Regular Meeting of Council February 6

Trent Ernst, Editor

Present: Mayor McPherson, Councillors Kirby, Howe and Mackay.

PETITIONS AND DELEGATIONS

TUMBLER RIDGE – TR LIBRARY – UPDATE

Paula Coutts, Head Librarian, and Chris Norbury, Librarian came before Council to provide an update on the last year. She says that the library is now part of the core services of the town.

2016 was one of the busiest years. With a 35 percent increase in usage, despite the drop of people.

For more information, check out the story next week.

FOREVER YOUNG SOCIETY

Glenn Miller and Maureen Swylos came before Council to provide a 2016 year-end review. Miller thanks the District for giving them a place to call their own.

Swylos says they are open five days a week, sometimes six. They got a $12,000 grant this year.

Miller says a lot of people don’t have places to go for Christmas and Thanksgiving, so they have organized dinner for these days at the centre for those who would otherwise be alone.

TR HEALTH CENTRE FOUNDATION

Ken Klikach and Maureen Swylos to request a Council resolution supporting the Tumbler Ridge Health Care Centre Foundation’s application for a matching NDIT grant. Since 2004, the foundation has purchased $123,142.53 worth of items for use in the Emergency Department, from a wheelchair to a Portable Oxygen Concentrator to a defibrillator.

With the downturn in the economy, says Swylos, they don’t expect to see the same big donations that they have received in the past. There are some machines that are getting older, and some new machines that they want to purchase. While people can go to larger centres for non-emergency care, they want to help the doctors do their job in emergency.

Klikach says the TR Health Foundation is requesting a resolution of support for an NDIT grant. “We would be applying for $40,000 from them,” he says. “We have a little over $80,000 in the bank. The equipment that we are hoping to purchase is just a little over $80,000. It has turned out that Northern Heath is not really contributing to the clinic, so it is up to the foundation to buy this equipment.”

The biggest purchase they are planning on making is an infrasound machine. This can be used for kidney stones and pregnancy problems, says Swylos. “Right now people have to drive to Dawson Creek for a ten minute procedure.”

“The government is proposing an emissions tax,” says Klikach. “We could cut down on that if we had that here. We are not asking for any money from the town, just their support. The industries that used to donate are in bad shape, so we need to look at different methods of raising money so we can satisfy the needs of the community.”

CHAMBER OF COMMERCE –

UPDATE & PROCLAMATION

Donna Merry, Chamber Secretary and Jerrilyn Schembri, Chamber Manager, came to provide an update for Council and request that a proclamation be read declaring February 20 – 24, 2017 as Chamber of Commerce Week. Schembri thanks Council for funding them to keep the Visitor Information Centre (VIC) open all year. That has worked out well.

In the past year, we have gone from 40 businesses members to over 100. Considering that there are only 160 businesses in town, that’s pretty remarkable, says Schembri.

Merry say they are at the end of a three year service term. For this year, and the three years going forward, they are requesting the same amount from District. They get $150,000 per year, $133,907 of which goes towards operating the Visitor Centre.

Schembri says the only real complaint they get at the VIC is about the condition of the road to Kinuseo Falls.

The Mayor reads the proclamation, declaring Chamber Week.

CORRESPONDENCE

TUMBLER RIDGE COMMUNITY FOREST – SPONSORSHIP

Correspondence received from the TR Community Forest regarding a sponsorship request in the amount of $5,000 for the BC Community Forest Association AGM being held in Tumbler Ridge in June 2017.

NDIT PROJECT #4751 20 – 2017 ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CAPACITY BUILDING

Correspondence received from NDIT advising that the District’s application for the 2017 Economic Development Capacity Building grant has been approved for up to $50,000.

FISH POND

Correspondence received from Marsha Dufresne expressing concern that the

District may be planning to stock fish in a local pond. Councillor Howe asks what the plan is to respond to residents in a case like this? He knows there was a similar issue around the fence down on Bergeron.

Wall says people are asking Council for information. If Council doesn’t ask for a follow-up there will be no follow up. If Staff feels that Council should be discussing something, they can provide some sort of clue.

Wall says there should be some sort of response. Maybe a policy or something.

Councillor Mackay agrees there should be a policy. Motion for staff to write a letter.

TR GLOBAL GEOPARK SOCIETY –

FEE WAIVER

Correspondence received from the TR Global Geopark requesting a Fee Waiver for the Trend Mountain Hotel Conference Centre for the BC Field Ornithologists who are holding their AGM in Tumbler Ridge on June 9 – 11, 2017. It’s a big deal, says the mayor, and a lot of people, and it’s something we should look at.

Councillor Howe asks what the fee is? Nobody is sure. He asks if there is any rush on this, so they can get more information.

Councillor Mackay is wondering how many days this would be for, because he thinks the Community Forest might be coming forward with a similar request.

NEW BUSINESS

2017 TUMBLER RIDGE

FIREFIGHTERS ASSOCIATION AGM

Motion to approve a free use rental of the Trend Mountain Conference Centre for the purpose of the 2017 Tumbler Ridge Firefighters’ Association Annual General Meeting.

Councillor Kirby suggests holding off on all Fee Waivers until they know all the costs and all the people who are looking for Fee Waivers. Mayor points out the AGM is coming up soon so this is time sensitive. Councillor Kirby asks how many firefighters? 35. Just local? Yes.

She says the birdwatching group is something new, and will be bringing new people to town. Motion passes.

INTER-COMMUNITY BUSINESS

LICENCE

Council moved to support the introduction of the Inter-community Business License (ICBL) to Tumbler Ridge.

This would allow a business in town to buy a Tumbler Ridge Business Licence, then spend $130 extra and be able to do business in any other community in the Peace. This would not be a revenue making project, says Wall, but a way to reduce red tape so that local businesses can apply for work in other communities, but would also make it easier for businesses from other communities to do business here.

COUNCILLORS’ BUSINESS

Councillor Kirby has nothing to report, but is wondering about concerns about cutting happening around the area.

Councillor Howe has nothing the report.

Councillor Mackay attended budget meeting on January 30. Attended BC Natural Resources Forum in Prince George. Attended General Meeting for Community Forest. He says he’s a little taken back about the cut block that went in at the trail-head of the ATV trail. There was a buffer that was supposed to be left there, but the timber was junk and was cut down as it would have blown over.

Mayor McPherson had a conversation with CN. They are going to start repairs on the rail line as soon as they can. Talked to Minister Bond at Resource Forum about CN. Whether all this led up to this agreement, he doesn’t know. He was on CBC radio this morning to talk about it.

He says he’s concerned about Anglo getting approved for Closure Allowance. “It hurts, but there are reasons for it. It’s not permanent, despite the fact that the word permanent is there. It centres around the definition of permanent. They have to be shut down for three years, or plan to be in a permanent shut down. However, to BC Assessment, permanent means three years. Permanent in the tax code means something different than what you or I might think.” He says a few years back, someone from BC Assessment came and talked to council and said they weren’t able to do this, but now they are. He says the District will see about $1.8 million coming off taxes because of this.