Polices and Priorities: November 12, 2014

Trent Ernst, Editor

 

Present: Councillor Snyder, chair. Councillors Caisley and McPherson. Councillor Litster and Mayor Wren attend via speakerphone.

DISCUSSION ITEMS

BYLAW NO. 622 – FIRE SERVICES AMENDMENT

The District of Tumbler Ridge Fire Services Bylaw No. 573 is required to be amended in order to authorize the Tumbler Ridge Fire Department to respond outside of the Fire Protection Area for road and medical rescue. The first three readings were passed during the Council Meeting held November 3, 2014 and Council requested this item to be added to the next PPC for further discussion prior to the final reading. Fire Chief Matt Treit is in attendance for a question and answer session. The first question is from Councillor McPherson, who asks about insurance. “I’ve heard that’s the reason that fire trucks don’t go past the town boundaries.”

Nope, says the Fire Chief. No issues with that.

Councillor McPherson asks what happens if there is a call in town. Treit says if there is a motor vehicle accident and they have four people on, and there is someone trapped, they will send a crew, but they always try to leave someone in town. But each event needs to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. If there is staff, they will respond, but if there is not staff, they will play it by ear depending on the severity. “We’ve been providing this service since the beginning of the department. Any accidents outside of town are the responsibility of the province, which then contracts with the local fire department. They provide insurance and ICBC, and pay the department a rate of 300/ hour.”

The only thing not covered, he says, is the liability of the District if, say, the fire department got sued. If the department gets sued, the District would cover it just as if it were an in-town incident. But if a sole firefighter were sued, the Province would cover that.

SUSTAINABILITY PLAN

This is the final version of the sustainability plan, says Councillor Caisley. He says he has reviewed it. The plan is broken down into three sections: executive outline, community profile, and the strategies for resilience section, based on the discussions with the community. Input was by anybody who was interested. He says he will be proposing that it is accepted at the next meeting. The document is flexible, he says, and not designed to handcuff next council. “This should be the number one project for the new council.

Council McPherson asks what are the next steps to make sure this doesn’t get lost?

Councillor Caisley says the next step is hard work. It needs to implement. In his mind, there will be strike forces, who will look at ways to implement certain parts of the document. He suggests there may be two or three or four strike forces. “It isn’t a quick fix. It will take time,” he says. “It won’t happen immediately. Some of the work has been done but how are we going to go about implementing these strategies. Who will participate?” He says that the new council will have to have a bit of time to absorb the document, then they will have the chance to participate fully, but ultimately, he says, it will be up to the new council to deal with this as they see fit.

Councillor McPherson says he is worried that it will get filed away. Councillor caisley says there are specific recommendations in the report that can be handled. And he hopes the next council will adopt a “Let’s just do it,” attitude. “As we proceed with the implementation, every Council that comes after us can revise, review etc. They won’t have to go back to stage one.”

CAO Barry Elliott says he has already begun contact with the CDI to work on a strategic planning exercise. “They know our community so well. They’ve seen this plan from the beginning. And this document will be used as part of setting a long term plan. We will have to see what the new council wishes to do, but this will be in place.”

“We need to become less reliant on industry, and more reliant on community”, says councillor Caisley. Councillor McPherson says there was a lot of respect for Tumbler Ridge down at UBCM for trying to fix our own problems.

BC 10 YEAR TRANSPORTATION PLAN

Council discussed the new BC transportation plan. Councillor McPherson attended meeting with the Ministry. He says what they are asking for is our priorities listed. “It would be nice to get it known out around the community.” He says he brought up the 40 km section of the Boundary Road that isn’t paved, as well as the Kinuseo falls road and Hourglass. He even mentioned a road through Monkman Pass and the rail line to Dehua’s proposed mine. “They were surprised that highway 52 wasn’t finished,” says McPherson. “They were a little embarrassed about that.”

Councillor Caisley says one of the things that is a concern to him is Tumbler Ridge always seems to be on the bottom of the priorities list. “The thing that bothers me,” he says, “is we have to prepare ourselves, that there is any chance of us going even farther down on the totem pole. That doesn’t help us out. Now that TR is no longer in the mining business, the urgency we have been striving for seems to have lost momentum.”

Councillor McPherson says the geopark designation helps. “Now we have a world class designation. It gives us more punch.”

He suggests that if Highway 52 were paved, it could create an alternative “scenic route to Alaska” via Chetwynd and Hudson’s Hope.

Mayor Wren says that during the last series of meetings with Minister Bond and Mike Bernier, Minister Bond indicated that she was going to move forward with a multi ministerial meeting about the road to Kinuseo. “These are going to be challenging times moving forward, but I believe the province wants to help Tumbler Ridge,” he says. “The next council needs to keep on top of that.” He says they also talked about Dehua’s need for an Investigative Land Use permit. Councillor McPherson asks for a letter to be drafted to the Ministry of Transportation to outline Council’s concerns.

GEOPARK DESIGNATION – MILE ZERO POST, DAWSON CREEK

Council discussed meeting with the City of Dawson Creek to explore the possibility of having the Geopark designation appear on the Mile Zero Post. This item brought forward from the Council Meeting held October 21 2014. Councillor McPherson says he talked to Mayor Bumstead, who suggested that the two communities get together to discuss ways to capitalize on. This will have to wait until after the election, though, he says.