Policies and Priorities Committee Meeting: May 9, 2016

Trent Ernst, Editor

Councillor Howe (Chair), Mayor McPherson, Councillor’s Caisley, Krakowka, Scott, Mackay



Karen Strang came before Council to request that Council consider the following: 1) allow Strata PGS335 (340 Northgate) to replace windows and doors like for like without need for an engineer; and 2) authorize (“grandfather”) a building code variance for the sliding door riser height. She says there are some new bits of information that Council might need to know about their insistence that they get an engineer in to replace the windows. She says the cost of doing all the work would be 420,000 for the one building. If they need to get an engineer, the cost would be $1.3 million. If they did the windows only, it would cost $80,000. This she says, is doable. $400,000 is not.

She has talked to an Engineer from Force Engineering; they go from Grande Prairie to Prince George and all the towns in between, and according to them, Tumbler Ridge is the only town in the area that requires an engineer.

According to the construction act, says Strang, the owner is responsible for any work done on the building. This means the District would not be responsible for any faulty repairs, as they are worried about.

Councillor Mackay asks about water leakage. That’s not the problem, says Strang. The problem is, it is too dry.

Councillor Caisley says the report brings up good issues, and these are reasonable requests. He suggests referring it to the building inspector.


This item was forwarded from the Regular Council Meeting held April 18, 2016. Councillor Scott suggests June 20, as it should be before school is out. CAO Jordan Wall asks what style they like: Stations or questions? Mayor says the one at the VIC was a little crowded, but he liked the format.

Councillor Scott asks if there are topics. Wall says that’s what the discussion is for. Councillor Caisley says the format at the VIC went really well, but suggests finding a bigger room. People were, he says very enthusiastic about it. Recommendation is for staff to prepare a handout. They decide to hold the town hall meeting on June 20 at 7 pm.


Currently the Transfer Station and Recycling hours of Operation are Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, 10:00am to 6:00pm for the general public. With the previous change in the recycling depot and the requirements of having a manned station, says a report from Doug Beale, the District has had to increase the man hours to keep the Recycle Station operating for Public access. This change, says Beale, has meant utilizing casual labour for the extra hours.

The requirements of a manned Recycle depot are to minimize contamination of the multi stream materials to reduce processing and revenue penalties around that. He brings forward three options.

Councillor Kirby says the option from Tuesday to Sunday is very expensive. Tuesday to Saturday 10-6 would only cost an additional $2000, and would give people added time.

Beale says the transfer operator is a full-time employee. They work around the yard during the days it is closed. The additional cost ($2000) would only go towards utilities. Mayor says he agrees with Councillor Kirby; Wednesday to Sunday makes the most sense. Council moves that staff prepare a report on cost of having the place open from Wednesday to Sunday. Wall says there may be some issues for people working on Sunday, but they will cover that in the report.


A new one sheet of rules for spectators. Councillor Krakowka says he’d like to see that any questions be open to being asked, rather than questions relating to the current agenda. Councillor Caisley disagrees. There are other avenues for people looking to raise issues, from letters to appearing as a delegation.

Councillor Howe would like to see cell phone etiquette added to the list. He also says he doesn’t want to see people who want to speak during a delegation sitting in the audience; if they want to speak, they should be a part of the delegation.

Council moves to open up questions to any questions, as well as adding cell phone etiquette.

Helping Fort McMurray

Councillor Howe proposes a letter to Fort McMurray, saying we have ample housing for people to live. We are a mining town. We can direct staff to find out what the largest plane is that we can land at airport, as a means to get people here. And give them the information and the options we’ve got. We are not looking to spend a lot of money, but looking for long term solutions.

Mayor agrees, as well as sending a letter to the provincial ministry looking for assistance as well.

Councillor Mackay says there is an emergency services coordinator. He is wondering if this falls under their job description.

Councillor Scott says there needs to be a coordinator.

Howe says he wants to see a letter drafted by the end of week.

Councillor Caisley is wondering about the parameters. If they come down, we’ve got rental properties, but that’s up to you. It’s those kinds of things that people coming down without money, without anything, what that will involve.

Howe says TR doesn’t have a thousand houses to give out, but there might be 1000 places to rent. We’d love to give them away, but they’re not ours. However rent is low and there is space at the school. We’ll help you with longer term solutions, getting people into long-term housing. We don’t have all the answers, but know it’s important to at least make the offer.

Wall says there are a number of options. First is to send out letter with contact information for property management people, etc. Second option is to put this onto Economic Development, which they can do, but they’re working on three major things. If Council is happy putting those things on hold, then we can do it. If not, we’ll have to bring on more staff. We can do anything Council wants but the costs do add up.

Mayor McPherson says there should be priority given to this. It can’t sit for three months. It should be number one priority for Economic Development.

Councillor Kirby wonders if it is an Economic Development project. Can a councillor take it on? Can our emergency services coordinator work on it, rather than having staff?

Councillor Howe says in his mind, this is something that should be coming from the District. After that it can move onto Emergency Services, but to get the letter out? That’s worth taking a few days from Economic Development.

Councillor Caisley says isn’t there a provincial-wide organization that is set up to deal with these things? Shouldn’t we tie into that, or open up a dialogue?

Councillor Mackay says there are people in town who are already working on this. He says an initial letter of welcome is worth it, but he thinks the town shouldn’t be organizing it.

Councillor Howe says this is something that could get a lot of pick up or maybe nothing happens, but he wants to see it get done sooner rather than later.

Councillor Scott says it’s an offer of relocation, at least in the short term.

Councillor Krakowka says there are at least five families that are going to be in town by the end of the week. It’s already happening. It’s very important for this to happen.

Council moves to send a letter to all interested parties, including major employers, Alberta Emergency Services, BC Ministries, extending an invitation for people to come to Tumbler Ridge, highlighting what resources we have in town.