Thursday, December 27, 2012

Williams Lake closed for business?

In an editorial this week in the Cariboo Advisor - they blast the City of Williams Lake Council actions as it relates to fire protection for Cariboo Regional District residents' living on the fringe areas just outside of the City's municipal boundaries.

In fact - they make the argument that the debacle that has become the debate over how to fund rural fire protection shows that the City is 'closed for business'...

Read the editorial for yourself below...

Cariboo Advisor Editorial - WL Council on Rural Fire Protection

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Xmas Message from BC's Premier/Can. PM

From BC Premier Hon. Christy Clark:

From Canada's Prime Minister (Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper):

"What a time Christmas is.
"It is a time to be with those nearest and dearest.
"It is a time of renewal.
"It is a time when Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, and an occasion
for Canadians of all backgrounds to come together in appreciation of our most fortunate country.
"Despite the global economic uncertainty all around us, Canada remains an island of stability and the bright hope for people the world over.
"In the year ahead, we will continue to focus on growth, jobs and prosperity for all Canadians.
"But for now, let us be mindful of those who are less fortunate, be grateful for the service of our men and women in uniform, and let us give thanks for Canada, the best country in the world.
"From Rachel, Ben, Laureen and myself to your family, Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Seasons Greetings, and best wishes for health and happiness in the New Year."

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Central Cariboo Volunteer FD?

Earlier today - Cariboo RD Area 'F' Director Joan Sorley posted the following on her Facebook fan page:

Fire protection services will continue in the Williams Lake Fringe area for the first 120 days of 2013 at the rate offered by the City pre-referendum, thanks to a Supreme Court injunction obtained yesterday. This is only a short-term solution - it gives us a bit of time to weigh our options. There will be a public meeting January 17 at 6:30 pm in the Gibraltar Room. We have heard that there is interest in starting our own Central Cariboo VFD. One of the biggest challenges of doing so is the recruitment of volunteers. If you are interested in serving, please let us know. Call our office or your Area Director.

While I think it is great that Director Sorley is floating this idea as an alternative to the current arrangement (rural fringe residents provided City of WL Fire Department services), I have several concerns with this idea:

1) Given that Volunteer Fire Departments in Lone Butte and Barlow Creek have come close to closing their doors due to low firefighter numbers - will a "Central Cariboo VFD" be any better at retaining their volunteer firefighter numbers and should the Cariboo RD begin to consider the idea of paying our volunteer firefighters like the Williams Lake Fire Department??

2) How quickly can firefighters be trained to provide professional fire fighting services? and how quickly can fire fighting equipment and a fire hall(s) be established and be obtained?

3) Would a 'Central Cariboo VFD' rob volunteer fire fighters from 150 Mile and Wildwood VFD's? Or in other words -- are we "Robbing Peter to pay Paul"?

I am certain that residents' themselves may have other questions that would need to be addressed...

This sort of discussion would and should, in my view, happen over a 12 month period and not a 4 month reprieve period where it appears we are making decisions based on emotions and not on facts and rationale thought

But big kudos to Joan Sorley for wanting to explore alternatives, in light of the City of Williams Lake's more recent moves for providing fire protection to our rural neighbours...

Over to you, CRD Residents' -- stay with Williams Lake (notwithstanding changing their offer a mere 2 weeks after a referendum) or say to Williams Lake -- forget this, we'll start our own fire department...


Friday, December 21, 2012

CRD wins court decision on Rural Fire Protection

This afternoon, the Cariboo Regional District announced that it had secured a court win which requires the City of Williams Lake to continue providing rural fire protection services to CRD Areas D, E, F at the referendum-endorsed price to a maximum of $147 per $100,000 for 120 days

Press Release - Cariboo Regional District:

The Cariboo Regional District has won its court injunction against the City of Williams Lake. Yesterday, the CRD had filed for a court injunction requiring the City of Williams Lake to honour its pre-referendum offer to provide fire protection services to fringe area residents and to ensure that those services could not be terminated.

The terms of the injunction require the City of Williams Lake to continue to provide uninterrupted fire protection services to Williams Lake fringe area residents into 2013 for 120 days, and at a rate based on the original agreement offered to the CRD and upon which the referendum was conducted.

While this is welcome news, a long-term resolution is still required. Williams Lake fringe residents are reminded of a public meeting which has been scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 17, at 6:30 p.m. in the Gibraltar Room. This meeting will provide affected residents with an opportunity to learn about any options the CRD may be considering and to provide any feedback they may have as to how they wish the CRD to proceed on their behalf.

Further updates and information will be posted on the CRD website at or on our Facebook page at

Meanwhile - the City of Williams Lake gave its' own take on the Court ruling, as follows:

Press Release - City of Williams Lake:

City of Williams Lake on Rural Fire Protection Court ruling

Steve's view -- While I personally suspected that the Cariboo RD would, because of the City's Dec 11th new offer, have to go to Court to get the City to honour its' pre-referendum offer, the same offer that CRD residents' endorsed by a margin of 97 to 3.  I have a tough time, personally, seeing how one could spin the injunction process as a 'win'.  The Court, in my opinion and likely many in the CRD Rural Fringe areas, saw the City act as attempting to get out of a fair agreement to solve a budget challenge the City should have seen coming (ie - Creekside permanent shutdown).  In the meantime - I hope this ruling will show WL Council that when you make a deal with another local government and its' residents' - you must honour it.  Most reasoned-minded people knew that the 'Creekside' shutdown would always go from 'temporary' to 'permanent' and WL City Hall should have been planning for that eventuality.  I also hope that the City will now agree to the 5 year contract it offered the Cariboo Regional District for rural fringe fire protection and received a subsequent 'thumbs-up' from CRD rural fringe residents' in Areas D, E and F

I was surprised to learn that the CRD would not receive court costs.  I think the Cariboo Regional District, because of the City's Dec 11th motion, was entitled to costs.

I am certain that CRD residents' will be pleased with the BC Supreme Court ruling


Local Gov't on Christmas Break...

All local governments and School Boards in the Cariboo-Chilcotin are now on Christmas Break until January

The first local government to resume meeting will be the City of Williams Lake on Tuesday, Jan 8th, 2013 at 6:00pm as well the Board of Education for School District #27 who is meeting in 100 Mile House at 6:30pm and the District of Wells - 7:00pm on Tuesday, Jan 8th, 2013 in Wells Council Chambers

The Cariboo Regional District Board, School District #28 and the City of Quesnel will all meet the following week

The blog will be down for the next few days (unless something urgent comes up requiring your notification) for a Christmas Break.  I'll be reviewing my  top 3 political stories - local, provincial and federal late next week so stay tuned for those

In the meantime - be well, travel safe to wherever you are off to and enjoy Christmas with your own families and please think about those who are less fortunate as ourselves as you sit down to dinner with your own families...


One Rate for Fire Protection in Central Cariboo...

In light of the Cariboo Regional District's most regrettable decision to launch legal proceedings against the City of Williams Lake to honour its' 1st offer to rural fringe residents of CRD Areas D, E and F for fire protection - I'd like to argue why we need to have the same tax structure as the Central Cariboo Recreation Function

Previously (believe in 2007) - WL City Council and the CRD Directors' for Areas D, E, F were able to come to  an agreement for one tax rate for recreation in the Central Cariboo area with a defined boundary

With that in mind and given that the fact that some online have argued that it is morally reprehensible that rural residents ought to pay $147 per $100,000 of residential assessment while City of WL residents' pay $74 per $100,000 for the exact same service from the WL Fire Department.  That's a 2:1 ratio.  I agree with those that say that rural residents' ought not to be 'fleeced' for a common, basic service like fire protection

Had the area politicians (Cariboo RD Directors for Areas D, E, F and WL City Council) started discussions on a Fire Protection Function with a defined boundary and one tax rate that applied to all at the beginning of 2012 - we wouldn't, in my view, be at the stage of legal proceedings of Cariboo Regional District v. Williams Lake (City)

As a City resident (and one that can look at the rural perspective, given my role as Chair of the Cariboo RD Area 'D' Advisory Planning Committee) - I do not and can not accept that fire protection rates, on a perception basis, should be based on where you live... if you can one rate for recreation, common sense dictates that there is no reason why you can't have the same for fire protection.  It is a simple case of political will and being reasonable in negotiations between the City of WL and CRD Directors for Areas D, E, F.  The principle of negotiations states that you get try to 'come to the middle', even if either side doesn't get what they want...

I don't want to see CRD Area 'E' residents go two or potential more years to establish their own fire department while I have one in Williams Lake ready to go to serve the same residents'... It is a simple matter of taking a 'bird's eye' view of fire protection - for both City and Rural property owners', asking they pay a common and fair rate for a common service that we all need


Christy Clark's 2012 Year End Interview...

Earlier this week - BC Premier Christy Clark sat down with CBC's Gloria Macarenko to review 2012 and to look forward to the 2013 Provincial General Election which is currently scheduled for May 14, 2013

Premier Clark's comments to Ms. Macarenko included:

1) "It's been busy. It's been challenging. Probably in many ways it's been the best year of my life,"

2) "We've really been living that plan (BC Jobs' Plan) and so that has been something of my making, of my government's making."

3) "I'm confident when people sit down and really ask themselves the question about where they want their economy to go, that they'll look at the plan that we've delivered and say, 'You know what? It wasn't perfect, but they got the big things right.'"

Read more here

View the full interview video below:

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Cariboo RD to City of WL: See You in Court!

Editor's Note -- As a City resident, I am saddened that the Regional District was forced into this however I was not surprised that it happened after WL Council's Dec 11th vote - after that motion came out, I knew it would only be a matter of time before this ended up in the courts.... I wonder how much this will cost taxpayers' of Williams Lake and whether or not honouring the original fire protection deal ($129 per $100,000 of assessment) would have been the 'smarter' thing to do... and continue to lobby over time to ask rural CRD residents' to pay 'full cost recovery', even if it took years to get rural residents' and their elected officials to see the City of WL point of view

Courtesy of the Cariboo Regional District:

The Cariboo Regional District has applied for a legal injunction to require the City of Williams Lake to honour its pre-referendum offer to provide fire protection services to fringe area residents and to ensure that those services cannot be terminated.

Contrary to recent local radio reports, at this time, the Cariboo Regional District has not received any formal notification that this service will be extended into the New Year. When the Regional District requested written confirmation from the City, they were advised that the City had not issued a statement agreeing to extend the services. At this time the City’s only offer to extend the service is based on the Regional District agreeing to enter into a short-term contract at the maximum amount that can be raised under the terms of the referendum. 

Our primary focus is to ensure our residents receive uninterrupted fire protection services to keep them safe and protected into the New Year. With a looming deadline of Dec. 31, the Christmas season upon us, the possibility that many snowbird residents are completely unaware that their fire protection services may be in jeopardy, and the demonstrated lack of commitment of the City to honour previous offers, the Regional District felt forced to act to secure that safety.

A public meeting has been scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 17, at 6:30 p.m. in the Gibraltar Room for affected residents. This will provide those residents with an opportunity to learn about any options the CRD may be considering and to provide any feedback they may have as to how they wish for the CRD to proceed on their behalf.

Further updates and information will be posted on the CRD website at or on our Facebook page at

City of WL refusing comment on Rural Fire Protection Fracas

In today's Williams Lake Tribune - Williams Lake Mayor Kerry Cook confirms that Council will not be providing any comment, at this time, as to why Williams Lake Council revoked its' first offer of a 5 year, roughly $500,000 contract to provide fire services to residents' in portions of Cariboo RD Areas D, E,F that reside on the fringe boundaries of Williams Lake.  The same 5 year contract that rural residents voted on Nov 24th to endorse almost unanimously

This, despite Mayor Cook's insistence that communicating out is very important on this topic and everyone has the correct informatin.  Not sure how that works when the general public, to date, hears only the Cariboo Regional District's side and not the City's, as of this writing

Read the article below:

WL Tribune on City of WL refusal to comment on CRD Rural Fire Protection fracas

Meanwhile - Welcome to Williams Lake reports on this topic including the Cariboo Regional District's move to form a Committee (members' unknown) to deal with this matter to which Mayor Cook is excluded to prevent the possibility of a Conflict of Interest on this situation at the Cariboo RD Board of Directors' table

Read the article here

For myself - I really fail to understand/comprehend why Mayor Cook and Council is refusing to say their side of the story.  If they think that their move is legitimate, fair and legal - it only makes common sense to come out and tell rural residents why the City made the move (5 year contract to 1 year contract)  they did.

Otherwise - it is perfectly understandable that rural residents' would then feel that the City of Williams Lake is up to dirty tricks

Whatever tactic the City is attempting to employ here -- it is clearly the wrong one and it is my view that the City will get burned by it, at the end of the day.  It should be noted that residents' in the rural fringe areas, could potentially, move their shopping power elsewhere and they could affect the City more than the money the City would lose under the 5 year agreement.  This is how mad residents in the rural fringe area are at the City from people I've talked to or read their passionate comments online...


Reform, Restore and Revive our Democracy

In his last weekly column in 2012 - Cariboo-North MLA Bob Simpson reflects on his personal life and what political leaders should do in the remainder of 2012 and for 2013 which includes a commitment to revive our democracy, here in BC.  We need to hit the "re-start" switch in 2013 for all of our democracies, whether local, provincial or federal to ensure our democratic institutions in all of their forms serve the public interest at all times and not for the personal interests of politicians and their own agendas

Bob -- well said, sir!

Read MLA Simpson's column here

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Wrap of Day - City of WL v. CRD on Rural Fire Protection

Today was a weird day in the on-going fight between the City of Williams Lake and the Cariboo Regional District over rural fringe fire protection

It started with today's Cariboo Advisor where CRD Chair (and Area 'G' Director) Al Richmond expressing his disappointment with the City of Williams Lake's recent move to withdraw its' 1st offer to provide fire protection to CRD residents' living in portions of Areas D, E, F of the Regional District.  An offer that was voted on and heavily endorsed by these same residents'

Read the article below:

CRD Chair express with City of WL over Rural Fringe Fire Protection 1st offer

Later in the day - the City announced (but not with a press release) that Council agreed, at its Tuesday In-Camera meeting, to receive the CRD Board letter asking the City of Williams Lake honour its' original offer of $129 per $100,000 of residential assessment with no further action to be taken.  According to the Williams Lake Tribune - the City of Williams Lake will not be discussing this issue further in public and will keep the rural fringe fire protection discussions "behind closed doors"

This evening at 6:30pm - WL Council convened a 'In-Camera' meeting likely under the following provisions of the Community Charter:

90(1g) - Litigation/Potential Litigation
90(1k) - Proposed Municipal Service

It is very likely Council will direct Staff to send a response to the Cariboo RD's most recent letter and we all await that response by the City of Williams Lake

For myself - I am troubled at why the City is refusing to release a press statement explaining its' side while the Cariboo Regional District didn't hesitate to do so last Friday and made available two Directors on Monday/Tuesday - Al Richmond and Joan Sorley - to expressidly explain its' side of the rural fringe fire protection debate and kudos to the Regional District for being forthright with CRD Area D, E,F residents' on this file :)

I expect that by the end of this week - the Cariboo Regional District will have to announce what further steps, if any, it will take to ensure interim fire services remain in place past Dec 31st at midnight

City of WL doesn't clear the air on Rural Fringe Fire Protection

As I've noted in the last few days - the Cariboo Regional District issued a press release this past Friday suggesting the City of Williams Lake has reneged on its' 1st offer to Cariboo RD rural fringe residents in parts of Areas D, E, F for fire protection.  In addition - Both Cariboo RD Area 'F' Director Joan Sorley was interviewed Monday by CBC Daybreak Kamloops and CRD Chair Al Richmond was interviewed by both Welcome to Williams Lake and The Rush on the latest turn of events on rural fringe fire protection.

Last night - Williams Lake Mayor Kerry Cook asked Council to limit their comments in relation to In-Camera Report #15 - 2012 (see below), given the Cariboo Regional District press release of last Friday and the fact that Council was going to deliberate further on this subject In-Camera immediately following last night's WL City Council meeting:

“That Council enter into a 1 year agreement with the Cariboo Regional District (CRD) to provide fire protection to those areas of D, E, and F based on the maximum requisition indicated in the Regional District’s Bylaw and further, prior to the expiration of this agreement, the City and CRD enter into discussions for renewal of fire protection services.”

As I noted yesterday - WL City Councillor SPS Rathor opposed receipt of In-Camera Report #15-2012 as he supported the term length (1 year) but not the amount of money involved

As anyone in corporate communications will tell you - you don't allow your "opponent" to outwit you by framing the message in your own mind to the public.  Certainly - Council could have had an emergency conference call this past weekend and had something out on Monday or even Tuesday during the day, given CRD Chair Al Richmond's comments that the City had been sent a letter already requesting re-consideration of its' new offer for rural fringe fire protection

I hope, for the City's sake, that a press release will be issued later today explaining its' side of the story because so far, the Cariboo RD has been quite successful in framing the City as a 'bully' to rural fringe residents for fire protection.  Meanwhile - the Cariboo RD, I would imagine, is getting impatient with the City, as any legal or financial option that needs to be pursued prior to Dec 31st, would need to be acted on, either Wed, Thurs or Friday of this week and next Thursday and Friday and on Monday, Dec 31st, given the Cariboo Regional District's insistence that fire protection remain in place, for the interim, for rural fringe residents, starting on Jan 1, 2013

-- SBF

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

WL Council Highlights - Dec 18th mtg

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

Absent - Councillor Danica Hughes

Staff Present:

Geoff Goodall - Acting CAO/GM of Planning and Ops
Rena Schill - Corporate Service Records Management Coordinator
Tom Chung - IT Manager
Pat Higgins - Director of Finance

Meeting started at 6:00pm
Minutes of Dec 4th WL City Council meeting approved
Agenda for Dec 18th WL City Council meeting approved


1) The Cariboo Men's Choir performed for Council and gifted a piano to the City
2) Ind. Cariboo-North MLA Bob Simpson was pleased to present the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Award to Sue Hemphill


1) Council received for information the Cheque Runs for the periods ending Dec 6th and 13th

2) Council adopted its' 2013 Provisional Budget.  During debate - Councillor Rathor expressed his opposition to items like $4,000 for Effective Decision Making Workshop and $10,000 for Downtown Revitalization

Opposed - Councillor Rathor

3) Council approved the amendments to the Terms of Reference for Junior Council as follows:

• reduce the number of Councillors from two to one;
• remove the requirement for Junior Councillors to be high school students;
• allow for a one year re-appointment for current Junior Councillors.

4) City Staff were directed to satisfy all the conditions outlined in the crown grant letter (WL Regional Airport) and that the $18,109 plus applicable taxes required to complete the crown grant be allocated from the 2013 Airport budget.

5) Council awarded the contract for the supply of unleaded gasoline and diesel fuels to Columbia Fuels (formerly United Petroleum) for the tendered price of $1.1316 per litre and $1.2691 per litre, respectively, based on an annual consumption of 68,000 litres.

6) Council received the 2012 OCP Monitoring and Report - Annual Report. The report will also be placed on the City's website for public information

7) Council awarded the contract for a water model RFP (Request for Proposals) to Geo Advise Engineering Inc. for the amount of $19,885, excluding HST.

8) Council ratified an email poll authorizing a letter of support for the Williams Lake Central Business Improvement Area Association's Community Crime Prevention grant application for their back alley and laneway lighting initiative

9) City of Williams Lake Regional Airport Fees Bylaw No. 2161, 2012 was adopted by Council

10) Council ratified 1 Committee of the Whole recommendation as follows:

Approval in Principle for the proposed mural project from the Fraser Basin Council be given and a Staff member be authorized to participate with the working group, together with Councillor Walters.

11) Council received a letter from the WL Stampede Association regarding a request to enlarge the fenced area behind the grandstand together with a correspondence memo from the City's Director of Community Services and Council authorized an amendment to the lease agreement and they be permitted to proceed with the proposed changes

12) Council received a letter from Bill Davidson requesting the installation of a 4-Way Stop at the intersection of Second Avenue North and Cameron Street and referred it to Staff for a report back to Council.

13) Council received a letter from Coast Mental Health Foundation regarding the 2013 Courage to Come Back award. The community was encouraged to submit nominations.

14) Council agreed to provide a letter of support for the application by the Potato House Sustainable Community Society to the Cariboo Chilcotin Beetle Action Coalition (CCBAC) for funds to continue offering and promoting programs that inspire community and personal self-sufficiency.

15) Council received for public information In-Camera Meeting Report #15-2012 as follows:

“That Council enter into a 1 year agreement with the Cariboo Regional District (CRD) to provide fire protection to those areas of D, E, and F based on the maximum requisition indicated in the Regional District’s Bylaw and further, prior to the expiration of this agreement, the City and CRD enter into discussions for renewal of fire protection services.”

Opposed: Councillor Rathor

16) Council received the "Council Information Package" of Dec 18th, 2012 as follows:

• December 2012 - NDIT December 2012 Report to Region;
• December 2012 - NCLGA Connection No. 112;
• December 3, 2012 - CCCTA E-News;
• December 3, 2012 - BC Communities in Bloom re 2013 Participant Options;
• December 3, 2012 - Senator Nancy Greene Raine re National Health & Fitness Day;
• December 3, 2012 - UBCM re Gas Tax Agreement Community Works Fund Payment;
• December 4, 2012 - Museum of Cariboo Chilcotin re Ranching & Rodeo Heritage in WL Place Branding;
• December 5, 2012 - Ministers' Regional Office Update;
• December 7, 2012 - New Prosperity Gold-Copper Project Update.

Council agreed to adjourn at 7:50pm and went into an In-Camera Meeting

BREAKING NEWS!!! - No Strike at Gibraltar Mines

In what is likely a "big sigh of relief" for Taseko Mines - a proposed deal has been reached between the local CAW (Canadian Auto Workers) and Gibraltar Mines management.  A ratification vote is yet to be scheduled so operations at Gibraltar Mines will continue until a vote to accept or reject the deal takes place.

No details are available at this time

More details here

Taseko owes $400,000 to Ottawa

In yesterday's Vancouver Sun - reporter Larry Pynn reports that Taseko Mines owes $392,694 from the original 'Prosperity' environmental review to Ottawa, although they aren't charging interest on that... so far

In defence, Brian Battison of Taseko Mines says:

It is a “normal routine course of business” for review panels to issue requests for further information on complex environmental-impact statements.

“They don’t look difficult to answer,". “We’re beavering away on them now. I don’t see anything that requires additional study or field work. It’s more a matter of clarifying the material already there.”

As for outstanding funds owed to cover costs incurred by the federal panel during the first review, Battison says it would be paid in due course. “It’s expensive,” he noted. “We’ve paid a lot of it off. There is no deadline that we’ve been aware of. We’ll pay as we can and as we’re doing.”

Read more here

Quesnel Council Highlights - Dec 17th mtg

Courtesy of the City of Quesnel:

Budget 2013 underway

Council was presented with introductory information regarding Budget 2013. Over the past couple of months, staff have prepared a draft "status quo" budget - this is a budget that assumes no changes to service levels, programs or transfers to reserves. To meet this budget, a tax increase of 3.6% for the average resident would be required. It is very early in the budget process, so this number should be taken for what it is - an early snapshot that provides Council with information and options, and a place to begin budget discussions.

That draft budget will be presented to Council at the first review of the operating budget on Jan. 28 2013.

There are several key dates for the budget process, including:

-Jan. 28 - Review of the operating budget and supplemental (new spending) list.

-Feb. 18 - Review of the 2013 capital budget

Feb. 25 - Formal public input session/Review of the legislative, fee-for-service, and community support budgets.

-March 2013 - Review the capital project voting results/five-year financial plan

Adopt final budget before May 15.

The public is encouraged to attend budget meetings, and may provide input at any point in the process, either in person or in writing.

City to look at community forest

The City will begin developing and reviewing a business case for a proposed Community Forest. Council approved striking a select committee to investigate the feasibility of a Community Forest and to report its findings to Council before March 31, 2013. The report will include: the economic feasibility of a community forest; the optimal governance and operating model; and a final "go" or "no go" recommendation for Council.

One of the primary goals of the community forest would be to provide revenue to the City that is not reliant on property taxation.

Council appointed Councillors Mike Cave and Ed Coleman, QCEDC Board Chair Jim Gorsline, and fellow Board member Tony Bensted to the committee, along with City Manager Byron Johnson. The Cariboo Regional District will be invited to send a representative as well.

Other News

-The City will begin investigating providing garbage pick-up in South Quesnel after a request was received from the South Hills and Area Neighbourhood Association. Staff will compile information and begin communicating with area residents in the New Year.

-Council increased the number of transit tickets it provides to the Transportation Assistance Program from 150 to 250 per month. The program is a partnership between the City and the United Way. The United Way distributes the tickets to appropriate local service agencies, who then give them to individuals for emergency or critical situations that require transit use. The tickets provide a way to access appointments dealing with employment services, medical aid, counselling or safe housing needs.

-Council received and approved the QCEDC 2013-2015 contract to provide economic development services. The corporation's 2013-2015 strategic plan was also received and endorsed by Council. For more information about QCEDC, visit

-Council approved providing $800 bursaries to two students from Correlieu Secondary and the McNaughton Centre. The bursaries are provided based upon financial need and academic excellence.

From Dec. 3 Quesnel Council meeting:

The appointments of Peter Walsh, Lori Mckee, Christine Clark and Poonam Miglani to the Quesnel Museum and Heritage Commission were approved for two-year terms.

Important Dates

December 25, 26 and January 1 - Quesnel City Hall, Twin Arenas/Arts and Recreation Centre closed
December 25 and January 1 - Landfill closed

Next Regular Council Meeting: Monday January 7, 7 p.m.
Next Delegation/Committee of the Whole Meeting: Monday January 14, 7 p.m.
Next North Cariboo Joint Planning Committee Meeting: Tuesday January 15, 5:30 p.m

Above mentioned meetings take place in Quesnel Council Chambers - 2nd Floor, 410 Kinchant St.

WL Council gets greedy over Rural Fire Protection

Update - Yesterday, CRD Area 'F' Director Joan Sorley was interviewed by CBC Kamloops as per below.  You can hear the interview here.  I was disappointed to learn that Director Sorley was forced to remove discussion on Rural Fringe Fire Protection from her Facebook page because of vulgar language used.  You can be passionate about the City's action but let's all keep the discussion clean.  As they say:

Tough on the issue and not the personalities...

On Dec 11th - Williams Lake City Council passed the following 'In-Camera' motion:

“That Council enter into a 1 year agreement with the Cariboo Regional District (CRD) to provide fire protection to those areas of D, E, and F based on the maximum requisition indicated in the Regional District’s Bylaw and further, prior to the expiration of this agreement, the City and CRD enter into discussions for renewal of fire protection services.”

According to CRD Chair Al Richmond when interviewed by the Rush this morning - the Cariboo RD Board has now formally received this request and was disappointed by the chance in stance from WL City Council, given the original offer which was a 5 year, roughly $500,000 per year for fire protection for those CRD residents living on fringe areas of Williams Lake in CRD Areas D, E, F.  The City has now proposed a 1 year, roughly $600,000 deal with the intent to return to 'historical financial arrangements' of $700,000 for rural fringe fire protection

The Board has now sent a letter back to Williams Lake City Council requesting that it reconsider its' new offer, although Chair Richmond has said that legal action is possible but certainly not the CRD first choice but the choice of last resort but the CRD commits to look at alternative fire protection options past Dec 31st at midnight

My view:

Good on the Cariboo Regional District for saying "a deal is a deal" - given the change in stance by WL City Council, I hope for their (WL City Council) sake, they'll admit to why they changed their mind, given Mayor Cook's instance that the original offer (5 year, $500,000 fire protection contract) must stand.  If this was a "last chance bluff" offer to get more money from rural fringe CRD residents, then the City went about it the wrong way.  Like CRD Chair Richmond - I hope the City will realize the errors' of their decision on Dec 11th but I believe that they'll stick to their new Dec 11th motion and it appears that the issue will head to court for an interim fix... and the CRD public meeting in January will see residents' in rural fringe areas (CRD Electoral Areas D, E,F) venting at the Area Directors' and asking what the Cariboo RD will do to ensure the City makes good on the commitment they made in Sept/Oct 2012, both to the CRD and to the residents for rural fringe fire protection....

Cariboo RD Board debates WL Community Forest

Yesterday, 2 people were looking for "CRD and Community Forest"....

This past Friday, Cariboo RD Area 'F' Director Joan Sorley, with residents from Big Lake, Horsefly/Likely and Miocene in the public gallery, attempted to convince her colleagues to pass a motion to authorize a letter of support for the WL Community Forest on condition that an agreement be sought with respect to revenue and consultation.  Director Sorley expressed disappointment that a number of meetings had occurred, commitments were made and those commitments were not acted upon and residents of Big Lake and surrounding communities are seeking a Community Forest that works for everyone and if no solution is forthcoming - then the Community Forest may impact residents to a maximum of 100 years (5 - 20 year renewable community forest license)

City of WL Director (and Mayor) Kerry Cook argued against the motion citing the fact that the application for the WL Community Forest is now before the Minister and went over the history of the WL Community Forest which goes back several years including it being worked on by former WL Mayor Scott Nelson's Council

Area 'J' Director Roger William said he was concerned about 'in-fighting' between non-aboriginal/aboriginal communities but sympathized with the WL Indian Band to getting a Community Forest license in place for their members...

Area 'E' Director Byron Kemp said that he was disappointed with the lack of consultation from the City of WL on the Community Forest, given 20% of it is in Area 'E', even though the previous Director (Steve Mazur) didn't take issue with it during the last term (2008-2011)

100 Mile Director (and Mayor) Mitch Campsall asked Director Sorley if the Big Lake community was taking the same stance towards Tolko/West Fraser as it was towards Williams Lake

Quesnel Director (and Mayor) Mary Sjostrom questioned the need to write a letter of support, given the Ministry of Forests was going to do consultation with all sides (Big Lake & Williams Lake) in any event.  A point repeated by CRD Chair Al Richmond

The Board voted to defeat the letter of support motion, as proposed by Director Sorley.  The Board also voted to defeat the following motion:

'That the agenda item summary from Bernice Crowe, Executive Assistant, dated November 14, 2012, regarding an item referred from the September 19th and October 24th meetings on the Proposed Williams Lake Community Forest, be received. Further, that a letter be forwarded to the City of Williams Lake and the Williams Lake Indian Band Community informing them that the Cariboo Regional District is deferring their request for the Cariboo Regional District to administer 5% of the net profits generated from the Community Forest application until all communities involved are in agreement. Further, that a letter be forwarded to Minister Steve Thomson, Minister of Forest Lands and Natural Resource Operations informing him that the Cariboo Regional District supports the request from Big Lake, Horsefly and Miocene to meet with him to work towards a more equitable arrangement for the proposed Williams Lake Community Forest.'

As I've said previously - I long suspected the Board will vote to not involve themselves in the fight between Big Lake and Williams Lake/Sugarcane over the proposed WL Community Forest.  Meanwhile - I profound regret the tone used by 100 Mile Director Mitch Campsall in his comments.  Comparing the request of Big Lake on the WL Community Forest to private forest companies showed that he hadn't read the background documents but kudos to Director Sorley for staying above the fray...

Finally - during a brief recess, Williams Lake Director Kerry Cook boasted to The Rush:

From the City's perspective - the Board made the right decision...

I wonder if the City's Community Forest partner - WL Indian Band and their Chief, Ann Louie, will feel the same way...

Monday, December 17, 2012

Constructive Feedback of WL Council...

On their Facebook page -- Welcome to Williams Lake asks their readers' this question:

In your opinion, what are some positive things this (Williams Lake) Council has embarked on and/or completed?

So far - 13 people have chosen to respond

If you wish to get your "two cents" in - then click here

Good on Welcome to Williams Lake to getting residents' to think all of the bad and good things that Williams Lake City Council has done

-- SBF

Sunday, December 16, 2012

2011 Crime Severity Stats good news for WL

In the latest information for 2011 - the Crime Severity stats released by Stats Canada shows an improvement in the Crime Severity Index for Williams Lake

Note - these stats are for ranked communities over 10,000 in population

Source Documents -- 2010 (view here) and 2011 (view here)

In 2010 - Williams Lake:

Population -- 11,129

Overall Crime Severity Index

Value -- 211.6
Rank -- 5 of 238

Violent Crime Severity Index

Value -- 227.3
Rank -- 4 of 238

Non-Violent Crime Severity Index

Value -- 205.6
Rank --  5 of 238

In 2011 - Williams Lake:

Population -- 10,864

Overall Crime Severity Index

Value -- 198.2
Rank -- 6 of 238

Violent Crime Severity Index

Value -- 232.6
Rank -- 4 of 238

Non-Violent Crime Severity Index

Value -- 185.0
Rank --   7 of 238

As the stats bear out -- Overall and Non-Violent Crime Severity Indexes for Williams Lake are going in the right direction (down) and I'm certain Mayor Cook will be pleased with these stats (2011 vs 2010) however the Violent Crime Severity Index for 2010/2011 is staying steady and I"m certain her/local RCMP Inspector Warren Brown will want to look into the root causes as to why the Violent Crime Severity Index has not moved when Overall/Non-Violent Crime Severity Indexes are going down.

Some of my own thoughts include some being unable to cope with stress related to job loss and family responsiblity and even drug/alcohol substance abuse and why Williams Lake really needs a alcohol substance facility right in Williams Lake.  There is a facility North of Williams Lake but as I understand it, it is geared towards to First Nations clients.  Perhaps a push by Williams Lake Council to Interior Health/Health Minister Margaret McDiarmid on this file...

Quesnel is not ranked as it is not big enough (population of 10,000) to be included in this study

Meanwhile -- Prince George and Kamloops are big enough to be ranked by Stats Canada and in 2011:

Prince George

Population -- 72,321

Overall Crime Severity Index

Value -- 159.5
Rank -- 14 of 238

Violent Crime Severity Index

Value -- 158.2
Rank -- 14 of 238

Non-Violent Crime Severity Index

Value -- 160.0
Rank --   16 of 238


Population -- 86,043

Overall Crime Severity Index

Value -- 111.6
Rank -- 43 of 238

Violent Crime Severity Index

Value -- 110.9
Rank -- 42 of 238

Non-Violent Crime Severity Index

Value -- 111.9
Rank -- 48 of 238

Supporters of 'New Prosperity' set up new Facebook page

Led by Len Doucette - a 100 Mile House resident, a new Facebook page has been established to give public support for the 'New Prosperity' mine, west of Williams Lake, as been proposed by Taseko Mines

Lots of positive feedback and endorsement of locals on Facebook for this new Facebook page and good debate! on the pros and cons of 'New Prosperity' from an individual point of view

Still no official word yet when 'New Prosperity' will be put to a public hearing in 2013

View the Facebook page here

Saturday, December 15, 2012

WL Council Business - Dec 18th


1) Cariboo Men's Choir to sing Christmas Songs
2) Ind. Cariboo-North MLA Bob Simpson to present Queen's Diamond Jubilee Award to local


1) Council to adopt 2013 Provisional Budget - no document link to provide as of this writing

2) Changes to Junior Council Terms of Reference - view here
3) Pursuit of Free Crown Land Grant at WL Regional Airport - read here
4) WL Stampede Association wants to enlarge fenced area by Grandstands - read here
5) Bill Davidson wants 4 way stop at 2nd Ave and Cameron Street (by Marie Sharpe School and CP Electronics) - read here

And finally - WL Council will receive for public information In-Camera Rpt #15 as follows:

Moved and Seconded

“That Council enter into a 1 year agreement with the Cariboo Regional District (CRD) to provide fire protection to those areas of D, E, and F based on the maximum requisition indicated in the Regional District’s Bylaw and further, prior to the expiration of this agreement, the City and CRD enter into discussions for renewal of fire protection services.”

Three things to note:

1) Before Dec 11th when the above In-Camera motion was passed -- Mayor Cook was insisting that WL Council can not change its' negotiating stance as it related to the CRD Rural Contracted Fire Protection Function as the offer the City made during negotiations in September is what the CRD acted on and it had no deadline which is why Acting City CAO Geoff Goodall insisted to Councillor Ivan Bonnell - if he wanted to change the City's offer for rural fringe fire protection, then Council must contact the City lawyer for legal advice and direction

2) I hope WL City Council did contact its' lawyer prior to passing this motion because if it didn't - it may have, in my view, compromised the City's position in court, should the Cariboo Regional District initiate legal proceedings on this matter against the City (note - I did say yesterday the CRD had, in my opinion, a strong legal case to pursue against the City)

3) Comments from Welcome to Williams Lake's Facebook page tell me that if City of WL elected officials show up to the CRD's public meeting on rural fire protection in early Jan 2013, they'll be at the receiving end of some serious public anger from those in the CRD Rural Fringe areas like Esler,North Lakeside Dr, etc:

a) Huh, well I will definitely be at that meeting, the fukers, we have been paying for fire protection services for over 50 fukin years, hell the residences of Chicotin Road, Dog Creek Road, South Lakeside bought a goddamnn fire truck of their own back in 1960 and them turned it over to the town in 62 as Williams Lake needed another one, and this it how the city is today, I'll definitely be at that fukin meeting open house in January, ...

b) City should just say screw you's were going do what ever we ----ing feel like doing anyway-if you dont like it move. AT least then you would know where you stand. Make a point! they make a bylaw to meet there need. I dont mean to be rude but come on Who put them in office and to whom are they working for. Its like town ppl say one thing and city dose the what ever they want .Granted I dont know a lot about this but over the years its getting worse and worse.

c) Wow......what a turncoat! It's not like we aren't paying for the service! And it's not like we have 2 or 3 fires a day! Explain your actions City of Williams Lake!

Quesnel Council Business - Dec 17th

For those in Quesnel -- your City Council meets for the final time in 2012 and will consider the following noteworthy business:

a) Introduction of 2013 City of Quesnel Budget - read here with budget timetable here
b) City Manager B. Johnson outlines Staff changes - read here
c) Quesnel non-profits lobbies for more tickets under the 'Transportation Assistance Program' - read here
d) Pursuit of NDIT Grants for 2013 - read here

e) Community Forest Committee to consist of City Manager B. Johnson, CRD Director (Area C) John Massier, Jim Gorsline and Tony Bensted, members of the Quesnel Community
Economic Development Corporation and a member of Quesnel Council- read here

f) South Hills Neighborhood Association tables 3 letters with Quesnel Council, as follows:

i) Intersection of Hydraulic Rd and Highway 97 - read here
ii) Garbage Collection for South Quesnel - read here
iii) Un-Serviced Lots - read here

Next meeting of Quesnel Council -- Jan 7th, 2013 (Delegation Session)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Local Gov't Mtgs -- Wk of Dec 17-21

A number of local governments will be meeting for the final time in 2012 as follows:

Wells - Regular Meeting on Tuesday, Dec 18th at 7:00pm in Wells Council Chambers (4243 Sanders Ave)

Quesnel - Regular Meeting on Monday, Dec 17th at 7:00pm in Quesnel Council Chambers (2nd Floor - 410 Kinchant St).  View  the Agenda here

Williams Lake - Regular Meeting on Tuesday, Dec 18th at 6:00pm in WL Council Chambers (450 Mart St).  View the Agenda here

School District #27 - Special Meeting on Tuesday, Dec 18th at 6:30pm in the SD #27 Boardroom (350 2nd Ave North - Williams Lake).  View the Agenda here

City of WL reneges on Rural Fire Protection

Editor's Note:

Prior to the Cariboo Regional District (CRD) Board meeting held earlier today - WL City Council, at a Special In-Camera Meeting on Dec 11th, passed the following Resolution:

“That Council enter into a 1 year agreement with the Cariboo Regional District (CRD) to
provide fire protection to those areas of D, E, and F based on the maximum requisition
indicated in the Regional District’s Bylaw and further, prior to the expiration of this
agreement, the City and CRD enter into discussions for renewal of fire protection services.”

As the CRD will explain in their press release - the CRD will look at all of its' options including legal avenues which, in my view, would be unprecedented as I don't (and I've talked with residents about this) recall the Cariboo Regional District ever starting legal proceedings against one of its' own municipal members'

Next steps will likely include a meeting (as early as this Monday) of CRD Directors' J. Sorley, B. Kemp and Area 'D' Alt Director B. Carruthers as to what can be done in light of the City of WL Council motion as far as rural fire protection goes and options from that meeting will then be presented to rural residents in early January 2013. The options really are:

1) New referendum for stand-alone fire department for parts of Areas D, E, F
2) Initiate legal proceedings against the City of WL for "negotiating in bad faith" of which I believe the CRD has a very strong legal case

As they say in poker -- "buckle up, Ladies and Gentlemen"

Courtesy of the Cariboo Regional District:

The Cariboo Regional District has been officially informed by the City of Williams Lake that it has reneged on its most recent offer for fire protection services for Williams Lake fringe area residents. This written offer was the foundation for the recent Williams Lake Fringe Fire Protection Referendum held on November 24, 2012.

The Cariboo Regional District is taking every step to ensure that fire protection services for rural fringe residents do not lapse including, if necessary, legal action. The CRD is now considering alternative options to make sure affected Williams Lake fringe residents receive fire protection services at a reasonable cost, including developing its own fire department to serve the affected areas.

A public information meeting will be scheduled early in Jan. 2013, to provide updated information and seek input from residents.

The proposed agreement, and resulting Bylaw, which was adopted by the Board today, was based upon a five-year term. The City has now provided a new offer for fire protection services at the maximum rate of $147/$100,000 of residential assessment for affected rural residents. Based on 2012 assessments, City residents will continue to pay approximately $74/$100,000.

As updates are received, they will be posted on the CRD website at and on the CRD’s Facebook page at

CRD Board Highlights - Dec 14th mtg

Editor's Notes:

1) The CRD Board will be providing no letters of support for the WL Community Forest after it was unable to agree whether or not to give a letter of support to either the residents of Big Lake or the Williams Lake Indian Band.  At issue was the City of Williams Lake/WL Indian Band being unable to work with Big Lake residents' to work through, at best, some minor issues prior to approval of the WL Community Forest

2) In no surprise -- Area 'G' Director Al Richmond was easily re-elected as CRD Chair for his 5th term (Dec 2008-Dec 2013) with Area 'A' Director Ted Armstrong continuing as CRD Vice-Chair for 2013.  My congrats to both Directors' Richmond/Armstrong on their re-election victories :)

Courtesy of the Cariboo Regional District:

CCRHD Recruitment and Retention Policy

The Cariboo Chilcotin Regional Hospital District endorsed a resolution to maintain the funding for its Recruitment and Retention program at $120,000 for fiscal 2013 through 2015 to allow contributions of $30,000 annually towards recruitment contracts in the north, south and central Cariboo. An annual contribution of $30,000 to the Northern Medical Programs Trust is also included within this envelope. Both programs will be reviewed in 2015 to consider whether or not to continue these contributions beyond 2015.

In 2009, the Cariboo Chilcotin Regional Hospital District Board adopted a Recruitment and Retention policy with the proviso that it be reviewed in three years to determine its effectiveness and appropriateness. Several months later, the Board approved an annual contribution to the Northern Medical Programs Trust, again with the stipulation that the contribution be reviewed in three years.

Provisional Budgets Headed to Consultation Meetings

The Cariboo Regional Hospital District (CRHD), the Cariboo Chilcotin Regional Hospital District (CCRHD) and the Cariboo Regional District’s (CRD) 2013 provisional Budgets and Business Plans were endorsed by the Board. The provisional budget will then be presented to CRD residents in 2013 through three sub-regional consultation meetings taking place in the south Cariboo (100 Mile House at Creekside Seniors’ Centre) on January 30; north Cariboo (Quesnel at Quesnel Legion Hall) on January 31; and the central Cariboo (Williams Lake at the Pioneer Complex) on February 2.

The CRD’s traditional Town Hall Meetings for 2013 will be held at the beginning of the budgeting process in September and October in each of the electoral areas and municipalities. The budgets are currently listed on the CRD website on the December 14 agendas at

Wood Stove Exchange Program

The Cariboo Regional District Board will be supporting the 2013 Wood Stove Exchange program. The program encourages residents to replace their old inefficient wood stoves with cleaner burning models that improve personal health and air quality by providing funding incentives. The Cariboo Regional District will refund wood stove inspection fees to participants of the program after installations are approved by CRD staff. The program is a partnership of the Ministry of Environment and the BC Lung Association, and will be administered in 2013 by the Williams Lake Air Quality Roundtable.

Community Works Approved

Up to $10,000 of Community Works Funds were approved for energy efficiency upgrades to the Lone Butte Community Hall. Work will include replacement the current heating system, which is electric infrared heat with gas infrared heaters. The gas infrared heaters will operate at approximately 95 percent efficiency. During the meeting, the CRD Board of Directors also authorized up to $50,000 to perform energy efficiency upgrades to the Central Cariboo Search and Rescue facility in Williams Lake. Projects scheduled for this building include a heating system retrofit, door replacements and ancillary heating upgrades.

CRDL hosts Amnesty for Literacy

The CRD Library will be hosting its annual fines amnesty during "Family Literacy Week", at all branches from January 22 - 26, 2013. Family Literacy Week is a national initiative intended to raise awareness of the importance of reading and engaging in other literacy-related activities as a family. The Library's fines amnesty will apply to participating members returning overdue materials, along with donations of recommended non-perishable foods, to be provided by our library branches to local area food banks. Further information is available online at

CRD Chair and Vice-Chair Elected

The CRD’s Area G Director Al Richmond, and Area A Director Ted Armstrong were re-elected during today’s meeting as Chair and Vice-Chair respectively. This marks the fifth consecutive terms as Chair and Vice-Chair for Richmond and Armstrong. A full list of the 2011-2014 CRD Board of Directors is available online at

Happy Holidays

The Board of Directors and staff of the Cariboo Regional District wish residents of the Cariboo Chilcotin a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

The CRD offices will be closed from December 24 through to January 1, 2013. CRD offices will re-open on January 2, 2013.


Pitch-In Canada Week – April 21-27, 2013
Drinking Water Week – May 20-26, 2013

Next CRD Board Meeting

Friday, January 18, 2013

CRD Chair reports out on 2012

Courtesy of the Cariboo Regional District:

“Members of the Board, members of the media, ladies and gentlemen…today, I have the distinct pleasure of reviewing the Cariboo Regional District’s key accomplishments and successes for 2012. Looking back over the past year, our region can be proud of its achievements. The CRD experienced many successes in 2012.

The year started with our annual Town Hall meetings in January and February throughout the 12 electoral areas and the four member municipalities. During these meetings we presented the proposed 2012 budget to our residents to seek feedback from them, before the budget was adopted at the end of March.

In May of 2012, the CRD and the District of 100 Mile House hosted representatives of the North Central Local Government Association who congregated in 100 Mile House for the association’s annual AGM and Convention. Under the theme of the “Log Home Capital”, delegates and their partners were hosted to some great workshops, business sessions and of course some spectacular entertainment and social events. I would also like to take this opportunity to again thank the many volunteers from South Cariboo who dedicated their time and efforts to make this event successful.

One of the highlights of the NCLGA Convention for our region was when CRD Director and 100 Mile House Mayor, Mitch Campsall was elected as the new NCLGA President. Overall, the NCLGA was an extremely successful event for the CRD and the District of 100 Mile House, and most importantly the region.

In June, the CRD Board of Directors and staff travelled to Barkerville. During the two-days of meetings, the CRD held the first joint meeting with the Regional District of Fraser Fort George and signed the Barkerville Accord – a document which commits both local governments to work in collaboration to address issues of mutual concern, and to promote the sustainability and economic vibrancy of the north central interior of BC. The traditional Board on the Road BBQ was put on in support of the Barkerville’s 2012, 150th Anniversary celebration.

Over the summer months the Cariboo Regional District lobbied for our region on two critical issues including a presentation in Prince George to the provincial committee regarding the Timber Supply on July 5. Many of the recommendations coming out of the final report published by the commission included CRD recommendations such as using a science based approach, promoting utilization of marginally economic forest lands, better fibre utilization and more. The second issue was focused on the proposed federal electoral boundaries redistribution. Again, the CRD lobbied with a strong voice at the public consultation meeting held in Prince George on September 17.

On September 13 and 14, we were on the road again with our second of two Board on the Road meetings for 2012 – this time Kersley was our destination. On Thursday, during the community BBQ, we also took the opportunity to celebrate Director Ted Armstrong’s 35th anniversary as the CRD representative for Electoral Area A and Kersley.

In September 2012, the CRD attended the Union of British Columbia Municipalities Conference in Vancouver. During the convention, nine of 10 CRD resolutions saw success on the resolution floor. The CRD, along with the District of 100 Mile House, the City of Quesnel, the District of Wells and the City of Williams Lake and our neighbours from the Regional District of Fraser Fort George and the City of Prince George, lobbied provincial ministries. One such meeting was with Premier Christy Clark and the Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and the Minister Responsible for Labour, the Honourable Pat Bell. During this session, the CRD discussed its Strong Regions report and the need for increased alternative revenue streams for local governments. The province has committed to working with the CRD to potentially act upon some of the recommendations laid out in the report.

The CRD also met with the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, the Honourable Steve Thomson to discuss the Cedar Dam on Nina Lake. Cariboo Chilcotin Regional Hospital District (CCRHD) Chair, John Massier and staff also had the opportunity to meet with the Minister of Health, the Honourable Dr. Margaret MacDiarmid to ensure the Cariboo Memorial Hospital Master Plan be given priority.

Our success was not limited to the resolutions or minister meetings either, as three members of the CRD Board of Directors were elected to the UBCM Executive Board including Quesnel Director, Mayor Mary Sjostrom as President; myself, Chair Al Richmond as Third Vice-President. 100 Mile House Director, Mayor Mitch Campsall was also appointed to the UBCM Executive as the NCLGA representative. We will continue to follow up with the issues discussed at UBCM, and will collaborate with our regions’ provincial MLAs and federal MPs to ensure the people of the CRD have a voice in Victoria and Ottawa.

In 2012, the CRD successfully applied to a number of different provincial and federal funding programs such as the Building Canada Fund, the Towns for Tomorrow program, Northern Development Initiative Trust, the Community Tourism Opportunities program and UBCM’s Fuel mitigation fund. For example, our fuel management projects and water and sewer systems received approximately $1.3 million through these programs which went back into our communities throughout the region. In addition to this amount, another $1.7 million was allocated to the CRD under the Community Works Fund which focuses on green initiatives and energy efficiency projects.

So often we forget how far we have come, and the challenges and issues we have overcome, or resolved along the way. Part of the reason for this report is to remind you of our accomplishments, and to compliment you on your successes.

Creating new partnerships, enhancing services, undertaking capital projects, informing the public and responding to residents’ needs is what building this region is all about. Our organization will continue to respond to community and residents’ needs thereby achieving our goal of Building Communities Together.

I would like to thank all the Board members and staff for your dedication and perseverance throughout 2012. Thank you.”

Lone Butte VFD to continue operations...

Courtesy of the Cariboo Regional District:

As a result of a successful recruitment campaign, the Cariboo Regional District’s Lone Butte Volunteer Fire Department (VFD) is no longer in danger of closing its doors.

Prior to the campaign, the department had 12 active members. Since October 23, a total of 30 applications have been handed out with 13 completed applications being received by the local Fire Chief Jaret Scott.

Congratulations to the Lone Butte Community Association who played an integral role in this recruitment process by undertaking an intensive telephone campaign on behalf of the Fire Department.

Although this is good news for the Lone Butte VFD, recruitment and retention are ongoing challenges for many departments. If you are interested in becoming a Lone Butte volunteer firefighter, contact Chief Jaret Scott at 250-395-6665. All CRD volunteer fire departments are always looking for new volunteers to join the ranks. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact your local volunteer fire department Chief for further details.

City of Quesnel asks its residents for help -- Snow Removal

From the City of Quesnel website:

The City is planning a major plow for Friday, Dec 14th. You can help make the job go quicker.
  • Allow extra travel time.
  • Only travel if necessary during and after major snowfalls.
  • Give snow equipment operators plenty of room to work.
  • Please don't flag down our operators to explain a point or request a favour. If you have questions, call the Public Works Department at 250-992-6330.
  • Don't shovel snow from your driveway or the windrow in your driveway into the street.
  • Park your vehicles in your driveway - this allows the snow plow operator to do a neat and thorough job.
To learn more about the City's snowfall operations, click here.

TNG says 'New Prosperity' mine proposal "shoddy"

Over at Welcome to Williams Lake - TNG Tribal Chair Joe Alphonse says Taseko Mines Ltd should do everyone a favour and withdraw their "shoddy" proposal

Xeni Gwet'in First Nations' Chief Marilyn Baptiste joins in and says:

Well, the Panel and the governments have now said there are serious deficiencies in those claims. It seems to us that the company has put its efforts into pushing through a second proposal as fast as it can, without doing the homework to see if it can actually back up its proposal".

Read the article here

Meanwhile - the latest call by the TNG will not, in my view, stop Taseko Mines from pushing ahead to get 'New Prosperity' approved by Ottawa.  This also applies to major supporters of 'New Prosperity' including Williams Lake Mayor Kerry Cook and her City Council and largely the business community in Williams Lake


Bob Simpson launches re-election website

Last yesterday - the "Re-Elect Bob Simpson" team launched their website (click here) and launched a Facebook page which you can view here

I was a little surprised that they are launching so early as the run-up to the provincial election is still months away and likely won't start in earnest until March at the earliest, in my view.  On the other hand, it could be easily argued that we are already in "campaign mode"

As an observer, what I'll be looking for is to see if MLA Simpson's re-election team will be able to match the other provincial campaigns in Cariboo-North (NDP, BC Liberals) for traditional press ads (radio/newspaper) and if not - how much their team will rely solely on "social media" - website, Twitter and Facebook - to get their message out


2011 Crime Trends - Cariboo-Chilcotin

Just recently - the Police Services Branch of the BC Ministry of Justice released the Crime Trends stats for 2011 (latest year available)

Source document - view here

In the Cariboo-Chilcotin:

Wells (Provincial) -- Population of 408 in 2011 

Criminal Code offences - 26 in 2009, 28 in 2010 and 27 in 2011
Criminal Code offences per 1,000 people - 72.2 in 2009, 73.3 in 2010 and 66.2 in 2011
Other Criminal Code offences - 8 in 2009, 4 in 2010 and 6 in 2011
Drug Offences - 1 in 2009, 2 in 2010 and 3 in 2011
Violent offences - 5 in years 2009, 2010 and 2011
Property offences - 13 in 2009, 19 in 2010 and 16 in 2011
Motor Vehicle Theft offences - 1 in years 2009/2010 and 2 in 2011

Quesnel (Provincial) -- Population of 13,607 in 2011

Criminal Code offences - 781 in 2009, 628 n 2010 and 606 in 2011
Criminal Code offences per 1,000 people - 58.1 in 2009, 46.3 in 2010 and 44.5 in 2011
Other Criminal Code offences - 185 in 2009, 128 in 2010 and 151 in 2011
Drug Offences - 44 in 2009, 62 in 2010 and 34 in 2011
Violent offences - 208 in 2009, 197 in 2010 and 171 in 2011
Property offences - 388 in 2009, 303 in 2010 and 284 in 2011
Motor Vehicle Theft offences - 47 in 2009, 40 in 2010 and 24 in 2011

Quesnel (Municipal) -- Population of 9,947 in 2011

Criminal Code offences - 2,382 in 2009, 1,994 in 2010 and 2,124 in 2011
Criminal Code offences per 1,000 people - 245 in 2009, 204.7 in 2009 and 213.5 in 2011
Other Criminal Code offences - 687 in 2009, 693 in 2010 and 823 in 2011
Drug Offences - 89 in 2009, 117 in 2010 and 128 in 2011
Violent offences - 500 in 2009, 421 in 2010 and 457 in 2011
Property offences - 1,195 in 2009, 880 in 2010 and 844 in 2011
Motor Vehicle Theft offences - 101 in 2009, 38 in 2010 and 34 in 2011

Williams Lake (Provincial) -- Population of 13,963 in 2011

Criminal Code offences - 569 in 2009, 540 in 2010 and 511 in 2011
Criminal Code offences per 1,000 people - 41.2 in 2009, 38.8 in 2010 and 36.6 in 2011
Other Criminal Code offences - 130 in 2009, 126 in 2010 and 127 in 2011
Drug Offences - 124 in 2009, 133 in 2010 and 93 in 2011
Violent offences - 179 in 2009, 167 in 2010 and 155 in 2011
Property offences - 260 in 2009, 247 in 2010 and 229 in 2011
Motor Vehicle Theft offences - 29 in 2009, 30 in 2010 and 27 in 2011

Williams Lake (Municipal) -- Population of 11,006 in 2011

Criminal Code offences - 2,797 in 2009, 2,860 in 2010 and 2,491 in 2011
Criminal Code offences per 1,000 people - 251.9 in 2009, 260 in 2010 and 226.3 in 2011
Other Criminal Code offences - 998 in 2009, 1,219 in 2010 and 909 in 2011
Drug Offences - 186 in 2009, 259 in 2010 and 196 in 2011
Violent offences - 567 in 2009, 587 in 2010 and 588 in 2011
Property offences - 1,232 in 2009, 1,054 in 2010 and 994 in 2011
Motor Vehicle Theft offences - 125 in 2009, 84 in 2010 and 37 in 2011

100 Mile House (Provincial) -- Population of 13,835 in 2011

Criminal Code offences - 796 in 2009, 740 in 2010 and 757 in 2011
Criminal Code offences per 1,000 people - 58.3 in 2009, 53.7 in 2010 and 54.7 in 2011
Other Criminal Code offences - 192 in 2009, 151 in 2010 and 156 in 2011
Drug Offences - 128 in 2009, 97 in 2009 and 89 in 2011
Violent offences - 194 in 2009, 158 in 2010 and 165 in 2011
Property offences - 410 in 2009, 431 in 2010 and 436 in 2011
Motor Vehicle Theft offences - 30 in 2009, 22 in 2010 and 23 in 2011

The challenges ahead by community:

Wells - continual improvement in all areas but Wells Council should be proud of numbers in last three years

Quesnel - Numbers trending in right direction but work required on Drug offences as numbers trending upward in this category

Williams Lake - Like Quesnel, numbers overall trending in right direction however Violent Offences needs work as numbers trending upward

100 Mile House - Like Wells, continual improvement will see a safer community for the District of 100 Mile House and its' surrounding 'bedroom' communities

Thursday, December 13, 2012

New Speed Reader signs in Williams Lake

Editor's Note - other than the very small value in research - I'm not sure the $24,000 was justified especially with the speeding and general traffic issues near Marie Sharpe Elementary, I would think more enforcement by way of unmarked police cars during peak school times (before school and end of school day) would solve the issue of speeding plus a speed bump at 3rd Ave & Comer St and 3rd Ave and Cameron St.  But another option could be for the Board of Education to sell the Marie Sharpe Elementary property and to build a new elementary school at the former Poplar Glade Elementary site and I would think that this option would enjoy support among parents who faces a school closure at either Kwaleen, Glendale or Wildwood Elementary

From the City of Williams Lake:

The City of Williams Lake and ICBC have partnered to place four speed reader boards on city streets. The boards will be located on South Lakeside Drive, Mackenzie Avenue, Pigeon Avenue between Gibbon Street and Comer Street, and on Foster Way.

Speed reader boards have several benefits. They advise the motoring public of their approaching speed. They can be programmed in various ways that will warn motorists of speed limits and restrictions. The new speed reader board will remind drivers to slow down, which, in turn, reduces crashes and saves lives. The boards operate 24 hours per day 7 days a week and provide data that is beneficial for making decisions on speed reduction, traffic calming, and traffic volumes .

ICBC has purchased two of the boards, which will be placed on South Lakeside Drive and Mackenzie Avenue for one year. The boards provide valuable information that comes from the downloaded data. Data will further indicate how many vehicles are driving by and at what times of the day. The reader boards will also show the driver what speed they are traveling and can be programmed to flash “SLOW DOWN”. After the one-year term, the City may place the boards at other locations.

This partnership will allow us not only to collect valuable data, but to help keep everyone safe on our roads,” says Mayor Kerry Cook. “These speed reader boards are valuable tools to help us make decisions and to increase awareness for us all to slow down and arrive safely.”

“We’re pleased to invest in new speed reader boards for Williams Lake to help keep the community safe,” says Diana Pozer, ICBC’s road safety coordinator for Williams Lake. “Speeding is the leading cause of car crash fatalities in B.C. and when combined with the poor weather conditions at this time of year, dramatically increases your risk of crashing. Slow down and allow extra travel time so you get home safely.”

'Initial Options' Public Submissions released...

In a document spanning some 268 of the 1,500 pages that Trustees will review prior to making a decision to possibly shut down 3 Elementary Schools in Williams Lake and 1 Elementary and 1 Junior Secondary School in 100 Mile House -- School District #27 (Cariboo-Chilcotin) has now released the summary of public submissions on the 'Initial Options' report and also comments given by the public/parents at the schools slated for closure held between Oct - Nov 2012

Themes I found in the documents include:

* Strong support for middle school in Williams Lake (Grade 7-9) or K-8 and 9-12 School systems
* Next to no support for a Grade 7-12 School in Williams Lake
* Concerns about supports for vulnerable or First Nations' students

During meetings at schools targeted for closure, comments included:

* Close Cataline Elementary, sell to TRU and send kids at Cataline to Nesika while kids in Fox Mountain catchment area can go to Glendale Elementary

* Glendale Elementary offers "different' school environment (more student support) and needs to remain open

* Thought Stream process not indicative of true feelings of parents

* Why is the Board so aggressive on keeping Marie Sharpe Elementary over other elementary schools open?

* How come Donna Barnett says 'Funding Protection' is not terminated?

Meanwhile - Bob Simpson who attended the Wildwood Elementary School Closure meeting in late November said to the attendees:

I am here to listen and see what role I can play. Seismic decisions have
nothing to do with these people. Province has large deficit. MLA’s don’t get
fired for deficit. Trustees would get fired if they did this. Constraint put on
school trustees. Anger needs to be directed through my office for
funding/seismic issues. Unfair to claim the trustees aren’t listening. Most of
these people have full time jobs. Many are advocates for education and are
trying to meet the requirements of the law. I believe community schools are
crucial. Two things that concern me: First Nations component and First
Nations retention. You have a retention strategy here that may assist with
retention. Transportation to Cataline is an issue. Partnership to determine how
that might exist. Unfair to push the ideas onto the parents. Staff should be
providing how the school could respond to address the issues. My message to
government is the same. Funding needs to be examined. We are coming up
to an election and people need to get involved. Hold people to account. Make
it an issue and highlight it.

Finally - the document released yesterday includes the 10 Year Planning document and an administrative review which shows administrative staffing is on par with similiar-sized school districts with SD #27 (Cariboo-Chilcotin)

Future meetings of the Board of Education (SD #27 - Cariboo-Chilcotin) include:

Dec 18th, 2012 - Williams Lake at 6:30pm (350 North 2nd Ave)
Jan 8th, 2013 - Peter Skeene Ogden in 100 Mile House (200 - 7th Ave)
Jan 15th, 2013  - Willams Lake at 6:30pm (350 North 2nd Ave)
Jan 22nd, 2013 - Willams Lake at 6:30pm (350 North 2nd Ave)

View the document below:

Summary of Public Comments for Initial Options report

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Bob Simpson praises BC Public Service...

In his weekly column - Bob Simpson, the Ind. MLA for Cariboo-North praises the BC Public Service in assisting him to do his job and assist those who come into his office for assistance

I know of a few who work in the BC Public Service and agree with Bob that they do the very best they can to serve to the best of their skill and knowledge and in the public interest

Read MLA Simpson's thoughtful post here

Tonight's Central Cariboo Joint Committee Mtg Cancelled

Earlier today - CRD Area 'D' Director Deb Bischoff called me to inform me that the Special Meeting of the Central Cariboo/City of WL Joint Committee scheduled for 5pm in the Rick Hansen Boardroom - WL City Hall Basement has been cancelled.  The Joint Committee was set to meet tonight to receive the final report of the Pool Task Force

No word if the meeting will be re-scheduled in December or if the Pool Task Force final report will be presented at the next regular meeting of the Joint Committee on Jan 23rd, 2013


72 hrs Strike Notice served at Gibraltar Mines

Last yesterday - CAW (Canadian Auto Workers), the union representing workers' at Gibraltar Mines at McLeese Lake served 72 hours strike notice on Gibraltar Mines management expressing dissatisfaction with union negotiations.  The deadline for a negotiated agreement between CAW and Gibraltar Mines management is Tuesday, Dec 18th at 5:00pm

Read more here

Taseko Mines who owns/operates Gibraltar Mines said:

"The company will also continue its efforts to move forward without a labour interruption and is committed to negotiating a new contract with the C.A.W. and avoiding strike action," Taseko CEO Russell Hallbauer

Personally - I hope that strike action can be avoided as a strike at Gibraltar Mines would not be good for Williams Lake at this time and for the families of those workers' employed at Gibraltar as I know 2 of them personally

Duncan Barnett wants to be an NDP MLA

In what I believe was a foregone conclusion - former Cariboo RD Area 'F' Director Duncan Barnett (1999-2010) has formally announced that he'll seek the Cariboo-North NDP Nomination.  Joining him at a Quesnel local restaurant was former Cariboo-South MLA and former Forests Minister Dave Zirnhelt and former Quesnel Mayor Nate Bello.  In addition, current BC NDP Cariboo-Chilcotin candidate Charlie Wyse was at the announcement representing the BC NDP Party

This is a very astute and smart political move on Mr. Barnett's part as both of these individuals (Zirnhelt/Bello) will use their influence and connections to help Mr. Barnett get the NDP nomination in Cariboo-North and eventually help to Mr. Barnett get elected as the MLA for Cariboo-North

It is my view that voters' in Cariboo-North will be formally asked to vote on the following individuals for their provincial MLA for the next term of 2013-2017 next spring:

Duncan Barnett - BC NDP
Coralee Oakes - BC Liberal Party
Bob Simpson - Independent

Mr. Barnett will also give Mr. Simpson a real run for his money and in fact - this is the candidate Bob Simpson didn't need to run for the BC NDP.  This is real bad news, in my opinion, for Bob Simpson and his supporters as Barnett is extensively known in the 'southern' part of Cariboo-North (Horsefly, Likely, Miocene, 150 Mile and Williams Lake) and I have no doubt Mr. Bello will use his influence as a former Quesnel Mayor to help Mr. Barnett get known to Quesnel provincial voters'

We know already that a BC Green Party candidate will not run in this riding and I fully expect that the BC Conservatives will take a pass at this riding and Cariboo-Chilcotin

Read the full story from HQ Cariboo here

SD #27 Board Highlights - Dec 11th mtg

Editor's Notes:

1) Interesting the Board of Education took a very cold attitude towards the Kwaleen Elementary PAC application to BC's Ombudsperson.  The Secretary-Treasurer (B. Roller) said the application won't change the deadline for the Board to make decisions in relation to the 'Initial Options' report on Jan 22nd, 2013.  Guaranteed that the Kwaleen Elementary closure will end up before a judge.  The Board could have shown some profound regret that it regrets the stress the 'Initial Options' report public consultation meetings' have put parents' through - I really wonder if School Trustees really care at this point how parents feel or if they've made up their minds and there are going 'through the motions' to cover their butts...

2) During the meeting - The Board of Education had to consider three motions, of which two were defeated, in order to form a sub-Committee of two School Trustee, a Staff person from SD #27 and reps from the City of Williams Lake and RCMP to consider traffic issues on 3rd Ave at Marie Sharpe Elementary.  Their motion-making makes Williams Lake City Council look really good...

Meeting details:

Present: Chair W. Van Osch and Trustees J. Austin, S. Boehm, D. Neufeld, J. Cooper and T. Guenther


Mark Thiessen - Superintendent
Bonnie Roller - Secretary-Treasurer
Harj Manhas - Assistant Superintendent
Mark Wintjes - Director of Instruction (Human Resources)
Corinne Newberry - Confidential Secretary

Meeting called to order at 6:44pm

Members of the Public: 8
Press: WL Tribune

Agenda approved
Nov 7th and 27th meeting minutes approved
Receipt of Sept 18/25, Oct 9/16 Closed and Nov 7/27 Special Closed Meetings Report approved


1) Open Correspondence Report received
2) Capital Replacement Bylaw #126546 (Bus Replacement - 16) was adopted
3) Board received 2011-12 SOFI Report
4) Board received Superintendent Report on Student Achievement
5) Board to permit School of Choice applications (Secondary Schools) to Feb 22nd, 2013 for this school year only
6) The Board of Education received public/stakeholder feedback on the 'Initial Options' report and that the public electronic summaries be released to the public.  It was noted by the Secretary-Treasurer that the summaries total some 1,500 pages and that summaries for 'Trustees Eyes Only" will not be released to the public.  The Board also agreed to release a 10 year capital plan previously a In-Camera document to the public
7) Secretary-Treasurer reviewed upcoming school board meetings for Dec 2012-Jan 2013
8) Board agreed to form a Ad-hoc Committee of 2 Trustees and Staff, and reps from City of WL and RCMP to review traffic issues around Marie Sharpe Elementary
9) The Superintendent (M. Thiessen) reviewed his attendance at recent meetings
10) Trustee Cooper reported on a recent meeting of First Nations Education Committee while Trustee Guenther reported that the policy committee was still considering a head-lice policy.

11) Trustee Guenther reported on a recent BCSTA Provincial Council meeting while Trustee Boehm reported on a recent BCPSEA meeting

12) The Chair called for public questions for items "not" on the Agenda in which Tom Hoffman asked questions on Marie Sharpe project & formal complaint from Kwaleen PAC to BC's Ombudsperson with the Secretary-Treasurer responding to Mr Hoffman's questions on Marie Sharpe and Ombudsperson complaint.

Meeting adjourned at 8:27pm

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Taseko receives 50 Information requests from Fed. Review Panel

In what Taseko Mines calls "routine work" - the Federal Review Panel has issued 50 Information Requests or IR's on its' EIS or Environment Impact Statement.  Read the letter from the Panel below:

Letter from Federal Review Panel

Meanwhile - the City of Williams Lake issued its' own press release on the same subject. Not sure what the real reason for this press release was as the City doesn't have any stake in this project except to become a "cheerleader" for the project and see its' approval in 2013 by Ottawa

Read the press release below:

The City of Williams Lake would like to reinforce the message that the New Prosperity federal review process is moving forward, despite an Information Request from the federal panel reviewing the project and recent media coverage.

The federal panel has stopped the “clock” that tracks the 12 months of government review time while Taseko Mines responds to the information request, but it will be restarted once the request is fulfilled. Information Requests are a normal part of the federal review panel process, and do not indicate that the project has been denied or that it will be denied.

“It’s very important to have correct information about this process,” says Mayor Kerry Cook. “This latest Information Request from the Review Panel is part of the business of reviewing a project of this size. Thousands and thousands of pages of information have been submitted, and it is not surprising that the panel may need clarification on some items. The clock has stopped, but it will be restarted. This review is moving forward, and we look forward to the next steps in the review process.”