Trent Ernst, Editor
Present: Mayor McPherson, Councillors Howe, Krakowka, Scott, Kirby, Mackay, Caisley
PETITIONS AND DELEGATIONS
TR HOSPICE SOCIETY
Doug Foerster was asked to come to this meeting to discuss the TR Hospice Society’s Fee for Service application. He says that there was some confusion around the financing. The Hospice Society’s year end does not coincide with January 1. The deadline for the grant application was November, so they didn’t have the final figures in place for the previous year.
He is now in a position to report the financials from 2014. “We have not asked for grants every year,” he points out. “We did this year, because costs have risen.” He says the Hospice society has two term notes, worth about $10,000 each, while the society has about $1600 a month that goes out, plus extra costs. They have two bank accounts with $2286. This might seem like a lot, but with expenses of $1600, in 12 months, they will be out of money. This, says Foerster, is rather scary for the society, as they have a big investment in these homes. “The fee for service grant will cover the running of the units, and allow us to use these other funds to run other programs.”
Councillor Caisley asks if the Society was notified that their grant didn’t meet requirements. CAO Barry Elliott says this is why Foerester is here. “Now that we’ve heard from Mr Foerester,” he says, “administration will bring together a recommendation to the next meeting.”
Mayor McPherson asks when has the society not asked for funds. Foerester says three years ago they had a number of donations and a fair amount of funds on hand, so they didn’t apply for a grant in aid. “Our fortunes vary, as do our program needs,” he says. “We’ve sent members to conferences in Vancouver based on other fundraising. In previous years, we were capable of doing that. This year, without the grant, we have one year.”
TR COMMUNITY FOREST – WILDFIRE MITIGATION PROJECT
Duncan McKellar, TR Community Forest Operations Manager, came before council to discuss the activities of the Community Forest and to ask for Council approval for the Tumbler Ridge Community Forest to act as the community wildfire protection lead for 2015.
McKellar spends the first few minutes giving the history of the community forest organization. He then goes on to discuss fire mitigation, which started in 2006 after the Kelowna fires. In 2013 the community forest took over fire mitigation. The contract is due for renewal this year.
Future plans for forest fire mitigation is to look at areas west of golf course and north of golf course and evaluate if they should be treated. “Last year,” says McKellar, “I didn’t think it could be done economically, but with the new machine, it might be doable to go in there and pull out the dead trees.”
Councillor Howe asks about blocks that make money vs not.
McKellar says it looks like the golf course block will actually break even, and maybe make money. He says if it wasn’t a fire mitigation block, it isn’t something that they would be going after.
Howe asks about other blocks.
McKellar says it’s tough to make money with such low volume. He says if the annual allowable cut is 20,000 cubic metres, and they making $10 metre, that’s $200,000. It would cost about $80,000, and you need to set aside $30,000 for replanting. Then you need to pay the bookkeeper and cover all your other fixed costs. “It’s not making a lot of money,” he says. “You need to up the cut to 40,000 cubic metres per year, as the fixed costs are so high.”
Councillor Kirby asks about getting locals employed. Duncan says there are no local companies, but they use area companies out of Chetwynd and Prince George. He says he’s tried offering some small blocks to locals, but they’re not interested. “They don’t want to hire the people to log the area,” says McKellar, “and they don’t have the experience in cutting down the trees. They just want to drive a logging truck.”
Mayor asks about a sort yard. McKellar says it is a consideration, but there are lots of challenges. The only company that does rail sort yard it is Dunkley lumber in the north.
Councillor Scott asks what the time frame is for logging the high risk zones for fire mitigation?
McKellar says there is no real timeline on it. They are high risk, but…. There is the option of doing it with grants, but the the District would have to pay 20 percent. The way they are doing it now, they stand a chance of at least breaking even. This, says McKellar, makes a lot more sense to him. “You can choose to leave it alone and just let it die, or you can chose to go in there,” he says.
Howe says he’s worried about doing something invasive. He doesn’t want to see the look of the the road down to the golf course on the golf course. McKellar says it would be more like the area by the school that they logged. “You have a real unique opportunity with these machines. They can take out just the dead trees. I’m not advocating one way or the other. It would probably be a good idea to take out the dead trees, but that’s up to you.”
WOLVERINE NORDIC MOUNTAIN SOCIETY
Dr. Charles Helm and Jerrilyn Schembri from the Wolverine Nordic Mountain Society, to discuss the Emperor’s Challenge Event at Council invitation to answer some questions.
Mayor asks if there is any way to bring more of the challenge into town? “We’re trying to figure out how to get more people into town.”
Helm says the day of last year’s Emperor’s Challenge, there was the Sam Roberts show. “That’s a great way to do it,” he says. “We have a really small committee. We contract as much as we can out. The Lions do the food. We work with Search and Rescue to patrol the course. In the past, the mines have run the water stations. The easiest thing is to work with the Chamber, and to help them figure out ways to keep people in town. In previous years, the hotels were full, so maybe this year the businesses can come up with package deals. Our committee is bent upon organizing this world class race, but we’d love to have the Chamber, or individual businesses work with us to come up with some ideas.”
Hem says that most of the people who come are from Dawson Creek and Fort St. John. “The trouble with that, is it is drivable in a day,” he says.
Schembri says if you wanted to do something in town, you’d have to do something big to attract people and keep them there, as most people are tired and just want to go home.
Councillor Krakowka asks about the dinner at the steakhouse. Schembri says that was for volunteers and the committee to debrief. “But maybe if someone from the Chamber were to try and organize it as a meal for the racers….”
Helm agrees. “There is absolutely an opportunity to make something big out of it. In the past we have had a pasta party the evening before, which was okay, but never as well attended as we hoped.”
SOUTH PEACE SPCA
Mike Bernier sent a letter requesting Council make a donation for the renovation or replacement of the South Peace SPCA facility. Councillor Krakowka asks wasn’t something like this done last year? Elliott says yes, though he can’t remember the exact amount. Councillor Howe asks about the process for animals in town. Elliott says animal control will take animals to holding area at public works. If they can’t find owner, it will be passed on to SPCA in Dawson.
Krakowka asks what condition the holding area is. Elliott says it is in good condition and has been inspected by SPCA. He says he doesn’t have any info outside of what’s in the letter, so staff will invite them to appear before council.
TAX RATES BYLAW
Council was to give first, second and third reading to the District of Tumbler Ridge 2015 Tax Rates Amendment Bylaw No. 626. Apparently, Schedule A of the original Tax Rates Bylaw was not in the proper format and “requires the Regional District mill rates to be separated according to Land rate and Improvement rate.” This new bylaw simply reflects these changes. However, there is an error in the revised bylaw, so it is tabled.
Off road vehicle bylaw and municipal ticket bylaws
Council rescinded the third reading of these two bylaws, as the province is making changes to their legislation, and Council wants their bylaw to be in line with the legislation. A revised version of the bylaw will be brought forward in the future.
TRAVEL APPROVAL – HEALTH CARE
Council approved expenses of approximately $220 for Mayor McPherson to attend the South Peace Mayor’s meeting in Dawson Creek on June 9, 2015, the purpose of which is to explore possible funding options from Northern Health with respect to physician recruitment.
LED LIGHTS UPGRADE: NDIT GRANT SUPPORT
The District is applying for a $30,000 grant to help pay for lighting upgrades in the Community Centre. As part of this, a resolution needs to be passed showing Council’s support. Council supports the District of Tumbler Ridge’s NDIT grant application for Community Centre LED light upgrades.
CANADA 150 GRANT
Jordan Wall says there are these grants available to access up to $500,000 on $1,000,000 projects as part of Canada’s 150th birthday. Having had some discussion, he says, the decision was made to revitalize the high school and elementary school fields. The cost of totally redoing the high school field alone would be $600,000. The grant was announced on May 20, but needs to be submitted by June 17. There are some other projects that could be done, but this one seemed to be the best one.
Councillor Kirby says the high school field is used for a lot of events, and she doesn’t want to see it removed for the season. She wonders if public works can get the field up to snuff without this expense. Sshe suggests putting the money towards something else. Councillor Howe agrees. He thinks the proposed cost is ludicrous. Elliott says there is a limited time to come up with different grants.
Wall says Zimmer didn’t say it was a first come first served, but suggests it might be a factor.
Mayor suggests this could be put towards playground equipment upgrades.
Councillor Mackay says there are lots of projects this money could be put towards. He suggests the grant money could be spread around between a variety of projects, and that the District could go and run a grader over the field, put some topsoil on it, reseed it.
Councillor Kirby suggests the funds could go towards the pool. Suggest Council get together and come up with some guidance.
Wall says Council needs to keep in mind how far along in planning process the community is on some projects. The engineering needs to be done before the government will look at it. If council doesn’t want to move forward with the fields, the next project in terms of having got the groundwork done is the playground equipment, though there is only about $250,000 worth of work to do, and it would be good to use this towards a big ticket item.
Mayor says he’s never seen a school replace the field.
Councillor Howe asks about the cost to repave some of the trails that are falling apart. Wall says that is the other project could be pulled together in this time. Council directs Wall to focus the efforts on trails.
Council passed a resolution on May 5 to provide a letter of support for a grant for museum funding. Elliott says that he discussed this with the Director of Economic Development for NDIT, and was told the resolution must contain specific language, which this motion contains.
Councillor Caisley has nothing to report.
Councillor Kirby had meeting with Terry Vandenbosch. She reviewed the master plan that Sue Kenny created for Geopark. She has concern about curbs at VIC, and has had some discussions with people about access to Bearhole Lake.
Councillor Howe has been working with the ATV club around bylaws. He says something that councillor Kirby forgot to mentioned was they toured a few sites for proposed Zipline and bungee jumping area. He says these are some really unique ideas. Was at soccer tourney, and noted condition of field. He wonders if public works could start work on revitalizing the TRSS field. Attended meeting with CNRL in Fort St. John. They are closing a plant and reducing gas production in this area.
Councillor Mackay attended minerals north conference in Mackenzie.
Councillor Scott attended country hoedown. She says there is a tentative plans for gravel upgrade to highway 52. Also there is some money in the budget to improve road to Kinuseo. Has heard more complaints about equipment at km 5 on Wolverine Road. Trying to get family needs committee reestablished.
Councillor Krakowka attended presentation by Mike Bernier in regards to the announcement of $150,000 for Northern Lights College. Attended country hoedown. Chatted with seniors. They raised $1300 at their recent garage sale. They are wondering about installing a horseshoe pit, as well as if they can get an AED unit at Willow Hall.
Mayor McPherson says 17 student doctors are coming into town on June 12, and the District has been asked to show them some of the sites and provide dinner. Mayor is willing to ferry people up to Kinuseo falls, but hoping District can cover cost of gas, as well as cost of food. Councillor Mackay suggest providing each a copy of the Tumbler Ridge trilogy. He says other communities are really rolling out the red carpet for these guys. Motion to do this, not to exceed $5000. Passed.
The mayor was at last week’s regional district meeting. Talked about solid waste for six hours. Recycling is becoming a big thing.
Last week, he says, he did the biggest thing he’ll do as mayor: he signed the fair share agreement, which guarantees this community a lot of money for a lot of years into the future. “Mayor Bumstead said he was pee his pants happy, but I said that’s an age thing, not a happy thing.”
He says the Lieutenant Governor is coming on June 29. He has arranged a river boat tour to Kinuseo Falls, but hoping some other Councillor’s can join her on it, as he is otherwise engaged with Minister Bond.