Regular Meeting of Council Dec. 17, 2013

Lynsey Kitching


Present: Mayor Wren, Councillor’s Litster, Leggett, Caisley, Mackay, Snyder, McPherson

Council Meeting Action Summary Sheet

Item dated July 24, 2012 concerning reducing the four lanes to two, painting curb side and putting up signage was addressed by CAO Barry Elliott. The target date for completion is March 2014. Elliott updated that the civil engineer has indicated he recommends roads should be left at four lanes. A report will be provided shortly.

Another item mentioned was about the Forever Young Society and the snow dams at the Community Centre. Elliott has followed up with Ken Klikach and staff at the centre. Elliott explains we do have sufficient snow dams, though more pieces to put in to finish the front; however, they must be installed in warm weather. This will be calendared for late spring, early summer. In the meantime, they are working on a more ‘aggressive’ schedule of monitoring the front area.

McPherson brought up again the idea of having a mine be involved in the creation of a new car wash in town, because he says, “I don’t want it to be forgotten.” He wants to get together in the new year with Council and staff and start looking at that possibility.

Councillor Mackay brought up the Mackenzie/Pioneer trail paving contract, he would like to know when it will be brought to a P&P? Elliott explains he had spoken with Schofield about it and he is working with Doug Beale, which, includes a review of the bylaw and perhaps an update to the bylaw to get it moving forward early in the spring.

Petition and Delegations

Dr. Charles Helm – Geopark Presentation

Dr. Helm came in to give council an update on the Geopark. The application has been sent off to the UNESCO committee. A response should be given in the new year, and if all goes well, the Geopark, which has yet to be named, could be announced at the UNESCO Geopark Conference 2014 in New Brunswick. Council all shared the sentiment that the steering committee have worked tremendously hard and efficiently to get the application in so quickly. The one issue at the moment is that the PRRD is waiting for Council to announce the funding for the museum, in order to go ahead with their funding. With the museum being the “backbone” of the Geopark, the PRRD is ready to match the funding from the District, however they need to know that amount before the end of January. The museum won’t know about their funding until the fee-for-service policy is ready from the District. Elliott explained the policy will be brought forth to the next regular meeting for approval.


Community Paramedic Initiative

Correspondence dated Nov. 28 from Sherman Miller, Provincial Vice-President, Ambulance Paramedics of BC, CUPE Local 873, pertaining to a draft Motion supporting a partnership to work collaborative toward a solution for the ongoing ambulance-staffing crisis in Tumbler Ridge. The letter is the follow-up promised by Miller, when they appeared before Council as a delegation on Nov. 19, 2013. The letter reads, “It is our hope that we will form partnerships with all the stakeholders in British Columbia to solve ambulance service delivery issues and enable us to better serve citizens who require paramedic services throughout all communities in British Columbia.”

The Motion reads: That Council endorses an expansion of roles for Paramedics in the District Municipality of Tumbler Ridge, and furthermore, writes to the Minister of Health and request that he immediately create a Steering Committee comprised of stakeholders in the Peace River Regional District, Ambulance Paramedics of BC and MOH representatives to examine the feasibility of implementing a Community Paramedic program in the District Municipality of Tumbler Ridge.

Council clarified that this motion means the District supports moving forward with this initiative, which will include consultation with health care professionals in town.

Councillor Snyder says, “This is probably the way things need to go.”

Councillor Mackay added, “Best of luck, because we haven’t had any.”

Council voted to support this motion with all in favour.

Premier’s BC Natural Resource Forum

Council received as information, correspondence received Dec. 3, 2013 from the Premier’s BC Natural Resource Forum, being held Jan. 23-24, 2014 in Prince George. Council has been invited to attend. Councillor McPherson and Mayor Wren or a delegate will be attending the forum, which Councillor McPherson says is an extension to the recent conference in Fort St. John.

Tumbler Ridge Secondary School – Appreciation Breakfast

This event was held on Dec. 20, 2013. The event was to show appreciation to the students and members of the Community who have supported the school this year. This was received as information.

Letter from the District of Chetwynd to BC Hydro Re: Site ‘C’ Project support for non-profit sector:

The letter reads, “In order to ensure that the benefits of such an initiative are felt throughout the region in an equitable manner, District of Chetwynd Council feels that BC Hydro should consider a funding distribution formula based on the recently negotiated Site ‘C’ Regional Legacy Agreement. A fair formula has already been developed and approved by the communities of the Peace, and the model allows for harmonious disbursement of benefits to each of the communities of the region.” Council requested more background information before they take any actions.

New Business

Taxation of Leases

Report from the CAO, dated Dec. 12, 2013, titled Taxation of Leases was provided to Council. Elliott explains himself and Cheryl Hayden have reviewed several outstanding and expired leases held by various non-profit groups housed in the Community Centre. The BC Assessment Act required all leases of municipal property, whether they are to commercial ventures or non-profit organizations, to be reported to the BC Assessment authority for inclusion on the municipal assessment roll. This would mean the leaseholders are obliged to pay the applicable property taxes for the area of property being leased from the municipality. To release them from this obligation, Council must identify them as being exempt properties within the District’s annual Permissive Tax bylaw. Elliott also explains the Minister has the option to issue a Ministerial Order, which can allow the municipality to ‘write-off’ unpaid property taxes. Granting of this type is considered to be typical in nature, with respect to Council resolutions on behalf of non-profit groups. Elliott added a few non-profit groups were left out of the recently adopted District Permissive Tax bylaw. As a result, these leaseholders will receive a tax notice for the area they lease as part of the 2014 property tax levy. If Council wishes to ensure the effected non-profits are absolved of their property tax payment obligations for 2014 year only, a resolution of Council must be carried to request permission of the Minister to write-off the taxes. A tax notice must first be served to the organizations, and they would be instructed to not pay these taxes, as the District would then submit the resolution. Further, future Permissive Tax bylaws would include these organizations as exempt entities.

Capital Project: Heating System Upgrades – Claude Galibois

The heating upgrades, which was replacing the furnaces has already been accomplished at the museum. The final cost for the project came in under budget at $132,000. The project was budgeted at $270,000. The Museum Foundation contributed $75,000 and the District will be contributing $57,000. Council has approved all in favour to reallocate $57,000 from the Video Surveillance project to cover this portion of the furnace costs.

Draft – Willow Hall Operating Agreement

Staff has prepared a Draft Willow Hall Operating agreement. There are not any facility rental fees included at this time. It has also not been forwarded to the District solicitor for review. Once Council has made changes, it will then be forwarded. One discussion was surrounding the liability insurance for the building. Susan Ackerman, is a Risk Management Advisor with the Municipal Insurance Association of BC. She has confirmed under the provisions of the municipal agreement neither the Operator nor the participating community groups could be included under the municipal policy as ‘insured parties’. Barry Elliott advised potentially insuring the building for two million dollars. Councillor Leggett suggested possibly increasing that amount to five million dollars. Councillor McPherson mentioned there doesn’t seem to be any language about what would happen if the occupant was to terminate the lease. This draft proposal will be brought back in front of Council. The complete draft is available on the district website.

Council Remuneration 2014

It was approved all in favour to increase remuneration by 1.1 percent for Mayor and Councillors effective Jan. 1, 2014.

Donation to the Village of Pouce Coupe

Council approved all in favour to donate $250 towards speed reader signs to be used in the community, in lieu of flowers, as the Mayor of Pouce Coupe passed away on Dec. 9, 2013.

Next P&P Meeting

The P&P meeting for Dec. 25, 2013 has been cancelled.

Site 18 – Execution of Documents

Documents were provided to Council, which have to be approved before Monkman Commons is able to be occupied. The documents outline a few changes that have been made. One change is that not all of the required services on and off site have been installed, however, sufficient services have been installed to render ‘phase one’ inhabitable to allow Ken Klikach, the Building Official, to authorize occupancy. All services must now be completed by Aug. 30, 2014. The owner of the property also has to Grant the District a Statutory Right of Way, which, would give the District permission to enter onto the property in the event the owner defaults on the modified covenant, which would enable the District to complete the on-site work. The original Servicing agreement required the owner to provide security to the District of $900,000, however, with the modifications, that amount has been increased to $2,230,970. The occupancy permits for Phase one of the Monkman Commons will be released once that total is paid to the District. This recommendation was approved all in favour.

Councillors’ Business

Councillor Leggett

Attended the Small Business Christmas Party, and had a good time. He also attended the Meikle Wind Project open house and the Forever Young luncheon.

Councillor Litster

On Dec. 4, facilitated the healthy living committee meeting and says there were some good discussions. The group thinks installing lighting at the skate park could be very beneficial. Looking to administer some workshop and host guest speakers in the community. She also attended the Small Business Christmas party and the District Christmas party.

Councillor Mackay

Attended the Meikle Wind Project open house. He attended a Grizfest committee meeting and they are looking to make some changes to the festival. A very enthusiastic group! Looking to combine the ticket prices and camping. This year they have already saved about $16,000 on lighting. Graham Johnson, who has lots of experience hosting events, was at the meeting and Councillor Mackay says he will be a great addition to the planning of the event. Councillor Mackay also attended a library board meeting, where budget talks are still underway. The library requires new shelves in the back and they also discussed having the librarian more in sync with town hall. In other news, Councillor Mackay thinks the Community Centre front entrance has to be addressed. He attended the District Christmas Party and congratulates Verna on 25 years of service with the District. There have also been two new potential directors added to the Board of Directors for the Community Forest. They are Chris Leggett and Lynsey Kitching. This is dependent on Council’s approval.

Councillor McPherson

He thinks the Christmas decorations around town look awesome. He attended the Small Business Christmas Party and the District party. Says he is busy making Christmas cookies.

Councillor Caisley

Nothing to report.

Councillor Snyder

Attended the Forever Young open house and Holly Jolly, says it was fantastic! Attended the Chamber Christmas shop at the Community Centre, says it was a shame there weren’t more people there when he was there, but the vendors were optimistic and had great setups. He also attended the District Christmas Party.

Mayor Wren

Had fun lighting the Christmas tree, even though it was very cold. Attended the District Christmas Party and gave a shout-out to all of the volunteers and to Verna for her 25 years of service. He has had discussions with HD Mining as to a phase two of the Monkman Commons. More conversations will be had in the new year around ideas, but it could end up being more of the same type of development. He spent a week in Prince George and had conversations will many construction companies who want to come and work here in Tumbler Ridge. He also says we in Tumbler Ridge are very fortunate with our snow removal, as in Prince George a snow fall caused people not to be able to drive for days. Construction companies are also calling looking for accommodations here in town. We need to act, or rents in houses could again, go through the roof. He would also like to create a process with which to acknowledge community members for service and good deeds, such as how Brady Turner raised money for Typhoon Haiyan by shoveling driveways.