Trent Ernst, Editor
Present: Mayor McPherson, Councillors Caisley, Kirby, Howe, Krakowka, Scott, Mackay
Petitions and Delegations
KPMG Audit Presentation
The District Auditors, KPMG, came before council to discuss the draft audit for 2014. They are issuing a clean audit report. “That’s as good as it gets,” says Colleen Ballantyne, presenting for KPMG. Net financial assets grew to $19.75 million, up from $16.88 the year before. She says the District is in sound and strong financial shape.
RCMP Policing Priorities
Sergeant Craig Learning came before Council to discuss RCMP policing priorities. He says the number of calls they have dealt with in the first five months of the year have dropped from 430 in 2014 to 349 this year. He’s broken this down into a number of general categories. Some have increased (like drugs, from six to seven), while others, such as Bylaw/Traffic/Other has dropped from 233 to 174. He points out traffic stats do not account for bulk file stats, generally traffic tickets.
Also, a lot of files from last year were things like criminal record checks, which are no longer treated as files.
Learning says guard and matron availability remains an issue, and is in part reason for the low prisoner count. There have been two people who have expressed interest.
The Victim Service Worker will be leaving in the fall. Members of the detachment participated in several community and police based events in the last five months, from Hope Blooms, which the Victim Service Worker spearheaded, to the Success by 6 Bike Rodeo to working with the Grizfest Planning Committee to the Mock Disaster held at the high school.
He says there are five priority issues: reducing violent crimes, reducing property crimes, increasing community engagement, dealing with traffic related infractions (from impaired driving to ATV issues) and finally, intelligence led policing.
Councillor Scott asks if there is any worry about losing any staff due to the downturn. Learning says there has been no discussion around that.
Councillor Krakowka thanks him and the rest of the detachment for the work they do.
Councillor Caisley asks about intelligence-led policing. Learning says this is things like Crime Stoppers and Citizens on Patrol; this will improve the amount of intelligence that comes back to the police and help them solve crimes: “extra eyes and ears always help.”
Councillor Howe agrees that the current crew is a great crew and is doing good work. Councillor Mackay also agrees.
Councillor Mackay asks for an update around the issues that were talked about around the facility. Learning says it is a small detachment, and updating the building is still on the table. “I was all excited when I saw the stakes go up around the detachment, but then they all blew over.” He says he’s not quite sure when it will happen now.
Mayor McPherson asks about the possiblity of bike patrol. Constable Fournier is trained in mountain bike patrol, and was thinking about breaking out the bikes, says Learning, but the ones in town are a bit out of date.
Natural Forces Wolverine Wind Energy Project
Wolverine Wind Energy will be doing a Public Information Session in Tumbler Ridge on June 24. They have invited Council.
Tumbler Ridge Geopark Inaugural Event
Council is also invited to the Tumbler Ridge Global Geopark Inaugural Event June 29.
Premier Clark and Minister Oakes UBCM Invite
UBCM is coming up and both the Premier and Minister Oakes sent letters to Council on how to set up meetings with cabinet ministers. Councillor Caisley asks about the discussion around the Kinuseo Falls road. “It just seems to me to be going on and on and on. Here we are going into another year, and we’re still trying to do something about the road. We never seem to be able to make any progress with regards to that. I’m hoping at some point in time we’ll be able to sit down and find out where we fit on the overall priority list, because right now it doesn’t feel like we’re on the list at all.”
Mayor says it is moving up on the priority list, according to MLA Bernier. He says he’s been talking about it for 15 years, and he’s sure it was talked about before that. He says tomorrow there is a meeting with transportation, so there might be some good news around that.
Councillor Caisley says if we could at least get a target date.
Councillor Kirby asks if we have registered with any ministers yet. Elliott says not yet. He’s hoping for some guidance tonight. Caisley suggest scheduling something at the next P&P meeting.
Councillor Howe says Council needs to talk to Bill Bennett, as he is involved with the Wind Projects and the mines. “He would be top of the food chain, in my mind.”
Councillor Mackay says yes. Another person to talk with is Education Minister Fassbender, as the allocation of funding doesn’t really work for our community. He also suggests talking to the minister in charge of BC Parks.
Councillor Scott says she wants to talk to the Transportation Minister, as well as Tourism and Small Business. She says she has talked with Ministry of Transportation around high grading sections of the road out to Kinuseo.
Mayor suggests setting up a meeting with Christy Clark.
Elliott suggests a meeting with Minister Bond, as her Ministry has been invaluable.
Councillor Howe says we should talk to whichever Minister would be responsible for helping set up Tumbler Ridge as a fossil repository.
Pouce Coupe Canada Day Parade
Council has been invited to the Pouce Coupe Canada Day Parade. Councillor Mackay says last year this was discussed, and the topic of a float came up. He says he didn’t see anything about a float in the budget. Wondering if it was ever started. Elliott says he’ll have to check.
2015 Tax Rates Amendment Bylaw
The previous Tax Rates Bylaw was not formatted properly, and as such needs to be revised; there is no substantive changes to the bylaw itself, just how the information is organized and presented.
Chamber of Commerce JCP Grant
The Chamber and EDO Jordan Wall, are seeking support for a JCP grant application, which they discussed with Council a few weeks back. Council approved $43,097 from the Return to Work initiative account to support the wages component of the Chamber of Commerce’s Job Creation Partnership project. Councillor Kirby says she likes the idea and supports it. Councillor Krakowka says he doesn’t like the idea of topping up the wages. He says some of the organizations that he spoke to said they support the grant, but not the wages top-up. He worries about setting a precedent. Councillor Scott says she agrees with that, because it puts the District in conflict with some of the local businesses.
Councillor Mackay asks if a person’s EI period gets extended for people who participate in the program. EDO Wall says no it does not extend the EI eligibility period. Wall says people are already getting $15 on EI; without the ability to top off the wages, they might not be able to get work. Mackay says for the type of work that is being done, $20 is an extremely low wage. He says Council shouldn’t be taking advantage of people in a bad situation.
Councillor Kirby says this will benefit town, and should be supported.
Elliott says these projects were originally proposed by Tim Bennett. “The beauty of this, “ says Elliott, “is when this is done we will have gained another nearby Recreation Site, which the province will maintain.”
Mackay says this could be a prime opportunity to expand our recreation options.
Scott says this isn’t fair, as small businesses can’t go in and apply for the same grants and do the same work.
Mackay says this program is created through EI. It’s not something that would be done otherwise.
Councillor Howe says he agrees with Councillor Scott. What’s to say that someone won’t leave Tags to take this job, even if it is short term? “Why top off the wages when you could hire more people?” He says the project will go, whether the wages get topped up or not. He says he wouldn’t support the top-up wage.
Councillor Mackay points out nobody would lose any employees; they would have to be on EI. You couldn’t quit your job to go over there.
Councillor Krakowka says $43,000 could be used to hire five more people at that rate.
Councillor Kirby says she doesn’t look at this as a top-up; it’s looking to get people a job at $20. “It’s not a full-time job.”
Councillor Scott says she’s thinking there are other people in this District who would be more deserving, like the paramedics, of a bump in wages, rather than pay someone to go out and build trails.
Councillor Mackay says he’s dumbfounded that the District wouldn’t be willing to take advantage of this.
Mayor McPherson says if we were just hiring people to do this, we wouldn’t be proposing setting their wages at $15.
Motion passes. Councillor’s Howe, Krakowka and Scott opposed.
Recycling Partnership with Peace River Regional District
Council approved a partnership with the PRRD to become a Depot for Multi Materials of BC (MMBC) and approved being placed on the MMBC wait list to be considered for curbside collection of recyclable materials. Doug Beale, Operations Manager, says we are obligated to recycle. The costs are tremendous, and this would help streamline this.
The mayor says he spend six hours discussing this at the regional district. He says it’s just good governance to do what they can to reduce the amount of solid waste that goes into the landfill.
Councillor Howe says the dump is looking fantastic. He wonders about curbside collection. “We can’t just go ahead and implement curbside recycling? We need to get MMBC approval?” Beale says no, we can do what we like, if we want to bear the total cost. But MMBC would give us a certain amount per household as incentive. “We can do what we want; it’s just a lot more expensive to do it on our own.”
Councillor Krakowka agrees the landfill is looking great. He wonders if the horizontal bailer has been ordered yet. Elliott says not yet, as they are waiting to hear if the grant came in or not. He wonders if there’s a way that people have to prove residency to use the landfill, as people are coming in from Dawson Creek to use our free dump.
Mayor points out that they wouldn’t take it back to Dawson. They would just go dump it in the bush. The harder you make it for people to get into the landfill, the more likely they are to just dump it.
Councillor Krakowka asks if they would be extending hours of operation if the recycling moved down there? Elliott says they would have to have a conversation. Beale points out that as part of the MMBC agreement, the depot would need to be manned.
Councillor Kirby says she’s really on-board with the idea of curbside recycling. “Making recycling easier is a good thing.”
Beale says in order for MMBC to hit the 75 percent rate of recyclable, you need to go to curbside. “You can’t hit that goal the way we’re doing it now.”
Canada Day Fireworks Road Closure
Council approved a closure of Monkman way from Bergeron Drive to Southgate for the June 30 Fireworks Display
Canada Day Celebration Road Closure
Council granted exclusive use of Main Street and the Roman Walkway from 12 to 5 pm on July 1 for the organizers of the Canada Day Celebration even, and authorized use of things like tables, chairs, stage, shelter, tents, sound system and barricades for the event.
Council adopted the Strategic Plan as presented by the Community Development Institute. Mayor thanks Councillor Caisley for all his hard work on this.
Councillor Kirby took a tour of the oil sands earlier this month before attending the Federation of Canadian Municipality Conference. She went to chainsaw carving competition in Chetwynd. She got an email today from the Geopark Committee saying they want to start a diploma program for small ecotourism related businesses through Northern Lights College.
Councillor Scott says the Family Needs Committee re-start has been pushed back to fall. She says Social Services agencies in Tumbler Ridge have reported an increase in domestic violence, and that’s something they want to work on.
Attended a webinar that dealt with zoning issues, says it gave her some good ideas on how to develop Tumbler Ridge’s potential.
Councillor Caisley has nothing to report.
Councillor Mackay attended FCM as well.
Councillor Howe says he got an email from the gun club, saying the work needed to bring it up to code has been completed, but not inspected. He says it is nice to see that move forward quickly. He attended the soccer tournament in Chetwynd, and notes that the field conditions are worse than ours.
Says golf course is looking really nice.
Has a few questions. Wondering about the generator at the Visitor Information System. Elliott says when they went to commission it, there was antifreeze in the oil. It has been sent back to fix.
Has been hearing complaints about unsightly empty homes. Wondering how that is being dealt with. Elliott says he will talk with the bylaw officer and report back.
Finally, he says Mount Polley is soon to come back online. He’s wondering if there is a way to contact mines like this and working with them to employ a crew or a half crew and work on getting a group together to see if we can get a dozen or so people all on the same crew and work with them on busing. He wonders if this is something that Council can pursue.
Councillor Krakowka says it’s been a slow few weeks. He attended the Mock Disaster, and wanted to thank the District for their involvement, as well as all the organizations that were involved in the training. He attended the Summer Reading Club launch today. He wonders if the District has had a chance to look into the AED for Willow Hall. He’s also wondering about the zip files that are being sent to District email addresses. Elliott says he’s talked with IT North, and they were doing something to stop that.
He says he has heard from the Old Timers Hockey Organization saying they have been getting charges that they’re not sure about.
Wonders about the wavy curb at VIC. Elliott says he’s talked to Mr Klikach. Administration isn’t planning on pressing the issue, as it would be more painful than it is worth.
He wonders if there is another entrance for big units. Elliott says there is an area that they are planning on developing another area, but for now, no.
Mayor McPherson asks about the audio thing. Elliott says Mr. Klikach has got some quotes, but right now his focus is on the VIC. He asks about the Chicken Bylaw. Miss Torraville was working on that, but she’s on vacation right now.
He was at the FCM. Says that all the party leaders were there, save for the Prime Minister. He took the travelling roadshow students up to the falls. “It was the most miserable day you could have asked for.” He said there was one student especially who was extremely interested. “Just talking to him was worth the whole thing,” says Mayor McPherson. He thinks the chainsaw carving looks just great in front of the VIC.