Council Highlights

Policies and Priorities Committee Meeting Monday May 11th, 2009

In Attendance: Mayor White, Councillors Wren, Schembri, and Beale, Mackay and McPherson. Councillor Schembri chaired the meeting.

Official minutes for the meeting can be obtained from Town Hall.

1. Call to Order: 7:00pm

2. Agenda-one addition, Willy Belcourt

3. Approve Minutes from Policies and Priorities Committee Meeting of April 14th, 2009-approved.

4. Business Arising from the Minutes-Councillors Beale, Mackay and McPherson would like it noted they were absent with notice on April 14th, 2009.

5. Presentations

1.1Sgt. Kurt Render-Report

Giving the report to Council on the first quarter, Sgt. Render stated members had responded to 284 files. There had also been 15 prisoners. April and May has seen an increase in activity so Sgt. Render is expecting the prisoner count to be higher than last year.

As is done every year, Sgt. Render has completed his additional resource request. He has asked for two additional members and one additional public service worker. However, he is not expecting any changes until after the 2010 Olympics.

Last year, each member was on call for approximately 1800 hours, which is about 45 weeks. That is over and above the regular work hours.

All five members are now trained to use the snowmobiles and the three that are not trained on ATVs will hopefully be soon.

In response to issues with ATV use around town, the RCMP members have met with the local Citizens on Patrol group and they will be soon starting a campaign program focused on awareness, education and enforcement.

Comments/Questions:

Councillor Wren:

?In the event that we get two new members, will the facility we have house the additional staff??

Sgt. Render explained it would not.

Councillor Wren also asked if there was any way scheduling could be more random as people are aware of the schedule and some are even planning crime around it.

Sgt. Render explained the schedule has been based on community need.

Sgt. Render also stated he is personally committed to publication, where legally possible, of those individuals that have been committing crime in Tumbler Ridge.

Councillor MacKay asked if there will be anything extra done to help with the upcoming parties that accompany good weather, long weekends and graduation.

Sgt. Render is hoping to get the police dog services here and the members have been proactively removing stored firewood at known party spots.

1.2Ryan Murray-ATVs

In a letter written to Mayor and Council, Ryan Murray states ?current ATV use within our town site is threatening public safety, damaging public property, and reducing residents? quiet enjoyment of private property?. Mr. Murray spoke to Council about his personal experience with disrespectful riders and riders who have shown very unsafe practices just outside his backyard. Clearly upset with the disregard for safety these riders have, Murray spoke of a time when one young rider threatened to break his wife?s camera and kill his dog because she was documenting the disturbance he was creating behind their backyard. ?The District does not enforce the bylaw? and because of this Murray stated, we ?can?t enjoy our homes in peace?. Mr. Murray requested Council to look seriously into his suggestion of a ?balanced solution?, not a compromise. He outlined seven steps to achieve this balanced solution.

They are: encourage people to ride responsibly on trails, develop trailer loader and storage areas, require licensing (and municipal identification) of local ATVs and have a local license fee, allow visiting riders to ride with proof of licensing and insurance from another area, provide the bylaw officer with impound and fine power and have a detailed map for ATV users and advise there is strict enforcement of the rules. Mr. Murray ended his presentation with pictures of dirt bikes performing hill climbs, young children on ATVs without helmets and multiple riders on dirt bikes (three) without proper clothing and or helmets. There were also pictures of dirt bikes on the highway.

Comments/Questions:

Councillor Beale commented that Mr. Murray has presented the irresponsible riders.

Councillor McPherson stated at the beginning of the presentation, he thought he was living in a different town since he does not see the problems that Mr. Murray has seen with ATV riders, ?but you obviously have the pictures to prove it?.

Councillor Wren stated it is apparent from your pictures that it is a ?select group of riders?. The idea of an plaque on the ATV is favourable to Councillor Wren so they are identifiable. The issue will still be enforcement.

Mr. Murray explained to Council that he and his wife ?try to educate those that go by? his house.

Mayor White stated when he was at the regional district meeting, there was talk about making a ATV playground near Dawson Creek. A farmer complained because it would disturb his cows. Because of the complaint, there will be a 90 metre no go zone to avoid disturbance to the cows. Mayor White stated, ?people are more important than cows?. Bringing up the accident at the ball diamond last summer where a young girl was seriously injured on an ATV after it crashed, White stated, ?if I can save a death, then I will fight these ATVs?.

1.3Allan Huggins-ATV Trail Maintenance

Allan Huggins did not present. He did not attend the council meeting.

6. Reports

1.1District Building Permit

Mr. Wayne Fenske wrote to Council about his concerns of the rigid permitting process that Tumbler Ridge has in place for renovations on residential properties. He stated in his letter dated May 1, 2009 ?it is not wise to have in place needless bureaucratic procedures that have a negative impact on potential building activity?.

Comments/Questions:

Councillor McPherson asked ?how big does a project have to be before you need a permit??

Clark Hazlehurst explained that anything that is under code must be permitted.

Councillor McPherson stated, ?If a contractor does not want to come to town because they need a permit, then they shouldn?t come to town?.

Mayor and Council support the current permitting process and fees.

7. Willy Belcourt

Mr. Belcourt appeared before Council to request sponsorship for a painting he had completed of a hockey player and an eagle. He thought it would be a good gift for the Olympic Hockey team. He was hoping for $10,000 in order to go to Kamloops and have 500 prints made.

Mayor White explained no decision could be made that evening and they would have to talk to the CAO and Cheryl Hayden to see if any plans had been made for a gift for the women?s hockey team.

Councillor Schembri asked if any money would come back to Council once the prints were sold.

Mr. Belcourt explained it is hard selling art right now. He travels to reserves to sell his art but he would try to pay the money back.

8. Question & Answer Period

Mr. Lehmann suggested putting highway blocks behind Mr. Murray?s house to help slow the ATV riders down.

9. Resolution to Close Meeting

10. Adjournment: 8:45pm