Regular Meeting of Council: May 2, 2016

Trent Ernst, Editor

Present: Mayor McPherson, Councillors Caisley, Kirby, Howe, Krakowka, Mackay

PETITIONS AND DELEGATIONS

TR CHILDREN’S CENTRE SOCIETY

Ray Proulx, President and Interim Executive Director, TR Children’s Centre Society, to provide a general update.  He introduces Catherine Dickson, who is acting Interim Director while Raelene is off.

He says it is important to touch base with Council from time to time. May, he says, is child care month in BC. Programming in Tumbler Ridge is a bit of a moving target. Once income dried up for folks, for instance, the Daycare program basically became unneeded.

The centre offers Out of School Classes, which has 11 kids currently. The pre-school program is fully subscribed, with 18 kids attending the Monday/Wednesday/Friday session, and 15 for the Tuesday/Thursday sessions. They even have a wait list.

That’s good, but “shoulder care” programs are being impacted. Currently, he says, they are polling the community to see what the needs are. They are toying with idea of multi-age care for younger kids, but to do this, they need firm commitment from folks.

The society is currently operating at a loss. Fortunately, says Proulx, they are a financially prudent organization, and were able to squirrel some money away in the expectation of needing to expand their space, so they are eating into the nest egg. One of the issues is that for the last two years they have been denied the Government Gaming Grant. Two years ago, they didn’t get it because that money, which was set aside for the new space, was undesignated, but the province still didn’t give them the grant this year. “Other than that,” he says, “we are continuing to gauge community needs.”

CORRESPONDENCE

OBSERVATION PLATFORM – CAPITAL POWER

Melinda Snider is requesting a letter of support from Council pertaining to an observation tower that would be located near the summit adjacent to wind tower 11 off of “C” road. Councillor Krakowka says he thought this had already been done. Mayor says it was emailed to all of council, but it was never formally brought forward. He says he supports the idea. Council moves to draft a letter.

BC GOVERNMENT AND EMPLOYEES UNION – WINE SALES

Correspondence received from Stephanie Smith, President, BCGEU, requesting the implementation of a six month moratorium on the expansion of grocery store sales of wine and a one kilometre distance rule at the municipal level.

TRANSPORTATION AND ACCOMMODATION SERVICES – MINISTRY OF COMMUNITY, SPORT AND CULTURAL DEVELOPMENT

Correspondence received from Peter Fassbender, Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, regarding the availability and provision of transportation and accommodation services with respect to the sharing economy and the impact on existing services. Written submissions can be emailed to: CSCD.Minister@gov.bc.ca.

TR MUSEUM FOUNDATION – REQUEST FOR FEE WAIVER

Correspondence received from the TR Museum Foundation requesting a fee waiver for Room 5 on June 6, 2016 to host a Spirit of the Peace Museum Network Quarterly meeting and requesting a member of Council to attend at 10:00 am to bring greetings from the community. Council grants the fee waiver request.

NEW BUSINESS

MEDICAL LEAVE

Mayor McPherson will need to take time off from Council duties to take care of medical issues. He will be gone for approximately six months. Councillor Caisley will be taking on the role of Acting Mayor during Mayor McPherson’s absence.

FABULOUS FESTIVALS GRANT – EMPEROR’S CHALLENGE 2016

Council support the Northern Development Initiative Trust “Fabulous Festivals and Events” grant application in the amount of $2,500 for the 2016 Emperor’s Challenge event.

TRAVEL APPROVAL – BC COMMUNITY FOREST AGM 2016

Council authorizes travel, accommodation and registration expenses in the amount of approximately $2,213.26 for Mayor McPherson (or designate) and Councillor Mackay to attend the British Columbia Community Forest Association 2016 Annual General Meeting being held at Lake Cowichan on May 26 – 28, 2016. Councillor Caisley says he thinks Councillor Mackay should be able to handle it himself.

COUNCIL MEETINGS – FREQUENCY

Council moved to cancel the second regular Council meeting in May, June, July, August, September, and October. Mayor says it’s something that can be tried. CAO Jordan Wall says if special meetings need to be called, there’s nothing stopping Council from doing so. Indeed, he says, there will need to be two special meetings next week, as they are still waiting for the tax rates to come down from the Province.

OLDTIMER’S HOCKEY CLUB ICE TIME RENTALS

Council considers an appropriate fee during the policy review being conducted by the Corporate Officer. Councillor Howe recuses himself. CAO Jordan Wall says he’s part of this club as well. He says staff doesn’t need to recuse themselves, but he does point out he has an interest in the matter. The fees and charges are designated by bylaw. Wall says there is a set amount of money in the fee waiver budget so he recommends they just change the fee schedule at the appropriate time.

Statement Of Financial Information 2014

Council receives the 2014 restated SOFI report.

A community group led by Brenda Holmlund brought it to the attention of the District that information provided in the 2014 SOFI report was not correct.

After investigating the inconsistencies pointed out by Holmlund, says the report, it became clear that the reports were not accurate.

These inconsistencies have caused much confusion as to the expenses of Mayor and Council.

When the SOFI was originally constructed, says the report, some of the expenses were not correctly accounted for. “This was due to the staff member usually tasked with constructing the SOFI being away and the data subsequently being pulled from the incorrect source.”

The updated SOFI has changes in the expenses lines of most Councillors as well as then-Mayor Wren being removed from the list of suppliers over $25,000. “The monies listed were, for the most part, Council approved travel expenses which have previously been audited by KPMG.

Mayor Wren’s expenses were listed incorrectly as contractor costs causing much confusion for the public attempting to interpret these documents.”

In addition to the above changes, wages for staff which fell between the 2013-2014 SOFI have been updated (the decrease was due to benefits not being included), and the total wage component of those making under $75,000 has been corrected.

Councillor Krakowka says Mayor McPherson was also a Councillor in 2014; he asks shouldn’t it be broken out into two line items? Wall says it could have been written as mayor/councillor, but the information is correct. Wall thanks Brenda Holmlund for pointing out the discrepancies. Council accepts the SOFI report as amended.

COUNCILLORS’ BUSINESS

Councillor Mackay has nothing to report.

Councillor Krakowka has nothing to report.

Councillor Caisley has nothing to report

Councillor Kirby says the School District will be meeting in town in May, for anyone who wants to go.

Councillor Howe has nothing to report.

Mayor McPherson says he went to Ottawa, and it was a good thing to do. All the naysayers live in Ottawa, and there’s very few people who are for it who are there. They have 90 days to make a decision. While Tumbler Ridge is not in the heart of the patch, it is something that people can do up here. They can go and work on LNG and then come back.