Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bits 'N Bites

Well, I hope everyone enjoyed their Christmas holidays with friends and family :)

I see that my blog counter has gone up significantly over the last few days so I thought I'd update my blog on various news pieces - here and there:

From the Ottawa Citizen:

The Canadian media secured a major victory Tuesday when the Supreme Court of Canada put its seal of approval on a new defence to protect journalists from lawsuits.

The new libel defence, called "responsible communication," can shield media outlets, even if they had some of the facts wrong, provided they can show they did everything they could to get the story right.

In a 9-0 ruling, the court concluded that current defamation laws lean too heavily toward protecting reputations, at the expense of freedom of expression guarantees in the Charter of Rights.

"Freewheeling debate on matters of public interest is to be encouraged and the vital role of the communications media in providing a vehicle for such debate is explicitly recognized," wrote Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin.

The ruling is a win for the Ottawa Citizen and the Toronto Star newspapers. The court, in two separate rulings, ordered new trials so the publications could use the fresh defence to protect themselves in lawsuits brought against the papers.

Justice McLachlin said the new defence brings Canada in line with several other countries that have strengthened their defamation laws so that stories of public interest need not be perfect.

The court set out guidelines for judges and juries to consider when deciding whether stories are in the public interest and whether the publications did everything they could to get them right.

The above also pertains to Internet Bloggers, like myself

The Williams Lake Tribune this week is running stories that they covered in 2009. You can read more at, or pick a copy of the Williams Lake Tribune tomorrow

Premier Campbell still insists, in multiple year end interviews, that he'll lead the BC Liberal Party into the 2013 Provincial General Election. We'll have to wait and see on that one - first, he has to pass a Leadership Review at the BC Liberal Party's 2010 Biannual Convention

Also - speculation is running rampant that Prime Minister Harper will prorogue or recess Parliament so he can get control of Senate Committees after 5 Liberal Senators retire on January 1st, 2010. It is a smart move on his part, given Liberal Senators' desire to amend Conservative Government Bills as of late including Bills C-15 (Drug Sentencing Bill) and C-52 (Consumer Protection Act)

A reminder that Local Government Meetings will resume early in the New Year, starting with Quesnel City Council meeting in a Delegation Session on Monday, January 4th, 2009 at 7pm in Quesnel Council Chambers.

Williams Lake Council will meet for the first time in 2010 on Tuesday, January 12th, 2010 at 7:30pm in Williams Lake Council Chambers

The CRD Board of Directors' is scheduled to meet for the first time in 2010 on Friday, January 22nd, 2010 in the CRD Boardroom

Don't forget - if you are planning to go out on New Years' Eve, please don't drink and drive. Take a taxi, bring along a designated driver or take advantage of the Red Nose Service. I'm sure that the RCMP will be out in full force including Road Blocks

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Pioneer Group starts new Biomass Division

The Pioneer Group is getting a $20 million repayable loan from the Northern Development Trust to start a new Biomass Division. See below for the entire press release

Press Release:

Pioneer Biomass, a new subsidiary of the Pioneer Group, will soon be operational with funding support from the Government of Canada’s ‘Community Adjustment Fund’ and Northern Development Initiative Trust’s ‘Capital Investment and Training Rebate’ program. The Pioneer Group is a family owned business that includes log homes, land development, logging, trucking and forest management.

The Government of Canada, through the Community Adjustment Fund, provided $1,150,000 toward the project as part of the $20 million repayable loan contribution to the Northern Development Initiative Trust to support the most affected communities in central and northern BC, helping to reduce the short-term impacts of the economic downturn. "Our Government, through the Community Adjustment Fund, is providing a timely, targeted stimulus to western Canadian communities, helping reduce the impacts of the global recession," said The Honourable Dick Harris, Member of Parliament for Cariboo-Prince George. "This project will help create jobs and maintain employment in Williams Lake, helping our community overcome the challenges currently facing our region."

The new start-up is also strongly supported by the Province of British Columbia. "I am pleased to take part in this important announcement of new job creation in our region. The forest industry has and will continue to be an integral part of the Cariboo economy," said Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett. "I want to congratulate the people responsible and I look forward to hearing about the success of this project as it moves forward."

In addition, the Northern Development Initiative Trust has approved funding under the 'Capital Investment and Training Rebate' program to support the creation of twenty-four jobs associated with the start-up. "We are very pleased to provide funding to this important project," stated Northern Development Chair Evan Saugstad. "Northern Development is recognizing the value of this industry sector to the economic growth and diversification of our communities in central and northern British Columbia through the Capital Investment and Training Rebate program."

Pioneer Biomass will utilize two custom-built horizontal grinders with support equipment to produce wood fibre that will be sold for pellet production and hog fuel biomass for cogeneration plants in the Cariboo region. Capitalizing on current trends, a special emphasis will be placed on utilizing mountain pine beetle logging waste.

"Northern Development clearly recognizes the challenges facing businesses who are looking to hire and train new workers with their Capital Investment and Training Rebate program," said Marcel Therrien, Director, Pioneer Biomass. "This funding plays an important role in our ability to move forward with this project." Pioneer Biomass plans to begin operations early in the New Year.

"Northern Development’s program is highly responsive, builds on the competitive advantages of northern BC to attract investment and create jobs, and recognizes the importance of these new jobs for our city," stated Williams Lake Mayor Kerry Cook. Cariboo Regional District Chair Al Richmond also expressed support for the project. "The twenty-four jobs created through the start-up of Pioneer Biomass is exciting news for Williams Lake and the central Cariboo region."

To date, thirteen projects have been approved under Northern Development's Capital Investment and Training Rebate Program. Northern Development's investment of $5.85 million has resulted in 684 jobs being created over the next two years with a total investment of $48 million throughout central and northern BC.

About Canada’s Economic Action Plan

Canada’s Economic Action Plan will provide a total of $1 billion over two years to communities throughout Canada, including $306 million across Western Canada under the Community Adjustment Fund (CAF). The fund will help reduce the short-term impacts of restructuring in communities across Canada heavily reliant on resource-based industries, including forestry, mining, agriculture, and fisheries, as well as communities that depend on the manufacturing sector.

To learn more about Canada’s Economic Action Plan, visit

About Northern Development Initiative Trust

Northern Development Initiative Trust is an independent regional economic development corporation, originally funded by the Province of British Columbia, and is focused on stimulating economic growth and job creation in central and northern British Columbia. Over $85.8 million in funding has been committed to 471 projects with a total project value of over $842 million.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Year-End Statement from the CRD Chair

Recently, the re-elected CRD Chair (Area 'G' Director Al Richmond) delivered the following year-end statement celebrating the successes of the Cariboo Regional District in 2009:

"As we look towards 2010, the Cariboo Regional District is more than ever poised to continue providing quality services and strong regional representation to all residents of the Cariboo Chilcotin. As another year at the CRD is drawing to a close today, I have the great satisfaction of looking back over 2009.

Our region can be proud of its achievements. It was a year of accomplishments and reward. These rewards were the result of many hours of hard work by both Board members and staff. Despite the current economic conditions, the affects of the Mountain Pine Beetle epidemic and the various other challenges we have all faced throughout the year, I can assure you that the CRD remains committed to striving to provide the best in service quality to our residents in a cost efficient manner.

Public consultation has always been of prime importance to our organization and in 2009 we once again undertook a rigorous schedule of activities starting with the Town Hall meetings in January and February. We presented the five year financial plan and proposed budget to residents in all 12 electoral areas and our four member municipalities. The Regional District also conducted two regularly scheduled Board meetings in rural communities of the Cariboo Chilcotin—on June 18/19 in Lone Butte and September 17/18 at Chimney Lake.

2009 was also a great year for the CRD’s participation at both the North Central Municipal Association (NCMA) and the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) conventions. On Friday May 8, 2009, at the NCMA conference in Dawson Creek, the Cariboo Regional District was awarded the coveted 2009 Gold Star Award for its successful resolution "Continuation of the Union of British Columbia (UBCM) Community Tourism Funding Program". The CRD resolution spoke to the continuation of the UBCM Community Tourism Funding Program which has allowed for the development of many tourism based projects throughout the region and the province.

During that same conference, the CRD presented a number of other successful resolutions including; taxation to support the SPCA; local government access to the proceeds of crime, corporate voting category for non‐resident business owners; and access for people with mental disabilities.

In September 2009, the NCMA changed its name to the North Central Local Government Association to be a more inclusive association that will service all local governments including municipalities, regional districts and First Nations.

2009 proved to be another busy year for CRD Directors and staff at the UBCM conference in Vancouver. From September 28 to October 2, local government representatives including the CRD Board and staff met in Vancouver to attend workshops, vote on proposed resolutions from across the province and lobbied the provincial government through ministerial meetings on local issues on behalf of their constituents. During the

UBCM conference, the Cariboo Regional District received an award for its 2008 Annual Report and Town Hall Meeting Budget Booklet. The Report won Honourable Mention in the category of Financial Reporting. 2009 marked the second time in CRD history to win the UBCM Excellence Award Honourable Mention for Financial Reporting with its first win coming in 2007 for the inaugural Annual Report.

The awards were not limited to the local government conferences. In June 2009, the CRD’s award winning ways continued as the CRD along with the City of Quesnel were presented with the Canadian Public Relations Society’s National Don Rennie Memorial Award for Excellence in Government Communications. The project, which had been submitted by the Regional District of Fraser Fort George staff, was focused on open and transparent communications to allow residents to make an informed decision for the future of the North Cariboo Multi‐Centre and its future borrowing.

And during the year, our very own Area J Director Alex Bracewell was honoured in Victoria after receiving a BC Community Achievement Awards for his work in developing wheelchair accessible trails in Tatlayoko. His commitment to developing the Cariboo Chilcotin as a wheelchair tourism destination and on a greater scale; an accessible and inclusive region, is extremely admirable and we are very proud of his accomplishments. Congratulations again Alex.

Throughout the year, we accomplished a lot. We met and continue to meet our residents’ needs:

In January, we officially opened the long‐awaited new library branch in Quesnel and construction on the CRD’s 100 Mile House branch is well underway with an estimated completion date of March 2010.
The Environmental services department made some vital improvements to the Horse Lake water system and completed the newly constructed Alexis Creek water system. Our water systems now service approximately 2,600 properties.
Our Protective Services Department and the CRD Emergency Operations teams were almost constantly activated this summer starting in May with the 70 Mile Fire until mid September with the Lava Canyon fire and many other fires in between. Throughout the earlier of months of 2009, this same team was activated for approximately eight different flooding events.
We signed two new Memoranda of Understanding with the Cities of Quesnel and Williams Lake.
And to cap off 2009, on November 30, the CRD was awarded the prestigious title of the Forest Capital of Canada for 2010 and 2011. Along with its member municipalities and the CCCTA, the Forest Capital program will be highlighted at the 2010 Games in Vancouver, BC with representation at BC Street Pavilion as part of the City of Richmond’s Ozone celebrations.

Building and creating partnerships, enhancing services, undertaking capital projects, informing the public and responding to residents’ needs is what building this region together is all about. Our organization will continue to respond to community and residents’ needs and thereby achieving our goal of Building Communities Together.

I would like to thank all the Board members and staff for the support during 2009 and look forward to working with each and every one of you in the upcoming year. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to each and every one of you. Thank you."

Standard & Poor's confirms Province of BC's Triple-A Credit Rating

I've received the following press release from the Province, advising that Standard and Poor's has re-confirmed the Provincial Government's Triple-A Credit Rating:

From the press release:

VICTORIA – Standard & Poor’s has affirmed the Province of British Columbia’s credit rating at AAA, the highest possible, noting the Province’s debt reduction has given B.C. an increased capacity to respond to the global recession, Finance Minister Colin Hansen announced today. “This is the third of the large agencies to confirm British Columbia’s high credit rating,” said Hansen. “The debt reduction we achieved –about $4 billion over the past three-year period–has meant we avoided much larger increase in debt that otherwise would have resulted from the recession.” S&P’s report notes, “Good cash and investment balances coupled with solid access to capital markets support what we view as B.C.’s strong credit profile.…

Supplementing this immediate support is solid access to capital markets for short- and long-term debt funding.” In October, Hansen and Ministry of Finance staff met with institutional investors and major investment firms in New York, Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver. The tour’s purpose was to broaden B.C.’s investor base, encourage investors to buy B.C. bonds and to update investors on developments within the Province. These measures help maintain the Province’s low borrowing costs and strengthen investor confidence in B.C. “Our government is working hard to ensure British Columbia recovers from the economic slowdown in the shortest time possible,” said Hansen. “The ongoing scrutiny from investors and bond rating agencies reminds us we cannot afford to become complacent. We need to remain prudent with our fiscal plans in order to effectively manage through the downturn and into recovery.”

Since November 2004, the Province has received seven credit rating upgrades. Most recently, Dominion Bond Rating Service upgraded B.C.’s credit rating to AA (high) in May 2007, Standard and Poor’s upgraded B.C. to AAA in May 2007, while Moody’s Investors Service upgraded B.C. to AAA in October 2006

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Responses to Questions from Mayor Cook

I recently had an opportunity to send a lengthy email to Mayor Cook on the following:

1) Lack of WL Council consistency on how late items are added to WL Council's Meeting Agenda

2) Inconsistency of appointing the City of WL CRD (Cariboo Regional District) Director to the CRD Board

This is the answer I got:

Hi Steve

We are dealing with the late item issue. Thanks for the reminder

In addition to that answer, she copied the CAO (Chief Administrative Officer) of the City on the email as well

Quite frankly, I was disappointed with her response on various levels

1) She has no experience at the CRD Board (either observing or being appointed as a former CRD Director or Alternate, when she was a City Councillor (1996-1999)

2) She didn't apologize for not ensuring that Council actions are consistent with:

i) Local Government Act & Community Charter
ii) Council Procedure Bylaw

3) She has been Mayor for 1 Year and the process for including late items on Council Agendas have been the same since mid-2004

And while I'm at it, she has cc'd (carbon copy) a lot of my emails to City Staff, even those that were directed at her personally. Sometimes, it is appropriate, such as in this case, to refer emails to City Staff for clarification. But when an email is sent directly from a member of the public to an elected official expressing an opinion, said elected official should respond in kind to the public's concern without Staff assistance.

I have high hopes that things might be different in 2010, with Mayor & Council - City of Williams Lake....then again, I won't be holding my breath on that one....

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Steve Rant - Outcome of December 15th, 2009 WL Council Meeting

Last night, WL Council held their final meeting in 2009 and while some good things came out of the meeting (2 Delegations that perform Christmas songs), some things came out that Mayor Cook deserves to be criticized for:

1) Appointment of CRD Director

Pursaunt to Sections 784 and 786 of the Local Government Act (LGA), a municipal council is required to appoint 1 Muncipal Director (Section 784 of LGA) and 1 Alternate Director (Section 786 of LGA). Last night, Council passed the following motion as it pertains to the City of WL Director on the CRD Board for 2010:

That Mayor Kerry Cook be appointed as the CRD Director for Williams Lake for 2010, in accordance with Section 784 of the Local Government Act and that Councillor Sue Zacharias be appointed Alternate CRD Director for Williams Lake for 2010, in accordance with Section 786 of the Local Government Act and finally that Councillor Surinderpal S. Rathor be appointed as the Second Alternate City Director to take the place of Mayor Kerry Cook and Councillor Sue Zacharias

This motion is, in my view, contrary to advice I received from Sue Moxey (Director of Corporate Services - City of Williams Lake) on August 24th, 2004 when I specifically asked if the City could have 1 Director and 2 Alternates, to which she replied:

Further to your request to Mr. DeFeo (former City of Williams Lake CAO), Section 786 of the Local Government Act outlines the provision of alternate municipal directors. As the City has only one municipal director, we may only appoint one alternate director

So, the LGA says that if you have 1 Municipal Director, then you can have 1 Alternate. Now, the more Municipal Directors you have on a Regional District Board, then you can also have as many Alternate Directors. The formula being: "x" Municipal Director(s) = "x" Alternate Directors, with "x" being the exact number of Municipal Directors on a Regional District Board, whether "x" is 1, 2, 3, 5, etc

Now, the City should have limited the motion to appointing Mayor Cook as the CRD Director for Williams Lake with Councillor Zacharias appointed as Alternate. If both Mayor Cook or Councillor Zacharias could not attend, then, with sufficient notice, WL Council could have voted to temporarily replace Councillor Zacharias with someone else as Alternate CRD Director (City of WL) for a specific meeting or meetings, as WL Council sees fit

2) Mayor Cook's changes to Council Portfolios for 2010

Last night, the CAO's report with regard to Mayor Cook's changes to Portfolios, Committee appointments, etc was set to be debated and voted upon. However, Mayor Cook chose to withdraw it as Councillor Rathor was absent. In my view, this report could have easily been voted upon because Councillor Rathor could have been informed beforehand of the changes and then move forward. Routine items should not be held up due to the absence of 1 Council member

3) Consideration of Late Items

WL Council, at its' meeting last night, was set to consider 2 Late Items. Now, Council's Procedure Bylaw says, on late items:

"An item of business not included on the Agenda must not be considered at a Council meeting unless introduction of the late item is approved by Council at the time allocated on the Agenda for such matters"

Councillor Rathor, when in attendance, always makes sure that late items are formally approved on the Agenda at the beginning of the meeting. Mayor Cook did not call for a motion to add the 2 Late items to the Agenda. Now, I know my blog readers' will wonder -- How do I know this?

The answer is -- I was at the meeting last night and not once did I hear Mayor Cook ask for a motion to add the late items to the Agenda or a member of Council objecting to the late items be considered without formally adding them to the Agenda and that is a lack of leadership on Mayor Cook's part. She knows the process, being in office for 1 year and clearly knows better

4) Mayor Cook's comments on 1 Year in Office:

Last night, as Mayor Cook was reciting all the things that she has done in her 1st year in office as Mayor, she made the following comment:

" this is the best non-political Council that I've served on"

A little reminder to her that politics makes the world go round. Is it right or fair? Not really. In a perfect world, the game playing that goes on provincially and federally wouldn't occur, but as we know, the world is not perfect. Councils, since time immemorial, have been politically vocal on issues. Sometimes, it earns them "brownie-points" with the political masters in Victoria/Ottawa and sometimes not

Now, an example of this is:

After Mary Sjostrom was sworn in as Mayor of Quesnel on December 1st, 2008. The then-Minister of Transportation (Hon. Kevin Falcon) paid her a visit a few days later. Some might call that being lucky, but I call it for what it is - paying back Quesnel for electing a BC Liberal friendly Mayor (it's no secret that Mary Sjostrom has supported the BC Liberals', even as a Quesnel City Councillor). She was also appointed as the only Director on the BC Transit Board, from outside the urban areas of BC. Again, some can call it luck, but again, I call it for what it is - paying back Quesnel for electing a BC Liberal friendly Mayor. Again, history is full of examples where when local voters elect a Mayor that is friendly towards the governing party in Victoria or Ottawa, usually taxpayer funded goodies are sure to follow. Might be immoral or wrong, but it is reality and probably will be for a long time to come unless/until taxpayers wholeheartedly demand a change to the "system"

WL Council Meeting Highlights - December 15th, 2009


Mayor Cook with Councillors Montoya, Barr, Walters, Bourdon and Zacharias


Councillor SPS Rathor

Staff Present:

Sue Moxey - Director of Corporate Services
Brian Carruthers - CAO
Geoff Goodall - GM of Planning & Operations
Tom Chung - IT Manager
Anne Burill - Social Development Manager

Meeting called to order at 7:30pm

Minutes of Dec 1st, 2009 Council meeting adopted


1) Performance by the Sugar Cane Drummers (Williams Lake Indian Band)
2) Christmas Carols 'Reindeer Boogie' and 'The Climb' Performed by Cindy Lightfoot and LeRae Haynes, and Joined by Carmen Williams, Megan Law, Mackenzie Howse, Danielle Schultz and Stevie Fitz-Gerald for 'The Climb'
3) Chief Joe Alphonse, Tl'etinqox-T'in (Anahim) Government - Greetings to Mayor and Council

• Thanked Council for inviting him to address them
• Mayor Cook presented Chief Alphonse with a card of appreciation

4) Bob Sunner, President, Williams Lake Central Business Improvement Area (WLCBIA) re: Downtown Surveillance Camera Project

• All steps completed prior to Stage 1 completion and formally requests release of the $50,000, being held in trust, for this project
• Thanked all partners, including the City of Williams Lake, for making the new facility at 3rd Avenue and Oliver Street (old Petro-Can station) a reality. Grand Opening: Spring of 2010
• Presented the first months’ rent to Councillor Barr (Council’s Finance Portfolio Chair)

5) Judy O'Neill, Manager, Williams Lake Central Business Improvement Area (WLCBIA) re: "Community Corner" Update


1) Council approved a 1-year extension to the RCMP Operational Support position and the hiring of a PRIME Coordinator position effective January 1, 2010 at a total cost of $120,000.

2) Council appointed Cindy Bouchard as Acting Corporate Officer for the City of Williams Lake upon the retirement of Sue Moxey, Director of Corporate Services, with authority to undertake the statutory duties of Corporate Administration under the Community Charter, pending the recruitment of a Manager of Legislative Services.

3) Council appointed Mayor Kerry Cook as CRD Director for Williams Lake for 2010, in accordance with Section 784 of the Local Government Act. Councillor Sue Zacharias was appointed Alternate CRD Director for Williams Lake for 2010, in accordance with Section 786 of the Local Government Act. Councillor Surinderpal S. Rathor was appointed as the Second Alternate City Director to take the place of Mayor Kerry Cook and Councillor Sue Zacharias

4) Council approved the Memorandum of Understanding as proposed by the Cariboo Regional District for a shared Emergency Social Services (ESS) role

5) Council received the information package from the Williams Lake Central Business Improvement Area (WLCBIA) regarding the surveillance camera project and the information will now be forwarded to the Ministry of Public Safety & Solicitor-General with a request to authorize release of the $50,000 grant to the WLCBIA; and further, Council reaffirmed the commitment of the previous Council to provide in-kind assistance toward the installation of camera components in the downtown area. (Delegation #4 from earlier tonight spoke to this item)

6) Council awarded the contract for the supply of unleaded gasoline and diesel fuel to Petro Canada for the tendered price of 0.9244 per litre and 0.9431 per litre respectively, including tax, based on a yearly consumption of 70,000 litres each.

7) Official Community Plan Amendment Bylaw No. 2085 and Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 2086 (Jamboree Hotel Project – BC Housing) were reconsidered and adopted.

Mayor Cook declared a conflict of interest on the next item as she is a resident of Woodland Drive and Councillor Geoff Bourdon, as Acting Mayor, assumed the Chair at 8:18pm

8) Council approved retaining TRUE Consulting Group to complete preliminary design for Option 1 of the sanitary proposal and Option 3 of the water proposal for the Woodland Drive infrastructure extension, including installation of a 250mm diameter watermain for future use, for a cost of $64,430.00 plus GST; and further, Staff were authorized to investigate any funding opportunities that may be available for this project and begin a public consultation process with affected property owners on Woodland Drive

Mayor Cook re-entered Council Chambers at 8:24pm and reassumed the Chair

9) Council agreed to provide a letter of support to Community Futures and the British Columbia Community Forest Association (BCCFA) for their application for REDI funding to aid in the development of a program to help strengthen the relationships between post-secondary research, teaching and Community Forests in rural BC

10) Council agreed to send a letter to the Williams Lake Field Naturalists advising that they have no objection to the proposed renovations to the Scout Island Nature Centre, the enclosing of the present outdoor porch for an indoor educational room and construction of an outside viewing platform and exit stairs, subject to the appropriate permits being obtained.

11) Late Item – Council received the 2010 Strategic Budget Direction document

12) Late Item #2 - Council approved City of Williams Lake participation with the Cariboo Regional District and other member municipalities at the Richmond O-Zone BC Street initiative during the 2010 Olympics; and further, that up to four Staff be permitted to staff the BC Street booth on a voluntary basis and have the use of City vehicles for travel to and from Richmond

Announcements by Mayor & Council:

Councillor Montoya – reviewed her 1st year on Council
Councillor Barr – reviewed the past year serving on Council
Councillor Walters – reviewed her 1st year on Council
Councillor Bourdon – reviewed his 1st year on Council
Councillor Zacharias – reviewed her 1st year on Council
Mayor Cook – reviewed her 1st year on Council


Meeting adjourned at 9:07pm and reconvened In-Camera, in accordance with Section 90(1 “e” and “j”) of the Community Charter

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

WL Council Meeting Agenda Amended

In a surprise today, WL Council has had its' meeting agenda amended as follows:

Items withdrawn:

1) That the report of the Chief Administrative Officer dated December 11, 2009 outlining the appointments of Mayor Kerry Cook for Council appointments of Portfolios, Standing Committee Delegates, Ad Hoc/Select Committees and Community Committees for the 2009/2010 term be received for information

See my previous blog entry on this item:

2) That pursuant to the report of the Planner dated December 3, 2009, Council accept the application from Westridge Ventures to amend City of Williams Lake Zoning Bylaw No. 1825 by changing the zoning of the Remainder of Lot A, Plan PGP43545, District Lots 8841 and 8842, Cariboo District from Manufactured Home Park (R-5) to Single Family Residential (R-1) subject to the applicant submitting a detailed geotechnical report and subdivision servicing plan from a professional engineer, including a storm water management plan, fire flow calculations and servicing details for water, sewer and storm services; and further, Council give first reading to Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 2107 and the application be referred to the Advisory Planning Commission for their comments and recommendations

City Staff typically will ask the Mayor/CAO to approve withdrawing items from the Agenda if there are issues pertaining to an agenda item that need further work prior to Council considering the item or items

Hopefully, Mayor Cook will speak tonight as to why Item #1 was withdrawn as I am interested myself as to why Mayor Cook felt the need to withdraw the item

Tuesday News Round-up

In your Williams Lake Tribune today:

i) "Cow Boss" statue at 8th Ave. & Oliver Street vandalized - more here

ii) Taseko questions the bias of 1 member of the Federal Environmental Assessment Review Panel on the Prosperity Mine Project - more here

iii) Diana French (Tribune columnist) talks about Federal MP's not doing their job on the federal vote on the HST Legislation - more here

*** Reminder - WL Council meets tonight for the final time in 2009. The meeting starts at 7:30pm in WL Council Chambers ***

Monday, December 14, 2009

Local Government Meetings in Cariboo-Chilcotin - Week of Dec 14 - 18

The following local governments are having meetings this week:

Monday, December 14th:

City of Quesnel (1st meeting of 2009/2010 term)

The link to the Agenda/Reports is here

Tuesday, December 15th:

City of Williams Lake

The link to the Agenda/Reports is here

Wednesday, December 16th - Friday, December 18th:

No meetings scheduled

There are no further local government meetings scheduled for the balance of December. Meetings to resume early in January 2010

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Is Carole Taylor coming back into BC Politics...?

In a very interesting piece ... Alex Tsakumis (Vancouver-based blogger) thinks aloud of the possibility of Carole Taylor (former BC Finance Minister and MLA for Vancouver-Langara)running to become the next BC Liberal Party Leader

Check out the story here

Steve Rant - Mayor Cook & Councillor Zacharias (Lack of Ethical Conduct and Lack of Vision)

Yesterday, at the CRD Board meeting, the Board considered a letter from the BC Ready-Mixed Concrete Association, with regards to the Province's "Wood First Act"

However, Councillor Zacharias, as CRD Director for Williams Lake and given her association with United Concrete did not declare a conflict of interest on this matter

Now, it is true that there is no direct or indirect pecuniary (financial) interest in this case. However the ethical thing to have done is to withdraw from the meeting given that the letter was from the Concrete Sector and her company is in the concrete business. This is not a case of a rookie mistake. She was formerly the CRD Director for Electoral Area 'D' for 3 years (2005-2008) so she knows better. Hopefully she doesn't repeat this mistake again

Now, with regard to Mayor Cook, she is proposing the following changes:

CRD Director for Williams Lake - 2010:

That pursuant to the report of the Chief Administrative Officer dated December 11, 2009 and pursuant to Section 784 of the Local Government Act, Mayor Kerry Cook be appointed to the Cariboo Regional District as the City's Director for 2009/2010 and pursuant to Section 786 of the Local Government Act, Councillor Sue Zacharias be appointed as the City's Alternate Director and Councillor Surinderpal S. Rathor be appointed as the Second Alternate City Director to take the place of Mayor Kerry Cook and Councillor Sue Zacharias in their absence

Now, I can tell you that Mayor Cook has not bothered to observe 1 CRD Board meeting in all of 2009 and there are many things to learn including what you may and may not vote on - as Williams Lake is not a participant in all Functions so there are things we may not vote on. Also, changing the CRD Director for Williams Lake, at this time, is counter-productive to Board Relations and is, in my humble opinion, a step backwards

WL Council Portfolios for 2010:

Mayor Cook is recommending the following changes to Council Portfolios in 2010:


Corporate Organization
Cariboo Regional District
Policies, Bylaws and Records Management
Central Cariboo/City of Williams Lake Joint Committee (Co-Chair)
Northern Development Initiative Trust Regional Advisory Committee
Cariboo-Chilcotin Beetle Action Coalition Board

LOCAL GOVERNMENT SERVICES - Councillor Surinderpal Rathor

Policing & Community Policing
Crime & Vandalism
First Nations Relations
Victim Services
Social Planning

FINANCIAL SERVICES - Councillor Tom Barr

Corporate Business Plan
Budget & Long Term Financial Planning
Risk Management
Tax & Collection
Information Technology
Fire Protection & Prevention
Emergency Operations & Planning

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT - Councillor Geoff Bourdon

Economic Development & Investment Opportunities
Planning & Hosting
2010 Initiatives
Special Events

DEVELOPMENT & PUBLIC WORKS - Councillor Sue Zacharias

Planning (Land Use and O.C.P.)
Bylaw Enforcement & Business Services
Public Works & Utilities
Transit & Transportation
Garbage & Recycling
Fleet & Municipal Infrastructure
Communities in Bloom
Winter Lights

SUSTAINABILITY & ENVIRONMENT - Councillor Natalie Montoya

Air Quality & Environment
Education and Advanced Education
Youth, Seniors & Women’s Issues


Parks & Recreation Programs
Heritage & Museum
Arts & Culture
Joint Use Agreement

It is a rule that the Mayor should not change Portfolio Chairs unless they are doing a horrible job at their Portfolio, which in this case, has not occured to date

I believe Mayor Cook is making a very bad strategic mistake by switching Councillors' Rathor and Zacharias Portfolios as they now have to be briefed on their new Portfolio activities. Also, I don't see any indication that Mayor Cook won't be changing Portfolio Chairs in 2010/2011.

Finally, given Mayor Cook's public indication during the 2008 Election that she would be chairing the "Crime" Portfolio, it would not be unfair to accuse her of hypocrisy here. If you make a public promise, you should stick to it or don't make it at all.

CRD Board Highlights - Dec 11/09


Directors Armstrong, Faust, Massier, Bischoff, Mazur, Barnett, Richmond, Dumaresq, Glassford, Bracewell, Mumford, Rattray, Sjostrom, Zacharias and Campsall


Director Jay Vermette (District of Wells)

Staff Present:

Janis Bell – CAO
Rick Hodgson – Deputy CAO
Lynn Paterson – Chief Financial Officer
Alice Johnston – Corporate Officer

Meeting called to order at 9:45am by the CAO

Election of Chair and Vice-Chair for 2010:

Director Barnett declared a conflict due to possible litigation and left the meeting

Director Richmond nominated for Chair. The CAO called 3 times for nominations and hearing none, Director Al Richmond was declared Chair for 2010

Director Armstrong nominated for Vice-Chair. The CAO called 3 times for nominations and hearing none, Director Ted Armstrong was declared Vice-Chair for 2010

Chair Richmond assumed the Chair

Chair Richmond then read out a Year-End Statement reviewing successes with the Board during 2009

Director Barnett re-entered the meeting at 9:49am

Meeting Agenda adopted

Meeting Minutes of Nov 20th

Amendment to Nov 20th meeting minutes – Amendment agreed to
Minutes of November 20th, as amended, adopted

Memo of Business (Delegations) – MOB Received

Planning Bylaws for 1st and 2nd Reading

Bylaws #4553 and #4554 (Area ‘L’) – Deferred for up to 60 days
Bylaws #4560 and #4561 (Area ‘L’) – Deferred for up to 60 days

Planning Bylaws for 3rd Reading

Bylaws #4537 and 4538 (Area ‘L’) – Bylaws read a 3rd time
Bylaws #4544 and 4545 (Area ‘L’) – Bylaws read a 3rd time

Planning Bylaws for Adoption

Bylaws #4383 (Area ‘B’), 4428 (Area ‘G’), 4447 (Area ‘L’), 4448 (Area ‘L’), 4503 (Area ‘G’) – Bylaws adopted

Development Variance Permit Applications

DVP #443 (Area ‘G’) – DVP approved
DVP #’s 444-448 (Area ‘J’) – DVP’s deferred for 60 days

Agricultural Land Commission Applications:

ALC Application F246 (Area ‘F’) – Application be rejected for various reasons, including the Area ‘F’ Advisory Planning Commission’s recommendation to not support the application and therefore not be forwarded to the Provincial Agricultural Land Commission

ALC Application G267 (Area ‘G’) – Application referred to Staff/Applicant for further consideration.

ALC Application L090 (Area ‘L’) – Application deferred for 60 days, pending review by Area ‘L’ APC

Planning/Building Inspection/Bylaw Enforcement - Other Business

Recommendations pertaining to a Liquor (Primary License) application in Area ‘L’ endorsed

Permitting Process for Temporary Accommodations (Short Term Vacation Rentals) in the Interlakes Area OCP - Draft Bylaw be approved in principle and referred to agencies such as the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and Area ‘L’ Advisory Planning Commission

Director Barnett/Armstrong –

"That the above motion be referred back to Staff for further clarification" – Motion approved

Proposed Amendment to Planning Policy P3.4 (Deadline for Submission of Applications) – Policy, as amended, endorsed

Bill 27 Requirements for OCP Greenhouse Gas Reductions Targets, Policies and Actions – The Board agreed to set a measurable target of a 33% reduction in community Greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2020, and an 80% reduction by 2050 from 2007 levels

Opposed: Directors Ted Armstrong and Jim Glassford

Director Barnett/Dumaresq -

"That a presentation on Bill 27 & Pacific Carbon Trust be scheduled for the Board ASAP and it be added to the Delegations Memo. of Business"

Meeting recessed at 11:24am
Meeting resumed at 11:37am

Building Stats Reports (CRD + Municipalities) for October 2009 – Reports received

7 “Notice on Titles” approved in Areas ‘B’, ‘D’, ‘G’, and ‘L’

Letter to CRD Chair from SAFERhome Standards Society – Letter received

Director Barnett/Mazur –

“That Staff report back on Provincially required Building Inspection” - Motion approved

Environmental Services

Proposed Water and Sewer Projects Reports – Report received
Refuse Site Inspection Report – Report received

Meeting recessed at 12:17pm
Meeting resumed at 1:03pm to go In-Camera (Sections 90(1a, i, j) of the Community Charter)
CRD Board resumed its’ open meeting at 1:43pm
Meeting recessed at 1:43pm and resumed at 1:47pm

In-Camera Resolution, with regard to Lac La Hache Fire Chief Resignation and appointment of new Lac La Hache Fire Chief, brought out of In-Camera and confirmed in open meeting

Director Barnett/Mumford –

“That the OCP/Zoning Bylaws be placed back upon the CRD Website immediately” – Motion passed

Community Services

Baker Creek Community Hall – Community Works Funding (Energy Efficiency Project and Enabling Agreement) – That the $2,800 for the project be approved from the 2010 Community Projects envelope of the Community Works Fund, that the appropriate signatories be authorized to enter into the necessary contribution agreement, and that the previously approved Grant for Assistance funding for this project be rescinded.

Protective Services:

9-1-1 Stats for November 2009 (North, Central and South Calling Exchanges) – Stats received

Proposal to expand 150 Mile Fire Protection Area – CRD Staff were authorized to petition residents within the proposed fire protection boundary expansion areas and proceed with the expansion if there is sufficient interest identified.

Request from 108 Volunteer Fire Department Equipment to leave Fire Protection Area for Olympics - Authorization was given for the 108 Mile VFD to deploy one engine and fire/rescue members to attend the Paralympic Games, as representatives of the Cariboo Regional District, with the stipulation that sufficient apparatus and manpower remain to provide fire suppression and first responder services within their fire protection boundary. Further, that the funds received specifically for “rental” of the truck be allocated to the Capital Reserve for future capital purchases

Emergency Social Services MOU – MOU endorsed

2009 Wildfire Season Report/Recommendations – Report from Director of Protective Services received and further that the Board rescind the appointment of Bobby Lloyd as the Cariboo Regional District ESS Director, and that a letter of appreciation be sent to Bobby Lloyd

Director Barnett/Bischoff –

“Staff asked to report back on PEP (Provincial Emergency Program) payments to CRD & Non-CRD Fire Departments” – Motion passed

Fire Chiefs Meeting Minutes of Oct 23-25, 2009 – Minutes received and Board endorsed a recommendation that the term of Fire Chief and Fire Department Member contracts, be changed from a two year term to a three year term commencing April 1, 2010


CFO Report – Report received

Cheque Register for November 2009 – Cheque Register endorsed

Revised 2010 Business Plans – The following 2010 Business Plans were endorsed as amended:
1) Administrative Services (1003)
2) Central Cariboo Victim Services (1037)
3) Red Bluff Sewer (1775)

CRD 2010-2014 5 Year Financial Plan – Item deferred to end of meeting
Request to use Area ‘K’ Opportunity Fund – Request to use $150 for SPCA sign from Area ‘K’ Opportunity Fund endorsed


BC Ready-mix Concrete Association (Concern about “Wood First” Policy) – Letter received

Release of In-Camera Item – The following In-Camera Resolution was confirmed in open meeting:

That the agenda item summary from Mitch J. Minchau, Manager of Environmental Services, dated October 9, 2009 regarding the requested contract rate increase by Lake Excavating for the Central Cariboo Transfer Station and Landfill Operation Contract, be received. Further, that the Cariboo Regional District extend the Central Cariboo Transfer Station and Landfill Operation Contract with Lake Excavating Ltd. until June 1, 2010 including a 5% rate increase

Request for Input from BC NDP Critics (Transportation and Infrastructure) – Letter received

Director Barnett/Mumford –

“That information be conveyed to Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure with a copy to BC NDP Transportation and Infrastructure Critics on need to include landscaping/fencing on Highway Improvements” – Motion passed

2010 Request to Hold Private Function on CRD Property – authorization was given to the Ministry of Forests and Range to utilize the player’s lounge at the South Cariboo Recreation Centre on February 19th and 20th, 2010.

Letter from City of Burnaby regarding PRIME (Police Records Information Management Environment) – Letter received

Administration Allocation Review - Proposed amendments to the administration charges policy were adopted as presented and that the changes are to be fully implemented in the 2010 financial plan

Request for Support of Mining Industry – Item received

2009/2010 Request to hold Private Functions on CRD Property - authorization was given to the 100 Mile Old Stars Hockey Club to utilize the player’s lounge at the South Cariboo Recreation Centre on December 26, 2009. Further, that authorization was given to the Old Cats Hockey Club to utilize the player’s lounge at the South Cariboo Recreation Centre on January 15, 16, and 17, 2010

BC Street Participation – Item received

Board Reports & Correspondence

Level 1 and 2 Corporate Priorities – Items received
Prioritization of Board Resolutions – Item received
Consent Calendar – Item received
Responses to Board Correspondence – Item received

Committee/Commission Minutes

Minutes were received and recommendations were endorsed from the following bodies:

• Nov 9th meeting of 108 Greenbelt Commission
• Nov 10th meeting of North Cariboo Joint Committee
• Nov 18th meeting of Central Cariboo Joint Committee
• Nov 19th meeting of CRD Finance/Budget Committee
• Dec 4th meeting of Central Cariboo Joint Committee
• Dec 7th meeting of South Cariboo Joint Committee
• Dec 8th meeting of North Cariboo Rural Caucus

Bylaws for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Readings:

Bylaws #’s: 4559, 4564, and 4565 of 2009 – Bylaws read 1st, 2nd, and 3rd time

Bylaws for Three Readings and Adoption:

Bylaw #4496(7), 2009 (CRD 2009 Financial Plan – Amendment Bylaw #7) – Bylaw, as amended, read 1st, 2nd, 3rd time and adopted

Bylaw #4562, 2009 (Central Cariboo Recreation Fees and Charges Amendment Bylaw) – Bylaw read 1st, 2nd, 3rd time and was adopted

Bylaw #4563, 2009 (Red Bluff/Dragon Lake Sewer Management Amendment Bylaw) – Bylaw read 1st, 2nd, 3rd time and was adopted

Bylaw #4558, 2009 (South Cariboo Landfill Fees and Charges Amendment Bylaw) – Bylaw read 1st, 2nd, 3rd time and was adopted

Bylaws for Adoption:

Bylaw #4549, 2009 (CRD Invasive Plant Management Service – Amendment Bylaw) – Bylaw adopted

Finance, cont.:

CRD 2010 5-Year Financial Plan – Plan, as amended, was endorsed for public consultation at 2010 CRD Town Hall Meetings (Electoral Areas & Joint Muncipal)

Directors’ Reports, Appointments and Notices of Motions

Directors’ made comments on activities occurring in their Electoral Area or Municipality


Meeting adjourned at 4:40pm

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thursday News Round-up

In your Williams Lake Tribune:

1) Fire destroys two Businesses at Strip Mall (corner of Midnight Drive and Western Ave) - more here

2) New WL Fire Hall operational Monday - more here

3) WL Council reveals its' 2010 Budget Targets to the public - more here

In the Vancouver Sun:

1) Homeless people have now won the right, in the Appeal Court of BC, to erect tent camps in muncipal parks, if local homeless shelters are full - more here

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Outcome of Public Information Meeting - City of WL 2010 Budget Process


Mayor Kerry Cook
Councillors L.T Walters, S.J. Zacharias, G.W. Bourdon, T.C. Barr
Brian Carruthers – City of Williams Lake CAO
Darcy Lazzarin – General Manager of Corporate Services, City of WL
Geoff Goodall – General Manager of Planning & Operations, City of WL
Tom Chung – IT Manager, City of WL
4 Members of the Public
Members of the Media - WL Tribune, Cariboo Advisor and The Rush/Wolf Radio

Meeting started at 7:30pm

Mayor Cook gave opening comments and noted the presence and absence of City Councillors (City Councillors Natalie Montoya and Surinder Rathor both absent at this meeting as Councillor Montoya was busy and Councillor Rathor is vacationing in India)

The CAO gave a Powerpoint Presentation on the 2010 Budget Process:

• Reviewed Council actions in 2009 on their 10 Strategic Goals for the 2008-2011 Term
• Reviewed Council actions for 2010, in regard to Council Strategic Priorities for 2010 & 2011

Councillor Tom Barr (Council Finance Chair) reviewed 2010 Budget Preparation Targets:

• Property Tax Rates - 4 scenarios of status quo, increases of 2%, 3.5%, or 5%
• Utility Rates – 3 scenarios of status quo, increase of 25% in 2010 & 2011 or 50% in 2011
• Review of Major Capital Projects proposed in the City in 2010:

i) Renovations to Old Fire Hall – Arts Facility
ii) Traffic Signal Upgrade – 2nd Avenue and Oliver Street
iii) Reconstruction of Cameron Street and 3rd to 5th Avenues
iv) Pavement Management Plan
v) Mackenzie Avenue Rehabilitation
vi) Feasibility Study for Prosperity Ridge Traffic Access
vii) Preliminary Design for Woodland Drive – Water & Sewer
viii) Aquifer Assessment
ix) Phase 1 Twinning of River Valley Sewer Main

A Question and Answer Period ensued

Questions included:

• Property Tax Rates – review of rates in property classes
• Discussion around General Water & Sewer Infrastructure Projects in the City
• Lack of Stable Communications – Time of this Meeting
• RCMP Contract – Funding of Positions
• Water and Sewer Utility Rates – when deferring of increases to Water & Sewer Rates becomes impossible
• Mackenzie Avenue – remove industrial traffic to Highway 97 North, via Mackenzie Avenue Connector, in order to improve safety for pedestrians & car/light truck traffic
• Sustainability Plan and how it plays into Council Operations & 2010 Council Strategic Priorities
• Mackenzie Avenue Project – Decision on Referendum vs Alternate Approval Process (Counter-Petition)

Mayor Cook gave closing comments – Next meeting in February 2010 on City of WL 2010 Budget

Meeting adjourned at 8:40pm

Outcome of Friday December 4th Special Central Cariboo Joint Committee Meeting

Present from City of WL:

Mayor Cook (Committee Co-Chair), Councillors Walters, Barr, and Montoya

Present from CRD:

Directors Deb Bischoff (Committee Co-Chair), Steve Mazur and Duncan Barnett

City/CRD Staff Present:

Brian Carruthers - CAO, City of Williams Lake
Darron Campbell - Manager of Community Services, CRD
Janis Bell - CAO, CRD
Geoff Paynton - Director of Community Services, City of WL

Mayor Cook called the meeting to order at 4:06pm


By Consensus --

Minutes of the Joint Committee meeting of November 16th, 2009 be adopted


1) Memorandum from CRD Manager of Community Services re: Victim Services and 2010 Budget

The CRD Manager of Community Services presented his report to the Joint Committee and answered questions from Joint Committee members

By Consensus:

"That the memorandum dated Nov.27/09 from Darron Campbell, Manager of Community Services regarding a report from the WL RCMP Detachment on the Victim Services section be received"

2) Memorandum from CRD Manager of Community Services re: Central Cariboo Arts and Culture Service Delivery Plan - Public Comments & Summary Report

The CRD Manager of Community Services presented his report to the Joint Committee and answered questions from Joint Committee members

Discussion ensued thereon

By Consensus:

"The Joint Committee requests from the Arts and Culture Steering Committee:

a) A revised 2010 Budget for the Central Cariboo Arts and Culture Function

b) A proposed composition & terms of reference for an Arts and Culture Stakeholder Advisory Committee to advise on options for implementation of the Draft Arts and Culture Service Delivery Plan

3) Report from City of WL Director of Community Services re: Williams Lake Timberwolves Financial Update

The City of WL Director of Community Services presented his report to the Joint Committee

By Consensus:

"That the Joint Committee receive this report for information"

Tuesday News Round-up

In your WL Tribune today:

1) SD#27 looking to cut $3 million from its' budget for 2010-2011 school year - more here
2) Crime Stats on downward trend - more here
3) Prosperity Mine could mean work for displaced forestry workers - more here
4) Colin Hansen (BC Minister of Finance) takes issue with Bob Simpson's column last Thursday - more here

Also, CLAC has taken out an ad in the Tribune opposing CAW drive to become the union for workers' at Gibraltar Mines

Also, in the Vancouver Sun, in an Op-Ed (Opinion Editorial), Kennedy Stewart (senior fellow, London School of Economics, Department of Government and Associate Professor, Simon Fraser University Graduate Public Policy Program) talks about the Premier's Task Force on rewriting the rules on Local Government Elections - see more here

*** Reminder *** - at 7:30pm tonight in WL Council Chambers, WL Council will be hosting a public meeting on the 2010 Budget Process. Come out and tell Council your priorities for the 2010 Budget

Monday, December 7, 2009

Local Government Meetings in Cariboo-Chilcotin - Week of Dec 7 - Dec 11

Monday, December 7th:

City of Quesnel (meeting in Committee of the Whole)

The link to the Agenda/Reports is here

Tuesday, December 8th:

City of Williams Lake is hosting a public meeting on the 2010 Budget
Meeting will start at 7:30pm in WL Council Chambers

Friday, December 11th:

Cariboo Regional District (last meeting of 2009)

The link to the Agenda and Reports is here

Friday, December 4, 2009

Steve Rant - Mayor Cook and Ineptitude

Ineptitude is defined as:

1. unable to handle job: lacking the competence or skill for a particular task

On Wednesday, the City of Williams Lake issued a press release on the date, time and place for the Public Information Meeting for the City's 2010 Budget. This information was posted on the City's website Wednesday and also ran in both the Williams Lake Tribune (as an article) and in the Wednesday, December 2nd edition of the Advisor in the "City Page Ad" section.

Yesterday, however, the City issued another press release advising that the time for the Public Information Meeting - City of Williams Lake 2010 Budget had changed from 6:30 to 7:30pm. Now, unless you were aware of the City's new press release, looked at the City website or go to, then residents' won't know about the meeting time change until the day of the meeting, as I expect the Tribune on Tuesday to run the updated information for the public meeting - City of WL 2010 Budget

Unfortunately, this is another example of ineptitude by Mayor Cook's office. Once you set a time for a meeting, you should stick to it unless a dire emergency forces you to change it

Speaking of ineptitude, the City did not vigorously ensure that its' "City Page Ad" ran in both the Tribune and Advisor this week (ran in the Advisor but did not run in this week's Tribune (both Tuesday and Thursday's editions') and this is necessary to ensure that the information that the City needs to get out gets spread over multiple media sources

Also - the City had suspended, for a time, doing Council Highlights. However, Council has agreed to resume doing Council Highlights once again. This is an example of the new Council Highlights just released on Tuesday, December 1st:

Council meeting highlights
Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Loan Authorization Bylaw 2108 – Mackenzie Avenue Rehabilitation

Council gave three readings to Bylaw 2108, authorizing the borrowing of up to $3.5 M to undertake rehabilitation/resurfacing of Mackenzie Avenue.

Key points:

• Federal and Provincial Governments have contributed $7M toward the project.

• Work is required to repair significant rutting and deterioration of Mackenzie Avenue.

• Final approval of the bylaw is subject to approval of electors through an Alternate Approval Process, requiring that less than 10% of electors petition against the bylaw.

• Pre-design study currently being completed to define the scope of work.

• Alternative surfacing technologies and construction will be utilized to ensure longevity of road.

• City will work with Industry and Ministry of Transportation to identify opportunities to mitigate wear on the road in the future.

Prosperity Ridge Access Engineering

Council passed a resolution authorizing staff to retain TRUE Consulting Group to develop road network improvement options to provide sufficient access to the Prosperity Ridge development at a cost of $25,000.

Key Points:

• Current road infrastructure appears to be at capacity with the recent opening of Wal-Mart and will require longer term monitoring.

• Prosperity Ridge wants to develop the second phase of their development for additional retail and service.

• There must be adequate vehicle access to the site in order to allow removal of a no-build covenant.

• Options for adequate traffic flows include upgrades to South Lakeside Drive and associated intersections from Hwy 20 to Prosperity Way or a new, dedicated access road from Hwy 20 above Parallel Wood Products.

• Due to long term implications/benefits for other businesses in the area and the residents of South Lakeside Drive, the City wants to identify the most practical and financial viable option for enhancing traffic capacity.

Extension of Services to Dog Creek Road Area

Council passed a resolution, approving in principle, the request of the CRD to explore options for extending municipal water and/or sewer services to the Dog Creek Road area.

Key points:

• Residents of the lower Dog Creek Road area are experiencing water quality issues associated with contaminated wells.

• The CRD is exploring options to provide these residents with water and/or sewer service.

• One option is to extend the City water and sewer services beyond the City boundary on a fee for service basis.

• This resolution allows the CRD to further investigate this option, at no cost to the City of Williams Lake.

Now, contrast that to previous Council Highlights issued by the City (from the September 9th, 2008 meeting of WL City Council):


Several delegations appeared at Tuesday’s Council meeting.

The City said goodbye to Corporal Dan Brennan of the RCMP and recognized his 20 years of service to the Community with a certificate of recognition. Sponsors for the Brahma Bull statue were recognized with framed photographs donated by Woodland Jewellers.

Irene Willsie presented Council with information regarding the upcoming “Take Back the Night” walk against violence event which will take place on September 26th 2008 at 5:30 starting from Boitaino Park. The final presenter was Laurie McKenzie who presented a petition with 2500 signatures from citizens requesting additional
RCMP officers to help combat crime in the City.

Revitalization Tax Exemption
Council gave three readings to the bylaw and directed staff to proceed with the required
advertising. The tax exemption bylaw allows property owners in the downtown specified area to maintain their current level of City taxes for up to three years based on a minimum
investment (improvement) to their property.

City Requests Reimbursement
Council will send a letter to Interior Health putting them on notice they will be billed
annually on a per call basis until such time that they fulfill their mandate of providing a detox
centre and/or demonstrate a significant
reduction in the utilization of RCMP resources to
deal with the issue of intoxication on the community. The RCMP report that there were
over 1200 reported cases and 800 arrests due to persons intoxicated in the community. Council recognizes that this is taking much needed resources away from the RCMP and feels that Interior Health needs to be a participant in a solution.

Supportive Housing Complex
The public hearing was held prior to Tuesdays’ Council Meeting. Council then gave third
reading and adopted the bylaw for the OCP and zoning amendments which will bring a new
Supportive Housing Complex for the Cariboo Friendship Society. Council acknowledge the
hard work of everyone involved and gave credit to the fact that the project will be done to LEED "Gold” environmental standards.

The City Turns 80
2009 is the official 80th birthday of the City of Williams Lake. Council directed staff to
prepare a celebration to recognize the event.

The week of October 5th – 11th, 2008 has been proclaimed as "Fire Prevention Week" in the
City of Williams Lake, pursuant to City Policy. The week of September 29th to Oct 5th has been declared as “Celebrate Life” week in the City.

Support for BC Heritage Sites
At the request of BC Heritage Properties, Council directed staff to write a letter of
support encouraging the Provincial Government to support BC Heritage Sites which include
Barkerville, Cottonwood House and Hat Creek Ranch.

Firehall Contract
The Construction Management Contract for the new firehall was awarded to Liberty Contract Management Inc. from Vancouver in the amount of $550,000. Liberty will be
responsible for tendering the various components of the firehall which has a total
budget of $6.5 million. The expectation is that many of the tenders will remain local.
Construction on the firehall will likely start this fall or early spring.

Zoning Approvals

Council gave 2nd reading to the application from Aviator Hotel which will see a 136 room, five story hotel located beside the Loon Restaurant. A Public hearing will take place on October 14th.

Quite frankly, the Council Highlights of September 8th is a shining example of how a Council Highlights should be done. The Council Highlights on December 1st is a shining example of how not to do Council Highlights

Council Highlights should include:

* Delegations received
* Major Business conducted including a brief description of the item discussed
* Any Bylaw(s) considered
* Any Proclamations issued

Now, that doesn't stop the City from issuing press releases on specific items that Council considered that require more detailed information, so the public is aware of it

I hope and pray that Council will do the above, with regard to its' Council Highlights in the future

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Time Change: City of WL Budget 2010 Public Consultation Meeting

I've just been informed that the Public Consultation Meeting, with regard to the City of WL 2010 Budget, has had its' meeting start time changed. So, unless things change, the particulars of the meeting are:

Date: Tuesday, December 8th, 2009
Time: 7:30pm
Place: Williams Lake Council Chambers

I urge all of my blog readers' to come to this meeting and tell your elected members of Williams Lake City Council what your priorities for the 2010 Budget are

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

City of WL 2010 Budget Process

From the City of Williams Lake website:

2010 Budget Process

City Council will be holding a Public Information Meeting at 6:30pm on Tuesday, December 8th in Council Chambers to provide an overview of Council’s Strategic Direction for the 2010 Budget process. The meeting will include an overview of the 2008-2011 Corporate Priorities, additional Corporate Priorities for 2010 and budget targets for the 2010 operating and capital budgets.

Budget development is at the very preliminary stages and no budget scenarios will be provided at this time. Council will be seeking general input of the direction and targets it has set for the 2010 budget. Additional public meetings will take place in the new-year once budget scenarios/options have been developed.

In 2008, Council committed that they would provide an enhanced level of public consultation as the annual budgets are developed. Traditionally, the public have only been provided with an opportunity to review the budget as a last step in the process. The public are now being provided more opportunities for input at earlier stages in the process.

Steve Rant - Procedural Fairness & WL Council

Natural Justice, which also includes the notion of procedural fairness is partially described as:

(from Wikipedia)

"Proceedings should be conducted so they are fair to all the parties - expressed in the Latin maxim 'audi alteram partem': 'let the other side be heard'."

The City of Williams Lake Council is beginning to acquire a number of examples where this principle has not been applied

Such examples include:

1) Failure to notify the public of WL Council's intention to adopt Bylaws #2093 (Traffic Control Bylaw, relative to prohibition of placing of material and vehicles on boulevard's in the City) and Bylaw #2102 (Animal Control Bylaw)

2) Failure to give reasonable notice to the public of either an In-Camera or Special Meeting of Council including the calling of Special or Regular meetings of the Central Cariboo Joint Committee (including this Friday's Joint Committee meeting, with regard to the Arts and Culture Function - next steps) and next Tuesday's public meeting with regard to the 2010 Budget - Reminder, that this meeting is on Tuesday, December 8th @ 7:00pm in Council Chambers

This Council must learn and understand that their actions must be seen to be fair to all. It is not enough to say: we've always done it this way, so what's the problem..?

On the subject of next week's public consultation meeting for the City's 2010 Budget, for Mayor Cook to say - well, I told members of the WL & District Chamber of Commerce of this meeting and announced it at the recent "Imagine Our Future" community workshop and call it "notice" is at the height of arrogance. The general public at large doesn't get to attend either of these meetings.

If the standard for notifying the public for a Public Hearing on a Land Use Bylaw is 9 days, then I would think that it should be the rule that notice of a meeting of Council, whether Regular or Special on any subject should be at least 7 days before the meeting takes place. This rule should also be enforced for any Committee of Council including the Central Cariboo Joint Committee

Failure to consider this means that WL Council is not meeting the "public interest" test which requires that Council's actions must be viewed as being fair to all sides

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

WL Council Meeting Highlights - December 1st, 2009

Present: Mayor K. Cook and Councillors SPS Rathor, T. Barr, and L. Walters

Absent: Councillors G. Bourdon, S. Zacharias and N. Montoya

Staff Present:

Brian Carruthers – CAO
Cindy Bouchard – Corporate Services Records Coordinator
Geoff Goodall - General Manager of Planning & Operations
Tom Chung – IT Manager

Meeting called to order at 7:30pm

Minutes of the November 17th, 2009 Council meeting approved


Representatives from the Royal Canadian Legion described to Council some of the services that they provide to the City and area

Mayor Cook then presented representatives of the Royal Canadian Legion with a “Community Spirit Certificate”


1) Council approved the following Council Meeting schedule for 2010:

January 12 & 26
February 9 & 23
March 9 & 23
April 6 & 20
May 11 & 25
June 8 & 22
July 6 & 20
August 10 & 24
September 7 & 21
October 5 & 19
November 9 & 23
December 7 & 21

2) Council approved the following “Acting Mayor” List for 2010:

January - Councillor Tom Barr
February - Councillor Geoff Bourdon
March - Councillor Natalie Montoya
April - Councillor Surinderpal Rathor
May - Councillor Laurie Walters
June - Councillor Sue Zacharias
July - Councillor Tom Barr
August - Councillor Geoff Bourdon
September - Councillor Natalie Montoya
October - Councillor Surinderpal Rathor
November - Councillor Laurie Walters
December - Councillor Sue Zacharias

3) Council set Friday , January 2, 2010 as Wrestling Day in the City of Williams Lake, in accordance with Council Policy #115

4) Council agreed to recommend to the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch that Signal Point Gaming be allowed to operate until the following dates/times over the holiday season:

To 1:00am - December 27-30, 2009
To 2:00am - December 31st, 2009

5) Council approved the lease for the Ministry of Forests Tanker Base at the Williams Lake Regional Airport with an annual rent of $40,905.00, and the Mayor and Corporate Officer was authorized to sign on behalf of the City.

6) Council approved an increase of hangar lease rates at the Williams Lake Regional Airport to a standard $1.86/m2 to be implemented upon renewal of each individual lease

7) Council approved the ICBC Contribution Agreement which provides $5,000 of funding towards the 8th Avenue / Oliver Street traffic signal upgrades that were completed in August of 2009.

8) Council gave 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Reading to Mackenzie Avenue Rehabilitation Loan Authorization Bylaw No. 2108, 2009, and Staff were directed to obtain the approval of the Inspector of Municipalities to permit the borrowing of up to $3,500,000 to undertake the project, subject to obtaining the approval of the Electors through an Alternative Approval Process (AAP), as outlined in Section 86 of the Community Charter. The CAO noted that this process will take about 80 days to complete, starting tonight and the public will kept informed during the Mackenzie Avenue Rehabilitation project

9) Council adopted Bylaw #2106, 2009 (2010 Borrowing in Anticipation of Revenue Bylaw)

10) Council adopted a number of recommendations from the last Committee of the Whole meeting including:

• Request from WLCBIA to re-consider its’ request for a Grant in Aid in 2010 for the Annual Street Party be referred to the next Central Cariboo Joint Committee meeting and that Council support the request of the WLCBIA to reconsider its’ Grant in Aid application in 2010 for the Annual Street Party
Refer a request to consider the establishment of a City/CRD Fee for Service arrangement to be funded 70/30 (City/CRD) to the next Central Cariboo Joint Committee meeting
• Council authorized Staff to retain TRUE Consulting Group for engineering services to develop road network improvement options necessary to provide a sufficient level of service to the Prosperity Ridge development at a cost of $25,000 from the 2010 budget
• The Public submissions regarding the prohibition of boulevard parking in the new Traffic Control Bylaw No. 2093 on Tuesday, November 24th were received and Staff were asked to investigate and report back to Council through the Development Services and Public Works Portfolio.
• Staff asked to bring forward a Policy on Public Consultation with regard to Proposed Regulatory Bylaws for Council’s consideration
• Council approved in principle the request of the Cariboo Regional District to explore options of extending municipal water and sewer services to the Dog Creek Road area; and further, Staff be authorized to work in conjunction with the Cariboo Regional District to explore infrastructure extension possibilities

11) Council received a letter from the District of Mackenzie regarding the Regional Geologist position based at the PG Mining & Minerals’ division office and agreed to send a letter of support to the Energy, Mines and Petroleum Products Minister (Hon. Blair Lekstrom) supporting the position of the District of Mackenzie on this subject and that the letter, from the District of Mackenzie, be forwarded to the MLA’s for Cariboo-North and Cariboo-Chilcotin for their information

12) LATE ITEM - Council endorsed the application for a Community / Institutional Free Crown Grant for land adjacent to the Williams Lake Regional Airport

Information/Announcements by Council Members:

Councillor Walters:

• Trip to China with Councillor Bourdon & Alan Madrigga (Economic Development Manager) – Council Report to come forward soon regarding this trip
• Attended the Cariboo Hospital Trust Foundation Gala this past Saturday. $30,000 was raised at the Gala
• Reminder to use Operation: Red Nose service during the holiday season

Councillor Barr:

• Request to ensure advertising regarding next Tuesday’s 2010 Budget meeting with the public takes place

Councillor Rathor:

• Crime Stats, year to date. Thanked everyone who worked together to reduce the crime stats this year
• Thanks to MP Dick Harris for his assistance for infrastructure project applications
• Mackenzie Avenue – request to community to support this project and will work to ensure that the public is kept informed throughout this process
• Expressed satisfaction that next Tuesday’s meeting with the public on the 2010 Budget will be taking place. Requested that the public come out and tell your elected members of Council what your Budget priorities are
• Wished everyone a happy holiday season and reminded everyone not to drink & drive. If you plan on drinking at an event, please make alternate arrangements (ie - use the Operation: Red Nose service, take a taxi or use a designated driver)

Mayor Cook:

• Attended the Wal-Mart Grand Opening on Wednesday, November 25th. Wal-Mart gave out several cheques to non-profit groups in the community
• Thanked members of the local Winter Lights Committee for their hard work, with regard to the event last Friday
• Will be a reader at the “Christmas Carol” reading at the Anglican Church on Sunday

Meeting adjourned at 8:50pm

Update: Central Cariboo Joint Committee meeting on Friday, December 4th

Earlier, I had indicated that a special meeting of the Central Cariboo Joint Committee would take place on Friday, December 4th at 5:00pm. I wish to clarify that information with the following:

Special Meeting of the Central Cariboo Joint Committee

Location: WL City Hall - Committee Room #1
Date: Friday, December 4th
Time: 4:00pm

Meeting Agenda Items to follow ASAP. But the future direction of the Central Cariboo Arts and Culture Function is one Agenda item. As well, there will be an In-Camera session at this meeting - whether before or after the meeting, I am still unsure but as soon as I know, I'll let my readers' know here

Tuesday News Round-up

In your Williams Lake Tribune today:

i) Story on yesterday's announcement that the Cariboo Regional District had received the prestigious title of "Forest Capital of Canada" for 2010 & 2011 from the Canadian Forestry Association - more here

ii) Taseko has entered into a joint venture with a Japanese firm for operations at Gibraltar Mines - more here

iii) From the "Good News" department, a young man faithfully returns a wallet belonging to a senior living at WL Seniors' Village - more here

iv) Story on the housing market being active in 2010 - more here

In the Vancouver Province, political columnist Micheal Smyth talks about the 2 year battle that BC NDP Leader Carole James will have to hang on to her post - more here

Also - Mayor Kerry Cook has informed me that a "pre-budget" consultation meeting with the public will take place on Tuesday, December 8th. The meeting is likely to be held in Council Chambers and the meeting to start at 7:00pm. Some questions that my readers should consider thinking about are:

i) What are your priorities for the 2010 Budget?
ii) Do you want your Council to hold the line on municipal taxes? Would you accept a cut in services or capital spending to achieve this goal?
iii) Do you want to see your Council increase spending in capital or operations? And where?

Please think about these 3 questions and bring your answers to this meeting and any other questions that pertain to the 2010 Budget to this meeting and let your elected members of WL Council know so that they may have your thoughts as they enter into the 2010 Budget deliberations process.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Breaking News - CRD awarded title of "Forest Capital of Canada

At a press conference this morning, the Cariboo Regional District was awarded the prestigous title of "Forest Capital of Canada" for 2010 & 2011

Congrats to Staff/Directors at the Cariboo Regional District, Staff and Councils throughout the Cariboo-Chilcotin and Forest Industry Leaders in the Cariboo-Chilcotin region for successfully lobbying for this prestigous title of "Forest Capital of Canada"

I look forward to seeing the Cariboo Regional District using the designation of "Forest Capital of Canada" to enhance our economic development efforts in 2010 & 2011

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Steve Rant - City of WL Deputy Mayor & Mackenzie Avenue

On Tuesday, WL Council is set to meet and one of the topics for discussion is the appointment of Acting Mayors for 2010. For the record, this is the recommendation from City of WL Staff on this subject:

That pursuant to the report of the Corporate Services / Records Management Coordinator dated November 25, 2009, Council designate Councillors as Acting Mayor for the calendar year 2010, pursuant to the following schedule:

January - Councillor Tom Barr
February - Councillor Geoff Bourdon
March - Councillor Natalie Montoya
April - Councillor Surinderpal Rathor
May - Councillor Laurie Walters
June - Councillor Sue Zacharias
July - Councillor Tom Barr
August - Councillor Geoff Bourdon
September - Councillor Natalie Montoya
October - Councillor Surinderpal Rathor
November - Councillor Laurie Walters
December - Councillor Sue Zacharias

I do not see any reference to Councillor Rathor being re-appointed as Deputy Mayor for 2010 and I believe that calls into question the sincerity of Mayor Cook's promise to make Councillor Rathor as Deputy Mayor of the City for the entire term.

Also, on Council's Agenda for Tuesday, Council will be considering a recommendation from Staff to give 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Reading to Bylaw #2108 - Mackenzie Avenue Rehabilitation Loan Authorization Bylaw which, if adopted, would permit Council to borrow "up to" $3.5 million for the re-paving of Mackenzie Avenue from where it meets with Highway 97 South (by Husky Gas Station) to Highway 97 North (the Connector)

I sent Brian Carruthers (City of WL CAO) two emails on this subject and he notes the following:

i) The degree of work on any given section of Mackenzie Avenue will depend on the condition of the pavement/base and susceptibility to future damage/failure.

ii) The Mackenzie Rehab and Pavement Management Plan are two separate projects. The Mackenzie feasibility study will take a comprehensive look at the entire length of Mackenzie, the current condition and what will be required to rehabilitate the road based on the failures it is experiencing. The Pavement Management Plan will provide direction with respect to priorities for repaving and reconstruction of our general road network in the municipality and will provide a longer strategy

I would note that while I concur with the above, it would be appropriate to involve the public somehow prior to work commencing on Mackenzie Avenue as I believe the public will legitimately ask for the City's long term vision for road repairs.

Also, with the state of the local economy the way it is - a demonstration to the public of a long term vision of how the rehabilitation of the entire Mackenzie Avenue length fits into the City's long term economic and strategic plans would be appropriate.

Again, if this is not done, this would call into question the legitimacy of Mayor Cook's comments in the fall of 2008 around how approval for long-term borrowing for the new Fire Hall was done and how she indicated that she would do better.

When running for office - it is always ok to criticize the current office holders for their actions, but what it is not ok is to criticize and then to do exactly what you say you wouldn't do. There is only one word for that - hypocrisy.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Local Government Meetings in Cariboo-Chilcotin - Week of Nov 30 - Dec 4

There are several meetings by local governments in Cariboo-Chilcotin this upcoming week:

Cariboo Regional District - no meeting next week, but meets on Friday, December 11th

City of Quesnel - meets on Monday, November 30th at 7:00pm in Quesnel Council Chambers

The link to the Agenda/Reports for their meeting is here

City of Williams Lake - meets on Tuesday, December 1st at 7:30pm in Williams Lake Council Chambers

The link to the Agenda/Reports for their meeting is here

District of 100 Mile House - meets on Thursday, December 3rd at 11:45am in a Special Meeting

The link to the Agenda is here

Also, the Central Cariboo/City of Williams Lake Joint Committee will meet in a Special Meeting on Friday, December 4th. It'll likely be at City Hall - Committee Room #1 at 5:00pm. I'm also told that an In-Camera meeting will occur - if before or after the meeting, I'm not sure. One topic of discussion, in the public portion of the meeting, will be the outcome of the Wednesday, November 25th Public Meeting on the Service Delivery Plan for the Central Cariboo Arts and Culture Function and any written comments received on this Plan and what recommendation(s) the Joint Committee will provide to the CRD Board on the Service Delivery Plan for its' December 11th meeting

Friday, November 27, 2009

Summerland Council - Out of Work?

In a shocking turn of events, the entire Council of Summerland could be disqualified from office after admitting that they all (Mayor and Councillors') accepted anonymous donations of over $50, prohibited by the Local Government Act.

More on this story from News 1130:

SUMMERLAND (NEWS1130) - Who is running Summerland? The Vancouver Sun reports all six councillors and Mayor Janice Perrino have admitted in campaign finance disclosure statements that they took anonymous donations during the last municipal election. That's illegal if it's more than $50.

The penalty? Disqualification from office. The problem is, no one is in charge of enforcing the law and firing the the mayor and councillors.

Update: The Vancouver Sun has more on this story here