Wednesday, April 22, 2009

WL Council Report - April 21st

In Attendance:

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

Staff Present:

Alberto DeFeo - CAO
Sue Moxey - Corporate Officer
Darcy Lazzarin - GM of Corporate Services
Geoff Goodall - GM of Planning and Operations
Anne Burill - Manager, Social Development
Alan Madrigga - Manager, Economic Development

Meeting called to order at 7:31pm


1) Stampede Queen Contestants (3) - The contestants gave Council a brief background on themselves

2) Capt Randy Kadonaga from Salvation Army gave Council an update on services provided by the Salvation Army. Mayor Cook then presented a "Community Spirit Certificate" to Capt Kadonaga thanking him, on behalf of Council and citizens of Williams Lake for all of their hard work

3) Staff Sgt Grant Martin (RCMP - WL Detachment Commander) presented an update to Council on crime stats and major cases in Williams Lake


1) Council adopted a report from Sue Moxey confirming that 2008 Council Candidate Chuck Pearson will be prohibited from running in the 2011 Local Government Election, due to Mr. Pearson failing to file a financial disclosure form on either March 16th and April 16th. This report will now be forwarded to Victoria for official confirmation, in accordance with Section 92.2 (1) of the Local Government Act

2) Council will be forwarding letters of support for both the Prosperity Mine Project and ESP's application to the Ministry of Housing & Social Development for a Labour Market Partnership - Project Funding

3) Council adopted Bylaw 2096 (Budget and 5-Year Financial Plan Bylaw) - Councillor Rathor was opposed

4) Council gave 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Reading to Bylaw 2097 (Annual Property Tax Bylaw) - Councillor Rathor was opposed

5) DVP #2-2009 and DP #1-2009 (Development Variance Permit / Development Permit) for Aviator Hotel were approved by Council. The DVP/DP dealt with form/character and parking restrictions for the Hotel. Construction for this Hotel will be commencing very soon

6) Website/Logo&Tagline for OCP/ICSP Review - Council approved the website, Logo and Tagline for the OCP/ICSP Review, which is to commence later this year

7) Annual Transit Operating Agreement - Council approved the agreement

8) 54th Annual NCMA (North Central Muncipal Association) - Council authorized Mayor and Councillors' to attend this conference May 6-8, 2009 in Dawson Creek, BC

9) North Cariboo Communities will be challenging Central Cariboo communities on Move for Health Day on May 7th. There will phone numbers that people can call in to their local Recreation facility and register the amount of time that they were active. Last year, Williams Lake beat out Quesnel for the most active residents'. I'd like to see us beat out Quesnel again this year

10) Canada Day Celebrations will take place this July 1st. Council agreed to waive fees for use of Boitanio Park, in addition to covering the event under the City's Insurance umbrella

11) The following days/month were proclaimed in Williams Lake:

April 19th to 25th - Prevention of Violence Against Women Week
May 2009 - Hearing and Speech Month

12) Council received In-Camera Report #2-2009 that stated the following:

"That the Highway 20 upgrade for access into the RC Cotton Site be confirmed as Council’s No. 1 priority for a grant application to the Building Canada Fund"

No further details are available with regard to the above In-Camera Resolution

Meeting adjourned at 9:15pm

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

BC Premier visits Williams Lake

Last Saturday, BC Premier and BC Liberal Party Leader Gordon Campbell visited Williams Lake.

Videos can be viewed here and here on his visit

Monday, April 20, 2009

BC Energy Policy - BC Liberals correct the BC NDP

Barry Penner (Minister of Environment and BC Liberal Candidate for Chilliwack-Hope) posted a video on YouTube correcting some of the NDP's erroneous statements on BC's Energy Policies

The video can be viewed here

Don't forget - 22 Days to the Election

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Facebook & BC Election 2009

In keeping with some of the shenanigans we saw during the Federal Election last fall, here is the story of Facebook and the former BC NDP Candidate for Vancouver-False Creek, Ray Lam, as reported by CTV

The story is here

Public Consultation - City of Williams Lake

On April 14th, the City of Williams Lake presented its' 2009 Budget and 5 Year Financial Plan as well as presenting some community projects that could be submitted to either the Recreation Component of the Building Canada Fund or the Building Canada Fund itself. Those projects included:

i) Highway 20/Mackenzie Avenue Intersection
ii) Mackenzie Avenue
iii) Phase 2 of CMRC (Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex)

It should be noted that the Highway 20/Mackenzie Avenue Intersection Project is closest to be ready for submittal by April 24th (next deadline for funding intake for the Building Canada Fund).

The Mackenzie Avenue project requires more detailed research for exact costing. The City has applied for funding to complete this task

The plans for Phase 2 at CMRC are being updated as we speak and I hope that the public will get to see those plans prior to the Central Cariboo Joint Committee submitting those plans to the Building Canada Fund in 2010.

The original intent to present these 3 projects was to ask the public whether or not any other worthy community projects were missing from the list and whether or not they should be added. I give the City full marks for doing this however they missed the mark when they did not ask the public to indicate 1 Project which would be their #1 Priority for submission to the Building Canada Fund.

On April 7th, Council, at a In-Camera Meeting, resolved the following:

"That the Highway 20 upgrade for access into the RC Cotton Site be confirmed as Council’s No. 1 priority for a grant application to the Building Canada Fund"

This makes a mockery of the original intent of the April 14th meeting which was to consult with the public on worthy community projects to be submitted to the Building Canada Fund. To consult with the public on this and to have made up your mind beforehand makes a mockery of the idea of Public Consultation, which is to take a proposal and seek the community's opinion prior to making a decision, not to consult with the public on a proposal while making a decision beforehand. I'll be discussing this particular case along with improving the Budget Process in the City with Mayor Cook on May 1st. I hope, following that meeting, that instances like this will be the exception rather than the rule

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Breaking News - Tolko Lakeside Division to re-open Monday

Hello all:

Tolko's Lakeside Division is scheduled to re-open, as reported by the Williams Lake Tribune

The story is here

Charlie Wyse and the Port Mann Bridge Expansion Project

Yesterday, Langley Township Councillor Jordan Bateman blogged on Charlie Wyse and his/NDP's position on the Port Mann Expansion Project:

"Oh Charlie Wyse. The NDP candidate, running for re-election in Cariboo-Chilcotin, made it clear what the NDP's commitment is to expanding the Port Mann Bridge: they plan to stop it. As reported in the Williams Lake Tribune, Wyse told his riding association that the PM2 project should not be a priority. Naturally, Kevin Falcon thinks that's crazy talk."

If I were Charlie Wyse, I'd stick to issues in Cariboo-Chilcotin like IPP's (Independent Power Producers'), Agriculture, Transportation and the Forest Industry and leave other election issues in other areas alone. As for the Port Mann Bridge Expansion Project, as an northern and someone who makes use of that bridge to visit family, I see the expansion as a excellent public project and should have been done years ago and shame on the NDP for not looking long-term on transportation issues and being short-sighted and ideological in their transportation planning methods.

Of course, that's not a surprise as Burnaby is on the other side of the Port Mann Bridge and Derek Corrigan (Burnaby's Mayor) has been against the expansion since Day 1 and he is a radical and hard-core NDP supporter and suggested years ago that expanding the Port Mann Bridge would turn Burnaby into a "parking lot". Of course, anyone that has half a brain knows expanding the Port Mann will provide opportunities to expand public transit options which will, in turn, lower vehicle congestion on Highway #1 through Burnaby and other areas in Metro Vancouver considerably.

BC Liberal Party releases their Platform

Yesterday, Gordon Campbell (BC Liberal Party Leader + Premier of BC) released the Party's Platform. The link is here

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

BC Liberals Hold Strong Lead

Mustel Group released a new poll indicating that the BC Liberal Party is now holding a whopping 17 point lead over the NDP.

The actual numbers are:

BC Liberals: 52% popular support - no change
BC NDP: 35% popular support - down 1%
Green Party of BC: 12% popular support - no change
Other/Fringe Parties: 1% popular support - no change

The technical document is here

If this lead continues, this could spell major electoral doom for the NDP. But there are 28 days to go, and as we know in BC Politics, anything can happen. Remember the '96 Election, in which the NDP had less Popular Support than the BC Liberal Party, but the NDP still won the election on the basis of seats

Good Tuesday

Hello all, I hope your Easter long-weekend was a good one for you and your family. It's overcast and - 3°C (and yes, that is in April). Anyhow, some news of the day:

1) Mr. Justice McKinnon's Court Case - Barnett vs. Cariboo Regional District:

I've read the decision and without making this blog extra long, the Court ruled that if there was a case to be made with respect to alleged allegations from individuals, who could include CRD Staff, Directors or CAO towards a Director(s), the allegation(s) must be specific and the process used must be neutral and allow for the parties to respond in a reasonable manner that respects the principle of natural justice. The old saying applies here: "Innocent until proven Guilty". The actual court ruling of Barnett v. Cariboo Regional District is here. Also, today's WL Tribune has a letter to the editor from Area 'F' Director Duncan Barnett with regards to this Court Case. The letter is here. There are also articles on this subject from the Vancouver Sun here and also in the BC Edition of the Globe and Mail here

2) Public Consultation on the 2009 City of Williams Lake Budget and 5-Year Financial Plan covering years 2009-2013

A reminder that at 7:00pm in Council Chambers at 450 Mart Street, Williams Lake, BC, on April 14th (tonight) Council will hear from the public on its' 2009 Budget. If you have any concerns, please come and express them to your elected officials. The Budget is slated to be adopted at Council's April 21st meeting

3) 39th Provincial General Election

The election will be underway in earnest later today. It is expected that Premier Gordon Campbell will visit Lt-Gov Steven L Point and ask him formally to dissolve the 38th Parliament of BC. As per tradition in the province, the election campaign will be 28 days with the actual voting day being designated as Tuesday, May 12th, 2009. There are 85 seats up for grabs. Locally, in Cariboo-North, it will be Bruce Ernst running for the BC Liberal Party against incumbent MLA and Cariboo-North NDP Candidate Bob Simpson. In Cariboo-Chilcotin, it will be Donna Barnett running under the BC Liberal Party flag against incumbent MLA and Cariboo-Chilcotin NDP Candidate Charlie Wyse. I'm personally looking forward to the campaign and the debates that will flow from the campaign

Have a great day!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

BC NDP release their Party Platform for 2009 Election

The Vancouver Sun is reporting that Carole James, Leader of the BC NDP has publicly release their "fully costed" platform for the 2009 Election. The full story is here as well as an analysis done by Vaughn Palmer, Vancouver Sun's Chief Political Reporter. His story is here

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Breaking News: Area 'F' Director wins his Court Case against CRD Board

I've just received a press release from the Cariboo Regional District advising it has received the formal decision of Mr. Justice McKinnon with regard to the court case of Barnett v. Cariboo Regional District and CRD Electoral Area 'F' Director has had his restrictions relative to CRD Staff set aside by the Supreme Court. I will be doing an in-depth analysis of Mr. Justice McKinnon's decision in the next few days, once I receive a copy of it

City of WL 2009 Budget

As I've already pointed out in my WL Council Meeting Report, WL Council has agreed in principle to the 2009 Budget, which calls for a 2.5% tax hike across tax classes for 2009 and 5.0% in years 2010-2013

At a time when Council agreed to suspend the 50% rate increase for water/sewer rates for 2009, it would be at the height of hypocrisy to hike property taxes across all classes by 2.5% for 2009. As the old saying goes, Council would be giving with one hand and taking with the other

Also, when Council suggests that the additional $26 could be made up, either by having 1 less dinner out night or cutting back on Tim Hortons' coffee/muffin deals for a year, is irresponsible and frankly insensitive to those who have cut out these pleasures and spent their savings trying to survive in these difficult economic times. Also, try telling that to seniors' who already make some pretty tough choices between food and the medicines they need to maintain their good health.

So, again - the Public Input Session for the 2009 City of Williams Lake Budget is on Tuesday, April 14th, 2009 at 7:00pm in Council Chambers. If you don't think you can afford any more property tax hikes for 2009, this is your one and only opportunity to tell Council, prior to Council adopting both the 2009 Budget/5 Year Financial Plan for 2009-2013

WL Council Meeting Report - Tuesday, April 7th

Present - Mayor Cook with Councillors Rathor, Montoya, Barr, Walters, Bourdon and Zacharias

Staff Present:

Alberto DeFeo, CAO
Darcy Lazzarin, GM of Corporate Services
Geoff Goodall, GM of Planning and Operations
Brian Carruthers, GM of Community Services
Tom Chung, IT Manager
Cindy Bouchard, Records Coordinator, Corporate Services Department

Meeting called to order at 7:30pm

Minutes of March 24th meeting were adopted

2 Delegations:

1) Keaton Carruthers (son of Brian Carruthers) played 2 songs for Council on his violin
2) Charlie Wyse, MLA for Cariboo-South advised Council of two issues that his office was working on:

i) NAV Canada proposal to delete FSS (Flight Service Station) services at WL Regional Airport - meeting today with regional stakeholders to discuss the issues involved and decide next steps

ii) 2nd Floor Redevelopment at Cariboo Memorial Hospital - Council to follow-up for further action

Council Business:

1) 2009-2013 Financial Plan

Council agreed to the following unanimously:

a) That the 2009-2013 Financial Plan be sent to a Public Input Session on Tuesday, April 14th, 2009 at 7:00pm in Council Chambers

b) That Staff be authorized to Amend Council Policy #84 (Appropriation of Surplus) to increase the minimum surplus in the General Fund from $300,000 to $400,000

c) From May 1st to December 31st, 2009 - Council roll back the cost of living increase to its' pay that it received on January 1st

d) Staff be requested to bring forward a report on options how Council can have a more inclusive Budgeting Process including adopting the Financial Plan earlier in the fiscal year

However, Council agreed by a 6-1 Vote (Councillor Rathor opposed) to give 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Reading to Bylaw #2096 - Williams Lake Financial Plan for Years 2009-2013

2) Re-Allocation of Funding for a Data Entry Clerk for remainder of 2009 at local RCMP Detachment

Council agreed to re-allocate $42,000 for a Data Clerk position for the period of April - December 2009

3) Canada Day Celebrations

Council agreed to give Karen Roberts/Nancy Giesbrecht $650 for Canada Day celebrations with a request that they apply for a Grant-in-Aide for the 2010 Celebrations

4) Aviator Hotel - New DP (Development Permit) and DVP (Development Variance Permit)

Council agreed to rescind DP #10-2008 and asked Staff to distribute notice on intent to adopt DVP #02-2009 and DP #01-2009 at the April 21st Council meeting to those living within 100 Metres of the Aviator Hotel property. The public will given an opportunity to comment on DVP #01-2009 and DP #02-2009, prior to Council considering to adopt DP #02-2009 and DVP #01-2009 at its' April 21st meeting. These applications will be forwarded to the Advisory Planning Commission for comment as well

5) Bylaws for Adoption:

Council agreed to adopt the following Bylaws:

i) Bylaw #2054 (StarCom Developments)
ii) Bylaw #2084 (Dairy Queen)

6) Fee for Service Contracts for 2009

Council agreed to approve the following Fee for Service contracts for 2009.

NOOPA (Boys & Girls Club)

$ 15,000

Stampede Parade Committee

$ 5,000

WL Stampede Association (Queens)

$ 5,000

Big Brothers & Big Sisters of WL

$ 15,000

Cariboo Chilcotin Hospice Palliative Care Society

$ 16,900

Community Policing Committee

$ 15,000

Scout Island Nature Centre

$ 12,500

Station House Gallery

$ 4,500

WL Harvest Fair

$ 2,500

Youth for Christ

$ 5,000

WL Stampede Association

$ 25,000

Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society

$ 38,600



7) Future Use of Fire Hall - Community Arts Council

Council agreed to confirm its intention to make the existing Fire Hall available to the Community Arts Council upon it being vacated by the Fire Department with the understanding that renovations to the building are subject to obtaining necessary funding and Staff report back on costs and options associated with converting the building to a Community Arts facility

8) Correspendence:

The following letters were received and the request contained therein were approved by Council:

a) Approval be given for Special Occasion Liquor Licenses on June 26, 27, 28 and 29 at the Stampede Grounds, pursuant to City Policy and subject to RCMP approval; and further, the Stampede Association be advised the City has no jurisdiction for the Williams Lake Curling Club

b) Permission be given for the 2009 Graduation Class Parade on June 6, 2009 between 6:30 and 8:00 PM, along the route as outlined, subject to RCMP approval; and further, Emergency Services be so advised

Future Meetings:

April 14th at 7:00pm - Public Input Session on 2009 Budget

April 21st at 7:30pm - Regular Council Meeting

Both of these meetings are in Council Chambers (450 Mart Street)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Upcoming Week in Williams Lake Politics

In the week coming up in Williams Lake Politics:

1) Tuesday, April 7th - City of WL Council (Regular Meeting):

a) 2009 Budget with a 2.5% tax increase being proposed - If Council passes this budget, that would be in my mind, a betrayal to the business and residential community. Neither community can not afford, for 2009, an increase to their taxes. If service cuts are required, at least temporarily for 2009, then so be it. The Public Consultation Meeting required under Section 166 of the Community Charter (Local Government legislation) is on Tuesday, April 14th at 7:00pm in Council Chambers. The Budget Documents are here

b) DP/DVP's for Aviator Hotel (by Laughing Loon) - Staff are proposing the previous DVP/DP's issued for this Hotel be rescinded and new ones be issued, subject to a public input session on April 21st. More info here (DP #1-2009) and here (DVP #02-2009)

c) Local RCMP Detachment (Temporary) Data Entry Clerk Position for remainder of 2009 - Report is here

d) 2009 Fee-for-Service have been set by Council - Report is here

Have a great week