Monday, December 18, 2017

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

~SF


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

Business:

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

Delegation:

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

Finance

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)

Administration

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

Business:

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

Delegation:

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: www.merx.com/bch

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:

http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/forestry/managing-our-forest-resources/forest-health/forest-pests/bark-beetles/douglas-fir-beetle/management

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

Signed:

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

Delegation:

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

Business:

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 recovery@cariboord.ca

Thanks!

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

~SF

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

~SF

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....

~SF

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 bcassessment.ca 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.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

BC Liberal MLA's Rustad/Barnett propose amendments to Provincial Wildfire/Floods Review Terms of Reference

Earlier this week - the provincial government announced its' Provincial Wildfire/Floods Review, to be led by former BC Liberal Cabinet Minister and former Columbia Shuswap Regional District Chair George Abbott and Hereditary Chief of Sq’ewá:lxw (Skawahlook) First Nation Maureen Chapman

The proposed terms of reference for the Review are:

The strategic review of the Province’s emergency management system will examine and assess the provincial and local government response to the 2017 flooding and wildfire events, including the provision of recommendations that can assist the Province in improving upon its systems, processes and procedures.

Specifically, the review will focus on the governance aspects of the system, including statutes, regulations, policy and leadership practices that define the context within which the emergency management system operates.

The review will consider the spectrum of activities that are undertaken across the four phases representing the lifecycle of the BC Emergency Management System.

The review and recommendations will provide overall guidance to the Province on the following key focus areas:

Planning and Preparedness

Status of assessment of hazard, risk and vulnerabilities
Status of provincial governance, planning and preparedness levels
Capacity of the Province to plan for and ensure support to local governments, regional districts and First Nation communities
Status of local government, regional district and First Nation communities’ governance, planning and preparedness levels
Resourcing requirements for flood and fire events for all key capability assets
Review and status of actions taken from the Filmon Report to identify progress and determine whether there are any remaining gaps in implementing the recommendations
Prevention and Mitigation

Current activities and opportunities for new activities by government and partners, including activities at the landscape level, that could contribute to enhanced prevention and mitigation for natural hazards
Review of current forest management practices, including but not limited to hazard abatement and harvest age
Economic costs and benefits associated with existing practices and possible enhanced mitigation practices for natural hazards
Response

Execution of the 2016 BC Emergency Management System
Province’s ability to respond effectively and sustain operations over a longer term during major emergency events of provincial significance, including resourcing requirements for all key capability assets
Province’s ability to effectively support local government response during significant emergencies
Province’s ability to quickly and effectively secure required resources during critical incidents
Capacity of local government, regional districts and First Nations communities to respond effectively during major emergency events
State of co-ordination and communication structures and processes in place within the provincial government
Co-ordination and communication structures and process with other levels of governments and external partners including but not limited to First Nations, Canada, local governments and regional districts, communities and the public
Examination of private and public sector best practices to respond to major emergency events of provincial significance, including the identification of tools and approaches that may be effective in the B.C. context
Recovery

Current state and capacity for the Province to assist and support communities, businesses and individuals in recovery efforts
The terms of reference are designed to be as comprehensive as possible and the reviewers have the discretion to consider other items that may be brought forward in the context of emergency preparedness, response and recovery.

A final report and recommendations are due to government by April 30, 2018, to help inform government’s actions in advance of the 2018 freshet and wildfire seasons. If more time is needed, government will use interim recommendations.

Now - John Rustad, MLA for Nechako Lakes and Donna Barnett, MLA for Cariboo-Chilcotin have written to the Hon. Doug Donaldson - Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations & Rural Development, proposing amendments to the above mentioned Terms of Reference for the Provincial Wildfire/Floods Review

Read their letter to Minister Donaldson here

~SF

Sam Ketcham Pool Grand Opening - Dec 14th at 6pm

Joint Release of the Cariboo Regional District/City of Williams Lake:

Editor's Note -- I've been asked by my CRD Colleague, Area 'F' Director Joan Sorley, to participate in the Official Grand Opening Ceremony on her behalf, as this event conflicts with another event she needs to attend on the same night

Newly renovated West Fraser Aquatic Centre
Picture is snapshot of new pool area
The Cariboo Regional District (CRD) and the City of Williams Lake (City) have announced Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017, as the grand opening of the Sam Ketcham Pool at the West Fraser Aquatic Centre. There will be a ribbon cutting ceremony that day at 6 p.m., followed by a free swim at 6:30 p.m.

“We encourage the community to come out and celebrate the grand opening with us. We can’t wait to see everyone enjoying this beautiful new upgrade to the Sam Ketcham Pool,” stated Joan Sorley, CRD Electoral Area F Director and SKP Working Group Co-Chair.

Laurie Walters, City of Williams Lake Councillor and SKP Working Group Co-Chair, added, “This has been a long journey from the community consultation process and referendum to hiring the Tango team and waiting eagerly for the renovations to take shape. It truly has been ‘short-term pain for long-term gain’ and I believe we have met the community’s expectations for a high-quality facility.”

Entry to the free swim is by ticket only. Only 350 tickets are available and tickets must be picked up in advance at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex. Tickets are first come, first served, with a maximum of four per person. Tickets will indicate the entry time for the swim; times are staggered to reduce congestion in the change rooms.

Members of the public are also invited to attend the ribbon cutting ceremony at 6 p.m. on Dec. 14. Further, stop by the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex to enter a draw for a one-year pass to the 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 One of the West Fraser Aquatic Centre opened in August.

The Sam Ketcham Pool upgrade project is a joint initiative of the Cariboo Regional District and City of Williams Lake. Funding partners for the project included Northern Development Initiative Trust, West Fraser Mills and the federal government.

For pool hours, events and programs, find the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex on Facebook. Visit the Cariboo Regional District website at cariboord.ca and the City of Williams Lake site at williamslake.ca for further project information.

South Cariboo Joint Committee meets today!

Later today in 100 Mile Council Chambers (385 Birch Avenue) - members of the South Cariboo Joint Committee which includes all members of 100 Mile District Council and the Cariboo RD Directors for Areas G, H, L, will be meeting to consider the matters, listed below:

On the Agenda:

1) 2018 Grants for Assistance Applications (Jointly Funded between CRD Areas G, H, L & District of 100 Mile House

2) Referred Item - District of 100 Mile House - Schematic Design Review Martin Exeter Hall

View the full Agenda here

Taseko Mines loses in Federal Court re: New Prosperity

After the Feb 2013 federal government decision to deny an environmental certificate to Taseko Mines Ltd for New Prosperity and the subsequent decision to take the Federal Government to the Federal Court of Canada over process concerns  - the Court has rejected the arguments of Taseko Mines.

You can read the court decisions here and here

Chief Russell Myers Ross, Chief of Yunesit’in and Director of the Tsilhqot’in National Government was pleased with the decision saying:

“The Tsilhqot’in share gratitude in the conclusion of two fair judgements that serve as vindication to the decades of struggle to protect Nabas and Teztan Biny. In my opinion, these efforts by Taseko Mines Ltd. represents a waste of time and public money, and I believe it is necessary for this company to move on from fantasizing about this destructive project. This area remains significant to our Nation and this conflict is one reason why we have moved towards developing the Dasiqox Tribal Park – to move towards a space of reconciliation, reciprocity and consent.”


While Councillor Marilyn Baptiste, Councillor of the Xeni Gwet’in First Nations Government and Director of the Tsilhqot’in National Government said:

“The Tsilhqot’in hold great value in Teztan Biny and Nabas and their abundant resources. We are very proud of our Elders, our Youth, our Leaders, and many friends and neighbours from all walks of life, who sacrificed to protect this Tsilhqot’in sacred site and cultural school. We welcome this decision as a testament to those efforts. All levels of government need to continue to protect the lands and waters first and uphold the UNDRIP (United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples).”

Chief Roger William of the Xeni Gwet'in First Nations Government was equally pleased with the decision which you can read his comments here

For their part, Brian Pattison from Taseko Mines stated that the Company is currently reviewing the decision and had no further comment with regard to the Court's decision or the impact of the project, moving forward

The Court's decision could be further appealed, upon being granted permission, to the Supreme Court of Canada


Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Quesnel Council Highlights - Dec 5th mtg

Courtesy of the City of Quesnel:

Accessible Parking Awareness Program
Accessibility Committee Members, Lynn Dunkley and Alison Duddy, provided Council with an overview of the Accessible Parking Awareness Program and to request funding of the Program’s 2018 budget. This Program, in its 6th year of operation, has a main focus to educate and increase the general public’s awareness around the importance of having accessible parking stalls made available for the people who depend on them. Challenges around accessible parking spots results when abled-bodied people park in the accessible parking spots, people not displaying their placard correctly on their review mirror, or disabled people parking in the accessible spot but remains in their vehicle while an abled bodied person exits the vehicle to do business. Parking in designated Accessible Parking Spots requires a valid parking permit acquire through SPARCBC, but regulations must be followed. The Accessible Parking Awareness Program 2018 operation budget request was referred to Council’s Financial Sustainability and Audit Committee for further consideration.
2017 Year in Review
Mayor Bob Simpson presented a Council Report outlining the main accomplishments for 2017. A summary of accomplishments are:
  • Fiscal prudence and implementation of three-year tax framework of controlling costs, decreasing overall industrial taxation and addressing the City’s infrastructure deficit.
  • Attracted grant dollars that enhances the community’s attractiveness and addresses the City’s infrastructure deficit.
  • Fiscal plan that allows for investments in core infrastructure and amenities, such as new playgrounds and the Spirit Center Downtown Washrooms.
  • City’s new brand and website that has modernized the City’s image and created a user-friendly website.
  • First Nations recognition and reconciliation initiatives have resulted in a signed protocol agreement with the Lhtako Dene Nation. Further, the City has formally recognized Lhtako Dene’s traditional territory at City-owned civic properties, and formally stated at the beginning of each Council meeting.
  • Completion of the new ice arena, the West Fraser Center.
  • Adopted a Housing Incentives Bylaw that has led to two new housing developments in North Quesnel.
  • Supported a major emergency response for the 2017 wildfires by a host to evacuees, supported a firefighting base at the airport, and provided structural fire protection to impacted communities in the South Cariboo.
  • Engaged with the new provincial government where it is hoped that public investments will result in public service improvements around transportation, hospital, schools and the North Cariboo Community Campus.
To view full details of this report, please visit the City’s website.
2018 Capital Budget
The City’s 2018 Capital Budget, totaling $11,003,595, has now been approved by Council. The largest capital project for 2018 is the Reid Street Revitalization Project estimated at $6.13 million. The 2018 Capital Budget is based on grants of $1.8 million, with other funding coming from reserves, utility fees and taxation. A full list of all 2018 Capital projects is available on the City’s website.
Proposed Elliott Street Supportive Housing – Good Neighbour Agreement Amendments
The Good Neighbour Agreement is an agreement that provides an official means of communication between the proposed Elliott Street Supportive Housing facility and the community, if the development is approved. The Good Neighbourhood Agreement is a communication tool only, and does not provide regulation or enforcement measures on the development. The Good Neighbour Agreement has been amended by removing Northern Health as a signatory to the agreement, and by removing the Quesnel Tillicum Society and North Cariboo Aboriginal Family Program Society as named optional parties in the agreement. Northern Health will still provide consultative services on best practises and service delivery. Next steps include the 5 pm Open House and 7 pm Public Hearing for this development on Wednesday, December 13, 2017 at Quesnel and District Seniors Centre located at 461 Carson Avenue.
South Quesnel - Highway Haulers and Frontage Roads
Council reviewed parking on frontage roads located in the South Quesnel Business District, recognizing the safety problems caused by big trucks parking along the Frontage roads. Council’s intent is to ban parking on frontage roads along Rita Road, Balsam Avenue, Newman Road, and Chew Road (from Tim Hortons to the Sandman hotel). No Parking signs will be installed by the City’s Public Works department followed by enhanced bylaw enforcement.
Next Meetings
  • 5:30 pm, December 12, 2017 – North Cariboo Joint Planning Committee
  • 7:00 pm, January 16, 2018 – Regular Council Meeting

Positive signs in our economy

Courtesy of the City of Quesnel:

Editor's Note -- this week's Quesnel Council Column is written by Quesnel Mayor Bob Simpson.  He can be reached via email here

One of the early findings from our Wildfire Recovery Team’s efforts is that this summer’s wildfires have increased the sense of economic uncertainty in our region among residents and small business owners. While this isn’t a surprising or unexpected result, there is evidence all around us that actually presents a positive counterpoint to this deepening uncertainty.

Investment in the retail sector is up, as can be seen in the new buildings underway and major renovations undertaken in the south Quesnel commercial area and the major renovation in progress at West Park Mall. So far in 2017, we’ve seen $2.2 million in retail investment in Quesnel compared to only $34,000 in 2016. The City’s planning department is also working with actual and potential investors on other projects that will fill some of our currently empty commercial spaces with innovative enterprises.

Another indicator that we’re experiencing a positive business environment is that recent reports from our retail sector suggest that many businesses will be closing out the year with increased sales volumes over last year (please shop local for your Christmas gifts and make this a banner year for all our local businesses!).

The two major housing projects underway in North Quesnel and the major renovation to Milestone Manor on Front Street are not only a boost to our local economy, they represent an investment in the future of our community by creating more housing options to help us retain and attract residents. Council hopes that these projects are merely the start of a trend that will see private sector investment in multi-unit housing as well, and we are actively looking at options to entice these private sector investments.

Council is also hopeful that we’ve presented a strong case to the provincial government for significant public sector investments in our community in the near future. Investments in our hospital, schools, trades facility at CNC, and highway 97 will all provide a strong boost to our local economy, improve the attractiveness of Quesnel to new residents and new investment, and improve the resiliency and sustainability of our community.

Significant investments are also being made in our forest sector, which remains the foundation of our economy. West Fraser, Tolko, and C&C Wood Products have all made recent investments in their Quesnel operations and have plans underway for more investments. The decision by West Fraser to rebuild the Westpine MDF Plant after the 2016 explosion is a clear sign of that company’s confidence in the future of our community, as are West Fraser’s continued investments in their other Quesnel operations and in the new arena and other recreational amenities in Quesnel.

Other resource sectors in our region are also seeing increased investment. Barkerville Gold Mines development of a major gold field near Wells has boosted the Quesnel economy and has created significant job opportunities in our area. And, we are seeing increased investment in the agriculture sector as new (and younger) entrepreneurs move into our region to access our relatively inexpensive agricultural land.

While this summer’s wildfires created legitimate concerns and uncertainty about the future of our forest-dependent community, there are signs all around us that individual and corporate investors have confidence in the resiliency and sustainability of our local economy.

28th Anniversary of Ecole Polytechnique

Names of those killed at Ecole
Polytechnique in Montreal on
December 6th, 1989
Remembering 28 years ago today when a 25 year male walked into the École Polytechnique in Montreal and shot 28 people including killing 14 women.

Let us remember their deaths and work towards that ideal of ridding ourselves of #ViolenceAgainstWomen, in all of its' forms and in every location, be it home, work or in the public

More information on this topic can be viewed here

~SF

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

WL Council Highlights - Dec 5th mtg

Present: Mayor W. 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 Nov 21st, 2018 WL City Council meeting received/adopted

Delegation:

1) Leif Douglass & Cole Hickson, TRU Students' Union appeared before Council to request a Letter of Support Request for 'Fund the Future' Initiative

A Question/Answer Period ensued

Mayor Cobb, on behalf of Council, thanked Mssrs Douglass/Hickson for their time/information

Resolved - Council agreed to provide a letter of support for the TRU Students' Union 'Fund the Future' initiative calling on the provincial government to re-evaluate the Thompson Rivers University funding formula

Business:

1) Council received for information the accounts payable computer cheque listings dated November 23 and 30, 2017

2) Council authorized the write-off of property taxes receivable, including penalty and interest amounts, on three manufactured home properties at 4-1700 Broadway Ave South, 37-1700 Broadway Ave South and 10-1406 Broadway Avenue South

3) Council ratified two emails polls recently taken to authorize:

a) submission of an application for funding by the Fraser Basin Council on behalf of the City of Williams Lake to the Strategic Wildfire Prevention Initiative before October 6, 2017, with the City contributing a maximum of 25% in cash or in kind ($13,000) and City staff providing the overall management of the funding

b) submission of an application for funding by the Williams Lake Community Forest (WLCF) on behalf of the City of Williams Lake to the Strategic Wildfire Prevention Initiative before October 6, 2017, with the City contributing a maximum of 25% in cash or in kind ($20,204) for the WLCF Fuel Management Prescription and a maximum of 10% in cash or in kind ($13,683) for the Birch Lane Fuel Management Treatment, and City staff providing the overall management of the funding

4) Council agreed to annual appointments, as follows:

a) 2018 Council Meetings Calendar
b) 2018 Monthly Acting Mayor rotation amongst the 6 City Councillors
c) CRD Director - Mayor Cobb with Councillor Bonnell as Alternate
d) Internal/External Appointments for 2017/18
e) NDIT Regional Advisory Committee - Councillor C. Smith with Mayor Cobb as Alternate
f) Jan 2nd, 2018 as "Wrestling Day" in the City of Williams Lake

Councillor L. Walters left the meeting at 6:25pm

5) Council awarded the contract for the supply of unleaded gasoline and diesel to PFA Canada for the tendered price of $1.1236 per litre of Unleaded and $1.1950 per litre of Diesel

6) Council approved submission of an application to the BC Rural Dividend Fund Program for the proposed Airport Investment Master Plan, with funding from the City of Williams Lake in the amount of $25,000 to be provided in the 2018 City of Williams Lake Financial Plan

7) Council endorsed 3 Committee of the Whole recommendations, from its' Nov 28th Committee Meeting as follows:

a) That pursuant to Committee of Whole Council Report #38-2017, the report of the Chief Financial Officer dated November 21, 2017 along with the letter from the Downtown Williams Lake Business Improvement Association be received and their application for a Fee for Service for the 2018 Stampede Street Party, now the Four Direction Festival, be denied.

Council divided.  Approved by the following motion:

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

Negative - Councillor S. Nelson

b) That pursuant to Committee of Whole Council Report #39-2017 and the report of the Chief Financial Officer dated November 23, 2017, Council approve the implementation of the Citizen Budget web-based interactive budget simulator tool and authorize an increase of $2,750 annually to the Finance operating budget to maintain the tool

c) That pursuant to Committee of Whole Council Report #40-2017 and the report of the Chief Financial Officer dated November 21, 2017, Council approve the extension of the existing contract with the insurance broker of record Hub International Barton Insurance to 2018 to allow for uninterrupted insurance coverage and a proper Request for Proposals process in 2018.

8) Council received a letter from the Cariboo Regional District extending their appreciation for the City of Williams Lake's assistance during the 2017 wildfires

9) Council received In-Camera Report #11 reporting an In-Camera resolution passed at the November 21st Closed Williams Lake City Council Meeting, as follows:

That the letter from the Cariboo Heritage Park Society dated October 6, 2017 regarding establishing a “Heritage Park” on the upper level of the Stampede grounds known as Pinchbeck Park be received and endorsed in principle

Members of Council reported out on their recent activities
The CAO provided a report on his recent activities

Media Question Period - Airport/Flight School/Interactive Citizen Budget program (Tribune)

Meeting recessed at 7:05pm for the Public Hearing - Zoning Amendment No 2259
Meeting resumed at 7:07pm 

10) Following the Public Hearing - Council gave third reading to Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 2259, 2017 and agreed to forward the Bylaw to the Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure for approval, as per Section 52 of the Transportation Act

Meeting adjourned at 7:08pm

Monday, December 4, 2017

BC Emergency Response Review Launched

Courtesy of the Government of BC:


The B.C. government has launched an independent review of this year’s unprecedented wildfire and spring flooding seasons, BC Premier John Horgan announced today.

“Wildfires and flooding this year devastated many areas of our province, displacing tens of thousands of people,” said Horgan. “While we work hard to help the people and communities recover, we also owe it to those people to make sure we learn from the events of the past spring and summer. I’m pleased that George Abbott and Chief Maureen Chapman have agreed to lead this external review.”

The review team will examine all aspects of the Province’s response to the floods and wildfires of 2017 and will also engage with British Columbians. The team will deliver a report with recommendations before April 30, 2018, that can be used to inform the 2018 spring freshet and wildfire season. The independent strategic review complements the BC Wildfire Service and Emergency Management BC evaluations of this year’s operations, which are currently underway.

“What B.C. went through this past year was unprecedented with respect to wildfires and flooding,” said Abbott. “Given the scale of these events and the enormous effort it took to deal with them, this review is an opportunity to take a closer look at what took place and how the government could enhance its response strategies.”

“It’s important to have an independent team look at this year’s flooding and wildfire seasons with fresh eyes,” said Chapman. “The goal is to learn from those experiences and improve the government’s procedures for dealing with these kinds of events.”

George Abbott has a long and distinguished career in public service and a wealth of local and provincial government experience. He served as minister of five different ministries from 2001 to 2012, including the Ministry of Sustainable Resource Management from 2004 to 2005.

Maureen Chapman is Hereditary Chief of the Skawahlook First Nation and participates on a number of committees with the BC Assembly of First Nations, First Nations Summit and Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs.

The historic scope of 2017’s wildfires and freshet events prompted an all-out response by the B.C. government. This included the declaration of a provincewide state of emergency on July 7 that lasted for 10 full weeks — the longest in the province’s history.

“The BC Wildfire Service evaluates its wildfire response and firefighting operations after every significant wildfire season to determine which practices could be improved,” said BC's Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, the Hon. Doug Donaldson. “This year will be no exception, and George Abbott and Chief Maureen Chapman’s review will be a valuable tool to complete that important work.”

Widespread flooding this spring, and a record-setting wildfire season, resulted in numerous evacuations and significant damage to private property, infrastructure and natural resources.

“The dedication and courage exhibited this year by BC Wildfire Service and Emergency Management BC staff, first responders, contractors and countless volunteers was remarkable,” said Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth. “Were it not for their professionalism and hard work, this year’s events could have been much worse. We owe it to them to ensure this review better prepares our province for future events.”

Quick Facts:

a) The term “freshet” refers to the movement of water associated with the thawing of ice and snow each spring. This runoff can result in high water levels in streams, lakes and other waterways. Flooding may occur in nearby areas.

b) Over 65,000 people were displaced over the course of the wildfire season. As of Nov. 30, 2017, 1,346 wildfires had burned over 1.2 million hectares since April 1, 2017. This is almost 10 times the 10-year average for hectares burned in a fire season (141,064 hectares).

c) As of Nov. 30, 2017, direct fire suppression costs for this season (since April 1, 2017) were estimated at over $564 million.

d) This year’s freshet and wildfire events resulted in the largest Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements (DFAA) claim in British Columbia’s history, conservatively estimated at $400 million as of Nov. 30, 2017.

DRAFT Terms of Reference for the Review:

The strategic review of the Province’s emergency management system will examine and assess the provincial and local government response to the 2017 flooding and wildfire events, including the provision of recommendations that can assist the Province in improving upon its systems, processes and procedures.

Specifically, the review will focus on the governance aspects of the system, including statutes, regulations, policy and leadership practices that define the context within which the emergency management system operates.

The review will consider the spectrum of activities that are undertaken across the four phases representing the lifecycle of the BC Emergency Management System.

The review and recommendations will provide overall guidance to the Province on the following key focus areas:

Planning and Preparedness

Status of assessment of hazard, risk and vulnerabilities
Status of provincial governance, planning and preparedness levels
Capacity of the Province to plan for and ensure support to local governments, regional districts and First Nation communities
Status of local government, regional district and First Nation communities’ governance, planning and preparedness levels
Resourcing requirements for flood and fire events for all key capability assets
Review and status of actions taken from the Filmon Report to identify progress and determine whether there are any remaining gaps in implementing the recommendations
Prevention and Mitigation

Current activities and opportunities for new activities by government and partners, including activities at the landscape level, that could contribute to enhanced prevention and mitigation for natural hazards
Review of current forest management practices, including but not limited to hazard abatement and harvest age
Economic costs and benefits associated with existing practices and possible enhanced mitigation practices for natural hazards
Response

Execution of the 2016 BC Emergency Management System
Province’s ability to respond effectively and sustain operations over a longer term during major emergency events of provincial significance, including resourcing requirements for all key capability assets
Province’s ability to effectively support local government response during significant emergencies
Province’s ability to quickly and effectively secure required resources during critical incidents
Capacity of local government, regional districts and First Nations communities to respond effectively during major emergency events
State of co-ordination and communication structures and processes in place within the provincial government
Co-ordination and communication structures and process with other levels of governments and external partners including but not limited to First Nations, Canada, local governments and regional districts, communities and the public
Examination of private and public sector best practices to respond to major emergency events of provincial significance, including the identification of tools and approaches that may be effective in the B.C. context
Recovery

Current state and capacity for the Province to assist and support communities, businesses and individuals in recovery efforts
The terms of reference are designed to be as comprehensive as possible and the reviewers have the discretion to consider other items that may be brought forward in the context of emergency preparedness, response and recovery.

A final report and recommendations are due to government by April 30, 2018, to help inform government’s actions in advance of the 2018 freshet and wildfire seasons. If more time is needed, government will use interim recommendations.