Regular meeting of Council – Jan. 20, 2014

Lynsey Kitching

 

Present: Mayor Wren; Councillors Leggett; Litster; Mackay; McPherson; Caisley; Snyder

Business arising from minutes

Councillor Mackay asked if there has been any action taken to invite representatives from the Oil and Gas Commission and from the natural gas sector to come in to talk to Council regarding the protecting the TR aquifer and to learn more about the fracking process. Barry Elliott explains that yes, it is in the process of being organized. Also, Councillor Mackay is curious about what has been done with regards to the road up to the race track, as it was getting a little dangerous. Councillor McPherson says he has met with Caribou Road Services and they say they did some work to the road in the fall. Councillor Leggett confirmed as he was up there a few weeks back hiking, he says the road seemed ok, but it was covered in snow.

Petitions and Delegations

Museum Foundation – Funding

David Price from the Museum Foundation was present to answer questions regarding funding and the first installment of the grant-in-aid payment from the District in the amount of $50,000. He explains applications are in progress for the educational camps. The Museum Foundation was a little worried that because the construction of the new building was going to have to wait until the spring, that they would lose the grant money they have from the Cultural Spaces Grant, as it stipulated the renovations needed to be done by Mar. 2014. They have spoken with Cultural Spaces and they say it is ok, as long as the ‘financial aspect’ of their grant has been used by March. Members of the Museum Foundation will also be attending the Museum Speaking Tour and presenting on Feb. 24. “It will make a big difference in enabling the operational capacity of the museum to deal with some of the anticipated issues in the proposed Geopark and the outreach programs that would permit the museum to have all year programs including the five day dinosaur wilderness summer camps and fall and winter programs for adults. We are always so appreciative of the support we receive. We are hoping if the conversations between the regional district, the district of Tumbler Ridge and the museum bear fruit, it will create a very strong position to go forward to the provincial and federal government for support,” says Price.

Councillor McPherson also suggests the Museum should have booths setup at the local trade fairs. Councillor Mackay mentioned there are a lot of students who are bussed through Tumbler Ridge on their way to Gwillim Lake; he suggests inviting them to check out the museum. Councillor Litster suggests contacting schools in Prince George and Grande Prairie. Councillor Caisley made the motion to grant the first installment of $50,000 of grant in aid for the Museum Foundation. The motion passed all in favour.

TR Days Society – Grizfest 2014

Joanne Kirby, President of TR Days Society presented an update for Council. The group is looking for some additional funding from the District to get the event off the ground for this year. They have explained this is a make it or break it kind of year. They have already cut costs for their sound and lighting ($16,000) and have lowered the amount of money they are going to spend on artists to $50,000, down 25 percent from last year. They have also increased their gate prices by $10 and plan to up their liquor prices. Another cut will come in the advertising department (cutting $5,000 from the radio ads), as the festival this year will be turning more towards social media for the advertising. They have built a relationship with the Encana Events Centre, and they say they are willing to help with ticketing, booking artists and running ads on their website. Grizfest will also be charging vendors more to have booths.

Councillor Mackay explains that he feels creating safe camping arrangements for concert goers is the responsibility of the District, and they should be working at getting facilities ready. Kirby explains all they really need is for more sites to be designated at the Monkman campgrounds, as people usually are self sufficient in their trailers and don’t need hook ups.

Councillor Caisley suggests possibly hosting Grizfest and the Emperor’s Challenge on the same weekend. Kirby explained this wouldn’t be possible this year as the dates are already in circulation.

Back to funding, Mayor Wren suggests the District contribute another $25,000 and challenge the mines to do the same. He says, “They have a lot more money than the District of Tumbler Ridge.” Kirby explains the mines do donate typically around $5,000 each to the event each year.

Mayor Wren also worries about the business model of raising prices for visitors, but lowering the amount of money spent on the entertainment.

Council will go back and discuss the extra funding and it will be revisited.

Correspondence

Canadian trademark registration and design

Correspondence dated Dec. 19, 2014 from Fetherstonhaugh, Patent and Trademark Agents, regarding the TR & Design renewal date of May 18, 2014. The renewal cost is $875 and in the absence of instructions, the renewal fee will not be paid. This design is for the original town logo, which is no longer in use. The $875 is for 30 years of patent. Council voted to pay for the renewal and it passed, with Mayor Wren and Councillor McPherson opposed.

UNBC Transformative Role of Voluntarism in the Aging Resource Community of Tumbler Ridge

Correspondence dated Jan. 8, 2014 from UNBC regarding the Transformative Role of Voluntarism in the Aging Resource Community of Tumbler Ridge. Two reports were provided, as follows: A Review of Socio-Economic Characteristics in Tumbler Ridge, and the Transformative Role of Voluntarism in Aging Resource Communities: Community Report for Tumbler Ridge. This was received as information.

UNESCO – Tumbler Ridge Application for Global Geoparks Network

Correspondence from UNESCO dated Jan. 14, 2014 regarding the Tumbler Ridge application for membership in the Global Geoparks Network. The letter reads, “I wish to acknowledge that I have now examined your candidacy. I am pleased to say that the application is complete and accords with the application guidelines of the GGN. I will now ask IUGS to review the geological content and I hope to be in contact with you again towards the end of Mar. 2014 to organize an evaluation mission to the area.” The letter was signed from Patrick J. McKeever, secretary, international geosciences programme chief, Global Earth Observation Section. This letter was received as information.

BC Emergency Health Services – Local Government interest in first responder services

Correspondence from BC Emergency Health Services dated Jan. 3, 2014 regarding Local Government Interest in First Responder Services. The letter discussed the use of lights and sirens when answering calls and about the Resource Allocation Plan for ambulances and first responders. The letter was filled as information.

Pacific Northern Gas – Tumbler Ridge Division – Adverse Rate Impacts on Core Market

Letter dated Jan.15, 2014 from Pacific Northern Gas Ltd. addressed to the BC Utilities Commission with a copy to the District of Tumbler Ridge concerning rate increases applicable to the core market customers in the Tumbler Ridge Division, effective Jan. 1, 2014. The B.C. Utilities Commission is seeking to mitigate rate increases in a sustainable manner. Councillor McPherson says nothing has changed in the community and the costs should be going to industry. The letter states, “Based on forecast demand and cost information, the 2014 RRA has forecast a 2014 revenue deficiency of $239,000 for the Division. This revenue deficiency necessitates a significant increase in the delivery charge for core market customers effective Jan. 2, 2014.” This would be a $1.118/GJ increase to the residential delivery charge and a $0.816/GJ increase to the small commercial delivery charge. The reasons given for the needed increase are as the letter reads: “The primary factor, accounting for approximately $138,000 of the deficiency, is a reduction in industrial demand, including lower than forecast industrial deliveries in 2013, resulting in a 2013 margin shortfall of $75,000 to be recovered from customers in 2014 through the amortization of the industrial customer deliveries deferral account and a lower forecast of industrial demand for 2014 compared to the 2013 forecast resulting in a reduction to 2014 forecast margins of $63,000. The second most significant factor accounting for approximately $111,000 of the deficiency is the loss of the 2013 credit amortization related to the 2012 Decision Permanent to Interim Rate Adjustments. Lastly the Tumbler Ridge Division is subject to an additional amortization expense in 2014 related to costs deferred in 2013 under the 2012/2013 Quintette Security of Supply Arrangement.”

The letter then goes on to explain, how this is just an example of how the residents of Tumbler Ridge and small business will continue to pay for the industrial deficiencies if the PNG pipeline isn’t approved.

There is no mention of a rate increase for industrial customers.

The letter states, “Without the CNG Virtual Pipeline in place, and the resultant loss of Quintette Mines as a customer, it is anticipated that rates to Tumbler Ridge customers would increase considerably more than as represented in the 2014 RRA, as under this scenario the revenue deficiency for test year 2014 would increase by about $130,000.” Since the forecast has changed for Teck, the company that was requesting the creation of the virtual pipeline, these changes from PNG are a little confusing for the District and thus more information has been requested. Much like for the virtual pipeline, the District may file as an intervener for these rate increases. Council has directed staff to obtain more information. There will be more on this story in next week’s edition.

2014 Skills Canada Peace Region – Competition

Letter dated Jan. 10, 2014 from the 2014 Skills Canada Peace Region Committee inviting Council to the Closing Ceremonies from 3:30–4:00 p.m., Jan. 31, 2014, Northern Lights Campus, Dawson Creek. This was received as information.

New Business

Notice of Failure to File Disclosure Statement During Late Filing Period

Report dated Jan. 16, 2014 from the CAO entitled Notice of Failure to File Disclosure Statement during Late Filing Period, which will serve as public notice of Brenda Holmlund’s failure to file her campaign financial disclosure statement within the late filing period. In accordance with the law, Holmlund is now disqualified from being nominated for, elected to or holding office on a local government, the council of the City of Vancouver, or a board of school trustees, or as a local trustee of the Islands Trust, until after the next general election. This was filed as information.

Tumbler Ridge Museum – Terms of Reference and Concept Development Budget Allocation

Report dated Jan. 17, 2014 seeking Council’s adoption of a proposed Terms of Reference for the Tumbler Ridge Museum, and to seek Council pre-approval of a 2014 budget allocation for completion of the related Concept Development Proposal. Recommendation one to adopt the Terms of Reference prepared by AlderichPears for the Tumbler Ridge Museum was approved all in favour. Recommendation two, that Council pre-approve a 2014 Capital Budget allocation in the amount of $88,350 for the completion of a Museum Concept Development Proposal for the Tumbler Ridge Museum. This was approved all in favour. However the third recommendation, to accept the proposal as submitted by AldrichPears Associates Ltd. in the amount of $80,318 for the completion of a Museum Concept Development Proposal for the Tumbler Ridge Museum caused some discussion. Mayor Wren and Councillor McPherson felt Council and the Museum should first try and work their way through the Terms of Reference together, without the help of Aldrich Pears. Councillor Caisley was strongly opposed to this idea and thinks having the experts there is necessary. After a bit of a debate, the recommendation passed with Mayor Wren and Councillor McPherson opposed.

Tumbler Ridge Public Library Board – Appointment

Council approved all in favour to appoint Laura Steckly to the Tumbler Ridge Public Library Board.

Councillors’ Business

Councillor Caisley

He talked about the incentives for doctors and the success being had in Vanderhoof, which he has brought up before and asked to have looked at by staff. He explains Fort St. John is currently doing a overview of their health needs. His PRRD update included that there will be a meeting in Taylor on Jan. 30 to discuss the fair share agreement for the Peace Region. All district councillors and mayors are invited. He says the motion to have a moratorium placed on worker camps was withdrawn and it will be looked at in late February.

Councillor McPherson

Attended the minor hockey and says it’s the most enjoyable hockey he’s seen in a long time; the kids even saluted the fans. He has been working with staff on ATV and boat launch objectives and they are getting close to bringing something to Council.

Councillor Mackay

Attended a Library Board meeting and the budget will be presented soon. He attended a minor hockey tournament in Dawson and says it was a fantastic outing. There has also been a Community Forest Board meeting. The group has a substantial amount of money and they don’t want it just sitting in the bank. Councillor Leggett is being very helpful in this area for the board already. He says the Community Forest wants to be more involved in Aboriginal Days, specifically June 21, summer solstice, because a local group plants trees on this day. Last year they were planted around the outdoor classroom, but unfortunately and accidentally, the trees were destroyed by some of the work done next to the high school. He says district staff did a ‘phenomenal’ job during the power outage.

Councillor Litster

“I just wanted to tip my hat and give a big youha, heehaw, humba, rally for the

District team. I just wanted to say what everyone did as a team was really outstanding during the outage. Thank you on behalf of the citizens who were able to take a break in the community centre. A big nod out to Darryl at Shop Easy as well.” In regards to the Building Healthy Communities Committee, they have come up with a game plan to invite celebrity guests to town to do presentations.

Councillor Leggett

Thanks the district staff for efforts during outage. He thanks the members of the Community Forest and as a finance guy, he thinks him coming aboard was good timing with the budget on table. He recently attended an accounting conference in Vancouver and in the Fort St. John airport he saw ads from all the different districts, except Tumbler Ridge. He says Aleen Torraville has already sent over some information about Tumbler Ridge to have on display there. He has also asked if repairs to the motocross track could be added as a potential line item in the budget.

Mayor Wren

Attended the Fire Department general meeting. Fire Chief Matt Treit was given a piece of a fireman’s horn for his 20 years of service. Josh Arnaly was voted fireman of the year by his peers. It is his first year as a fireman here in Tumbler Ridge. He also attended the hockey tournament here in town and again mentioned how putting in the ice early has really helped the kids. There will also be an Edge Hockey camp coming to town in March, which is very exciting. He has been having informal conversations with developers for a new retail space and says there is quite an interest. Mayor Wren says he tried ice climbing for the first time and it was a rush! He appreciates all the work staff did during the outage. He says the Lion’s came through and he can’t say enough about the Lions and Shop Easy. He says, “A lot of people were prepared.”

Questions and Answer

Mrs. White asked why ESS was not called in during the outage? Barry Elliott apologized and explained it wasn’t personal. The district was just doing what they could and a few things slipped through the cracks.