Thursday, February 23, 2017

"We Actually Want to Hear From You!"

Courtesy of the City of Quesnel - Weekly Column by Quesnel Mayor Bob Simpson

One of the criticisms of Council’s re-branding effort was that we didn’t consult with people before launching a new brand and marketing strategy for our community. The short response to this accusation is: we did consult, extensively.

The claim that Council doesn’t consult is a common refrain we hear (or read on Facebook) from people who are either caught by surprise by something we do or who disagree with actions taken by Council. For example, despite a year of advance warning, two town halls, and a direct mailer to impacted households, there were still people living in West Quesnel who did not know why, all of a sudden, so many streets on the west side of the city were torn up last spring.

While Council is deliberating, and before we vote on any new initiative or bylaw that will have a significant impact on residents or represents a major change in policy, City staff will seek advice from potentially affected parties and Council will hold either formal public hearings or informal public information sessions. Notice for these hearings and town hall sessions, as well as other consultation processes, gets posted on social media, the City’s website, the newspaper, and, quite often, is sent directly to those potentially impacted by the proposed change via direct mail and/or email.

Yet, in general, the only times we get significant numbers of people turning up at public engagement events is when they are angry – often as a result of a misunderstanding of either the process or the intent of the specific matter Council is consulting on. One example is when Council initially proposed to regulate the use of shipping containers in residential and designated commercial areas in the City. A significant number of upset people showed up at the public hearing for this proposed bylaw, most of whom, it quickly became clear, would not have been impacted by the restrictions on shipping containers that were being proposed by Council.

When Council explored a proposed land swap in Southills in an attempt to achieve a number of long expressed community goals, Dragon Lake School was packed with concerned residents. Council listened to the concerns of the majority of these residents and did not proceed with the land trade. Yet, when a subsequent public consultation session was held to discuss the development of the long promised “Southills Park” only eight people from that neighborhood showed up to provide input into this process.Creating and maintaining a vibrant, resilient community is not a simple process, even at the best of times. With the need to move quickly on a number of fronts to ensure we maintain our resiliency during this transition period, Council truly needs your input and advice. Not in anger or frustration, or based on a flawed understanding of what Council is trying to do, but as an engaged citizen who wants to help your elected leaders make informed and sometimes difficult choices.We make every effort to hear from you on all matters that are important to our community; I hope you’ll take the time to engage in these public processes when they are afforded to you.

Please visit the City’s website, “like” our Facebook Page, and sign up for email notices (we will be launching a new website in April) so you can stay abreast of any upcoming opportunities to engage with Council in shaping our community’s future.

Facebook/Twitter: @cityofquesnel

Bob Simpson is the Mayor of Quesnel and can be reached via email at

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

CC Joint Committee Highlights - Feb 22nd meeting

Present from Cariboo RD: Co-Chair J. Sorley and Directors S. Forseth/B. Kemp

Present from City of WL: Councillors S. Nelson, J. Ryll, C. Smith and S. Zacharias

Meeting chaired by Director J. Sorley and called to order at 5:13pm.  The Chair recognized that the meeting was taking place on traditional Shuswap Territory.  

Meeting Agenda approved/Mins of the Joint Committee meeting held on Wednesday, Jan 25th adopted


George Atamanenko, from the Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin Society, appeared before the Committee to address the requested increase to the Museum's Fee for Service contract

A Question/Answer period ensued

The Chair, on behalf of the Committee, thanked Mr. Atamanenko for his time/information


1) Williams Lake Youth Soccer Association - Proposal for the Development of a New Multi-Purpose Indoor Field Sport Facility

The Committee had before it a letter/proposal to the City of Williams Lake from the Williams Lake Youth Soccer Association in regards to a proposed Multi-Purpose Indoor Field Sport Facility
Discussion ensued thereon

Resolved - Letter received and that the Williams Lake Youth Soccer Association be advised that the Joint Committee support the project in principle

2) City of Williams Lake - Request from Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin Society

The Committee had before it a letter from the City of Williams Lake in regards to a request from the Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin Society to increase their Fee for Service contract
Discussion ensued thereon

Resolved - Letter received and that the CRD Grant Writer be requested to work with the Museum of the Cariboo-Chilcotin Society in pursuing grants

3) Williams Lake Blue Fins Swim Club - Aid During Pool Closure

The Committee had before it an email from Rhonda McCreight, Williams Lake Blue Fins Swim Club President,dated January 30, 2017, regarding aid to the swim club during the temporary pool closure
Discussion ensued thereon

Resolved - Email received and that applicable policy be waived and that $5,000 from the Central Cariboo Recreation Budget be authorized to partly reimburse the Blue Fins Swim Club for the extended shutdown of the Sam Ketcham Pool during the Sam Ketcham Pool Upgrade Project

4) Sam Ketcham Pool Upgrade Project - Monthly Status Reports for January 2017

The Committee had before it a report of the CRD's Manager of Community Services (D. Campbell)
Discussion ensued thereon

Resolved - Report received

Councillor C. Smith declared a conflict of interest on the next item and left the meeting at 6:50pm

5) Action Page

Discussion ensued thereon

Resolved - Action Page received

Councillor C. Smith returned to the meeting at 6:52pm

Meeting adjourned at 6:52pm

Quesnel Council Highlights - Feb 22nd meeting

Courtesy of the City of Quesnel:

Business Improvement Associations
The City’s three Business Improvement Associations – Quesnel Downtown/West Quesnel/South Quesnel – all presented their 2016/2017 annual budgets and yearly highlights to Council, as per the requirements of the Business Improvement Area bylaws.  The City collects a tax levy from businesses in each Business Improvement Area and then disburses the tax levy to each of the Business Improvement Associations for community events, improvements and strategic initiatives that contribute to the vibrancy of the business areas.

2018 BC Firefighter Games Update
The Barlow Creek Volunteer Firefighter Department appeared as a delegation to the January 31, 2017 Regular Council meeting to advise Council that they would like to host the 2018 BC Firefighter Games in Quesnel, and more specifically, at LeBourdais Park on July 6 – 8, 2018.  Staff advised, and Council approved, that LeBourdais Park, is indeed, the best location for this event due to its central location, the need for a stage and this event will not impact the public’s use of the LeBourdais Park playground or spray park during this event.

Correlieu Secondary School – Graduation Parade Route
Due to construction of the West Fraser Centre project, Arena 1 will not be available for the promenade portion of the Correlieu Secondary School graduation ceremonies.  In light of this, the 2017 Correlieu Secondary School Graduating Class is thinking of having a parade on Saturday, June 24, 2017.  This proposed parade would proceed through a 12 block downtown route that will not impede Highway 97 traffic flow or high traffic business areas in the downtown core.  Council approved the temporary road closures necessary should this parade proceed.

Safe Rental Housing Bylaw and Policy for Existing Secondary Suites
Council approved staff to move forward with preparing a Safe Rental Housing Bylaw that would set minimum standards for health and safety of rental residential units such as:  water and sanitation; heat; light; egress; and security.  As well, Council approved staff to prepare a draft policy where the City would authorize a suite following an approved visual inspection of the suite, and if approved, the suite is then considered “authorized”, but not “legalized”, subject to applicable zoning.  This proposed bylaw and policy will assist with addressing the basic fundamental livability standards that relate to health, safety or protection of persons and property in existing illegal suites that are already located in the City.  Next steps are for these two documents to come back to Council for consideration and, once approved by Council, public consultation.  These initiatives are a result of the Council’s 2017 Strategic Plan.

Lewis Drive Rink
With the Lewis Drive rink already in need of repair, Council approve a grant application that will not only repair the rink, but add additional uses of this public facility.  Council approved the submission of grant applications that, if successful, would see the rink surface be more useable throughout the year for such activities as basketball, lacrosse, and roller derby in the spring, summer and fall and winter hockey and skating.  This project is valued at $89,460 and would be funded through $30,000 from the Northern Development Initiative Trust, $30,000 from the Pine Beetle Recovery Account and $29,460 from the City of Quesnel.

Gook Road Sewer Extension - Proposed Parcel Tax Bylaw
Council gave the first three bylaw readings for the proposed Good Road Sewer Extension Parcel Tax bylaw that would charge $2,250 per parcel part of the Gook Road sewer extension project.  This bylaw authorizes the creation of the parcel tax to collect the required funds from City residents within the Gook Road Sewer Extension area (Cariboo Regional District resident(s) parcel tax will be charged the same as City residents, but be collected through the Cariboo Regional District).  A parcel tax review panel will be held on March 15, 2017 at 1:30 p.m. at City Hall/Council Chambers for those who have been affected and would like to dispute this new parcel tax.

Reid Street Rebuild
Council heard a debriefing of the February 15, 2017 public meeting regarding the planned rebuild of Reid Street that was attended by approximately 40 property owners and retailers from the vicinity of the 200 to 400 blocks of Reid Street.  The start of public consultation to the general public and general community engagement of this project is set for March 29, 2017, at the Quesnel Seniors’ Centre, from noon to 9:00 pm where two sessions will be held:  one from 3-5 pm and one from 7-9 pm.  These public sessions will discuss future traffic flows, streetscape design, accessibility considerations and parking configurations.  Construction is scheduled to take place April – October, 2018.

Next Regular Meetings:  7 pm on February 28th and March 7th

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

WL Council Highlights - Feb 21st

Present: Mayor W. Cobb; Councillors S. Nelson, J. Ryll, C. Smith and S. Zacharias

Meeting called to order at 6pm.  Mayor Cobb recognized that the meeting was taking place on traditional Shuswap Territory.  

Agenda approved/Mins of the Feb 7th Council meeting adopted


1)Lieutenant Bill Sheridan, Canadian Forces appeared before Council regarding 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge and Commemorative Parade

A Question/Answer period ensued

Mayor Cobb, on behalf of Council, thanked Lt. B. Sheridan for his time/information

Resolved - Council approved the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge Parade on Sunday, April 9, 2017 with street closures from 12:30 PM to 3:00 PM and agreed to proclaim the week of April 6 to 12, 2017 as "Vimy Ridge Memorial Week" in the City of Williams Lake and finally Council authorized the raising of the Union Jack and poppy campaign flags on the City's flagpole during this week, to be flown at half-mast

2) George Atamanenko, Accessibility Advisory Committee Chair appeared before Council to present the Committee's 2016 Annual Report

A Question/Answer period ensued

Mayor Cobb, on behalf of Council, thanked Mr. Atamanenko for his time/information

Resolved - Council authorized a budget of up to $4,000 plus Staff time to the Accessibility Advisory Committee (AAC) for the 3-Dimensional Partnership Project, presentation and grant application; and a letter of support to the AAC and its three partners for the Rick Hansen Foundation grant application be also approved


1) Council received for information the accounts payable computer cheque listings for the periods ending February 9 and 16, 2017

2) Council endorsed a Central Cariboo/City of Williams Lake Joint Committee recommendation as follows:

That a Committee be struck to prepare a bid to host the 2018 NCLGA Convention and AGM, consisting of the following members:

Director Joan Sorley (CRD)& Councillor Laurie Walters (City)
Emily Epp, Manager of Communications (CRD)& an appropriate City Staff Member

3) Council approved the following, with all costs to come from the 2017 Economic Development Budget:

a) the placement of a full page ad in the BC Arts and Culture 2-year guide at a cost of up to $2,650;
b) earmarking up to $2,500 to participate in the BC Ale Trail and $1,875 to participate in the Northern Woods and Waterway Highway Guide, as part of a Community Consortium application to Destination BC in the Fall of 2017; and

c) $5,000 allotment of the Economic Development budget for emerging tourism marketing initiatives and new product development opportunities

4) Council agreed to give 1st Reading to Zoning Amendment Application - Bylaw No. 2257 - Trevor & Jo-el Pitre (105 to 107 Paxton Road) and that a Public Hearing be scheduled upon submission of a report from a code consultant who has inspected each dwelling unit to identify and address health and safety issues concerning Fire and Building Codes, including spatial separation

5) Council accepted the offer to purchase a 1067 m2 portion of Oliver Street boulevard by Oliver Street Investments Ltd. for the appraised market value of $49,000 plus all development costs, including survey and land title registration, and subject to approval of the proposed rezoning, development permit and property consolidation, gave 1st, 2nd, 3rd Readings to Williams Lake Road Closure and Removal of Highway Dedication Bylaw No. 2261, 2017, Staff were directed to issue notice of the proposed road closure to adjacent property owners, and Bylaw No. 2261 be forwarded to Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure for approval

6) After receiving no public input -- Council approved Development Permit No. 01-2017 (715 Oliver St)

7) Council approved the use of City equipment for the purpose of hauling dirt into the arena for the 2017 Williams Lake Indoor Rodeo, and the use of a loader to remove the earth post-event, in conjunction with Municipal Services volunteer labour

8) Council endorsed two Committee of the Whole recommendations as follows:

a) The poll of Council authorizing Councillor Walters' to attend the Rural Healthcare Summit on February 22, 2017 in Ottawa, Ontario be ratified

b) Council receive for information the correspondence dated December 20, 2016 from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and the correspondence dated December 2, 2016 from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations concerning a proposed River Valley Transportation Plan.

9) Council gave approval for the annual 2017 Graduation Parade to take place on Saturday, June 10, 2017 between 5:00 PM and 7:30 PM

10) Council received/approved the Minutes of the Central Cariboo / City of Williams Lake Joint Committee Meeting held January 25, 2017

11) Council received a letter from the Cariboo Regional District regarding the appointment of a regional representative on the NCLGA Board to represent the Cariboo Regional District

12) Council gave approval for the 2017 Street Party to take place on Saturday, July 1, 2017 from 12:00 PM to 9:00 PM

13) Council received the 'Council Information Package' as of Feb 21st as follows:

• February 7, 2017 - UNESCO re Call for Applications for CCMARD Advisory Committee;
• February 9, 2017 - CRD Board Highlights

Members of Council reported out on their recent activities

Media Question Period -- Mayor Cobb responded to media inquiries (Hiring of CFO)

Meeting recessed at 6:50pm

Public Hearing for Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 2258, 2017 (715 Oliver St) held from 7-7:03pm

Meeting resumed at 7:03pm

14) Following a Public Hearing - Council gave 3rd Reading to Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 2258, 2017 (715 Oliver St) and directed Staff to forward the Bylaw to the Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure (MOTI) for approval, and adoption of the bylaw be held in abeyance pending receipt of MOTI approval, completion of consolidation of the properties, and issuance of the Certificate of Compliance by the Ministry of Environment.

Meeting adjourned at 7:06pm

Monday, February 20, 2017

South Cariboo Joint Committee meets tonight!

At 5pm tonight in 100 Mile Council Chambers (385 Birch Avenue) - the South Cariboo Joint Committee whose membership is that of all members of the District of 100 Mile House Council and the Cariboo RD Area G, H and L Directors, will be meeting.  On the Committee's Agenda:

* Delegation: Josh Dickerson, Canlan Ice Sports Corporation re: 2016 Year-End Report for the South Cariboo Recreation Centre

* West Fraser - 100 Mile TSA Timber Supply Review Request Language for Support
* Canada 150 Celebration Event
* New Sign for South Cariboo Recreation Centre
* Current Debt for South Cariboo Recreation Centre

View the full Agenda here

Friday, February 17, 2017

Local Gov't Mtgs - Wk of Feb 20-24

The following local governments of the Cariboo-Chilcotin are meeting next week, as follows:

Quesnel - Public Safety/Policing Standing Committee Meeting on Tuesday, Feb 21st at 8:30am in Quesnel Council Chambers (2nd Floor - 410 Kinchant St).  On the Agenda:

* Review Policing Documents (Auditor General for Local Government - Policing Services Performance Assessment/Municipal Policing Agreement for Quesnel)
* Discuss Draft Terms of Reference
* Standardized Agenda Items
* Public Engagement

View the full Agenda here

Then, the Regular Council Meeting on Tuesday, Feb 21st at 7pm in Quesnel Council Chambers.  On the Agenda:

* Delegations (3) -- West Quesnel/Quesnel Downtown/South Quesnel Business Improvement Area Associations re: 2017 Budget Presentation

* CRD Board Meeting Report
* Reconsideration of Business License Fees
* 2018 BC Firefighter Games
* 2017 Correlieu Secondary School Graduation Parade
* Safe Rental Housing Bylaw and Policy for Existing Secondary Suites
* Northern Development Initiative Trust Grant Application - Lewis Drive Rink
* Parcel Tax Bylaw
* Update on Reid St. Project Technical Briefing on February 15, 2017
* Request from Councillor R. Paull: ICBC News Release - New Windshield Repair Program in Response to Customer Feedback

View the full Agenda here

Williams Lake - Regular Council Meeting on Tuesday, Feb 21st at 6pm in WL Council Chambers (450 Mart St).  On the Agenda:

* Delegations (2): Lieutenant Bill Sheridan, Canadian Forces - Cadets Canada re 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge and Commemorative Parade & George Atamanenko, Accessibility Advisory Committee Chair re 2016 AAC Annual Report

* Tourism Marketing
* Zoning Amendment Application - Paxton Rd (South Lakeside)
* Land Disposition & Road Closure Bylaw - 715 Oliver St
* Development Permit No. 01-2017 -- 715 Oliver St
* Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 2258 (Public Hearing/3rd Reading)
* Williams Lake Indoor Rodeo Association - Request to Utilize City Equipment for the Annual Rodeo
* Request from the WL Central Business Improvement Area re: Street Party 2017

View the full Agenda here

Then at 7pm - a Public Hearing will be held with respect to Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 2258 (715 Oliver St - old Lake City Ford property). View the full Agenda here

Cariboo Regional District - Central Cariboo Joint Committee on Wednesday, Feb 22nd at 5pm in the Cariboo Regional District Boardroom (180D North 3rd Avenue, Williams Lake).  On the Agenda:

* Delegation: George Atamanenko, Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin Society re: requested increase to the Museum's Fee for Service contract

* Williams Lake Youth Soccer Association - Proposal for the Development of a New Multi-Purpose Indoor Field Sport Facility
* Request from Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin Society - Referred from WL City Council
* Williams Lake Blue Fins Swim Club - Aid During Pool Closure, Request from WL Blue Fins Club President Rhonda McCreight
* Sam Ketcham Pool Upgrade Project - Monthly Status Reports for January 2017
* Action Page - 1 Item

View the full Agenda here

Community Events this weekend/next week: Click here

Thursday, February 16, 2017

North Cariboo Arena Replacement Project Update - Feb 15th

New North Cariboo Arena
Construction Update:
The roof air and vapour barrier is complete and the first layer of torch-on roof membrane is 70 per cent complete.   The insulated metal panels are completed on three sides of the building with 60 per cent of the east wall complete.  Doors are in the process of being installed on the building exterior and a number of doors, including the overhead doors, have been installed.  Full enclosure of the building is expected within the next week.  
Block work in the building is now complete.  Handrail and change room accessory installation is in progress.  Electrical, plumbing and mechanical installation continues.  The refrigeration contractor is expected to be on site next week.
Schedule and Budget:
The project continues to be on schedule for completion by September 2017 and on budget for $20.6 million. The North Cariboo Arena Replacement Project is a joint initiative of the Cariboo Regional District (CRD) and City of Quesnel under the CRD’s North Cariboo Recreation and Parks function.
The Seat Sale and Mural Sale continue. If you haven’t sponsored a seat or made a donation to the project, contact Alex by email at:
Grand Opening:
A date has been set for the official opening of the West Fraser Centre.  Mark your calendars for Saturday, September 16, 2017.  Planning for the event will begin soon.
For more details on this project - click here

Monday, February 13, 2017

2016 Census Results (Population) for Cariboo-Chilcotin Region

Last week, Statistics Canada released last year's Census Results as it related to population across Canada.  The next data set in regards to the 2016 Census will be on Age/Sex and Type of Dwelling which will occur on May 3rd, 2017

Meanwhile - you can look up the 1st Data Set for the 2016 Census, in relationship to population across Canada here

Here's how the population broke down, across the Cariboo-Chilcotin Region:

2016 Population
2011 Population

District of Wells
Down 11.4%
City of Quesnel
Down 1.3%
City of Williams Lake
Down 0.7%
District of 100 Mile House
Up 5%
CRD Electoral Area ‘A’
Up 0.2%
CRD Electoral Area ‘B’
Down 4.1%
CRD Electoral Area ‘C’
No Change
CRD Electoral Area ‘D’
Down 2.0%
CRD Electoral Area ‘E’
Down 1.6%
CRD Electoral Area ‘F’
Down 0.2%
CRD Electoral Area ‘G’
Up 4.1%
CRD Electoral Area ‘H’
Up 13.7%
CRD Electoral Area ‘I’
Down 4.7%
CRD Electoral Area ‘J’
Down 7.0%
CRD Electoral Area ‘K’
Down 19.4%
CRD Electoral Area ‘L’
Up 0.6%

As you can see, with few exceptions, the trend is less population across the Region.  So far, only Quesnel Mayor Bob Simpson has spoken out publicly on these results, saying that his City's population down 1.3% does not concern him.  Read more here

The population numbers also have a bearing on weighted votes at the Cariboo Regional District Board table.  With Quesnel's population below 10,000, it could find that it no longer holds 5 Weighted Votes (like Williams Lake) but now only holds 4 Weighted Votes.  Weighted Votes are usually primarily for financial/budget matters and don't really mean much unless the CRD Board is really divided on a budget or financial matter, then weighted votes by each CRD Director matter.  The BC Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, if it hasn't already, should be looking at the new population numbers across BC and will issue revised voting tables to all 27 Regional Districts either later this year or January 2018 at the latest