Thursday, December 28, 2017

Xeni Gwet'in receives BC Clean Energy Grant

Courtesy of the Government of BC:

A remote First Nation in south-central British Columbia is helping people reduce their reliance on diesel-generated power and move to clean solar energy, in order to cut greenhouse gas emissions and save money.

Using leading-edge solar technology, and backed up by lithium-ion batteries, the Xeni Gwet’in First Nation government is making progress delivering on a promise to provide clean, affordable electricity to its community.

“The First Nation was given a mandate by the community to provide reliable, renewable energy to all members at an affordable rate,” said project manager George Colgate. “This system is designed to do that.”

This $2.4-million second phase of the project received $250,000 in equity funding from B.C.’s First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund. Federal funding and contributions from the Province’s Community Energy Leadership Program and Remote Community Implementation Program, as well as a bank loan, will provide the balance.

When the project is complete, 67 homes and eight community buildings will be powered by the new system. It’s also expected to reduce diesel consumption by 143,000 litres per year, representing a savings to the community of more than $150,000 every year. “That should allow them to pay off the bank loan in five to 10 years,” Colgate said.

Xeni Gwet’in will also have to establish a contingency fund to begin replacing the expensive backup batteries in 15 to 20 years.

This new system will cut energy costs for the community. The reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is equally impressive, estimated at 382 tonnes per year.

That will be accomplished by reducing the amount of time diesel generators, which will be relegated to a backup role, are needed to produce electricity. Situated in a region where the sun can be relied upon for power from February to October, diesel generation will be reduced by as much as 80%.

The batteries can carry the load for one day of cloudy skies before the generators – propane for Phase 1 and diesel for Phase 2 – will have to be turned on.

“Three or four years ago, we couldn’t try this, because the technology wasn’t at this level,” Colgate said. “So this system is really on the leading edge.”

Phase 1 of the project was commissioned in May 2017. Phase 2 is scheduled for completion in September 2018.

The construction of the second phase, which should begin early in 2018, will create short-term jobs for three machine operators and four labourers. Once complete, maintenance of the system will be handled by an existing worker.

Quick Facts:

The Xeni Gwet’in community is located in the Nemiah Valley, 90 kilometres from the nearest BC Hydro grid.

Phase 1 of the project received $250,000 in equity funding from the First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund (FNCEBF) in 2016.

The FNCEBF provides up to $500,000 in equity funding and $50,000 for capacity funding.

Since 2011, more than 110 First Nations communities have benefited from more than $8 million in capacity and equity funding.

Applications for the First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund are accepted in January and May.

Learn More:

Xeni Gwet’in First Nation Government -

First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund -

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

2017 Cariboo Regional District Area 'D' Annual Report

As we wind down 2017 and I get ready to serve out the last year of the 2014-2018 term of local government - I thought I would take an opportunity to look back at the year that was...

Firstly - let me thank all of you in the various communities that make up Electoral Area 'D' - whether you live in South Marguerite, McAlister, McLeese Lake, Tyee Lake, Soda Creek Valley, Deep Creek, Xat'sull, Wildwood, Pine Valley, Commodore Heights, Mile 168 Rd, Soda Creek Road or Fox Mountain - for the great honour to serve you as the Cariboo Regional District Electoral Area 'D' Director.  It is a privilege that I take very seriously as I work in partnership with you to make your rural neighborhood the desirous place you wish it to be.  Thanks also to all of YOU for your warm/encouraging/constructive criticism comments as I served you this past year.  It's nice to know that I'm doing the right things on your behalf or providing me with feedback to better serve you.  All comments are always welcomed/appreciated...

Also - thank you to ALL of the volunteers in the aforementioned communities, it is thanks to your efforts that these rural communities are such great places to live.

A Special Shout-out to ALL of our First Responders -- RCMP, VFD's, Search and Rescue -- for their efforts above and beyond in protecting our rural communities this past summer and always year round... Thank You for your efforts to ensuring the public's safety...

As to initiatives that I have been working on this past year:

1) 2018 Cariboo Regional District (CRD) Draft Budget

I am pleased to report that the overall Regional District budget will see a tax requisition increase of 2.3%, Cariboo Regional District wide. Within Electoral Area 'D', you will see, generally, a "status quo" budget.  All functions of the CRD that Area D residents' pay for will see either no or very modest increases

Like in 2017, the public consultation for this year's budget will consist of placing of our proposed 2018 Budget in our main libraries in Quesnel, Williams Lake and 100 Mile House & posted on our website at 

Like always - if you have concerns about any aspect of the Regional District budget  you can reach out to me on Facebook (click here), via email at or by phone at 250-267-6725

2) McLeese Lake Community Hall

I continue to work with the McLeese Lake Recreation Commission to secure grants to improve the Hall through energy efficiency projects, etc. in 2017 and this will continue into 2018.  I will be working with the Commission/Province to look into the feasibility of installing a fishing dock along the shores of McLeese Lake, perhaps at the McLeese Lake Hall site, similar to the one at Reservoir Lake in Pine Valley, during 2018.  Stay tuned!

3) McLeese Lake/Tyee Lake Volunteer Fire Departments' (MLVFD/TLVFD)

Much progress was made by the MLVFD Society to get the MLVFD more fully operational for the community's needs.  The CRD gave the MLVFD Society Grants for Assistance in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. Their fundraising efforts still continue, as many Independent Fire Departments do throughout BC.  The Society was the recipient recently of a $16,500 community gaming grant from the Province and work is underway now and into 2018 to build a fire hall to store all the assets of the McLeese Lake VFD at one location that is centrally located within the community.  I can also advise that the Province has compensated the McLeese Lake VFD for their efforts at the Rankin Ranch Fire, given it was a provincial wildfire until the BC Wildfire Service was able to arrive

At the request of the Tyee Lake Community Association -- a Grant for Assistance has been approved for the Tyee Lake Volunteer Fire Department (TLVFD) to acquire fire equipment for their VFD in the amount of $10,000.  I am also informed that the provincial Fire Commissioner's office is in contact with the Chief of the Tyee Lake VFD to discuss being compensated for the equipment they used to fight the Forest Lake wildfire until the BC Wildfire Service was able to arrive on scene.

Although Tyee/McLeese Lake VFD's are independent of the Cariboo Regional District - the Wildwood Volunteer Fire Department, which is a fire department of the Cariboo Regional District, was also compensated by the Province for their efforts to protect the community of Wildwood, given the Wildwood Fire was a provincial wildfire

4) McLeese Lake Library

After a very lengthy wait of some 7 years - the community of McLeese Lake was finally able to receive its' new community library and the grand opening was held on December 16th, 2017 and by all accounts, the community of McLeese Lake was very pleased with the new building.  In Spring 2018 - we will tidy up the site with shrubbery, cleanup the layout of the expanded parking area and ensure the under-skirt wiring is protected

5 ) Soda Creek Cemetery

I received a request from the caretakers' of the Soda Creek Cemetery for possible funding to update the fencing at the old Soda Creek Cemetery back in late 2015. Due to the wildfires, I was not able to make progress on this item as I would have liked so I'm hoping to make further progress on this item in 2018

6) Dog Control Service - Commodore Heights/Pine Valley/Wildwood

As a result of two requests for a dog control service in both Wildwood/Pine Valley and now McLeese Lake - I am working with CRD Staff to present something to the communities of Wildwood/Pine Valley/McLeese Lake sometime in 2018, through a "Responsible Dog Owners' Bylaw".  CRD Staff are researching this item now with the hope of presenting this to appropriate residents' sometime during 2018 and see if there is an appetite to move forward on Dog Control and take additional steps, if appropriate

7) Building Inspection in Area D

This past Spring -- the Regional District undertook a petition process to receive consent of those Area D residents' residing north of Wildwood up to Marguerite to remove their properties from the CRD's Building Inspection Service.  Unfortunately, the petition failed however I am working with the provincial government to try and find another method to remove these properties from the Building Inspection Service Area and redraw the Area D Building Inspection Service Area to an appropriate sized area which would be Wildwood south to the Area D boundary with the City of Williams Lake.  I will keep you informed as this item progresses in 2018

8) 2017 Wildfires

As we all know - the unprecedented wildfires in the summer of 2017 had a huge impact on everyone in the Cariboo Regional District and that of Electoral Area D residents'.  The CRD recently wrapped up a number of community meetings in the Region to understand how the wildfires impacted upon residents' generally and specifically.  A final report on this subject is due in the 1st Quarter of 2018 and I hope to convince the Board to hold another round of meetings in Spring 2018 to ensure that the final report reflects what residents' told us from October to December 2017.  I expect that we will be in the recovery stage for a number of years and the CRD has hired a Recovery Manager, Ms. Stephanie Masun, to assist us with the Recovery stage.  Please feel free to reach out to her if you need assistance as a result of the 2017 Summer Wildfires, via email here or by phone at 1-866-759-4977.  There are also resources on the CRD Website to assist people with their own individual recovery - click here

I want to thank ALL of the Electoral Area D residents' who reached out, by phone/Facebook, etc, during the 2017 Wildfires and provided me with words of support or suggestions at the height of the 2017 Wildfires.  That was greatly appreciated and more than you can ever know as I tried to serve you during the 2017 Wildfires to the best of my ability

Other Initiatives/Matters:

Other initiatives that I was involved with in 2017 included:

* Attend LGLA/NCLGA/FCM/UBCM Conferences in Richmond, Terrace, Ottawa and Vancouver respectively

* Financial Contributions to Tyee Lake Community Association AGM, Wildwood Community Assocation and Xat'sull Save the Salmon event at the Xat'sull Heritage Village in the Soda Creek Valley

* Continue to participate on the Public Liaison Committee with respect to Mt Polley

* Participated in the Grand Opening of the new West Fraser Aquatic Centre (old Sam Ketchum Pool) and new McLeese Lake Library

And much more....

During the 2017 wildfires and generally throughout 2017! - I was in contact with MANY people, local elected officials in BC, Area D residents' and residents' throughout the Central Cariboo region -- their feedback and offers of assistance is greatly appreciated.  Through the conversations - I was able to ensure I was performing my role as CRD Electoral Area 'D' Director as best I could  Thank you all!

In 2018 - I plan to report out on what I'm up to often as I can plus my monthly expenses/meeting calendar as well - both here and on my Facebook page which you can view at

On my own behalf - I wish ALL of your families a very happy/healthy 2018

Steve Forseth
Director - Electoral Area 'D' (Commodore Heights - McLeese Lake)
Cariboo Regional District
Ph: 250-267-6725

Monday, December 25, 2017

2017 Christmas Day Messages

From the Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau - Prime Minister of Canada:

“Merry Christmas, Canada!

“In 2017, people across Canada gave us much reason to be proud, and showed us the strength in our diversity. Canadians are neighbours helping neighbours, sharing warmth, compassion, and generosity—not just at Christmas, but all year round.

“For Christians around the world, this season is a time to celebrate Jesus Christ and his message of compassion. For all of us, it is a chance to come together to give thanks for everything that unites us.

“As the 150th anniversary of Confederation draws to a close, all of us have a role to play in shaping our world for the better. In the New Year, and throughout the years to come, let’s commit to making a difference. Whether by lending a hand to a neighbour, or volunteering for a cause we believe in, let’s give generously, and live out the values that bring us together.

“Let’s also reach out and listen—to those next door, across the aisle, and at the dinner table. Building a better world starts where we work and live, in our communities, and at home.

“During the holidays, I also ask you take a moment to remember our brave servicewomen and men, and their families. They make extraordinary sacrifices to keep us safe.

“From our family to yours, Hadrien, Ella-Grace, Xavier, Sophie, and I wish you joy, health, love, and peace this holiday season. Merry Christmas.”

From the Hon. John Horgan - Premier of British Columbia:

“Dec. 25 is a special day for Christians around the world. It is a day set aside to recognize the birth of their Saviour, Jesus Christ, and to give thanks to God for the gift of salvation.

“For people of many backgrounds, Christmas is an opportunity for families to gather together and celebrate warmth, good food and good company.

“It offers us a break from the worries of the everyday world and a chance to focus on things that really matter – the people we love and the communities we care about.

“It is also a time to reach out to people in need, and work in a spirit of generosity to help and support each other.

“We hope that British Columbians throughout the province have a safe and joyful Christmas season.

“On behalf of the Government of British Columbia, Merry Christmas.”

From CRD Area 'D' Director Steve Forseth:

On my own behalf - I wish all of my constituents in Electoral Area 'D' (Commodore Heights - McLeese Lake) a very Merry Christmas and may it be spent with your loved ones and let's remember those who are the less fortunate in our communities and those working on this day that are our first responders whether Search and Rescue, RCMP, Volunteer Fire Department members or BC Ambulance

Thank you to those first responders giving up December 25th in the name of service away from your families to keep us all safe!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

McLeese Lake VFD Society December 2017 Newsletter

Yesterday - the McLeese Lake Volunteer Fire Department Society published its' December 2017 Newsletter for the residents' of McLeese Lake and surrounding communities

You can read it here

~ SF

Joan Sorley will not seek re-election in 2018

Yesterday - Joan Sorley, the Cariboo Regional District Electoral Area 'F' Director announced in her 2017 Annual Report (view here) to her Area residents' that she would not seek re-election in 2018.  In explaining her decision, she said:

It has been a difficult decision, and my emotions are certainly mixed. The reasons behind my decision are varied and complex, and I won’t go into them here except to say that I will be 67 at the end of this term. It’s time to start a new chapter, hopefully one that will allow me more time with my family. I will also say that I love my job, I am proud to represent all of you, and I am very proud of the community spirit in every one of our communities! I am announcing early because it is my hope that there is a community-minded, service-oriented person out there who would like to run for the office. The job calls for a great deal of commitment and hard work for a 4-year term, but it is extremely rewarding in terms of community support, and learning and networking opportunities.

Director Sorley was first elected in a Cariboo Regional District Electoral Area 'F' by-election in January 2011 and subsequently re-elected, by acclamation, in the November 2011 and 2014 Local General Elections.  I can honestly say that it personally has been a privilege to work with Director Joan Sorley and she will be missed at the Cariboo Regional District Board table when she leaves office in less than a year from now and she certainly has been helpful to a number of Cariboo Regional District Electoral Area Directors', including myself, in performing their elected role in this current term of local government

As Director Sorley says - if you are interested in seeking the office of Cariboo Regional District Electoral Area 'F' Director in next year's local election, give her a call at 250-243-2261 or via email here to get an understanding of the role of Electoral Area 'F' Director or contact the CRD Chief Election Officer via email here

Finally - Director Sorley joins Williams Lake City Councillor Sue Zacharias who earlier this past week said that she is not seeking re-election in the 2018 Local General Election while Williams Lake Mayor Walt Cobb had earlier announced his intention to seek re-election in the October 20th, 2018 City of Williams Lake Local General Election, back on December 9th of this year.

All other local elected officials in the Cariboo-Chilcotin have yet to declare their 2018 Election Plans and I don't expect that you will hear anything from them until closer towards Summer/Fall 2018...


Friday, December 22, 2017

2017 Cariboo Regional District Area 'F' Annual Report

Earlier today, Joan Sorley - the Cariboo Regional District Electoral Area 'F' Director (150 Mile House - Horsefly - Likely) published her 2017 Annual Report for her Area residents' outlining her activities this past year

A good read!

As I indicated earlier today - I will be published my Area D Annual Report for 2017 next week...

Click here


Local Governments of Cariboo-Chilcotin off until week of Jan 9-12th, 2018

All local governments of the Cariboo-Chilcotin are now on Winter Break until mid-January 2018

The City of Williams Lake, the District of 100 Mile House and the Cariboo-Chilcotin Regional Hospital District/Cariboo Regional District Boards' will be the first local governments of the Cariboo-Chilcotin to meet in 2018 during the week of January 9th - 12th, 2018

Next week - I will publish my 2017 Area 'D' Annual Report.  Until then, take time to relax with your families and loved ones during the Christmas Break...


Thursday, December 21, 2017

Message from the Museum of the Cariboo-Chilcotin Society

Courtesy from the Museum of the Cariboo-Chilcotin Society Facebook Page:

In an effort to fulfill the mandate of a motion Sheila Wyse put forward at the 2017 Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin Society AGM on November 23, the Board of Directors established a committee to investigate 10 possible sites in the downtown core. The committee used a list of requirements to adjudicate the suitability of each of the 10 sites the committee explored. The investigation revealed that most available sites are not eligible for short-term lease; they are already occupied or would take at least a year to vacate, renovate and be viable to accommodate the museum.

The board considered the cost of moving the museum artifacts yet again, and renovations that would be required to any new site considered. In addition to cost, consideration for proper zoning, availability for parking (RV, handicap, tourist and staff parking), were also taken into account. An estimate in excess of $200,000 was the price tag for a second move, the rental and utility costs per year would have to be borne by the museum itself.

The board of directors for the Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin will continue look for a permanent home near the downtown core, where the museum can flourish and support the businesses of Williams Lake. Until such a space is available, we the directors have decided to remain temporarily at the Tourism Discovery Centre. With the funding from the city of Williams Lake and help from their staff, we will improve the Tourism Discovery Centre site so its space is utilized effectively by the museum. This will enable us to put our efforts into finding a permanent space. Early in the New Year, we will continue to investigate other sites for permanent relocation of the museum; and will be reporting our progress to the museum membership as well as to the city.

If anyone wishes to discuss further site investigations, you are encouraged to drop a letter to the museum with your input. We encourage you to visit the museum, checkout our displays and plans for the future.

Yours in Trust,

The Board of Directors, Museum of the Cariboo-Chilcotin Society

George Atamanenko, President
Mary Telfer, Vice-President
Lorie Wilson, Treasurer
Janice Sapp, Secretary

Patti Gerhardi, Laura Zimmerman, Lorina Sundt, Marjorie Schuk and Crystal Bremner

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Cariboo Chilcotin residents encouraged to #ExploreBC this season

Courtesy of the BC Government:

As the holidays arrive, the Minister of Tourism Arts and Culture is encouraging everyone to join with family and friends to enjoy British Columbia and support a flurry of community activities.

“The holidays are a magical time in communities throughout the province. From festive theatre productions and culinary delights, to local markets and outdoor recreation, there is so much to see and do. It’s the time of year to connect with community and spend time with the people we love,” said Hon. Lisa Beare, BC's Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture. “Getting out into the community is also a great way to support seasonal tourism operators, who are working hard to provide for their employees and families.”

“There’s nothing better than sharing the gift of experiences with family and friends,” said Marsha Walden, president and CEO of Destination BC. “Whether you’re visiting a local market, fishing, wine touring, skiing or even cycling, share the beauty of the province with people you love this holiday season.”

British Columbia is recognized globally as a top year-round destination. Year-to-date figures show a 3.1% increase in international visitor arrivals over the same time period last year (January to September). That represents more than 4.7 million total overnight international visitors to Canada who arrived in B.C. during the first nine months of this year. The industry projects that there will be more than 101,000 new jobs in the tourism and hospitality sector by 2020 – that’s 10% of all expected job openings in B.C.

Quick Facts:

In 2015, the tourism sector:

Employed 127,700 British Columbians
Paid $4.5 billion in wages and salaries
Supported nearly 19,000 tourism-related businesses in B.C.
Contributed $7.4 billion toward the Province’s gross domestic product (GDP)

Learn More:

Please visit your local events calendar for a complete list of holiday activities for the whole family.

Destination BC has compiled a list of unforgettable activities and experiences in your region:

Downhill Skiing at Troll Resort:

Snowmobiling at the Gold Rush Trail:

100 Mile House Christmas Bazaar:

For current travel deals, please visit:

Ministry of Education Assistance Sought!

Courtesy of the Board of Education for School District #27 (Cariboo-Chilcotin):

At its meeting on 19 December 2017, the Board of Education passed a motion to seek further assistance from the Ministry of Education in response to recent allegations by the Cariboo Chilcotin Teachers’ Association (CCTA).

The allegations against the District by the CCTA strongly suggests that the District has communication and relationship issues. Processes imbedded in Collective Agreements and Board Policy are either not understood by all parties or are being ignored. “This is a problem, and if it continues, it will develop deep into a culture of misunderstanding and mistrust. The Board is elected to promote student achievement; teachers are hired for the same. We are all on the same team. It’s time to put our collective best foot forward,” explained Board Chair, Tanya Guenther.

The Board of Education is requesting that the Ministry of Education continue the assistance of Ministry Official Dianne Turner to assist in developing a plan addressing any communication and relationship challenges in the District. Further, the Board of Education is seeking financial assistance from the Ministry and the BC School Trustees Association to bring in an expert to assist with resolving conflict, improving communications and improving relationships within the District.

Business Ambassadors to assist with Cariboo-Chilcotin Wildfire Recovery

Courtesy of the Northern Development Initiative Trust:

Businesses and non-profit organizations in wildfire affected communities in the Cariboo-Chilcotin/Lillooet area will soon have additional support thanks to a partnership between Northern Development Initiative Trust (NDIT), Community Futures Development Corporation (CFDC Cariboo Chilcotin, CFDC North Cariboo and CFDC Sun Country) and the Cariboo-Chilcotin Beetle Action Coalition (CCBAC)

Thanks to this partnership, an Emergency Response Coordinator and Business Ambassadors will work from CFDC offices in Quesnel, Williams Lake and Ashcroft until October 31st, 2018 to help businesses access resources to help with wildfire recovery.

As a result of the worst wildfire season in provincial history, many businesses in the Cariboo-Chilcotin and Thompson-Nicola regions are struggling to recover, reopen and generate revenue

While many programs and services already exist or have recently been established to assist with wildfire recovery efforts, accessing these resources can be a daunting and time consuming task for business owners who are busy managing their day-to-day operations.

The new positions will help businesses assess the impact of the wildfires on their operations, match their needs to available programs and services, assist with appropriate referrals and application processes and collect information that can help communities better understand the wildfire impacts in order to support new program development.

These positions will be working in collaboration with other wildfire response programs to complement and promote resources available through organizations such as Emergency Management BC, the Red Cross and the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.

Community Futures welcomed the new staff members earlier this month:

* Emergency Response Coordinator, Sue Lachance
* Business Ambassadors – Ashcroft, Angela Bissat, Wendy Coomber, Andre Kuerbis
* Business Ambassador – Quesnel, Laurie Rice, Simon Turner
* Business Ambassadors – Williams Lake, Deanne Hoversland, Alisha Piccolo

The Community Futures Wildfire Recovery Business Support program will begin working with businesses starting January 2018.

The positions are funded with $200,000 from Northern Development, $140,000 from the Cariboo-Chilcotin Beetle Action Coalition and $56,000 from Community Futures Development Corporation.

Northern Development’s board allocated the funds for the program to support communities who were not only hit by recent wildfires, but were also among some of the hardest hit by pine beetle infestation in previous years.

Evan Saugstad, Chair, Northern Development Initiative Trust said:

Northern Development is very pleased to be able to provide assistance to the businesses and organizations in the Cariboo-Chilcotin and Thomson-Nicola regions affected by the wildfires this past year. The Trust’s partnership with Community Futures and the CCBAC on this project, in conjunction with the recovery efforts being made across central B.C., will help ensure that the organizations affected by the wildfires will receive sufficient support in accessing the resources available to them. This program will play a key role in ensuring the success of the economic recovery efforts being made across the region and will be essential in facilitating important information to impacted businesses and organizations.

While Karen Eden, General Manager, Community Futures Development Corporation, Cariboo-Chilcotin commented:

Community Futures is excited to be involved with this project. The challenge for businesses and not-for-profit organizations is understanding and accessing appropriate resources. The one-on-one assistance provided by the business ambassadors will help to ensure that businesses are able to effectively and efficiently access programs and services that will assist with staying open and having ongoing sustainability.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Sue Zacharias won't seek re-election in 2018!

At tonight's Williams Lake City Council meeting (Dec 19th) - current 3rd term City Councillor Sue Zacharias announced to her colleagues and the community that she would not seek a 4th term in next year's local election

Councillor Zacharias also served 1 term as the Cariboo Regional District Electoral Area "D" Director from 2005-2008

Sue Zacharias now joins Williams Lake Mayor Walt Cobb in announcing their intentions with respect to the 2018 Local General Election.  Mayor Cobb has already confirmed plans to seek re-election in the City of Williams Lake 2018 Local General Election

No other locally elected official to date, whether in the Districts of Wells/100 Mile House, Cities of Quesnel/Williams Lake, School Districts' 28 or 27 and the 12 Cariboo Regional District Electoral Area Directors' have announced their 2018 election plans


WL Council Highlights - Dec 19th mtg

Present: Mayor Cobb; Councillors I. Bonnell, S. Nelson, J. Ryll, C. Smith, L. Walters and S. Zacharias

Meeting called to order at 6pm

Meeting Agenda adopted/Mins of the Dec 5th, 2017 WL City Council adopted


Mayor Cobb/WL RCMP Inspector Jeff Pelley presented Certificates of Appreciation to Blaine Grinder and Bill Drebit, in respect of their actions at the last robbery of the local CIBC Bank


Donna Mae Smith appeared before Council to raise concerns around the recent removal of Bus Shelter Benches

Discussion ensued thereon

Mayor Cobb, on behalf of Council, thanked Ms. Smith for her time/information

Resolved - That Staff be directed to restore the transit bus shelter bench at the "Sandman Suites" location on 7th Avenue and the General Governance Committee review this matter and provide a recommendation to Council


1) Council received for information the computer cheque listings for the period of December 7, 14 and 15, 2017

2) Council adopted Road Closure and Removal of Highway Dedication Bylaw No. 2261, 2017 (Old Lake City Ford Building - Oliver St)

3) Council adopted the following Committee of the Whole recommendation with respect to the 2018 Provisional Budget:

That pursuant to Committee of Whole Council Report #41-2017, the report of the Chief Financial Officer dated December 6, 2017 be received and the 2018 provisional budget be approved.

Council divided.  Approved by the following vote:

Affirmative - Mayor Cobb; Councillors Bonnell, Nelson, Ryll, Smith and Zacharias

Negative - Councillor L. Walters

3) Council received for information the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure's 'Carson Drive and Toop Road Intersection Improvements Progress Report' dated November 29, 2017

4) Council agreed to support the Potato House Project application to the BC Rural Dividend program for funding toward their 'Innovative Homestead Program'

5) Late Item - Council authorized submission of an application to the Northern Development Initiative Trust (NDIT) Economic Development Capacity Building program to support a full-time Economic Development Officer in 2018.

Members of Council reported on their recent activities and provided Holiday Greetings to the community

The CAO provided a oral report on his recent activities

Media Question Period - Tribune, None.  Radio - Question in regards to upcoming development on 1st Avenue across from Cariboo Bowling (BC Housing/Association for Community Living)

Council agreed to adjourn at 7:10pm

Monday, December 18, 2017

Message from Quesnel City Councillors'

Courtesy of the City of Quesnel:

We, as the elected members of Quesnel City Council, want the public to know that the Mayor has acted with the full consent of Council and the advice of City staff, and he has taken the steps we believe are necessary to protect the public interest and advance BC Housing's proposed project in the most transparent and open manner possible.

After the first public information session and public hearing for this housing proposal it was evident to Council that there was considerable confusion about what services would and would not be provided in the new facility, that there was concern on how the current Seasons House facility has been run, and that people were unclear who would hold the operator of the new facility accountable if the considerable public safety issues created by Seasons House started to be realized at the new facility. Members of the public clearly told Council that they did not want "Seasons House" moved to the other side of the walking bridge, many others have indicated that they support building a new facility at the Elliott Street location but not with the current operator.

When it became evident that there were significant public trust issues associated with the current operator of Seasons House, Council unanimously passed a motion, in an open public meeting, strongly advising BC Housing to tender the operating contract for the new facility in order to give the new facility a clean break from the stigma that had become associated with "Seasons House" and to give BC Housing's proposal the best possible chance of advancing through the bylaw process. On the basis of this resolution the Mayor rightly briefed the Minister responsible for Housing and the CEO of BC Housing as to why the City of Quesnel was recommending an open tender process be used to determine the operator of the proposed new shelter and transition housing facility. These meetings were held at the Union of BC Municipalities Convention and when the Mayor spent a week in Victoria meeting with the Premier and a number of other Ministers to advance our community's priorities. The intent to have these meetings and the nature of them were made public at open Council meetings both before and after the meetings were held.

We are obligated during any bylaw or development permit process to ensure the public has full and transparent access to all necessary information so they can give us informed opinions. We also have an obligation to protect the safety and interests of the entire populace when we make decisions, we cannot discount the concerns of any segment of our community when we make decisions that will have long term implications for our community. Council fully supports the need to build a new transition housing and shelter facility, but we must exercise due diligence as we go through the bylaw process to make this facility possible. The Mayor and Council are not being "obstructionist" as QSSS has repeatedly claimed, we are merely following due process and being diligent in doing so.

Finally, the contention by QSSS that the Mayor, Council, and/or City Staff forced BC Housing to cancel their public information session is patently false. BC Housing is an independent agency and Council has no authority to compel this agency in any matter. This is one of the reasons why Council and the City of Quesnel must make every effort to get clarity on the proposed new facility and the services that will be provided there prior to giving assent to this proposal: after the facility is built and operating the City of Quesnel has no tools to regulate those activities or directly address any public safety issues that arise. This is why Council and the public needs to have confidence in the process to determine who will operate this new facility and confidence in the agency that will operate it.

The proposed Elliott Street project is still in process and City staff continue to work with BC Housing to advance this project through our bylaw process. In the meantime, shelter and transition housing support services are still being provided at Seasons House, so no one in our community is being put at risk while Council continues to fulfill its legal obligations and exercises the due diligence that the public rightly deserves.

It is our sincere hope that the Quesnel Shelter and Support Society will stop inflaming the community dialogue around BC Housing's proposed Elliott Street housing project by making misleading claims about the actions of the Mayor, Council, and City staff


Councillor John Briscoe
Councillor Ed Coleman
Councillor Scott Elliott
Councillor Laurey-Anne Roodenburg
Councillor Ron Paull
Councillor Sushil Thapar

McLeese Lake Library Officially Open!

From L-R: CRD Mgr of Libraries Wanda Davis,
McLeese Lake Community Librarian Marion Watson,
CRD Area 'D' Director Steve Forseth and
CRD Chair/Area H Director Margo Wagner

Photo Credit: Matthew Watson, McLeese Lake

About a dozen McLeese Lake residents' came out on a nippy Saturday, December 16th morning to celebrate the official opening of the Cariboo Regional District's (CRD) new McLeese Lake Community Library.

The new McLeese Lake Library was a project some 7 years in the making.  After hearing from CRD Electoral Area 'D' Director Steve Forseth and the Chair of the Cariboo Regional District, Margo Wagner - the ribbon was cut and the library was declared officially open to the community

Many local McLeese Lake residents' stated that they were thrilled with the new facility and would definitely be an asset to the community of McLeese Lake.

Many thanks to Horizon North out of Kamloops for the building and to local McLeese Lake contractor Bob Kelly for getting the site ready to install the new library.  Additional landscaping works at the McLeese Lake Library Site are planned for the Spring of 2018 and has already been budgeted for, from the CRD Library Function which is a regionally provided service

The CRD will be also installing the same library facility type in the Interlakes area, within Electoral Area 'L'.  That particular library is currently expected to be completed in early 2018


Saturday, December 16, 2017

Cariboo RD Chair Wagner reflects on 2017

Courtesy of the Cariboo Regional District and as delivered by CRD Chair Margo Wagner at the Dec 15th CRD Board Meeting:

“Members of the Board, Members of the Media, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to take a moment to review the Cariboo Regional District’s key accomplishments and successes for 2017. As your new Chair, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the hard work, perseverance and dedication of our past Chair Al Richmond. His leadership in 2017 and over his last nine years as Chair have significantly contributed to all I am about to outline. Thank you, Al, for the tremendous work you have done for the Regional District.

Reflecting back on this year brings a mix of emotions. It has been quite a year and it is hard to believe we are heading into a new year already. Our region has gone through a lot in this second half of the year, especially, but I firmly believe we have come through stronger, Cariboo Strong.

Looking back over the past year, our region can be proud of its achievements. How we not only responded and supported our communities through a fire season for the history books, but how we carried on in our regular business, building on our relationships, enhancing our services and seeking continuous improvement.

To start, two major recreation projects were completed this year in the Regional District, the West Fraser Centre arena in Quesnel and the West Fraser Aquatic Centre in Williams Lake. Both of these beautiful new facilities will provide excellent recreational opportunities for the area and will aid our efforts to retain and attract young families and professionals. I am proud to say both projects also have supported our economy through utilizing local trades and contractors.

The South Cariboo is also exploring new recreational opportunities through an expansion to the South Cariboo Recreation Centre. The project working group, which formed in 2016, worked with an architectural firm throughout this spring and summer to develop a concept design for the project. We look forward to taking another step forward with the project in the new year as it moves to public consultation.

Also on the South Cariboo Recreation Centre property in 100 Mile House, the Exeter Valley Nature Trail opened this spring. It is an accessible trail which brings us to a total of 19 low mobility wilderness trails throughout the region. Plans are underway to continue to develop the Cariboo Chilcotin accessible trails network in the coming year.

Early in 2017, two new water projects started in the South Cariboo, a water treatment plant for the 108 Mile Ranch and a water system for 103 Mile. Despite delays from the wildfires this summer, both projects are making good progress and we expect completion in early 2018.

In March, we hosted the final open houses for the Lac La Hache and South Cariboo Official Community Plan updates. As OCP updates are community driven processes, we were pleased to see the communities’ participation and engagement in these updates. Both OCPs are going through final reviews and edits before their adoption.

As Chair of the Cariboo Chilcotin Regional Hospital District, I was pleased to attend two special announcements in March at both the Cariboo Memorial Hospital in Williams Lake and the G.R. Baker Memorial Hospital in Quesnel. We were pleased to see steps forward on upgrades of these facilities and we continue to advocate for progress with our new provincial government.

In May, former Chair Al Richmond led a B.C. local government delegation to China with our local Mayors. The trip was very successful as the group formed new relationships and explored potential for collaboration. We have seen ripple effects of the trip this year through subsequent Chinese delegations to the Cariboo, a summer camp opportunity in China for Cariboo students, the Canim Lake Dancers’ invitation to perform in China and the recent progress on the proposed flight school in Williams Lake. It truly was a great opportunity for the region.

This year, the CRD attended the Electoral Area Directors and Local Government Leadership Academy Forums in Vancouver in February and the North Central Local Government Association Convention and Annual General Meeting, which were held in Terrace in May. In June, four Directors also attended the Federation of Canadian Municipalities Conference in Ottawa. Delegates and their partners were able to attend some great workshops, business sessions and, of course, some spectacular entertainment and social events. I would like to take this opportunity to again thank the many volunteers who dedicated their time and efforts to put on these conferences. The hospitality which was offered to delegates and their partners was second to none.

On June 8 and 9, the CRD Board of Directors attended the first of our two annual Board on the Road events. About 150 residents attended the Board on the Road BBQ in 100 Mile House with all the proceeds going to the 100 Mile House Lions Club. The second Board on the Road event was scheduled for Electoral Area J in September, but had to be cancelled due to the wildfires. We look forward to visiting Area J for our Board on the Road event this coming June.

July 6 was a day to remember this year as it marked the first day of our wildfire response. The CRD’s Emergency Operations Centre was open for 77 days, with the final evacuation alert lifted on September 20. With a total of 211 wildfires in the Cariboo this summer, we issued 149 evacuation order and alert changes. 60 percent of our region’s population was on alert or order this summer; 48 percent were evacuated.

I would like to take a moment to thank all the CRD staff who worked tirelessly in our EOC this summer on behalf of our residents and to all the local governments and organizations who sent us additional staff and resources. Furthermore, thank you Board members for all that you did and for how you went above and beyond in support of your constituents. I can’t mention everyone for fear of missing someone, but I would also like to specifically thank all the first responders, Volunteer Fire Departments, Search and Rescue Departments and Emergency Social Services volunteers for their tremendous service this summer.

Considering the magnitude of the emergency we faced, I am very thankful there were no fatalities or major injuries. That being said, many people faced and continue to face significant impacts from the wildfires – economically, physically, emotionally and mentally. We also cannot forget the impacts for those who lost their homes or other structures. Our thoughts are with our residents this holiday season, recognizing it will be a difficult time for many.

Following the wildfires, we moved into the recovery phase this fall. We hired a Recovery Manager, who has been an invaluable support to residents in regards to recovery resources, services and support, and we launched a post-wildfire community consultation process. With 24 meetings spread throughout the Regional District, we received a significant amount of feedback from the 700 residents who attended and we learned a lot about their experience and concerns. In addition, we have conducted internal debriefs with those who worked in our EOC this summer, with the Board of Directors and with other agencies we worked alongside in the emergency response. We look forward to reviewing the consolidated reports from these debriefs, our public consultation meetings, the Facebook live event and the survey and determining steps forward to improve our emergency response for the next time.

This fall, we welcomed John MacLean as our new Chief Administrative Officer. We look forward to working with you, John, and are pleased to have you back at the Cariboo Regional District again. Many thanks to our former CAO, Janis Bell, as well. We cannot thank Janis enough for her decades of service and her leadership with the Regional District.

At the end of September, the Cariboo Regional District Board of Directors attended the annual Union of British Columbia Municipalities convention and AGM which took place in Vancouver, B.C. Throughout the convention the CRD met with provincial ministers and staff, attended workshops and spoke to CRD resolutions, which all received endorsement. Our main focus at all our meetings was wildfire recovery and that is something we continue to advocate for with the provincial government.

In the midst of the recovery efforts this fall, we also celebrated the grand opening of the new McLeese Lake library building. We look forward to the grand opening of the new library building in Interlakes early in 2018.

Some other highlights from 2017 have been:

assisting numerous non-profit groups and supporting funding requests for community initiatives through our grant writing program;
being named as a 2016 Climate Action Community;
applying to a number of different provincial and federal funding programs such as Destination BC’s Co-operative Marketing Partnerships program, Northern Development Initiative Trust, BC Rural Dividend fund, and Co-op Community Spaces for a total of approximately $350,000; and
receiving approximately $1.7 million from the Community Works Fund to support green initiatives and energy efficiency projects.
As we look forward to 2018, our 50th anniversary year, let’s not forget how far we have come and the challenges and issues we have overcome or resolved along the way. Part of the reason for this report is to remind you of our accomplishments, and to compliment you on your successes.

This year has been challenging one and I would like to thank all the Board members and staff for your dedication, perseverance and support throughout 2017.

I would also like to thank all the residents of the Cariboo – you have done us proud. Thank you for your patience and understanding through the emergency response. Thank you again to the many volunteers, businesses, and first responders who gave of their time and resources to serve the region. Neighbours helped neighbours and this emergency brought people together as nothing else could.

While creating new partnerships, enhancing services, undertaking capital projects, informing the public and responding to residents’ needs is what building this region is all about; only with your support can we achieve our goal of Building Communities Together.

Thank you.”

Friday, December 15, 2017

City of WL Council/SD27 Board meet next week for final time in 2017

Only the City of Williams Lake Council & the Board of Education for School District #27 (Cariboo-Chilcotin) will be meeting next week.  Details below:

Williams Lake - Regular Council Meeting on Tuesday, Dec 19th at 6pm in WL Council Chambers (450 Mart St).  On the Agenda:

* Presentation: Certificate of Appreciation on behalf of the City and RCMP to Bill Drebit and Blaine Grinder

* Delegation: Donna Mae Smith re Concerns Around Removal of Bus Shelter Benches

* Approval of 2018 Provisional Budget

* Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure - Carson Drive & Toop Road Intersection Improvements Progress Report
* Request from Potato House Society for Support for 2 Rural Dividend applications

View the full Agenda here

School District #27 (Cariboo-Chilcotin) - Regular Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, Dec 19th at 6:30pm in the SD27 Boardroom (350 2nd Avenue, Williams Lake).  When available, the Agenda can be viewed here

CRD Board Highlights - Dec 15th mtg

Present: Chair M. Wagner and Directors T. Armstrong, J. Bruce, J. Massier, S. Forseth, J. Sorley, A. Richmond, R. William, B. Anderson, B. Coakley, R. Sharpe, B. Simpson, W. Cobb, M. Campsall and Area E Alternate Director M. Neufeld

The Chair read out the 2017 Annual Accomplishments Report to the Board

Meeting agenda adopted/Mins of the Nov 17th CRD Board Meeting approved

Delegations MOB received


Development Services

1) The Board gave 3rd Readings to North Cariboo Area Rural Land Use Amendment Bylaw No. 5109, 2017 (Area B), South Cariboo Area Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 5114, 2017 (Area L) and South Cariboo Area Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 5115, 2017 (Area L)

2) The Board adopted Green Lake Area Official Community Plan Amendment Bylaw No. 5077, 2017 & South Cariboo Area Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 5078 (Area L)

Environmental Services

Director J. Bruce declared a conflict of interest and left the meeting at 10:10am

1) The Board agreed to install video surveillance equipment at the Central Cariboo Transfer Station as a result of ongoing vandalism at the site and a press release be issued in regards to the upcoming installation of video surveillance at CCTS

Resolved - That Staff report back with regard to video surveillance at all CRD owned facilities

Director J. Bruce returned to the meeting at 10:14am

Community Services

1) The Board agreed to renew the Air Carrier Airport Use Agreement Renewal with Pacific Coastal Airlines for the Anahim Lake Airport for a three-year term at an annual fee of $50,000 and the airport
management contract with Snooka Aircraft Services be amended to an annual payment of $52,000

2) The Board endorsed a BC Rural Dividend application under the Project Development envelope to help develop construction ready design plans for a new access road at the Esler Sports Complex and also for development of construction ready design plans for the runway at the South Cariboo Regional Airport

Resolved - That a Special Committee of the Whole meeting be scheduled in January to discuss Strategic Initiatives/Provincial Grant Programs


Stephanie Masun, CRD Recovery Manager, appeared before the Board to provide an interim report on recovery activities

A Question/Answer period ensued

The Chair, on behalf of the Board, thanked Ms. Masun for her time/information

Business, cont:

3) The Board endorsed an NDIT Application from the Nazko Indian Band for upgrades to infrastructure and capital purchases at 3 Nations General Store and Lodging.  Board divided.  Approved by the following vote:

Affirmative - Chair M. Wagner, Directors Armstrong, Massier, Forseth, Sorley, Richmond, William, Anderson, Coakley, Sharpe, Simpson, Campbell and Alternate Director Neufeld

Negative - Directors W. Cobb/J. Bruce (City of WL/ Electoral Area B)

Resolved - That a letter be forwarded to the NDIT Board asking that NDIT Applications from First Nations be dealt with directly between NDIT/First Nations Band Councils'

Meeting recessed at 11:38am to CCRHD Board
Meeting resumed at 12:30pm


1) The Board received/approved the Monthly Expenditures Board Summary Report and MasterCard Summary Report for the month of November 2017, in the amount of $4,287,672.38

2) The Board approved the 2018 – 2022 Provisional Five Year Financial Plan for purposes of public consultation

3) The Board agreed to renew the Banking Services Agreement between the Cariboo Regional District/Royal Bank of Canada for an additional 3 year term

4) The Board approved Grant for Assistance applications in Area K (Riske Creek Recreation Commission -- $1,000 for Wildfire Volunteers Dinner and Dance & $1,000 to purchase a shed and pump for firefighting and storage purposes)


1) The Board endorsed a NCLGA Resolution, as amended, for submission pertaining to Provincial Financial Support during States of Emergency

2) The Board received an invitation from the Cariboo Agricultural Research Alliance to Participate on their Steering Committee and appointed Director Sorley to sit on the Committee

3) The Board received a proposal from the Community Energy Association (CEA) for Electric Vehicle Charging Network Collaboration and agreed to invite the Association to make a presentation to the Board

4) The Board received a Request for Support from the New Pathways to Gold Society pertaining to The Cariboo Waggon Road Restoration Project and agreed to provide a letter of support

5) The Board received the Consent Calendar, as of December 15th

a) Resolved - That the Board endorse recommendations from the CCBAC Land/Resource Symposium

6) The Board received a letter from the Hon. Selina Robinson, pertaining to topics discussed at a meeting during the 2017 UBCM Convention

7) The Board received an email from NCLGA pertaining to public meetings scheduled regarding Greyhound's application to reduce bus service in BC

8) The Board received a copy of a letter from the District of Sicamous to BC's Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy regarding Prevention of Quagga and Zebra Mussels

9) The Board received an email from Erin Robinson, Cariboo-Chilcotin Regional Manager, Fraser Basin Council, dated November 27, 2017, advising of the CCBAC Board's support of allowing the $133,000 per subregion to be associated with wildfire recovery efforts as well as Cariboo Strong

Committee or Commission Minutes/Recommendations:

1) The Board received the following Minutes of Meetings:

a) North Cariboo Rural Directors Caucus Minutes - November 14, 2017
b) Central/South Cariboo Rural Directors Caucus Minutes - November 16, 2017
c) Finance Budget Committee Minutes - November 16, 2017
d) South Cariboo Rural Directors Caucus Minutes - November 20, 2017
e) South Cariboo Joint Committee Minutes - November 20, 2017
f) Central Cariboo Rural Directors Caucus Minutes - November 22, 2017
g) Heritage Steering Committee Meeting Notes - November 23, 2017

And endorsed all recommendations forwarded from the above mentioned meetings

Resolved - That the CRD Quesnel sub-office entrance doors be upgraded to accessible doors
Resolved - That the letter to SD27 regarding a bus stop at Clear Road North be referred back to Central Cariboo Rural Directors' Caucus

2) The Board endorsed the following recommendation from the North Cariboo Joint Committee meeting of December 12th

That the Cariboo Regional District submit a Rural Dividend application to begin the implementation phase of the North Cariboo Master Trails strategy. The application will be submitted in partnership with the Gold Rush Cycling Club and will focus on the development of the trail networks on Dragon Mountain, above the Dragon Lake boat launch, behind West Fraser Timber Park, and those known as the "Weldwood" trails.

Corporate Bylaws

1) The Board adopted 103 Mile Water System Service Boundary Amendment Bylaw No. 5122, 2017

Directors' Requests

a) The Board endorsed a recommendation of the Chair to appoint the following Directors to the NDIT Regional Advisory Committee for 2018:

Director Margo Wagner - Alternate: Director Brian Coakley
Director Betty Anderson - Alternate: Director Dylan Cash

b) At the request of Director Forseth -- the Board agreed to write to the Canadian Broadcast Corporation urging it to reconsider its recent decision to switch its radio signal from 860 AM to 92.1 FM in the BC Interior

CAO/Chair Reports

1) The Board received the report of the CAO, dated December 7th, outlining his recent activities
2) The Board received the report of the Chair, dated December 12th, outlining her recent activities

The Board then convened an In-Camera Meeting as per Sections 90(1a/k - appointment/negotiations) of the Community Charter and after some time, returned to its public meeting

Directors' provided verbal reports on their recent activities

CCRHD Board Highlights - Dec 15th mtg

Present: Chair M. Wagner and Directors T. Armstrong, J. Bruce, J. Massier, S. Forseth, J. Sorley, A. Richmond, R. William, B. Anderson, B. Coakley, R. Sharpe, B. Simpson, W. Cobb, M. Campsall, S. Watson and Area E Alternate Director M. Neufeld

Meeting Agenda adopted/Mins of the CCRHD Board Meeting held on Nov 17th adopted


1) The Board received the Hospital Consent Calendar, as of December 15th

2) The Board received the Interior Health Capital Projects and Planning Status Reports for October 2017

3) The Board received the News Release from Interior Health, dated November 30, 2017, regarding video-conferencing education sessions piloted by the Central Okanagan Association for Cardiac Health (COACH)

4) The Board received the Media Bulletin from Northern Health, dated December 4, 2017, advising of a modified schedule for the Northern Health Connections program

5) The Board endorsed a request of Northern Health for Hospital Capital Funding for PACS and Cardiology System Upgrade in the amount of $143,060 and directed Staff to bring forward the necessary Capital Expenditure Bylaw at the next CCRHD Board for consideration of 3 Readings/Adoption


Susan Paulsen, Healthcare Recruitment Coordinator, appeared before the Board to provide an update on recruitment and retention activities in Quesnel.

A Question/Answer period ensued thereon

Chair Wagner, on behalf of the Board, thanked Ms. Paulsen for her time information

Thursday, December 14, 2017

West Fraser Aquatic Centre officially open!

From L-R: WL City Councillor Laurie Walters,
West Fraser Rep Dave Walgren, CRD Area D Director Steve Forseth
and CRD Chair Margo Wagner
Joint Release of the City of Williams Lake/Cariboo Regional District:

Today, the Cariboo Regional District (CRD) and the City of Williams Lake, along with representatives from West Fraser, Northern Development Initiative Trust and the provincial government, celebrated the official grand opening of the Sam Ketcham Pool (SKP) Upgrade Project at the West Fraser Aquatic Centre in the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex.

The completed project includes a new fitness centre, lap tank, swirl pool, steam room and leisure pool. The leisure area features a waterslide, lazy river, tots area, kiddie carwash, teacup fountain, bubble pit, vortex and massage chairs. Phase Two of the West Fraser Aquatic Centre had a soft opening earlier this week; Phase One opened in August.

The pool upgrade project was delivered with a tax increase of about $40 per $100,000 of the assessed value of land and improvements on properties within the sub-regional recreation service area. The referendum that passed in 2014 gave the Cariboo Regional District authority to borrow up to $10 million for the project; however, the CRD only ended up borrowing $6.5 million thanks to the generous support from funding partners.

The final project cost was $14.1 million. Additional costs were covered through capital reserves. About 55 per cent of the construction cost was spent on local trades and suppliers amounting to more than $6.6 million.

External funding for the project included $250,000 from Northern Development Initiative Trust; $500,000 from the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program; and a total of $4,427,500 through the federal Gas Tax Fund, including $427,500 from the Regional District allocation of Community Works Funds for specific energy efficiency upgrades and $4 million from the Strategic Priorities Fund. This support is in addition to the $500,000 donated by West Fraser to support the project in recognition of the long-standing connection between the facility, the company and the Ketcham family.

In addition to the pool upgrade project, the parking lot at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex was redesigned and upgraded. Completed in the fall of 2016, the parking lot cost $1.3 million.

The Sam Ketcham Pool upgrade project is a joint initiative of the Cariboo Regional District and City of Williams Lake.

Cariboo RD Area 'F' Director Joan Sorley/SKP Pool Working Group Co-Chair:

“The West Fraser Aquatic Centre has been worth the wait. It is a beautiful new recreation space that will serve our communities well for years to come. Thanks to the support of our funding partners, this investment will help retain our residents and draw new families to the area.”

Williams Lake City Councillor Laurie Walters/SKP Pool Working Group Co-Chair:

“I am truly proud of all of the local tradespeople who have worked so hard to meet tough deadlines and came back to finish the job after the fires. To be a part of this legacy project is very significant to me not only as a City Councillor, but as a community member and grandparent. I can’t wait to see all three of my grandchildren go down the waterslide!”

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Operator sought for supportive housing project in Quesnel

Courtesy of the BC Government:

In response to community concerns, BC Housing will issue a request for proposals (RFP) to invite qualified non-profit societies to submit proposals to operate a proposed new supportive housing project.

The public information session that was scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017, at the Quesnel & District Seniors’ Centre has been postponed until the operator is selected.

The proposed new supportive housing development would be located on the 300 block of Elliott Street, with 28 self-contained units for people at risk of homelessness, eight shelter beds and four supportive recovery units, as well as programming space.

BC Housing has been searching for a new location for the shelter services offered at Seasons House since 2012, due to both structural compromises and community concern over the current location being in a high-traffic tourist area.

Representatives from BC Housing, Northern Health, the City of Quesnel, the Quesnel Shelter & Support Society and community partners are working together through the Caring for People with Addictions Committee to review existing resources for those suffering from addiction issues in Quesnel. The committee is seeking a new location for the drop-in services currently provided at Seasons House.

No clinical services for the general public will be provided at the proposed site on Elliott Street. All support services will be for residents at the future Elliot Street location only.

BC Housing is working with the City of Quesnel and key stakeholders to ensure this much-needed supportive housing project continues to move forward.

The RFP will be available at MERX Canadian Public Tenders early in the new year:

Heli-Logging Operations Resume in Williams Lake Area

Courtesy of the BC Government:

The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development soon will begin the second year of helicopter logging operations to minimize the spread of Douglas fir beetles on Crown land in the Williams Lake area.

Douglas fir beetle populations are currently higher than normal in parts of the Cariboo. The insects normally attack small groups of trees and a significant infestation will weaken and eventually kill a tree over the period of about a year.

As part of the Williams Lake Beetle Management Unit 2017 Treatment Plan, helicopter harvesting will be done on steep slopes in the Williams Lake area to remove infested trees. It’s anticipated that the flights will begin in the next few weeks in the South Lakeside area. When that work is completed, operations will move to the Esler area, followed by Slater Mountain (above Mile 168 Road) and the Fox Mountain area. This heli-logging activity should be completed by the end of February 2018.

Residents can expect to see helicopters in the air as selective logging operations get underway. No flights will occur over residential buildings. The aircraft will be flying only during daylight hours and will not be in the air on the upcoming statutory holidays.

Owners of livestock and pets are advised to take precautions to protect their animals from injuring themselves. Horses, in particular, can be sensitive to helicopter noise and may run if startled.

For safety reasons, members of the public should stay away from active harvesting areas. They are reminded that unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) must not be operated anywhere near the harvesting areas, since doing so can endanger the safety of pilots and workers on the ground.

In addition to the direct harvesting of infested trees, the Williams Lake Beetle Management Unit 2017 Treatment Plan includes the following activities:

The anti-aggregative pheromone methyl cyclo hexenone (MCH) will be used to prevent or disrupt Douglas fir beetle attacks on small infestation sites. This naturally occurring pheromone can successfully repel the beetles from vulnerable areas and also help protect small stands of trees near parks, protected areas, campgrounds, residential properties or old growth management areas. In some cases, the application of this pheromone has reduced Douglas fir beetle attacks by over 90%.
“Trap trees” will be established by cutting down large, healthy Douglas fir trees in accessible areas. The trees will be left on the ground to attract adult beetles in the spring. Trap trees are more successful in attracting adult beetles than standing trees, and therefore can greatly reduce the number of attacks on healthy Douglas fir trees nearby. Once adult beetles and larvae are established within a trap tree, the tree will be taken to a mill where the beetles and larvae will be destroyed in the milling process.

Where appropriate and if no other practical options are available, some infested trees may be cut down and burned on site to destroy the beetles present in the bark. Funnel traps will be deployed around mill yards and log-storage areas to capture adult beetles.

The Ministry is committed to controlling the spread of Douglas fir beetles in the Cariboo-Chilcotin Natural Regional District and limiting their effects on the mid-term timber supply, wildlife habitat, recreational opportunities and wildfire management.

Quick Facts:

The Williams Lake Timber Supply Area contains 3.24 million hectares of forest, with 1.83 million hectares considered to be available for timber harvesting.

Douglas fir beetle infestations tend to be cyclical and the last major outbreak in the Cariboo-Chilcotin Natural Regional District peaked in 2008, covering about 68,550 hectares. The volume of timber killed by the Douglas fir beetle in the Williams Lake Timber Supply Area that year was about 172,534 cubic metres.

The shallow tunnels etched into the underside of the bark (called “galleries”) are created by the beetle adults and larvae as they feed on the wood of an infested tree.

When Douglas fir beetles attack, the needles of affected trees change colour in stages. The rate of colour change is highly variable, but a pale green or yellow colour indicates that the tree has been attacked recently. Bright red needles generally indicate that the tree was attacked the previous year and brown trees with sparse foliage generally indicate that the tree has been dead for two or three years. A grey tree has lost all its needles and this colour usually indicates that the tree has been dead for more than two years.

According to the Ministry's latest mapping data (based on aerial surveys conducted in the summer of 2017), Douglas fir beetles affected 45,862 hectares in 2017 and 53,311 hectares in 2016 within the Cariboo-Chilcotin Natural Regional District.

Learn More:

Read more about Douglas fir beetle management or read a guide for managing the beetles on private property:

Sustaining our local economy

Courtesy of the City of Quesnel:

Editor's Note - this week's Quesnel Council Column is written by Mayor Bob Simpson.  He can be reached via email here.  The next Quesnel Council Column will be published on Wednesday, January 17th, 2018

You may have seen the TV advertisements about the current and projected dramatic increase in online shopping and the implications for waste production. The ad ends with photos of recycling containers full of the cardboard and paper needed to ship consumer products around the world. The essential message is: don’t worry about this waste; it can be recycled.

Well, increased waste may be the least of our worries if online shopping continues to dramatically grow in both volume and scope. A more significant concern should be what it will do to our local economy and the jobs sustained by our retail sector.

The appeal of online shopping is self-evident: you don’t have to brave the weather, worry about parking, put up with limited selection, or endure the hassle of line ups and sorting through bins and racks of retail goods to find what you are looking for. Shopping online let’s you browse mega-selections in the comfort of your own home and, with a few clicks and a credit card, have your selection delivered straight to your door.

People’s initial concerns with the security of their personal financial information when they shop online seem to have been addressed to the satisfaction of most consumers. And, online retailers’ promise of hassle free returns and refunds takes the risk out of buying and testing most consumer items.

However, the impact of a massive shift to online shopping could be devastating for our local economy and for our community. This trend, without question, is a local job and investment killer.

When you shop locally you are supporting the paycheques of your family, friends, and neighbours – you, in effect, help your community create and sustain jobs. Local business also sponsor and support community events, youth and adult sport teams, and fundraisers. They also contribute to property taxes, helping to maintain taxes at an affordable level for everyone. If most people living in a community make the effort to always shop local first this ultimately improves the quality of the overall retail experience in that community, as stores can carry a more diverse inventory and more investment in the retail sector results in more shopping options being made available close to home.

People present all kinds of reasons for not shopping local: not enough selection, poor customer service, no parking, more expensive than the online or mega-store alternatives. But, these are merely excuses to justify putting personal comfort and ease ahead of community sustainability. In reality, not making the effort to shop local and not putting energy into working with our local retailers to get the kinds of products and services you want here becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy: our local retail experience diminishes in proportion to the number of people who shop online or in other communities.

Throughout and after this summer’s wildfire event people have been asking how they can best help those most affected. So, here’s a simple and direct way to take an active role in our community’s wildfire recovery efforts: shop local this Christmas and make a commitment to become an active local shopper in 2018.

If our retail sector doesn’t have what you are looking for, let them know and see if they can bring in your product before defaulting to online or out of town shopping (or choose an alternate product the store has in stock). If you experience poor customer service, politely let the owners and managers know and enable them to work with their staff to remedy that situation. In short, become an active partner with our local retailers to improve the overall shopping experience here and, by doing so, proactively contribute to the sustainability of our local economy.

Elliott St Supportive Housing Public Hearing Cancelled

Courtesy of the City of Quesnel:

The 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, December 13, 2017 Public Hearing at the Quesnel & District Seniors Centre, for proposed Bylaws 1829 and 1830 regarding the OCP and Zone Amendments for the proposed Elliott Street Supportive Housing Development, has been being cancelled at the request of the Proponent, BC Housing. More information to follow.

DATED at Quesnel, British Columbia this 12th day of December, 2017


Byron Johnson, Corporate Officer/CAO - City of Quesnel

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

WL Council-in-Committee Highlights - Dec 12th mtg

Present: Mayor W. Cobb (Chair) and Councillors I. Bonnell, S. Nelson, J. Ryll, C. Smith, and L. Walters

The Chair called the meeting to order at 6pm

Meeting Agenda adopted/Mins of the Council-in-Committee meeting held November 28th adopted


1) Krista Dunleavey/Bev Atkins from the BC Wildfire Service and Harold Stolar from the Cariboo Chilcotin Resource District appeared before the Committee to discuss Community Wildfire Protection Planning

A PowerPoint Presentation was played for the Committee - click here

Discussion ensued thereon

The Chair, on behalf of the Committee, thanked Messrs. Dunleavey, Atkins, and Stolar for their time/information


1) 2018 Budget and 2018-2022 Financial Plan - General Fund

A report from the Chief Financial Officer was presented to the Committee - click here
Discussion ensued thereon

Resolved - That the Committee receive the report of the CFO

The Committee adjourned at 7:25pm

CRD Online Wildfire Survey

Good afternoon:

We are currently conducting an online survey to hear back from people on the personal impacts as a result of this past summer’s wildfires.  The survey can be accessed at:

We ask that if residents fill out the survey no later than December 23rd, 2017

If you wish to provide feedback via email – they can do so by sending an email to Stephanie Masun, the CRD’s Wildfire Recovery Manager at


Monday, December 11, 2017

Site C proceeds!

Last fall, the Provincial Government sent the Site C project to the BCUC (BC Utilities Commission) for a review of Site C's budgetary projections and after receiving its report and a detailed review of BC's Executive Council (Cabinet) over a number of days including hearing from experts, both pro and con, the BC Government announced today that it would proceed with the project with a number of provisos - read the statement of the BC Government, with backgrounders, here

Meanwhile - BC Premier John Horgan directly addressed himself to British Columbians in regards to today's Site C decision - click here

Also - 3 Treaty 8 Nations in the Site C project impact area including West Soberly First Nations followed through with their legal threat to attempt to block the Site C project if the NDP Government proceeded with Site C and will proceed to the BC Supreme Court to get an injection to halt further work at the Site C site - click here

The Opposition BC Liberals applauded today's decision, as did a number of business groups - read the statement from the BC Liberal Opposition Caucus here

Finally - The BC Green Party, as expected, expressed their deep disappointment with the NDP Government's decision to proceed.  Read their statement here

While I expected the Provincial Government would ultimately decide to proceed, it will be interesting to see if this decision will impact the 2021 Provincial Election but I suspect it will not.  It will be news for a few days and then the general public will move on to the next topic


Saturday, December 9, 2017

Walt Cobb to seek re-election in 2018

Williams Lake Mayor Walt Cobb has confirmed to My Cariboo Now (local radio station) that he will indeed be seeking re-election in October 2018.

Read more here

Meanwhile - none of the incumbent Williams Lake City Councillors' (Ivan Bonnell, Scott Nelson, Jason Ryll, Craig Smith, Laurie Walters and Sue Zacharias) have indicated their 2018 election plans but I don't expect that they will have anything to say on the subject until mid 2018

Finally -- as I know that some would like me to run for Mayor or City Councillor of the City of Williams Lake in next fall's local elections, this is confirmation that my name will not be on the ballot in the City's 2018 Local Election


Sam Ketcham Pool Renovations Fully Complete

This afternoon -- the leisure side of the Sam Ketcham Pool (West Fraser Aquatic Centre) opened to the public after the main lap tank was open to the public earlier this year.  Please visit the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex Facebook page for operating times - click here

Meanwhile the Grand Opening for the Sam Ketcham Pool Renovations will take place this coming Thursday at 6pm....


Friday, December 8, 2017

Local Gov't Mtgs - Wk of Dec 11-15

The following local government of the Cariboo-Chilcotin are meeting next week, as follows:

Wells - Regular Council Meeting on Tuesday, December 12th at 7pm in Wells Council Chambers (4243 Sanders Ave).  On the Agenda:

* Presentation by the UNBC ENPL Urban Design students
* Tentative appointment of Deputy Mayor(s) for 2018
* Tentative Reappointment/ Appointment of Standing Committee Chairs
* Island Mountain Arts Letter of Support Request
* November 22, 2017 Wells Community Town Hall Meeting Results
* Resolutions to support two Rural Dividend Fund applications
* Various Staff Update Reports
* Proposed Garbage Collection Bylaw No. 156, 2017 - for 1st, 2nd and 3rd Readings
* Temporary Use Policy Adjustment, Bylaw No. 154, 2017 a Bylaw to amend the District of "Wells Official Community Plan Designation Bylaw No. 106, 2010" - For 3rd Reading

View the full Agenda here

Quesnel - Public Hearing on Proposed Bylaws 1829 and 1830 - Proposed Elliott Street Supportive Housing Development on Wednesday, December 13th at 7pm, Quesnel Seniors' Centre (461 Carson Ave).  View the full Agenda here with a BC Housing led Public Open House from 4:30pm - 6:45pm on the same night at Quesnel Seniors' Centre, as well.  More details on the Open House here

Williams Lake - Committee of the Whole Session on Tuesday, December 12th at 6pm in the Rick Hansen Boardroom (Basement - 450 Mart St). On the Agenda:

* Presentation from BC Wildfire Service: Krista Dunleavey and Bev Atkins, Cariboo Chilcotin Resource District: Harold Stolar and Kerri Howse re Community Wildfire Protection Planning

* 2018 Budget and 2018-2022 Financial Plan - General Fund Discussion

View the full Agenda here

Cariboo Regional District: Meetings as noted below

Wildfire Consultation Meeting - Lac La Hache Community Hall on Monday, Dec 11th at 6:30pm until 8:30pm

North Cariboo Rural Directors' Caucus - Tuesday, December 12th at 3pm in the CRD Quesnel Office (101-410 Kinchant St, Quesnel).  On the Agenda:

* Quesnel Mayor Bob Simpson to appear before the Caucus to discuss:

a) City of Quesnel Council Res. - Nov. 21, 2017 - Biohazard Needles
b) City of Quesnel Council Res. - Nov. 21, 2017 - Cannabis Revenue Sharing
c) City of Quesnel Letter to Solicitor General regarding Policing

* Request from Quesnel Amateur Radio Operators and Emergency Radio Communications, City of Quesnel
* 2018 Meeting Schedule
* In-Camera Session - Sec 90(1j - information prohibited from public disclosure as per Sec 21 of FOI Act) of the Community Charter

View the full Agenda here

North Cariboo Joint Committee - Tuesday, December 12th at 5:30pm in Quesnel Council Chambers.  On the Agenda:

* Delegations (3) -- Wildfire Recovery Team - Erin Robinson (Fraser Basin Council); Master Trails Project - Glenn Stanker, McElhanney; Cariboo Mining Association Economic Impact Study - Jackie Sargeant & Rick Wittner

* West Fraser Centre Project Update Report
* Parkland Lease
* 2018 North Cariboo Parks/Recreation Budget Update
* Letter from Quesnel Curling Club – 2019 Provincial Men’s Curling Championships
* Letter from Barlow Creek Commission - Vandalism
* Letter from FARMED - Request for Letter of Support

View the full Agenda here

Cariboo-Chilcotin Regional Hospital District Board - Friday, December 15th at 9:30am in the Cariboo Regional District Boardroom (180D North 3rd Avenue, Williams Lake).  On the Agenda:

* Delegation: Susan Paulsen re: Recruitment Activities Update
* Interior Health - Capital Projects and Planning Status Reports for October 2017
* Interior Health - Cardiac Education Series Improves Heart Health for Rural Communities
* Northern Health Connections - Modified Holiday Schedule
* Capital Funding Request from Northern Health for PACS and Cardiology System Upgrade

View the full Agenda here

Cariboo Regional District Board - Friday, December 15th at 9:45am or upon adjournment of the CCRHD Board in the Cariboo Regional District Boardroom (180D North 3rd Avenue, Williams Lake).  On the Agenda:

* Delegations (2) -- Stephanie Masun, CRD Recovery Manager, will appear before the Board to provide an interim report on recovery activities and Albert Nussbaum, Forest Analysis and Inventory Branch, Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, will appear before the Board to provide a detailed update on fire recovery progress, AAC determinations and resulting impact from this summer's wildfires

* Planning Bylaws for 3rd Reading or Adoption (4)
* Request for Video Surveillance at the Central Cariboo Transfer Station
* BC Rural Dividend Applications -- New Access Road Design Plans for Esler Sports Complex/Runway Overlay Design Plans for South Cariboo Regional Airport
* NDIT Application -- upgrades to infrastructure and capital purchases at 3 Nations General Store and Lodging
* 2018 – 2022 Provisional Five Year Financial Plan -- Approve for Public Consultation
* Grant for Assistance Applications in Areas C/K
* Committee/Commission Reports
* Report of the Regional District Administrator (CAO) as of Dec 7th
* In-Camera Session as per Sec 90(1a/k - appointment/negotiations) of the Community Charter

View the full Agenda here

2018 Property Assessment Preview

Courtesy of the BC Assessment Authority:

British Columbia's real estate market has seen continued activity in 2017 with residential and commercial property values showing growth in most areas. 2018 property assessment values will reflect what was happening around BC Assessment's uniform valuation date of July 1, 2017.

"The preliminary market analysis for 2018 property assessments is showing strong market conditions across most areas and property types in the province, with a few exceptions," says Assessor Tina Ireland. "Assessments for detached single family homes in central parts of Metro Vancouver, for example, will be relatively stable, while other parts of the province will see increases when compared to last year's assessments. Residential strata values are going up in most communities while commercial and industrial properties are also continuing to rise, particularly in the Vancouver area."

2018 property assessment highlights include:

i) Typical detached single family homes are very stable in the Metro Vancouver areas of Richmond, Vancouver, the North Shore and Burnaby; showing nominal changes in the zero to five per cent range.

ii) Other areas of the province can expect greater increases of 10-20% for detached single family homes, particularly across the Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island and the Okanagan.

iii) The residential strata market (i.e. condos) is quite robust with typical changes expected to be in the 10-30% range across Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island and the Okanagan; the higher end being notable in Metro Vancouver and Fraser Valley.

Typical commercial and industrial properties can expect strong increases across most of the province in the 10-20% range, with the markets around Vancouver upwards of 35% in some areas.
July 1st of each year marks the date BC Assessment estimates the market value of properties in B.C. BC Assessment's professional appraisers analyze current sales in the local area, as well as the property's size, age, quality, condition, view and location. Using a single common date ensures your property's assessed value is fair, equitable and uniform compared to the other properties in your community and across B.C.

"It is important to understand that large increases in property assessments do not automatically translate into a corresponding increase in property taxes," adds Ireland. "How your assessment changes relative to the average change in your community is what may affect your property taxes."

All British Columbia's property owners will receive their annual property assessment notices in early January, 2018. BC Assessment's website at will be updated on January 2, 2018 with access to a variety of 2018 property assessment information. This will include the ability for property owners to search and compare 2018 property assessments.