Council Notes: October 2

By Trent Ernst, Editor
 
Policy and priority meeting

Absent: Councillor Beale. Chair: Councillor Torraville.  Staff: Barry Elliott, Angie Collison, Chuck Jensen. 
 

Action Summary Sheet
 
Mr Elliott reports that the ice dams have been installed at the Community Centre, though they are less than ideal. “We will be monitoring them,” he says. The issue is that they are an adhesive type, rather than screw in. Mr Elliott says they were told these dams would work well, but they don’t appear to be adhering as we’ll as we were hoping. But we will be monitoring and seeing if they work. Mayor Wren asks why hasn’t PRiS been hooked up at the senior’s centre. Chuck Jensen says when they called PRiS they were told there would be a charge for installation, and he needed approval to spend the money. Mayor Wren says when he discussed it with PRiS, he was told they would do it for free. It’s being looked into. 
 
Tumbler Ridge Days Society:  Grizfest Delegation
 
Members from the Tumbler Ridge Days Society appeared before council to discuss Grizfest and provide Council with an update on the 2012 Grizfest activities. Brian Bray speaks for the society. He says that Grizfest had another successful year. While there is a fairly large loss on paper, Bray says most of that was money spent buying stuff. He says the committee only lost about $3600 on the weekend. “The only thing brought to our attention was accommodations,” says Bray. “Every year it gets worse. Camping is full. We need more space. And there was a problem with tent city. That’s the major stumbling block. But we work wisely with the funds we have. We run on a very thin budget. Hope we keep getting support from town.” The town doesn’t provide the festival with any money, but the District provides many donations in-kind and infrastructure. He points to the covered stage, which is used for Grizfest, but is owned by the town. 
 
Mayor Wren suggests that council appoint a councillor to act as liaison with the committee, which Bray and the rest of the committee say is a great idea. Wren also says “Tent city was issue a lot of people down there weren’t there for Grizfest, they were just there for the party. We don’t want to see a few people and their stupidity bring a bad name to Grizfest and to Tumbler Ridge. We have to find a solution.”
 
Joanne Kirby, another committee member, says the idea of paid camping is a good solution, as it will control who can enter the area. 
 
Bray says one of the things the committee is working on is to bring back some of the Grizzly Valley Days activities for next year, possibly in the week between Grizfest and Emperor’s Challenge. The committee will be having its AGM on October 23, and will start planning for next year’s Grizfest shortly after. 
 
Emperor’s Challenge
 
District received for information correspondence dated September 7, 2012 from the Race Organizing Committee, Emperor’s Challenge Mountain Run, thanking the District of Tumbler Ridge for their generous “platinum level” contributions this year.
 
Regular meeting of Council
 
Business arising
 
Councillor Caisley asks if there is an update re boat launch. There is none. He says it shouldn’t be that hard to do. “Get it done. If it is necessary to apologize, we’ll do that later.”
Action summary sheet
 
Barry Elliott points out two things of note: the first is the installation of murals, which is out for a quote. He says that staff might be able to install the murals, and that by next meeting they should know what’s happening. He also mentions that they are moving forward looking for quotes for security cameras for the Community Centre. 
 
Delegation: British Columbia Ambulance Service  
 
Rod McCartney, Superintendent, North East District/Rural Operations, British Columbia Ambulance Service, appears before council to discuss ambulance services in Tumbler Ridge. “First, the good news,” says McCartney. He says the target time to mobilize ambulance is under ten minutes. In the last year, the Tumbler Ridge base has hit that 90 percent of the time. 
More good news: the Tumbler Ridge base, currently at five staff, has two new resumes and two other people from elsewhere in the Peace express interest in coming to town.  In April of this year, there were only 14 hours where there was no coverage in Tumbler Ridge. By June, that number had risen to 295 hours. In order to cover the town, he had to bring in a lot of resources. 
 
Dawson is hiring one full-time person, which often means they will hire someone working ambulance elsewhere in the region. However, once that person is hired, they will be able to have two cars on all the time. Fort St. John has two cars on most of the time and could probably use a third. 
 
McCartney is asked about the pager stipend. He says that in the past there was no incentive for carrying a pager. Later, it was only for part time staff. It was only in the last contract that full-time members would get a stipend for carrying the pager. While in Tumbler Ridge, people who carry the pager might only get $2/hour, at busier stations, some part-timers make more money than full-time staff, because they get paid four hours for each call-out, even if it only takes 15 minutes. 
 
McCartney says he would like to see a proper station in Tumbler Ridge with a full time unit chief. But, he says, there are stations that have a lot higher call volume than Tumbler Ridge that are asking for the same. Call volume in Chetwynd is up 14 percent. Fort St. John has done 1700 calls already. Hudson Hope is up 30 percent, while Tumbler Ridge only has two more calls than last year, though that, he admits, is partially because of lack of coverage. “If we had the staff here, it would probably be closer to a 15 percent increase.”
 
He says that it’s been 35 years since they had funding budgeted for new stations. While there have been new stations built, typically that is because the old ones have been condemned. 
McCartney says he’s proud of the Tumbler Ridge station. “They are outperforming stations with full time staff, with as few members as they have here.” 
 
Bylaws
 
Bylaw 594 – Subdivision And Development Servicing Bylaw  – Council gave third reading to Subdivision and Development Servicing Bylaw.
 
Bylaw 595 – Permissive Tax Exemption Bylaw  – Council gave first and second reading to the Permissive Tax Exemption Bylaw
 
Grant-In-Aid Fourth Quarter Payment 2012  
 
Council approved the release of Grant-in-Aid payments for the fourth quarter, provided that organizations provide required financial information to the Chief Financial Officer.
Capital Completion Strategy and Reallocation   
 
Report dated October 2, 2012, from the Chief Financial Officer titled “Capital Completion Strategy and Reallocations October 2012” providing Council with information regarding the progress of capital projects and recommendations to reallocate funds. There are six motions coming out of the report, re–allocating funds to projects not in the budget or to projects that have gone over budget. Council reallocated $25,000 from RV Park Upgrades to the Cemetery New Sites project for the additional costs of the columbarium, $50,000 from RV Park Upgrades to the Catch Basins project for additional unexpected costs, $60,000 from RV Park Upgrades to the Renovations Municipal Hall project for additional unexpected costs, $10,000 from Community Centre Landscaping to the Mural Installations project for additional unexpected costs, and $15,000 from Tennis Court Resurfacing to Paving of Cart Tracks project for additional unexpected costs. 
 
Councillor Caisley asks how the District can be that far out relative to the budget that was approved. He also says that there are a number of projects budgeted for that won’t be done this year, amounting to $480,000. “We went through a lengthy budget discussion,” he says. “Why aren’t these getting done?” 
 
Finally, he points out there are about 66 projects in the budget listed as ongoing with no target date. “Why is there no target date? It bothers me that there is no target date for these. It’s October.” 
 
Barry Elliott responds by saying that CFO Candie Laporte is talking to heads of departments to nail these things down. “A lot of our deadlines have been amended because of limited resources, or projects that were bigger than expected,” says Elliott. “For instance, the catch basin work. It wasn’t until we got in there that we had any idea of how extensive the problem was.” He also points out that there are a number of new projects that came to light after the budgeting process, like the columbarium. He says that what council and staff does in budgeting is using estimates, and they can’t really get quotes until they know they are moving ahead with the project. Mayor Wren points out that this is something that is improving and it needs to continue to improve. Council approves all the reallocations. 
 
Northern Lands Development Corp. requests to change the size of some of the parking stalls development on site 18 to 6m. A motion is made to deny the variant permit, but authorize the reduction of parking stall property setback from 1.5 m to .5 m and to approve the reduction of parking stall length for 7.5 m to 7 m. Mayor Wren points out that 7.5 m is huge for a parking space. He points out the parking area in town hall, which are smaller than 6 m. He recommends rejecting the motion rejecting the variant, which council does. A new recommendation is made to accept the variant for the north boundary parking, which is approved. 
 
Council approves the purchase and installation for a 44,750 electronic sign in front of the library gazebo. 
 
 Councillors’ Business
 
Councillor Snyder says the big event was UBCM. He points out that there is $500,000 in grants for seniors programs that the District needs to tie into. 
 
Councillor Caisley found correspondence from Canadian organization of independent businesses in his in-box, which talks about rates comparing residential, small business and industry. He wants to know what the District is doing about it. He also attended UBCM. 
 
Councillor Torraville attended UBCM
 
Councillor McKay attended UBCM. He also made visit to boat ramp and agrees it is in a bad state, but an easy fix. He attended the HD Mining meeting.
 
Councillor Hewitt chaired family needs committee on Sept 19, and attended UBCM.
 
Mayor Wren attended UBCM. He says he had about 20 meetings while h was there. One of highlights was his meeting with representatives from Crown Land. He discovered that there is a process to acquire large tracks of lands without having to pay up front, but can pay as land is developed, which is a boon for Tumbler Ridge. He had meeting with Colonial Coal, and with the union that represents BC Ambulance workers. He congratulates Councillor Torraville for her work on the Gold Star Resolution. 
 
He attended the meeting of mayor caucus. The message from there was that municipalities need consistent funding for infrastructure. 
 
Attended family needs meeting.