Friday, June 29, 2012

City of WL/CRD disagree over Fire Services

Earlier today - I received the following press release from the Cariboo Regional District:

The Cariboo Regional District (CRD) and the City of Williams Lake negotiations on a new fringe area fire protection agreement have unfortunately broken down after the City rejected the new proposal.

Currently, under the Local Services Act, fire protection services are provided to the majority of CRD fringe area residents through an agreement between the Province of BC and the City of Williams Lake. In addition to the provincial agreement, there are two smaller agreements between the CRD and the City of Williams Lake for the provision of fire protection services to other residents in the Williams Lake fringe area.

The Province notified the City of Williams Lake and the Cariboo Regional District of the need to establish a new agreement and eliminate the provincial agreement. This new agreement would have seen the Williams Lake Fire Department continue to provide fire protection services to fringe area residents under one amalgamated agreement between the City and the CRD. The new proposal, developed by the Williams Lake Fire Protection Sub-Committee established last fall by the Central Cariboo Joint Committee, would have resulted in a more equitable cost sharing arrangement for all residents.

The Cariboo Regional District will now be investigating what alternative options may be available.

Meanwhile - at its' meeting on Tuesday - WL City Council will ratify the following In-Camera Motion:

“That the Cariboo Regional District and Provincial Government be advised that the City Council supports a continuation of the current agreements to provide Williams Lake rural fringe fire protection.”

In discussing this matter with local City Councillor Surinderpal Rathor -- the issue is whether or not the City of Williams Lake should provide fire services at less than "full cost recovery" or less than what it would cost Williams Lake to provide fire services to CRD Rural Fringe residents'?.  I think most reasoned minded taxpayers' would say 'no'.  He is also quite concerned that the current arrangement between the CRD and the City for solid waste does not factor in the recent success of the City's recycle program because if it did, that would result is savings to City taxpayers'

Meanwhile - CRD Area 'D' Director Deb Bischoff and I have also discussed this subject at length and the key question for her (and I suspect Directors' Kemp (Area 'E') and Sorley (Area 'F')) is:

At what point does it become more cost efficient to man/capitalize your own local fire department rather than to continually pay another Fire Department for the same services?

I think the above question will be one that CRD Directors' Bischoff, Kemp and Sorley will struggle with for the next little while and one that they will have to take back to their residents' and weigh out all the options (including pros and cons) and see what residents' are prepared to live with.  But I don't think no fire services is an acceptable option to either Directors' Bischoff, Kemp and Sorley and their respective residents' in the Rural Fringe Fire Protection Areas

SBF

WL Council meets next week...

Your Williams Lake City Council is meeting on July 3rd at 6:00pm in Williams Lake Council Chambers.  View the full Agenda here.  I'll be reviewing the full Agenda items tomorrow (Saturday)

Meanwhile - the other local governments in the Cariboo-Chilcotin will meet as follows:

Wells - July 17th
Quesnel - July 16th
100 Mile - July 10th
Cariboo Regional District - July 12th/13th
School Districts #27/28 - Off on summer recess until September

SBF

Cariboo RD Staff Pay - Yr ending Dec 31st, 2011

Courtesy of the Rush:

Four managers with the Cariboo Regional District made over $100,000 in 2011.

Salary and expenses combined, Janis Bell, Chief Administrative Officer, topped the list at just over $170,000.

2nd on the list is Rick Hodgson, Deputy CAO, at just over $119,000. And third was Scott Reid, Chief Financial Officer at a shade under $110,000.

Total employee remuneration and expenses came in at $4,587,841. As for elected officials, when you take into account salary, car allowance and expenses, Area “A” Director and Vice Chair of the CRD Ted Armstrong totaled out at $ 43,957.67 while area G director and CRD Chair Al Richmond was second at $ 43,172.17.

Statement of Financial Information is released each year by all municipal and local governments as required under provincial legislation.

WL Council Highlights - June 28th Special Mtg

Present - Mayor Cook and Councillors Bourdon, Hughes, Rathor and Zacharias

Absent - Councillors Ivan Bonnell and Laurie Walters

Staff Present:

Geoff Goodall - Acting CAO
Rena Schill - Records Coordinator, Corporate Services
Pat Higgins - Director of Finance

Meeting called to order at 5:00pm

Business:

1) After receving no public input, Council agreed to receive/adopt the 2011 Annual Report.  Prior to adoption, Councillor Rathor pointed out that the report lacked the Annual Audited Financial Statements for 2011 as well as 2012 Goals but pointed out that the Financial Statement for 2011 will be included but Council has not yet completed its' Strategic Planning Session for this term of Council and hopefully the information from this Planning Session will be present for the 2012 Annual Report

Council adjourned at 5:04pm

Next meeting: July 3rd at 6:00pm in Williams Lake Council Chambers

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Performances in the Park 2012

Courtesy of the Central Cariboo Arts/Culture Society:


Presented by the Central Cariboo Arts and Culture Society, the City of Williams Lake and the Cariboo Regional District.

This year’s line up for Performances in the Park summer concert series rocks! Local and
provincial performers will light up the stage in Boitanio Park each Thursday evening from July
5th to August 16th. From 5 - 6 pm performers will be or will cater to children and youth, and
from 7 - 8 pm acts, oriented towards adults, will be family friendly. The line up includes Rock
and Roll, Jazz, Bluegrass, Dancers, Theatre and more.

Youth acts are diverse in genre and capture the attention of young and old alike. Local teenager, Robyn Ferguson, will kick off the series at 5pm on July 5th with her renditions of country and soft rock. Later at 7pm, Doug Koyama will take the stage and captivate the audience with songs of life, love, peace and truth, yet by listening to his lyrics one would never know. He uses looping, a capella and improv to create music to the ears.

The series unfolds to reveal some of the musical talents of Williams Lake, the surrounding
villages and countryside, and the province of BC. Acts include Horsefly duo Carmen and Dena
who, on July 26th, will mesh their voices into beautiful harmonies while singing of love loss, self discovery and friendship. On August 9th, the members of Big Twang Daddy will gather together from the Cariboo landscape to create folk and rock that will get your toes tapping and your body moving.

On July 19th, another Horsefly favourite, Pharis and Jason Romero, share their passion
and adeptness for roots, folk, early country and old time music with beautiful harmonies. Local bluesy jazz sensation, My Wife’s Quartet takes the stage July 12th following a performance by an incredible Chilcotin youth, the Magical Jesaja. He has already taken the Quesnel Farmers Market by storm and will perform at ArtsWells on the August long weekend as a part of Potato Dreams. A version of this play, Potato Dreams, will take the stage at 5pm on August 2nd, featuring Likely Gold, a dramatic group of youths directed by Venta Rutkauskas.

These young actors will open for the always entertaining, dance inspiring Maria in the Shower. This Eastside Vancouver foursome shifts with ease from uptempo swing to sensitive folk ballad, or energetic samba to subtle waltz. Prepare to dance up a sweat while taking in their captivating performance.

Mill Girl Follies, a collective of Can Can dancers from throughout the province, but mostly from
Clinton, will take you back in time at 5pm on July 26th. Energetic and talented, they will make
you want to join their troop. Other youth oriented openers include the local Uke Tuba Trio whose fun music is entertaining and reining from Hope, and on August 9th, the Ta Daa Lady brings her mesmerizing charms. Tap dancing, puppetry and singing are just aspects of her presentation.

To keep everyone on their toes, the August 16th concert format, the series finale, is a little bit
different. Big Lake youth Sam Tudor mingles his musical talents with the likes of Marin
Patenaude and Drum & Bell Tower in two sets of great music starting at 5pm and again at 7pm.

Please check out www.facebook.com/PerformancesinthePark or www.centralcaribooarts.com for updates, details, and pictures from the summer Performances in the Park concerts.


SportMart to close in November

Williams Lake Tribune is reporting this afternoon that SportMart will close its' doors in Boitanio Mall this November and with Zellers closing in March of 2013, that will leave the following stores still open (at least for now):

* The Source
* Ardene
* Bootleggers
* Bentley's
* Mark's
* Easyhome
* Staples
*Lenscutters
* Barton's Insurance
* Dollarama

With Bell/Warehouse One having moved to the new 'Prosperity Ridge' site (by Wal-Mart), I would imagine that the above mentioned stores are looking at their options, right about now... in the event Boitanio Mall is unable to find a major tenant anchor to replace Zellers in 2013

SBF

Capturing Mountain Bike Fans in Whistler


A 10’X20’ billboard has been strategically placed en route to Whistler in an effort to promote Williams Lake, and area, as a premiere mountain biking destination.   The billboard, which will remain in place for the majority of the summer, is the result of a partnership between the City of Williams Lake, Cariboo Regional District (CRD), the Cariboo Mountain Biking Consortium and the Northern Development Initiative Trust.




The billboard directs viewers to the www.ridethecariboo.com website.  This website showcases the unique trails and mountain biking culture that the Cariboo has to offer.
"The Sea to Sky area has long held the majority of the mountain bike market in British Columbia, and for good reason - they have great riding to offer.  But times are changing and the Cariboo offers something unique that mountain bikers are increasingly seeking," says Justin Calof, Cariboo Mountain Biking Consortium Executive Director.  "Un-crowded trails, fast, tight and flowy single track and a relaxing mountain bike culture to chill with is what we invite people to experience.”
The promotion of Williams Lake as a mountain bike destination is identified in the City’s Business Expansion and Attraction (BEAS) Strategy.  “We were really fortunate to secure that particular location for the billboard as the majority of mountain bikers in British Columbia travel that length of highway each summer on their way to Whistler.  Ideally, we will tap into that market and steer people from the lower mainland to all the great mountain biking that we have in the Cariboo,” says Williams Lake Mayor Kerry Cook.

“The Cariboo has long been known in the mountain biking community as a premiere destination and we want to let everyone else know what we have to offer,” says CRD Central Cariboo Co-Chair Joan Sorley. “We take every opportunity to work with our partners to promote the important resource that we have to share.” 
The billboard image, which was provided by John Wellburn, captures Cariboo Mountain Bike Consortium sponsored rider James Doerfling along the “Ashtray” near Williams Lake and is sure to grab attention from passing motorists.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Kevin Krueger decides to retire...

Update at 3:57pm - Wednesday, June 27th:

Read a letter from Kevin Krueger to residents' of Kamloops-North and South Thompson:

Kevin's Letter June 27, 2012

Original Blog Post:

In a surprising move (at least to me) - Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Kevin Krueger has elected to retire, rather than seek an another term next year.  The Kamloops Daily News covers the story here

For her part - BC Premier Christy Clark had this to say on Krueger's bowing out of provincial politics:

Thanks to Kevin Krueger & his family for 17 years of passionate public service for #Kamloops and #BC.

For his part - BC Environment Minister Terry Lake has confirmed to Radio NL in Kamloops that he will run next year in Kamloops-North Thompson.

I thank Mr. Krueger for his 17 years of dedication to provincial politics and wish him and his family every success in their future endeavours...

SBF

Victoria offers 'False Hope'...

Yesterday - Ben Parfitt of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives suggested in a Vancouver Province guest editorial that Victoria is offering 'false hope' to BC'ers in Rural BC by suggesting that logging in 'sensitive areas' or 'parks' like Tweedsmuir Park will help with the local forestry industry

My own view - if a 'retool and re-think' of the local forest industry is necessary - let's have that conversation now so the transition can be done slowly over time, rather than kicking the conversation later 'down the road' when the transition might have to be done more agressively and could be painful for Rural BC communities (similiar to the shift in thinking that  places like Greece are now forced to go through).  This was one of the reasons why the Cariboo-Chilcotin Beetle Action Coalition (BAC) and the other two BAC's in BC were created in the first place - to deversify the local forestry economy and to get every value from every log in the Cariboo-Chilcotin and indeed in Rural BC

Read Mr. Parfitt's guest editorial here

Today's Central Cariboo Joint Committee mtg

Later today - the Central Cariboo/City of WL Joint Committee will be meeting today at 5pm in the Rick Hansen Boardroom (WL City Hall basement) to consider the following items:

Read the full Agenda here

Editor's Note - congrats to the City of Williams Lake for seperating all Agenda Items - makes it easier to read and to pick the individuals items that one wishes to read

1) CMRC 'No Alcohol' Policy - read here

Editor's Note - I was very surprised to see this item as I would have thought, with the exception of the mezzanine area in Rink 1, that it was a 'zero tolerance' for alcohol at the CMRC 

2) Parking Rates to go up at CMRC - read here
3) Update on Pool Task Force activities - read here
4) Report from the Central Cariboo Arts/Culture Society - read here

Editor's Note - Graham Kelsey will be stepping down as President of the Central Cariboo Arts/Culture Society (CCACS) later this year, as will Maureen LeBourdais as Vice-President and Karen Tschierschwitz as Director.  Their successors will be elected at the annual AGM of the CCACS to be held later this year.  I thank Mr. Kelsey for his pure dedication to arts/culture in the Central Cariboo region, although Mr. Kelsey and I did not often see "eye to eye" on Arts and Culture in the the Central Cariboo region, his dedication to the sector is one that is to be applauded and hopefully his successor will be equal to the task.  As a related item - you can read the June edition of the CCACS newsletter here

SBF

William Court Case off to Supreme Court of Canada

Earlier today --  the BC Court of Appeal released its ruling concerning a 2007 BC Supreme Court regarding Tsilhqot'in Nation v. British Columbia

You can read the 2007 Court decision here and today's BC Court of Appeal ruling here

As the 3 Justices of the BC Court of Appeal noted themselves - this was a exhaustive appeal process which now, as I personally felt would happen, will lead to the Supreme Court of Canada, as this decision, if ultimately upheld by the 9 Justices of the Supreme Court of Canada, will have massive implications for aboriginal negotiations across Canada.  This is confirmed this morning by Anahim Chief (and Tsilhqot'in Tribal Chief) Joe Alphonse who said on Twitter this morning:

We will take this (BC Court of Appeal decision) to the Supreme Court of Canada

Both CBC and the Globe and Mail look at this issue here (CBC) and here (Globe)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Declare war on municipal workers/managers wages?

In his column today - Vancouver Province political columnist Mike Smyth looks at a suggestion from Phil Hochstein, president of the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association of B.C. who is calling for the adoption of a "A Public-Private Compensation Equity Act,” which would see wages for government workers, indexed — provincial and municipal — at private-sector rates.

You can read Mr. Smyth's column here

For myself, and with teachers' on strike and BC Government workers' threatening to strike any day now, this could be another battle that the BC Liberals' may wish to avoid invoking... on the other hand, with the BC Liberals' so low in the polls, they may feel that have nothing to lose at this point and could score them big points with tax-weary municipal taxpayers.  Remember, it was this provincial government that brought in the Muncipal Auditor-General, against the initial complaints from local governments', and there was little general public pushback when the legislation was all said and done....

Finally - the issue of municipal wages/benefits has primarily an issue in the bigger urban centres in BC (Metro Van, Prince George, Kamloops, etc) but it really hasn't been a thorn in taxpayers' sides, here in the Cariboo-Chilcotin....  at least right now, but that too could change...

SBF

Cariboo RD releases 2011 Annual Report

Courtesy of the Cariboo Regional District:

During the Cariboo Regional District (CRD) Board of Directors meeting on Thursday, June 14, 2012 the CRD unveiled its 2011 Annual Report.

In addition to typical information found in Annual Reports such as audited financial statements, the CRD publication takes a step aside from the traditional reports by including items such as departmental overviews and general information about the CRD Board, staff and events.

The publication is available to residents in both an electronic format at www.cariboord.bc.ca/Services/Finance.aspx, or hard copy available for pick-up at the CRD office in Williams Lake or the CRD sub-regional offices in 100 Mile House and Quesnel.

The Cariboo Regional District currently provides more than 100 local government services to taxpayers including fire protection, land-use planning, solid waste management, invasive plant management, library services, and recreation facilities.

Quesnel Council Highlights - June 25th mtg

Courtesy of the City of Quesnel:

City to address Timber Committee

The City will appear before the provincial government's Special Committee on Timber Supply. This all-party Special Committee is tasked with examining and making recommendations about the mid-term timber supply. As the City of Quesnel is dependent on the forest industry for employment and tax base, significant changes to the forest industry have a significant effect on the community. Some 62% of municipal taxation comes from the major forest industry, which is the economic backbone of Quesnel through direct employment, suppliers and associated spin-off employment. Staff presented a number of topics for Council to consider, including: community sustainability; forest sustainability; updated timber inventories; silviculture investment; and ongoing community engagement. Council added topics to the list including: land-use planning; stakeholder cost reductions; community control regarding planning; and supporting the province to secure continued delivery of the promised $1 billion in pine beetle funding from the federal government. Staff will take this information and prepare a written and oral submission to be presented to the Committee on July 6 at 8 a.m. at the Seniors' Centre.

Annual Report adopted

Council officially adopted the City's 2011 Annual Report. The document provides the City's financial statements, strategic priorities for the coming year and an update on the past year's activities. The document may be viewed in hard copy at City Hall or at www.quesnel.ca (click the "Annual Report" link on the right side of the page).

Finance statement presented

Council received the annual Statement of Financial Information (SOFI) report, a requirement of the Community Charter. The report lists items such as Council and employee pay, expenses and contracts. The total amount paid to Mayor and Council in remuneration in 2011 was $126,552, up from $124,536 in 2010. Council's SOFI expenses in 2011 were $18,932, down from $25,313 in 2010. All City employees earning more than $75,000 are also listed in the report, as is a list of suppliers who received more than $25,000 for goods and services.

Other News

-Council gave first and second readings to amend the Official Community Plan and Zoning Bylaws to rezone a property at 392 Johnston Ave. to Highway Commercial. The site contains two residential buildings, a duplex, five cabins, two mobile office trailers and a number of shipping container units. Following the zoning amendment the site would be used for mini-storage only and will include an accessory residential unit for a caretaker. Additional shipping containers will be added for storage, and a 15-bay covered RV and boat storage unit will be added at the rear of the property. A public hearing date was set for July 16 at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers.

-Council nominated Mayor Mary Sjostrom for the position of president at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities. Sjostrom has been an active participant on the UBCM Board over the past eight years.

-Council provided official recognition of the newly revived Uplands Neighbourhood Association, and thanked those involved for taking an active interest in their neighbourhood.

Special Council Meeting - June 18
-Council approved contributing $26,000 from its Council projects account towards the Correlieu Community track project. The project, which involves rubberizing the track, costs $77,500. The confirmed funds available were $51,650, so Council agreed to provide the rest to allow the project to proceed. It is hoped that the cost to the City can be recovered through other grants already applied for and other potential funding partners.

Important Dates

July 1 - Canada Day

Next Regular Council Meeting: Monday July 16, 7 p.m.
Next Delegation/Committee of the Whole Meeting: Monday August 27, 7 p.m.
Next North Cariboo Joint Planning Committee Meeting: Tuesday September 11, 5:30 p.m.

CFIB release report on Small Business Taxation in BC Municipalities

Yesterday, the CFIB or Canadian Federation of Independent Business - BC Division released its' latest report on the taxation gap between small business taxes and residential taxes in each of the 161 municipalities looked at.

The CFIB points out while taxation overall for small business has not increased, a signficant gap remains between what a small business owner pays and what a resident pays for the small local government service

The CFIB report also points out that local government taxation is the biggest challenge for small business to thrive in their local communities

For communities in the Cariboo-Chilcotin:

Community
Ranking
Small Bus Taxes (2011)
Residential Taxes (2011)
Property Value
Small Bus Tax Gap (2003)
Small Bus Tax Gap (2011)
Wells
39 of 161
$638
$199
$67,000
2.80
3.20
Quesnel
62 of 161
$1,897
$639
$166,000
2.31
2.97
Williams Lake
132 of 161
$2,180
$1,023
$195,000
1.73
2.13
100 Mile House
130 of 161
$1,606
$752
$168,000
1.61
2.14

The CFIB has recommended:


  • Municipal governments must cap the property tax gap between business and residents at a maximum of 2 to 1
  • Municipal governments should provide earlier property tax notices for commercial taxpayers.
  • Municipal governments should allow commercial taxpayers to remit taxes in monthly or quarterly installments
  • Municipal governments should extend the homeowners’ grant to business owners occupying live/work spaces.

  • I'd like to see the municipal governments, here in the Cariboo-Chilcotin, to seriously look at CFIB Recommendation #2 and #3 as it could help small businesses survive in a challenging economy and in fact for Williams Lake - it would help meet ICSP Goal #2 - Lively Downtown

Monday, June 25, 2012

Quesnel FD appoints new Safety Officer

Courtesy of the City of Quesnel:

The City has named Ron Richert as its new Fire Inspector/Safety Officer. Richert has been an active member of the Quesnel Volunteer Fire Department since 1998, and holds the rank of Acting Lieutenant.

The Fire Inspector/Safety Officer's role is varied. Some of the many responsibilities include: conducting fire inspections of public and private buildings; developing safety program to ensure Workers Compensation Board compliance; coordinating the City's occupational health and safety program; and many other public safety initiatives, including fire safety education programs with the School District.

Richert has taken extensive training courses with the Justice Institute of British Columbia's Fire and Safety division as well as other training agencies. Some of these include the National Fire Protection Association Certified Level 1 Fire Inspector, Level 1 and 2 Fire Fighting Certificate, Fire and Life Safety Educator Certificate, Incident Safety Officer Certificate as well as his Level 3 First Aid Certificate.

"We're very fortunate to have a member of Ron's caliber available to take on this critical public safety role," said Fire Chief Sylvain Gauthier. "We had a number of qualified and outstanding applicants from within our department, which speaks to the dedication and extra lengths these members go to serve our community."

Richert, who begins work on July 3, replaces Mike Russell, who moved into the Deputy Chief position earlier this year.

City of WL to complete water infrastructure upgrades

The City of Williams Lake announced today that it intends to complete water infrastructure upgrades this summer, as follows:

South Lakeside on July 8th -read more here
Pigeon Avenue on July 22nd - read more here

SBF

Saturday, June 23, 2012

WL Council Business - June 26th

For those in Williams Lake - your Williams Lake Council, in Committee of the Whole, will consider the following:

Delegation:

1)Sonya Kruger from the BC Cancer Society - New Cancer Centre for the North in Prince George & the Provision of Cancer Care

Business:

1) External Auditing - Request for Proposals.  Read here.  This item was at the request of Councillor Ivan Bonnell after the appointment of PMT for the 2012 year end process (auditing process).  In fact, Council should look at combining common services needed by Quesnel, Williams Lake, and 100 Mile House, thereby extending buying power by using less taxpayer money in individual municipalities

2) Electronic Cheques - read here.  I suggested to Council's General Governance Committee Chair (and City Councillor) Geoff Bourdon that the amount recommended for an electronic signature should be higher than recommended ($500 recommended, Steve says it should be $2,000 as anything over that should be reviewed personally, in addition the Cheque Signing Policy should be amended to update Staff Titles).  Councillor Bourdon's response was:

Thanks for the ideas Steve, we are definitely going to look at the whole thing.
Haha add it to the list right?!

3) Request from Burger Barn to setup in Spirit Square.  Read here.  From my perspective, this would be a welcome addition to the downtown core and Council should think about a "trial run" and see if it works out well and if so - then setup an application process but I believe the additional foot traffic that Burger Barn would bring to the downtown core would be welcome by downtown businesses

4) Bring in Accessible Parking Bylaw - read here.  For my part, any bylaw should include a severe fine for those who choose to park in handicap parking spots for the sake of convenience, rather than leaving those places for those who truly need it.  My own thought would be a $1,000 fine for those who choose to park in these places as it would be provide ample incentive not to use a handicap place for the sake of parking convenience, rather than leaving those spots open for the individuals it was designed for

5) BC Ambulance Service seeks office space at WL Fire Hall for 'District Supervisor' position - read here

6) Should WL Fire Department respond to 'Motor Vehicle Incidents' or MVI's?  RCMP/BC Ambulance says 'Yes' - read more here.  It should be noted that Councillor Bonnell asked for this topic recently to come forward for discussion.  In addition, I've run into some volunteers from CCSAR who feel strongly  that MVI's should be responded to only by CCSAR volunteers.  I'll be interested in seeing if Williams Lake Council thinks MVI's should be part of the mandate of the Williams Lake Fire Department.  In more recent times, the local Fire Department has broadened itself into more 'non-traditional' areas of firefighting including response to MVI's and Hazardous Material incidents....

SBF

Quesnel Council Business - June 25th

For my followers in Quesnel - your Quesnel Council will consider the following at their meeting on Monday (Full Agenda here):

a) Adopt Minutes of June 11th meeting and Special Minutes of June 18th meeting (commit $26,000 from Quesnel Council Projects Fund to the Correlieu Community Track Project) - read June 18th meeting minutes for detailed information here

b) 2011 Annual Report - read here
c) 2011 SOFI Report (I've previously discussed in previous post) - read here
d) Alex Fraser Park License of Occupation - read here
e) Art Gallery License of Occupation - read here
f) All Kinds of Storage applies for zoning change- read here.  The two bylaws connected to this item are set for a public hearing on July 16th


g) Quesnel Council invited to appear before Special Timber Supply Committee - read here/here

h) Resurrection of Uplands Neighbourhood Association - read here

Friday, June 22, 2012

Local Gov't Mtgs - Week of June 25-29

Quesnel - Regular Meeting on Monday, June 25th at 7:00pm in Quesnel Council Chambers (2nd Floor - 410 Kinchant Street).  View the Agenda here

School District #27 - Regular Meeting on Tuesday, June 26th at 6:30pm in the SD #27 Boardroom (350 North 2nd Avenue).  View the Agenda here

Williams Lake - Regular Committee of the Whole Meeting on Tuesday, June 26th at 6:00pm in the Rick Hansen Boardroom (WL City Hall basement - 450 Mart Street).  View the Agenda here

There will also be a Special Meeting of Council at 5:00pm on Thursday, June 28th in WL Council Chambers to receive public comments on the 2011 Annual Report, a requirement of Section 99 of the Community Charter

100 Mile House - Regular Meeting on Tuesday, June 26th at 7:00pm in the 100 Mile House Council Chambers (385 Birch Avenue).  View the Agenda here

Cariboo Regional District - Special Meeting on Wednesday, June 27th at 9:00am in the CRD Boardroom (180D North 3rd Avenue in Williams Lake).  View the Agenda here

Canada Day in Williams Lake...

Courtesy of Central Cariboo Arts/Culture:

Presented by the Central Cariboo Arts and Culture Society, the City of Williams Lake and the Cariboo Regional District.

Come out to Boitanio Park in Williams Lake on Sunday July 1st to celebrate Canada Day with your family, your friends and your community!

The afternoon will be filled with family fun and the evening with rock and
roll.

The event kicks off at 2pm with a blessing from T’exelc (Williams Lake Indian Band) and a welcome from Mayor Kerry Cook and the Cariboo Regional District, and will unfold into a celebration of music, dance, magic and fun. Daytime musical performances include Signal Point Drummers, Quintet Plus, the Williams Lake Community Band and the Sugar Cane Hand Drummers. While enjoying these performances, the Magical Jesaja will wander the crowd, dazzling all with his magical moves, and the talented Al-Lisa will paint the faces of young and old alike.

We are also happy to welcome the Little Chiefs Elementary School, who
will offer information about their school, stickers and pens, and a taste of
homemade bannock and jam while local nurses will be testing blood
pressure and handing out water. Grade 9 and 10 art students from Williams Lake Secondary will be helping children create a collaborative painting that celebrates Canada Day in the Cariboo and, of course, we will have the traditional GIANT Canada Cake being served by Mayor Kerry Cook, members of the CRD, Board Members of CCACS and Stampede Royalty!

From 5 – 6 pm the sweet voices of Angel Keys Children’s Choir will fill the
air. Then pull out your dancing shoes and get ready to rock and roll with
Williams Lake’s own Rossetta Paxton, Randy Pokeda, Pat Myre and Mark Lees in their band called Hwy 97. Their original tunes include influences from traditional bluegrass, classic county, old time fiddle and classic rock. This four person band has talent, rhythm and energy to spare.

It is an evening not to be missed!

The amazing events of this day and evening would not be possible
without the dedicated sponsorship of our community. The key sponsor of Canada Day, Concrete Fitness, has donated their tent and presence at this event to the Hough Memorial Cancer Society. Other sponsors include the Williams Lake Tribune for free advertising, Save On Foods for the incredible Canada Day Cake, Dollar Dollar for the helium balloons and Cool Clear Water for keeping everyone hydrated with their donation of water. I would also like to point out the continuous support from the
CCACS staff and Board of Directors, Mayor Kerry Cook and Council, the
Cariboo Regional District, local high school students from Williams Lake
Secondary and all of the other amazing community members and
contributors.

Please check out http://www.facebook.com/Performancesinthepark or
http://www.centralcaribooarts.com for updates and information on the
Summer Performances in the Park concert series. These concerts will take
place every Thursday evening in Boitanio Park from 5pm – 8pm from July
5th to August 16th.

City of Quesnel 2011 SOFI Report out...

Like Williams Lake Council -- Quesnel Council at its' meeting on Monday will receive its' 2011 SOFI (Statement of Financial Information) Report outlining pay/benefits of both their Staff and Quesnel Council - read here (Staff Report) and here (Statement on Council/Staff pay and benefits)

For Quesnel Mayor/Council:

Name
Office
Expenses – 2011
Expenses – 2010
Remuneration
Mary Sjostrom (cont)
Mayor
$3,868.73
$9,585.02
$41,376
John Brisco (new)
Councillor
$0
$0
$1,183
Mike Cave (cont)
Councillor
$2,510.75
$2,304.34
$14,196
Ed Coleman (new)
Councillor
$0
$0
$1,183
Peter Couldwell (retired)
Councillor
$100.00
$62.00
$13,013
Scott Elliot (new)
Councillor
$0
$0
$1,183
Coralee Oakes (retired)
Councillor
$2,586.99
$3,023.20
$13,013
Ron Paull (defeated in ‘ 11)
Councillor
$3,630.43
$3,353.52
$13,013
L-A Roodenburg (cont)
Councillor
$3,694.82
$5,215.08
$14,196
Sushil Thapar (cont)
Councillor
$2,540.52
$1,770.27
$14,196


As you can see above - most of Quesnel Council either stayed the same or went down for submitted expenses with the exception of Councillor Cave who submitted just over $200 more in expenses for 2011 vs 2010 & "Quesnel Taxpayer Watchdog" Sushil Thapar whose own expenses went up $770.25 in 2011 vs 2010

Meanwhile - Quesnel Mayor Mary Sjostrom can make use of this information by stating that her expenses are half of what Williams Lake's Mayor were in 2011 ($6,782.12), even when you factor in Quesnel/Williams Lake have roughly the same population size

As for the top three Quesnel City Staff in take-home pay:

1) Former Quesnel City Manager John Stecyk who made $121,970.62 in pay with expenses submitted in 2011 totalling $11,767.11

2) Current Quesnel Finance Director Kari Bolton who made $106,531.03 in pay with expenses submitted in 2011 totalling $4,109.37

3) Current Quesnel Community Services Manager Jeff Norburn who made $100,633.96 in pay with expenses submitted in 2011 totalling $142.24

Finally - the City of Quesnel paid to all employees (who made under $75,000) in 2011 (including Sub-Regional Recreation) - $8,445,793.08 with total expenses paid in 2011 equalling $51,088.17.  In 2010 - this was $7,357,561.40 in pay with expenses in 2010 paid out totalling $46,098.

I wonder if this report will cause sparks to fly at Monday's Quesnel Council Meeting between Councillor Thapar and the rest of his colleagues...

Imagination Park Summer Fun Program

Courtesy of the City of Quesnel:

For children aged six to 12, there's a great way to spend the summer at the Quesnel & District Arts and Recreation Centre.

Imagination Park has nine theme weeks: I am Canadian Week; Mexican Mayhem; Quesnel's Got Talent; Mad Scientists; Time Travelers; Sports for All Sorts; August Christmas; Game Shows; and Summer Survivor.

Imagination Park runs Monday to Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., with pre-care options available at 8 a.m. and post-program care until 5 p.m.

In addition to Imagination Park, a special event is planned for each Friday, including:

a trip to Moose Meadows Farm; a Kids Carnival; two different days of Waterslides in the park with lunch; a trip to the Yorston farm and their famous corn maze; and the ever-popular Rec Centre Sleepover.

"It's great for the community to have such a wonderful summer program for the kids," said Athena Beauvillier, Imagination Park Supervisor at the Quesnel & District Arts and Recreation Centre. "I love working this job in the summer; it is so much fun to spend the summer with these kids. To see the smiles on their faces is a great moment."

For more information, or to register your child for Imagination Park, visit the Arts and Recreation Centre or call 250-992-8200.

For further information, please contact:
Athena Beauvillier, Imagination Park Supervisor
Phone: 250.992.8200. Ext.2228
E-mail: abeauvillier@quesnel.ca

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Thapar goes Wild!!

When you thought things couldn't get any worse for Quesnel City Council.... :(

I wonder how much longer this will go on before Thapar finds himself in a lawsuit situation....

Courtesy of the Rush/Wolf:

A QUESNEL CITY COUNCILLOR IS ACCUSING THE MAYOR OF QUESNEL OF MANIPULATING THE HIRING PROCESS AND OF ONCE AGAIN WASTING TAXPAYERS' MONEY.

SHUSHIL THAPAR SAYS HUMAN RESOURCES ADVISOR MERIEL WILD WAS WRONGFULLY DISMISSED.

HE FEELS SHE WAS FIRED BECAUSE SHE COULDN'T BE MANIPULATED BY POLITICIANS AND WOULD HIRE PEOPLE BASED ON THEIR RESUME.

THAPAR SAYS THERE IS NOTHING ON HER FILE AND SHE HAS DONE A GOOD JOB.

HE SAYS SHE HAS PROBLEMS WITH THE FORMER CITY MANAGER AND FILED A COMPLAINT BUT HE SAYS SHE HAS THAT RIGHT.

THAPAR SAYS THE FIRING IT GOING TO END UP COSTING THE CITY 18 MONTHS PAY PLUS LEGAL FEES AND HE SAYS THERE COULD ALSO BE A HUMAN RIGHTS CASE.

HE SAYS HE IS REFUSING TO SIT IN IN-CAMERA MEETINGS.

THAPAR SAYS THAT WAY HE CAN'T BE ACCUSED OF LEAKING INFORMATION.

HE SAYS HIS FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST ON THIS CASE HAS BEEN DENIED.

Meanwhile, on behalf of Quesnel Mayor Mary Sjostrom who is in Japan on City of Quesnel business, Quesnel's Acting Mayor (Councillor)Ed Coleman responded with this:

MAYOR MARY SJOSTROM IS IN JAPAN ON A BUSINESS TRIP ON BEHALF OF THE CITY AND COULDN'T BE REACHED FOR COMMENT ON THE ACCUSATIONS MADE AGAINST HER.

CITY COUNCILLOR ED COLEMAN IS THE ACTING MAYOR AND RESPONDED TO THE ACCUSATION THAT WILD WAS WRONGFULLY DISMISSED.

COLEMAN SAYS HE CAN'T COMMENT ON HUMAN RESOURCE MATTERS BUT HE DOES SAY THAT THE ADMINISTRATION IS WORKING ON THIS FILE AND WE'RE DOING DUE DILLIGENCE AS WE WOULD BE DOING.

HE SAYS THEY CAN NEVER COMMENT ON A HUMAN RESOURCE MATTER THAT WE'RE WORKING ON WITH PEOPLE.

COLEMAN SAYS IF PEOPLE HAVE CONCERNS THEY SHOULD TALK DIRECTLY TO THE PEOPLE INVOLVED.

HE SAYS THAT'S THE WAY TO SOLVE PROBLEMS.

Letter 'B' Newsletter - June Edition

Cariboo Regional District Area 'B' Director Heloise Dixon-Warren has released her Letter 'B' Newsletter for June

A very good read... :)

Get a copy of it here

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Rebates for 'Water' appliances in WL

Courtesy of the City of Williams Lake:

The City of Williams Lake is pleased to announce its Toilet Replacement Incentive Program will be offered again in 2012, and has been expanded to include clothes washers and dishwashers.

The program has been designed to assist residents of Williams Lake in replacing their old inefficient toilets, clothes washers, and dishwashers with new, more efficient models. Older toilets can use as much as 20 litres of water per use whereas newer low flow toilets use only 4.8 litres or less, some using as little as 3 litres. As a result, changing only one toilet to a more efficient model can save tens of thousands of litres of water per year. Replacing residential toilets also saves wastewater entering the sewage treatment plant, saving on treatment costs and on the amount of effluent leaving the plant.

A total of $25,000 is being made available for this program in 2012. The rebates are as follows:

Toilets:

• The amount of the receipt to a maximum of $75 for a 4.8 litre flush toilet.
• The amount of the receipt to a maximum of $100 for a 4.8/3 litre flush toilet.
• The amount of the receipt to a maximum of $125 for a 3 litre flush toilet.
• A rebate for contractors who build new homes can receive a $75 rebate for installation of a 3 litre toilet instead of the standard 4.8 litre.
Clothes Washers and Dishwashers:
• Amount of the receipt to a maximum of $150 for appliances that have a Water Factor of less than 6, and the amount of the receipt to a maximum of $200 for appliances that have a Water Factor of 3 or less.

For a list of appliances and the Water Factor, visit www.williamslake.ca. Click on Departments, Planning and Operations, Appliance Rebates.

The City of Williams Lake will be implementing the Toilet Replacement Program between June 1 and August 31 on a first-come, first-serve basis. There is a limit of two toilet/appliance rebates per residential dwelling per year. Applications and information brochures are available at City Hall, and information brochures will be available online at www.williamslake.ca

Pay Hike to CLBC Execs

Following public outrage to bonus pay structure to executives at Community Living BC - the governing BC Liberals' have changed the basic pay structure for those same individuals at CLBC

Social Development Minister Stephanie Cadieux for her part says (courtesy of CKNW.com):

Eight months after she expressed uneasiness with a policy which gave embattled CLBC executives bonuses, Social Development Minister Stephanie Cadieux doesn't appear to have an issue with them getting increases in their base pay.

But speaking to CKNW’s Bill Good, Cadieux says the pay hikes – between 4.9 and 9.6-percent – aren't raises.

“What we’ve done is we’ve standardized the pay structure for CLBC so that we eliminate the bonus aspect."

Since the bonuses were around 10-percent, Cadieux says overall compensation actually comes down.

CLBC came under fire last year for dishing out bonuses, while making cuts to work assistance and other programs.

Meanwhile - the two opposition parties are having none of it - read the response of the BC NDP here and of the BC Conservatives here

For my part -- it was poorly timed and one wonders' if the BC Liberals' think about what the public reaction would be before implementing these decisions.... with less than 12 months to the next provincial general election - they can ill afford continued public relations gaffes, like CLBC, prior to going to the voters....

UBCM presents to Expert Tax Panel

Yesterday - UBCM President Heathe Slee and Metro Van rep (Mayor of Port Coquitlam) appeared before the Expert Tax Panel, as established by BC Finance Minister/Deputy Premier Kevin Falcon earlier this year

Read Mssrs Slee/Moore's presentation here.  Also - find the UBCM 'Member Release' on this subject here

Finally - find the link to the website for the Expert Tax Panel here

John Cummins in Williams Lake....

Courtesy of the Rush:

BC Conservative Leader John Cummins made a visit to Williams Lake today and his message was pretty straightforward, “we’ve got to get the BC economy rolling again. We’ve got a pretty high tax regime regardless of what the Provincial Government would have you believe. Income taxes are low but when you start factoring in the Carbon Tax, MSP Premiums and so on we are the highest taxes provincial regime west of Winnipeg and that’s an issue for a lot of people.”

If elected Cummins committed to abolishing the carbon tax altogether. He also said he’s a big supporter of the mining industry, “we want to see the economy grow here, some of these mining projects moving along a little faster to fruition.”

Cummins says a successful New Prosperity mine application would help provide a big boost to the area and would provide First Nations with a fresh opportunity for employment.

Cummins so called “listening tour” will continue all week before making its way to 100 Mile House on Saturday.

My meeting w/Mayor Cook

Williams Lake City Hall
Earlier today and as I noted in previous blog posts - I had the opportunity to meet with Williams Lake Mayor Kerry Cook.  In our 30 minute conversation - we discussed the following:

1) Dropbox at WL City Hall
2) Correspondence Process at WL City Hall
3) 2013 Budget Process
4) 2011 Annual Report
5) Suggestions for Procedure Changes - WL Council


On #1 - she gave me her commitment to look into my concerns, namely the current dropbox at WL City Hall presents challenges to our local seniors' and those with disability challenges

On #2 - she indicated that discussions on this have been occurring internally and that a "tightening-up" of process may be forthcoming in the future

On #3 - Polite discussion occurred here but I asked that the "fundamentals" of this year's budget process (open, transparency, public engagement) be used for the basis for 2013 but that Council hash out the budget process in July/August, inform Staff, and then complete the budgeting process for 2013

On #4 - I informed Mayor Cook of my feelings that I feel the Annual Report is not in keeping with others in similar sized communities (like Quesnel/100 Mile House) including 2012 Goals, up to date Council picture, and the 2011 Audited Financial Statements.  The latest Annual Audited Financial Statements/current year goals are mandatory as per Section 99(2) of the Community Charter

On #5 - I suggested that delegations with specific requests to a specific Committee (General Governance, Planning and Ops or Community Services), rather than to Council first, then to Committee.  Delegations for updates referred to Committee of the Whole, while presentations still occur at Regular Council Meetings.  Also - prior public notification of In-Camera meetings (paper and electronic).  Finally - that a look into allowing members of the public (1 or 2) to serve on Council's 3 Committees (note - this model is already used successfully in Port Coquitlam for years now.  Members of the public on Council Committees would still be excluded from in-camera sessions as they are not sworn officials)

All in all - a very productive session, provided Mayor Cook follows up immediately with her Staff on these items...

SBF