Thursday, November 29, 2007

Steve's Political Rant #4

1) City of Quesnel Long-Term Debt

Over the last number of years, the City of Quesnel has borrowed money for various projects supported by residents including City Hall, the Johnston Bridge, the local Soccer Facility with a total of $11 million for these projects. Now, Quesnel Council is looking into investing taxpayers dollars for 2 other projects: 1) Quesnel Museum and 2) Multi-Centre. While the Multi-Centre has been discussion at length for some time, the Museum project is a relatively new project being discussed publicly, for funding via long-term debt as 1 option for funding. The Multi-Centre referendum is slated to proceed in May of 2008. My concern is that given the current economic climate, now may not be the time to go further in long-term debt even though, the Multi-Centre & Quesnel Museum are most worthy of taxpayer support. I hope that taxpayers' in Quesnel will consider this going forward from now until the local goverment election in November of 2008. I can confirm that the City of Quesnel along with other muncipal gov'ts do have a formula that they can not exceed and it is: No more then 25% of a local government revenue can go towards payment of long-term debt. If a local government exceeds this formula, then the appropriate loan authorization by-law will not be approved by Victoria.

2) Electoral Boundary Commission Act (Amendment Act), 2007

Hon. Mike DeJong (Government House Leader + Minister of Aboriginal Affairs) informed the House that this Bill won't proceed unless there is consensus on both sides to move it forward. The NDP, at this time, don't support this Bill. This Bill will die as the House will rise for its' Christmas break at 6:30pm tonight (Thursday, November 29th, 2007). This will be a shame, of course, as the interim report of the Electoral Boundary Commission was decried by the NDP as unacceptable for rural people and their right to representation in the Legislature. It appears that the present ridings are here to stay for the immediate future including the next provincial election of 2009.

CRD Board - Meeting Highlights - November 9th, 2007


1) Gord Rattray from the Barkerville Heritage Trust appeared before the Board to present information on options for a Barkerville Circle Tour Connector Route. The Board ultimately resolved to support the Purden Lake Route.

2) Ken Day from the UBC Alex Fraser Research Forest and Cathy Koot, Research Coordinator
from the Alex Fraser Research Forest, gave the CRD Board an overview of the UBC Alex Fraser Research Forest sites and programs. UBC has two research sites in the Cariboo. The Gavin Lake site, 6,315 hectares, is adjacent to Beaver Valley near Quesnel Lake and the Knife Creek site, 3,487 hectares, is near 150 Mile House.


1) The Cariboo Regional District, the City of Williams Lake and the Northern Shuswap Tribal Council (NStQ) are hosting a Community to Community (C2C) workshop on December 5 and 6, 2007 in Williams Lake. The C2C forums provide elected official and staff opportunities to build
partnerships and share best practices. Funding for the forums is provided by UBCM.

2) The Regional District Board discussed the dramatic increase in wood waste volumes in its landfill sites throughout the Cariboo Chilcotin resulting from the clean-up of beetle killed
trees. For example, the Sheridan Lake landfill site has experienced significant increases over the past year. In 2006, a total of 8,638 cubic metres of wood waste accumulated, increasing to 28,000 cubic metres in 2007. This resulted in disposal costs of $51,401 and $172,550 respectively. CRD Chair Jon Wolbers and staff have requested a meeting with the Ministers of Environment and Forestry & Range at the earliest opportunity to discuss financial assistance to deal with the inflow of wood waste resulting from the Mountain Pine Beetle epidemic. During that meeting, the CRD will also request that the Ministries relax environmental regulations to allow burning of wood waste on a more frequent basis.

WL Council - Meeting Highlights - Nov 6/07


1) Bruce Young from Jack Gawthorn Memorial Dog Sled Race encouraged Council to participate in this race. Mayors Nelson, Bello and Vermette along with CRD Chair J. Wolbers will be participating in this race


1) Fee-for-Service for '08 - A total of $145,000 was handed out for Fee-for-Service for different organizations in Williams Lake for 2008

2) Council will forward a cheque of rougly $4300 to the CRD to support their Promotional Tourism DVD. Money to come for Round 2 of the UBCM Community Tourism Funding

3) Final approval was also given to amend the Official Community Plan and Zoning Amendment
Bylaws for the Pioneer Family Partnership project.