Regular Meeting of Council: November 3, 2014

Trent Ernst, Editor

 

Council Meeting Councillor Mackay (chair), Councillors McPherson, Caisley and Snyder in chambers, Mayor Wren and Councillor Litster via speaker phone.

PETITIONS AND DELEGATIONS

TUMBLER RIDGE CHILDREN’S CENTRE SOCIETY

Raelene Bauman, Executive Director came before council to provide an update on the Tumbler Ridge Children’s Centre activities. She says that out of school care currently has seven kids, about half capacity. Preschool is full. Daycare is currently not being run. “Last year, there were only six kids attending, and none of the kids were returning this year,” says Bauman. “We were hoping to bring it back in September, but nobody enrolled.” She says there’s been lots of interest for preschool, but both programs are full.

Because they’re not getting the kids signed up, they had to lay off a few staff members. They are still on the substitute list, and when demand increases, they will be brought back.

Councillor McPherson asks if the late start to the school year due to the strike affect the Children’s Centre. Bauman says a little bit. “A lot of people found friends and other family to look after their kids,” she says.

Councillor Mackay asks if she expects further reductions? She says no. “There are a few families that are moving, but we should be able to keep going.”

TUMBLER RIDGE CURLING CLUB

The Tumbler Ridge Curling Club to provide an update for Council. They’re down to two nights a week and have had to combine men’s and ladies nights, as it is hard to find volunteers with so much uncertainty says Jenna McQueen. The rinks are being used be school kids in the day, with Grades four to six. In January, the high school will be coming in for a gym program.

Councillor McPherson says he’s curled for a lot of years, and he doesn’t know how to address the downturn.

McQueen says it might be generational. “There’s a gap, but we have a strong junior program, who will become the next generation of curlers.” In the last five years, they’ve gone from thinking about shutting down the Jr program to having 20 or so.

Councillor Mackay asks if they’re down to three sheets? McQueen says yes. Not because of low curler numbers, but because there’s been issues. “Heat on the edge of ice caused a problem,” she says. “But three sheets is working out really well.”

MINISTRY OF JOBS, TOURISM AND SKILLS TRAINING, UPDATE

Carrie Dusterhoft and Tammy Danshin, came to provide Council with an update about what they’re doing in Tumbler Ridge to help with job transitions. But first, they provide an outline of what they do in general. There is an office in Fort St. John, which is for the Peace. Dusterhoft says she works with communities going through major layout scenarios. The guiding document is the BC Jobs plan, and they provide a number of resources, from the Business Investment Toolkit to the Opportunities BC Database to the BC Economic Atlas. They also do webinars on a variety of services. They work with local government to support the communities through the transition process, and ensure impacted workers are supported by facilitating and coordinating services and supports. They monitor impacts on demand for community services, and support and assist the community in developing and implementing economic diversification actions.

In Tumbler Ridge they developed a joint news release in April, shortly after the announcement. They have provided advice and suggestions on how to work with federal government, and helped build awareness within ministries about what is happening in Tumbler Ridge. They are working with impacted workers, and have set up a worker transition group with key stakeholders. They are facilitating and coordinating services and support, and assisting with the job fair and opportunities forum happening in December. They are also monitoring impacts in the community. They have contacted key community service providers on several occasions to assess any impact on services, and are supporting and assisting the community to develop and implement economic diversification actions. They are working with Northern BC Tourism to finalize Tumbler Ridge’s Tourism Plan and working in partnership with the Ministry of Transportation and BC Parks to work on signage to Monkman.

The next steps, she says, is to continue to ensure services and support so impacted workers are able to receive support and training, continue to assess impact of layoffs on service providers and to work with community on key economic programs.

Councillor McPherson says thanks for working with workers on transition. He says that the job fairs are mostly for jobs out of town. “That’s great for the workers but it hurts the community,” he says. “I think you should be pushing for community transitions. Do you make recommendations around things like the wind farms?”

Dusterhoft says they are working with the District and giving advice, and are doing what they can to let the ministries know what’s happening. “We know that the wind farm, for instance, is an issue,” she says. “We try and provide advice, but at the end of the day it is the meetings that the town has with the ministers that will make the difference.”

Councillor McPherson asks if they have any pull in establishing a mining training centre. Again, says Dusterhoft, she can advocate, but the District will drive the change.

Councillor Caisley says her presentation was very complimentary to the sustainability plan. “I don’t know what the future will bring, but thanks for your efforts on our behalf.”

Councillor Mackay asks how the upcoming layoffs at Peace River Coal will affect what they are doing. Dusterhoft says the structure is in place for that.

NATIONAL CHILD DAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2014

Colette Ernst, Success By 6 (Sb6) Coordinator came before Council requesting that they proclaim November 20, 2014 as National Child Day. She says Sb6’s goal is to help inter-organizational communication between groups and volunteers who work with children age 0-6. “National child day is important to our organization and should be to our community,” she says. “It is basically a declaration that all kids have rights. We as a nation, we as a community should recognize that kids have rights.”

Council proclaims November 20 as National Child Day.

TUMBLER RIDGE COMMUNITY FOREST

Duncan McKellar, Tumbler Ridge Community Forest Operations Manager, provides an update on community consultation for the planned wildfire treatment of the forest area adjacent to the Golf Course road. This area was noted as high threat in the 2014 wildfire assessment and is their next target area. This area is on crown land, but within municipal boundaries. He says there is a bit of a screen by deciduous trees which will help mitigate visual impact, but it’s going to be noticeable. The plan is to use similar techniques as the pond block between the high school and Mesa Place. They’re planning on leave aspen and young spruce. Because it is on Crown land, they are obligated to reforest. He’s hoping to use wide spacing between the trees. “When you log an area, you have to replant 1400 to 1600 trees per hectare,” he says. “But the Province is looking at allowing us to reduce the amount of trees in the area. There has already been a small reduction. Right now the legislation is 1200, but I think that’s still high. We will ask to reduce that to 600 to 800. I don’t think it’s a good idea to plant as if were planning on harvesting timber because we are not.”

He says they are still planning on cleaning up the WNMS ski trails. They will be cutting down a thousand or so dead and danger tree.

So far, they have done silviculture layout, they have advertised what they are doing, they have got and incorporated public input, they have found a market for the timber and are presenting final prescription for implementation. “Because this is specialized equipment, we need to find harvest contractor,” says McKellar. “We have to set this up to do in late fall, basically now, or in spring after ski season.”

They have partially redesigned the cut block based on discussions with the Wolverine Nordic and Mountain Society and are treating about 36 ha, taking out most of the pine and blowdown-susceptible spruce.  The plan is to retain as much of the understorey and aspen as possible.

This is the last step in the planning; the next step is just to move forward.

Councillor Caisley asks if the community forest making money? McKellar says the September financials shows $154,000 net profit, with an additional $250,000 as contingency. Councillor Snyder says he is satisfied the process was done, and is glad the WNMS had a say.

Councillor McPherson asks how they’ll get around the deciduous trees that offer the visual screen. McKellar says they’ll punch a road in to get back there from near the driving range. He says there has been talk about building lots in the area, and this wouldn’t be visible from those areas. He says they are trying to keep visuals in mind, and will try and leave as many trees as they can standing.

CORRESPONDENCE

DISTRICT OF TAYLOR – LETTER OF SUPPORT

Correspondence received October 22, 2014 from Fred Jarvis, Mayor of Taylor, expressing support for the District of Tumbler Ridge in requesting assistance from the Province of BC.

DISTRICT OF CHETWYND – LETTER OF SUPPORT

Correspondence received October 23, 2014 from Merlin Nichols, Mayor of the District of Chetwynd, expressing support for the District of Tumbler Ridge in requesting assistance from the Province of BC.

CITY OF DAWSON CREEK – LETTER OF SUPPORT

Correspondence received October 23, 2014 from Merlin Nichols, Mayor of the District of Chetwynd, expressing support for the District of Tumbler Ridge in requesting assistance from the Province of BC.

CITY OF PRINCE GEORGE – LETTER OF SUPPORT

Correspondence received October 31, 2014 from Shari Green, Mayor of the City of Prince George, expressing support for the District of Tumbler Ridge in requesting assistance from the Province of BC.

Councillor Mackay says Mayor Ackerman from Fort St. John  and Mayor Killam from Mackenzie also sent letters. He suggests dealing with all the letters together. He says Mike Bernier’s support of Tumbler Ridge has been tremendous, and should be celebrated. Councillor Caisley suggests sending a note of thanks back to all the people who wrote letters.

TUMBLER RIDGE GRADUATING COMMITTEE OF 2015

Council received correspondence from the TR Graduating Committee requesting support for their Toy Bingo fundraising event being held December 7, 2014. Funds are being raised for the TRSS 2015 Graduation. Councillor Caisley asks what they donated last years. CAO Barry Elliott says he doesn’t know off-hand and will have to confirm.

TEAMSTERS CANADA TV AD ON RAIL SAFETY

Correspondence received from Teamsters Canada regarding safety in the rail industry.

DISTRICT OF TUMBLER RIDGE – FOOD DRIVE

Correspondence received October 31, 2014 from Shirley Durand, Coordinator, Family Assistance Program requesting Council permission for the Family Assistance Program to conduct the Food Drive and suggested dates of November 29 and December 6, 2014. Councillor McPherson asks if this will be like it used to be? Councillor Snyder suggests that December 6 would be the best date, though Councillor Mackay notes this will be after the new council is sworn in.

TUMBLER RIDGE RIDGE RIDERS SNOWMOBILE ASSOCIATION  – LETTER OF SUPPORT FOR GRANT

Correspondence received October 28, 2014 from TR Ridge Riders Snowmobile Association requesting a letter of support from Council for the Association’s grant application to the Peace River Regional District.

Councillor McPherson says Council should send this letter. “They’ve done some really good things in the last couple years.” Councillor Snyder agrees. Councillor Caisley asks for the specifics of the grant, but that is not known.

BYLAWS

BYLAW NO. 622 – FIRE SERVICES AMENDMENT

The District of Tumbler Ridge Fire Services Bylaw No. 573 is required to be amended in order to authorize the Tumbler Ridge Fire Department to respond outside of the Fire Protection Area for road and medical rescue. Council gave first, second and third reading to the bylaw. Councillor McPherson asked how this will affect insurance. Elliott says that the fire chief would be the best person to talk to the issue, and will be asked to attend the next P&P meeting.

NEW BUSINESS

MEETING WITH PROVINCIAL MINISTERS

Mayor Wren was down in Victoria to discuss the Made in Tumbler Ridge plan for economic recovery with a variety of ministers. See story next issue.

TUMBLER RIDGE ELEMENTARY & SECONDARY SCHOOL REMEMBRANCE DAY CEREMONY

Council is invited by Blaine Broderick, Principal, Tumbler Ridge Secondary School to attend a joint Remembrance Day Ceremony being held at 11:00 am on Monday, November 10, 2014.

REQUEST – CANADIAN ROYAL LEGION BRANCH 286 REMEMBRANCE DAY CEREMONY – NOVEMBER 10, 2014

Council approved the request from the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 286 to authorize the Community Centre Staff to transport tables and chairs to and from TRSS for the November 11, 2014 Remembrance Day Service.

INVESTMENT POLICY T.R. 41

Council adopted Investment Policy T.R. 41.

INSURANCE RFP 2014

Council approved the awarding of the five year insurance services contract for the District of Tumbler Ridge to AON Reed Stenhouse. Councillor McPherson asked why there is such a spread between the proposals. This is normal, says CAO Barry Elliott.

Councillor Snyder doesn’t understand the point scoring system used. “To me it seems the amount of difference between the number one proponent and the last one is quite a bit.” Elliott says if council wants to look at the actual proposals, they will need to move into a closed meeting, as There is privileged info in the proposals. Councillor Snyder says he would like this, but Councillor McPherson says he trusts staff. Councillor Caisley calls the motion, which passes. Councillor Snyder opposed.

COUNCILLORS’ BUSINESS

Councillor Snyder attended Rocky Horror night and Halloween bonfire.

Councillor Caisley attended the most recent PRRD meeting, as well as the Halloween bonfire.

Councillor McPherson says he lost his Rocky Horror Picture Show virginity. He took his wife out for Halloween supper to the bonfire. He mentions this, as it just about didn’t happen. The RCMP didn’t put it on, and he is not sure why they didn’t participate. “I’d hate to see it stop,” he says. He also attended Northeast resource communities coalition, where there was a presentation on fracking. He attended a Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers meeting, where they discussed the need to train locals and retain locals. They discussed industries with social license, where the companies help with housing purchases, etc. Energy Services BC is asking for support from resource communities, he says. “I asked them why they never came to TR. They said ‘we don’t do coal.’ I said ‘we don’t really do that anymore either, but we do have oil and gas.’”

He attended a meeting with the Ministry of Transportation. He noticed that they didn’t have Tumbler Ridge on the map. They were embarrassed.  He discussed Highway 52 with them, and how the paving never got completed. They said they would look into it. And, of course, he talked to them about Kinuseo. In a good news story, he says, there are lights going in along the bypass for joggers.

Finally, he says, there are a couple Councillors that have gone above and beyond the call of duty. “Councillor Mackay is acting mayor, and has had to it in a lot of extra work. This is one of the most productive councils I’ve been involved in. Also kudos to Councillor Caisley for his work on sustainability plan and AldrichPears.”

Councillor Litster has a request of administration. On October 18, she says, she was at the golf course, and noticed someone squatting there. CAO Elliott says he’d have to take a look at the bylaws to see what the bylaws say, but, says Councillor Mackay, that probably was Graham’s trailer, which is no longer there. She also asked what the District has spent on consultants in the last year. Elliott says he will have to get back to her on that.

Mayor Wren says that most of his news was in his earlier report, but does have a couple notes. He had two separate meetings with Federico Velasquez from Anglo American and asked him about corporate sponsorship for the Visitor Information Centre. “He was very positive on the idea.”

He also talked to Velasquez about need of ongoing banking in Tumbler Ridge. Anglo is committed to doing whatever it takes to get stable banking in Tumbler Ridge. He also had a meeting with chairman Yan of HD, and talked about donations around the visitor info centre. “They said they would look at what level they could come in at,” he says. “We also talked around issue of banking.” He met with Canadian Dehua and talked about some of the permitting issues they are having, and finally, he met with Brookfield. “On another note, I’d like to thank councillor Mackay for stepping up and doing a whole bunch of extra work while I’ve been out of town,” he says. “I’d like to thank the council for all the work they have been doing, and I’d like to thank Jordan for all the work he’s been doing.”

Councillor Mackay says bit by bit everything that he had to say has been picked off, so has nothing separate to report.