Trent Ernst, Editor
Present: Mayor McPherson,, Councillors Howe, Krakowka, Kirby, Scott, Caisley, Mackay
PETITIONS AND DELEGATIONS
NORTHERN GATEWAY PROJECT UPDATE
Donny van Dyk, Northern Gateway Pipelines, appeared before Council to provide an update on the Northern Gateway Project.
Currently Canada’s only market for heavy crude is the US, said Dyk. The Northern Gateway was designed to tap into alternate markets. Is it still viable with the troubles the oil and gas industry has been experiencing? It’s even more viable, he says. By getting crude oil to new markets, producers can get more.
The project is nearly 1200 km long crude oil dual pipeline from near Edmonton to Kitimat. He says safety is the company’s number one concern. They would use the thickest steel of any pipeline, 24/7 monitoring. Well in excess of requirements. The project has been approved, subject to 209 requirements. They are currently still working through these conditions.
In the Tumbler Ridge area, says Dyk, they have a planned pump station just outside the District boundary. They are still working through details, and would like to work with the District. “For instance, do you want workers staying in town or in work camp?”
Currently, there is no definite start date. They are working with First Nations, and want a few more partnerships in place before setting a date. Earliest start would be the end of 2016. 2017 more likely.
Councillor Howe asks about Murray River crossing. Dyk says that’s yet to be determined. “If there’s something that the community wants to see, now is the time to have this conversation.” Howe says Kinuseo Falls is one of the tourist staples of our community. “Going underneath an oil pipeline wouldn’t help.” He asks if a road will be left in place between Tumbler Ridge pump station and Bear Lake pump station on the other side of the mountains as an alternate route to Prince George. Dyk isn’t sure about that, either.
Councillor Scott asks how long and how many people will be employed. Dyk says they have set aside three years for construction, though the pipeline through the Tumbler Ridge area won’t take that long. Less than two, but more than one. The company estimates 3500 jobs in BC.
Councillor Krakowka says looking at where the pump station will be, it’s right outside the town’s boundary. Dyk says placement was done without consideration of political boundaries, but these are things that can be discussed.
Councillor Mackay asks about access to jobs for people in Tumbler Ridge. Dyk says the company is working to train individuals across Northern BC for jobs they see being needed during the construction phase. They hope is to find local people, and are “quite committed to hiring locals and working to facilitating that,” but he says he can’t say these jobs will only be for people from Tumbler Ridge.
Councillor Caisley asks about a potential job fair in Tumbler Ridge? Dyk says it is something they are interested in. “It’s in our best interest if there’s a large pool of skilled labour to work with that.”
Caisley asks about First Nation relations, specifically in our area. “We’ve currently signed equity deals with 26 aboriginal communities,” says Dyk. “Our agreements let the First Nations decide when and where they become publicly known. It is up to them to self-disclose.”
Councillor Howe asks about the power line out to the pump station. “It’s up for debate whether power out there would be a good thing or a bad thing,” he says, “but will others be able to tap into that?” Dyk can’t answer that, as it is still in the works. He adds that to the list of concerns from Tumbler Ridge.
TR CHAMBER OF COMMERCE – FUNDING REQUEST
The TR Chamber of Commerce is submitting a grant application for a Job Creation Program and is requesting that Council provide funding in the amount of $43.097.04 which represents the applicant’s portion of funding. Roxanne Gulick introduces members of the board. Noticeably missing, she says, is Leesa Barbon, who was an integral part of this community and made it a better place.
Presents visitor info stats. “We were opened over the winter, mostly snowmobilers looking for info, but lots of emails as well. Staying open then gave us an opportunity to update brochures, and work on things like that,” she says. All the people who work there are excited about the new VIC.
Other things the Chamber has been working on is an inter-agency group in January so we are working together and not overlapping. They prepared a business list for industrial projects, had AGM, hosted multicultural event and are working on a Trade Show for fall.
The reason for this appearance before council is around a Job Creation Program Grant. The Chamber submitted a letter of intent, which was approved. “The bottom line is it would employ 16 people, who would be local,” she says. The purpose of the grant would be to improve local sites, including a picnic shelter at Moose Lake, in conjunction with Tim Bennett over at Rec Sites and Trails and Borea, and a trail and camping area at Quality Lake, in conjunction with Rec Sites and trails and ATV club.
“This grant would cover $15/hour per person, but we’re asking council to cover the additional $5/hour, which is where the $43,097 comes from,” says Gulick.
Councillor Kirby says the Chamber is doing a lot of good, and thinks this grant is a good thing. “I don’t have a problem backing this. It would probably come out of Council Initiatives.”
Councillor Mackay asks about visitor stats. “Where are they coming from?”
Over winter, says Gulick mostly from BC. Recently, they’ve changed the visitor form to track if people are coming from Fort St. John, Prince George, Grande Prairie. She says a lot of people coming out from Alberta, too.
Last week there were a lot of mushroom pickers in the area.
Councillor Krakowka says he’s concerned about topping up wages when people are working at minimum wage. Gulick says for the type of work that has to be done, they need people who are experienced, and the job is not going to be under ideal conditions, so they want to pay more.
Councillor Caisley asks what the total project cost is? Gulick says the costs are going to be a little higher than expected, as they have to provide safety equipment, training for new skills. “We said $190,000, but it will probably be closer to $250,000. The province will be paying for that portion.”
He asks about the funds they are asking for from Council. “Is that based solely on what you’re receiving?” Gulick says it’s just the top-up for the wages. And if you don’t get the additional funding, will you come back to Council, asks Caisley? “No, if we don’t get the funding, the project probably won’t go,” says Gulick.
Councillor Kirby asks if this is the only project the Chamber will be applying for? Right now, says Gulick, yes, but if there’s a hole the chamber can help fill, or a need that can be identified, they might do that, too.
Councillor Scott asks when will they know if the project is approved? Gulick says the sooner we can get it in the better. “We hope to have the application in on Monday and are aiming for a 17 week project starting on June 15.”
Kirby asks if Council does make the recommendation to provide this, how will they distribute this money? Gulick says that’s a bit of a gray area. “We’ve been talking to JCP about how they pay the people. They’re getting back to me on that, as they haven’t had a lot of these projects that have this top-up.”
“They don’t normally do the top up?” asks Councillor Krakowka. Gulick says they do, it’s just been a while since they’ve done these projects.
The mayor asks if they need to have a decision before you make your submission on Monday? No, says Gulick.
Larry White, Cathy Lively and Joanne Liebelt to make a presentation to Council. “We come before you, as there is a motion on the agenda to make a one year term, because that makes it tough for us to operate,” says White. “We’ve been there for five years. We’ve never asked for money. But we need a long-term lease to be able to do what we want to do. If there’s a problem, we are here to answer any questions.”
Krakowka asks about composting and the school. Lively says the school comes up and learns about composting. In spring, they plant flowers, in fall, they come and harvest. “There are some kids that don’t have any idea that a carrot comes from the ground,” she says. This helps them get in touch with their food source. The daycare has a garden. Kris White has gone into the school and given talks and given kids seeds. The garden has a partnership with museum, too. “People go up there and take pictures at grad and for weddings.
Krakowka says he appreciates the group showing up, because it’s great being able to get these questions answered.
Councillor Mackay says listening to the description of what happens at the Community Garden shows that it’s a model Community Garden. It’s centrally located, well-kept, there was an issue with composting, he says, but it’s already been taken care of. Fits like a glove with the museum. “Thanks for coming in and giving that side of the story.”
White says that the location is important. Back when the garden started, there was a lot of research done to find the right location, and this was the only one that had access to water and full sunlight from morning to night. As an added bonus, the museum has video surveillance that covers the area. “If you plant a tree, it takes years for it to reach maturity. It would be terrible if we would have to move. We’re asking for something more than a one year lease. We need more of a sense of permanence.”
Mayor McPherson: says there’s a lot of work that’s been done in that place.
Councillor Howe says that a lot of the discussion came from comments that he made. He wants to point out that some of the concerns he raised were things raised by people he has talked to. “No one at any time said we don’t want it in Tumbler Ridge,” he says. “It’s just that there’s some concerns that need to be addressed. One of the original ideas of moving the Community Gardens was the idea that they’ve logged areas around town and it might be beneficial to find a place that suits you better? If the Community Garden is already full, would it be better to find someplace better?”
Howe says some of the points raised by residents around the garden were rats in the area, increase of squirrels, stink from outhouse and lots of ravens in the playground. He asks if the Community Garden goes and talks to the neighbours.
White says he is in the area more than anyone, and this is the first he has heard of these complaints. He has never seen a rat. He says the society consultations before it was put up there, and he has heard nothing negative.
Howe asks him if there is any desire to move. White says no. “I don’t think there’s any plan to expand, either. There’s enough work there for the volunteers right now. The trees that have been planted have been there five years. There has been so many donations, and to move would be to throw out all that money, all that work.”
Lively says she lives a few houses away from the Community Garden and she has never had any issues or heard any complaints.
Councillor Scott says one of the possible reasons for more animals is the displacement of animals as the forests have been cut down. “I went on a tour of the Community Gardens and was really impressed by it. I would like to see a longer term lease. This is not something that needs to come before council on an annual basis.”
Councillor Mackay says if there is anyone with concerns on Council, it’s their job to bring it forward. If it spurns debate like this, that’s a good thing. He is in favour of a multi-year lease.
Councillor Kirby agrees that having the discussion is a good thing. “I appreciate what it brings to the school, the outdoor classroom. I’d support a longer term on that, too.”
Howe says the biggest issue he has personally is people who park on the road instead of the parking lot. Because it is close to a crosswalk and a park, he worries about kids crossing the road. White says there’s also been some concerns raised from the museum about people using their parking lot.
MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT DAY, WEDNESDAY, JUNE 10, 2015
The City of Grande Prairie sent a letter, inviting the District of Tumbler Ridge to participate in celebrating Municipal Government Day on Wednesday, June 10, 2015.
JUNIOR CANADIAN RANGERS
The Canadian Junior Rangers sent a thank you to the District for allowing the use of the Willow Hall since May 2014. Councillor Krakowka says hats off to them for sending this letter.
AGLG ANNUAL SERVICE PLAN FOR 2015/2016 – 2017/2018
The Auditor General for Local Government is advising that the annual service plan for the period 2015/2016 – 2017/2018 has been released on their website: www.aglg.ca
2015 ASSET MANAGEMENT PLANNING PROGRAMME GRANT APPROVAL AND TERMS & CONDITIONS
The Union of BC Municipalities sent a letter advising Council that approval has been granted for $10,000 for the District’s Asset Management Stage 2 project.
LIONS CLUB FLATBED CAMPGROUND OPERATING AGREEMENT RENEWAL
Council moved to renew the Flatbed Campground Operating Agreement with the Lions Club for a three-year term beginning May 20, 2015 and expiring on December 31, 2018, with the Lions Club retains 100% of all revenues collected.
Councillor Krakowka says he’s more in favour of an 80-20 split, and he’s speaking as a Lion.
Councillor Scott is in agreement with that. She wants to see some consistency.
Councillor Mackay doesn’t have an objection.
Mayor McPherson agrees.
Council defeats the motion. New motion to split 80-20. Passes
TR COMMUNITY GARDEN & COMPOSTING SOCIETY LEASE RENEWAL
The District of Tumbler Ridge enters into a lease agreement with the TR Community Garden & Composting Society for the operation of a Community Garden for a term of three years, beginning May 20, 2015, with option to renew another three years. Councillor Howe says it’s good that they’ve had the discussion.
Councillor Kirby says she has no trouble with making this permanent. Councillor Mackay agrees. He likes the fact that it gives a sense of permanence.
Councillor Howe asks if there’s an opportunity to build a purpose-built building for the museum, and the District comes back in possession of the school, if there an option to sell it back to the school district?
Aleen Torraville says, probably not.
Howe says he’s worried that if that were to happen, then what would happen to the Community Garden?
Mayor says he talked with Mister Elliott and he recommended against the permanent solution for the same reasons. He likes the three-year deal, because it gives them a reason to come back and talk about it.
Motion passes, Councillor Mackay opposes.
TR PUBLIC LIBRARY ASSOCIATION – BOARD APPOINTMENT
Council approved the appointment of Roxanne Gulick to the Tumbler Ridge Public Library Association.
DISTRICT OF TUMBLER RIDGE – PURCHASING POLICY
Chris Leggett says the policy needs to be guided by the Northwest Partnership and Trade Agreement. Agreement between BC, AB and SK, in 2010. He says the goal of the document was to create more level and fair trade across provinces, and ensures that companies could bid fairly on projects across borders. “Because municipalities get direction from province, our purchasing agreement has to mirror the NPTA, or else we could be subject to a $100,000 fine.”
Leggett says there’s currently a line in the current purchasing policy that if we go out to RFP, we can favour local if it is within ten percent of nearest bid. That’s in violation of NWPTA. There are guidelines in the NWPTA. You don’t have to put something out for an RFP is it’s less than $75,000 for services and goods and $200,000 for construction. “If we are considering a particular course of action in excess of these amounts, we have to put it out for open bid,” he says.
Mayor McPherson asks if the District has to take the lowest price. “We can take any bid we want, can’t we?”
Leggett says yes, while the policy has to reflect this, “it doesn’t completely tie our hands. We can draft deliverables that make it more difficult for people outside the community. Or, if contract falls under that threshold, we can do whatever we like. We can direct award under that threshold.”
Leggett says it’s not the nicest bit of legislation to be working with. It was put into place for places like Vancouver not wanting to overpay for new bridges, not some small town with one plumber.
Councillor Caisley says he wants to table this discussion. He’s not sure what we can do and what we can’t do. “It seems to me we shouldn’t have a policy that doesn’t articulate fully what we can and cannot do, and we don’t have that yet.” In terms of the RFPs, I don’t know how we decide when we issue RFPs or not. I’m not sure that everyone in Tumbler Ridge has a fair shake at it. What do we do relative to conflict of interest if there is a member of council who has a small business. In terms of elected member of council, they have to be concerned about conflict of interest.
MINERALS NORTH TRAVEL EXPENSES
$1500 for Councillor Mackay to attend Minerals North.
Councillor Mackay says it’s been pretty quiet the last couple of weeks. He asks if the Regional District is commenting on proposed purchase of Ridley.
Councillor Caisley has nothing to report, but asks why the microphones aren’t working.
Councillor Scott attended NCLGA. Plugs the dance happening on Friday.
Councillor Kirby also attended NCLGA. Talked chicken bylaw with Dawson Creek councillors. Helped at race track cleanup. Accomplished a tonne of stuff. “We could do a lot of things just by people stepping up,” she says. She touched base with Charles Helm around the walking tour. She wants to see it gets done sooner rather than later. She went on a tour of the Community Garden.
Councillor Howe says Capital Power is surveying their land right now. Sounds like it might have to do with their taxes and the amount they pay. They do what they can to utilize Tumbler Ridge companies. Wants to know if we can get an update from Borea on how they are doing and if there’s anything Council can do to help. Capital power is willing to donate a windmill blade for downtown walking tours. Concern about Grizzly Bears down around the golf course. Asks about bear trap. Does RCMP put it up? No, conservation does that, says Elliott, though RCMP is dispatched first. He says the greens keeper is busy down at golf course. Wonders if we can hire an unemployed local rather than a student? He had someone from gun club ask about how they get money that the District granted? They’ll receive a cheque, says Torraville. He thanks all who participated in the cleanup of the racetrack.
Councillor Krakowka also thanks people who helped, especially Tim Croston who organized it. He agrees with Councillor Kirby about the walking tour. He says there were three kids and three adults who were chased by a grizzly down by the trackway. Wondering where staff is in regard to parking bylaw.
He attended library meeting and Success by 6 meeting. Had two people show up to Healthy Communities meeting. He asks about power outage last week, and is wondering if it was planned?
Mayor McPherson was at NCLGA, and was at the cleanup. He says Petronas just signed agreement with government re: LNG, which will be good for region.