Regular Meeting of Council: April 15, 2015

Trent Ernst, Editor


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



Mayor McPherson proclaims April 28, 2015 as the “Day of Mourning” in the District of Tumbler Ridge.


Marcel Brodeur was to present a plan to Council for Transfer Station/Recycling operations, but was unable to attend.



Colette Ernst, Success by 6 Coordinator sent a letter, requesting Council approval for a road closure from 10:00am until 5:00pm on April 25, 2015 for a bike rodeo, and for in-kind support of the Free Family Spring Fever Event. However, there is some concern, as the current fee waiver policy says if someone has been granted a fee waiver or grant in aid from the District for the current year is automatically rejected from further fee waiver requests.

Mayor McPherson says he would have a hard time voting against this, but there is a reason for the policy.

Councillor Krakowka says he’s concerned that this group is doing this for all the people of Tumbler Ridge, and is wondering about the policy. He also points out that according to the policy, they don’t qualify because they have applied for a Fee For Service grant, but they actually haven’t been approved or notified yet.

CAO Barry Elliott says that is being ratified tonight. “In terms of policy, staff is trying to get the correct information in front of you,” says Elliott. “This is a decision of Council; all we’re doing is presenting what things are. Council can do as they wish.”

Mayor McPherson says this is something that has slipped through the cracks because of the timing.

Elliott says that staff has to follow the policies as written: “This is our bible,” he says. “We bring the black and white element to it, Council brings the human element.”

Mayor McPherson says a Council Initiative will take care of this. He says the policy is great at certain times, but it’s tough to find sponsorship for things like this, because they’re running out of businesses in town to sponsor things.

Council agrees to cover the cost of this event through Council initiative event; Success by 6 remains responsible for informing all Emergency Services of the date, location and times of the approved road closure.

Fee Waiver for TR Days Society

The TR Days Society is asking for a fee waiver for a dance they are having.

Mayor McPherson says this is the same kind of thing we just did. He thinks it’s important to have things like this in the community at this time.

Councillor Caisley moves to waive the fees, totalling $617.80, out of Council Initiatives.

Councillor Krakowka says he doesn’t support this. “We do a lot for them; they should be responsible for some of this.”

Councillor Howe asks when Council did a similar thing for old timer hockey, did the team pay for staff for that event? “Giving the arena isn’t an actual cost to us, but staff is a cost.”

Aleen Torraville says it’s a bit of both. “For the Wake-a-Thon, Council waived those fees. For Rec Hockey, staff tried to change their schedule so that it would cover the dance, though they did go into overtime. Janitorial cleaned up the area the next morning, and it wasn’t charged to the group.”

Councillor Howe says he in support of waiving the fees for the arena rental and stage, but maybe not for the staff time.

Councillor Mackay points out that, while the Old Timers might have been charged for the staff time, they weren’t charged for the fact that the ice was kept in for an extra three weeks.

Motion passes.



Council approved costs not to exceed $650 to accommodate Mayor McPherson’s attendance at the 2015 Council of Forest Industries Annual Convention which was recently held in Prince George on April 8-9, 2015.


Council approved costs not to exceed $675 to accommodate Mayor McPherson’s attendance at the 2015 Fort St. John Trade Show which was recently held in Fort St. John from April 10 through April 12, 2015.


Council approves costs not to exceed $2,000 to accommodate Mayor McPherson’s attendance at the 2015 LGLA Chief Elected Official Forum which is being held in Vancouver from June 24 to June 25, 2015.

Councillor Mackay says there’s no better way to get the attention of the premier and to get the message out to the whole province than to have a group of mayors get together behind an issue.


Councillor Krakowka has been asking for a report dated from the Building Services Manager providing an analysis of daily arena and curling rink costs. According to the analysis, the cost per day to keep the arena in operation was $857, amortizing the cost of equipment over a twenty year life span. However, Krakowka says this is perhaps a little off base for what he was looking for.

Councillor Mackay is wondering if next year, the staff can talk to the Old Timers about the scheduling of the removal of the ice.

Building Manager Ken Klikach says the ice wasn’t scheduled early. “It’s a timing thing; with the ice coming out so late, it overlapped the closure of the swimming pool.” He says next year, they will give a firm date for the ice off.

Mayor McPherson says when he saw the cost of $12000 for keeping the ice on that extra length, he thought no way, but when it is broken down like this, yes, you can see how it would add up to that.


Tim Bennett appeared before Council a few weeks ago to discuss a partnership proposal, at a cost to the District of $2,500, for the contracting of an Avalanche Professional to collect and report on local snow conditions. This information was requested to be brought forward to this meeting for discussion.

The mayor says, considering that there was a death at one of our snowmobile areas this year, this is important. Councillor Mackay says it’s a small amount to pay for at least some measure of safety. It is money well spent, he says.

Council votes to provide $2500 to the Northeast Northern Rockies Avalanche Awareness Project.


Councillor Mackay attended a Community Forest meeting. There was a lot of discussion from the gallery around the logging happening towards the golf course. The person that has come in to log is using a piece of equipment that uses about a quarter of the fuel as most places in North America; it’s a Swedish Machine. He says it saves about 13 percent of the timber due to less handling. He was at the multicultural event, he thought it went really well, though attendance was down. He saw the street sweeper around for a bit today.

Councillor Krakowka attended a seniors meeting, and is working on setting up a healthy communities meeting. He says hats off to Public Works for getting the street sweeper in on time. He asks about the clean-up that is happening in May and what participation will be happening with Public Works. Manager Doug Beale says he’s working with Tim Croston to make sure everything flows smoothly. They’re even talking about bringing bins up there.

He asks about the logging that is happening down by the golf course.

Elliott says the Community Forest identified prescription areas for Wildfire Management. They are cutting on crown land as part of their approved prescription. Elliott asked if they could stop until Duncan McKellar had a chance to speak with Council. In order to stop, it would cost $6000.

Krakowka says he recalls a discussion that happened a while back but he doesn’t recall approving any cut. Elliott says this, as far as he understands, was approved back when the Community Forest was created.

The mayor says it is on Crown Land, so there is no approval needed.

Councillor Mackay says it is definitely part of the prescription. This area has a lot of diseased wood in it. It will definitely change the look down there, but it needs to be done. The other option is to leave all the dead trees standing.

Krakowka says he made a trio of proposals around the VIC centre; will that be discussed at the next budget meeting? Yes.

Councillor Howe attended the Multicultural Day. He is wondering about environmental rules around the lagoon with ducks and geese landing. Beale says he’s not aware of any legislation around diverting birds away from lagoons. But he will look into it.

Howe is curious about the logging, too. He remembers McKellar coming in and saying that it would cost about $40,000 to remove the trees. “I’m positive we had that discussion. Maybe I don’t understand who authorizes to spend $40,000 of District money. I got the idea that Council wasn’t on board with that. I was left with the impression that we weren’t logging that until we had some discussion on that.

Elliott says McKellar will be here tomorrow, and asks for Council’s indulgence. However, the Community Forest is an arm’s length business, and they are spending their own money. They are removing primarily dead trees.

Howe says he saw a lot of green trees down on the ground, and he doesn’t think these are improving the lots for selling.

Howe asks how does Council put in place a way to get the will of Council acted on.

Elliott says that Council can only act through resolution and they can only act on what they have authority over. The Community Forest is legislated by the provincial government. “I’m not sure that council has the authority to say ‘you can do this you can’t do that.’”

Councillor Kirby says holidays are over, and she’s getting back into the swing of things. Attended the AGM for the Geopark. Sue Kenney is the president, Ray Proulx is vice president. In fact, there are four Economic Development Officers, past and present, on the board. She was also at the Wake-a-Thon.

She talked to Blaine Broderick at the High School, who says the forecast isn’t looking good for next year. There are 40 students graduating, but only 20 people coming into grade 7. That could mean the loss of two teachers. It’s hard on students who are moving on to post-secondary next year. Their small school grant has been cut from $200,000 to $150,000. “If we want to sell this community, we need to do something to step up.”

Mayor McPherson says he’d like to invite the school board trustee appear before the board. He wonders why the School District keeps sending up people from Dawson; we’ve got people around here looking for work. Kirby says she asked about that, and the School Board says they are sending up plumbers, carpenters, IT people…it’s never the same person twice. Mayor asks staff to invite school board rep.

Emperor’s Challenge is full. That’s a good thing. There are groups that are doing things and pulling us forward.

Councillor Caisley says he attended PRRD meeting. Blair Lekstrom appeared to speak around Fair Share. He was very pleased around progress that was made to date. There was some discussion around participation, or lack thereof, from Taylor and Fort St. John.

There are two upcoming PRRD meetings scheduled for Tumbler Ridge this year.

He had a conference call with Marlene Morris from CDI. Update around strategic planning session.

Mayor McPherson says he had a phone call from Mayor Fraser around Fair Share. He was asked if he was interested in sitting down with a group of Mayors and CAOs to discuss Fair Share. Mayor McPherson says he would be willing, and he would like to see Lekstrom involved in that meeting as well. “The deadline they’ve given of April 30 is really ridiculous.”

Mayor McPherson has been at a number of trade fairs. There’s a lot of interest from the region and people lining up and asking for more information. “We went through just about every pamphlet.”

He was at a convention. Forestry is down, but Peace is strong. He mentioned to them that we see a lot of trucks go by, and they mentioned trucking is a big cost and Tumbler Ridge is in a good position for a mill, and possibly bioenergy. They’re trucking logs out of the Red Deer area. That’s a long way to Chetwynd.

There was also discussion about how our Community Forest is unsustainable at the size it is; needs to be twice the size. We have an application in around that already.