Regular Meeting of Council: February 4, 2016

tumbler ridge town hallTrent Ernst, Editor

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



Charles Helm was joined by ATV Club President Tim Croston to discuss some issues facing the Geopark.

Hot off the presses, says Helm, is a new brochure outlining ATV areas. “It’s a very early draft,” says Helm, “but I wanted to show you what it’s looking like.”

We are aware the district is working on Tourism, says Helm. One of the issues we are aware of is that when people come to the VIC, it’s not always clear what trails are overgrown. Some people might get sent out onto these trails, and think those trails are not up to scratch, and will go away with a bad report on Tumbler Ridge Trails.

At the same time, the Wolverine Nordic and Mountain Society is undertaking the old Monkman Trail project, which is an immense project. There’s no proposal for new trails, it’s just a proposal to clear the old trails and roads that have been used for the last 30 years.

“If you add up all the trails, it’s hundreds and hundreds of kilometres,” says Helm. “We have a lot in common with the ATV club, and we both need a mulcher. We have a lot of work to do. We are looking at funding options, and working on a proposal.”

Helm says it could be an option for a local business to start up. “If we work together, we are stronger. Our volunteer base isn’t what it used to be. In the Geopark, we appreciate the enormous potential of ATV tourism.”

Croston says ATV BC has asked for proposals for hosting their annual jamboree. Last year, it brought 250 riders for six days into Greenwood. He says all the trails near town are becoming overgrown.

The mayor says he asked staff to look into it. “It is expensive, but there are other people who could use this,” says the mayor. “I like the idea of a private individual doing it. We advertise these trails, and they’re terrible. We should look into what grants we can get, or have a private enterprise take over it.”

He has checked out what it costs to get a mulcher, and it’s not cheap, nearly half a million dollars, but even just having someone come in and do it costs $5000/day.

Councillor Kirby says there’s no doubt there needs to be work done on the trail, but the price is astronomical. “When you hire someone, they come in, do the work, and go. But possibly, a mulcher could be purchased in partnership with the Community Forest.

“I agree, the cost needs to be covered in partnership with a number of organizations,” she says. “But that ATV Jamboree? Needs to be here.”

Councillor Caisley asks what the process would be.

Charles says the WNMS has about 20 km that need to be done this year. “Councillor Kirby’s suggestion would work for us. It would fit the criteria. For the ATV club, though, they have two summers of work at least.”

Croston says there’s a number of trails the club would like to see cleared. “We’d like to clear the Thunder Creek Trail, the Wong Way Trail, Five Cabin Creek Trail, and Hermann Mountain Trail. Those are the four trails close to town that we’d like to highlight.” He’s unsure of the total kilometres, but its quite a bit. “I talked to the Trailblazers in Fort St. John. They had a mulched rented for two months, and they had two grants to do that, totaling over $400,000.”

Helm says if you were to clear up the Wong Way Trail, you could potentially be able get to the top of the mountain from town. “This is not a formal ask, but we thought we should bring this before you so we could start the discussion. Maybe get the grant writer looking at what options.”

Councillor Howe says he likes the collaboration between the WNMS club and the ATV club, because there was a concern that the Geopark would shut down the area for ATVing. He asks who would own this and maintain it if we got this? The District? The club?

Mayor McPherson says his vision is like the groomer for the snowmobile club, which is stored by the District and maintained by the District, but used by the club.

Howe suggests buying a used machine, using it for the summer, then selling it off at the end of the year.

Councillor Krakowka agrees it’s a good idea. He asks Helm how long before they will start working on the Monkman trail?

Helm says there are still a few things that need to be ironed out. He says it would be ready sometime this summer.

Councillor Scott says if we could open up that trail system, that opens up making businesses more sustainable, too. “Anything we can do to bring people to town is a good thing.”



Correspondence received from the Office of the Ombudsperson covering the period October 1 – December 31, 2016 for the District of Tumbler Ridge. Councillor Scott asks about the two complaints, wonders what they are. Wall says this shows that we have a clean bill of health. There were two complaints, but they either got resolved or were rejected.


Correspondence received from Heritage BC advising that the theme for 2016 is “Distinctive Destinations”.


Correspondence received from the TR Firefighters Association dated January 29, 2016, requesting a free use of the Trend Mountain Hotel and Conference Centre on February 20, 2016 for their AGM and Banquet. Mayor McPherson points out they may need to request more usages from Anglo-American, as he thinks that deal of five free rentals per year ran out last year. Councillor Krakowka suggests if they can’t get any free uses before this, the District should cover that. He moves this.

Councillor Howe asks what the cost is to rent the conference centre.

Conversation becomes very procedural. Ultimately, the motion is defeated.

Mayor will check tomorrow on the free rentals.



Council appointed Aleen Torraville to the statutory position of Corporate Officer for the District of Tumbler Ridge effective February 1, 2016. Councillor Howe asks why the oath of office was taken before the vote. Mayor says “that’s the way it’s always been done.” Councillor Howe says because of that, he can’t vote on this tonight. Councillor Caisley says he agrees; he can’t recall it being done this way before. Wall proposes that the oath of office be done again at the end of the meeting.

Councillor Scott says she doesn’t know why they are voting on this because they had no input. Wall says these are statutory designations. While Wall can hire someone to do all the job tasks, but the statutory responsibilities that go with that need to be designated by council.

“You hire a CAO to make those decisions to put the right people in place. If you doubt that the CAO can make the right decision, then you have bigger problems,” says Wall.

Councillor Caisley says this is just the formality part. A legitimate offer was made and accepted, this is just the formal ratification.

Councillor Scott opposed.


Council appointed Chris Leggett to the statutory position of Chief Financial Officer for the District of Tumbler Ridge as described under the “Appointment of Municipal Officers Bylaw No. 582” on an interim basis effective February 1, 2016. Councillor Kirby asks what the interim basis is. Wall says the interim basis is until they can do another search. Usually in these types of cases, you tell the consultant to bring back the two or three best people. He doesn’t expect it will take more than a month, month and a half.

Councillor Scott opposed.


Council set the 2016 Strategic Planning and Budget meetings as follows:

Monday, February 22, 2016 – 5:00 pm

Thursday, March 3, 2016 – 5:00 pm

Thursday, March 31, 2016 – 5:00 pm

Tuesday, April 19, 2016 – 5:00 pm

Thursday, April 21, 2016 – 5:00 pm

Monday, May 2, 2016 – 5:00 pm

Councillor Kirby says she won’t be able to make the March 31 meeting. Councillor Krakowka asks if it is possible to make them all one day of the week, say on a Thursday.

Wall says he has a presentation to go through, if Council would like. We’re good, says Council. Councillor Mackay asks about doing it over a weekend. Councillor Caisley asks didn’t they do this before?


Council pre-approved $45,000 from the 2016 Budget for the purchase and installation of LED lighting for the pool area of the Community Centre.


Report dated February 1, 2016 from the Acting Manager, Community Centre, informing Council of the availability and costs for non-used ice time at the Community Centre Rink. Councillor Mackay says the only reason this is on here, is because there was talk about an outdoor rink. There was a request put forward from a resident asking about an outdoor rink, and somehow it evolved into this. He thought we were discussing that.

He says this report serves no purpose. The conversation should be about that, not this. Mayor says he said why should we spend money if the rec centre isn’t being utilized to its fullest. Krakowka says he did ask for the report. Councillor Mackay says he meant that it wasn’t asked for by the town.

Councillor Howe says Mr Meck was looking for free ice, not have to spend $51 to rent the rink. An outdoor rink where people who don’t have the money can still go out and skate. Howe says Council should look at the cost, and see if it’s viable. Councillor Caisley says he agrees the discussion should happen at the next P&P should be. Councillor Mackay moves to have it brought forward to a P&P. Councillor Kirby suggests dealing with it like the proposal for the Mulcher, where the councillor in charge does the research and brings it forward to budget discussions. Motion defeated.


Council pre-approved $5,000 from the 2016 Special Projects Budget for the 2016 NCLGA AGM and Convention. Jordan Wall says this was discussed before, but it’s a bit murky as to whether it was done by notice of motion or just in discussion, and that’s what will get the District into trouble.



Councillor Krakowka requested that the following motion be brought forward to the Council meeting being held February 15, 2016: “THAT Staff produce a report on snow clearing and sanding priorities”. He says he thinks public works is doing an awesome job, but he’s just wondering what the priority is for sanding and plowing, and proposes that the school area be made a priority.

Mayor McPherson points out there was a report in 2014 that addresses this.

Councillor Howe asks what happens on the weekends. He says it didn’t seem the roads got done until Monday during the last dump. What’s the schedule on that? Mayor says he saw them out cleaning snow on Saturday.


Councillor Kirby requested that the following motion be brought forward to the Council meeting being held February 15, 2016: “THAT Council forms a small working group to prepare an article for an upcoming newsletter for the NCLGA 2016 AGM and Convention”. Councillor Scott says they will be discussing the AGM and convention next week. She suggest they talk about it then. Councillor Kirby moves; all in favour.


Councillor Mackay was at the Community Forest Meeting. They did an evaluation of policies and practices. There were two grants awarded; $5000 to the Ladies Auxiliary for a commercial oven, and $2500 to the TR Library. Attended pre-budget meeting.

Councillor Scott completed a draft recommendation for the NCLGA Around the ATV regulations on municipal roads. Attended Welcome Baby party. Approximately 32 babies born and 18 that showed up. Attended Land Develop Webinar. Had question on street cleaning from public. Had discussion with resident about pond behind TR Inn, and maybe have it stocked by high school.

Councillor Krakowka has had discussions with residents about an off-leash dog park. They are planning on coming in as a delegation on February 15.
Councillor Caisley attended BC Natural Resource Seminar. Attended strategic planning and priorities seminar. Attended meeting in Fort St. John with NDIT. $300,000 LED grant for Community Centre has been approved. Had meeting with a group around their interest in TR Wilderness Lodge.

Councillor Kirby attended strategic planning session. Attended phone meeting around connections with Royal BC Museum. They’ll be sending a team to do a site visit in March. NLC contacted Geopark about starting an outdoor leadership program. Attended same webinar as Councillor Scott. Contacted by CBC this week. Congratulations to Filaprint for making it to the top 5 small business.

Councillor Howe nothing to report

Mayor McPherson says he and Jordan Wall went to Chetwynd. Talked to them about the Community Forest about the split. He agreed and seemed to say they would back us to get more of the cut. Attended strategic planning meeting. He is hoping to bring the NCLGA resolutions to the regional District. Was on the call with the Royal BC Museum. Thinks they sounded very interested. Talked to the CBC about Still Standing.