consideration?

Councillor Rathor attempted to move a motion to freeze Council pay in 2013 but it failed to get a seconder

Councillor Rathor/Bonnell moved:

THAT Council suspend its' Stipend pay policy in 2013 (no increase in pay in 2013)


Councillors Rathor and Hughes voted in the affirmative (yes)
Mayor Cook and Councillors Zacharias, Bonnell, and Bourdon voted in the negative (no)

Councillor Bonnell/Zacharias moved:

$224,500 be moved from Surplus Reserve to balance the 2013 budget


Councillors Bonnell/Zacharias moved:

That $100,000 be moved from Landfill Closure Reserve to cover increase in Landfill costs


Mayor Cook/Councillor Zacharias moved:

That Council endorse in principle all committed to Capital Projects, as identified by the acting CAO, for 2013


Councillor Bourdon/Bonnell moved:

That supplementary items be prioritized to those which increase revenue or decrease expenditures for the City


Meeting adjourned at 8:55pm

Next City of WL Council Budget Meeting: Thurs Nov 29 at 6:00pm in the Rick Hansen Boardroom

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

SD #27 Update on "Initials Options" Report Process

Courtesy of School District #27 (Cariboo-Chilcotin):

The Board of Education of School District No. 27 (Cariboo-Chilcotin) is nearing the end of its official public consultation process regarding possible school reconfiguration and closures.

At the Public Board Meeting on Tuesday, December 11, the Board will receive a summary of what has been learned through the consultation process. A number of other options and ideas have been brought forward by School District No. 27 staff and members of the public during the many consultation meetings that have happened over the past two months, and all options and ideas will be considered by the Board before making any final decisions.

The Board has not yet met regarding any of the information that has been presented to them since the release of the Initial Options Report on September 25. Once the full consultation period is over and they have received the summary at the meeting on December 11, the Board will begin to discuss what they have heard from the public consultation meetings as well as from the other ways the public has been consulted (i.e. Thoughtstream, e-mail feedback, written feedback).

Board meetings, open to the public, have been scheduled for: December 11, December 18, January 8 (in 100 Mile House), January 15, January 22 (expected Initial Options Report decision date), and January 29 (regular board business agenda).

To read the full Initial Options Report or to view the complete timeline for the consultation process, visit the School District website:

For further information, contact:

Chair, Board of Education

Phone: 250-398-3800
Fax: 250-392-3600

Does BC need a Parliamentary Budget Officer?

In his weekly column - Ind Cariboo-North Bob Simpson talks about the BC Liberals using taxpayer money to promote the fact that we are doing pretty well considering the financial state of other jurisdictions, like Ontario, Greece and the United States as examples

MLA Simpson also makes the argument as to why BC, like the Federal House of Commons, should have its' own Parliamentary Budget Officer or PBO.  Read his column here

For myself - given the arguments over the role of a PBO in Ottawa, I would if a majority gov't in BC would do the same sort of acts that we see Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his government engaged in, thus requiring the PBO, like the Auditor-General of BC right now, to engage the government in litigation to get the information he/she needs to do their statutory job.... thus costing BC taxpayers' even more $$$ plus I wonder what the overall benefit to provincial legislators would be, given it hasn't had a huge impact on how the Federal Conservatives' passes their budgets

On somewhat the same subject - BC Conservatives' Kamloops Regional Director Alan Forseth blasts today's announcement by BCs Finance Minister Mike De Jong that the current deficit for the financial year ending March 31st, 2013 will end at $1.47 billion.  Read Mr. Forseth's blog post here while you can read the updated 2nd Quarter Financial Results for the Province of BC here


BC NDP in Cariboo-North select candidate mid-Jan 2013

Just a few mins ago on the Rush/Wolf- Brian Kennelly, President of the BC NDP Cariboo-North Riding Association stated that a Candidate Selection Meeting was being called for in mid-Jan of 2013 with the final date to submit a nomination being Friday, December 7th, 2012 at 5pm

He also stated that he was expecting a race with interest active as individuals decide whether or not "to take the plunge" with a couple of people showing very active interest, although no names were mentioned

Cariboo-North covers Quesnel, 150 Mile House, Horsefly, Likely, Miocene and parts of Williams Lake


Supporters of 'New Prosperity' fire back...

On Monday -- Xeni Gwet'in Chief Marilyn Baptiste said this on 'New Prosperity' at a public meeting in 100 Mile House:

Her people aren't stupid.

“It will of course destroy our way of life. It will destroy our land. There’s already been enough impact there.”

“It’s unfortunate that the Canadian government chooses to go through a process wasting energy and time; and on a process that was already reviewed, assessed and denied.”

"Meetings like the one held last night are for the purpose of educating people on the real issues that exist and also encouraging the public to educate themselves further."

"Baptiste doesn’t believe for one second that Fish Lake will be saved and that anyone with common sense would be aware that that is not possible"

Today - Len Doucette of the "Say Yes to New Prosperity" countered the arguments put forth by the Xeni Gwet'in Chief by stating:

"The Friends of Fish Lake, when they were talking [Monday] were making you believe the mine is going to be basically under Fish Lake and that poisonous and acidic water will be flowing into Fish Lake.”

“Basically they’re just trying to make everybody believe what Taseko Mines is saying is lies; and it’s not lies.”

Doucette insists Taseko has a very sustainable watershed proposal. He knows that the Friends of Fish Lake think it’s all bologna though, as he puts it, from what his side understands, Taseko is doing everything they can and are committed to the prevention of contamination of fish spawning grounds and Fish lake"

While I sympatize with the general direction of "Say Yes to New Prosperity" group -- I hope that we find a way to disagree civility (ie - I understand your point of view but I reject your conclusion) without resorting to strong language like "they are lying...."

Using such language leads to a divisive community, such as the case we have now over New Prosperity, even within the non-aboriginal community.  There is the old saying: Disagree without being disagreeable


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

BC's 1st Anti-Bullying Bylaw

Earlier today, Port Coquitlam Mayor Greg Moore, Amanda Todd's mom - Carol and local Port Coquitlam businessman Gary Mauris launched the "I am Someone" campaign (see more here) at the Riverside Secondary Gym.  View media stories here/here

Mayor Greg Moore also announced that the City of Port Coquitlam Council would pursue the adoption of an anti-bullying bylaw which would be modeled on the same bylaw in Regina (2006).  There is also an anti-bullying bylaw in Edmonton (2003).

CBC-BC video -- Greg Moore (Port Coquitlam Mayor) announces first anti-bullying bylaw in BC to be adopted by Port Coquitlam City Council:

 I, for one, will be watching this initiative very closely and if successful in Port Coquitlam, I wouldn't be surprised if you see anti-bullying bylaws pop up in other municipalities in British Columbia.

I applaud and congratulate Greg Moore's leadership on this topic and hopefully his leadership on Anti-Bullying will spur similar action by his fellow Mayors' in British Columbia over time...

View Regina's Anti-Bullying Bylaw below: Regina's Anti-Bullying Bylaw of 2006

Tuesday News Wrap up - Nov 27th

In 100 Mile:

a) Xeni Gwet'in Chief Marilyn Baptiste says Opposition to 'New Prosperity" -- Loud and Clear - read here

In Williams Lake:

a) Is there more options than the "Initial Options" report for the future of School District #27?? - read here and here

b) Fire at Central Cariboo Transfer Stations yesterday causes $50,000 in damages - read here
c) Poverty challenge in Williams Lake - read here

In Quesnel:

a) Quesnel seniors' want DriveABLE - read here
b) Future of Miss Quesnel program on the line.... read here
c) Shadow LaFlamme does the right thing and surrenders to Quesnel RCMP after an earlier flee from Quesnel RCMP officers evading arrest - read here

Quesnel looks for Jr EcDev Officer - 1 yr Mat Lv

From QuesnelInfo Blog:

Junior Economic Development Officer, FT, Temporary (12 month materity leave)

Job description: The Junior Economic Development Officer for the Quesnel Community and Economic Development Corporation, using good judgement, is responsible for coordination and management of all economic development initiatives and activities of the Quesnel Community and Economic Development Corporations Strategic Plan.


- Reporting to the 14-person board of directors and leading 2-5 staff members

- Implements annual work plan based on 2013-2015 Strategic Plan

- Prepares proposals and applications for outside funding agencies/programs

- Provides liaison between Economic Development, local government, the business community and various levels of government

- Coordinates and manages approved projects

- Maintains working relationship with community groups and municipal subcommittees

- Supports and reports at monthly board meetings

- Ensures minutes are properly prepared, distributed and approved and stored for record management

- Prepares annual reporting and presents to Joint Planning

- Ensures authorized expenditures from the adopted budget are met

- Other duties as assigned


- College or university graduates with courses in Economic Development and/or Community Economic Development, or recognized education in a business related field, or equivalent relevant experience or combination of both, as well as good knowledge of business skills;

- Proven project management skills, including organizational skills, ability to establish priorites, coordinate workloads to meet timelines and budget expectations
- A minimum of three years experience working with a board of directors, and/or in a corporate or government environment;
- Proven knowledge of Economic Development plans, strategies, services and projects;
- Ability to focus on corporate and community interests;
- A valid driver's license and vehicle is essential;
- Strong interpersonal skills and ability to work independently and in a team environment are key to success in this position
- Public speaking skills;

- Operating Mac and Mac operating systems/programs;

- Knowledge of resource sectors and other economic sectors.

The above is a general description of the job functions and is not a detailed description of all work responsibilities that maybe inherent or assigned to fulfill job position.

If you feel that you have the qualifications and are passionate about the Quesnel area and being part of positive growth in the community, please submit your resume, cover and three professional references to:

Economic Development Officer

April Goffic

339A Reid Street Quesnel BC V2J 2M5

Applications will be reviewed on December 7, 2012 with interviews to follow, the posting will remain open until a suitable candidate is found.

Quesnel Council Highlights - Nov 26th mtg

Courtesy of the City of Quesnel:

Water project moving forward

Over the past several years, the City has been working with the Lhtako Dene First Nation on a plan that would see the City provide potable water to the reserve lands. After receiving a formal request from the Nation's new Council at an October 15 Council meeting, Council has approved, in principle, of providing potable water to Band lands. The parties involved must commit to a number of principles before the project is formally approved, including:

* That the water is used primarily for residential purposes.
* The capital and ongoing operating costs will be funded through Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC).
* That a detailed review by City engineers and consultants of the existing feasibility study be funded by AANDC.
* Lhtako Dene Nation taking the lead role in securing cooperation from any required stakeholders.
* City staff reporting to Council summarizing the project before it is approved.

Council recognized the importance of continuing to build a productive and respectful partnership with the Lhtako Dene Nation.

Water provision investigated

The City often receives requests from residents who live in areas of the City that are unserviced for sewer and/or water. Council approved the following steps in response to one such request.

The City will release a recently completed Water and Sewer Servicing study to the public, that outlines the areas that are unserviced and the estimated costs to provide service.

The City will work with residents in the Richards and Woodridge Roads area to determine if a majority are willing to pay for a service extension and operating costs.

Other News

-The Miss Quesnel Self Development Society is in need of a team of volunteers to work with the program's participants. The departing committee members are willing to work through a transition period with anyone interested in taking on this rewarding position. The City provides an annual budget to fund the Miss Quesnel program. The young ladies act as community ambassadors throughout the year, while developing their own leadership potential. Those interested should e-mail for more information.

-Council approved its meeting schedule for 2013. Typically, Council meets formally every two weeks on Monday evenings at 7 p.m. On alternate Mondays, Council will often meet as a committee (called the Committee of the Whole) to discuss issues or hear presentations from delegations. There are several meetings of note, including: the inaugural meeting of the 2013 term, on December 3; the first budget meeting on January 28; the public input budget session on February 25; and the final budget adoption meeting on May 6. To view the complete schedule, visit

-A new City Civic Pride and Tourism Committee was formally established. The committee replaces the Communities in Bloom committee, and is designed to continue fostering civic pride while exploring ways to enhance the tourism experience in Quesnel. The committee will be chaired by Coun. Scott Elliott.

-Council approved closing Reid Street to traffic on December 8 at 4:30 p.m., allowing the annual Santa Parade to occur. The event is a partnership between the Quesnel Downtown Association and the Quesnel Cariboo Observer.

Important Dates

December 8 - Santa Parade


November - Adoption Awareness Month

Future Meetings

Next Regular Council Meeting: Monday December 3, 2012 at 7 p.m.
Next Delegation/Committee of the Whole Meeting: Monday December 10, 2012 at 7 p.m.
Next North Cariboo Joint Planning Committee Meeting: Tuesday January 15, 2013 at 5:30 p.m.

The aforementioned meetings (3) are held in Quesnel Council Chambers (2nd Floor - 410 Kinchant Street, Quesnel)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Politicians & Photo-Ops...

Last Thursday in his weekly column - Ind. Cariboo-North MLA Bob Simpson critiqued his political peers for using photo-ops to celebrate "good news" announcements, like the recent West Fraser announcement in Williams Lake with West Fraser officials, Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett and Williams Lake Mayor Kerry Cook, but he asks:

Where were MLA Barnett and Mayor Cook when Tolko announced the permanent closure of their "Creekside" operation?

As MLA Simpson says in his latest weekly column:

It’s always fascinating how politicians jump at the opportunity to get their photos taken when private companies make investment announcements, but they’re nowhere to be seen when those same companies announce mill closures or cancel previous investment announcements.

I wholeheartedly agree with this statement.  If you are going to involve yourself in photo-ops as a politician (or an aspiring politician, like myself), it must be a two-way street -- be accountable for the good and bad news in your community

Read MLA Simpson's column here
Read the Georgia Straight column here

Local Gov't Mtgs - Wk of Nov 26-30 (updated)

Quesnel and Williams Lake City Councils' & School District #27 Board of Education will be meeting next week as follows:

Quesnel - Regular Council Meeting on Monday, Nov 26th at 7:00pm in Quesnel Council Chambers (2nd Floor - 410 Kinchant Street).  View the Agenda here

Williams Lake - Committee of the Whole session on Tuesday, Nov 27th at 6:00pm in the Rick Hansen Boardroom (WL City Hall basement - 450 Mart St).  View the Agenda here

School District #27 - Regular Meeting on Tuesday, Nov 27th at 6:30pm in the SD #27 Boardroom (350 North 2nd Avenue - beside Marie Sharpe Elementary).  View the Agenda here

Williams Lake - Budget Meeting on Wednesday, Nov 28th.  No time is identified although 6:00pm is a good bet.  There may be another meeting the next day, if required (Thursday, Nov 29th)

Quesnel Council Bus - Nov 26th

For those in Quesnel - your Quesnel City Council will consider the following noteworthy items at its' meeting on Monday:

a) Release of two In-Camera (Closed Meeting) Resolutions - read here (extending water to unserviced areas of Quesnel and Lhtako Dene First Nation and here (selling of land at 1702 Dyke Rd)

b) General Manager of Community Services (J. Norburn) will seek approval for fireworks at 2013 Winter Carnival - read here

c) New Tourism/Civic Pride Committee of Council? - read here (Staff report) and here (Terms of Reference for proposed Committee)

d) NCLGA reports decision on Greyhound bus cuts expected between Dec 10/12 and Jan 10/13 - read here

e) Quesnel Visitor Centre reports to end of Oct 2012 - read here

Editor's Note - I'd like to see the same monthly reporting from the Tourism Discovery Centre to see if taxpayers' of Williams Lake are getting good value for the $150,000.00 that the TDC gets annual through a Fee for Service arrangement

f) Miss Quesnel Self-Development Program looks for Committee members' - read here

WL Council Bus - Nov 27th

For those in Williams Lake - your Williams Lake City Council, in Committee of the Whole (informal body & doesn't have decision-making authority), will consider the following at their Tuesday meeting:

a) Airport Fee Bylaw Amendment - read here.  Staff note though that our increased airport fees will still be lower compared to comparable sized airports throughout BC including Quesnel, Prince George and Smithers

b) 2013 Fee for Service Contracts.  read here.  The proposed Fee for Service Contracts are:

2013 Proposed Fee for Service Amount
WL Stampede Queens’ Committee
Big Brothers and Big Sisters – WL
CC Hospice Care Society
Scout Island Nature Centre
Social Planning Council
Youth for Christ
WL Stampede Association
CC Conservation Society (Water)
CC Conservation Society (Solid Waste)
Tourism Discovery Centre
Community Policing Committee

Grand Total for ’13 Fee for Service Requests
$332,500.00 (before Council approved increases/decreases)

Personally - I'd still like to see Scout Island Nature Island get full and sustainable funding, either from the City directly (given it is a park in my view) or from the Cariboo Regional District's Central Cariboo Recreation Service as it could be easily argued that Scout Island acts as a place of recreation (walking/swimming)

c) City of WL responds to Cariboo RD proposed Solid Waste Management Plan -- read here.  Note that Joe Engelberts (City's Manager of Water/Waste) proposes a "Steering Commitee" of 2 Cariboo RD Directors, 2 City of WL City Councillors and CRD/City of WL Staff to monitor implementation of the Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP).  In discussing this with Cariboo RD Area 'D' Deb Bischoff, she agrees with me that it should be the full Cariboo Regional District Board itself that monitors the implementation of the SWMP, given all players are there (elected officials and CRD Staff) and the muncipal directors around that table need time to consult with their municipal councils, then the Board, I'm certain, will give them the time required to consult and return to the Board with any input required from that muncipality

Finally - at the October 30th Committee of the Whole meeting, Mayor Cook informed Williams Lake City Council that "Roundtable" period where a member of Council can report on their activities would return, under the following conditions:

• To inform the rest of Council and the public on items or activities that don't appear on
the agenda;
• Notification on upcoming public events;
• Not to be used as a venue to ask political questions of Council or Staff;
• Not to be intense or accusatory;
• One way communication only;
• On a voluntary basis only;
• No motions allowed.

I personally agree with all bullets above except #6.  As Roundtable is still part of the official Agenda under the City's Procedure Bylaw, it is mandatory except where Council waives the holding of "Roundtable" by motion passed at each and every meeting it wishes to do so unless it was clarified in the Procedure Bylaw that Roundtable by Mayor/Council may occur at the discretion of the Mayor/Acting Mayor, as the case may be.  Otherwise, the rest of the bullets make sense and is proper, as far as the full intent/purpose of Roundtable Comments by Mayor/Council


Municipal Councillor collects pay while working in the Caribbean

Yesterday, Daphne Bramham of the Vancouver Sun reported on how Central Saanich District Councillor Terry Siklenka was given a six-month paid leave from his Council duties while working in Georgetown, Grand Cayman after Councillor Siklenka requested a leave for "personal reasons"

Under the Community Charter - a member of a municipal council or regional district board (electoral area directors) may be disqualified from office if he/she misses four (4) consecutive meetings of a municipal council/regional district board or 60 consecutive days from the last meeting unless he/she is sick, injured  or has leave of the council/board

Read her column here


Should a member of a municipal council or an Electoral Area Director receive a "paid personal leave" in order to work elsewhere, especially as long as 6 months??  Personal leave from Council/Board duties should be for mental health issues or personal bereavement issues but certainly not for work related issues, especially as long as 6 months.  In that case - you should have thought about that before running

I'm interested in hearing all thoughts on this matter


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Cariboo RD Rural Fringe Fire Service approved

Editor's Note -- with the approval of the Cariboo Regional District Contracted (WL Fire Department) Fire Protection Service, the next step will be to arrive at a contract with the City of Williams Lake for rural fire protection for residents in certain parts of CRD Electoral Areas D, E, F and this is where the real fireworks could start between City of WL Councillor Ivan Bonnell and his CRD Central Directors' counterparts in Directors Sorley, Kemp and CRD Area 'D' Alternate Director Bill Carruthers, especially as we get towards the end of the year (Dec 31st, 2012)

Courtesy of the Cariboo Regional District:

The preliminary results for the Williams Lake Fringe Fire Protection Area Referendum to determine if affected residents wish to continue having their fire protection services provided by the City of Williams Lake Fire Department are as follows:

Yes – 978
No – 30

Official results will be announced early next week

Friday, November 23, 2012

BC Libs trending up in new Angus-Reid Poll

Trend of past Angus-Reid polls - via CBC-BC

Editor's Note -- read more here

In a newly released online poll by Angus-Reid where 800 BC'ers were surveyed, the results were:

BC NDP -- 47% support (down from 50% support in May 2012)
BC Liberals -- 29% support (up from July 8/2010 and March - August 2012)
BC Conservatives -- 12% support (down from 22% support in July 2012)
BC Greens -- 9% support

For BC Liberals - it is the right type of trend but clearly we have lots of work to do but polls have shown us to be behind the BC NDP in the run-up to an election only to have BC NDP/BC Liberals within a few points of the parties at the start of the election as British Columbians get to know Adrian Dix and his party policies

BC Conservatives drop in the polls is not surprising, given some of the negative press since their AGM in September

What I'll be looking for, in future polls, is if this is a fluke in data or a trend that is confirmed by other polls.

But I would remiss if I didn't remind my blog readers that pollsters in Alberta had the Wildrose Party having a significant lead over the Alberta Tories only to have the Alberta PC's winning the last Alberta election


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Dr. Graham Kelsey to receive QE II Diamond Jubilee Medal

From Central Cariboo Arts and Culture Society's Facebook page:

We are very excited to share the news that our very own Dr. Graham Kelsey (CCACS President from 2012-2012, and currently Past President) has been awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of his outstanding community service. MLA Bob Simpson will present him with this prestigious honour at the Big Lake Community Hall, 4056 Lakeview Drive in Big Lake, at 2 pm on December 2, 2012. Please join us for afternoon tea and a “Roast and Toast” in celebration of Graham’s lifelong achievements, not only in the Big Lake community, but also in the broader field of education, non-profits, and the arts in our region and province.

If you are unable to attend, but would like to send a tribute, please e-mail it to Joan Sorley at, and she will ensure it is shared.

My congrats to Dr. Kelsey for receiving this award.  I agree that it is well-deserved

Opponents of WL Community Forest step up their fight

In a almost year long battle between the City of Williams Lake and Big Lake residents/Cariboo Regional District Area F Director Joan Sorley over a proposed Community Forest in the Big Lake area - the Big Lake Community Association has now called on BC's Forest Minister Steve Thomson to adjudicate the fight between Big Lake and the City of Williams Lake or to hand the dispute over to a 3rd party for resolution

Former BC Minister of Forests and Big Lake area resident David Zirnhelt told the Rush/Wolf:

“we’ve been trying for a year to negotiate some sense of involvement, some kind of ownership, some kind of control, some kind of meaningful say and they have not even been willing to consult about the boundaries of the blocks and our role in decision making other than a minor advisory capacity and a few dollars coming out of the potential profits of this.”

Zirnhelt says they were left little choice but to request BC’s Forests Minister defer the application and direct his staff to facilitate the creation of a revised proposal

Read more here

As a result - the group wrote to the Minister of Forests on Nov 7th and Joan Sorley (Cariboo RD Area 'F' Director) on Nov 18th both asking Steve Thomson to refer the matter to his staff for mediation or to a 3rd Party for mediation/resolution.  The City of Williams Lake refused to comment on the story by the Rush/Wolf.  Read the Nov 7th/18th letters here

As a City of Williams Lake resident -- I'm deeply disappointed/troubled that the City is hell-bent on starting and picking a fight with rural residents of Big Lake, Horsefly and Miocene over a Community Forest license which was intended to benefit all communities affected and not pitting one community vs another.  My guess would be that Minister Thomson and his staff won't be touching this until after the May 2013 Election in order to help the BC Liberals' candidate in Cariboo-North, Coralee Oakes, have a sporting chance at election and also to ensure that this matter doesn't come up with Steve Thomson is trying for re-election in his home riding of Kelowna-Mission


Innovative youth mining apprenticeship pilot

Courtesy of the Province of BC:

Secondary students in the Cariboo are now able to undertake a secondary school apprenticeship at the Mount Polley Mine through a pilot program, announced Minister of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas Rich Coleman.

The project, which is endorsed by the BC Mining HR Task Force and School District # 27 Cariboo Chilcotin is hoping to address the issues of an aging workforce and related skill shortages. The BC Mining HR Taskforce is encouraged by the initiation of innovative recruitment and training plans for young people in high-school, career-preparation programs and stresses that these programs are more important than ever.

The program started in June 2012 and will be completed in June 2013. An agreement was reached with Mount Polley Mine and, as a result, students and their trade area were identified from the district’s programs. Several mining-related trades and their students were available for the pilot and entered into employment with the mine.

The goal of this training model is to ensure the successful outcome for both student and employer. With its completion and success, the training model can be used by other mining companies and school districts in other regions of British Columbia.

The BC Mining HR Task Force’s interim report on the project is available at:

Rich Coleman - BC's Minister of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas says:

“The skills shortage in mining is a challenge for industry today. This program will help to solve these shortages in a very innovative manner by working directly with our schools. Mining can provide an excellent opportunity for all British Columbians who want to contribute to their communities and be a part of B.C.’s historical mining industry and its bright future.”

Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett said:

“This is a great example of a collaborative effort by industry working with educators to create a pathway for our youth to become aware of, and enter the trades at, an early stage if they so choose.”

Tim Fisch, General Manager of Mount Polley also commented saying:

“Mount Polley Mining Corporation is pleased to participate in this innovative program, which will provide the youth in our region the skills necessary to take advantage of high-paying job opportunities in our industry immediately upon completion of their secondary education.”

“The program affords safe, practical training under the guidance of qualified industry professionals and allows our company to fill the void of job vacancies while insuring our communities are strengthened through local hiring’s.”

“The program would not be possible without the co-operation of industry, the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas and School District #27, and we would like to thank all the participants, particularly Mr Gordon Amour, for their hard work and efforts in this successful initiative.”

Finally, Gord Amour, chair of the Education and Training Committee, Mining HR Taskforce said:

“Mount Polley Mines has been the greatest of industry partners that we work with and that assists us on a number of skilled trades related projects year after year. The district would not be able to offer the career information and opportunities in the mining industry without their strong support for education.”

SD #27 gets 16 new School Buses

Courtesy of the Province of BC:

B.C. school buses travel over 33 million kilometres each year, the equivalent of 43 round trips to the moon.

As part of its annual fleet renewal program, government is providing $14 million for 37 school districts around the province to purchase a total of 125 new buses.

Once again this year, the Ministry of Education has negotiated bulk pricing agreements with school bus vendors. Bulk pricing was introduced by government for the first time last year and resulted in savings of 10 to 15 per cent. Previously, school districts negotiated bus pricing individually. Contractors, Independent schools and First Nations schools also are able to take advantage of the bulk pricing agreements.

B.C. student transportation services cost more than $90 million annually. Approximately 1,200 buses are owned and operated by school districts, and another 600 school buses are operated by contractors. Buses are regularly replaced when they reach certain milestones in years or kilometres driven.

Don McRae, BC's Minister of Education says:

“Renewing our fleet of buses helps to keep students safe and lower our carbon emissions. By pooling our purchasing power across school districts, we can negotiate better prices and direct those savings into classrooms.”

The Cariboo-Chilcotin School District #27 will be receiving 16 new School Buses at a total cost of $1,710,242 which makes it the largest investment, by School District, out of the total $14 million that the province is spending to replace 125 buses throughout BC

Bob Simpson on his Town Hall mtg last Sat

Courtesy from Bob Simpson, Ind. MLA for Cariboo-North:

Bob Simpson, Independent MLA for Cariboo North, hosted a town hall in 150 Mile House on Saturday, November 17th, to discuss critical local and provincial issues, including Highway 97 construction delays and economic challenges in the region.

Residents and local business owners shared their concerns regarding the significant delay in completing the Cariboo Connector project at 150 Mile House. A Ministry of Transportation representative provided an overview of the Cariboo Connector project and answered questions from town hall participants.

“While the upgrades to Highway 97 provide safer intersections at 150 Mile House, the delay in completing the project resulted in disruptions for local merchants,” said Simpson. “Residents are concerned about the bidding process for these types of projects, and I’ll be following up with the Minister responsible to identify how we can improve this process to ensure the timely completion of announced projects and so taxpayers can see the maximum return on their investment.”

A primary issue for 150 Mile House residents is cellular and broadband internet access, and Simpson has committed to establishing a forum on this issue.

“We’re going to invite local stakeholders, communications companies, and representatives from Network BC so we can sit down and talk about opportunities for expanding connectivity in the Cariboo,” said Simpson.

Simpson also provided an update on his work preparing for the spring session of the Legislature, and he discussed economic development in the region, including challenges facing the local forest industry and opportunities for expanding mining activity in the Cariboo.

Kim Herdman on WL Council's plan on speeding on 3rd Ave by Marie Sharpe Elem.

Yesterday afternoon, I received a copy of a letter that 3rd Avenue resident Kim Herdman fired off to Williams Lake City Council after Council, at their Tuesday meeting, decided to consult with residents' around placement of speed reader signs for 3rd Avenue (near Marie Sharpe Elementary) and Foster Way

In the letter, Ms. Herdman expresses "deep disappointment" that Council is refusing action, even though she in a previous letter cited examples where Council should have taken action on speeding on both 3rd Avenue and Foster Way.  She also noted that two RCMP officers' signed the Foster Way petition

She also notes NO ONE from WL City Hall (Staff/Council) has yet to contact her on this item.

That led me to contact Councillor Rathor after I received this letter and ask him to contact Ms. Herdman immediately and discuss with her the issue and possible solutions.  Councillor Rathor has informed me that he has now contacted her and will be have a coffee with her next week

Finally - having been in the area of 3rd Avenue at 3:00pm where the traffic issues seem to be the worst, I can confirm Ms. Herdman's concerns and agree with her call for action.  Also - RCMP Inspector Warren Brown didn't share Ms. Herdman sense of urgency as he told WL Council at its' Nov 6th meeting.  Perhaps this letter will see Council telling Inspector Brown at their meeting with him Tuesday that speeding on 3rd Avenue by Marie Sharpe should be an active priority... as Council, through the City of WL Mayor, does have the power....

See Ms. Herdman's letter in full below:

Voters take very active interest in CRD Rural Fringe Fire Protection Vote

Courtesy of the Cariboo Regional District:

Editor's Note - More on this here

Over 500 Cariboo Regional District (CRD) residents took advantage of the advance polls for the Williams Lake Fringe Fire Protection Referendum which were held on Wednesday, Nov. 14 and Monday, Nov. 19.

General Voting Day will take place this Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012. The polling station will be located in the CRD’s Board Room, Suite D, 180 North Third Avenue in Williams Lake. Polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Residents who have not yet voted, and are eligible to participate in this referendum, are strongly encouraged to exercise their right to vote. Resident electors will be required to produce two pieces of identification at the time of voting (at least one with your signature). The identification must prove both your physical residential address and your identity.

A resident elector is someone who lives in the proposed service area and:

• Is 18 years of age or older on general voting day;
• Is a Canadian citizen;
• Has lived in BC for at least the last 6 months;
• Has lived in the proposed service area for at least the last 30 days; and
• Is not disqualified by law from voting.

Non-resident property electors must produce two pieces of identification (at least one with a signature) to prove identity. If you are a non-resident property owner, to ensure that you will be able to vote, please contact the Chief Election Officer or Deputy Chief Election Officer as there may be documentation requirements that need to be met prior to voting day. A non-resident property elector is someone who owns property in the proposed service area, but does not live there.

Further information about the referendum is posted on the CRD website at Referendum details are also available by contacting the CRD’s Chief Election Officer or Deputy Chief Election Officer at 250-392-3351 or toll free at 1-800-665-1636.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Donna Barnett is the BC Liberal Candidate for Cariboo-Chilcotin

Donna Barnett talks with BC Liberal Party members
In a foregone conclusion -- BC Liberal Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett was acclaimed as the BC Liberal Party candidate for Cariboo-Chilcotin.  MLA Barnett joked that maybe there might have been a 'nay' or two at the meeting tonight or even a candidate race to face...

Ms. Barnett reminded all present (roughly 30 people) that while she has done a lot of good work for the riding including getting DriveABLE to Williams Lake and working on the wolf issue for ranchers, BC Liberals will have a big uphill battle to fight and that supporters of BC Liberals will have to fight to remain in power, one riding at a time

She also appealed for everyone to get involved as her campaign team will need the help

As I said on Twitter -- I'm looking forward to the BC Liberal "Team Cariboo-Chilcotin" being elected in Coralee Oakes in Cariboo-North and Donna Barnett in Cariboo-Chilcotin

In Cariboo-Chilcotin -- all of the candidates that voters will be hearing from between April 13-May 14 (in my opinion) are now in place, being:

Donna Barnett - BC Liberals
Charlie Wyse - BC NDP
Gary Young - Independent


Abbotsford-South BC Lib Riding Assoc resigns enmasse

In a shocking and rare move -- the entire Board of Directors for the BC Liberal Riding Association for Abbotsford South has resigned enmasse to protest the acclamation of Darryl Plecas as the candidate for Abbotsford-South for the BC Liberals in the 2013 BC General Election.  Read a letter from the former BC Liberals Abbotsford South Riding Association President Stephan Evans here and more on this story here

As someone who joined the BC Liberals in 2004 and then joined the then Cariboo-South, now Cariboo-Chilcotin Riding Association, and being involved in two candidate selection processes, the interpretation of the candidate selection process of the BC Liberal Party by the Abbotsford-South Riding Association is the incorrect one.  What occurs is called the "Green Light Process".

There are things the Riding Association must have in place before a Candidate Selection Meeting may formally occur BUT at no time does the Riding Association get directly involved in the candidate selection process as far as whether or not candidate(s) are acceptable to the BC Liberal Party and the Party Leader.  There is a separate Committee for this and that Committee acts independent of the local Riding Association

In that regard - I'm very disappointed that my fellow Party members' in Abbotsford-South chose the action they did.  The BC Liberal Party has done and will continue to do its' due diligence to ensure that candidates running for election under the BC Liberal Party are properly vetted.  I can only suspect the internal BC Liberal Party Committee that reviews applications for candidacy in a provincial riding, like Abbotsford-South, in the case of Mo Gill, had a good reason to reject his candidacy


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

WL Council Highlights - Nov 20th mtg

Present: Acting Mayor L.T. Walters and Councillors Bonnell, Hughes, Rathor and Zacharias

Absent: Mayor K. Cook and Councillor G. Bourdon

Staff Present: G. Goodall - Acting CAO, C. Bouchard - Manager of Legislative Services, P. Higgins - Director of Finance, K. MacInnis - Communications Coordinator, T. Chung - IT Manager, A. Burrill - Manager of Social Development

Meeting called to order at 6:00pm
Amended Mins from Nov 6th adopted and Agenda, as amended (4 Late Items), was adopted


1) Janine North, CEO of the North Development Initiative Trust, appeared before Council to discuss Increased Funding Opportunities for Community Grants and New Programs From NDIT

2) Irene Willsie of the Violence Prevention Committee appeared before Council to discuss the Purple Ribbon Campaign

3) Arvind Saraswat and Doug Hill of the Airshed Quality Roundtable Committee appeared before Council to give an update on the Williams Lake Airshed


1) (Late Item) Council recognized December 6th as a Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. Mayor and Council and the community were encouraged to attend the Violence Awareness and Prevention Committee's luncheon at the Senior's Centre on December 6, 2012 from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM.

2) Council received for information the accounts payable computer cheque listings for the periods ending November 8 and 15, 2012

3) Council ratified an email poll authorizing the raising of the national Metis flag in honour of Louis Riel on November 16, 2012

4) Council awarded the Insurance Broker services contract to HUB International at a cost of $15,000 annually for a three (3) year term, with an option to extend an additional two (2) years.

5) Council will advise the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch it has no objection to the application for a temporary change to extend the closing time at Chances Signal Point Gaming to 12:30 AM on December 26, 27 and 30, 2012 and to 2:00 AM on News Year's Eve, December 31, 2012.

Councillor Danica Hughes was opposed

6) Council recinded 1st Reading of Bylaws #2163/2164 (1912 Renner Rd - Richard Crowell)

7) Council approved the sale of eight (8) recycling bins to Rollins Machinery for the price of $500 each

8) Council awarded the purchase of a 2013 Cab & Chassis to Lake City Ford for the tendered price of $58,579, excluding HST

9) Council awarded the purchase of a 2013 Half Ton Pickup to Cariboo GM for the tendered price of $35,431 for the pickup truck and $4,980 for the propane fuel system for a total of $40,411, excluding HST

10) Council endorsed the placement of speed reader boards in the areas of Third Avenue & Comer Street and Foster Way and Staff be directed to consult with the residents of both neighbourhood regarding specific locations for each unit

11) Council received the completed Housing Needs and Demand Study for information

12) Council adopted Water Conservation Amendment Bylaw No. 2159, 2012

13) Council received for information a Spanish Mountain Gold Ltd. news release dated November 15, 2012 titled "Spanish Mountain Announces Positive Preliminary Economic Assessment on Spanish Mountain Project"

14) Council referred to the City of WL 2013 Budget discussions a letter from Beth Holden regarding concerns around traffic and pedestrian safety at the intersection of Mackenzie Avenue and Oliver Street

15) Council received a letter from the Canadian Mental Health Association Cariboo-Chilcotin dated November 9, 2012 regarding their application for a Community Gaming Grant through Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch for their multicultural program and funding of an outreach advocacy/mentor position and agreed to provide a letter of support for their application

16) Council proclaimed November as Adoption Awareness Month in the City of Williams Lake

17) (Late Item) Council awarded the Energy Plant Outfall Pipe Replacement drilling contract to Directional Mining and Drilling Ltd. for a cost of $161,020, excluding HST, and the civil works contract to Quality Excavating for a total cost of $37,600, excluding HST

18) (Late Item) Council ratified an email poll authorizing a letter of support to the Williams Lake Rugby Football Club for their grant application to the Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund (CIIF) program through Western Economic Diversification Canada

19) (Late Item) At the request of Councillor SPS Rathor, Council will set up a meeting in the near future with Inspector Warren Brown (Detachment Commander - WL RCMP) to expediously work to get provincial/federal funding store for the prolific offender program which the Province of BC terminated recently due to provincial budget requirements in light of concerns over machetes used in Boitanio Park and other areas in the City of Williams Lake.  Read more on this story here

20) Council received the Nov 20th "Council Information Package" as follows:

• October 22, 2012 - BC Ideas Information from Parliamentary Secretary for Non-Profit Partnerships;
• November 2012 - Good Food Box Christmas 2012 Sponsorship Order Form;
• November 2012 - Nature Trust of BC re Fall Newsletter and New CEO;
• November 2012 - Cariboo Regional District Library November to December Events Calendar;
• November 2012 - Williams Lake Fringe Fire Protection Referendum Information from CRD;
• November 16, 2012 - CRD Board Highlights.

Meeting adjourned at 7:40pm

Monday, November 19, 2012

A Yr Ago Today (Part 2)...

Like I reviewed in 2009 after the 2008 civic local elections - it was a year today (Nov 19th, 2011) that the civic voters in Wells, Quesnel, Williams Lake, 100 Mile House, School District #27/28 and voters' in Electoral Areas E, H, J and L of the Cariboo Regional District voted in the 2011-14 local governments

And in that year, you have in-fighting continuing on Quesnel Council, a dog park in Williams Lake that was not asked for by the 'general public' in Williams Lake and School District #27 threatening to shut down 3 schools in Williams Lake (Glendale, Kwaleen and Wildwood) and 1 elementary school (Forest Grove) and 1 secondary school (100 Mile Jr Secondary) in 100 Mile House and parents fighting back...

Let's review by individual local government their performance so far:

Wells - One phrase: "Steady as she goes"

Quesnel - As I personally feared, Quesnel Mayor Mary Sjostrom is still fighting off baseless charges from Quesnel Councillor Sushil Thapar and local resident Pat Morton and since then, Councillor Thapar has earned himself a 3rd Censure motion and was prohibited from attending this year's 2012 Union of BC Muncipalities Conference in Victoria which saw Thapar's supporters protest that move.  What's the next year hold -- tough to say but one thing's for sure, I don't see Thapar backing down... Meanwhile, new Councillors Coleman, Brisco and Elliot have been doing good work so far.  Councillor Scott Elliot seems to be enjoying his role very much to date and I believe Quesnel residents are impressed with his performance to date.  Elliot also used Facebook in the first year to keep his residents' up to date including at UBCM

Williams Lake - 5 of the 7 positions were re-taken by incumbents Kerry Cook, Surinderpal Rathor, Laurie Walters, Geoff Bourdon and Sue Zacharias with Ivan Bonnell being returned to Council after his defeat as Mayor in 2002 and his time as Councillor in the 80's and Danica Hughes going into WL Council Chambers as a first term Councillor.  The first term has seen things like a dog park being implemented (and local residents' being annoyed at this move), the resignation of Brian Carruthers as Chief Administrator of the City, in-fighting on Council over the future of rural fire protection to rural fringe residents' of Cariboo RD Areas D, E, and F with the final result known this Saturday at 8pm and Councillors Rathor/Bonnell insisting Council keep tax hikes to 0 or as close to 0 as you can come and local business like Fields, Sportmart amd Shoe Warehouse shutting down for good and others (Dollarama, Jean Warehouse, Bell Store and Windsor Plywood) moving to the Walmart site and WL Council seemingly being unable to do anything about it and residents' that I've interacted with are beginning to become concerned.  In the next year, we'll see Zellers shut down, federal consideration of the 'New Prosperity' mine and a provincial election in May of 2013.  Finally - I expect WL Council to continue to be split on the budget between Rathor/Bonnell who want to keep costs low while the rest say tax hikes are here to stay to maintain the status quo or improve City of WL services/infrastructure

100 Mile House - Like Wells, 'Steady as she goes'

School District #28 - Steady as she goes...

School District #27 - As I predicted would have to happen, Will Van Osch (Zone 1) became School District #27 Chair, Patti Baker stepped down as Zone 3 Trustee, a new Superintendent in Mark Thiessen after the retirement of Diane Wright and the Board proposing this past September, the "Initial Options" report and the massive public opposition to it and whether the majority of this 'green' School Board will ignore public opposition in January 2013 and proceed to shut down the recommended 3 schools in Williams Lake and 2 in 100 Mile House.  My regrettable suspicion is 'yes', given the $900,000 structural deficit that exists.  I also agree with some parents that 'bean-counters' came up with this Plan and stating that this is necessary for the financial stability of SD #27 and the Board will say - if our Staff say that this is what we must do then I guess we better take their advice as they are our experts

Cariboo Regional District - Byron Kemp has hit his stride since left the Board table in 2005 as the Area 'E' Director.  Roger William/Margo Wagner (Area 'J'/Area 'H') have gently learned their role since their election a year ago which included Director William attempting to get the Board to express 'no confidence' in New Prosperity which didn't occur and you had Al Richmond (Area 'G') returned as Board Chair for a 4th consecutive term and Richmond is still 'young' enough to break Area 'A' Ted Armstrong's record of (I believe) 8 consecutive terms as Cariboo Regional District Chairman.  Meanwhile - Area 'D' Director Deb Bischoff has continued to raise concerns about the tax load that many taxpayers' bear in her Electoral Area and I expect her to continue to raise their concerns in 2013.  As well, the Regional Hospital Board (same composition as the Cariboo RD Board with TNRD Area 'E' Director Sally Watson) is looking at the possibility of moving health-care operations of Williams Lake/100 Mile House from Interior Health to Northern Health and those discussions are on-going as a result of 15 beds not opening up at Fisher Place when Interior Health previously said that they would.  Expect this fight to continue with political lobbying over the Cariboo Memorial Hospital 2nd Floor upgrades to continue as well

Otherwise, I fully expect a "steady as she goes" around the Board table

Conclusion - other than a few personal "tiffs" in local communities, it seems everyone is finding their stride and 2013 will be busy with local matters and provincial matters that affect our local communities.  Please stay tuned to your local government and don't be afraid to tell your local elected officials (Regional District Director, Councillor, Mayor or School Board Trustee) when they are doing something wrong or even when they are doing something right.  I'll sure they will appreciate all the input -- good or bad!


Quesnel Affordable Housing Mtg on Nov 26th

ourQuesnel meeting on Affordable Housing

Cariboo RD Area 'B' Newsletter - Nov 2012

Area 'B' Newsletter - Nov 2012

In this month's newsletter from Cariboo RD Area 'B' Director Heloise Dixon-Warren:

* New "Area B News" Bulletin Boards to be installed at Bouchie Lake Hall and Parkland Community Centre for the Area 'B' Director's use

* Planning for Rural Communities within Area 'B'

* Community Meeting on Wednesday, Nov 28th at 7pm at the Bouchie Lake Hall.  Purpose of meeting is to build a solid community volunteer base

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Bob Simpson hosts Town Hall mtg at 150 Mile...

Bob Simpson, MLA for Cariboo-North
Yesterday, about 18 people of the 150 Mile area came out to 150 Mile Elementary to meet with Cariboo-North (Ind) MLA Bob Simpson to discuss local and provincial issues

Todd Hubner (Cariboo District Transportation Manager, Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure)  was on the "hot seat" for nearly 1 hour discussing mostly the 150 Mile road upgrades as to why it was "overbuilt", how the primary contractor for the project was selected and issuance of general complaints relating to local businesses being impacted.  One light moment where Cariboo RD Area 'F' Director Joan Sorley asked for a streetlight at the intersection where Likely and Horsefly Roads split off and Mr. Hubner informed Director Sorley that it was up to the Cariboo Regional District and not the Ministry of Transportation to get a streetlight installed in that location.  Watch for further action on this file in the near future and I believe it would a good move as, unless you know the contour of the road at night, you'll miss the turnoff to Likely as that area is pitch black at night

Other issues that came up included:

a) Dispute over the WL Community Forest between Big Lake and City of Williams Lake -- MLA Simpson informed those assembled that the City has so far offered a 5% Grant in Aid to Big Lake, the money would most likely come from the community forest revenue.  MLA Simpson committed to talking with the Minister of Forests about this as the Community Forest license has officially been contested.  I suspect that this topic will be shelved until after the next BC general election as I would think Ministers do not want "hot potatoes" being blown up in their faces during the election, especially during the battle for Cariboo-North between MLA Simpson and one of his candidates, Coralee Oakes of the BC Liberal Party.  I am profoundly disappointed at the City's response & actions on this file so far.  I don't understand why the City is dragging their heals on this.  Certainly, there is plenty of other areas the City could look at and still come out a winner...

b) Internet access issues - primarily in bulk of Cariboo RD Area 'F' area (Horsefly-Likely - Big Lake).  MLA Simpson has offered to arrange a meeting with local residents' to discuss the challenges/opportunities around Internet connectivity in rural parts of Cariboo-North, specifically Horsefly/Likely/Big Lake

c) MLA Simpson to set up Mining Awareness meetings in Quesnel/Williams Lake in February of 2013

d) Re-building of sawmill in Burns Lake and how that may impact what goes in province-wide including the whole issue around appurtenancy relative to local communities in BC

e) Progress report on regulating gas prices through the BC Utilities Commission

f) Social programs and how the BC Budget will be balanced by cutting of these programs.  I do agree with MLA Simpson that maybe we should look at the tax credits for Oil/Gas and either discontinue them entirely, given the billions they make or in the alternative, put a time on the tax credit to be used or it disappears for that fiscal year

g) Democratic Agenda to be put forward by the Ind. MLA's of BC -- MLA Simpson (Cariboo-North, MLA Huntingdon (Delta-South) and MLA Van Dongen (Abbotsford-South).  The Agenda is to include no corporate/union donations, formation of Parliamentary Committees (rather than the Sessional Committees we have in BC's Legislature).  The idea would be to have the BC NDP/BC Liberals sign off on the plan for execution in the 40th Parliament of British Columbia.  One thought that MLA Simpson didn't say and I'd like to see is that all bills be given equal weight in the BC Legislature (private/government) as to allow MLA's, on Private Members' Bills, to express their own view on them and not subject to government control  This idea already works well in the Federal House of Commons

This was a good meeting and good discussion by those who attended :)

Brad McRae defends North Van noise bylaw

In a case of "freedom of expression" - a singer in North Vancouver is protesting over a noise bylaw which prohibits use of a amplifier in a public space without getting an appropriate permit.  The whole issue is now in BC Supreme Court

Brad McRae (North Van Bylaw Manager and former City of WL Senior Bylaw Officer) defends the bylaw and says the whole issue is about the amplifier and not about playing in a public place

Courts have previously held that it is reasonable in a "free and democratic society" that limits are placed upon a freedom of expression or more candidly - the rights of the public to peace and good government trumps the rights' of one's right to a complete/unfettered freedom of expression...

Excellent job by Brad McRae explaining the issue here :)

City of WL looks for Seniors Bylaw Officer and CAO

As a result of Williams Lake City Council's decision to spend $17,000 on a headhunting firm in its' search for a new Chief Administrative Officer, the City is looking for the following individual:

Working closely with Mayor and Council, you will have overall responsibility for managing the constantly changing and increasingly complex day-to-day affairs of the community. You will provide the leadership skills required to lead a staff of dedicated team professionals and play a key role with council in planning and executing a strategic vision that meets both current and future needs of the City.

Your background includes strong academic credentials and several years in a senior role within municipal administration, ideally coupled with an accomplished work history of private sector management. You fully understand the challenges facing progressive, modern day communities, and have a track record of demonstrating your capabilities as a senior executive. You are a take charge, visionary strategic thinker with impeccable human resources and labour relations skills and a communicator with sound political judgement. You are recognized as a catalyst for positive change within the workplace. Although not a job perquisite, an understanding of First Nations relations will be considered an asset.

The deadline to apply is December 10th at 4:30pm. More details here

For myself - I'd like to see more then the 28 days to reply.  I would think you get a wider range of candidates if the window to respond is more like 60 days... just my own thoughts

Meanwhile - the City will now have its' third Senior Bylaw Officer in the past few years.  You can read what the City is looking in a Senior Bylaw Officer here.  Deadline to respond is Nov 21 at 4:30pm.  Again - I'd like to see a bigger window that the 6 days to respond.  At least, it might give you more candidates to choose from...