Regular Meeting of Council: Tuesday, Oct 21

Trent Ernst, Editor


Present Councillors Mackay (chair), McPherson, Caisley, Snyder and, via speaker phone, Councillor Litster and Mayor Wren.


Tumbler Ridge Forever Young Society Age Friendly Grant

Meet Marie Jones, says Ellen Sager from the Forever Young Society, showing a picture of Jones on the Power Point presentation. She just turned 86, has two new knees and walks everywhere. It is for her and people like her, says Sager, that the Forever Young Society is pursuing an Age Friendly Grant.

Sager says the District must apply for Age Friendly grant, as the society cannot. The society is requesting $19,644.64. Sager says preference given to communities not given before, and Tumbler Ridge has got the grant in the past.

The emphasis of the proposal, she says, accessibility. There is no bus service in town, and there is a need for services to transport people. The Forever Young Society’s mission, at least in part, is to promote an age-friendly community. They have an age-friendly community coordinator, who liaises with all levels of government. That job is split between two people.

The application has a number of different requests. The first is to develop an in-town transportation service. The second is to get more benches downtown and along the main walking routes. It would also involve having someone liaise with businesses to help make them age friendly. For instance, a seat inside Shop Easy so people can take their cleats off in winter.

Northern Health needs work, she says, as the front door is sticky and the automatic door is at the back. This is not very friendly.  They are also budgeting time and finances for a traffic study in the downtown core, to determine possible changes, like 15 minute parking, crosswalks, etc.

In other news, says Sager, the Forever Young Society has identified a number of safety issues, which have been taken care of promptly. “Mr. Beale is very responsive to these issues,” she says.

Councillor McPherson asks if the grant doesn’t come through, are there alternatives. Councillor Caisley asks if they are looking for is a motion relative to our support? Sager says not support, as the District needs to apply for the grant, so it would be a motion to apply for grant. Councillor Caisley moves that council apply for the grant.



Children’s Centre

Councillor Snyder says that the Tumbler Ridge Children’s Centre Society (TRCCS) is looking for one of five uses. Don’t normally have objections, but concerned that Day Care is only open for after school care. Councillor McPherson says the It’s a good thing, and he is in support of it. Councillor Snyder asks how many more uses does the District have of the conference centre? Aleen Torraville says just the one, and, as far as she knows, this is the only request for it.

Councillor Snyder says he would agree to go with the proposed motion with an attachment that they come in and give us a status report. He then makes that as a motion: “I’d like to recommend we grant them the free use for the small business Christmas Party, and request they come before council with a report.”

Councillor McPherson says he has a problem with asking them to come in as part of the motion. “All we have to do is pass the motion, then request they come in at a later date. I’d like to amend that so that it is not a part of the motion.” This fails, and the original motion passes.

City of Dawson Creek Geopark Congratulations

Mayor Dale Bumstead sent a letter to council congratulating Tumbler Ridge on our acceptance into the Global Geopark Network. Councillor McPherson says Tumbler Ridge has the Geopark now, and Dawson Creek has Mile Zero. “We should sit down with their council and chat. They have a big tourism base, and Geopark is new concept.” He says that the two, marketed together, might convince people to stay in the area. Councillor Mackay says one of the hardest things is to get tourists off main highway and do this little swoop from Chetwynd, through Tumbler. He suggests discussing it at the next P&P meeting.

Royal Canadian Legion

Councillor McPherson motions that November 1 to November 11 be declared Veterans week. Council also moved to close the streets between the Tumbler Ridge Legion and Tumbler Ridge Secondary School  for Remembrance  Day. Passes.


Permissive Tax Exemption Bylaw

Council gave final reading to the Permissive Tax Exemption bylaw.

New Business

Memorial Bench Policy

Council adopted the new Memorial Bench Policy, though not without discussion. Councillor Caisley asked who would be responsible for maintenance and upkeep, or even replacement due to vandalism. Aleen Torraville, who prepared the report says there was some consideration given to the idea of vandalism, but the benches will be made from polished concrete and will be very durable and low maintenance. Councillor Caisley says it sounds like someone would literally have to blow them up to destroy them. Torraville says yes. What about graffiti, he asks? Torraville says that the District is purchasing benches and placing them on District property, so District should be responsible. Councillor Snyder points out the Lions had concrete benches down by the skate park and they were destroyed, so don’t underestimate a determined vandal. He suggests that replacement be the District’s responsibility, and asks if it needs to be a part of the bylaw. Councillor McPherson says he has a problem with the idea that vandals dictate what we do. “If someone runs over one with a car, we’ll deal with that then. I think this is a good policy as is.” He moves to adopt policy.

Travel Approval

A report suggesting that Mayor Wren, Councillor Mackay and Councillor McPherson be sent down to a series of meetings with Provincial Cabinet Ministers sparks a great deal of debate. There is a large audience, so Councillor McPherson gives the history of the plan. He says that Council went down to UBCM, but decided that there wouldn’t be enough time to get across the troubles facing Tumbler Ridge and the possible solutions to the Ministers in a 15 minute meeting. So, instead, they used their time with the Ministers to say representatives were coming down at the end of the month to bring a made in Tumbler Ridge plan to get back on our feet. He says there are already six meetings with Ministers lined up for next week. “It is to me the most important thing Council has done since the last slow-down,” he says. “They are aware that they have to do something in Tumbler. We’ve set out plans to cover all that we could come up with. Nothing could come of it, or lots could come of it. I think it’s very important that we do this.”

Councillor Caisley says he likes the plan, but is uncomfortable with is the amount of people who are planning on going down. “If we are going to authorize going down to meet, it should be our mayor and CAO. Anybody else going down is unnecessary and unwarranted.” Councillor Snyder agrees. “Mayor and CAO. What bothers me is that the decision has been made that these three are going down; when was that decision made?”

Councillor McPherson says no decision has yet been made. “That’s what we’re deciding now. I agree, there’s too many, and I should be the one to not go. Mayor Wren and Councillor Mackay have been the ones spearheading all the discussions beforehand. I would actually recommend that Jordan also go, because he’s been the one to pull this all together.” He says a couple members of Council met with Blair Lekstrom to talk about HD Mining, and the topic turned to the planned meeting. According to McPherson, Lekstrom suggested three elected and one staff, but two Councillors and one staff would work, too.

Councillor Litster says she hasn’t been involved in any of these discussions, and agrees with Councillor Snyder; it should be Mayor and CAO. Councillor Caisley says if we were going down to meet with the staff, that’d be a different story. But since they’re talking to the minister, the District should be sending the top people: The Mayor and the CAO. “I don’t want to lose focus on that as a starting point. We should spend time discussing this as a Council, but we’re not going to be able to do that tonight. I suggested to his worship that we should have some kind of meeting prior to his going to discuss what’s going to be said. But I want the Mayor doing the talking on my behalf, and not the EDO. Nothing against the EDO, but he’s not the Mayor.”

Councillor McPherson says the plan was to discuss this at this meeting. “If there is any overload on this, it’s me.” Councillor Caisley says it should be Mayor and CAO, and not the Economic Development Officer and not any Councillors. Councillor Snyder agrees. “There’s only going to be one person talking on our behalf, and that’s the mayor. And because the CAO is the top administrator, he should go. Other people are just baggage.”

Councillor McPherson makes a motion that travel expenses for Mayor Wren and Barry Elliott be authorized, and Councillor Caisley calls the question. The motion carries.

Council Meeting Request to Change Date

The next Council Meeting is scheduled for November 4, which is the day the Chamber has scheduled the all candidates forum, so the meeting date for the next meeting is changed to November 3 instead.

Recommendation to Approve travel for NEBC Meeting on Oct 22

Council approved travel costs for travel to the NEBC Meeting.

Councillors’ Business

Councillor Snyder attended the non-profit meeting held by the Chamber on October 9. It was well attended, and lots of good discussion happened. He attended the Ridge Ramble on October 11. On October 16, he was at both the open house for the Sustainability Plan and the Banff Mountain Film Festival. On October 20 he went to the Pumpkin Patch Party, which he says was the best it’s ever been. “They sold every pumpkin, and everyone had a great time.”

Councillor Caisley also attended the sustainability plan open house. “It was very well attended. Some very good, informative discussion and lots and lots of comments.” He expects the final report to be before council by end of October or early November. “It will be nice to have it finished by end of term, and it will be a good starting point for new council.”

Councillor McPherson attended the green energy forum. Minister Bennett was there to make a speech. “It sounds like Site C is a done deal, but we have to keep fighting for our wind power,” he says. He suggests a letter to the head of BC Hydro. “We haven’t been getting a whole bunch of success with the ministers. We’ve never really tried BC Hydro, though.” He says Site C doesn’t really matters to Tumbler Ridge a whole lot, other than how it affects the wind power. He says that he was involved in a discussion with Dehua, and it sounds like they’re talking to one of the colleges on Vancouver Island re: training. “We asked why they would want to do that, and they felt that Northern Lights wasn’t interested. We talked to Northern Lights and they are interested.” He hopes that the two groups can start to talk around this, especially now that NLC is focusing even more on industry training.

Councillor Mackay was at the Green Energy conference, too. “We met with manager from Brookfield. They’re ready to go, but some of the announcements made by BC Hydro are counterproductive to Tumbler Ridge’s interest,” he says. A wind power project is something that could put people to work, but right now that’s on hold. He also talked to the folks from Boralex, who are developing project at Moose Lake. “These guys all say the same thing. All these layoffs are a good thing for them. They can hire locally.” He says the smaller projects are going ahead, but the larger ones are still waiting.

He met with president of Canadian Dehua, who have the largest met coal deposit in the world. “They’re looking at a minimum of 600–650 employees,” he says. “One of the things they require is 42 km of rail line and hydro.” He says Dehua is not asking for money to do this, just help in dealing with the Government. “The option of trucking is not an option,” he says, as the demand per day would be 470 loaded trucks. “There’s no way that road could withstand that traffic.”

He attended meetings in Calgary with Enbridge and Trans Canada to solicit funds for Visitor Information Centre.

He says that one of the people at last meeting requested that we start using mics in council, and asks that staff look into that.

Councillor Litster says her councillor duties are coming to an end, as far as my committee, and she just need to wrap up with her team on the building healthy community event.

Questions and Answers

Marcel Brodeur asks about space at meeting centre for candidate’s open house, but tonight there was discussion of space open at Conference Centre. Councillor McPherson says the Open house is a private thing that Rose College set up, and then extended the invitation to other candidates. Aleen Torraville says the District has to keep an arm’s length. “By providing a free use, we would be contravening that,” she says, but it is available if the candidates wish to book the room.

Bev Fourner says she brought up the mic thing six years ago. Councillor Mackay says this is the first he has heard about it, which is why he brought it up.

Darryl Krakowka asked about the travel to Vancouver, as he didn’t see it approved at previous meetings or this meeting. Councillor McPherson says that was done under the Economic Development budget.

Kees van DeBurgt asked why Mayor Wren, Councillor Mackay and Councillor McPherson’s names came up as the people who were going to Vancouver if it was up for discussion at this meeting. “Obviously the rest of council didn’t know. Why are these three names there when the other three don’t know about it?”

Aleen Torraville says the Mayor gave her direction.

Krakowka goes back to his original question, asking why the difference regarding travel this time. “You’re going down there to talk tourism, why isn’t it under the EDO budget like last time?”

Councillor Mackay says it’s not just about tourism. There are all kinds of asks. Wind power is a big one.

Krakowka: “Is it fair to say that it went under the EDO budget so it didn’t have to get approved?”

Councillor McPherson says no. “We discussed it at UBCM. I think councillor Caisley had a good point, but we planned on doing it, and we made that decision then.”

Councillor Litster disagrees. She says the discussions at UBCM was about “who was going to make presentation at each UBCM presentation to minister. We never discussed who was going to Vancouver to make the full discussion.” McPherson says “I think we did, but I guess I have no proof.”