Council: Tuesday, December 4, 2012

By Trent Ernst, Editor

Policy and Priority Committee Meeting
 

Present: Mayor Wren, Councillors Snyder (chair), Caisley, Torraville, Mackay, Hewitt
Staff: Barry Elliott, Angie Collison, Candie Laporte, Doug Beale, Kelly Bryan for regular meeting 
 
Fee-for-Service Policy
 
Council discussed a report dated December 4, 2012 from the Chief Financial Officer, providing Council with information for discussion on the possible establishment of a Fee-for-Service policy.
 
There are a number of organizations that come back year after year for grant in aid, which doesn’t really fit the description of grant in aid. Instead, this proposal is to see these groups move to a fee for service. Says Laporte, “the issue that I’m trying to address is the ones that don’t fit the grant in aid policy.”
 
Councillor Torraville asks “if council is behind this, how quickly could this be done?” Laporte replies that because there would be groups coming forward looking for funding in January, she’d like to get moving on this as soon as possible. However, says Elliott, there is only one more council meeting between now and the end of the year, so it’s unlikely it will be finished by then. Mayor Wren says some of those groups will probably require interim funding. I don’t think we will have everything in place by next meeting. We need to identify the groups, draw up a plan, and communicate with them. Councillor Caisley says he is in favour of this, especially with the idea that there can be two or three year contracts. But he wonders, is there an out if the organization isn’t living up to their part of the bargain?
 
Elliott replies that there has to be checks and ongoing financial reporting. “If there are deliverables needed, then we will be able to have people meet those deliverables in order to keep going.” Mayor Wren asks if it is staff’s intent to bring this back for next meeting? Elliott replies that this is indeed the plan. Wren says there are  still some that would fall under grant in aid. “The Arts Council, for one, says Mayor Wren. “My concern is that if we have eight or ten of these, what’s going to be the administrative challenges?” Elliott says their will be some. “It might not be as much as you think. They’re already doing quarterly reporting.”
 
Regular Meeting of Council
 
Mayor Wren welcomes Doug Beale as new operations manager 
 
Council meeting action summary sheet 
 
There are a couple new hires, starting in early January as well, says Elliott, which means that a lot of these things will be moving forward a lot quicker. But also one of their first jobs is to review some of these items. For instance, the repainting of Northgate and Southgate. 
 
After a discussion with Beale, says Elliott, the District is going to pull new garbage cans off street in order to come up with plan, especially after the discussion of bear-proofing. The Dryotron is done, says Elliott. They just need final inspection. The boat launch is still on the Action Summary Sheet. Elliott says an environmental consultant was approached. After a few weeks of discussion they are not going to do it, so now he is approaching other firms. 
 
The bowling alley feasibility study is being worked on. Mayor Wren says that people have seen the question on the website, but are looking for ability to comment on it, rather than just provide yes/no feedback.
 
Correspondence
 
CETA Negotiations Update
 
Correspondence dated November 26, 2012 from the Official Opposition Critic for Jobs, Economic Development and Trade, providing Council with an update on the status of the Canada – European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) negotiations.
 
Councillor Mackay. Water issues are sneaking their way onto the table. It’s is problematic, as it allows foreign interests to control our water supply, opens up possibility of wholesale water export. 
 
New Business
 
Council Meeting, Acting Mayor and PPC Chair Schedule for 2013 
 
Council received and adopted a report dated Dec. 4, 2012, from the Deputy Corporate Officer titled “2013 Council Meeting, Acting Mayor and PPC Chair Schedule” recommending Council adopt the 2013 Council meeting schedule and the 2013 Acting Mayor and Policies and Priorities Committee Chair and Alternate Chair Schedule as presented.
 
Terms of Reference
 
Council received a report from the Deputy Corporate Officer with revised terms of reference for the Health Needs committee and the newly formed terms of reference for the Personnel Committee. Council adopted the Term of Reference for the Mayor and Council’s Task Force on Health Needs as presented. Council also voted to establish a personnel committee and adopted the terms of reference for that committee as well.
 
Natural gas rate increase
 
Council received information on natural gas rate increases for Tumbler Ridge. Councillor Caisly points out this wasn’t supported at regional district. Can provide a report later. 
 
Councillor Mackay. Would like to know what Vancouver Island is paying, as it seems we’re paying more, even though we’re closer to the source. Mayor Wren says what stands out for him is the fact that there is a 1.3 percent increase for Fort St. John customers, while it is a 12.7 percent increase for Tumbler Ridge. He says that Pacific Northern Gas (PNG) needs to explain this to council.  
 
Donation of Decommissioned Command Vehicle to Canadian Avalanche Centre
 
Now that the Fire Department has a new Command Car, Council discussed whether to donate the old one to the Canadian Avalanche Centre to help them get a foothold in this region. Councillor Mackay says “We’ve had some close calls here. If we look at what we would get for the sale of the vehicle versus what we get by having an active avalanche centre in the area, we get far more with the latter.” Council decides to donate the vehicle. 
 
Councillor’s business
 
Councillor Snyder attended tots pool spray gun opening. Attended District Open House. It was very well put on and lots of good comments. Attended teleconference with NDIT on branding. We’re branded as coal, even though we try and present ourselves as waterfalls and dinosaurs.  He attended seniors crib tournament and seniors needs meeting. He says congratulations to Calvin Yu for becoming a Canadian citizen. 
 
Councillor Caisley attended Peace River Regional District meeting. Update re chamber. Every storefront has been visited. Every business license holder has been contacted. 76 businesses have got back to us, nearly all of which want to see a chamber re established. Chamber luncheon postponed to January 
 
Councillor Torraville Congrats to Doug. Congrats to Dad’s cafe. Attended ribbon cutting ceremony for Monkman Commons, then the HD Mining Open House. She says she learned a lot about longwall mining there. She attended craft fair, where she heard many comments about missing the restaurant in the community centre. 
 
Congrats to Councillor Hewitt and the family needs committee for the playground. 
 
She attended food drive. She says it was a busy day. There were volunteers from PRC, Teck and HD Mining. “I have a concern as to why we changed the date. It was recommended for the eighth. There were three fighter fighters there. One of them took half a day off work to drive. When they make recommendations like that, she says, perhaps council should listen. In addition, there was a lot of people who said they didn’t know about it. There was no ad in the paper, and only a couple posters. “We should invite coordinator of family needs to a meeting, as there are some misconceptions as to what they do up there.”
 
Councillor Mackay says he would like to commend snow removal crew in Tumbler Ridge. “I’ve visited a lot of communities in the area over the last few weeks, and ours is by far the best.”He also attended District Open House. Some of the feedback he got was that the website needs to be updated. He attended the planning meeting for the Community Forest. They discussed action plan for sales. Diane Geis from the District will be treasurer for Community Forest. 
 
Councillor Hewitt.  District open house was great, she says. She attended opening of indoor playground and chaired family needs committee meeting. There are some concerns about the playground. Need rules. Also, looking into boot rack, coat hangers, which they can probably afford as it came in under budget. Discussed ski hill and ice rink. Looking at having grand opening down there during winter carnival 
 
Mayor Wren attended grand opening of playground Spent two days in Vancouver. Met with representative from Teck around housing. Had several meetings with HD and Dehua. Offered support in their projects. “There are lots of local contractors working there, and these projects are important for our future.” 
 
He had meetings with Dr. Andrew Chang, a dentist who has shown interest in TR. He bumped into Blair Lekstrom while he was down there. They talked informally about education program that Northern Lights College is starting up. They both think there is room for Tumbler to become a first class training centre for mining. 
 
He also attended District Open House, and Open House for HD Mining. He had meeting with Dave Price re seniors needs coordinator and future of that. He attended teleconference with Finavera. They’ve expressed concern around tax rates in Tumbler compared to other communities. Wind power is a big thing for the future of Tumbler Ridge, he says and council needs to look at tax rates, especially if high tax rate means Tumbler Ridge loses that investment.  He’s had a lot of people asking about the 15 minute parking signs downtown. The example he gives is of someone who went into the bank and stood in line longer than parking allowed.