Special Meeting of Council: July 22, 2015

Trent Ernst, Editor


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



Randyn Seibold came before Council. He’s a private consultant for the wind industry. He is currently up working on the Meikle project. He noticed a meteorological mast on the ridge here, and thought it was the communities. He doesn’t know whose it is, but is curious about the data it may hold. He says Tumbler Ridge is right in the heart of BC Wind patch, and he wants to act as a consultant for the District, as well as investigate options for the District to invest in Wind Power. He mentions the Cowessess First Nations, who have created one of North America’s first modern wind storage system, something he can see working here. The project uses wind power plus battery storage.

He says BC Hydro’s Micro-Standing Offer Project, launching in September of this year, for projects up to 1 MW.

He says a project like this can bring in $208,000/year.

He points at the Federation of Canadian Municipality’s Green Municipal Fund, offering up to 50 percent funding for feasibility study for efficiency upgrades.

He says Endurance Wind Power is a company out of Surrey that hasn’t sold a turbine in BC. This could be an opportunity for the District, which is better positioned to take advantage of this than most municipalities.

Mayor McPherson asks why not just buy the batteries and charge them from the grid.

That is an option, says Seibold, but then the District would not be taking this free source of power and turning it into power. There would be no revenue stream.

Mayor McPherson says he’s not sure about the battery technology. Even earlier today, he says, he was talking to people who say a decent battery is still ten years off.

Seibold says that battery technology has dramatically increased in the last two years. There’s already a couple good ones on the market. He knows it’s early years, but he doubts that it will be ten years.

Mayor says this is something Council is interested in, because we’re at the end of the grid. “We have power outages all the time.”


Jim Cullen, President off the local Legion Branch, came to talk to Council about the development of a Veteran’s Memorial Park.

He says the Legion applied for a grant through Veterans affair, and got it, but it was only about half what they were looking for.

The Legion is asking for help from Council to help by providing labour for construction of the park. “The money we have would cover the hard costs,” he says. “The balance is the labour.”

The grant, he says, was for just over $8000, and is short about $6600.

Councillor Mackay says they were behind it when it was proposed; now, he says, Council needs to determine if they are behind it financially.

Councillor Scott says the project has three years to be finished. She is wondering if it could be discussed at the next P&P?

Cullen says the project is not time sensitive, but it is weather dependent, and they are hoping to have it done this year.

Councillor Krakowka asks if administration has seen the plan, just to make sure everything is good to go. Elliott says they will review the plan and have the information ready for the next meeting.

Councillor Mackay asks about the benches. Beale says the benches would fall under the bylaw.

Mayor asks if Council should be worried about the construction of the bench, or just the funding. Elliott says administration will review it and get back for the next meeting. Mayor says they’ll have an answer for Cullen by next meeting.

Councillor Howe arrives.



Premier Christy Clark extending a congratulatory to Mayor McPherson in relation to the development of sustainability initiatives in Tumbler Ridge


Councillors Scott and Kirby recuse themselves, as they are on the TR Days Society.

The Grizfest Committee sent a letter requesting the release of remaining 2015 funds prior to the Grizfest weekend.

Councillor Krakowka asks if it is not normally just sent out. Elliott says that under the policy it is paid out quarterly. What they are asking for is payment in advance. He says if Council does decide to authorize this, language needs to be put into the motion to say they still need to make quarterly reports. Councillor Krakowka says he thought the whole point of the Fee For Service (FFS) policy was to alleviate them coming before Council every time. Elliott says they are deviating from the policy, which is why it’s coming before Council.

Councillor Mackay asks if the financials so far are in order. Leggett says they haven’t received an updated financial report since they last appeared.

Elliott says they are going to have the event, and then do an end-of-event report, and at that point you’ll make the decision if you want to fund them in the future. At most the risk is providing them finances for this year. But it’s a group of respected community members (including two Council members), so he doesn’t think it is risky.

Councillor Mackay says he’s struggling with the fact that they haven’t met the rules of the policy. Is there something that can be done before the next meeting to meet the requirements of the policy.

Mayor says we can deviate from the policy, if we receive the paperwork. Councillor Mackay makes a motion saying that they receive the money, upon receipt of the financial information. Passed.


Dan Jepsen, Chairman/CEO of the C3 Alliance Corporation, invited a pair of representatives of Council to each of three resource sector breakfasts being held in conjunction with the September UBCM Annual Convention. Mayor says he wants to see TR at all three breakfasts, and the people whose portfolio these are, as well as the mayor, should attend. Councillor Mackay agrees.

Councillor Scott moves that the mayor and the Councillors whose portfolio the meetings fall under should attend. Passed.


Bob Gammer, Manager Community Relations for BC Hydro sent a letter inviting Council to meet with a senior Manager of BC Hydro in Vancouver during the time of the September UBCM Annual Convention. Mayor says that anyone interested can attend. Councillor Mackay asks if this is an opportunity to discuss the Fair Share Agreement? Elliott says it’s a different agreement than the Hydro agreement, but that would be a good topic of discussion.



Council gave final reading to the 2015 Tax Rates Amendment. As mentioned previously, nothing substantive has changed with the tax rates bylaw, they just need to reformat the information.



Back in March, Council approved issuing a RFP for the purchase of a new ladder truck for the Fire Department. The estimate was that the truck would cost in the $1 million range. Four companies responded to the RFP; the lowest estimate came in at $839,600, while the highest was $1,190,500.

Fire Chief Matt Treit recommends that the District chose the Safetek bid, at a proposed cost of $839,600. Treit says this is a very basic truck, and recommends a handful of upgrades, which would increase the cost by about $106,000. Adding in a contingency fund of about $10,000, the total cost for the new ladder truck should not exceed $975,000. Elliott says this will come before Council again to discuss options for funding, either purchasing outright or funding across five years. Councillor Caisley says he has some concern considering the current financial situation. He also wonders if there is any issues around quality, as the only details are price related. Chief Treit says all the proposals were from respected companies. He says they all have equal reputations, and would be happy with any of them, so chose lowest bid.

Councillor Caisley says he’d prefer to review this in a year’s time.

Councillor Kirby asks if current fire truck has repairs done to it. No, says Treit. He has been avoiding spending the money to repair the old truck if they are getting a new truck.

Councillor Krakowka asks if the other bids needed the same upgrades. Treit says there were some adjustments to prices. For example, one manufacturer offers a 500 hp engine instead of a 450 hp engine. But the upgrades would be needed for all of them.

Krakowka asks what Fort St. John and Dawson Creek use. Fort St. John uses Safetek; not sure about Dawson Creek.

Councillor Howe asks if it will fit in the building. Yes, says Treit. Howe asks if we approve this tonight that when it arrives, it will be ready to go out and fight fire. “Don’t need to put radios in, boosters, hoses…anything like that.” Treit says nothing more is needed.

Councillor Kirby asks if repairs were done on the existing fire truck, would it last for an extra year or two. Treit says he was hoping to not put the repairs in, if the truck was going to be retired in a year. Current truck is 28 years, 20 to 25 years is the average lifespan. After 25 years, Fire Underwriters decrease the value of the truck by 10 percent each year over 25 years.

Approved. Councillor Caisley and Kirby against.


Council passed a motion to enter into a three year Fee for Service funding contract with TR Cares/Shelter Services in the amounts of $30,000 in 2015, $30,600 in 2016 and $31,200 in 2017. Councillor Caisley opposes.


Council agreed to enter into a three year Fee for Service funding contract with TR Hospice and Respite Care Society in the amounts of $20,400 in 2015, $20,400 in 2016 and $20,400 in 2017. Councillor Caisley opposes.


The Tumbler Ridge Chamber of Commerce asks for approval for road closures for the Grizfest parade and provide labour and resources to close streets August 1 for parade, as well as the Shop Easy lane for the pancake breakfast. Approved.


Jordan Wall, Economic Development Officer has written a report for Council outlining challenges encountered in relation to the Job Creation Program (JCP) grant.

Wall says the program application is fairly straightforward when simply inserting someone into an already established organization. “However, it becomes very complicated when something new is created,” says Wall. “This is the case with the JCP application that the Tumbler Ridge Chamber of Commerce has submitted for campground and accessibility improvements to the Moose Lake and Quality Lake recreational sites. In order to fulfill the grant application requirements detailed knowledge of the following is required: specific equipment needed and their associated costs, training needed along with its associated costs and schedule, construction methods, construction schedule, and insurance requirements. The Chamber of Commerce has put over 170 hours of work into their application and has still not received final approval.”

Wall says the Provincial Government, through their Transition Team, has identified this grant as one of the strongest options for Provincial support to Tumbler Ridge during our economic slowdown. “However many small and rural communities do not have the needed expertise or institutional capacity to carry out these grant applications. In my research on this program I have been informed that most communities in our situation give up on their applications as they are unable to meet the requirements. In my conversations with SDSI staff they have repeatedly asked why Tumbler Ridge and other Northern BC communities are not taking advantage of their program.

He recommends that Council directs staff to draft a letter to Minister Stilwell of the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation outlining the town’s difficulties accessing their Job Creation Program and create changes to the program, which will allow Tumbler Ridge to more easily access funds.

Councillor Howe asks if  Wall has an assistant yet. Wall says not yet, but that wouldn’t help for this. “You’d need someone who would be able to plan a project like this.”

Councillor Krakowka says because they’ve put $45,000 of taxpayers money behind this to top up. Elliott says that’s not the point of this request. The issue is that the process is onerous, and we want to get it changed. Scott and Krakowka oppose.


An RFP process was undertaken for the Public Works Wash Bay project when this project was first approved in the Capital Budget in 2013.

However, says Ken Klikach, the five bid offerings received at that time were all over $600,000 dollars, exceeding the $319,000 budget for this project. “As a result,” he says, “the project did not proceed at that time.”

Following approval of this project by Council in the 2015 Capital Budget, the project was streamlined to include an insulated concrete wall structure complete with steel cladding inside and out, an in-floor hot water heating system and insulated doors, says Klikach. “Given the reduction in scope from that of the 2013 project, the RFP process was not re-initiated. Instead, I approached Chetridge Developments Ltd. (Chetridge) to provide a quote for the construction of this Wash Bay.”

Chetridge, says Klikach, is the only contractor located in Tumbler Ridge with the experience and ability to build a 20 foot high ICF concrete structure. “The quotation provided by Chetridge for this project totaled $189,500, which is below the $200,000 threshold established for external bidding under the provisions of the New West Partnership Trade Agreement. Therefore, there is no obligation for the District to advertise or seek submissions from throughout British Columbia, Alberta or Saskatchewan.”

However, he says, the quotation received does exceed the $50,000 threshold established in the District’s Purchasing Policy. “The current provisions of the District’s Purchasing Policy requires all transactions greater than $50,000 to be undertaken through a formal tender process. Given the above, and recognizing that Chetridge is the only qualified local contractor who can undertake this project, I respectfully request that Council waives the tendering requirement of the District’s Purchasing Policy in this instance, and that Council awards the completion of this project to Chetridge.”

Council waives the tendering provisions in relation to the completion of the Public Works Wash Bay project, and awarded the completion of the Public Works Wash Bay project to Chetridge Developments Ltd. in the quotation amount of $189,500.

Councillor Caisley says the information appears to be contradictory. “Why wouldn’t we put it out to an RFP?”

Elliott says staff has concerns with the current purchasing policy. “The $50,000 threshold is incredibly low. We know with the New West parameters, anything above $250,000 needs to go to an RFP, so those provisions don’t apply. The only thing that applies is the District Purchasing policy.”

Caisley asks if this sets a precedent. Elliott says no. Caisley asks if the Purchasing Policy is going to be under review. Elliott says the first draft has already appeared before Council.

Howe asks about the presumption that Chetridge is the only contractor in town. “I’ve heard from at least two contractors who say they didn’t see the RFP; I can’t support this at all. It should go out to an RFP. Give every one an opportunity to bid on it. It doesn’t make any sense to me why this wouldn’t go out to an RFP.”

Councillor Scott says she agrees. She also wants to see guarantees on the work on this.

Klikach says this isn’t something that you could do without experience, and Chetridge is the only company with experience.

Councillor Mackay asks how many contractors in Tumbler Ridge have the appropriate documentation to do this work. Klikach says most contractors don’t have liability insurance or workman’’s comp or a GST number. “We can’t work with these people. We have to work with people who have their documentation. Mackay says he wants to see this set a precedent; he doesn’t want people from other towns to come in and take work from locals.

Howe says it may be an exercise in futility to go out for an RFP, but I want to go through that exercise so everyone gets a fair chance to bid on this job.

Councillor Mackay says all that we’re doing is opening this up for outside companies to come and take it away from locals.

Howe says if there’s the chance of getting a $200,000 job, some people with the experience, but not the paperwork might want to go out and get their GST number. Chetridge might get this, but it’s worth doing the process.

Motion defeated.

Resolution to put out to RFP. Passed.


Barry Elliot submitted a report to Council regarding construction of the new Visitor Information Centre and related financial matters. He recommends that Council authorizes additional funds in the amount of $97,056 for the completion of all recommended expenditures reported above in relation to the Visitor Information Centre project, with the funds to be made available from the Council Initiatives account.

Total cost $2,153,000, $600,000 more than original estimate, says Councillor Caisley. It bothers me to be this far out. I can recall specifically asking if this would be a turnkey operation and the answer was yes.

Mayor McPherson says discussing overages might be better at a P&P meeting; today they should deal with the issue of the cost.

Caisley says he’s just curious about the $200,000 or so that are not a part of what’s been approved.

Elliott says if Council is not comfortable with $97,000, the minimum to wrap up the process is $18,000.

Caisley says I don’t have a problem with that. Whatever we need to do to make this a first class show, I’m in favour of.

Councillor Scott says she’s in favour of the minimum.

Councillor Mackay says lets get this thing done. Howe says there are issues outstanding, but let’s get it done.

Motion to approve the full amount. Approved.


Council accepted the Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation Five-Year Master Plan as submitted, and authorized administration to release the remaining installments of approved 2015 Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation Fee for Service Contract funds in a manner consistent with District policy.

Mayor McPherson says he’s seen a huge increase in the outreach by the museum. The Geopark opening event was excellent, their visitor numbers are up, and they have a plan. It’s my feeling that we are working pretty well with the museum. This is the best I’ve seen it, and I’d like to see this thing finished off.

Councillor Krakowka ask if the remaining installment is quarterly or all at once? Elliott says quarterly, and requiring financial statements.

Councillor Howe says this has been a really contentious issue. This is what people voted me in for, to review this stuff and look it over and make the best decision for Tumbler Ridge. I’ve gone through this and reviewed it in-depth, and I agree with the report. This is our flagship and the number one destination in Tumbler Ridge. Having people go out to Kinuseo Falls doesn’t get people to stay in town. This does. However, I want to see them explore alternative funding, such as industry and partnerships with universities. Another important point they’ve left me with is that they are trying to not rely on the District of Tumbler Ridge. I think it is important to keep working with them to lobby the BC Provincial Government to get this declared a provincial repository and get sustainable funding. But I will vote for this.

Councillor Mackay says he agrees. It would be nice to see the province finally come to the table.


Councillor Krakowka says he has a bunch of questions. He asks about the signs down at the Transfer station. Doug Beale says traffic control has been in the plan for quite some time, along with the re-management of the transfer area. There is a sign there instructing people to report to operator, but nobody ever does. The reason for the traffic change is to help guide patrons up to the operator.

Krakowka asks about cardboard only bins with the move down to the transfer stations. Beale says those are commercial bins. MMBC is not required to collect commercial cardboard. We are, but we are losing 25 percent on that because it is not controlled. Beale says the intention is not to try and get people to bring stuff down to the transfer station forever. The goal is to get curbside; we just have to get through this stage first.

Other question is about baling. Didn’t we used to bale our plastic? Why are we selling the baler? Beale says this is the old baler. We were losing money baling the plastic, so I made the decision when I came on to do away with baling milk jugs.

Krakowka says he’s heard from students and teachers that the fish farm at the school is in jeopardy next year; he recommends that they contact SD 59 to find out what can be done to keep the program going.

He asks about the Geopark Murals. Wall says there are a number of buildings they don’t have permission to do murals on. Now they are working with private businesses, so it’s not something that will come before council as it is private enterprise. The arts council has asked for a Councillor, I believe Councillor Kirby, to help make decisions.

Elliott says they have to conform to the OCP and Urban Design guidelines, which they have copies of.

He asks if the District can set up on the Grizfest ground to promote the trails, the town. Elliott says they want to have a booth set up, absolutely. They are hoping that some Council members can man the booth.

Councillor Scott has heard some residents are concerned about big units coming into the VIC parking lot. She says they’re worried about people trying to get in there and not being able to get out. She was at town hall meeting. It was very informal, but some people would prefer something more formal. Has heard some complaints about old paved trails getting rough; there’s a lot of moms with strollers and kids with bikes. Road to Kinuseo is becoming impassable. It isn’t just the gravel, but the chip seal. Some people are complaining that Monkman RV was unfairly awarded.

Councillor Mackay just got back into town a few days ago. Attended meeting with Natural Forces about plans, but it’s very preliminary.

Councillor Caisley has nothing to report.

Councillor Kirby heard the same as Councillor Scott regarding the town hall meeting. Attended a lot of events, including Geopark inauguration and Canada Day. Attended Geopark meeting last night. Finalizing job description. Heard that fire pits would be nice at Monkman RV, as well as WiFi. Talked with April Moi from Northern BC Tourism; she said biggest reason people travel is wildlife viewing.

Councillor Howe asks why the recycling bins are being removed from downtown. Beale says it is a requirement of MMBC that we have a manned depot. There is going to be some growing pains, and I suspect there will be a reduction in the amount of recycling.

He says what’s the difference?

Beale says there’s an issue with contamination. That’s different than co-mingling. A manned station allows for education as well.

Howe says there’s been a lot of complaints. Beale says he hasn’t heard from anyone. He has no trouble discussing any issue people have, but he hasn’t had one call.

He asks about the blue window at the VIC. Is there a timeline on that? Not yet.

He has heard the same complaints about the town hall meeting.

Keeps hearing about HD Mining. Is there anything going to happen on that? Mayor McPherson says some things are happening. SeaCans are being moved, they are working on cleanup of the site.

Mayor McPherson says most of the stuff he wanted to talk about has been addressed. One thing that hasn’t been touched on is the Under 18 World Hockey Tournament happening. He won a trophy for fastest draw at the Pioneer Village Opening.