District of Tumbler Ridge Council Notes for April 2, 2013

councilnotes
By Trent Ernst, Editor

Tumbler Ridge Council, April 2

Present: Mayor Wren, Councillor’s McPherson, Hewitt, Caisley, Snyder and Torraville (PnP Chair)

Policies and Priorities Meeting

Fred Banham appeared before council to discuss the Fair Share agreement. See story elsewhere in issue.

Regular Meeting of Council

Petitions And Delegations

Anglo American

Robert Craike, General Manager, Anglo American, Peace River Coal Inc, appeared before Council to provide information on the Trend – Roman mine. He says that Anglo American is the third largest met coal producer. While the majority of their mines are in Australia, he says, “Canada is key to growing business.”

The Trend Mine is their one operating mine in Canada, but they have a number of properties they are investigating. He says the mine has made vast improvements in efficiency over the last year and a half. With coal prices on the downslide, the mine is marginal at the moment, and, if those efficiency improvements hadn’t been made, “we probably would have had to close.”

There is about seven or eight years’ of coal in the Current Trend mine, but coal prices will have to go up to make that worthwhile. If they don’t go up, the mine will probably be shuttered after about three.

However, they are in the process of opening up the Roman pit, which should prove less expensive to mine, and will extend the lifespan of the mine by about 14 years. They have decided that the current process plant should be able to handle the combined output of the two mines, which means the cost of construction will be less than half of what was expected.

Construction will provide about a hundred new jobs, lasting about a year, and when phase two of the Roman Project kicks in (estimated to happen around 2019), there will be an additional 150 people added to the current workforce of 450 people.

Pacific Northern Gas Ltd.

Peter Schriber, Manager of Financial Planning and Business Development and Janet Kennedy, CA, Pacific Northern Gas Ltd, appearing at Council’s request regarding information on gas rates and supply. See elsewhere for information on Shcriber’s presentation. Council was not impressed, they said, with a 30% hike in rates for residential customers, especially since it appears that industrial customers are not paying such a high rate. Kennedy says there are two components in the price of gas: delivery rate, which is regulated, and commodity rate, which is what the suppliers (in this case, Canadian Natural Resources) sell the gas to PNG for. “We make no money from the commodity. We sell gas at the same price we buy it,” says Kennedy.

Mayor Wren says that industry uses about 50 percent of the gas in Tumbler Ridge. Therefore, he says, “It’s fair to say that 50 percent of your customers are not happy with this rate increase.” Councillor McPherson observes that we are in the heart of gas country. The gas is here, he says, but we can’t get it here, affordably. They’ll ship it all over, but we can’t get it here.

Correspondence

Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC

Council received a letter from the President, Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC sharing the 2013 Freshwater Angling and the BC Economy report.

Tumbler Ridge Forever Young Society

Council received a letter from Ellen Sager, inviting Council to attend dinner at the High School, April 9, 2013 at 5:00 p.m.

2013 Grad Class

Council received a letter from 2013 Grad Class President, requesting staff erect fencing for their dry grad celebrations, June 21 & 22, 2013. Councillor Snyder says “we have to get behind this. Whatever we can do for them I am all for.” He makes a motion that Council support grad class by putting up fencing as indicated in diagram for grad. Passed.

Ronald Mcdonald House Golf Tournament

Council received a letter from Spectra Energy, 2013 RMH Golf Organizing Committee, requesting sponsorship. Councillor Mcpherson says this is a good cause and suggests that Tumbler Ridge look into doing a fundraiser like this. A motion is made that Council support the tournament by sponsoring a hole for $400, or something comparable. Passed.

Emperor’s Challenge Mountain Run

There is a letter from the Emperor’s Challenge Race Organizing Committee, requesting sponsorship. Councillor McPherson asks what level has the District supported this in the past. Elliott responds that the letter came directly to Council, so staff doesn’t have that information now, but will bring that to a future meeting and discuss it then.

Tumbler Ridge Days Society

Letter from the Grizfest Committee, requesting fencing for High School field. There is some discussion on how new development will affect/be affected by Grizfest.

Bylaws

Building And Plumbing Bylaw

Council gave third reading to District of Tumbler Ridge Building and Plumbing Bylaw No. 600, 2013.

New Business

Fivestar Fight League Event At The Community Centre

Council makes a motion to support the Fivestar Fight League Event to be held in the Arena of the Tumbler Ridge Community Centre, June 14, 2013, but recommends that the event holder increases their liability insurance to five million dollars. Councillor Snyder is opposed, saying he has mixed feelings.

Order Geotechnical Investigation

A report from the Director of Development and Engineering titled “Order Geotechnical Investigation” requested Council approve allocation of the cost to provide the tender and manage all activities in respect to Geotechnical Investigation. Council directed staff to initiate and execute separate bid processes for a Geotechnical Investigation, an Access Road and Drilling Activities and analyze the RFP bids received and provide a selection recommendation to the Council, along with a budget allocation recommendation.

Councillors’ Business

Councillor Snyder

Was at NDIT meeting on March 21. Lots of ideas came it of that. He was at the Seniors Needs meeting on March 25.

Councillor Caisley

Says the Chamber is now officially formed. First board meeting on March 25. They are working on budget.

Councillor Torraville

Nothing new to report, but is attending library board tomorrow night.

Councillor Hewitt.

Has Family Needs meeting tomorrow night. She has talked to Brunswick bowling and will be bringing forward some information around a bowling alley.

Councillor McPherson

Talked to Wolverine Nordic. He says they have had very little damage from snowmobiles and ATVs this winter. They submitted letter to Council and staff about trails last year, but nothing has been done so far. McPherson says he looked at the directional totem pole, and says it needs to be taken care of. It should be fixed or it should be gone.

On March 26, he attended regional district plenary session. He met with rec officer Tim Bennett. Bennet is interested to see ATV trails developed, but needs a club. On April 9 the Sportsman Club is having their AGM and McPherson suggests that ATVs might join them.

Councillor Doonan

I’ve been in Dawson Creek for the last week and schools been out for two, so not much to report.

Mayor Wren

Had meeting with Will Howe. They are interested in expanding their presence in Tumbler Ridge. Looking for property. Talked to Ryan at Ridge Rotors. They are also looking to expand out at the airport. He attended the Chamber meeting, and swore in the board. He attended Easter event. Meetings with HD mining and IUOE. They are starting to communicate. He attended Senior Needs meeting. BC Housing is looking for local nonprofit to take over management of housing. He has been working on idea of development of ski hill. One group has been doing some pre-feasibility work. Initial area might not be appropriate, but investigating further.