Trent Ernst, Editor
Present: Acting Mayor Caisley, Councillor’s Kirby, Howe, Krakowka, Scott and Mackay
PETITIONS AND DELEGATIONS
RYAN SHELLY Re: Northern Rockies Avalanche Pilot Project
Ryan Shelly from Summit Avalanche Consulting came before Council to discuss financial support of the Northern Rockies Avalanche Pilot Project. The District has been providing financial support for the Mountain Information Network, and he is asking for $2500 to assess the snowpack stability in the core lodge, wolverine and Bullmoose snowmobile area for winter 2016-2017.
Last year, Shelly says, Tim Bennett from Recreation Sites and Trails BC came and asked about funding for a pilot project. The Northern Rockies is a very large area and there is no Avalanche Bulletin in the area. The $2500 is going towards providing information through avalanche.ca. The Mountain Information Network allows backcountry recreational users to post their observations. Of the nine users who were killed in avalanches last year, eight were on the west side, where there is no pilot project. A part of this, he says, is due to the push to get the reporting up and running in this area. For the next year, he is hoping to train a number of members from the local clubs to provide reports on a weekly basis.
ROSE SNYDER RE: TR CARES
TR Cares Vice-President Rose Snyder provided an update on several programs and to extend an invitation to Council to the Annual Fund Raising Golf Tournament being held on August 13, 2016. “It’s been six months since we’ve been here,” she says, “so it’s time to update you on things.”
“For those who don’t know, we are an umbrella program,” says Snyder. “We run some of our own programs, but there are other groups that operate under TR Cares. For instance, WIP. The Healthy Community Committee will be taking over the Good Food Box program from WIP. The program hasn’t gone away, just to a new home. Part of that is because they are hiring a coordinator, and TR Cares is a volunteer program.”
“We’ve just negotiated our fourth contract with northern health for running the van for 40 trips per year to Dawson Creek, 20 to Chetwynd, ten to go and six to Fort St. John.”
However, they’ve already done 36 of their 40 trips to Dawson Creek, and the year is barely half way through. The funding provided by the district, says Snyder, is what allows the group to run the rest of the year.
One of the groups under TR Cares is Citizens on Patrol. There is an active society in place, but right now they are restricted to the current membership until the new Sergent arrives, as the program needs to be operated in conjunction with the RCMP. Finally, Bob Zimmer and Mike Bernier are going to be at the golf tourney, so come and give them what for.
DISSOLUTION OF TUMBLER RIDGE GARDEN CLUB
Correspondence dated June 12, 2016 from Ellen Sager, President of the Tumbler Ridge Garden Club advising of the decision to dissolve Tumbler Ridge Garden Club. See cover story from our July 14 issue for more information.
BORALEX – MOOSE LAKE WIND ENERGY PROJECT
Correspondence dated June 7, 2016 from the Project Manager of Boralex providing an update to the Moose Lake Wind Energy Project.
BORALEX – PEACE REGION PALAEONTOLOGY RESEARCH CENTRE
Correspondence dated June 7, 2016 from the Project Manager of Boralex recognizing the value of expert advice and assistance provided by the Peace Region Palaeontology Research Centre (PRPRC) in the construction planning of the Moose Lake Wind Project.
“We as a Council provide a building and $200,000 a year in funding, and then a corporation like Boralex’s are able to come in and utilize their services on the backs of the taxpayers,” says Councillor Howe. “Does Boralex pay for their services? Or is this something that they do as a favour for businesses?”
Councillor Kirby says if Boralex discovers something, they call the PRPRC, and the PRPRC would come and look at the site, and see. “They’re just following the steps on not disturbing the fossil heritage,” she says.
Howe asks if there is an opportunity for them to charge for the service.
Wall says the PRPRC is hesitant to do that. “Their belief is if they start charging for this type of stuff, fossils that are discovered may be discarded as opposed to brought to them. That is one of the reasons they are pushing for fossil protection in the province. If companies are legislated to get in touch with them, they don’t have to worry about charity, and they may be able to start charging at that point, but they haven’t started charging so far because they’re worried about having the resources destroyed.”
Howe asks if this is something that is worked into the contract with the PRPRC? “Should that legislation change, they start charging for their services?”
Councillor Mackay says the members of the PRPRC are going to Australia and places like that, there is obviously money changing hands there.
Councillor Kirby says that is something that the town took a step towards with the motion at the North Central Local Government Association (NCLGA). Right now, she says, the PRPRC is partnering with the businesses and is able to bring the fossils into the collection, adding a tourism draw.
Councillor Krakowka asks if the research project happening up at Williston Lake is also being carried out on the backs of the taxpayers?
Councillor Kirby points out the Regional District is also putting money into the PRPRC. “It is the Peace Region Paleontological Research Centre,” she says. “This is something that the District should be excited about. It’s a partnership and we’ll be getting a lot of credit. We’ll be getting a lot of press on this.”
Councillor Howe proposes inviting them to a meeting to discuss what’s been happening, as well as concerns of council. He moves to invite the PRPRC to a P&P meeting in September.
MINISTRY OF JOBS, TOURISM AND SKILLS TRAINING AND MINISTER RESPONSIBLE FOR LABOUR
Correspondence dated June 9, 2016 from the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour providing an update on the arrival of Syrian refugees to the province.
TUMBLER RIDGE MINOR HOCKEY ASSOCIATION
Correspondence dated May 26, 2016 from TRMHA President requesting formal times for the arena ice to be in and out. They propose September 1 as ice in and March 31 as ice out. Councillor Howe says he is the biggest proponent of hockey, but the costs just don’t bear it out. He proposes leaving this discussion until later in the agenda.
REVITALIZATION TAX EXEMPTION AMENDMENT bylaw
Council gave final reading to the District of Tumbler Ridge Revitalization Tax Exemption Bylaw.
ZONING AMENDMENT BYLAW
Council gave first, second and third reading to the District of Tumbler Ridge Zoning Amendment Bylaw. This will allow for backyard hen keeping. Councillor Krakowka recused himself, as he does own chickens. Councillor Howe asks about the proposals from the public meeting around electric fences. That would be best discussed, says wall, under the next section.
ANIMAL RESPONSIBILITY BYLAW
Council gave third reading to the District of Tumbler Ridge Animal Responsibility Bylaw. Councillor Krakowka remains recused.
Councillor Howe asks about the proposal to have electric fences to keep predators out. There has been no motion from council to include it, says Wall, so it hasn’t been included. “Now is the time to have that discussion.” Council heard the good side of electric fences at the meeting, says Wall, but there are downsides, too. He says if Council lets staff know what information they want, staff can get it to them. Councillor Scott asks what other communities have around their bylaws regarding electric fences. Depends on the community, says Wall. Councillor Mackay asks if the District takes on any liability with the addition of the electric fences if something else happens? He says he’s happy with the motion as is, and if it is discovered that electric fences are needed, that can be added later.
Councillor Howe says that was just one of the proposals from the meeting. There were other proposals. He wonders what happens with them? For instance, is the suggestion about having the person come in to do inspections in the Bylaw?
Councillor Kirby says as long as you register your hen, there will be someone coming out to do spot checks.
Wall says there are a number of regulations. The neighbours just have to contact bylaw and it will be dealt with.
Councillor Howe is opposed.
MTI AMENDMENT Bylaw
Council gave third reading to the District of Tumbler Ridge Municipal Ticket Information (MTI) Amendment Bylaw.
OFF-ROAD VEHICLE AMENDMENT BYLAW
Council gave final reading to the District of Tumbler Ridge Off-Road Vehicle Amendment Bylaw. Councillor Howe asks where Council is at with this? There has been no change to the wording, says Wall. “My concern is with the controlled crossing,” says Howe. “I didn’t know there would be a four way stop involved. I thought it would be lights. I don’t like the idea of putting four way stops at either location.” Wall says the three options are to put in lights, at $35,000, removing those sections of the trails, or putting in four way stops.
Howe says what about having them push their ATVs across? Howe says that’s an even cheaper solution. I don’t think we want to change traffic flow that has been there for 35 years. I support the ATV trails, but not changing the traffic flow.
Councillor Krakowka says he agrees. There is already a red light at Willow, he says. Why can’t that be used?
Wall says it is up to Council, though there was some discussion about getting this done quickly, and this would slow that down immensely.
Councillor Mackay says these locations make sense. Councillor Kirby says all the groups support this. Councillor Scott says it’s a sign of progress. Also, walking a Razor or similar side by side across the street would be impossible. Having a stop is much safer.
I think we’re getting it wrong, says Howe. People with Razors are still having the same problems getting off the street. “They still have to load them on a trailer.”
Is time of the essence on this, asks acting mayor Caisley?
Right now, says Wall, we are not in compliance with our own bylaws. This is simply an amendment to that. Staff has done what has been asked of them, but if Council wants to see changes, then this is probably not going to happen this year, which would mean the bylaw would have to be suspended.
Councillor Krakowka says he was on the committee, and there was still some things at issue.
Wall points out that this discussion is not related to the amendment. The map has been approved. This is around out of province plates. “If Council doesn’t like the map, we’re looking at repealing the ATV bylaw,” he says. “The map has been adopted. This is just to allow out of province insurance.”
Councillor Mackay points out the work has already been done. “The Ministry has already given their reasoning why this is the best way to go. There are a lot busier roads that this that have four way stops in Dawson Creek. We’ve got a bylaw for ATVs. Are we for it or against it? If that’s what holds this back, we don’t have the consensus to support the ATV bylaw. If someone has to stop on the road maybe two times a day? The work has been done by staff. We’re ready to go.”
Howe opposes the motion.
MTI AMENDMENT BYLAW
Council gave final reading to the District of Tumbler Ridge Municipal Ticket Information (MTI) Amendment Bylaw.
PURCHASING POLICY TR-1
Council adopted the amended District of Tumbler Ridge Purchasing Policy TR-1.
2015 STATEMENT OF FINANCIAL INFORMATION (SOFI)
Council received the 2015 Statement of Financial Information (SOFI) for approval.
ARENA ICE TIME INSTALLATION
In the past, says Acting Community Service Manager Joy Mackay in a report to Council, arena ice has been made available to the public and user groups mid-September. The maintenance department hires Simco Refrigeration during the time Simco comes to the area to startup other community refrigeration plants. Working with the other communities cuts-down the cost of travel to Tumbler Ridge from Edmonton, AB.
This year the tentative date to have ice prepared for user groups, rentals, and public sessions is September 19. The ice preparations would begin early-September when the weather is cooler and the generator system is able to function moderately.
Last year, says Mackay, the ice was available September 1 and the usage was not overwhelming. This was because user groups had not yet held their association meetings, therefore, no practice schedules were confirmed and user groups did not utilize the facility. Skate patrol was hired early to cover public skate sessions, however, attendance was low. Previously, Council had questioned the true effect on the budget for early ice installation. A number of other communities have been contacted to compare costs and Tumbler Ridge’s cost is in line with other arenas. Communities who operate their arenas on a cost recovery basis require the ice to be booked on average five hours per day before installation.
Council moved to continue with organizing the ice plant startup with other communities to cut contractor costs and to make ice available to user groups, ice rentals and public skate sessions on or around September 19.
Councillor Krakowka asks if the other communities would want to also open up their arenas earlier as well. Wall says the cost is not so much installation, rather the keeping the ice cold during the warmer weather.
Krakowka makes a motions to ask to start up earlier.
Councillor Kirby asks if the additional costs mentioned are for the end of the year, too or just startup. Just startup, says Wall. The cost of starting up is far higher than letting it run longer into spring. She says if Council wants to run the ice longer, there should be a way to recover costs.
Howe says he doesn’t believe the numbers. It shouldn’t cost that much to start up. I think the number is highly skewed.
Wall says this is the cost he’s gotten from staff and other communities. He says the cost of starting up in summer can double the cost. Even communities that are running on a cost recovery basis aren’t willing to run over summer.
2014 SOFI RESTATEMENT
Council directed the CAO not to pursue the Statement of Financial Information 2014 (SOFI) matter any further unless required by Provincial statute or through a motion of Council. See full story.
RE-ZONING HOTELS TO PERMIT LONG-TERM STAYS
The District moves to retain the current unspecified wording in the Official Community Plan that relate to permitted hotel, motel and lodge uses in C1 zoned areas as well as favouring maintaining the range, quality and capacity of tourist accommodation in Tumbler Ridge over changes in zoning that allow for changes of use and lead to a decline in accommodation choices. The also moved to lift the current covenant preventing long term stays in the Wilderness Lodge. The motion was defeated. Full story coming soon.
TRAFFIC CONTROL CHANGE – MONKMAN/SPIEKER
With the recent passing of the ORV Bylaw and the requirement to have a controlled crossing for ATVs, writes Operations Manager Doug Beale, it has come to his attention the intersection at Spieker, Monkman and the Golf Course Road cannot comply with Provincial requirements for a controlled crossing due to the fact that only one lane is controlled.
The original design of the roads called for Monkman to be constructed straight through to Mackenzie Avenue from Spieker Avenue, writes Beale. “If constructed as designed there would have been stop signs at the intersection from Spieker.”
When the District requested a traffic design from the Engineers for the intersection it was recommended to have a three way stop control, this would allow for safe travel from all routes and would determine the right of way traffic and have safe controls in place for pedestrian and ATV travel.
Council approved the recommended changes of a three way stop to the traffic signage and control at the Monkman, Spieker and Golf Course intersection with the addition of properly marked pedestrian crossings.
Councillor Howe opposed.
GOLF COURSE MAINTENANCE BUILDING CONTRACT
Council awards the construction of the Golf Course Maintenance Building to Chetridge Developments Ltd. Councillor Scott asks why this route rather than a prefab building. Wall says the costs of upkeep on a cheaper building would be more expensive in the long term. This is the total cost? Asks Councillor Howe. There’s no more, says Wall.
At the June 13 P&P meeting, Council requested a motion be brought forth to donate $5000 to the Red Cross for Fort McMurray Fire Recovery. Councillor Howe asks if there’s a fire in Dawson Creek, and Council wants to donate $5000 to that, would they be cut off? There are provisions for that, says Wall. Council moved to make the donation.
AQUATIC CENTRE BBQ RENTAL
A BBQ is now available for rent at the Aquatic Centre for birthday parties and private bookings. Councillor Krakowka asks if there is a policy in place for the use of the BBQ. Wall says there is an old policy that this is covered under.
SENIOR MANAGEMENT STAFFING VACANCIES
Chris Leggett has been recruited by the Village of Pouce Coupe. He will begin his position in Pouce Coupe on August 1 and will be leaving sometime before this. The departure of Leggett, says Wall, is a significant setback for the Finance Department which for the first time in almost a decade had become resourced appropriately for the tasks required of it. A search for a new CFO has already begun and measures have been taken to ensure the Finance Department can function during the interim. This entails hiring an experienced consultant to step in as acting CFO.
See full story.
Councillor Mackay attended FCM. On June 29, the community forest was given additional area. He attended fireworks, and says kudos to fire department, as well as staff for the Canada Day events. He says with what has happened in Fort McMurray, Tumbler Ridge needs to take a sober second look at fire mitigation. The so-called hundred year fires are happening every five years or so.
Councillor Scott says a lot of equipment on Wolverine road has been moved but not all. She wonders if the District needs to write another letter. She makes a motion to send a letter to Ministry of Environment. She says the Asset Management Committee will be meeting soon. She’s heard complaints about lack of seating at parks and at the VIC.
Councillor Krakowka says all involved did a bang up job on fireworks and Canada Day.
Councillor Kirby agrees with his assessment.
Councillor Howe says highways are reopening after closures, increased traffic to wind project. He is wondering if it is possible to get motions put on displays. Wall says he will have to talk to the corporate officer.
Acting Mayor Caisley says camp set up on Bullmoose Road when there is vacancy in town is poor form. Discussions at PRRD around floods in Chetwynd and Dawson Creek. BC Hydro revenue requirements also discussed. Money is available through NDIT. Attended high school graduation. Attended open house on June 29. Attended meeting with Lake View. And attended Canada celebration.