Regular Meeting of Council: April 1, 2014

Trent Ernst, Editor


Present: Mayor Wren, Councillors Litster, McPherson, Caisley, Snyder

Petitions and Delegations

South Peace Community Resources Society

Rose Colledge, TR Outreach & Safe Home Coordinator, came before council to request that Council proclaim the week of April 6 – 12, 2014 as the BC Prevention of Violence Against Women Week and the Victims of Crime Week. She says that violence doesn’t affect just the one person, it affects the community. She gives a picture of a flower to the mayor. “This is what the flower we gave the mayor last year would have looked like if the mayor had a green thumb.” The mayor makes the proclamation.

Bc Oil & Gas Commission

Paul Jeakins, Commissioner & CEO; Kevin Parsonage, P.Eng., Supervisor, Field Engineering and Corey Jonnsen, Director, Community Relations came to present on Hydraulic Fracturing and Groundwater Contamination.

Jeakins presents on the OGC’s work in general. He says five years ago 15 percent of the gas being produced in BC was unconventional. Now it is 90 percent. And while 15 years ago, there was interest in drilling across the province, but that has focused into four main areas: The Montenay, Horn River, Liard and Cordova basins, all in the Northeast. In the Liard, gas can be found at up to 4500 metres underground. Because of things like that and other issues (lack of infrastructure, primarily), much of the activity right now is focused on Montenay, which is found just east of Tumbler Ridge, and covers Dawson Creek, Fort St. John and Hudson’s Hope, as well as portions of the Muskwa Kechika Management area. In fact, he says, 73 percent of all the activity is found in the Montenay. While there has been a lot of experimentation with alternate forms of fracking, most of the fracking that happens in BC uses water.

The Oil and Gas Activities Act came into place in 2010, and the OGC has the ability to issue specific enactment under that act, as well as the land act, water act, forest act, heritage conservation act and environmental management act. This is part of the “single window” approach that the OGC is aiming towards, says Jeakins.

The amount of natural gas going to US is on decline, he says, which is why LNG is important to province

When they asked the public, safety of drinking water was by far the number one issue that they were concerned about, which the OGC used to develop their water strategy. One of the principals is that no more than 15 percent of the water in an ecosystem can be used by oil and gas, which has since been adopted by all the other agencies (forestry, mining, etc) as a maximum for all industrial use.

This is just a target, says Jeakins, and well above current usage. In 2012, the maximum usage was .06 percent. Projected annual demand for water will hit over 40 million cubic metres in five years, but that’s still less than .1 percent of the total water. In 2010 and in 2012, they had to shut down water usage in summer due to drought.

Finally, the OGC is investigating the link between fracking and seismic incidences.

After Jeakins, Kevin Parsonage makes a shorter presentation on fracking. He says that fracking has less impact on surface than conventional means of extraction, as they are now drilling down, then out once they hit the gas layer, meaning one fracking wellsite replaces a number of conventional sites.

In BC, gas producers are required to trap of flare methane. Again, the high density methodology of fracking means it is easier to recover methane. These days, 74 percent of methane is recovered, up from zero in 2006.

Councillor McPherson says he is concerned about Tumbler Ridge’s aquifer if there’s a well that they wanted to put in close to town. “What are our rights to say we don’t want a well that close to our aquifer?”

Jeakins says with the way the wells work these days, there’s a lot more flexibility, and they can locate the drill pad a couple kilometres away and then drill horizontally.


Fire Department Response to Medical Emergencies

Council received for information correspondence from the City of Burnaby dated March 4, 2014 pertaining to recommendations the City adopted based on a review conducted by the Burnaby Fire Department of the Resource Allocation Plan for emergency pre-hospital care services.

New Business

Tumbler Ridge Curling Club Lease

Council passed a motion to enter into a one year lease agreement with the Tumbler Ridge Curling Club to renew their lease in the amount of $17,561.00 for the period of October 1, 2013 – September 30, 2014.

Councillors’ Business

Councillor Snyder attended AldrichPears meeting, the hospice meeting and had a conference call with NDIT. He attended Chetwynd trade show in Chetwynd, where people asked about golfing, trails, museum…basically, the usual. He says congratulations to winners of Grizfest tickets and golf passes, as well as to the District, who won their trade show pass for next year.

Councillor Caisley also attended AldrichPears workshop. He says there were a number of options discussed around the possibility of the new tourism centre housing some museum exhibits.

He attended the CDI workshops. Sessions were productive. Had some discussion in advance of next ones. He attended the March 27 Regional District meeting. They made a motion to invite president of NLC to attend in the future.

Councillor McPherson also attended AldrichPears and CDI meetings. He attended golf course open house and the Dustin Bentall show, too. He says he’s heard a few questions that have come up around Chamber of Commerce. He’d also like to bring up the issue of gas prices at the next PnP meeting.

Councillor Litster also attended AldrichPears and CDI meetings. She attended the most recent Grizfest meeting, where they are still working on the line-up. She says the Building Healthy Communities Grant application was successful.

Mayor Wren attended the Calgary Outdoor Adventure Trade Show with Councillor McPherson. He says it was very busy. They tended to get the same five or six questions: “the biggest one was ‘where is Tumbler Ridge?’”He believes that the focus should be on Grande Prairie and Prince George. He attended a meeting of mayors in the Northeast. The main topic of discussion was continued development of shale gas and impacts on communities. “All the talk about LNG has been about the northwest, but all that gas comes out of northeast. For every dollar spent in northwest, three or four will be spent in northeast,” says Mayor Wren.

He, too attended AldrichPears meeting and the CDI meetings. He says he hopes economy is the next topic to work on. He has been doing quite a bit of work on Northern Lights issue. He has been in contact with local MLA to say that the District would not support any reductions. He had a long conversation with Laurie Rancourt, president of Northern Lights College, and has sent letters to MLA and Mrs. Rancourt expressing the town’s opinions.