Policies and Priorities: April 23, 2014

Trent Ernst, Editor


Present, all. Councillor McPherson, chair.


Tumbler Ridge Children’s Centre Society

Raelene Bauman and Ray Proulx came to discuss operational information and address concerns from council. “We have been remiss in providing updates,” says Proulx. “We have been inwardly focused doing realignment in light of changes in the community and more broadly in society. In light of the recent announcements, we will have changes ahead, but now it is even more important to provide stability to the community.”

Bauman explains that the society runs three programs, including the daycare program, but currently there are only a half a dozen kids coming in mornings only, three days a week. They would like to run the program full-time, but don’t have the enrollment to justify it. She says there’s a lot of caregivers and nannies in town who are offering a valuable service, as some people need to go to work at 5:30 in the morning, before the Children’s Centre is open. Councillor Leggett asks how many kids would be needed to get the program back to full strength. Six full time equivalent, says Bauman. The big intake is generally in September, she says, so she doesn’t see many changes happening before then.

Tumbler Ridge Youth Soccer

The Tumbler Ridge Youth Soccer Society came before council, requesting permission from Council to allow them to build a storage shed for soccer equipment near the soccer field at Tumbler Ridge Elementary. There are 178 kids registered this year, says Jan Proulx, making it the largest team sport in town. But with the increased amount of equipment, it makes it difficult for the coaches to transport the gear, especially since many are high school students and may not have a vehicle.

“The kids are out being active,” she says.” We really think this would benefit the club, the kids and the coaches. TRU hardware has offered us a shed kit, but we just need space.” The club has three locations that they are considering, all on District property near the Elementary school. Councillor Snyder says his garage stored all the soccer equipment so he know where’re they are coming from. Mayor wren says that council is behind this, and whatever space is best for the group. He commends Jan and Dean Turner for donating a shed. “This has more kids than hockey, and is less expensive for the parents and at a lower cost to District,” he says. “Whatever we can do to support this, we will make it work.” Councillor Litster asks if they need a concrete pad. Proulx replies they were thinking about treated lumber, but will get back to the District. She also asks about insurance, which the society will have to look into.

Lakeview Credit Union

Kelly Longley, new CEO of Lakeview Credit Union, came in to talk to council and introduce himself. “I’ve Been with credit union system in three provinces,” he says. “I’ve talked to staff, and heard that Lakeview isn’t all it could be. I’m looking for input as to what we’ve done well, and what we haven’t done well.”

Mayor Wren asks for confirmation that the Credit Union will stand with the town through this difficult period. Longley says that a credit union is a partnership. He says the board is concerned and has empathy for the community. They don’t know what’s going to happen, and says they don’t want to close up shop and leave, but they are also a business. He says that if everyone used the credit union, it would be an easy decision, but many people don’t, and they need to find out how to earn people’s business. “The Royal Bank shut down years ago, yet there are still people who bank with them,” he says. “What are they doing that we’re not?”

Councillor Snyder says that what he has heard is that Lakeview is not business friendly, and doesn’t have investment advisors. Longley says he thinks they are business friendly, but says that they have to look after all their member owners, not just the businesses. He says they want to be a one-stop shop, and has a certified financial planner on staff. They have also partnered with Crudential for retirement planning and the like.

Councillor Caisley says the town is well into sustainability plan, and in next little while will be talking with financial stakeholders. He asks if Longley will be there for those meetings. He says yes. Next question, asks Caisley: “if memory serves me right, there is no Tumbler Ridge member on the board. I think it should be mandatory to have a member from each community on the board. When you get into election situations, it’s hard for someone from such a small community to get on the board.” He asks if it is possible to have it mandated that one of the board members needs to be from Tumbler Ridge.  Longley says that’s a board decision. “We have seven directors. One from Chetwynd and the rest from Dawson. The board would have to consider a bylaw change. I will take that back to the board, but it’s up to them to make the decision.”

Caisley says that Lakeview says they want to represent Tumbler Ridge’s interests, but without any representation from here, that’s just a pipe dream. Mayor Wren asks if the District should write a letter requesting that be considered by the board. Longley says that’s a good idea.

Councillor McPherson says he is one of those people who kept dealing with the Royal Bank, at least for his business accounts. “When Lakeview came in,” he says, “I moved all my personal stuff here. I went to the Dawson branch with my business account, and they told me that they couldn’t come up with a deal like I had at the Royal. So I left my account with the Royal Bank.”

Longley says that the differences between services between financial services are very small, whether it be Royal Bank, CIBC or Lakeview. “We have the same product. We have the staff to better serve people. In Dawson we have twenty staff. You walk into a bank, they have three or four. We should be the ones to structure better deals. We can learn from the competition.”

Councillor Caisley asks if the situation here will change financing for locals. Longley says they always look at the whole situation, but the status of the town should have nothing to do with it.

Marcel Brodeur

Marcel Brodeur came in to discuss concerns around the Community Forest. He has two concerns, he says. His Biggest concern is that a lot of trees we have left in the logged area are falling over. He says that in 2003 he approached the Ministry of Forests abut a fire guard. “They said we would have to clear a strip around the community,” he says. He is concerned about the fire extensions, which occur at the ground level. The way the logging has been done, he says has left  more debris on the ground, which means more possibility for fire. He says  they have removed a lot more than just the beetle kill. “Coming from the prairies, we call aspen prairie trees. Up here, they are consider weed,” says Brodeur.

He is also concerned about reforestation. “Are we going to plant seedlings along Mackenzie way so we don’t see the backs of people housing.” He also  says he heard that they burned enough wood after logging down the Sanctuary Valley Road to keep people in firewood for five years.

Councillor Mackay responds that some of the areas, like out by Sanctuary Valley, are being clear cut, and because the roads were so bad, it was decided to burn the slash.  But for the Fire Mitigation efforts, they are being much more selective.  He says that previous fire mitigation efforts left trees susceptible to blowdown, but they are working hard to reduce that. He says that this year, the areas by the Murray River Overlook Trail and Sanctuary Valley are due to be replanted.

Mayor Wren says that council has had a number of experts come in and tell us things about how fires work, and you’re coming and telling us something completely different, that all those experts were wrong?

Councillor Mackay says the Community Forest is always looking for input and people can come to the meetings. Everything is being done by the book, and very precisely. If anyone has any question, they need answered, just ask.

Councillor McPherson says when the trees were first cut down, he held a similar opinion, but now he likes it, or at least, likes it compared to what they did behind the hotel. “I hate seeing a tree cut down for no reason, but there is a reason, here. As mayor wren said, the experts have told us how it is supposed to be done, and who are we to argue with that?”


Business License Update

Back in June of 2012, there were concerns raised around the operation of mobile food vendors, and direction was given to review the Business License Bylaw and add in guides for mobile food vendors. However, the current bylaw is 12 years old, and needs updating in other areas as well. Mobile food vendors were put under commercial business license, but there are guidelines as to how the business should look. How do we amend the bylaw to include this type of business? There is none. And there are other gaps in the bylaw. Staff is seeking councils blessing to put together a small working group to update. Home based business bylaw doesn’t set limit of number of businesses that can be under one roof.

Councillor Mackay asks if there are other communities that this can be drawn from. Aleen Torraville says the issue is liability. If they are permitted to operate on district property, they need to have some sort of insurance. We don’t want to say no, we just want to get it right. Mayor Wren says he is not interested in dealing with specifics now, and that staff should get to work on it.


HD Mining

HD Mining wrote a letter (previously published in the TR News) providing an update to council on the Murray River Project. Mayor Wren says he has been in contact with HD about the letter. Mayor Wren thinks it important that council respond to this, especially around training and the fact that they’re working with NLC. “I say this in light of the layoffs we’ve just seen and every opportunity needs to be made to provide employment for locals. In light of the fact that Northern Lights just laid off most of the people at our college. I think we need to approach both HD and Northern Lights and discuss with them where’re they are at relative to the training. It’s time to go beyond the verbiage, and see how this commitment is going to stand.”

South Peace Community Resource Society

At the previous P&P meeting, council asked some questions around the Victim Services Position which Arden Smith, department manager, was unable to answer at the time. She has written a letter answering the questions. Councillor Snyder says they are not giving the information council asked for. They asked for a percentage of fundraising, and they gave a dollar amount, and would like to get the answer. Staff is asked to check into that again.

Tumbler Ridge Indoor Swimming Pool Society

Ellen Sager requests that the TRISPS craft fair be continued, but used as a fund raiser for the Forever Young Society. She says TRISPS was created to raise money to build a swimming pool, which was done years ago. The group has continued to hold the craft fair to buy items that the District may not pay for. However, they have not requested money in the last few years. It is Sager’s understanding that council was told the proceeds would go into the District. As a result, TRISPS has decided to dissolve. In the past, council waived fees because the funds went to the swimming pool. They want to transfer the event to Forever Young. Mayor Wren says the Community Centre is for the community, so he doesn’t see any issues with that. “If they’re having a fundraiser for a worthy cause, we should support it.” He also mentions that the District just created a fee waiver policy for exactly this reason

Discussion Items

Liability for Contaminated Sites

Barry is bringing foreward more info on Saturday.

Mayors’ Natural Gas Partnership

Mayor Wren says this is a group started by mayors of three towns and cities in the Peace. He says all the communities struggle with common issues, and if they were to all work together as one voice to push forward these issues, it would be effective. “I don’t know that we’ve seen the commitment from the provincial government that would be required,” says Wren. He says that, while they normally don’t pass motions at council, they need to know if Tumbler Ridge can participate before the signing ceremony of May 2. The motion passes.

CDI Community Transition Opportunity

CDI contacted the District, says Mayor Wren, and  he had a brief conversation with them. CDI indicated they had some experience with communities in this situation, and offered assistance. At the same time, he had a discussion with the Ministry of Training, and one of the suggestions that came out of that was there might be some funds available to have a group come in to help.

PnP Meeting

Councillor Mackay is just wondering how the new meeting schedule is working for everyone. Councillor Litster says she finds it better and more productive, as does Councillor Snyder. Councillor Leggett is good either way. Councillor McPherson prefers this structure, though it is more meetings. Councillor Caisley says he prefers fewer meetings, because he is meetinged to death. Less is more. Councillor Mackay says he is good either way, but is concerned about workload for staff. Mayor Wren likes it the way it is, but if the volume of work is outgrowing the number of people on staff, there is flexibility to hire more people.

Claude Galibois Tour

Councillor Mackay says that council recently did a tour‑ of the school. There were some areas of interest but they weren’t available to viewed at that time. He suggests setting up another time when they can view those areas.