Regular Meeting of Council: February 18, 2015

Trent Ernst, Editor


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


Councillor Mackay asks about free ice during spring break. Barry Elliott says there has been no motion to that effect, so Mackay makes the motion. Passes.



Kerrie Taylor and some of the members of the Tumbler Ridge Atoms Raptors came before Council with an update of their hockey season and to invite Council to the North East Recreation Hockey League (NERHL) Finals on February 28 and March 1. She moves from where she sits typing minutes to make the presentation.

Taylor introduces the members of the team who have showed up to this meeting. Taylor says she’s been working with this group since her son Ethan started. This year, Tumbler Ridge is hosting. There are seven teams in the NERHL league, and have one more game left in an 8-3-0 season. She invites the Council to come to the league finals. Councillor Mackay congratulates the team; he says they are ambassadors for Tumbler Ridge. He says the team has developed over the year and is looking forward to watching the rest of the season. Councillor Kirby says she knows these kids from the school and stand behind them on the ice and off. Councillor Krakowka says he’ll be at the tournament. Councillor Howe says he’s proud of the team and great to see them all here. There will be close to 90 families coming to Tumbler Ridge to stay in our hotels because of this, and it’s a good boost to tourism. Councillor Caisley says it takes some nerve to come before Council, and congratulates them on their bravery. He points out that Council has a workshop happening on February 28. Mayor McPherson says that he’s already talked to CAO Barry Elliott about seeing if their breaks can line up with the games. He wishes the team luck in the tournament, and thanks them for coming out. The team poses for a picture before they leave.


Edward Stanford and Chad Carlstrom to inform the new council about who Urban Systems is and what they’re doing in Tumbler Ridge. Stanford says they are here on the invitation of Council. They came here in 2013 to address their history with the community of Tumbler Ridge, and will be doing that again tonight. He says it’s been fascinating to see how the history of the company and the community have worked together.

Urban Systems is a multi-disciplinary consulting company that works with over 70 municipalities, operating in BC, the Yukon, Alberta and Saskatchewan.

The company started in 1975 in Kamloops, which is unusual for this type of firm, which typically is based out of Vancouver or Victoria, but the founder believed that there needed to be a firm that focused on the interior and the north.

In 1976, planning for Tumbler Ridge started. Terry McQuillan, founder, worked closely with the Ministry on a series of Northern projects, and the company opened an office in Prince George in 1980 to service the planning and design of Tumbler Ridge. There were seven folks from Urban Systems who were involved in the creation of Tumbler Ridge.

There’s a huge amount of shared history between the two, says Stanford. Urban Systems did the subdivision design, and designed all the roads, water and sewer and the airport. “There were a number of other firms that were involved,” he says, “but we’ve stuck around while most of the others have moved on.”

Continuity is important, he says. Six of those seven people are still with the company, and each successive generation has new people who can draw from this experience. “We’re here to work with you,” he says. “We don’t do work with oil and gas, with mines, we are here for municipalities and First Nations.”

A lot of the work Urban Systems has been doing has been focused on planning and engineering, but has also touched on economic development and other areas. He passes the presentation onto Carlstrom to talk about specific projects underway right now.

“I’ve worked on water treatment plant upgrades,” says Carlstrom. “We’ve worked on paving the trails last year. We’ve helped the District with smaller projects, too. Last year we saw the boat launch upgrades on the Murray River. We’ve helped out with GIS work and mapping. We’re currently working with the District on the cemetery master plan. We are also working on a water/sewer bylaw update and we will occasionally be brought in on development reviews.”

Councillor Mackay asks about the housing project on Site 18. Stanford says that one of their employees is working behind the scenes to get stuff going there, and hopes it will be resolved soon. Elliott says the solicitors are still looking over the document, but the engineers are at the ready.

Councillor Howe says he had no idea that Urban System had such a long history in Tumbler Ridge. He asks about developers who come to town and can they remain at arm’s length with business. Stanford says this is an issue they face all the time. Urban Systems works for the District, and want to do what’s best, but if there’s a way they can help a development along, they will look at doing that, but they wouldn’t do it without consent from the District.

Councillor Scott asks if they make recommendation on the infrastructure like sewer, etc. Stanford says they are working on an asset management program with the District, which has been very proactive in keeping ahead of that, but they’ve done the first step, which puts Tumbler Ridge ahead of most other places.

She asks how many projects Urban System is currently working on in Tumbler Ridge. Right now, says Carlstrom, they are working on three actively, but there are always new projects coming up.


Birgit Sharman will present the Northern Health Grant Application, Partnering for Healthier Communities. See story elsewhere



Council received correspondence from Denis Lemelin, National President of Canadian Union of Postal Workers, asking Council to consider passing a resolution opposing Canada Post plan for cuts.


Council received correspondence from Terry Webster, wanting Council to raise their voice, write a letter to Minister Bennett and your local MLA to let the BC Government know that it is their duty to allow BCUC to analyze the Site C Project.


Council received correspondence from John Perry, Chief Operating Officer of Colonial Coal International Corp., thanking council members for the meeting and lunch on November 13, 2015.


Council received correspondence from Jack Davidson of BC Road Builders and Heavy Construction Association congratulating Mayor and Council in their recent election and to introduce what BC Road Builders is.


Council received correspondence from Mark Hancock President of CUPE BC Division, congratulating Mayor McPherson on his recent election and thanking Council for their dedication.


Council was invited to the Tumbler Ridge Secondary School for a muffin morning and to wear pink to support Anti-Bullying day on February 25 at 8:00 a.m. Councillor Mackay says this is something that is still prevalent, and in the past a number Councillors have taken part in this. The mayor asks who will be attending. Councillor Kirby says she’ll be there, and recommends Councillor Krakowka go to, as he has a pink shirt already. Councillor Scott says she’ll be there, too.



Council is asked to authorize a further one-year extension of the construction timing requirements contained with the development covenant that is in place for Lot 1, District Lot 3164, Plan 33844, subject to a Modification of Covenant Agreement being entered into between 0955535 B.C. Ltd. and the District of Tumbler Ridge, with the revised deadline for development completion being January 3, 2017.

Councillor Howe asks for clarification. “Is this the development that is nearly completed, or the one next to it?” Elliott says it is all one development. He says the plan was to build two fourplexes, but only one is currently being constructed. Elliott says the original deadline was January of this year, but the developer had come forward asking for a two year extension. Council gave him one. Now he’s asking for another three year extension. Staff is proposing another one year extension.

Council Howe says he doesn’t want this Council to be perceived as doing anything to hinder developers. He says that if the developer—who has already done something, which is more than can be said for most of the other developers—wants more time, Council should grant it to him, with conditions that he clean up the property.

Councillor Mackay agrees. This project has had lots of problems, he says. When council gave the first extension, there was no downturn; but the chance of it being occupied anytime soon is not likely.

Councillor Caisley asks if there has been any discussion with the developer. Elliott says the developer did approach council in the past looking for a two year extension. He says he was clear in his discussion with the developer that at any time he can come before council to ask for an extension. “My comment to him, and this is based on my view from previous council, was that Council would consider the extension, but they would be more willing to grant that if there was some movement on the development,” says Elliot. He points out there is some concern from local residents around the state of the development.

Councillor Howe asks if there’s a way to grant the extension based on accomplishing certain things, like cleaning up the lot and getting some paving done. The mayor asks if it is possible to table this and ask him if he can get the place cleaned up and bring this back for discussion after that has happened. Elliott says that works for him. Councillor Caisley motions to table it. All in favour. He suggests inviting Mr Jean as a delegation.


Council adopts the PW8 Fleet Operations Policy as amended.


Council approved travel expenses for Mayor McPherson and Councillor Kirby to attend the Canada Winter Games in Prince George, BC from February 20–22, 2015. Councillor Mackay asks if they have accommodations. “No. We’re sleeping on the street,” jokes the mayor.


Council discussion on the plans/design of the new Visitor Information Centre with Ken Klikach in attendance. Councillor Krakowka asks about the issue of the loft. “It’s a focal point and we’re losing it.” He also raises the idea, expressed by Councillor Kirby about a screen up there.

Klikach says it is possible to move all the equipment down into the storage room downstairs. He has asked for a quote, and though he hasn’t got a firm quote, he estimates it would cost about $100,000.

Councillor Mackay asks about the finish date. Klikach says it is expected to be done by mid-April, though some of the outside work might be delayed due to weather. Councillor Mackay asks if the changes were made would it add a lot of time? Klikach says no, but they need to know now, as the people who are putting these things in are starting to work on it right now.

Councillor Scott asks if the boilers are in place. One is, says Klikach, but it can be moved as it isn’t bolted down or anything. If they do this, he says, that area will need some improvements, as it isn’t finished to the same standards as the rest of the space.

Elliott points out that mid-April is not the date that it will be ready for use. They’ll still have to put in cabinetry, etc. He says that if the storage room were occupied by the heating and cooling system, it would mean there would be no storage. He says that if there is no storage, it will detract from the meeting room.

Councillor Caisley says that if there are changes to a building that was already approved, and adding on an additional $100,000 isn’t good, especially since he’s hearing about cost overruns of about $400,000. He wants to have a discussion on the total cost of the building. Elliott says that is do-able, and will prepare that as quickly as possible.

Councillor Krakowka says he was told it was on budget, so he wants to know who is right. Elliott says that the work that is being done is being done on budget, but there are some additional costs that are being reviewed right now. “They aren’t finalized by any means,” he says, “and we haven’t determined the scope of that, if any.”

Councillor Mackay says the roof was upgraded from a 20 year to a 50 year roof, which probably added to the cost, and there have been a number of other changes. Elliott says those changes fall within the contingency that they had already.

Councillor Howe asks will the boiler cause noise being overhead, and has the backup generator been bought yet? Klikach says the generator has been here since September. He doesn’t expect a great amount of noise from the boiler room. How much did the generator cost? asks Howe. Close to $14,000, says Klikach.


Mayor McPherson is requesting a meeting with Council and the Junior Rangers at the Willow Hall. Glenn Miller phoned me, says the mayor. They’ve got some ranger brass coming up on March 2, and they want to talk about what the Junior Rangers are doing. There’s no time set, but he wants to know who wants to go.

Councillor Howe asks if a meeting has been arranged between all the user groups. Elliott says the meeting will be next week. He says he’s heard from a number of the groups who think everything has been going well. Councillor Howe suggests opening up the meeting to other groups. Elliott says he’s only invited the current users.


An earlier recommendation to get the Tumbler Ridge Municipal Domain changed to “” was approved, but when the District went to the Canadian Internet Registration Authority, they discovered that it had not been held by CIRA, and had already been purchased by someone else, who is not willing to give it back or sell it to the District, so EDO Jordan Wall proposes changing the name to “”


Councillor Caisley says he attended the LGLA meetings Feb. 4-6. He attended a couple NDIT Trust meetings. Attended George Cuff workshop in Dawson Creek.

Councillor Kirby attended the LGLA conference in Prince George. Attended George Cuff workshop and NDIT Trust meeting. With the tourism portfolio, she gets calls all the time. She says people are excited and talking about tourism. Did weekly phone call with Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training. Met with museum. Getting ready to attend winter games.

Councillor Howe attended most of the same things: NDIT, George Cuff, met with Junior Rangers around Willow Hall. Has question about the RFP for the Golf Course.

Councillor Krakowka also attended LGLA conference, NDIT Trust meeting and George Cuff seminar. He thanks Colette Ernst and all the people who pulled together the Family Day events. He says thanks to Doug Beale for the tour of the Public Works facilities. He wonders if we can get a breakdown of the day by day cost for leaving the ice in.

Councillor Scott was at the LGLA Conference, NDIT Trust and George Cuff Presentations.

Councillor Mackay attended the same events as everyone else.

Mayor McPherson was at the PRRD meeting on Feb 12. There is a plenary session planned on Site C. Staff and Council should work on making a list of concerns around Site C. No date set yet. There is going to be a resolution from Regional District around the Paleontological Centre at the NCLGA meeting. Suggests the District should be putting one in as well. Geopark budget has been accepted. Attended LGLA session and George Cuff. Jerrilyn Schembri is new grant writer. She wants lots of Council input.