Policies and Priorities Meeting: December 10, 2014

Trent Ernst, Editor

 

Present: Mayor McPherson, Councillors Howe, Krakowka, Kirby, Scott, Caisley, Mackay

Forever Young Society dinner

The Forever Young Society invited council to dinner, but it conflicts with the District party on December 12. They have been informed.

Ministry of Infrastructure

The Ministry is looking for top two or three infrastructure funding priorities for the District.

2015 Meeting Schedule

Council needs to determine when council meetings will be held. On the list are the usual evening times, plus daytime meetings Monday and Wednesday.

Councillor Howe says Wednesday afternoon or evenings work. “That would be good because then you only have to remember one day and one time,” he says.

Councillor Krakowka worries that afternoon meetings might exclude taxpayers.

Councillor Mackay says anytime works for him.

Councillor Howe says that the only conflict he sees for Wednesday is fire department practice.

CAO Barry Elliott says the Fire Chief has been able to make it when he is needed. Department heads don’t have to attend the meeting. And the P&P meetings still only happening on the second week.

Council agrees that meetings will be six o’ clock the first three Wednesdays of the month, but will have to confirm that at the next regular meeting.

Portfolios

Council portfolios have been assigned, and are up for discussion.

Mayor McPherson is the chair/primary council member for the Peace River Regional District Board of Directors, the Northeastern BC Resource Municipalities Commission, the BC Mayors’ Caucus and the South Peace Economic Development Commission.

Councillor Caisley has the Northeast Regional Advisory Committee, and will remain as the Chamber of Commerce Liaison.

Councillor Scott’s portfolios are the UNBC Regional Advisory Committee, Environment and the Family Needs Task Force.

Councillor Kirby’s Portfolios are the Museum Development Committee and Geopark, Tourism and Small Business and the Liaison for the Youth Society.

Councillor Krakowka will chair the Task Forces on both Seniors Needs and Health Needs, and sit as Council Representative on the Library Board and Success by 6.

Councillor Mackay will remain on the Community Forest Board of Directors, as well as have the Energy and Mines and First Nations relations portfolio.

Councillor Howe has the portfolios for Natural Gas Development, Outdoor Recreation, Wind Development and Land Use.

Mayor McPherson asks Councillor Caisley to sit on the Personnel Committee along with him. Councillor Caisley says he is a little unsure about the scope of the position, though is willing.

Elliott says council has a code of conduct. The people who sit on the personnel committee are the ones council can approach if there are any issues, as well as monitoring the performance of the CAO. Councillor Caisley says yes. Councillor Krakowka also volunteers.

Mayor McPherson asks if anyone wants to be involved with UBCM or FCM. Councillor Caisley says it is a good idea to get involved. Councillor Scott expresses some interest.

Councillor Howe asks if rail falls under energy? Mayor McPherson says transportation, but there is some overlap.

Councillor Howe asks with energy, it’s broken out in natural gas, wind energy and energy mines? What is the meaning of energy and mines?

Elliott says he created some positions to sync up with the ministries in the provincial government.

Councillor Howe asks if there should be a portfolio on underground mines, since it is such a different thing. “It should be shown that we treat them as a new thing,” he says. “As a different animal. That it’s important and not grouped in with the other mines.”

Mayor McPherson says EDO Jordan Wall has just sent out letters to HD and Dehua. “I don’t see that we need a different portfolio for underground. If it gets bigger, then maybe.”

He says the portfolio assignments don’t mean that other councillors can’t talk about an issue. “It doesn’t stop anyone from being involved in any of these portfolios. We are all going to work on these as best as we can,” he says. These people are just the leads.

CAO Elliott says the portfolio makeup can be changed at any time Council feels it is not working. “This is just a starting point.”

Councillor Mackay asked about the training for underground mines and suggests a portfolio on that.

Mayor McPherson says the portfolio for Advanced Education is currently being left in the hands of EDO Jordan Wall.

Elliott says recently, the new president of Northern Lights College came to town to say hi. “They know what is happening here, and expressed ongoing support for the community, but there’s a lot of work,” he says..

Councillor Mackay asks if the person from Northern Lights contacted the person from Dehua.

Jordan Wall says yes. He also says there is a report on advanced education coming before council on January 16.

Mayor McPherson says there are meetings planned with HD and Dehua in the New Year and things might change then.

Discussion about Dissention

Mayor McPherson had a discussion with Councillor Howe about voting. The mayor says that Councillor Howe was concerned about being in opposition to something that passes. Howe says if he was opposed to something, he wanted everyone to know about it.

Mayor McPherson, on the other hand, says that his concern is if council votes one way, the whole council should back the decision.

Howe  says he wants to be able to stand on his own two feet. “Not to undermine council,” says Howe, “but I want to be able to say what I have to say.”

Councillor Mackay says that councils have been torn apart by this. Once the vote is taken, he says, the job for council is to make it work. Everyone has a right to speak to issues before the vote, but after the vote is taken, everyone needs to move in the same direction.

Councillor Caisley says that at the Peace River Regional District, they allow people to have their vote noted. There’s nothing wrong with that, if the individual says they want it noted, he says.

Councillor Kirby says she agrees with Councillor Caisley. She is going to be getting input from the community. It’s not her vote, but the vote of the people, and she wants it noted.

Elliott says that as a matter of course, opposed votes are noted.

Councillor Krakowka says that he is torn between the two. He believes in supporting the direction of council.

Councillor Caisley says that if the vote goes against what he voted, his job is to support it.

Note from minor hockey

Minor hockey sent a note asking if a member of council is willing to drop the puck at hockey day in Tumbler Ridge, happening this upcoming weekend. Councillor Krakowka says he can do it.