Mayor?s Musings

Again the community showed extreme patience and resiliency when dealing with a threat. The Provincial Emergency Planning has identified a total of 72 hazards to communities and the response to two of these hazards has shown that our residents can work together. (I have no desire to experience any of the other 70.)

Well done to the Lions, PETS, Shop Easy, ESS, town staff and a host of others who made the time feel more like a family gathering than a time of hardship.

At 3pm on Feb 11, Dave Conway, community relations for BC Hydro, left my office after discussing timings for a briefing to Council and staff on how to respond to a power outage. Coincidence? Three hours later we probably learned much more than any briefing could achieve.

I discussed our power situation to Mr. Conway during our meeting. Unlike many communities, we have no loop system which will draw power from different sources should one fail. We have one line in and we saw the result of this deficiency. I discussed with Mr. Conway the idea of tapping into the wind energy system as a back-up. There is opposition to the concept because it would add cost for the switching gear and there is a list of regulatory hurdles to jump. The current design is such that all the windmills would automatically shut down in the event of a line loss. I believe now we have a good case; however, the federal government just pulled the funding for sustainable energy and put all such projects in jeopardy so this may be a moot point. Council will be pursuing this issue.

During the power outage, a gentleman had to take his wife into Dawson for surgery but was low on gas. Help was available through Public Works as he was permitted to purchase gas from the District.

For those facing financial difficulties, the provincial government has passed a Tax Deferment Program that will allow home owners to defer paying property tax.

For details on this and other deferment options go to www.sbr.gov.bc.ca/individuals/Property Taxes_Property_Tax_Deferment/ptd.htm

A nice aspect about Tumbler Ridge is that you can dial a wrong number and still talk to someone you know.

Renovations continue in the youth centre on time and on budget.

Funding has been pulled for the clean up of the pine beetle trees at Monkman Park. If this does not change there is a potential that the park will be closed to visitors due to safety reasons. Council has informed Rob Bressette of BC Parks, who is working on our behalf, that he has our full support in his efforts to have that money reinstated.

We have applied for a grant to install solar heating panels for the swimming pool and showers.

Budget talks continue with much debate. Our infrastructure is feeling its age and major repairs to the road catch basins and to the community centre are needed. These represent a significant expense in excess of five million dollars. In our deliberations, one option discussed is to borrow the money. This will require public approval.

A vast majority of the respondents to our community survey had two items of concern, the look of the downtown and dirty vehicles in town. We will take these items into our strategic planning meeting.

And finally. What happens when an avid dog lover and never-before cat owner is suddenly faced with taking care of Miss Feline? Well, this was a dilemma facing one of our residents not too long ago. What?s the first thing to do but to teach Felix the cat box theory? Determined to accomplish this feat with the minimum of fuss, our intrepid dog fancier decided to apply dog sense to the mind of Miss Puss. The show-and-tell concept works well in the canine world, but the reality is that not all animals are created equal. Hoping that Precious would follow the actions of its new caretaker, our well-intentioned teacher starts digging in the kitty box in the same manner as the cat, in theory, should act. (Oh, and making meowing noises was an added enticement feature.) Suddenly a lump was felt in the sand, then a second lump, and then a telltale wetness! Garfield sat there with a huge grin on his face as if to say, ?I already know how to use the box.?