Regular Meeting of Council: September 16

Trent Ernst, Editor

 

Councillors Caisley (chair), Leggett, Snyder and McPherson

PETITIONS AND DELEGATIONS

Financial audit report

A representative from KPMP Chartered Accountants came before council to present the Financial Statements. See story elsewhere.

BC ASSESSMENT – PROPERTY VALUATIONS

Jarret Krantz, Deputy Assessor, BC Assessment, came before council to discuss Assessed property valuations, particularly with reference to Tumbler Ridge, as council has concerns over proper property values, according to councillor Caisley. Krantz spends a lot of time explaining the basics of BC Assessment.

The most important take-aways for Tumbler Ridge are: closure allowances for mines and/or mills that have been shut down only applies to mines that have been idled for three years or which has officially made the decision to permanently close. If they were to get assessment relief, the property would be valued at ten percent of the cost, which would mean the District would only be able to tax at that value, too. However, all the mines in the area have said they are in care and maintenance, so it would be a minimum of another two years before the District took any hit in taxation. “The key is that it needs to be a permanent closure,” says Krantz.

He says the way it works is assessments are based on the property’s market value as of July 1 the previous year. This summer, the average price of sales on houses in Tumbler Ridge dropped to under $200,000, which is the lowest it has been in a number of years. Councillor McPherson asked is by the time people will be paying taxes on the assessed value , they will be paying too much, as the values are dropping. Krantz says he understands, but says it goes both ways. “If things change and you go through a boom, you are paying on the previous assessed value, and paying less taxes.”

Councillor Leggett asks what if there are no sales because the sales price would be too low. Krantz says assessment values follow the market. “If there’s no sales we don’t change assessed value. But taxing is determined by taxing authority.”

TECK CORPORATION VIC DONATION

Ray Proulx came to advise Council of a $10,000 donation that Teck Corporation is making for the new Visitor Information Centre. While he was there, he took the time to update council on what is happening. “Not a lot has changed,” he says. “The property is in care and maintenance. There are ten to twelve folk there now, by end of year will be down to six, which is where it will stand until prices improve.”

In other news, he says, they just received the last of the regulatory approvals needed to start the mine up, so once the decision is made to start back up, it will be 12 to 18 months to get up and running.

Teck has done the bulk sample, and has sent out some of the coal to test, but they are looking at ways to send out larger samples to customers.

CORRESPONDENCE

SUCCESS BY 6 AND CHILDREN FIRST

Council approved Councillor Mackay as Council liaison to the Success By 6 and Children First organization.

TUMBLER RIDGE GOLF ORGANIZATION – ANNUAL CLUB CHAMPIONSHIP – SEPTEMBER 21- 22, 2014

Council discussed a donation to The Tumbler Ridge Golf Organization for their Annual Club Championship being held September 21–22, 2014. Councillor Snyder says we couldn’t do anything at pnp meeting, so need to do something now. Snyder moves that council donates a jacket. Amended to up to six (one per category). Approved.

BYLAWS

ILES WAY BYLAW NO. 620

This item was removed from agenda, as the District has not completed process appropriate to their own policy. Specifically, information about the change wasn’t circulated to property owners, and so the item has been removed until provisions of policy can be met.

NEW BUSINESS

WAPITI RIVER MINE – RESOLUTION OF SUPPORT

Council recognizes that heavy haul trucks on Highway 52 would pose a significant risk to users and would result in a severe deterioration of roads; THAT Council recognizes that the proposed extension of the railway and power lines would have minimal environmental impact and benefit for regional economic development; and THAT Council supports Dehua efforts to facilitate approval for a proposed railway and power lines extension for their Wapiti River mine project from the BC Ministry of Energy and Mines, Ministry of Forest Land and Natural Resource Operation, Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, BC Environmental Assessment Office, the First Nations and BC Hydro.

ALASKA HIGHWAY COMMUNITY SOCIETY – REPRESENTATION

Council authorized Jordan Wall, EDO, to be the District’s representative / voting member of the Alaska Highway Community Society.

DISTRICT OF TUMBLER RIDGE – WEBSITE DOMAIN NAME CHANGE

Council authorized TumblerRidge.ca become the domain name of Tumbler Ridge’s tourism website. Staff will create a communication plan to properly notify residents of this switch.

 TRAVEL APPROVAL

Council authorized travel costs for Councillor Mackay to travel to Calgary on September 11 & 12, 2014 on District business pertaining to the Visitors Information Centre. Councillor Snyder asks why this is after the fact. CAO Elliott says that it was a last minute opportunity to go and speak to a number of people.

Financial Statements

Motion to accept 2013 audited financial statements. Passed.

COUNCILLORS’ BUSINESS

Councillor Leggett attended fire truck pull. Was on fire team. Not as many teams as last year, but last year had a lot of mine rescue teams.

Councillor McPherson attended mayors coalition in fort St. John. I really think the coalition will be good for the communities in the northeast. “They said I was better looking and had a lot more sense than Mayor Wren,” he jokes.

He also says the river is as low as it will ever get. If we are going to do something about that boat launch, it is now. CAO Barry Elliot says they finally got approval yesterday. They are gearing up right now.

He mentions that the community forest has been working along road to Bergeron Falls. They have had a lot of trucks up there and it’s getting rough. He says the community forest should be responsible for grading that road.

Councillor Caisley has been attending the recent diversification meetings held by the Community Development Institute. He says there was real good dialogue and comments. Open house coming up.

Councillor Snyder attended the healthy community event on September 6. On September 8, he attended Mayor’s task force meeting. September 10 was a winter carnival meeting and the next day he attended CDI workshop. September 13 was at fire truck pull. He says the town struggled to get three teams. However, he says that Chetwynd, with seven teams, raised about 1000, but Tumbler Ridge, with only our thee teams, raised 1600. He had to leave before the volunteer appreciation BBQ.

Question and Answer

Cheryl Hayden questioned Council’s approving travel expenses after the fact and thinks it should always be before.