Trent Ernst, Editor
Present, Mayor McPherson, Councillors Caisley, Kirby, Krakowka, Mackay and Scott. Councillor Howe joins in via phone.
PETITIONS AND DELEGATIONS
MAYOR BUMSTEAD, DAWSON CREEK REGARDING THE SOUTH PEACE HEALTH SOCIETY
Mayor Bumstead, Dawson Creek, presented on the South Peace Health Society and request support for incorporation of the Society.
He says the mayors of the South Peace, as well as the area directors have been meeting for the last year and a half talking about common issues. Health is one issue they have been putting a lot of thought behind.
In Dawson Creek, they have a health committee, helping support the work done by Northern Health, to help orient new physicians to the community and to help locums and resident physicians to stay.
This leads to the formation of a health care society. “A society operating at arms length can drive some of the initiatives we think are important,” he says.
He applied for a grant last year and got $10,000 to build the society. “It will be a society made up of community members,” he says. One of the purposes is to deal with short term accommodations for new physicians and locums.
He talks about recruitment initiatives and ways to encourage people to come to small communities.
Health and education are the foundation of quality of life in a community, he says.
He says they are not looking for a financial commitment from the Council, he says, but just wants to see the region working together to attract professionals. “If we can complement each other, it makes us better as individuals and as a region.”
Councillor Krakowka asks about the North Peace and why they aren’t involved. “It was about trying to build a structure for the four communities in the South Peace,” he says. “It wasn’t about exclusivity, but about the service sector that relies on Dawson Creek.”
Councillor Caisley asks what form the housing would take. Bumstead says his vision would be to start out with, say, a duplex, which they could house nurses, or a family. He says the society might decide to focus elsewhere, but it is his experience that housing is important. “Let the society decide what the structure will be. We’ll help them with finding and raising the money.”
TR SPORTSMAN’S ASSOCIATION
Correspondence received from Ken Klikach, President, TR Sportsman’s Association, regarding removal of the old Visitors Information Centre. EDO Jordan Wall says they have since withdrawn this request.
MINISTRY OF TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE REGARDING HIGHWAY 52
Correspondence received from Minister Todd Stone thanking the District of Tumbler Ridge for the meeting held during UBCM 2016 and advising that senior staff at the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure will follow up regarding resurfacing Highway 52. Mayor says we just need to keep talking about this with them. Councillor Scott asks if this is something that we can take to UBCM again? Mayor says he saw the list highways sent to the regional district, and this wasn’t even on it.
BC RURAL DIVIDEND FUNDING – MINISTRY OF FORESTS, LANDS AND NATURAL RESOURCE OPERATIONS
Correspondence received from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations advising that the District of Tumbler Ridge has been approved for a $100,000 grant.
RESPONSE TO THE WEST FRASER 2017 ANNUAL OPERATING PLAN REVIEW
Correspondence received from the Tumbler Ridge Community Forest (TRCF) requesting that the District of Tumbler Ridge also sign the letter that the TRCF is sending to Chetwynd Forest Industries regarding West Fraser’s 2017 Annual Operating Plan Review.
The TRCF has been working on locating expansion areas for the approved volume expansion of its Annual Allowable Cut, says the letter. “In good faith the community has shared its expansion interests with West Fraser and sent them detailed maps, statistics and rationale on our resultant expansion area selection.”
However, West Fraser is planning on cutting a significant number of blocks within the TRCF’s expansion area.
“The TRCF choose an expansion area respecting the blocks proposed by West Fraser noted in 2016,” says the proposed letter. “At that time, the TRCF requested that West Fraser not move forward with developments in the TRCF interest area, notably Moose Lake. This request has been disregarded and no consultation or explanation was provided to the TRCF.”
The Community Forest is requesting that West Fraser refrain from expending resources in the TRCF’s refined expansion area. The TRCF is targeting an expansion area expected to be approved in late 2017 by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.
Councillor Mackay says in the letter they talked about their expansion, and they asked for West Fraser’s input. “Some of the reasoning behind the areas we chose,” he says “was geographical features. The rivers, the mountain ridges, etc.”
The letter was sent February 21, says Councillor Mackay, and it was never answered. Then they came out with their review, he says, with nine cutblocks inside the expansion area. Mackay says this is not the first time this has happened. Motion is made to sign the letter. Passes.
INTER-COMMUNITY BUSINESS LICENCING BYLAW
Council gave final reading to the new Intercommunity Business Licence Bylaw
BUSINESS LICENCE BYLAW
Council gave first and second reading to a bylaw that will allow for business licensing and regulation of businesses within the District of Tumbler Ridge. The proposed bylaw includes a process for mobile food vendors, mobile retail vendors, special events, community markets and charitable societies.
MUNICIPAL TICKETING INFORMATION (MTI) BYLAW
Council gave first and second reading for changes to the “Municipal Ticket Information (MTI) Amendment Bylaw to reflect changes to the Business Licence Bylaw.
ZONING AMENDMENT BYLAW
Council gave first and second reading to a new Zoning Amendment Bylaw, which reflects changes to the Business Licence Bylaw, adding in Home Operator—Contractor.
CEMETERY AMENDMENT BYLAW
Council gave first, second and third readings to an amendment to the District of Tumbler Ridge Cemetery bylaw, allowing the size of memorials permitted in the cemetery to be relaxed to reflect maximum dimensions and to allow for one memorial to span two related persons buried side by side in adjacent graves.
ANIMAL RESPONSIBILITY AMENDMENT BYLAW
Council gave first, second and third readings of the District of Tumbler Ridge Animal Responsibility Bylaw, which brings the District in line with provincial standards for prohibited snake length, and adds in prohibitions for lizards and crocodylia.
In 2016 Council attended a workshop held by Christina Benty and Caleb Moss of Strategic Leadership Solutions. The session, says the staff report, focused around the role of Council, the role of Administration and how the two aspects of the District can work together in a best practices manner to move the District forward. “Due to time constraints, sections on Council interactions, the role of the Mayor, and other topics were not completed,” says the report. “Due to this and the principle that good governance needs continual work it was recommended that a second session be scheduled.”
Three Councillors can’t attend the proposed date of May 12–13. Councillor Krakowka says he has no interest in attending. He says the list of proposed questions make him feel like a puppet. Councillor Scott she would like to see a focus on strategic planning rather than governance. Councillor Mackay points out the governance workshops help define focus for the Council. He says his concern is this is the third year for the Council; this is something that should have been done in the first three months.
Councillor Kirby says the last session was really helpful, but she’s not sure another one is needed. She’d probably vote against it.
Councillor Howe says it might be better to book it for the first couple of months for the next council.
AIRPORT LAND LEASE – YELLOWHEAD HELICOPTERS
Some members of Council have been pushing that staff ensure that they recoup their cost for the lease for Yellowhead Helicopters, as the rate they are charging seems too low. However, says Jordan Wall, the time of actually administering the lease is only a few minutes to enter payments into the system and will only cost the District an estimated $10/year in staff time. He recommends that Council authorize the Mayor and Corporate Officer to execute an airport land lease with Yellowhead Helicopters Ltd. for a three year term beginning April 1, 2017 and ending March 31, 2020 at the rate of $1.30/m2 per annum. Councillor Krakowka says this is the same amount that’s been put before Council twice. He says it doesn’t factor in airport upgrades.
Wall says staff has put the cost of airport improvements in front of Council before. “If you want to recoup significant costs from that, you’re going to need to increase the amount by a thousand or two thousand percent.”
He says staff has put forward three different proposals. If Council wants to see a different price point, Council should propose that.
Councillor Mackay says the last discussion they asked for a bunch of things to be added, and they are all in this report.
Passes. Councillor Howe opposed.
POOL DISINFECTION SYSTEM
Council approves the Lifecycle Maintenance Strategy for Pool Operating Systems for the Tumbler Ridge Aquatics Centre for the period of 2017 to 2022; and Council authorizes the $150,000 budgeted for the pool in 2017 be used for phases 1 and 2 of the Lifecycle Maintenance Strategy for Pool Operating Systems. See full story for more details.
CLEAN WATER AND WASTEWATER FUND (CWWF) GRANT APPROVAL
Council approved $1,050,000.00 funds required to complete the Aeration project to improve the aeration system that treats the town’s Wastewater. Councillor Scott asks if this was in the budget? It wasn’t. Wall says this project is only moving forward if they received the grant. “We had anticipated doing it in 2018, but when it was approved, there were different requirements, saying the work needed to be done by end of 2017.”
Councillor Krakowka asks how much this would add to the budget. Wall says at most about $100,000.
Councillor Mackay congratulates Public Work. “That’s a hell of a kickass grant to get.”
2017 IIHF WORLD UNDER 17 HOCKEY CHALLENGE
The District of Tumbler Ridge has been in discussions since late January with Hockey Canada and the 2017 IIHF World Under–17 Hockey Challenge Host Committee concerning the possibility of having Tumbler Ridge as the site for pre-tournament training of an international federation team with an exhibition game.
In April critical meetings are going to be held with both the Host Committee and Hockey Canada representatives. At the meeting(s), there is an expectation for Tumbler Ridge to have the required business and legacy plans prepared for consideration; as well as a financial commitment from the municipality submitted to the stakeholders.
Council approved an unbudgeted operating grant of up to $20,000 of cash and in kind expenses was granted to the Tumbler Ridge Minor Hockey Association to host an international federation for their training camp and pre-tournament exhibition game between October 31 and November 4, 2017, subject to being awarded the event. The Community Services & Facilities Department, with the support of Tumbler Ridge Minor Hockey Association volunteers will manage the planning and logistics associated with the event. A letter of financial underwriting will be provided by the District of Tumbler Ridge to Hockey Canada and the Host Committee for the IIHF World Under–17 Hockey Challenge.
The mayor says this could be one of the best things to come to town in the way of hockey. He says at the South Peace Economic Development meeting today they discussed this, and have $10,000 set aside for this.
Councillor Caisley says his understanding is that the amount this will cost the community is undetermined. He is wondering if Council should hold on to this until the amount is known. “If it is $150,000, are we prepared to go on with it?”
The mayor says he wants to see this go through, and then they can go looking for sponsorship. “I don’t think we can go ahead unless we support it. What I was told today was the cost of pre-tournament things like this is borne by the team itself, not by the people who set up the tournament.”
Wall says staff has done their best to provide information, but there are a lot of unknowns. However, if there is no financial support committed, there’s a good chance the opportunity will go away.
Councillor Mackay says these teams would be coming into town, staying in our hotels, eating at our restaurants.
Boyd Clark says in terms of training, one of the teams will be here for five days. The second team would arrive on the date of the game. That team would be training in a separate centre. He says he has estimated cost high and revenue low, and there’s a good chance there will be strong corporate sponsorship.
POLICIES AND PROCEDURES COMMITTEE
TREND MOUNTAIN CONFERENCE CENTRE – FREE AND REDUCED RATE USES – DRAFT POLICY
Mayor says the Trend Conference Centre has become the place to have these sort of things, but there are still Rooms 4 and 5. “The Trend Centre should be used to attract people to town. We don’t have enough free allocations to give everyone access.”
Councillor Krakowka says when the minor hockey association is bringing in all these tournaments, all the people staying at the hotel, it should be the hotel who offers the discount. He says the Fire Department should be automatic, as these are the people that put their lives on the line for the District.
Councillor Kirby says when you look at the Tumbler Ridge Children Centre using the space for their fundraiser, that’s important, she’d weight that higher than an awards banquet.
Councillor Mackay says his understanding is the District gets five free, five at a discounted rate and five at a slightly less discounted rate, and the District can offer these other ones as well.
Mayor says bringing it to Council is just the easy route. Councillor Krakowka makes a motion to offer one free use to the fire department. Passes.
Councillor Kirby moves to give one free use to the TRCCS for their annual Christmas Fundraiser. Passes.
Wall says the five free uses was made with the original owner. “Anglo American is not obligated to offer these free uses, so it might not last.”
TR DAYS SOCIETY – GRIZFEST 2017
Councillor Kirby recuses herself.
“Grizfest is in a tight situation this year,” says the Mayor. “What are we looking for now?”
Wall says they have asked for the reinstatement of the $15,000 and keep running it the way it did before. “They have said if that doesn’t happen, there is a chance they won’t be able to run it.”
The mayor says the discussion he’s heard is that Grizfest is a District event. If that’s so, he says, the town needs to be more involved. “It brings a lot of people to this town, but does it bring the right people? It seems a lot of the local people don’t get involved.”
Councillor Scott says the event has been struggling for the last four years. The Directors have taken on more and more even though there are fewer and fewer people. “In the programmer’s job description, it is listed that they should be assisting in the running of special events, including Grizfest.”
After Cheryl Hayden left, she says, the Directors began taking on more and more responsibility.
She says this year, Grizfest has a short time-frame and people aren’t sure what’s happening.
Councillor Krakowka says the RCMP comes in and makes a report saying that there haven’t been a lot of incidents, so we’re bringing at least some of the right people. “I think we should be doing what we can do to assist the board to make Grizfest happen.” But he wonders if it can be done with the staff the District has.
He moves that the Grizfest is supported this year as they were last year.
Councillor Mackay says the TR Days Society does a lot more than Grizfest. There’s a lot of residents who go year after year. He says the decision that was made cut them off at the knees. He says he supports the motion for this year. Councillor Scott says going forward, they can plan what to do for 2018. “If we book bands early enough, we make the tour tee-shirts for the bands,” he says. “Tumbler Ridge is known for Grizfest. It would be a shame to see it fizzle out.”
Councillor Howe says he still sticks behind his effort to cut costs. “We keep forgetting about the $2-million we lost in revenue. We have to find areas to cut out. We are not at arms length with Grizfest. Anything that goes on with Grizfest, we are legally responsible for it. I’m not good with doing that. That discussion needs to happen. I’m not prepared to go back to that. They can use some of the money to hire back Joy. That was the initial discussion we had, and that’s where it should stay.”
Councillor Caisley says the sense he’s getting is to support it this year, and then discuss what support to give it next year. That way, any commitments that have already been made can go ahead with.
Councillor Krakowka says he agrees with the 15 percent cutback, but he believes that Grizfest needs to happen. “People who come to town don’t just come to town for two days. They go riverboating. They go to the museum.” He says the community is at risk for everything that happens in town, like the Canada day fireworks.
The Mayor says the trouble with the 15 percent cut for this year is it came at exactly the wrong time.
Motion passes. Councillor Howe opposed.
Councillor Krakowka says there was discussion about putting the sign up at the new VIC. He says he was sure there was a motion to see the cost of getting a new signpost log.
Councillor Mackay says one of the things he’d like to see is approaching the community forest to get a tree for the Roman Walkway for Christmas.
Councillor Krakowka moves that staff orders a log similar to the ones used for the VIC centre to be set up near the VIC, and a tree for the Roman Walkway and that staff prepare a report on a suitable location for the signpost.
Mayor says he wants to see a report on where to put the signpost.
Councillor Kirby says she doesn’t see the signpost working at the VIC or the Roman Walkway. She suggests the museum.
Passes. Councillor Kirby opposed.
TOWN HALL – SCHEDULE & TOPICS & SERVICE LEVELS – DISCUSSION
Over the course of the 2016 Financial Plan deliberations and Core Service Review, members of Council have expressed a desire to reduce service levels and by extension and reduce the expenditures of the District.
However, says CAO Jordan Wall in his report, identifying and agreeing upon service level reductions or eliminations is not an easy nor quick process as can be evidenced by other Northeast communities stumbling over the same process. “It is important to remember that Government grows and shrinks slower than private business. This has to do with many factors that include the policy board structure of Council, large and diverse stakeholder groups, the public, and the union environment in which the District operates.
These changes are not impossible, says Wall, but require a structured approach to be successful.
Discussion is to create a list of services the community provides and get residents to discuss what services they see as essential and what they see as premium service.
Councillor Caisley says that’s the first priority, to get feedback from residents.
Mayor says he’d like to see the list before the final vote on the budget.
Councillor Krakowka proposes April 19 for town hall meeting. Wall asks about format. Mayor says panel style.
ACTION ITEMS – PRIORITIZATION
Councillor Mackay says the question is how are action items prioritized. Wall says the items that are in the strategic plan are always prioritized above other items.
Councillor Howe says he thought the timeline for selling rural lots was ridiculous. That’s where this discussion started. “I thought that was on the strategic plan, and that’s what we were going to follow. The whole intention was when the mines returned, we’d have these lots ready.” He says it feels like they’ve missed the boat again.
Wall says in 2016, administration put a report before Council saying here’s the steps to purchase rural residential lots. At the time, he says, Council instructed staff not to buy the lots, but to help people buy lots themselves. Recently, this decision was changed, so they are working on it. “We can do anything Council wants, but again, Council instructed us not to move forward with that.”
Councillor Krakowka asks how to speed up that timeline.
Councillor Caisley says why would we put one penny into buying one, ten, one hundred acres without getting a sense of what the residents want? Wouldn’t we want to get some kind of fix on that prior to spending money to do it?
Councillor Kirby says she would guess that if that was Councillor Howe’s platform, he already has people who want this.
Councillor Scott says she knows people who have left Tumbler Ridge because there was no rural lots.
She says her recollection was that the District would provide a checklist on how to purchase these properties.
Wall says this is the problem; Council isn’t even sure what they want; it’s tough for staff to provide that.
RETURN TO REGULAR MEETING
Passes. Councillor Howe opposed.
Councillor Mackay attended Community Forest meeting regarding convention.
Councillor Scott attended a building Healthy Communities meeting. She says Northern Health rep has not attended. Wondering if they can get a letter from Council asking for a new rep. “If we don’t have Northern Health’s support, it’s redundant.” She makes a motion. Passes.
Councillor Krakowka moves to release a press release in regards to legal issues around Graham Johnson. Councillor Caisley asks why? Councillor Krakowka says he wants people to know what’s happening. Councillor Mackay says he doesn’t want the District to seem mean spirited. “We got our pound of flesh.” Motion passes.
Councillor Kirby says there’s some question about Conuma parking in downtown parking lots.
Wall says there’s no ability to enforce anything if people are just parking there short term. He has talked to Conuma and said he doesn’t think it’s a long-term solution. He says Council probably doesn’t need to change any bylaws, as Conuma has been a good corporate citizen. He says they are looking for other options, but there aren’t any. “The downtown parking lots weren’t built to support that number of vehicles,” he says. Suggest that, if it becomes a problem, the mayor can talk to them.
Councillor Howe says the non-paved area of the high school parking lot is an option. “If we’re going to approach them we should have a solution.”
Mayor and Wall will go for a drive.
Councillor Caisley has nothing to report.
Councillor Howe has nothing to report.
Mayor met with doctors. Says lab issue has been solved for the next three weeks, but it’s only a band-aid solution.
Had meeting with museum. He says the District needs to get ahead of the bear issue by advertising what to do and what not to do. Councillor Caisley says we are not the only community with bear problems. “There is certainly the opportunity to contact the wildlife branch and find out which communities have had the best success and what they did to make that work. This is bear country. This will go on and on and on. But we might get some very useful information from those communities.” Councillor Scott says Whistler has a zero tolerance. If a bear is in that zone, they will remove it.
Additional motion for $7500 to fund campaign. Passes.