Sunday, September 30, 2012

Local Black Bear advocates to meet Mayor Cook this week

Given the number of destroyed black bears in Williams Lake over the last few days - some local Williams Lake residents' have banded together in order to fully address the issue with Williams Lake's Mayor Kerry Cook this upcoming week

Desired outcomes from the meeting include:

a) 'Bear-Smart' program in Williams Lake
b) Alternatives to destroying bears in Williams Lake and immediate surrounding areas

I wonder if there should be fines for those who keep fruit trees in the City but fail to collect the resulting 'fruit' (pardon the pun) as a result of these trees and thus results in the bears collecting the fruit laying on the ground prior to hibernation.  This could be a proactive measure to make people think about the consequences of having the fruit trees in Williams Lake but not ensuring the fruit is collected before bears collect it themselves' prior to their annual hibernation

Read more over at Welcome to Williams Lake here

Unequal Health Capital Spending in Cariboo-Chilcotin

In a recently-released report by the Cariboo-Chilcotin Regional Hospital District (CCRHD) - the report makes the argument that Northern Health spent 3.5 times for health capital in the North Cariboo (Quesnel) vs that by Interior Health for the Central/South Cariboo (Williams Lake and 100 Mile House) over a ten year period

According to the report -- $930 per person was spent for health capital in the North Cariboo by Northern Health vs a measly $273 per person for health capital in the Central/South Cariboo area by Interior Health

John Massier - Cariboo RD Director for Area 'C' (Wells/Barlow Creek) and the Chair of the CCRHD says:

“I want to get the figures out there for the public to see why the board has these feelings that they’re being underserviced really and you know people can either agree or disagree with us.”

Read more here

For myself - the aforementioned report of the CCRHD is one more reason why the Central/South Cariboo should immediately move to Northern Health as I truly believe we would be better off with them and I strongly disagree with Williams Lake Council on their 'pacifism' view about the whole Northern vs Interior Health debate.  It's time to aggressively push this forward and send a message to Interior Health that we are 110% dissatisfied with being the "lost cousin" for health services/capital compared to Kamloops, Kelowna, & Vernon and if they (Interior Health) don't want to look after all areas of the IHA then let Northern Health take over health operations in the "entire" Cariboo-Chilcotin as they would likely do a better job than Interior Health has done to date.

My own thanks to Chair Massier of the CCRHD, CRD Chair Al Richmond and 100 Mile House Mayor Mitch Campsall for pushing this item onto the public agenda and I truly hope that they continue to make the argument if Interior Health isn't up to the job, then let Northern Health come in and let's see what they can do for health services in Williams Lake/100 Mile House in addition to Quesnel.

At the very worst - we'll be no better off with Northern Health than Interior Health but knowing the health care debate in Quesnel like I do, I would suggest that moving to Northern Health would be in the Central/South Cariboo's best interests'


Should Elections BC handle *all* Local Gov elections?

Over on his blog "BC Iconoclast" - blogger Bernard von Schulmann argues why Elections BC should manage all local government elections/referendums in addition to provincial elections/referendums

Reasons include:

* Experienced body (Elections BC) running elections
* Allow Municipal Staff to concentrate on their primary role -- administer day to day municipal operations and leaving the minute-details of elections to those with actual elections' experience in Elections BC officials plus Elections BC is well known for its' neutrality in provincial elections/referendums

Read Mr. von Schulmann's thoughtful blog post here

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Public Mtgs on Proposed School Closures start Tues

The Board of Education for School District #27 (Cariboo-Chilcotin) will start the public process will could lead to 5 schools in Williams Lake/100 Mile House being closed to save money

The first set of meetings in Williams Lake/100 Mile House are as follows:

Oct 2nd - Williams Lake.  6:30pm in the WL Secondary School Gym
Oct 4th - 100 Mile House.  6:30pm in 100 Mile Jr Secondary Gym

Future meetings:

Oct 16th (Alexis Creek at 7:00pm, Alexis Creek School) - Workshop/Out of the Box Think-Tank
Oct 23rd (100 Mile at 6:30pm - PSO Gym) - Out of the Box Think-Tank
Oct 25th (Williams Lake at 6:30pm - Columneetza Secondary Gym) - Out of the Box Think-Tank

Nov 6th at Glendale Elementary - 6:30pm to discuss school closure
Nov 8th at 100 Mile Jr Secondary - 6:30pm to discuss school closure
Nov 20th at Kwaleen Elementary - 6:30pm to discuss school closure
Nov 22nd at Buffalo Crk Elementary - 6:30pm to discuss school closure
Nov 29th at Wildwood Elementary - 6:30pm to discuss school closure

Whether or not you have kids at these schools - get out and tell the Trustees of School District #27 how you feel but locals I've talked with feel this is a "fait accompli" and the Board all but has its' mind made up to fit its' fiscal priorities of today... and if it means shutting down 5 schools to balance its' books, so be it.  But a better process would have been to describe the fiscal challenge to School District #27 and ask the public how they thought those challenges could be solved with or without school closures.  I personally wonder how come the Board doesn't pursue the option of increased school taxes as an option... certainly, if enough parents said "if necessary, I would agree to pay a dollar or two more in school taxes to give my child(ren) a better education", then the Trustees could use that as leverage to get the necessary taxing authority from Victoria

Finally - watch for Charlie Wyse and the local BC NDP to make political hay over this item should the Board of Education for School District #27 (Cariboo-Chilcotin) shut down all 5 schools in Williams Lake/100 Mile as proposed, arguing that the BC Liberals have short-changed Rural BC for public education and certainly could make Donna Barnett and her campaign team's re-election just that much harder, given the HST will pose a major challenge to getting MLA Barnett a 2nd term in provincial politics


BC Ombudsperson on Local Gov't Open Mtgs

On the Cariboo RD Board Agenda is a special report (No. 34) of the BC Ombudsperson Kim Carter regarding concerns raised over how local governments have closed meetings.  As my readers' know - Quesnel's City Manager Byron Johnson recently addressed this topic, given the 'misunderstandings' around when a local government may or must go 'In-Camera' and the process for doing so.  Read the report of Mr. Johnson here.  It should be noted that Pat Morton, a very vocal critic of Quesnel Mayor Mary Sjostrom asked about Mr. Johnson's report at the Sept 17th Quesnel Council meeting during 'Question Period'

In the meantime - Ms. Carter, in her report, encourages local governments to keep a 'checklist' on what a local government should do if the necessity for a closed meeting should arise and what steps should be taken to ensure that a local government holds to the highest principles of openess and transparency including posting of a closed meeting notice online (something I've asked for in Williams Lake) and routine release of In-Camera Meeting Minutes (where/when legally permitted) and finally how to answer the question When a meeting is a meeting and includes a 'Best Practices' guide for 'Open and Closed Meetings'

Read below:


WL Rural Fringe Fire Protection Referendum Question

In mid-late September - the Cariboo Regional District surveyed residents on the rural fringe of Williams Lake about the future of rural fire protection after January 1st, 2013 and the results were, as at September 21st

Area D:

Receive fire protection from Williams Lake - 45
Receive fire protection from Wildwood VFD - 6

Area E:

Receive fire protection from Williams Lake - 81
Start new fire protection service - 2
No fire protection - 0

Area F:

Receive fire protection from Williams Lake - 8
Receive fire protection from 150 Mile VFD - 6

As a consequence - CRD Administrator Janis Bell has asked the Board to endorse one of two referendum question options:

1) Conduct one referendum question only for all residents currently covered by the City of Williams Lake fire department to continue to receive fire protection services from the City

2) Conduct two simultaneous referendum questions to expand the 150 Mile Fire Protection boundaries and to create a new service for the remaining fringe area residents to receive fire protection services from the City of Williams Lake.

Read Ms. Bell's report on the above here

Given the above survey results - my enlightened opinion would be the Board should endorse Option 1 as it seems most residents' favour staying with the City of WL for fire protection with the exception of Area 'F' which seems to be evenly split between City of WL and 150 Mile VFD

After deciding the referendum question issue - CRD Staff has presented the Board with the appropriate Bylaw to move to 3rd Reading and appointing a Chief and Deputy Chief Election Officer and advance poll opportunities on Nov 14th (Wed) and Nov 19th (Mon)

Cariboo RD Business - Oct 4th

On Thursday - the Regional Board of the Cariboo will meet to consider the following noteworthy items:


1) UNBC President and Vice-Chancellor George Iwama and Rob Van Adrichem, Vice-President External Relations to present on the 'Visions North' Initiative

2) Interior Health to give IHA Update


1) Central Cariboo Rural Caucus to ask WL Council that residents from Areas D, E, F pay the same as Williams Lake residents' for use of the municipal cemetery in light of taxation contributions from Areas D, E, F

2) Appointment of Area 'J' Alternate Director -- read here
3) Changes to the Invasive Plant Management Function's Landowner Assistance
Program - read here

WL Council Business - Oct 2nd

For those in Williams Lake - your WL City Council will be meeting in a special Committee of the Whole on Tuesday to consider the following items:

a) Property Tax Exemptions in 2013 - read here (General) and here (Church Properties)

Editor's Note -- in the last number of years, local resident John Pickford has openly questioned if the WL Golf and Country Club needs a property tax exemption given it is a private club and not necessarily a "public recreational facility" and given there is Bell-E-Acres and other local golf courses that offers access to golf opportunities to the general public.  Finally - I wonder if the local property tax exemptions guidelines should be tightened to "non-profits" only, in addition to the statutory property exemptions mandated by the Community Charter.  Thoughts??

b) New 'Request for Proposal' Scoring Sheet - read here
c) At the request of WL Council - the City of WL Administrator B. Carruthers makes a suggestion for renowed parliamentarian Eli Mina to come to Williams Lake for a workshop on parliamentary procedure and other related matters at a cost of $4,000 which would be paid for from the remaining funds of Council's travel budgets, assuming Council doesn't plan any more travelling between now - Dec 31st.  Read here

Quesnel Council Business - Oct 1st

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

1) Bob Simpson asks for handyDART service on Remembrance Day (Sunday, Nov 11th) - Staff recommendation is to allow the request.  I don't expect this to be turned down as the cost is $300, minimum considering what veterans paid for us to have this thing called democracy.  Read more here (Ltr from Bob Simpson) and here (Staff report)

2) Newer Transit Buses coming to Quesnel - read here (Staff report) and here (pics of proposed buses)

3) Review of SkyFest 2012 - read here
4) 2 Development Permits come forward for consideration - read here/here

Finally - watch for discussion around Mayor Sjostrom's recent election to the year-long office of President of the Union of BC Municipaliies.  I, for one, think that Mayor Sjostrom will be a great advocate for local governments in BC


Local Gov't Mtgs - Wk of Oct 1-5

A number of local governments will be meeting this upcoming week, here in the Cariboo-Chilcotin as follows:

Wells - Regular Council Meeting on Tuesday, October 2nd at 7:00pm in Wells Council Chambers (4243 Sanders Avenue)

Quesnel - Regular Council Meeting on Monday, October 1st at 7:00pm in Quesnel Council Chambers (2nd Floor - 410 Kinchant Street).  View the Agenda here

Williams Lake - Special Committee of the Whole Meeting on Tuesday, October 2nd at 6:00pm in the Rick Hansen Boardroom (WL City Hall Basement).  View the Agenda here

Cariboo Regional District: Regular Board of Directors' Meeting on Thursday, October 4th at 9:45am in the CRD Boardroom in Williams Lake (Suite D - 180 North 3rd Avenue).  View the Agenda here

Cariboo RD has success at UBCM

Courtesy of the Cariboo Regional District:

Mayor Cook at BC Mayors' Caucus

Courtesy of the City of Williams Lake:

City of WL at UBCM

Courtesy of the City of Williams Lake:

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Lots of local reps on UBCM Executive

Courtesy of the Cariboo Regional District:

Editor's Note -- My personal congrats to Quesnel Mayor Mary Sjostrom for becoming UBCM President for 2012-13. I know she'll do a great job, especially with her fellow "partners" in 100 Mile Mayor Mitch Campsall and CRD Chair/Area 'G' Director Al Richmond who also sit on the UBCM Executive

The Cariboo Chilcotin will be well represented on the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) over the next year as local elected officials earned seats today on the 2012/2013 Executive Board. Elections were held during the 2012 UBCM Convention currently taking place in Victoria until Sept. 28.

CRD Director and Quesnel Mayor, Mary Sjostrom will take the reins as the incoming President for UBCM, while CRD Chair Al Richmond is the new Third Vice-President for the organization. Over the past year, Sjostrom has served as the First Vice-President, and has been on the Board for the past eight years.

Chair Al Richmond has served on the UBCM Executive since 2008 when he was first elected as the Regional District Representative. He has held this position for the past four years.

District of 100 Mile House Mayor and CRD Director Mitch Campsall will become the North Central Local Government Association representative on the committee. Earlier this year, during the NCLGA convention held in 100 Mile House, Campsall was elected as the President of the NCLGA Board of Directors.

Further information about the 2012 UBCM Convention is available online at

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Upcoming School Closures in SD 27?

At their special meeting earlier tonight - the Board of Education for School District #27 (Cariboo-Chilcotin) initiated a process which could see the Board declaring a number of schools in Williams Lake and 100 Mile House closed by early 2013 and formally closed on June 30th, 2013 as follows:

100 Mile House:

* Close 100 Mile Jr Secondary
* Close Buffalo Cr Elementary
* Reconfigure schools into K-8
* Reconfigure Peter Skeene Ogdene into a Grade 9-12 School

Williams Lake:

* Create 1 Grade 7-12 "two campus" school
* Close the following schools:

i) Glendale Elementary
ii) Kwaleen Elementary
iii) Wildwood Elementary

* Schools in the Chilcotin and in Horsefly/Likely will see no closures

Public Consultation on this plan will commence in early October with a final decision by the Board at a meeting on Jan 22, 2013

As of a result of the above -- the Board of Education (SD #27) agreed unanimously to the following motion:

THAT the Board of Education invoke the 90 day school closure consultation process in accordance with Policy 1711 for the following School District No. 27 (Cariboo-Chilcotin) schools being considered for closure 30 June 2013:

100 Mile House Jr. Secondary School,
Buffalo Creek Elementary School,
Wildwood Elementary School,
Glendale Elementary School, and
Kwaleen Elementary School.

There will be a workshop in Williams Lake on Tuesday, Oct 2nd at 6:30pm at Williams Lake Secondary and then on Thursday, Oct 4th at 6:30pm at 100 Mile Jr Secondary

Also on Oct 23rd - 6:30pm at PSO Secondary in 100 Mile House and Oct 25th - 6:30pm at Columneetza Secondary, the public will be asked to respond to the following questions:

What are the challenges? What are the benefits? What would you do differently?

For the Board's part - SD #27 Board of Education Chair Will Van Osch says:

“it is flexible, though we do have rationale for why we came to this proposal but again we are open-minded and we want to make sure we hear everybody’s input and there’s always room for reconsideration.”

Local Teacher Union President Joan Erb says that she is shocked by the proposals and is gravely concerned about the reconfiguration changes and what impact that will have on teachers'

Background Documents:

a) Initial Options Report - view here
b) Timeline from now - June 30th, 2013.  view here
c) Board Presentation from SD #27 Staff - view here
d) Story from the Rush/Wolf - view here

Finally - for myself, these school closures, if fully implemented, will have implications on Williams Lake and the Cariboo Regional District and I hope Mayor/Council - Williams Lake and CRD Area 'D' Director Deb Bischoff, CRD Area 'H' Director Margo Wagner and District of 100 Mile Council will choose to get involved individually on the possible school closures.

Also - should Glendale Elementary closed by June of 2013 - there is the question if the public will still have access to the Studio Theatre?  Should they not, the City and region would most assuredly be deprived of Performing Arts for a considerable amount of time as there is currently no plans on the books for a new Performing Arts Centre in contrast to Quesnel who is planning a new Performing Arts Centre as part of the North Cariboo Multicentre


BC Conservatives' DOA?

In their editorial today - the Kamloops Daily News editorial board declares the BC Conservative "Dead on Arrival" insofar as the 2013 Provincial Election goes...

From the editorial:

It has been working to establish constituency associations for every riding, including the two in Kamloops. But there is yet to be a whiff of a local nomination race, featuring credible local candidates with a history of community service.

The damage is done. If the party is to succeed next May, it needs to gain interest from the public for something other than its internal woes.

Also - note that the BC Conservatives have yet to establish working Riding Associations' in Cariboo-North and Cariboo-Chilcotin and time is rapidly approaching the "point of no return" where it would be impossible to organize these to effectively campaign the two provincial ridings, here in the entire Cariboo-Chilcotin, in 2013

It is a certainty that the local BC Conservative Regional Director in Kamloops (and my uncle) Alan Forseth will respond to this editorial by slamming the editorial board position of the Kamloops Daily News as it relates to the BC Conservative Party as Forseth did earlier with regard to questions raised by former Kamloops Daily News editor Mel Rothenburger over the BC Conservative nomination process for the two Kamloops Provincial ridings

Read more here

Cariboo RD decides on Nov 24th question on Rural Fire Protection

Courtesy of the Cariboo Regional District:

Editor's Note - if all questions are defeated against the City of Williams Lake Fire Department, this will of course have financial implications for 2013 for Williams Lake and I'm certain Williams Lake City Council will be watching the final result of the Nov 24th Cariboo RD referendum very closely...

Cariboo Regional District residents in the fringe areas of Williams Lake will be heading to the polls on Saturday, November 24 to decide their future fire protection services. Residents within Electoral Area D, E and F will be participating in two separate referendums.

Based on the results of the survey which was distributed at the CRD Fire Protection meeting on the evening of Sept. 12, residents of Area D, E and a portion of the fringe area of Electoral Area F will be deciding if they wish to continue having their service provided by the City of Williams Lake Volunteer Fire Department (VFD). If this referendum is successful, affected residents would be paying up to $140 per $100,000 of residential assessment. If the vote is defeated, residents will no longer have fire protection effective January 1, 2013.

For residents in portions of Area F, which are within the 13-kilometre service area of the 150 Mile House Volunteer Fire Department (VFD), the referendum question will ask if residents wish to have their service provided by the 150 Mile House Volunteer Fire Department. If this referendum is successful, affected residents would pay approximately $68 per $100,000 of residential assessment. Again, if this vote is defeated, residents within this fire protection boundary will no longer have fire protection effective January 1, 2013.

“Residents and business owners who contacted me were overwhelmingly in support of receiving service from the 150 Mile Fire Department,” says Area F Director, Joan Sorley.

“Based on this feedback, and because I believe we have an obligation to offer our taxpayers the best value possible, I have decided to ask the Board to approve a referendum bylaw which will expand the boundaries of the 150 Mile VFD to include those properties which are included within 13-km of its fire hall.”

If residents have any questions about the Williams Lake Fringe Fire Protection Service referendum, contact the following:

Area D – Alternate Director G. W. (Bill) Carruthers
(250) 392-6763 or via email at

Area E – Director Byron Kemp
(250) 392-5037 or via email at

Area F – Director Joan Sorley
(250) 243-2261 or via email at

Annual UBCM Conference starts....

Yesterday, the annual Union of BC Municipalities or UBCM 5 day conference launched in Victoria.

Yesterday a number of study sessions or "Meet and Greets" were held.  Today's agenda includes a number of forums will be occurring as well as an address by the FCM or Federation of Canadian Municipalities President Karen Leibovici, a Edmonton City Councillor.  In addition a Provincial Policy session covering small water systems, community poverty reduction, improving employment for those with disabilities and the BC Policing Plan will occur.  View the full Agenda for the week here

Meanwhile - yesterday, the Kamloops Daily News interviewed Bill Bennett, the Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development and he told them:

"I won't be saying, 'You're wasting your time, there's no money,' " said Bennett. "What I'll be saying is, 'We want to understand what your needs are. We want to understand what your challenges are.' Then we'll try to help people solve their problem.

Read more of the article here

Also - a couple of stiring moments prior to the UBCM Conference:

1) Saanich Mayor Frank Leonard gives a sobering look at what BC Premier Christy Clark will tell UBCM delegates during her speech on Friday by stating:

“There’s no hope for anything in Christy’s speech,” said Saanich Mayor Frank Leonard, a past UBCM president. “Anything that needs legislation is not on. What could she deliver on?”

Read more here

2) Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts accused of using the BC Mayors' Caucus as a platform into provincial politics.  Read more here.  Like Burnaby's Mayor Derek Corrigan, let's take Dianne Watts at her word that Mayors' of BC have a unique role on their local Councils' and this is a way to discuss similar issues and potential solutions and this is no "stepping stone" in provincial politics and I, for one, believe her, unless I'm presented with information to the contrary - read more here

Monday, September 24, 2012

BC Conservatives': "Not a Contender"

In his column today - Vancouver Sun political columnist Vaughn Palmer argues why, given their finances which includes paying $4,000 per month to him and being in the red for $20,000 to date, John Cummins and the BC Conservatives' should no longer be viewed as a viable and legitimate contender in the May 14th, 2013 BC General Election

Meanwhile - I laughed out loud at this quote about John van Dongen and political party memberships from Mr. Palmer:

If the mercurial MLA (van Dongen) is serious about seeking out another party — and he suggested he was — he might wish to see if hourly membership rates are available.

Finally - Mr. Palmer's conclusion is one that I agree with:

As things stand today, the Conservatives are well-positioned to play a spoiler role in the next election. But they are looking less like serious contenders for major party status.

Bottom Line: The choice is clear -- the progressive and responsive BC Liberals vs the reckless & regressive BC NDP and ask yourself which party stands to move British Columbia forward.  For me - that is the BC Liberal Party.  How about you?

Read Vaughn Palmer's column here

Sunday, September 23, 2012

2012 Cariboo-Chilcotin BC Liberals AGM

In a meeting that generated a small gathering - the members' of the Cariboo-Chilcotin BC Liberal Riding Association held their annual AGM which saw Bill Carruthers returned as President for another year

Local MLA Donna Barnett also gave an update as to her activities

Also - a number of delegates were selected for the BC Liberals' convention which is being held at Whistler in late October

All in all - a good meeting which hopefully will lead to Donna Barnett being re-elected in 2013


Taseko Mines explains 'New Prosperity' in a series of videos

Late last week - Taseko Mines submitted their EIS or Environmental Impact Statement for the 'New Prosperity' mine project, west of Williams Lake.  Read more on this here. Also - the Globe and Mail looks at this issue as well here

As I reported last Tuesday - Brian Battison, Taseko Mines VP of Corporate Affairs appeared before Williams Lake City Council to give an update on the 'New Prosperity' mine project.  He also presented to them a video explain how Taseko Mines intends to negate the impact to Fish Lake and the surrounding water bodies -- should Ottawa give the go-ahead next year for 'New Prosperity'.  View the video below:

Finally - Taseko Mines, in a series of YouTube videos, demonstrates local support for this project include clips from Williams Lake Mayor Kerry Cook and various business people of Williams Lake and area. I for one am impressed with Taseko Mines use of YouTube to impress support from locals' for this project

View below:

The Rejuvenation of a Community:

Moving Forward:

Making an Informed Decision:

The Challenge:

HandyDART expands service in October...

Courtesy of the City of Williams Lake:

The City of Williams Lake and BC Transit are pleased to announce expanded handyDART services in the community. Effective October 1, 2012 an extra 435 service hours (30 minutes per weekday and six hours on Saturdays) will be added to better serve the growing need for custom public transit.

HandyDART service will extended to 5 p.m. from 4:30 p.m. on weekdays, and Saturday service from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. will be added. The project is funded jointly by the City of Williams Lake ($3,500) and BC Transit ($3,900).

The need for more transit service for our seniors were heard loud and clear during our budget process, and we are pleased that by working with BC Transit, we are able to offer this expanded service,” says Mayor Kerry Cook. “Partnerships such as this are what allow us to be responsive to the community’s needs.”

“handyDART is a vital service that links our customers to their community,” says BC Transit President and CEO Manuel Achadinha. “With greater service options, the whole community can benefit.”

BC Transit is proud to promote its fully accessible fleet. The handyDART service is door-to-door and available to qualified riders. BC Transit buses, in regular service in Williams Lake, are equipped with low floors and ramps that accommodate customers with mobility limitations.

For more information on transit service in Williams Lake please consult our website or call 250.398.7812.

Mary Polak acclaimed as BC LIberal candidate in Langley

Courtesy of the BC Liberal Party:

On Saturday, Sept 22 at a meeting in her constituency, Mary Polak will be acclaimed as the BC Liberal Party’s candidate in Langley. Polak’s candidate selection meeting comes the day after a former high profile BC Conservative candidate moved over to the BC Liberal Party.

“Our party is united and energized about the direction that we are heading,” said MLA and Minister Mary Polak. “We’re focused on creating jobs, keeping British Columbia’s economy strong and making life more affordable for families.”

Polak is excited about the news that former BC Conservative candidate John Martin has joined the BC Liberals. “I’m very pleased that John Martin has joined our party and that he intends to seek our nomination in Chilliwack,” added Polak. “John’s decision is a strong endorsement of the direction of our party.”

“We are motivated and ready to win in 2013. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but we’re confident that the next election will be a two way race between ourselves and the NDP,” said Polak.

Polak was recently appointed Minister of Transportation in Premier Christy Clark’s renewed cabinet. First elected in 2005, Polak is proud of the work accomplished on behalf of her community including the Mufford Crescent overpass and the Gateway of Hope. Polak looks forward to continuing to advance Langley's issues in the coming years.

John Martin comes home...

This past Friday - in a move I wasn't expecting, John Martin - a former BC Conservative candidate in Chilliwack - announced that he was ripping up his BC Conservative Party membership and would become a BC Liberal Party member and seek the nomination in Chilliwack as a BC Liberal

Read more here

However, the move by Mr. Martin didn't come without criticism of his former colleagues

For instance - my uncle and the BC Conservative Regional Director for Kamloops Alan Forseth wrote a blog post on how he (and I suspect many BC Conservatives' ) felt on the move.  You can read that blog post here

The Tyee, a left wing online newspaper has dug up 12 former John Martin quotes in which he criticized current BC Premier Christy Clark - read here

For myself - this shows the maturity of the BC Liberals, given both myself and John Martin where, at one time, vocals critics of the Party and now we both are "welcomed home".  The strength of one's leadership is where the Party leader and their people around them and say "I'm willing to let past sins' remain in the past and start anew".  Certainly, that is my experience with the BC Liberals locally after I criticized former BC Premier Gordon Campbell in 2010


John Cummins stays as BC Conservative Leader

At the BC Conservatives' AGM today - BC Conservative Party members' voted by a spread of 778-316 to confirm their confidence in John Cummins as Leader of the BC Conservatives'

Parts of John Cummins speech included:

a) Election next May will be a battle bewteen change (BC Conservatives') and the status quo (BC Liberals/BC NDP)

b) if Victoria / legislature is sick --- we (BC Conservatives) have a duty to nurse it back to health and make sure it does work

c) all sessions under BC Conservative Gov't will see MLA's asigned to ministries & crown corporations to review & ask questions on expenditures and on planned outlays for coming year

d) Focus must be high paying jobs for British Columbians

e) BC Conservatives want to change that -- will restore province as a high wage province

f) Labour income falling for BC workers -- down $10.8 billion under BC Liberals

Editor's Note -- I'd be interested in hearing where they (BC Conservatives') got that stat from??

g) BC Conservatives will be dedicated to spending our tax dollars wisely and be accountable

And the litany of complaints from a ultra right-wing party goes on and on...

Probably that explains why both John Martin (former candidate for the BC Conservatives' in Chilliwack) and Abbotsford-South MLA left the BC Conservatives' in the last few days (Editor's Note - I'll have more on the John Martin story in a future blog post)

For now - the real question is whether or not the BC Conservatives can bankroll the necessary millions to compete one-on-one with the BC Liberals/BC NDP with the evidence to date suggested that they can not and given the BC Conservatives' have all but written off both Cariboo ridings (Cariboo-Chilcotin and Cariboo-North), it appears for the moment that the real fight for this ridings are between the following parties:

Cariboo-North -- Ind MLA Bob Simpson vs NDP vs BC Liberal

Cariboo-Chilcotin -- BC Liberal MLA Donna Barnett vs NDP's Charlie Wyse

Finally - the provincial media do a good wrap on the story including the BC Conservative AGM and the fall-out of former BC Conservative and now Ind. Abbotsford-South MLA John van Dongen

Read CTV-BC here (Cummins stays) and here (van Dongen leaves BC Conservatives)

Watch below for video from Global-BC:

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Brian Carruthers resigns as City of WL CAO

Editor's Note - a source within WL City Hall alerted me to this development earlier today but the City has now officially confirmed it... all the best to Mr. Carruthers in his new role with the Regional District of Central Kootenay.  In the meantime, a lot of locals including myself hope that Mayor/Council - City of Williams Lake will take the time to hire the next Administrator of Williams Lake properly, unlike Carruthers appointment in 2009, and have a competition-based hiring process that looks at multiple candidates and selects the best and well qualified one

Courtesy of the City of Williams Lake:

Mayor Kerry Cook and CAO Brian Carruthers announced today that Brian Carruthers is resigning his position as Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Williams Lake. Mr. Carruthers has accepted a position as CAO for the Regional District of Central Kootenay in Nelson and will be assuming his new role as of November 19, 2012.

Carruthers was with the City for two years as Director of Leisure Services, six years as General Manager of Community Services, and for the last three years, has served as CAO. He has made many contributions to the community, ranging from chairing the 2002 Winter Games Committee, establishing Performances in the Park, and beginning the Community Forest project. He was also involved in the master plan and trail development in the River Valley, and the Community Corner project, among other initiatives.

Council wishes to thank Brian for his service and commitment to the organization and the community and wish him well in the future.

Next Phase of Public Discussion - Upgrade of Sam Ketchum Pool

At last night's Central Cariboo/City of Williams Lake Joint Committee meeting - the Committee received an update report from the City's Director of Community Services (G. Paynton) as to the next public steps in asking residents what kind of renovated Sam Ketchum Pool they would like and would be willing to pay for

The proposed timeline going forward is:

Thursday, October 11

Pool Task Force meeting with Consultants- 5:45 pm – 6:15pm - Complex
Blue Fin Swim Club – 6:15pm- 6:45pm- Complex
Public Open House- 7:00pm - 8pm- Gibraltar Room
WL Council, Joint Committee, Senior Staff – 8:00 – 9:00pm- Complex

Friday, October 12

Complex Users – 9:00 am – 10:00 am- Complex
Community Groups Stakeholders Group #1– 10:15 am –11:15am- Complex
Community Groups Stakeholders Group #2– 11:30 am – 12:30pm- Complex
Kiosk- Safeway – 1:30 pm – 3:15 pm
Youth Stakeholders – 3:30 – 5:00pm- Complex
Kiosk- Wal-Mart - 6:00pm- 9:00pm

Saturday, October 13

Kiosk- Save-on- Foods- 10:00am- 12:00pm
Kiosk- Canadian Tire - 12:15pm - 1:45pm
Kiosk- Complex - 2:00pm – 3:00pm

The report also outlines at the Pool Task Force's June 26th meeting that there was consensus to push for "Option 5" which includes renovating existing 25m Pool with addition of Hot and Tot Pools and Waterslide areas & multi-use space/fitness area with an option later to go with a $2.5 million 2nd level multipurpose area overlooking 1st floor pools

Finally - the report from Geoff Paynton outlines potential (and I stress potential) tax implications as follows:

Current Central Cariboo Recreation Function tax rate is --> $87 per $100,000 on residential assessment (land and buildings)

If $10 million were to be borrowed over 20 years and one factored in capital and operational costs- cost to each property owner (residential) in Central Cariboo Recreation Area (City of WL and parts of CRD Areas D, E, F) --> $153.00 per $100,000 of residential assessed value but this would drop to $144 per $100,000 by 2017 as existing debt for an previous upgrade in 2004 would be paid off in 2016.  If one is a business owner, multiply the residential implication by 2.4, if a industrial owner, multiple the residential rate by 3.4 times and Utilities by 3.5 times

As for me - perhaps we are better off to raise taxes temporarily, fix the existing pool at rough $1 million cost (tax for $2 million capital to cover unexpected costs of pool renovation) and then lower the rate for 2014, instead of borrowing long term, given the flux state of the forestry industry and not knowing where it may go medium and long term.  Also - the CRD has massive potential borrowing requests on the books including up to $15 million for Mountview Water (CRD Area E) if the federal government grant doesn't come though and then up to $15 million for the North Cariboo Multi-Centre (subject to gov't grants covering the remaining $15 million for the overall $30 million North Cariboo Multi-Centre project)

Read the full report here

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

End 'Sick Culture' in Victoria

In his weekly column - Bob Simpson, the Ind MLA for Cariboo-North, talks about recent comments from BC Premier Christy Clark that there is a 'sick culture' at the BC Legislature and she wasn't planning on hanging around the "Leg" but rather talk with "real" people while MLA Simpson argues instead of road  trips, how about legitimizing the roles of all MLA's and in fact, he and Delta-South MLA Vicki Huntington will discuss this and I'm sure much more as it relates to Independent MLA and our provincial democratic system at a Twitter Town Hall tomorrow, starting at 12:00pm.  I plan to participate myself by arguing a radical reform of the BC Legislature must include:

a) Use of Standing Committees to scrutinize bills (similar to Ontario Legislature and Federal Parliament)

b) Allow Private and Government Bills to have same "weight" (similar to current practice in Federal Parliament) and votes on Private Members' Bills can't be at whim of governing party

Read Simpson's very good column here

CCRHD clarifies its' position on Local Health Authority

Late last week - I contacted CRD Area 'C' Director John Massier in his capacity as Chair of the Cariboo-Chilcotin Regional Hospital District (CCRHD) over a proposed City of WL Resolution concerning Interior Health vs Northern Health as follows:

HI John:

I hope things are well in Area 'C' and that of the North Cariboo :)

Anyhow - on Tuesday, Williams Lake City Council will consider the following resolution, at the request of Mayor Cook:

Council support Williams Lake and the Central Cariboo remaining in the Interior Health Authority.
As a City of Williams Lake resident & one of the Cariboo Regional District - if the above resolution passes (and I fully expect that it will as Mayor Cook will argue that now is not the time to leave Interior Health given the possible upgrade to the 2nd Floor at Cariboo Memorial Hospital) - Mayor Cook is perhaps, with the greatest of respect to her, reacting to one opinion, namely from the local medical community (again, from the staff report)

It is understood that the Health Authorities themselves have no say in the boundary configurations and it is the responsibility of the Province to make any changes to existing boundaries.

There have been concerns expressed by members of the medical community with respect to the fact that they have not been consulted regarding a proposed move to Northern Health.

It is not in the best interest of the community to make a change in Health Authorities when a considerable effort is being made with Interior Health to advance the progress of the Cariboo Memorial Hospital redevelopment.

I don't think we should be taking sides but rather have a full broad discussion on which Health Authority is best suited to provide the health-care needs for the Cariboo-Chilcotin and I hope that Board is prepared to publically rebuke Mayor (Director) Cook at the next CCRHD Board meeting as this action of WL City Council does not, in my view, help the very course of action that the CCRHD wishes to take on this matter at its' previous meetings'


Meanwhile - Director Massier thanked me in a reply email last night and advised that he had followed up with Mayor Cook on the proposed resolution and that a letter had been forwarded to City of WL Mayor/Council on the subject clarifying the position of the CCRHD on moving forward around staying with Interior Health vs Northern Health & the Cariboo Memorial Hospital Master Plan and assured me any move would not occur until it received a very fair & comprehensive public airing.

Notwithstanding WL Council's resolution from last night (Work with CCRHD to move CMH Master Plan forward & no support on discussion of moving from IHA to NHA and local MLA's being advised)  -- I think the position of the CCRHD is very responsible and I hope that they'll continue the course of action they charted from their April meeting, given the CCRHD is taking no side, with regard to this matter, in contrast to WL Council who has effectively taking the side of Interior Health, even though it may turn out that receiving services from Northern Health, at the end of the day, could be in this region's best interests'


Community Meetings in CRD Area 'B' - October

Councillor Rathor questions two financial matters

At last night's WL Council meeting - senior WL City Councillor SPS Rathor questioned the following:

1) Cheque Run - Sept 6th/10th

a) IUOE Union Dues for former Building Inspector position  -- $99.84 in May and $85.18 in July

City of WL CAO Carruthers clarified that it was necessary, as per the existing collective agreement, to pay the union dues for the former Building Inspector position as it was a previous union job

b) Food for Mayor & Council Meeting from Porky's Deli for $146.55

Councillor Rathor expressed disappointment that this item did not contain more information to clear up which Council meeting this applied to, but if you look at the invoice date of Sept 5th - Council had a Special Meeting on this date which was followed by the Budget Meeting they had as well.  Seems clear to me

2) Use of TRUE Consulting for CN Pedestrian Underpass for Engineering Services

During consideration to award an Engineering Services Contract to TRUE Consulting re: the CN Pedestrian Underpass on Mackenzie Avenue - Councillor Rathor questioned how come this item was not subject to the usual tender process.  City of WL CAO Carruthers stated that as TRUE Consulting was the City's "Engineering Firm of Record" and had knowledge about this and other related projects - it really wasn't necessary to do a RFP (Request for Proposals)

Like Councillor Rathor -- former Cariboo RD Area 'F' Director Duncan Barnett questioned the same issue before the then-CRD Board.  I don't think there is an issue about having a "Auditor of Record" or "Engineering Firm of Record" as long as you go out every few years and make sure the taxpayer is getting the biggest bang for the dollar.  Who's to say that TRUE Consulting is giving us the biggest bang for the dollar and you can't unless you make multiple firms compete for City engineering consulting services


City of WL establishes 2013 Budget page

Courtesy of the City of Williams Lake:

The public is encouraged to provide input as City Council develops the 2013 budget and 5-Year Financial Plan this fall and winter. For the public’s convenience, there is now a Budget 2013 page on the City’s website at

The page will include the budget schedule, Council’s strategic budget objectives, budget meeting notices, and budget resolutions as Council passes them during the process. The page will also include a feature to allow residents to submit comments on the budget. Residents are also welcome to attend open budget meetings.

Council is always working to find ways to improve our annual budget process, and this online tool will help keep residents informed and up to date, as well as providing a convenient way to submit comments,” says Mayor Kerry Cook. “Council has also committed to having a provisional budget in place by Dec. 1, which will lead to improved planning for capital projects.

The link to the Budget tab is at the bottom of the City’s homepage, or it can be accessed directly at

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

WL Council Highlights - Sept 18th mtg

Present: Mayor Cook & Councillors Bonnell, Hughes, Rathor, Walters, Zacharias and Bourdon via teleconference

Staff Present:

Brian Carruthers - CAO
Cindy Bouchard - Manager of Legislative Services
Cindy Walters - Planning Clerk
Chris Hutton - Planning Technician
Ken MacInnis - Communications Coordinator
Tom Chung - Manager of IT

Meeting called to order at 6:03pm

Agenda adopted
Minutes of Special Meetings of Council held Sept 5th/11th and Regular Meeting of Council on Sept 4th all adopted


1) Brian Battison (Taseko Mines VP of Corporate Affairs) appeared before Council to discuss the 'New Prosperity' Mine proposal

2) Troy Forcer, on behalf of Irene Willsie, appeared before Council to discuss the upcoming 'Take Back the Night' event

3) Bettina Schoen from the local Suicide & Sudden Death Committee - Can. Mental Health Association appeared before Council to discuss the upcoming 'Suicide Awareness Concert & Gathering'


1) Council recieved for information the Cheque Runs for Sept 6th and 10th

2) Council recieved for information a report of the City's Director of Finance concerning the proposed timeline to address items out of the addendum to the 2011 Auditor's Management Letter

3) Council confirmed support for the New Prosperity mine development, provided that Provincial and Federal environmental standards are met and affected First Nations are adequately consulted; and further, that the Province of BC was requested to ensure all necessary Provincial approvals for the project are granted in a timely manner and the Cariboo Regional District was invited to make the same request of the Province and the local MLA's and local MP be advised of this Resolution

4) Council approved the Revitalization Tax Exemption renewal request from Bharat & Hira Lal, Amol Lal and Ajay Lal for 460 and 480 Proctor Street

5) Council adopted several recommendation for its' previous Budget Meeting of Sept 5th as follows:

a) Staff advertise the complete budget process and highlight the first half (1/2) hour of the meetings scheduled for October 30, November 28 and, if required, November 29 as the opportunities for public input.

b) The 2013 City of WL Budget timeline for 2013 be approved as amended.

c) Staff bring forward a status quo budget with supplementals based on the strategic goals and priorities of Council - Mayor Cook was opposed

d) Staff bring forward budget scenarios for discussion based on a 0%, 1 1/2% and 3% tax increase.

6) Council recieved the minutes from the Sept 5th Budget Meeting

7) Council awarded the purchase and installation of a Variable Frequency Drive on Well #4 at Scout Island to KDH Electric for the price of $55,150, excluding applicable taxes

8) Council pledged continued partnership in the Power Smart Program in addition, it received for information a report from the City's Manager of Transportation and Buildings on the BC Hydro Power Smart Energy Conservation Pledge

9) Council awarded the design engineering services for the CN Rail Pedestrian Underpass to TRUE Consulting Group at a cost of $73,093.69, excluding applicable taxes

10) Council agreed to receive an application for Development Permit #1-2012 from Sprucelee Construction for 3rd Avenue & Cameron Street (where present DFO/Sears Buildings are). DP #1-12 to be formally considered by Council at its' Oct 9th meeting

11) Council reaffirmed its support for the redevelopment of the Cariboo Memorial Hospital (CMH) as a high priority for the community and requested the Cariboo Chilcotin Regional Hospital District Board to pass a similar resolution and the Interior Health Authority and the Minister of Health provide their 60% share of the project funding; and that Council facilitate the establishment of a ‘lobbying committee’, including the CCRHD Board, Doctor’s Association, Unions, Seniors and other stakeholders to communicate the need for the CMH redevelopment on behalf of the community

12) Council agreed to join with the CCRHD (Cariboo-Chilcotin Regional Hospital District) to meet with the Hon. Margaret McDiarmid (Minister of Health) in regards to the Cariboo Memorial Hospital Master Plan at next week's UBCM Conference and that Council does not support any discussion with regard to moving the CCRHD boundaries into Northern Health and that the local MLA's be so advised

13) Council approved the annual Halloween Fireworks Show & Bonfire on Wednesday, October 31, 2012 at the Williams Lake Stampede Grounds - Councillor Hughes was opposed

14) Council agreed to cancel the Fire Pumper tender and the need for a Fire Pumper be reassessed in the 2013 Budget process

15) Bylaw #2165 (Sign Amendment Bylaw) was adopted, after receiving oral input from local resident Elke Reiner, by the following vote:

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

16) Council adopted 6 Committee of the Whole Recommendations as follows:

a) Council approve the 2011-2014 Strategic Priorities of Council.
b) Staff bring back a report to Council with time and costs associated with creating a buffer area between the Western Estates resident's rear property lines and the bush

c) Planning & Operations Committee review the on-street parking regulations contained in Traffic Control Bylaw No. 2093 and this item be contained in the 2013 Development Services Business Plan.

d)  That a letter of appreciation be sent to the residents who helped rake and clean up the beach at Scout Island and that the cleanup at the Scout Island beach become an Operational Priority in 2013

e) The Community Corner Partnership be requested to submit a Grant In Aid application to the City by September 30, 2012 and look into applying for a grant through the Western Economic Diversification program.

Mayor Cook declared a perceived conflict of interest, given she resides on Woodland Drive and Acting Mayor (Councillor) Danica Hughes assumed the Chair at 8:02pm

f) the request from Troy Weil in his letter dated August 8, 2012 regarding his proposal to have permission to install City water to his new home from the water tower situated beside his property be approved with all costs to be borne by the applicant and the system be designed by a professional engineer to the satisfaction of the City - Councillor Bourdon opposed

Mayor Cook resumed her seat as Chair at 8:07pm

17) Council approved the "Take Back the Night" event on Friday, September 21, 2012 at 5:00 PM

18) Council received a UBCM Press Release regarding the BC Ministry of Health's public health plan

19) Council received information regarding the 2nd Annual "Shifting Gears" Mountain Biking Fundraiser being held on September 30, 2012 & the community was encouraged to attend this event

20) The letter from SPARC BC regarding promotion of Access Awareness Day 2013 was received and referred to the Accessibility Advisory Committee

21) Council gave approval for the 2012 Annual Memory Tree Celebration on December 2, 2012 from 3:00 PM to 4:30 PM at WL City Hall

22) Council asked the Williams Lake Central Business Improvement Area Association to consult with those business identified in the letter from the Downtown Merchant Association with regard to restricting Mobile Vendors

23) Council agreed to allow the local Kennel Club use of the Ball Diamond at Stampede Park provided that the maintenance of the ball field be limited to basic infrastructure and simple turf maintenance and the grass be allowed to grow into the base path areas until such time that the Williams Lake Stampede Association submit a redevelopment proposal and Council consider that proposal.

24) Council referred a letter from Youth Parliament of BC Alumni Society regarding the 84th Parliament to the Junior Council, School District No. 27 and Thompson Rivers University for information

25) Council declared Nov 18th - 25th as "Restorative Justice Week" in the City of Williams Lake

26) Council received the "Council Information Package" as follows:

August 15, 2012 - Mylene Freeman, MP, House of Commons re Motion M-400 for Septic System Standards;

August 20, 2012 - Village of Granisle re Proposed Changes to Fisheries Act Section 35(1);

August 20, 2012 - Village of Granisle re Support for Increase to Persons with Disabilities Benefit;

September 10, 2012 - Corporation of the City of New Westminster re UBCM Resolution on Smoking Laws;

September 11, 2012 - NDIT Release re Northern Development Funds 1000th Project;

September 11, 2012 - FCM Release re Canadian Infrastructure Report Card 2012;

September 2012 - Invitation to Surrey Regional Economic Summit 2012

Meeting adjourned at 8:20pm and after a short recess - Council held an In-Camera meeting in accordance to Section 90(1k - proposed Municipal Service) of the Community Charter

Show courtesy when parking in Williams Lake

Courtesy of the City of Williams Lake:

The City of Williams Lake would like to remind residents to be courteous and respectful of their neighbours and City operations when it comes to on-street parking.

There are several areas that residents are able to park on streets, without restrictions other than you must be parked no longer than 48 hours in a residential area, unless otherwise posted. To maintain this convenience to our residents, it is respectful to your neighbors to be courteous about where you park, how long you park and what impact this may have in your area. Along with the Traffic Control Bylaws in place, this will be enforced if a violation is noted.

Every resident wants their garbage and recycling collected on their day. Often times the Bylaw Department is called to deal with individuals that cannot get their carts to the curb due to vehicles parked and impeding the garbage pickup. And with winter approaching, the City crews appreciate that the City of Williams Lake residents take into account that in order for the snow removal to be accomplished effectively and efficiently, vehicles must not park in a position that causes it to interfere with the removal of snow.

By being aware of where and for how long you park, you can make a great difference for your neighbours and those collecting garbage and recycling and plowing the streets. Your courtesy goes a long way.

For more information, call the City at 250-392-2311.

BC Job Fair comes to Williams Lake

Courtesy of the Government of BC:

Beginning in Richmond today, ‘BC Jobs Start Here’ job fairs will travel to 24 communities throughout the province, connecting job seekers face-to-face with potential employers, Premier Christy Clark announced.

Exhibitors at each fair will include select employers from a range of sectors, as well as post-secondary institutions, industry associations, training authorities, and the health authorities.

The interactive ‘BC Jobs Start Here’ mobile exhibit, which toured the province this summer, will also be on hand to provide information about skills training, employment services, job banks and career development tools.

Over the next ten years, there will be over one million job openings in British Columbia, including more than 350,000 new jobs, which will result in a shortage of skilled labour – particularly in the trades. This free event invites members of the public to come and meet local employers and get more information on career development and skills training in B.C.

‘BC Jobs Start Here’ jobs fairs provide opportunities for job seekers, and are organized as part of ‘Canada Starts Here: the BC Jobs Plan’. The BC Jobs Plan promotes economic development and job growth throughout B.C.

Across B.C., new investment has been creating new jobs, so the demand for skilled employees is strong and will only get stronger. The ‘BC Jobs Start Here’ job fairs are helping employers find the right person for the right jobthe key to B.C.’s economic success in the years ahead, says Pat Bell, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills

The Job Fair is scheduled to come to Williams Lake on Nov 2nd from 12-7pm at the local Thompson Rivers University Campus - 1250 Western Avenue

A request from Alan Forseth...

With the AGM of the BC Conservative Party this Saturday - Kamloops BC Conservative Regional Director Alan Forseth makes a strong pitch to become a Director-at-Large on the Board of Directors of the BC Conservative Party.  Read his pitch here

Meanwhile - a new faction within the BC Conservative Party calling themselves "The Friends of the Conservative Party" has now formed with BC Conservative Vice-President Ben Besler supporting this faction as Mr. Besler runs for BC Conservative Party President.  Read more here while Alan Forseth gives a counter-point on this subject here

One wonders if Saturday will resolve anything -- especially with the two factions within the BC Conservative and if Saturday's party elections will put this issue to a close or if in-fighting will continue, post Saturday... again, if the in-fighting continues, then that would be nothing more than good news for the BC Liberals as they ready themselves for a 4th bid as government next May

Bob Simpson speaks on BC Legislature/Burns Lake

Yesterday - CBC Daybreak-North interviewed Ind. Cariboo-North MLA Bob Simpson involving Burns Lake and the announced decision to rebuild the Hampton Affiliates sawmill there

However - MLA Simpson wonders if we are trading the future of Burns Lake at the expense of other northern BC communities

Listen to the interview here

Meanwhile - with the decision of BC Government House Leader to cancel this fall's sitting of the BC Legislature, MLA Simpson says:

Maybe the BC Legislature should not sit until it is reformed

I do agree with Mr. Simpson that the BC Legislature could use a massive reform to bring it in line with the 21st century to ensure public policy and bills do get proper public scrutinty by way of use of Standing Committees - I would note that both the Ontario Legislature and the Federal Parliament use this process as well

Read his well-written and informed post here

Lillioet CAO takes polygraph test

In a recent turn of events in Lillioet which includes seeing the former Mayor and Councillor resigning just 30 days after the last civic elections in November of 2011.  Lillioet CAO (Chief Administrative Officer) Grant Loyer has admitted that he submitted to a polygraph test in order to show that he didn’t make a controversial statement regarding flooding in the District of Lillioet.

In fact - Mr. Loyer went so far as to say this about some speaking out in Lillioet:

The actions of the malcontents could be likened to someone dealing with cancer,” he wrote. “Ignore it (and) the cancer spreads and the person dies.”

He also informed Lillioet Council in a Sept 10th report:

“We have had employees and their families leave Lillooet because they don’t want to deal with constant harassment and negativity, nor have their children exposed to it"

Lillioet Council agreed to receive the report with no action taken on it

While one can appreciate Mr. Loyer's frustration at the actions of some in Lillioet - comparing it to 'cancer' may be taking it too far...

Read more here with former Lillioet Mayor Ted Anchor explaining further why he chose to resign his office just 30 days after being elected - read here

Chilliwack too 'urban' for Northern/Central BC?

In an interview on CBC's Daybreak North  - the Cariboo Regional District Chair & Director for Electoral Area 'G' Al Richmond stated the presentation he gave to the Federal Electoral Boundary Commission in Prince George yesterday

Having read Mr. Richmond's letter to the Commission - I'm certain he did an excellent job presenting to the Commission in PG

Listen to the interview with his letter to the Commission here

Quesnel Council Highlights - Sept 17th mtg

Courtesy of the City of Quesnel:

Council procedures reviewed

In light of much community discussion regarding in camera (closed to the public) meetings and the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPPA), staff brought two reports to Council for information.

The purpose of FOIPPA is to make public bodies more accessible, while protecting personal privacy. Public bodies must not disclose personal information: related to medical information; related to employment, occupational or educational history; describing a third party’s finances; containing personal recommendations or evaluations; containing a third party’s name, address or telephone number. One exception to this is payments or benefits provided to employees, which can be disclosed. The City has received 23 FOIPPA requests since May 1, 2012. Given the significant increase in these types of requests, as well as general information requests, a line will be added to the 2013 budget to account for the associated costs, including staff time, legal costs, and audit costs.

In camera (closed) meetings

It is a common misconception that closed meetings are held only to discuss “the three L’s,” land, legal and labour issues. While this is largely correct, there are instances when other items may be discussed, such as confidential law enforcement issues, new municipal services, and setting goals and objectives for the City. Council does not determine whether a meeting should be closed or open; it is staff’s responsibility to determine whether a meeting should be closed under the Community Charter.

The Charter recognizes that for corporate and commercial purposes, municipalities should be able to operate in a fashion similar to other corporations. Without this ability, the City could overpay for purchased goods and services, not be able to attract employees, and be at a disadvantage in litigation. These would add to the City’s costs and have an impact on taxes.

Other News

-Council received the Second Quarter Financial Update. The City’s capital program is well underway, with many projects either complete or in progress. One large project, the Roddis Street rehabilitation, has been postponed to 2013. On the operating side, while some areas are over budget and some are under budget, it is anticipated that overall expenses will come in on budget.

-Council approved two development permits. The first is for a property at 2180 Gassoff Road (Make Traxx Recreation). The proposed addition is 212 square metres and includes a service bay and an open, covered display area. The second is for a 142 m2 second-floor addition at 391 Johnston Ave. (Dengarry Professional Services).

-Council added the Roddis House at the Antique Machinery Park to its Heritage Register. The Quesnel and District Heritage Association asked for the house to be added so the group can apply for funding for building improvements. They hope to set it on a foundation, make roof repairs and use it to display some of the domestic equipment they have.

-Council recognized Zach Boesem for his epic longboard trip from Quesnel to Vancouver to raise funds and awareness for the Canadian Cancer Society. Boesem made the 700 kilometre trip in 12 days. He’s already planning a new adventure for next year.

-Council welcomed the new Miss Quesnel Self Development Program royalty to their roles as community ambassadors. Miss Quesnel Parveen Pannu and Princesses Katey Genereux and Cassidy Knorr will represent Quesnel until July 2013.

Important Dates

September 30 - 19th Annual Quesnel Women’s Fall Challenge
September 30 to October 2 - CCCTA Tourism Summit in Wells


September - Big Brothers Big Sisters Month
September - United Way Month
October - Accessible Parking Awareness Month
October - Foster Family Appreciation Month

Next Regular Council Meeting: Monday October 1, 7 p.m.
Next North Cariboo Joint Planning Committee Meeting: Tuesday October 9, 5:30 p.m.
Next Delegation/Committee of the Whole Meeting: Monday October 15, 7 p.m.

Above referred to meetings in Quesnel Council Chambers (2nd Floor - 410 Kinchant St)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Double Media Standard in MLA Retirement stories

In the blogosphere -- blogger Diamond Isinger asks if there is a double standard for media coverage for BC Liberal MLA's retiring from politics vs that of BC NDP MLA's announcing retirement plans....

Read her thoughtful blog post here

John Cummins out as BCCP Leader by Saturday??

With the BC Conservative Party's AGM in Langley on Saturday -- former Legislative Intern for the BC Government Caucus Ryan Pineo is making a pretty bold prediction that John Cummins will be out as Leader of the BC Conservatives' by next week...

For myself - I expect John Cummins to stick around but part of me hopes that he is turfed, thus throwing the BC Conservatives' into another leadership race which would be nothing but good for the BC Liberals as we all inch closer towards the May 2013 Provincial Election

Read Mr. Pineo's well-researched blog post here

Expert Tax Panel reports out...

Earlier today - the Expert Tax Panel handed in their final report to current BC Finance Minister Mike de Jong.  The Panel was established at the request of former BC Finance Minister Kevin Falcon

Read the final report here

Minister de Jong has asked the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services to include the report in the committee’s annual provincewide budget consultation process this fall.

Meanwhile - the Panel had issued an interim report in March of this year covering the following points:

· Adopting the existing federal business number to simplify the PST registration process.

· Levying the eight per cent Hotel Room Tax under the PST legislation, eliminating separate registration, remittances and returns, and reducing paperwork.

· Aligning the dates of filing and remittances for the PST and GST for monthly filers to the end of the month following the reporting period.

· Allowing retailers to refund tax directly to their customers in more circumstances.

· Using plain language in drafting legislation, regulations and in all communications related to compliance.

· Updating the Taxpayer Fairness and Service Code to reaffirm the government’s commitment to fairness and service values.

· Allowing businesses that collect and remit tax to again receive a commission of up to $198 per reporting period.

Why should one join a Political Party

Tom Birch - a candidate nominee for the BC Conservatives' in the provincial riding of Shuswap wrote last Saturday on the subject of Why would anyone join a political party? and gives a very good explanation why one should join a political party and the benefits that flow to an individual by joining a political party that one can support

For the record - I found the post very well written and I personally can support the points that Mr. Birch argues in his blog post

Read Mr. Birch's blog post here

Quesnel VFD seeks members'

Courtesy of the City of Quesnel:

Does the prospect of providing a valuable community service, receiving specialized training and being part of a cohesive team appeal to you?

If so, and you're 19 years of age or older, perhaps it's time to consider becoming a volunteer fire fighter with the Quesnel Volunteer Fire Department.

Applications may be picked up at the downtown fire hall or downloaded at 

"Being a member of the fire department is a rewarding experience," said Fire Chief Sylvain Gauthier.

"From the camaraderie and sense of belonging, to helping your fellow citizens during one of the most trying times of their lives, it's a service that provides great value to the community and to the member. We take pride in providing a safe, rapid and professional response to all emergencies."

Another benefit is the recently instituted volunteer firefighters federal tax credit.
The City of Quesnel Volunteer Fire Department is currently made up of five career and 32 volunteer firefighters, often referred to as a "composite" department. It operates from three fire stations: West Quesnel, Red Bluff and the main station downtown.

The members are men and women from all walks of life, ages, and backgrounds who live close to you and respond 24/7 when paged to deal with emergencies in the community.

The department provides a variety of preventive and emergency services to a population of just over 20,000 in an area of 73 square kilometres. It also has a Mutual Aid agreement with each of the five neighbouring rural departments (Barlow Creek, Bouchie Lake, Kersley, Ten Mile Lake and West Fraser.

The department provides services including: fire suppression and rescue; fire prevention; fire safety inspections; fire training; medical first responses; special rescue; planning and emergency management; and community education programs.

Members continually update and expand their skills. The extensive training program provides National Fire Protection Association Firefighter Level 2 certification as well as Fire Service Instructor and First Responder (with spinal management and Automated External Defibrillator).

For further information, please contact:
Sylvain Gauthier, Fire Chief
Phone: 250-992-5121
Cell: 250-991-9738

Sunday, September 16, 2012

CRD Area 'B' Advisory Committee

Courtesy of CRD Area 'B' Director Heloise Dixon-Warren's Facebook page:

I am considering establishing an “Advisory Committee” to provide feedback & opinions on issues affecting Area B residents. This “unofficial” committee will ideally be comprised of 10 – 12 residents from across the Electoral Area. The main function of the committee would be review issues that present themselves at the Board / North Cariboo Joint Planning Committee level which could directly affect residents residing in Electoral Area B

One of my goals as the Director for Electoral Area B is to become as informed as possible on issues & then transfer that information to the residents of Area B. I believe that the more people learn about processes, how things are done, and how our taxation funds are spent, the better equipped we are in making the right decisions. As Area B Director, I am representing ~4000 residents; hence, it would be good to hear what residents have to say about issues and /or concerns.

Please let me know if you are interested in being on this committee. Any information I would share with you would be done via email and your responses would be kept anonymous. They may be summarised and posted on my BLOG but names would be with-held.

Director Dixon-Warren may be reached via email at

Ted Armstrong celebrates 35 years in local elected office

CRD Area 'A' Director Ted Armstrong
Last week - at the Cariboo Regional District's "Board on the Road" meetings in Kersley, BC (South of Quesnel), the Board held a celebration to commemorate Ted Armstrong's 35 years of public service to the electors of Area 'A' and to that of the wider Cariboo-Chilcotin Regional District community which includes a 8 year consecutive run as Chair of the Cariboo Regional District and the holding of many other positions within the Cariboo Regional District Board table

I'm sure readers' will correct me on this - but with his 35 years of elected public service, Ted Armstrong will become the longest (if not - the top three) serving locally elected official in British Columbia

I have gotten the opportunity to meet Ted a number of times at CRD Board meetings and at North Cariboo Joint Planning Committee meetings' and I can assure you that the people of Area 'A', the North Cariboo sub-region and the entire Cariboo-Chilcotin region are very lucky indeed to have a elected official like Ted Armstrong is

I congratulate Mr. Armstrong for his service to the people of Area 'A', the North Cariboo sub-region and the entire Cariboo-Chilcotin region

CRD Board Highlights - Sept 13th/14th mtgs

Courtesy of the Cariboo Regional District:

St. Joseph’s Residential School Commemorative

Chief Robbins presented information to the Board about the St. Joseph’s Residential School commemorative project. The project itself is focused on the St. Joseph’s Residential School and the effect it had on First Nations of the region. The event is scheduled for February 27, 28 and March 1, 2013. The agenda will include the unveiling of a monument on the former school site, and guest speakers.

Barkerville Gives Thanks

The CRD Board of Directors received a letter of gratitude from the Barkerville Heritage Trust for holding its first-ever joint meeting in the heritage site as part of Barkerville’s 150 anniversary celebrations. The Board was also provided with an update on construction of the Barkerville Schoolhouse. During the June 2012 Board on the Road event which was held in Barkerville, the CRD and the Regional District of Fraser Fort George donated $5,000 each towards the schoolhouse construction. The original schoolhouse had been destroyed decades ago by a fire.

Support for Wells Community Forest

The CRD Board will provide a letter of support to the District of Wells regarding their application to the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. The District of Wells is responding to an offer from the MFLNRO to obtain a Community Forest adjoining the District of Wells. It will comprise approximately 4500 hectares with an annual allowable cut of 5000 cubic metres.

On the Road with the CRD

The Cariboo Regional District travelled to Kersley in the north Cariboo for the second of two Board on the Road events for 2012. On Thursday, September 13, the Board hosted a community barbeque that saw approximately 120 residents enjoy the opportunity to meet CRD representatives. During the event, the CRD Board and staff, along with the Kersley residents helped celebrate CRD Vice-Chair Ted Armstrong’s 35th anniversary as a representative of Kersley and Electoral Area A. On Friday, the Board held its regularly scheduled meeting in the Kersley Community Hall. The CRD thanks the Kersley Community Association for their hospitality.

Community Works Fund

The Cariboo Regional District reviewed criteria for the Community Works Funds which are provided through allocation of the Federal Gas Tax Fund. The CRD currently receives an annual allocation of approximately $1.6 million dollars, which is expected to continue for the foreseeable future. The Fund supports local government infrastructure projects that contribute to cleaner air, water and reducing greenhouse gas emissions through the following categories:

• Drinking water
• Wastewater infrastructure
• Public transit
• Community energy systems
• Solid waste management
• Local roads

Further information about the Community Works Fund is available online at the Gas Tax Fund website here

CRD Restructures Meeting and Agenda Structure

Starting next meeting, the Cariboo Regional District will be using a new agenda format. The meetings will take place as follows

9:30 a.m. - CCRHD Board meeting
9:45 a.m. - CRD Board
- Adoption of Agenda and Minutes
- Planning Applications
- All remaining agenda items
- Director's Comments and Reports
- In-Camera (if required)

For a full listing of meeting dates, visit us online at

Zero Per Cent Increase Target Requisition

The Cariboo Regional District provided staff with a goal of a zero per cent increase target requisition goal for 2013. This goal is exclusive of new services or significantly improved services as well as any potential new services that might yet occur before year-end.

Upcoming Meetings

Union of BC Municipalities - September 24-28
CCRHD & CRD Board – Thursday, October 4

WL Council Business - Sept 18th

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


a) Brian Battison (Taseko Mines) on update re: New Prosperity
b) Irene Willsie re: Take Back the Night
c) Bettina Schoen, Suicide & Sudden Death Committee re: 'Suicide Awareness Concert & Gathering' - see more here


a) Council will receive a report from its' Director of Finance outlining a timetable to address concerns raised this year from the City of WL Auditor concerning Mail Routing, Whistleblower Policy, Solicitation of Gifts, and other items before the end of October.  Read her report here

b) Mayor Cook will propose to WL Council that it re-affirm its' support for the 'New Prosperity' mine proposal as follows:

Council confirm support for the New Prosperity mine development, provided that Provincial and Federal environmental standards are met and affected First Nations are adequately consulted; and further, that the Province of BC be requested to ensure all necessary Provincial approvals for the project are granted in a timely manner and the Cariboo Regional District be invited to make the same request of the Province.

Read the report of the CAO here

Editor's Note - given the CRD Board was quite timid about touching this subject earlier this year at the request of CRD Area 'J' Director Roger William, I don't expect the Board to broach this subject once again

c) A number of reports are coming forward regarding the 2013 Budget Process including 30 mins public input at public budget meetings on October 30, November 28 and, if required, November 29. Council will also adopt two recommendations as follows:

1) Staff bring forward a status quo budget with supplementals based on the strategic goals and priorities of Council.

2) Staff bring forward budget scenarios for discussion based on a 0%, 1.5% and 3% tax increase.

You can read the minutes of the Sept 5th Budget Meeting here

d) New Building at 3rd Ave and Cameron Street - read here
e) Mayor Cook will propose the following Resolution to Council concering the redevelopment of the 2nd Floor at Cariboo Memorial Hospital:

Council reaffirm its support for the redevelopment of the Cariboo Memorial Hospital (CMH) as a high priority for the community and request the Cariboo Chilcotin Regional Hospital District Board to pass a similar resolution and the Interior Health Authority and the Minister of Health provide their 60% share of the project funding; and further, that Council facilitate the establishment of a ‘lobbying committee’, including the CCRHD Board, Doctor’s Association, Unions, Seniors and other stakeholders to communicate the need for the CMH redevelopment on behalf of the community

Read the CAO report here

f) In a related matter - Mayor Cook will propose to Council that Williams Lake and the Central Cariboo region remain within Interior Health given the possible upgrade of the 2nd floor at CMH as follows:

Council support Williams Lake and the Central Cariboo remaining in the Interior Health Authority

Read the report of the CAO here

Editor's Note - if the Resolution had said merely Williams Lake only and not Williams Lake and Central Cariboo, it wouldn't necessarily be a problem, from my perspective.  I can see CRD Directors' Bischoff, Kemp and Sorley saying "I don't like WL Council presuming to speak for me on the subject of whether or not Central/South Cariboo should receive health services from Interior Health vs Northern Health".  Also - the CAO report does not indicate if the CCRHD Chair John Massier was notified of this resolution coming forward.  Certainly, if I was Mayor of Williams Lake and I was about to do something that was "off-message" from the key message on this subject at the CCRHD table, namely looking at whether or not the Central/South Cariboo should continue to receive health services from Interior Health or Northern Health, I certainly would advise the CCRHD Chair of my intention to ask my City Council to pass a resolution in support of Williams Lake remaining within Interior Health. 

g) 2011-14 Strategic Priorities of Council to be adopted - read here
h) WL Council to send a letter of appreciation to those who cleaned up the 'goose poop' at Scout Island - read here
i) WL Council to allow Troy Weir (resident of Woodland Drive) to connect to City water, against advice of WL City Staff who had recommended that Mr. Weir not be allowed to connect until a common position around Water/Sewer services for Woodland Drive was indentified and agreed to between the City & all Woodland Drive residents - read here