Policies and Priorities Committee December 12

Trent Ernst, Editor

Councillor Scott (Chair), Mayor McPherson, Councillors Kirby, Howe, Krakowka, Caisley.



Roxanne Gulick provided an update, which was basically covered by the report she submitted last meeting. Councillor Kirby asks how much mowing is handled by the operator? Gulick says they did all the inside areas, while the District did outside, including the field.

Kirby asks for suggestions around Grizfest. “How do you make it better?” Gulick says you need to keep it consistent. “Don’t change rules just for that weekend. Once you give someone an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

Mayor asks about fire pits. Gulick says during Grizfest, they could rent out more. “If the price was lower, or if they didn’t have to be rented, they’d get more use.”

CAO Jordan Wall says Council has already given direction for some issues. The biggest problem will be the drainage and a picnic table. “If we put more money into the RV park, Council will see costs go up,” he says.


Frank Walsh from the Lions came before Council to discuss their year. He says despite mother nature’s idiosyncrasies, had a good year. One of the best. The campground is in great shape, and the Lions took it upon themselves to resurface all the camping stalls on bottom this year. The year before, they did the top. This cost $25,000. “There was nothing but good reports on the campsite,” says Walsh. But, he says, there were some questions, and the biggest one was “why can’t we get some of the stalls with power?”

He says there will be a profit and loss for the year coming in the first week in January.

Councillor Howe asks if staff can look at putting in power. Wall says if council wants to hire an independent contractor to look at it, that can be done. One of the issues was the lower section was on a flood plain.

Howe asks if that is something that BC Hydro can quote on for free? Wall says they’ll look at it, but for context, they put in eight sites at golf course, and it cost $40,000.

Is there power there now, asks Councillor Scott? Yes, says Walsh, but only 110v to the building.

Mayor says last year when they talked about it, there was the discussion that there are empty powered sites up at Monkman RV park, so it would be like they were competing with themselves. Krakowka points out that they just added in eight powered sites at Golf Course so there is already competition between District Campsites. Howe moves to investigate putting in powered sites down at the campsite. All in favour.


Doug Foerster came before council. He says they still have money in the bank, so they’re in good shape. Right now they have two units under lease through BC Housing, which has been there since 2008.

They have handled a lot of interesting scenarios in the time they have been active, and council has supported the society since 2008.

Over the last few years, he says, they have been experiencing a slowdown. They started out with 40 volunteers and now they have five. Many have moved on to other societies, or moved on in general. “Like the fire department, we are there when we are needed,” he says.

They have about $25,000 in the bank. This year, funding will be reduced. “Our services are not being used, so we still have money.” They have spent some money on training, but we have lost a number of directors because of apathy in the community.


Diana Skillen appears for the Saddle Club. She says the grant was for $22,950 and provided three six week summer jobs. $22,470 was spent. The remainder is for a final payroll report.

The Saddle Club used $5000 of own money. The main purpose for grant was to provide employment, fix grounds, repair fences, host fall fair and give space for 4H.

Posts were purchased, fences repaired, and barns painted. The quonset was also cleaned out. The Fall Fair was an overwhelming success with $1000 raised for the Food Bank. People are already talking about next year’s Fall Fair.

Councillor Howe asks who pays for power. Saddle Club, she says. What’s the cost of rental? $50/month.

How many paddocks are rented asks Krakowka? 18 to 20 says Skillen.

They contracted with a person out of Dawson. He does Tamarack posts, which last 30 years, which was less expensive than treated post, and will last longer.

Only thing they didn’t finish was the arena area, she says, as it was too big a project. They will be looking at it next year, but did get the worst sections repaired.


Dawn Wagner and Roxanne Gulick appear before council. The Youth Services Society didn’t apply for funds in 2015, says Dawn, but applied for a Fee for Service in 2016-2018.

They have a new furnace in the Teen Centre. There is a new patio being build outside. The Centre is open 25.5 hours per week and attendance is strong. 107 out of 146 students at TRSS have attended this year. Since March, Wednesday afternoon is being set aside for grade 5 and 6. So far, they’ve gone on two ski trips and ran an anti-bullying campaign, they are now gearing up for the Christmas Party.

The Youth Services Society is now looking at more ski trips and pool tourney. They are trying to reform student council, and get students more involved, but it can be like pulling teeth sometime, says Gulick.

There is a new member for the board, bringing the board to ten people. They continue to provide activities for kids, for free or at reduced cost. For instance, this year, they offered passes to Grizfest, though the kids had to do some legwork.

Their goal is to be the spot where kids can hang out.

Mayor says he thought the centre was more for teenagers, not grades five and six. “What ages attend?” He asks.

Grade 5–12, says Wagner. Grade 5–6 can attend afternoons, and in evenings 7–12.



Invitation to Council to attend and Unsung Heroes of Northern BC Event being held in Prince George on February 4, 2017.



Motion to instruct staff to enter into negotiations with Wild River Adventure Tours to extend the contract for management of the Monkman RV Park for one year.

The questions is asked why is it so much more expensive? This is a service council asked staff to prepare says Wall. Coming out of 2015, staff’s recommendation was to not continue with it, but Council wanted it.

Wild River Adventure Tours brought in fire pits this year. “Without someone on hand, that’s not a service that we’d offer,” says Wall.

In 2012–2015 the District made money. How did that happen? Are we counting money the same, asks Mayor.

Yes, says Wall, but having someone there is going to cost more than not having someone there. “Is the heightened service worth the cost for Council?”

Mayor says Public works spent $10,000 more in 2015.

In 2015, the contractor didn’t have to do any maintenance, plus there was a lot of repair that needed to be done.

“I’m not trying to tell council to go any direction,” says Wall, “but if you do upgrades, it will cost more. If you have a contractor down there, it will cost more. It’s what type of service that you want down there?”

Councillor Scott asks about vandalism between having a contractor and not.

Doug Beale says not having a full-time operator down there you get more damage, more garbage, more incidents.

Councillor Kirby says look at the time. Having someone there 24/7 isn’t needed. Even the contractor says that. “As long as you’re there in the morning and in the evening, as long as you have good signage down there with the rules, it’s fine. But if you don’t have someone there, it reflects on the quality of the campground. If we are trying to promote tourism, we should start with our own campground.”

Councillor Howe asks about the contract, are there any legal issues? The contract has expired, says Wall. He says there are three options: Wild River Adventure Tours, Public Process or the District takes it back.

Councillor Howe says there must be something that Public Works does down there that hasn’t changed.

Public Works still maintains the grassy areas, says Wall. They upgraded the playground this summer, so that adds to cost of Public Works wages.

Beale says Public Works maintains sewer and water. Last year there was a sewer blockage which added to cost. “It was quite a job for us, as it’s pretty close to the sanitary lagoon.” In 2015 they refurbished the picnic table. The tops needed to be replaced, so that’s part of the high cost.

Councillor Howe says he’s interested in seeing what the ideas for Wild River Adventure Tours would cost. “For me, between 2014 and 2016, we didn’t have any decrease in wages, or increase in revenue, but additional cost in having someone down there.”

Councillor Krakowka says Council is directing staff to go negotiate, so let them hammer it out.

Mayor says if the $14,300 was improvements, he has no problem with that. If it was wages, he does.

Wall says it sounds like Council is looking for that sweet spot, and he’s not sure that’s going to happen.

Howe says there is some discussion if this is the right way. He suggests putting it out to a public process.

Councillor Kirby says the District has an RV park that needs to be maintained. “The way I look at it is we are offering a service.”

Councillor Howe asks why the District has to go back to Wild River Adventure Tours? Wall says the RV Park has gone to two RFPs already. “You’ve seen that result twice now. I don’t think you’re going to see that sweet spot.”

Motion passes. Howe and Scott opposed.


Report from the Community Services Manager on the Tumbler Ridge Days Society 2016 Grizfest event.


It was previously discussed to move the Tumbler Ridge Fire Department Training Center to another location large enough to accommodate a new storage facility for Search and Rescue and the Fire Department wildland truck (S4). However, any proposed location would need upgrades to the infrastructure, and it would cost close to half a million dollars to extend the current hydrant system to either a location near the Tumbler Ridge Transfer Station and the lot adjacent to the Public Works yard, which were two properties purposed, and so Fire Chief Dustin Curry recommends Council keep fire training at its current location.


In 2013, reports Fire Chief Curry, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards for Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) changed in the wake of several firefighter deaths.

The Fire Department is obligated to follow WorkSafe BC requirements, and it is expected they will change their standards to follow the NFPA. However WorkSafe BC has yet to implement that change.

The new standards dictate that the End of Service Time Indicator (EOSTI) or “Low –Air Alarm” must activate at 33 percent of the full cylinder volume in order to provide adequate time to exit the building. “Our current SCBA fleet does not comply with this new standard and should be replaced,” reports Curry. “Due to this change in the standard, a cylinder supply of 2216psi is no longer the recommended size for firefighting operations; 4500psi is now the accepted capacity.”

He says with more modern building construction and household items having higher heat release rates, structure fires are hotter, faster and more volatile than ever. “By using SCBA with this new standard, we provide a better ability to implement fire ground operations while also providing better safety mechanisms for our firefighters while in the process.”

The cost to replace the entire SCBA fleet of 13 harnesses, 30 cylinders and 30 masks will cost between $150,000 to $175,000.

Council added this to the 2017 budget discussions.

Mayor asks if this happens every year.

No, says Wall, this is a complete upgrade.

Councillor Kirby asks when this would be legally required. Curry says he doesn’t know. It could be one year, it could be five.



Doug Beale, Public Works Manager, submitted a report recommending that the replacement of various vehicles and equipment be included in the 2017 Asset Replacement budget. Council moves to includes these in the 2017 Asset Replacement budget recommendations.

Councillor Kirby says this is a pretty big ask. Is there any way of breaking this up?

Mayor says there is enough in the equipment budget for this.


Council includes a building, located on the lot adjacent to the Public Works yard, to meet future requirements of the Fire Department and Search & Rescue in the 2017 Asset Management replacement plan.

It was previously recommended that the District build a new Storage Facility as opposed to continuing to rent bay 5 at 119 Commercial Crescent, reports Chief Curry. “At that time, it was proposed that the facility be located at either the Tumbler Ridge Transfer Station or the lot adjacent to the Public Works yard and that the Tumbler Ridge Fire Training Centre be moved to the same site as the storage facility.”

Curry says there are a number of concerns if the facility is built at the Transfer Station, most importantly would be emergency response times. “At its current location at 119 Commercial crescent, it takes approximately six minutes for a response to the hall; the lot adjacent to Public Works would be similar, approximately 7 minutes. Response time from the Transfer Station would be 15–17 minutes.”

As well, he says, access to the Transfer Station would also be a concern as each firefighter would require gate access at all times should he or she be required to get the apparatus or equipment in their personal vehicle. A similar system would need to be in place to allow this kind of access to the Transfer Station during off hours. Either location will require power, water and sewer utilities to be installed. At the lot near Public Works, most of these services can be supplied by continuation of the existing public works building utilities. Providing these services at the Transfer Station, says Curry, would have a considerable cost associated with them.

Councillor Howe wonders if there is a better way to do this. “Is there not an area around town where there’s a fire hydrant where we can move this stuff? I don’t agree with doing any new buildings right now. Our track record is terrible. Is there not anywhere we could potentially set up a dual purpose location?”

Krakowka says his concern is adding 600 sq ft, it would cost an extra $100,000.

With this building says Wall there is additional costs because of height requirement.

Mayor says Search and Rescue rent a stall in the Commercial park.

Wall says the District rents that area. Long term costs are cheaper to move into their own building. In the long term a building saves cost. We do not have to provide storage for Search and Rescue and the Fire Department. But if the District wants to be able to provide the services.

Motion defeated.

Wall asks for some direction Council would like staff to go: keep renting? A smaller building?

Mayor says he’d like to see a cost of purchasing the space.

Wall says $150,000 or so, but then there’s the strata cost.

Councillor Scott says, continue to rent for one more year and figure it out. Motion made. Passes.


There is a misconception pertaining to the benefits of the existing chlorination system compared to other disinfection technology that is available to municipalities, reports Boyd Clark, the new Manager of Community Services and Facilities. “The current pool sanitation system is chlorine based. It uses salt to activate the chlorine in the water. Due to the nature of the Tumbler Ridge Community Centre at its time of construction and the type of building components and ventilation system, this system (saltwater lectranator) causes major damage to the longer term use of the pool’s electrical systems, flooring, and the buildings infrastructure.”

He says the pool is still a chlorine pool. “The difference between this system and others is that the chlorine is activated by ionization in the salt water. The amount of chlorine that enters the pool is not materially different between a salt water and various chlorination system.”

Over the life cycle of operating with salt water, says Clark, the system has caused extensive damage to the walls, lighting, electrical and has significantly decreased the life span of the Community Centre’s roof.

“When the pool portion of the building was constructed, it was for an alternative system to salt water,” reports Clark. “Therefore the existing building envelope and ventilation system has been marginalized due to the chloramines released into the air. The chloramines can deteriorate both concrete and the steel of the building and further it reduces the life expectancy and the viability of the various components of the operating systems of the pool.”

This, he says, will cut the lifespan of the pool in half and could double the cost to maintain and operate.

“With the current system installed the life span of the pool, which should have been 20–30 more years minimum, has been reduced to about half,” he reports. “Further, within the next 3–5 years, the deck, support structures, roof, in pool lighting, and pool itself will need major renovations. These pool renovations are costly and have a poor track record of being completed on budget.”

In addition, he says, the existing operating system for our salt water is not able to keep up with the limited use it currently receives and administration. Council and the residents would welcome increased usage of the facility. He says that the pool water clarity has been questionable recently, becoming cloudy during high use. If this continues, the pool may have to close for failing to meet provincial guidelines. “These issues have required staff to manually disinfect the pool by dropping the PH level each time. This poses risks to the users of the pool both during times of increased ‘cloudiness’ and PH changes.”

Finally, he says, many municipal pools in Alberta and British Columbia, including Chetwynd, who initially switched to the salt water system have now again changed and no longer use the salt water system due to the cost of operating the system and the impact it has on the structural components of their buildings.

To resolve this issue, administration is proposing a new sanitation system. This would include liquid chlorine and a secondary ultra-violet water sanitation system. This proposed system allows for a much lower chlorine level, than what has been used in the past for chlorine pools. It would continue to provide the bathers with a safe environment to partake in swimming and it would result in marginal difference in indoor smell that swimmers identify with the salt water sanitation system. Further it would put Tumbler Ridge on the edge of water cleaning technology.

Councillor Howe asks wasn’t there a report last year on this?

Wall says there was a report. This was one of the options in reducing the amount of chlorine. This year, Wall says, there was an emergency meeting because there was more repairs needed. “Salt water pools are not good indoors,” he says. “We can do our best to mitigate, but staying with this system is the most expensive option.”

Councillor Howe asks what other cities use the proposed system.

A number of communities in Alberta use this system, says Boyd. He says salt water systems are balanced to the body’s PH. But the pools came to Canada from Australia, they were mostly outdoor systems, and there was no real understanding of how it would affect the facility indoors.

Councillor Howe says he doesn’t feel fully informed. He wants to hear from a pro. He’s sure their is going to have to be training, WHMS, and all those other costs that aren’t considered. I think there is going to be public outcry without the understanding.

From an operating practice perspective, there won’t be much difference. The skills are the same.

“The technology in the pool is 1990s technology,” says Clark. “The new system would be more modern, so easier to use. There will be a marginal difference in the bathing experience. Very few communities still use the old chlorine method. I agree it is an education process.

Howe says he doesn’t want to have a salesman come in and try and sell us on it.

Mayor says he went on the tour a year ago and saw what the salt was doing to the pool, but also heard from the users. He agrees, they need as much information as they can get before they make the decision.

Howe says if this is the best thing out there, then it should be part of the discussion, but he just wants to have the right information.

Motion defeated.

Recommendation that staff invite an expert to come and discuss with Council. Passes.


In a previous Council committee meeting Council provided direction to staff to prepare a questionnaire to go to the public regarding potential residential lot expansion. The questions are ready, and have come before Council for discussion.

Councillor Howe says this doesn’t accurately reflect the discussion they had. He points to the question about the amounts, says it is a loaded question.

Wall says Council stated they didn’t want any costs coming onto the District. So the cost of this, Urban System estimates, would be $8000. To do that, the person who is interested would have to bear that cost.

Mayor says he thought there was discussion about permits, not actual lot expansion. He says the other issue is that a lot of this is crown land. They won’t let us just do extensions onto their land.

Wall says to do this, the district would have to buy large chucks of crown land.

Howe says the discussions went both ways; there was discussion around expansion, but also permit. He points to the question that asks if the District should respond P1 land to allow for residential lot expansions. “It’s a loaded question. You’re never going to get someone to come out.”

The mayor points out again that most of the lots back onto crown land, and Wall says District can’t permit onto Crown Land.

Scott says there’s a lot of discussion on this, when it doesn’t benefit a lot of people.

Howe says do we have to choose?

Wall says these questions are the information you provided Council. “We’ve had Urban Systems come in saying the same thing. We would have to re-zone P1 areas. That’s not a leading question. That is a reality that staff would have to face. There’s not a lot of areas on those maps that would work unless we open up those P1 areas. I defend the integrity of this report because these are the logistical challenges we face.”

Councillor Kirby says there is no harm putting out this survey to see what sort of response there is.

Councillor Howe suggests just shelving this. He says it doesn’t look doable or viable with the problems faced. He says he just wanted to see a way to collect money from people using the space behind their lots.

Mayor says he’s still against this. He’s worried that if they do this, it may wind up that nobody is able to do it, and the people who are using the space now need to stop.

Howe says there was some agreement to look at a permitting system. “Lots of people are doing it. We can’t let people just do what they want. We need to have some control on it.”

Wall says he did talk to Mackenzie where they do it. Their experience was it didn’t solve any issues, because people would just expand farther out and it wasted building inspector time. We couldn’t permit on crown land, and it couldn’t be a permanent structure.

Permitting is there, it’s not an easy or fast solution, but the biggest issue is that many of the areas that would work are P1.

Krakowka says the council of the day took the heat on the reasoning P1 because they were looking at putting a complex there. That’s different than saying here’s 20 feet, you can’t cut down any trees.

Kirby says Council needs to admit that this isn’t going to work. There are not enough areas to make this work.

Howe says add the permit idea to the questionnaires. He agrees the costs on this are not reasonable. But there is still the issue of people’s stuff on people’s property. “To me it’s a simple solution.”



Scott says she wants to see all of Council involved in Asset Management. There are three options in front of council: Bring it back to just council, keep it as it is, or …

Krakowka says it is very important that Council as a whole is there. He likes the idea of the residents being able to have a say. Mr Kangas sits on that committee, and some of the information he has … you learn a lot. ‘Wall says they need direction on whether to bring it into Council, or let staff and public vote on it. Also, should the Asset Management committee make recommendations, or should they make decisions?’

Mayor says Council is elected to vote on issues. He doesn’t think it’s right to have people who are not elected to make decisions.

Walls says if you move this to be Council, you need four members for quorum. If you let the public be on the committee and just make recommendations, you expand the options. Staff can bring back a report.

Krakowka says the information that is brought to the table by staff and the public. He wants to see that remain.

Councillor Howe says he doesn’t need to attend the meetings, he just wants to make sure the information is presented back to council. Councillor Scott says there’s a lot of information presented there; it’s hard to get that all back.

Motion to open up Asset Management to all Council.


Council asked for this to come back to them says Wall. Just a starting point on the discussion, is there anyone who got money that you don’t think should have, and what, if anything could be done to stop that.

Councillor Krakowka says Ridge Riders have been having some trouble finding a snow cat. He’s wondering if there’s any way to earmark the money if it has to be held over to next year. What scares me, he says, is that they will just take what they can get, rather than finding the right machine.

Councillor Howe says he doesn’t see why that money can’t be earmarked for next year.

His big concern was last year, Grant in Aid and Fee for Service was the highest it’s ever been.

Motion for staff to bring back a report on what has already been designated. Passed.

Wall says Dawson Creek has a policy that people have to prove that they have applied and been rejected. Other places say you can’t apply again.

Krakowka says Council has been a little lenient. Next year he wants to see Council be stricter and hold to their policies better. We gave out nearly a million dollars last year. Dawson Creek didn’t even give out $200,000.

Mayor says there are issues, but its hard to compare Tumbler Ridge to other places. Look at the number of businesses there are there. We have to say do we want this or do we not want this. That’s what it boils down to. And, yeah, there may be ways for some of these organizations to raise their fees.