Policies and Priorities Meeting: February 9, 2016

tumbler ridge town hallTrent Ernst, Editor

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



Jim Kincaid from the TR Museum Foundation came before Council to discuss suggested options pertaining to the TR Museum Foundation’s lease of the District building and land.”I realize you have a heavy  agenda, “says Kincaid, “so I won’t go through in detail the written report we’ve prepared for you.”

The current lease expires in 2020. According to the report, there are a number of problems with the current lease, including: the lease area is restricted to include only the original building and the parking lot. The new collections building is located outside the lease area, but its construction was approved by the Council of the day without amending the lease; TRMF has an application in progress with the federal government for $250,000, in part for capital renovations to the building. Approval of the application will be contingent on TRMF having control of the building in some form or other for at least ten years. The current lease expires in less than five years;  Article 19 of the lease provides, on any termination of the lease, that the TRMF will have only 60 days to remove any fixtures or improvements required by the District to be removed. Failure to do so In that time frame will result in the fixtures or improvements becoming the property of the District. It does not appear that the original wording contemplated the addition of something on the scale of the new collections building. “Given that the TRMF now owns or desires to add fixtures and improvements that could not likely be removed in that time frame, TRMF and the District would be placed in an untenable position that would only result in expensive legal actions benefiting no one but the lawyers”;. There is a difference of opinion between the TRMF and the District’s Public Works Department over the extent of the lease boundaries, particularly with respect to the property located between the parking lot and Murray Drive. TRMF contends that it is outside the lease area (clearly defined as including only the building and parking lot) and maintenance should be the responsibility of the District. The Public Works Department contends that it should now be considered as being within the lease area and should be the responsibility of TRMF, apparently with the rationale being that TRMF has mowed the grass in years when DTR failed to do so; and There is a portion of the whole parcel north of the playground and west of the Community Garden that is not currently being used by anyone but is being maintained by the District. It would provide a suitable area for an overflow parking lot serving any users of the whole parcel, with access being provided from the current museum parking lot. Finally, acquisition of official repository status would enhance the international reputation of the PR PRC, says the proposal, immensely improve the chances of obtaining a positive review for the Geopark, and adds to the tourism draw of the Geopark and the Museum Foundation as an anchor tenant of the Geopark. “Acquisition of that repository status will require long term security of tenure for both the main facility and the new collections building. Acquisition of repository status has been recognized by DTR and others as being of benefit to the community.

These six circumstances indicate that there is a need to deal with these issues, and timing is critical since approval of the TRMF’s federal grant application will be considered this spring. “The property control issue may not have to be finalized at that time but we anticipate that we would need at least a letter of intent from the District to provide some form of building control for the minimum period or longer,” writes Kincaid in his submission to Council.

While amending the existing lease is one option for resolving the issues, it is not the only one, says the report. A list of options for consideration would include amending the current lease, turn the whole parcel over to the TRMF and have TRMF lease the unneeded portion back to the District, or sub-divide the current parcel, which is the TRMF’s preferred option. “It provides TRMF the greatest security and flexibility in the planning and operational processes and provides TRMF with the opportunity to leverage grants for future projects. It ensures long term retention of the facility by the District and minimizes the impact of changes to current or potential users of the property,” says the Report.

Kincaid says there is a lot of paperwork to get from here to there. “We can live with any of these options,” he says. Right now, part of the problem with the lease is Section 19, which says that, if the lease is terminated, they have 60 days to leave. “We’ve got a new building on the property now, and there’s no way we’ll be able to get it out of there in 60 days.”

Councillor Krakowka says he thinks the next step is to have staff come back with a report. He moves so. Passes.



Report from Councillor Kirby requesting a discussion on how to improve the Councillor’s Business section of Council Agendas. Councillor Kirby says it takes up a lot of time, and she’s just looking for a way to streamline it.

Councillor Caisley says there are a lot of meetings that don’t need a lot of detail. He agrees that it can be a time waster, and it can appear to be a way to justify that they’re doing work. He suggests that if a meeting doesn’t have anything to report, is not to spend a long time to report.

Councillor Kirby says the other issue is there are times when there isn’t enough detail, or the right detail, and there’s no way to put your hand up and ask questions. She wonders if there’s a meeting or conference and she takes notes, if she should be sending out minutes from that.

She also wonders if the P&P meeting is a better place to discuss these things.

EDO Jordan Wall says best practices are to share what’s been happening in the committees they’ve been a part of and report to the rest of Council. He says that reports should focus on what they’re doing to help move policies, legislations and motions forward. Saying you attended this meeting and got good information is good, but it’s not really moving stuff forward. Councillor’s business is a chance for everyone to get back on the same page.

Councillor Howe says Council needs to get away from reporting current events. “Meetings that you attended? Bring it up. But the fact that you attended a bonfire downtown?”


Councillor Caisley was asked to make some comments around the topic of delegations. He says he had some concerns around how to become more streamlined in saving time and dealing with items that come before us.

He says Council is not enforcing guidelines on the 15 minutes that have been allotted. It very often turns into something a lot longer. “Having said that, I just wanted to talk a little bit about what Municipal delegations are all about,” he says.

Issues are brought before Council in three ways, says Caisley. For decisions by council or committee, by delegations for consideration. “If someone wants to be a delegation, they should find out what the process is here in Tumbler Ridge.”

After the presentation, the mayor or preceding member should open the floor for question. After questions, there is no time for comment from delegation. When all delegations have been heard, Council will discuss matter. Council has two objectives. To determine specific action Delegation wants Council to take and determine what action to take. Questions should focus on that. Rhetoric wastes everyone’s time. If we know the answer to those two questions, then we’re good.

Wall says in Tumbler Ridge’s Council meetings, those two sections take up more time than most Council meetings elsewhere run. “You can run your meetings as you like, this is just best practices,” he says.

He points out that thank you should come from the chair. “You’re looking at hundreds of dollars an hours for staff for these meetings, so that’s why a lot of communities do these meetings quickly.”

Mayor suggests adding whose portfolio a delegation affects to the Council Minutes. “They’re the person whose are that affects,” he says. “They should ask the questions.”

Councillor Howe asks who approves the delegations.

Wall says the District don’t usually vet who comes in. “Every once in a while if agenda is too big, we might ask someone to come in for a different meeting.”

Howe says a perfect example was the discussion of the Mulcher the week previous, as there were members of Council who had some information, while others didn’t.

Councillor Caisley says all members of Council should be able to ask questions so they can make a proper decision.

Councillor Scott says if the Delegation has filled out the form properly, then that information is known. As well, often times, the Councillor whose portfolio it is knows the information, so they don’t need to ask questions.

Fred Banham says if the delegation doesn’t know the answer to the questions themselves, they shouldn’t be appearing before Council.

Mayor suggests if the information were compiled into a report beforehand, it would simplify things.


CAO Wall says a Council Meeting is to make decisions. “It’s not where you go to get information. It’s where decisions are made,” he says. “It’s not a deliberation meeting. You can deliberate, but only in support of making that decision.” He says Council needs to show up to Council meetings prepared and ready with the information needed to make those decisions.

Councillor Scott says she agrees, but only if the agendas are on time and if the reports are adequate. When we run into issues is when the agendas are late and we don’t have time to review the information. She says she likes the point that debate should be limited.

Wall says agendas will be showing up Thursday at noon. He agrees. “We’ve got a system down pat, so if you want something on that agenda, it needs to be in by Monday at 8 am. We’re all going to have to stick to this timeline.”

Mayor says the way he’s going to try and run meetings is to ask for the motion. He’s going to ask for a con; if there’s nobody against it, it doesn’t need to go any farther than that.

Wall says the biggest thing to keep in mind is that you’re always speaking to the chair. It keeps the discussion civil. This will be one of the biggest procedural hurdles to get over. The person who is chairing the meeting needs to be able to step in if it starts to get into a two person debate.

Mayor says the discussion will happen pro and con, not order that hands have gone up.

Councillor Mackay asks about amendments to the agenda. Wall says there needs to be a really strong argument for an item to show up late.


Fed Banham came before Council to discuss the topic of decision making. He says the Authority and Power to govern comes from the Community Charter. This is what gives Council power, and also limits it. Council has the power as delegated to manage and operate the municipality.

Vision and Direction: need decisions. The vision and direction of the community is more than just making the decisions. It’s the long term vision.

The charter give Council the authority to delegate some, though not all, it’s authority to an officer of the municipality. Council must retain authority over Legislative Powers, but can delegate Executive Powers.

Council should work on long term vision, which needs legislative decision making. This can be slow going, but is more stable and sustainable.

Howe is community vision developed, asks Banham? Through a few key pieces of legislation. Community Plan, Zoning, Meeting Procedures, Officer’s Bylaw and Strategic Plan.

Examples of Legislative Role Decisions: Enacting bylaws, strategic direction, budget, policy, establishing level of public service, intergovernmental relations.

Staff determines how this gets enacted, says Banham. They administer bylaws, day-to-day operation of municipality. They prepare the legislation, they manage finances. They collect taxes. They support Council. They keep records.

Before a meeting, he says, Council needs to identify the item, issue or need in strategic planning. Read the full staff report in agenda, then consider and question public support or opposition. If there are questions of the clarifications, it is Council’s duty to contact CAO before the meeting. Council needs to attend Council meeting informed. “Once an item is moved and seconded, only debate should be if  there are different views.”

Council Committee Meetings are to discuss initiative that will arrive before Council for executive decision. P&P meeting are to discuss content of bylaw. Should not be discussing that at Council Meeting. Committee Meetings are interactive, informative and insightful.

Council meetings are for the sole purpose of carrying out the legislative role of Council.

Wall proposes restructuring portfolios to fit community better, as right now, nearly everything runs through the committee of the whole meetings.

Mayor McPherson says the idea of restructuring the portfolios to committees has some merit. He moves that Council moves that direction.

Councillor Caisley says the Committees should mirror the priorities in the Strategic Plan, rather than the other way around.

Mayor says he likes the way it works at the Regional District level. Staff will bring forward a report for the next P&P meeting.


Councillor Howe proposes to hire an efficiency consultant to review the operations of the District of Tumbler Ridge. He recommends a motion to the effect be added to the March 7 Agenda. Passed.


Council discussed a draft resolution for submission to NCLGA 2016 pertaining to the Provincial Off-Road Vehicle Act and subsequent Regulatory amendments to request that local governments be permitted to regulate the operation of all-terrain vehicles, off-road vehicles and golf carts on roads and streets within their municipal boundaries, similar to the existing permitted regulation of snowmobiles contained within the Off-Road Vehicle Act

NCLGA 2016 Resolution: Fossil Protection

Councillor Kirby recommends staff reviews the draft resolution, and forward it to NCLGA. Mayor moves that both those resolutions be forwarded to the Regional District. Both motions pass.


Council discussed the District of Tumbler Ridge Asset Management Steering Committee Terms of Reference. This is a result of discussion with Urban Systems, says Wall. This will be coming for formal adoption soon. Councillor Scott asks if there should be a number of members attached to this? Wall says they didn’t put a number in so that it was scalable. Councillor Scott says that was one of the concerns with the Building Healthy Community Committee, where they set a minimum and a maximum.

Mayor asks what happens if they don’t set a minimum or maximum? Wall says anyone who is interested can come spend their time on it,

Councillor Caisley says Councillor Scott’s question is legitimate.

Councillor Kirby asks about the requirement for a professional engineer. “Would we have to bring one in for every meeting?” Wall says they would probably be Urban Systems as needed. Councillor Howe asks if this is as far as the District is, just determining the terms of reference? Mayor says he agrees that you don’t want the committee.

Councillor Howe asks why are we setting the numbers on this? Shouldn’t we be discussing what  numbers, rather than having Helen put a number on it.

Councillor Caisley says a critical piece that’s missing is how much work is needed.

Motion to pass item back to staff to determine how many people needed.


The Tumbler Ridge Minor Hockey Association has asked if it is possible to use a space in the Community Centre, formerly known as the Ticket Booth for a central office for the hockey association.

Councillor Kirby says she doesn’t like the idea of them going into the Ticket Booth. “We should be able to find better space for them.” She says the Ticket booth does get used occasionally.

Councillor Caisley asks what other areas can be considered?

Right now, says Wall, there are no other spaces, really, though in the long term there are options. The old Chamber office is empty, for instance, but when he was originally approached, minor hockey didn’t mention that as an option, so it hasn’t been investigated.

Councillor Kirby asks if it would be possible for them to share space with the Curling Club?

Mayor says he doesn’t have a problem with using the Ticket Office, but this brings up the issue again that there are rooms that are being used for storage that could be used for space if a storage space were brought up.

Councillor Howe points out the old Chamber office was originally set aside for the Icemen. He says he’d prefer to see Minor Hockey go in there and find a place for the programmer.

Councillor Krakowka says all the discussion is around the Ticket Booth, and no discussion around the other office. Wall says the original discussion was around the ticket booth area, and it is only recently that the other option was presented.

Councillor Scott says Minor Hockey is an important element in town right now. She doesn’t like the space downstairs, as it seems too small. She wants staff to bring back

Council directed staff to look at options around the old chamber office.


Council discussed guidelines for the loan of game cameras to residents of Tumbler Ridge. Councillor Scott asks about the security deposit. Should they be damaged, the damage deposit should cover it. Councillor Howe says the reason was so that people who couldn’t afford to buy one can rent this.

Councillor Caisley asks how long a term these would be. He says max period is two weeks. If I’m still concerned about vandalism, do I just come back and see if I can rent it again? Why would you not buy one and have it there all the time?

Howe says the thought process was that these would be out in the community, so that people know that there are cameras in the community to capture vandalism.



CAO Wall says it’s a pretty ambitious timeline that Council is undertaking, but it can be done. What we’re doing is to inform council of Community’s needs, to provide council input and to provide staff time to create the budget.

Budget is not something that can be changed on a dime. Each department workbook contains over 10,000 formulas. It will be a state of the art budget, once completed

“Succession planning is something that I’m trying to build in,” says Wall. It is like looking into a black hole for information on expenses from more than a year and a half back. Finding old information is like looking through a needle in the haystack. Moving forward, that information will be captured in the budget.

Staff will get a list of capital projects ready by Feb 18. Council needs to make decision on all pre-approval projects by Feb 22. Council will discuss which projects to move forward with.

Council needs to provide staff with a description of proposed projects by Feb 23 at noon, then will vote on all proposals. Staff will do preliminary research on all approved projects.  Staff will present costs of all proposals and Council will vote on each proposal. By the budget meeting April 19, staff will present a passable budget. Council will finalize items to be included in the budget. On April 21, tax rates will be set, and on May 2, the first reading of budget will take place.

Municipalities are like big ships, says Wall, and it’s hard to change course once the ship has sailed, so it’s important the budget captures everything needed.

Councillor Kirby asks what info would be needed for those proposals. How much background is needed?

Wall says it isn’t up to him. “It’s how much information you need to convince your fellow Councillors.”


Councillor Mackay says West Moberly will have four Councillor’s there. He says Tumbler Ridge should have the same number. “We have to develop the process to determine which four are going.” Meeting will be on February 29 here in town. Councillor Kirby says any Councillor who wants to attend should be able to attend.

Mayor  agrees.  He says if all Council shows up, it shows interest. It’s a very low-key meeting. Councillor Caisley asks if any agenda has been established. Councillor Mackay says Urban Reserve and Community Forest and Expansion are topics that have been raised.

Councillor Caisley asks if any decisions will be made there? Mayor says this is a get to know each other meeting.


A discussion around options for providing greater service to Tumbler Ridge to meet the increasing medical needs of its residents. Councillor Krakowka recuses himself. Mayor says there is a third Doctor coming in. Councillor Howe says this new efficient approach to council is great. Councillor Kirby says there needs to be discussion with BCAS about second car. Councillor Scott asks if this is something that should be brought to UBCM? Councillor Mackay says he thinks it should.


For discussion on whether there is value for the District of Tumbler Ridge to join the NEBC Resource Municipalities Coalition. Mayor says he’s talked to other Municipalities, and they said Tumbler Ridge already has a voice through regional district, so he proposes that Tumbler Ridge stay out. Councillor Kirby asks how would Tumbler Ridge would participate if they became part of it? Mayor says it’s a place for the mayors to get together and discuss issues. His trouble is there are high paid consultants that sit around and take notes at every meeting. He has nothing against high price consultants, but only when they’re needed. “And they knew nothing about mining, just oil and gas,” he says. Councillor Scott says her understanding is the coalition is for resource communities, not just oil and gas. She wonders what the cost of joining would be. Mayor suggests that they can come before Council to present what they can do for Council. Mayor moves that they invite a member of the coalition to come and discuss benefits.


Councillor Scott says this is fast approaching. She and Councillor Kirby are going in next week to meet with organization meeting. Need to determine who is going to be on bus tour. It’s going to be a circle tour through Tumbler Ridge and Chetwynd. Need to get a timeline down. Was going to be organized by EDO department, but as there is no EDO. Thoughts were to re to go to Museum..

Probably 80 participants on tour.

She says they will need to determine costs of lunch for 80 people. Wondering who should take it on. Councillor Kirby says it was EDO office. Looks like it is falling on Councillor Scott and Me. Wondering if it should go to RFP or how to go about it. One issue is who is going to do the talk on the bus?

Wall says Sarah Waters will be on the Bus. He was under impression the NCLGA was paying for food, but other than that, everything is ready to go.


Councillor Kirby says she is confused about the time frame that this report covers. Wondering about when the work was done on the picnic tables and is wondering about the benefits. Wall says when other departments work there, it needs to be accounted for. Higher wage component because picnic tables needed to be redone.

Mayor says the only item of conversation is the contracted services, because all the other items have to be done. He’s wondering how much the town is planning on losing on the park. Is that worth $20,000? He has a problem with that.

Councillor Howe says the report is confusing. He wonders how contracting services helped the District?

Councillor Kirby says it helps for tourist. She’s wondering why the District employees are doing so much work, since the Contractor took over those services. “If we’re going to be a destination, I don’t see how we can go back to having a District employ going out for half an hour a day. If I’m going camping and I have to wait for someone from public works to come down there? If we’re not going to be putting anything into it, why are we wasting our time. Either do it, or sell it.”

Councillor Scott agrees. Attendant came on board late in the season, thinks she’s not getting a fair shake.

Councillor Krakowka says it was our fault that the lease was so poor. He thinks town should put it out as a profit share: 80/20, 90/10, or something like that.

Mayor McPherson says there’s lots of time to put it out for bid and see who wants to come in and run it. Maybe there’s someone out there who wants to do it as a business.

Councillor Krakowka says that down at the Lion’s Campground the District used to cut the grass. The District purchased a lawn mower for the Lions.  Now the District only turns on water, picks up garbage, etc. A lot of staff time goes to mowing grass. He suggest setting it up so Monkman RV Park is run similarly.

Mayor makes a motion that staff find a contractor to take over the Monkman RV park.


Councillor Howe asks if this could go back to staff to get a cost on getting  a liner and boards. Councillor Kirby suggests that Councillor Howe bring a report. He says he can do it. Councillor Mackay says we are a true sports community, so this is good.