Regular Meeting of Council – Jan. 7, 2014

Lynsey Kitching


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

Business Arising From Minutes

A representative from the Ministry of Transportation will be appearing before council at the Jan. 27, 2014 P&P meeting.

Councillor Snyder asked about where the District stood in creating the agreement for the use of ‘Willow Hall’ (unofficial name). CAO Barry Elliott explains the agreement is with the District’s lawyers, and staff is waiting to hear back.

Councillor Caisley asked about the meeting with Aldrich Pears. Jeanette McDougall, Deputy Corporate Officer explained the meeting is actually a three day workshop. This item was left for the scheduling of meetings.

Councillor Mackay also brought up that the regional district is still waiting to find out how much the District is willing to commit to funding the museum for this year. The regional district needs to know asap. Mayor Wren explained this will be discussed at the next P&P meeting, to be brought to the regular meeting of council on Jan. 21. This should give the regional district enough time before having to make their budget commitments. The regional district is willing to match funding for the museum.


Hydraulic Fracturing and Groundwater Contamination

Council was a little disappointed about the letter of response they received from Rich Coleman, minister and deputy premier, from the Ministry of Natural Gas Development and Minister Responsible for Housing and Deputy Premier in regards to the meeting he had with Mayor and Council during the UBCM. The meeting discussed fracking and council’s desire to have the TR aquifer protected. Full story next issue.

Peace River Palaeontology Research Centre (PPRC)

Correspondence dated Dec. 2, 2013 from Garth C. Taylor, senior environmental specialist and partner, Hatfield Consultants indicating support of the activities of the PRPRC during the environmental assessment of the Meikle Wind project. The letter reads, “On a very short timeline, PRPRC provided a valuable overview of the palaeontological potential of our project. We hope that current and potential funding bodies will continue to recognize the important role of PRPRC as a regional resource for mitigating impacts to palaeontological resources.” The letter was received as information.

Local Government Elections Reform – Second Phase

A letter from Coralee Oakes, minister of community, sport and cultural development, inviting comment on the second phase of the local government elections reform. The deadline for feedback from Mayor and Council regarding the implementation of expense limits on campaigns is Jan. 31, 2014. The letter was received as information.

Tumbler Ridge Health Centre – Master Plan

Correspondence from Terry Lake, minister of health, thanking Councillors McPherson, Caisley, Mackay, and Snyder for their meeting during the UBCM. In his letter he mentions the Tumbler Ridge Health Centre Master Plan is ready and in the hands of Northern Health’s executive for consideration within their overall capital priorities. He says, “I applaud your leadership and continued interest in creating local conditions that promote the health and well-being of your citizens.” The completed TR Master Plan is yet to be seen by council.

Statement of Notice – Property Tax:

Correspondence from Rita Kostaluk, from Triple K Safety Inc., stating her frustrations over a late penalty for unpaid property taxes. She has requested a response from the Mayor. Kostaluk says she was mixed up on the due date, and the penalty is $1,025.40. She also states, “I can only hope that this ‘penalty’ goes to good use…ensure local businesses get the opportunity to work for local mines, and companies working in our backyard and that they are concerned and do something about Alberta companies taking our contracts/work!”

In response to the late penalty for late payment of property taxes, Councillor McPherson starts the discussion. He says, “I’ve been in town a long time, and I’ve run a business here. I know that if I was late on my taxes there was a 10 percent penalty. It goes for everyone. If you back down because someone forgot, where do you draw the line?”

These sentiments were felt throughout council. Mayor Wren explains he has been in contact with Kostaluk. He says that at every council meeting he has attended, council has stressed the need to hire local workers. He says the due dates were clearly stated on the tax notice. He also says he understands that people forget sometimes, and personally, his family forgot one year, and they paid the penalty. He concludes by saying there is no negotiations on the dates. He also outlined that in 2006 the mill rate for businesses was 30.10, however last year it had dropped to 13.7. He also mentioned the chamber has been re-instated to support business as well.

NCLGA 59th Annual General Meeting – Resolution submission deadline:

Correspondence from Regional Councillor Kim Eglinski, resolution chair, NCLGA. The AGM will be held on May 7 to 9 in Fort St. John. The deadline for resolutions is Mar. 7, 2014. Councillor Snyder mentioned that last year, former councillor Torraville was given a gold star for her resolution regarding the impacts of transient workers on the north. He wonders what happened to that? Mayor Wren explains after being recognized, the resolution has to go through the UBCM resolution committee and there is no obligation for the resolution to go any further than that. Council will discuss possible resolutions at an upcoming P&P meeting.

10th High on Ice Festival 2014 – Mayor’s Ice Carving

Correspondence from Mayor Lori Acherman, from Fort St. John inviting participation in the carving challenge. The District will be participating and passed a motion to approve the associated costs to attend. Mayor Wren is sure he will win this year.

Peace River Coalition

Correspondence from Mayors Dale Burnstead, Lori Ackerman, and Fred Jarvis regarding establishing a regional coalition to represent regional interests. Mayor Wren says, “It is important that we take part and hear what they have in mind. With the language around fair share, the Province could end it at any time. With the existing formula, communities benefit and that will continue to increase.” The Peace Region has a contract with the Province for fair share of industries taxes, this gives communities a benefit to having industry around them. The current contract is until 2030, however, it is not carved in stone. Councillor Caisley says, “Others are applying pressure as to whether it should remain the same format. We want to make very sure we have all our ducks in a row to ensure any objections that happen, the coalition, probably leading to more, will give us an opportunity to review our position as well as making sure we are all on the same wave length.”

The fair share agreement began around 1994, Councillor Caisley says, “As far as review periods we have been fortunate. What we have presented in the past, relative to that agreement, not too much has changed to eliminate it.”

The letter from the mayors of Fort St. John, Dawson Creek and Taylor reads, “…this positive news has been accompanied by increasing concern on our part with rumours of provincial review of the indexing formulae,” the letter continues, “We are facing massive demands and impacts on community and regional infrastructure, on our services, water supplies, and the environment and we believe that these impacts will know no boarders and will impact all of our municipalities and electoral areas simultaneously. We cannot plan, control or respond to this rapid growth in isolation of each other…”

A meeting, of which all councillors are invited, will be taking place Jan. 30, 2014 at 10 a.m. in Taylor.

Request for use of the Trend Mountain Conference Centre

Matt Treit, fire chief, has put in a request to use one of the Districts free uses of the conference centre for the firefighters AGM on Jan. 18. This was approved all in favour.

New Business:

2013 Capital Budget Summary

This is a report from the CAO providing Council with an updated 2013 Capital Project Report. Mayor Wren pointed out that even though there is still $2.1 million in unfinished projects, $1.3 million of that is from projects that went to an RFP and came back with bids that were far too high out of the budget range. These projects have been sent out again as RFP’s and responses will be back shortly.

Notice of failure to file disclosure statement

Report from the CAO advising that Brenda Holmlund has yet to file her by-election campaign financial disclosure statement from the Aug. 17th by-election. This was filed as information.

Tumbler Ridge Youth Services Society Lease – Renewal

The lease was sent back to staff because Council would like to talk with the board before approving the lease. The renewal is on hold until Council can meet with the board.

Tumbler Ridge Curling Club Lease – Renewal

The lease was sent back to staff because there were some conflicts within the lease. Most importantly was the length of the lease. Wording within the lease was a little confusing, as the Curling Club only has access to the facility from Oct. 5, 2013 – March 31, 2014, but the lease is from Oct. 1, 2013 to Sept. 30, 2014. A few concerns arose around sub-leasing the space, and community use of the space. Council would like to clarify the terms of lease.

TR Oldtimer’s Hockey Club Lease – Renewal –

Approved all in favour was the lease with the TR Oldtimer’s. It is a three-year lease for arena change room five for $2,004 for the first year, $2,044 for the second year and $2,085 for the third year.

Community Forest Wildfire Mitigation Project Management

Report seeking Council authorize to enter into an agreement with the Tumbler Ridge Community Forest Corporation for the management of the wildfire mitigation program. The agreement is essentially the same as the one entered into previously, which expired in December 2013. The only change is that the Community Forest be required to obtain $5,000,000 third party liability insurance, and that the District be named in their policy as an additional named insured. This agreement was approved by council all in favour.

Schedule of Meetings

Council has decided they are able to do the weekend of Jan 11-12 or Jan 25-26, including Thursdays as well, for the three-day meeting with Aldrich Pears, for their workshop regarding the Museum Foundation. Mayor Wren was going to work with staff to get the dates firmed up.

Councillors’ Business:

Councillor Leggett

Attended the Filipino benefit dinner as well as the meeting with CDI, which he found extremely informative. Says he really enjoyed the toboggan hill with his family, however, there is a need for washroom facilities. In previous years, the restaurant was open, however this year it is closed.

Councillor Litster

Attended the Voices on the Ridge concert and says it was great. Also really enjoyed the pancake breakfast at the high school. She says the meeting with CDI was very valuable.

Councillor Mackay

Says he really appreciates what Public Works does with snow removal, especially when it comes down like it has. Very happy with the toboggan hill, says it’s great to see people there having fun, making bonfires, and using the heating shack. He visited the pool at the Community Centre and says usership is down. He sends his congratulations out to the Beale’s for the first baby of 2014 in TR. He announced the appointment of two new board members to the Community Forest. They are Lynsey Kitching and Chris Leggett. Leggett has extensive experience in the forestry industry and Kitching has a few years’ experience working in silviculture. The motion to appoint these two to the board was passed all in favour.

Councillor Snyder

He has a list of all the names of the folks who use the snow angel program, there are eight people. He attended the Voices on the Ridge concert and the pancake breakfast. He also attended the CDI workshop. Councillor Snyder wishes everyone a happy new year and says his has already been great with the safe return of Dallas Coulson and Mike Hanna. He thanks everyone who had any part in helping them return home safe. He says the Search and Rescue team are just so important to the community.

Councillor Caisley

Attended the CDI discussion, says there were about 12-14 people there. Says the project is within budget and on schedule to be completed by the end of the council term.

Councillor McPherson

Says he was impressed at the CDI meeting. He has offered his time, truck and plow to help out with the snow angel program. He would like the idea of creating a committee for community integration brought to a P&P meeting again for further discussion.

Mayor Wren

Found the tourism aspect of the CDI meeting most valuable. Explained most regions have a destination, such as Jasper, though Tumbler Ridge can’t be Jasper, it can be it’s own destination with its unique qualities. It has been decided that the naming of the Willow Hall is going to go out to a naming contest. This contest is going to be done through the elementary school.

He says he had a great time at the pancake breakfast, but would like to look beyond the breakfast to the work that Jan Proulx and Blaine Broderick are doing. He says the moral is so positive. He would like to recognize them, as he thinks they are making a real difference and TR is fortunate to have them.

He has spoken with the new RCMP sergant, and he will be coming into Council in February. He has been compiling a report indicating how Tumbler Ridge compares to other communities in terms of crime. He says crime is declining in TR. They are going to do research into finding a way to license some ATVs for the snow angel program.

He would like to reiterate that the snow removal done in Tumbler Ridge is top notch, and he has been very upset by some folks in town using social media to question the quality of work being done by public works in regards to snow removal.

He has invited Doug Beale to come to a P&P meeting to discuss snow removal and invites all concerned parties to come and address their concerns to council directly. A company named Target Logistics, who were present at the coal forum sent a gift in appreciation of the District. It is a barbec nue set. Mayor and Council agreed to have it donated as a door prize at the upcoming Firefighters Association AGM.