Wednesday, June 30, 2010

City of Williams Lake a member of "Partners for Climate Protection or PCP"

See below for an announcement from the City of Williams Lake announcing that the City is now a member of the federal program - Partners for Climate Protection or PCP:

Mayor Kerry Cook and City Council are pleased to announce that the City of Williams Lake has become a member of the federal program Partners for Climate Protection (PCP). Now that Williams Lake is a member of PCP, the City can move ahead with its plans to implement carbon neutral initiatives within the municipality and the community. The City’s commitment to PCP will play a leading role in Williams Lake becoming an influential sustainable community within the province of British Columbia.

According to Mayor Kerry Cook, “In choosing to commit to both the Climate Action Charter and Partners for Climate Protection, we are choosing to become an influential and progressive voice of the Cariboo-Chilcotin in matters of sustainability. It is great to see such enthusiasm from both City staff and Council, and I am excited to see our City use these new tools to create a greener future for Williams Lake.”

Williams Lake has shown itself to have strong community participation in matters relating to sustainability. Recently receiving the national FCM Sustainability Community Award for the City’s Integrated Community Sustainability Plan (ICSP), Williams Lake has proven its community interest in creating a sustainable future for Williams Lake.

“In signing the Climate Action Charter back in 2007, we committed to meeting the provincial requirements of becoming carbon neutral by 2012. Now, in committing to Partners for Climate Protection, we are assuring that we not only meet the requirements of the province, but exceed them,” stated CAO Brian Carruthers.

The resolution to join Partners for Climate Protection was unanimously agreed upon by Council, and will be a beneficial tool to the City in meeting their commitments. In addition the City is currently completing an emissions inventory to record all current greenhouse gases being released from City operations. Imogen Thompson, GHG Planning Assistant, states “I am thrilled to be working on the emissions inventory, as once Williams Lake knows its current emissions can we successfully work at reducing those emissions”.

Final Report - Prosperity Mine Federal Review Panel

I've received an email from the Manager - Prosperity Mine Federal Review Panel (Colette Spagnuolo) that the Final Report of the Federal Review Panel on the proposed Prosperity Mine will be released publicly at 1:30pm Pacific Time on Friday, July 2nd.

When I receive the report, I'll post a link to it so my blog readers' can read the report for themselves. I will be reviewing the report personally and I'll provide my comments on it sometime next week.

Special WL Council Meeting Highlights - June 30th


Mayor Cook and Councillors Barr, Bourdon and Rathor


Councillors' Natalie Montoya, Laurie Walters and Sue Zacharias

Meeting called to order at 5:00pm


1) After receiving no public submissions or questions, Council adopted the City of Williams Lake 2009 Annual Report. Councillors Rathor and Bourdon commented that the report is a remarkable improvement on previous Annual Reports’ and thanked Brian Carruthers, CAO, for his diligent and hard work on the 2009 Annual Report

Meeting adjourned at 5:03pm

The HST Petition lands in Victoria

The HST Petition has officially landed in Victoria

See more on this story here

Mackenzie Avenue Rehab Project - Weekly Update

Mackenzie Avenue Rehab

Work Currently Underway:

• Pouring the final sections of concrete near Soda Creek Road.
• Installation of curb & gutter near Oliver Street.
• Tidying and preparing for the long weekend (July 1-4), during which no work will take place.

Work Planned for Next Week:

• Milling the existing asphalt in preparation for the next section of concrete. This will begin at Pine Street and head northbound in the slow lane to Frizzi Road. Concrete will also be installed next week starting Wednesday with completion by Thursday.
• Continuation of curb and gutter replacement

Discord on HST within the BC Conservative Party....?

It seems that even executive members of the BC Conservative can agree on its' party position on the HST

From CBC's BC website:

Meanwhile, as the deputy leader of the B.C. Conservative Party joined Vander Zalm in delivering the petition, one of the party's vice-presidents stepped down on Wednesday, saying the party was actually in favour of the tax.

Mischa Popoff said there is a mistaken impression that the B.C. Conservatives want to eliminate the tax.

"This isn't true, unfortunately, even though I wish that my party would take a clear stand on that," he said.

"It turns out the B.C. Conservatives want some sort of compromise solution, a made-in-B.C. solution, or something to that effect. And then there's a contingency of the upper brass of the B.C. Conservative Party that flat out just wants to actually support the HST, but they're not saying so publicly."

Outcome of Yesterday's WL Council (Committee of the Whole) Meeting

1) Heritage Registry

Council heard from Mary Forbes on the possible establishment of a Heritage Registry (which I agree with in principle) and how to save Potato House on 49 Borland Street. This matter has been referred to the Community Services Portfolio for investigation. This Portfolio is chaired by Councillor Laurie Walters. However, on the matter of starting a heritage registry, the City should contact the Cariboo Regional District and see if we can join their Heritage Registry. The City declined, in 2007, to join the Heritage Registry Function and I believe it is time to re-visit that decision. Why re-invent the wheel?

2) In-Camera Meeting

Following adjournment at last night's Committee of the Whole meeting, Council went into an In-Camera meeting (Mayor Cook did gave oral notice but had I not been there, then the public would have not known that Council was meeting behind closed doors). Again, Mayor Cook does not even take my suggestion seriously when I tell her that she needs to ensure that City Hall tells the public when Council goes behind closed doors and why. Furthermore, I had advised her a number of months ago that she needs to have a sign on the Committee Room door to state when Council is meeting in public or in closed session. It is why I and I suspect a number of community members' are seeing no reason to meet with Mayor Cook no longer - Mayor Cook doesn't take seriously the concerns that the public and I bring forward and see more benefit registering their complaints, by way of letters to the editor.

Councils' should hold as few secrets as possible and hold as few closed meetings' and when this is necessary - Council should specifically state the reason why and widely advertise this - both on the City's website and at City Hall as soon as reasonably possible. Posting this information at City Hall and on the City's website would demonstrate a commitment to openness & transparency at City Hall

Bill Vander Zalm on the day before the HST comes into effect

Bill Vander Zalm (former BC Premier, 1986-1991 & Fight HST co-chair) explains in a opinion editorial for the Vancouver Province why the HST is still wrong for BC:

This Canada Day, instead of celebrating the birth of our great nation, many people will be lamenting the death of our democracy with the implementation of the HST. By taking a dictatorial approach to the tax, the B.C. government ensured that the debate about the HST became one of who will have the final say in a democracy -- the government or the people who elect it?

Now, a group of "businessmen" are acting as a front for the government and are trying to quash the petition in court. But the Liberals aren't fooling anybody, and recalls just became that much easier.

With the Recall and Initiative Act, people have a chance to hold the government accountable before another election. This is a tremendous tool, because it's been the game of all governments to play "bait and switch" with voters early in their mandates in the hope of manipulating the people at election time to get re-elected.

If we succeed with the petition to repeal the HST, that game will end in B.C., forever.

Premier Campbell plans to travel B.C. to try to change the debate to the so-called "merits" of the HST. But here again the Liberal attempt to manipulate the people's reaction to their Hated Sales Tax will fail. The HST is not only bad politics, but it is bad policy:

1. First, it is a cruel tax that will hurt low-income, fixed-income, students, working families and seniors the most. It takes B.C. from a "progressive" tax system to a "regressive" system, where people with lower and middle incomes will pay proportionately more tax than others.

2. It will kill jobs and damage economic activity as people curb consumption to make up for the extra cost. The Liberal line that business will create jobs because of a refund cheque has not been backed up by a single company promising a single job when the HST arrives. All we've seen so far is job losses, like the $18-million housing project in Squamish that was recently cancelled because of the HST.

3. It eliminates fees paid to businesses to collect PST. HST must be collected for free.

4. It will drive up inflation as people demand higher wages to pay the extra seven-per-cent cost, offsetting any benefits to businesses from the input credits. Everywhere in Europe where the HST (called a VAT) has been implemented, it has driven up costs.

5. It will push the economy underground. In the U.K., VAT evasion is over $20 billion per year. In Greece, it is estimated that over 80 per cent of people no longer pay taxes. In France, the government was forced to lower the VAT to 5.5 per cent from 19 per cent on restaurant meals in order to save the industry from collapse and to stem the tide of uninvoiced cash transactions.

6. It will make B.C. less competitive. Our biggest trading partners are in Alberta, Washington, Oregon and Asia, where there is no HST, not Ontario. HST provinces like Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick have the highest unemployment and largest per-capita deficits, while Saskatchewan and Manitoba, where there is no HST, have booming economies and the highest job creation.

7. It will cost more to administer. Ottawa is hiring all of B.C.'s 1,200 provincial tax collectors, yet the only thing that will change is instead of calculating the GST at five per cent, they will calculate the HST at 12 per cent.

8. The federal government will take $250 million per year from B.C. in additional income taxes for costs previously considered a "write off" under PST, which will now become taxable under HST. So much for the benevolence of their $1.6-billion transition "gift" -- not a bad rate of interest.

9. The HST is more complex. The HST agreement has 16 pages of calculus formulas outlining the revenue sharing with B.C. that will require math geniuses or computers (or both) to figure out. And the federal government will do the calculating.

10. It will destroy B.C.'s sovereignty over provincial taxation. Ottawa will now set the rates, determine our exemptions and will calculate and distribute the revenues to B.C. The HST is as much a power grab by Ottawa as it is a money grab by the Liberals. B.C. does not need to give away control of our taxes in order to reform them. That is a false choice, and one the B.C. government wants to avoid talking about at all costs.

There isn't anything in this world that can't be improved, including our tax system. But the government must cancel the HST. Then, and only then, can we have a real debate. Otherwise, the premier is simply forcing the same bad policy on the people without their input or approval. And no matter how nicely they try to dress that up, it's just more dictatorship.

Canada Day 2010 does not mark the day the government forced the HST on us. It marks the day British Columbians stood up and said "Enough!"

Former City Councillor Paul French on 4 Year Terms for Local Government

Yesterday, I blogged on the fact that former City Councillor Paul French wrote a letter to the editor in yesterday's Williams Lake Tribune on the fact that local governments terms of office should be 3 years and not 4.

Now - I have a huge amount of respect for the entire French family which includes Diana and Paul French. However, I am forced to disagree with Paul on this point for the following reasons:

1) Provincial/Federal Government Terms of Office

Recent practice dictates that Ottawa (when it last a majority government) and Victoria both have 4 year terms so having 4 year muncipal terms would allow us to work more hand-in-hand with Ottawa and Victoria. And while I'm on this point, because of most financial arrangements with Victoria/Ottawa, local government should consider syncing their financial years with Victoria/Ottawa (April 1 - March 31), instead of the current financial year for local governments (Jan 1 - Dec 31)

2) MLA Length of Office

Right now, the practice of MLA's in this province and most provinces, is to have a 4 year term. It is rare for a MLA to have a 5 year term (in BC - this occured during the Glen Clark/Ujjal Donsanjh BC NDP Government of 1996-2001). If MLA's can commit to 4 years (and get elected), then local politicians shouldn't have a problem, if they know what they're in for

3) Out of Control Local Councils'

If a Council is truly out of control, then I'm prepared to wait until the term of office is done before I'll run as a candidate . As Mr. French points out, the voters' will reward those who do a good job and replace those who are doing a poor job


Mr. French's concerns are valid however I personally believe 4 year terms for municipal governments and regional district boards' are good things. Moreover, I believe Victoria will implement this, as part of the reforms to the local government elections' process

Quesnel Council Meeting Highlights - June 28th, 2010

Housing Needs Assessment report received

Upon receipt of the report, Quesnel Council heard that there is inadequate non-market (or aff ordable) housing in our community. The report indicated that the total supply of affordable housing was 208, the total amount of affordable housing needed was 1155, leaving a deficit of 947.

The generally accepted definition of affordability, is housing that costs 30% or less of a household’s income. Quesnel City Council confirmed that staff should consult with the public on desired next steps for affordable housing. The report recommended a housing strategy which would include, among other things, establishing housing goals and objectives, confirming needs and issues, outlining resources, identifying partners and their roles, and identifying priorities.

Secondary Suites Survey

A number of institutions and organizations have advocated for secondary suites as one option for increasing the affordable housing supply in communities. A number of communities have either removed or relaxed their regulations around this form of housing. Quesnel City Council had authorized a survey to assess the community’s desire to review policy in this area.

The survey showed that in Quesnel, approximately 67% of City residents supported the City modifying its bylaws to allow for secondary suites in single-detached dwellings.

There were 33% opposed to the secondary suite bylaw modifi cation saying they are concerned about the possibility of undesirable tenants and illegal tenant behavior, an undesirable neighbourhood change, an increase in traffic, and insufficient parking. A public workshop will be scheduled to address both the housing needs and secondary suites in Quesnel.

Annual Report Received

The 2009 Annual Report was received and endorsed by Quesnel City Council.

Fire Master Plan

City Council supported the development and preparation of a
Master Fire Plan for Quesnel.

A Master Fire Plan is a strategic blueprint for fire protection that addresses all local needs and circumstances based upon costs the community can afford. It will assist Council and the Fire Department in formulating and deciding on the long term needs of the City’s fire protection and prevention services.

Quesnel Search and Rescue may soon have a new home

Quesnel City Council provided first and second reading to City of Quesnel Zoning Bylaw Amendment Bylaw No. 1682 of 2010 and waived the holding of a public hearing on the matter.

This application is under review and will come to Council for final approval on July 19. A successful application for a zoning amendment and development permit by Quesnel Search and Rescue, will allow them to build their new headquarters on City owned property at the old mini-golf site

Fire Chief receives Service Presentation

Quesnel Fire Chief Ric Raynor received his BC Long Service Bar on June
7 by the BC Fire Emergency Management Commissionaire Rebecca Denlinger. Council acknowledged the Fire Chief’s award at the Council meeting and applauded his committment to his career and our community.

The BC Long Service Bar is awarded by the Provincial Government to persons who have completed at least 35 years of paid or volunteer fire service in BC. This is to recognize the dedication and self lessness with which these individuals have served their community and this province in the protection of life and property.

CRD opens new Accessible Trail in Electoral Area 'A'

The community of Kersley, BC is the latest community in the Cariboo Chilcotin to develop a wheelchair accessible trail. It’s called the Sisters Creek Recreation Site Accessible Trail and was built in partnership between the Cariboo Regional District (CRD), the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts, and the Kersley Community Association.

“I am extremely pleased that we have now completed the Sisters Creek Accessible Trail,” stated

CRD Vice-Chair and Electoral Area A Director Ted Armstrong. “However, this was just the next step in making the Cariboo Chilcotin one of the most attractive wheelchair accessible tourism destinations in the world.”

The trail is approximately 800 metres long, and takes visitors to a wheelchair friendly viewpoint over the Fraser River. The location was identified as a priority site in the CRD-commissioned regional Wheelchair Accessible Trails Inventory and Assessment Study completed by Kary Fell of CARE consulting in 2008. CARE is also providing ongoing consulting services on the project.

“Improving our recreation sites and trails is an important part of developing the Province’s tourism infrastructure,” said Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts Kevin Krueger. “Partnering with the Regional District and the Kersley Community Association has helped us expand access to this site to those with limited mobility and I know it will be an outdoor attraction for both residents and tourists.”

In celebration of the CRD’s Forest Capital of Canada designation the Sisters Creek Recreation site Accessible Trail has also earned the distinction of being named the first trail on the newly created Forest Capital of Canada Legacy Trail Network. This legacy project was developed with hopes that future Forest Capital of Canada communities will continue to add trails to the network throughout their reign.

“This is a momentous day for the community of Kersley, and we are extremely proud of this new trail,” says Wayne Charlton, President of the Kersley Community Association. “I feel that the Sisters Creek Recreation site and its accessible facilities will be a huge draw, bringing people of all abilities to a pristine area to enjoy our great outdoors.”

Construction funding was provided by the provincial Towns for Tomorrow and the Union of British Columbia Municipalities Community Tourism grant programs with substantial contributions of in-kind effort from the partners. Ongoing management of the site will be provided by the Kersley Community Association.

The Board passed a resolution in 2006 to work towards developing the Cariboo Chilcotin as a world leader in accessible outdoor recreation and tap into niche tourism markets for persons of low mobility. On August 9, 2008, the Tatlayoko Community Association developed and officially opened the first Wheelchair Accessible Trails in the Cariboo Regional District. The Association built two kilometres of accessible trail, along with an accessible washroom and a picnic area. Other priority wheelchair accessible sites currently in development are at Parkland on Ten Mile Lake, Cottonwood Historic Site, Horsefly salmon spawning grounds, and the 108 Greenbelt.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

WL Committee of the Whole Meeting Highlights - June 29th, 2010


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


Councillor Natalie Montoya

Staff Present:

Brian Carruthers – Chief Administrator
Cindy Bouchard – Manager of Legislative Services
Annie McKitrick – Acting Manager of Social Development

Meeting called to order at 6:00pm

Minutes of last COW Meeting adopted

Late Item added to Agenda. Mayor Cook gave oral notice of Closed Meeting to commence immediately following adjournment


1) Mary Forbes – Potato House (49 Borland Street)

• Community Groups /Resources who support this project
• Economic Potential to protect local-built heritage buildings in Williams Lake including establishing a local heritage register
• How will this project create jobs while fostering sense of pride in local history, drawing tourists into the City and encouraging young people to stay in Williams Lake

A Question and Answer Period ensued
Mayor Cook, on behalf of the Committee, thanked Ms. Forbes for her presentation

Council Action – Referred to Community Services Portfolio for investigation

2) Ryan Veitch – Memory Garden Initiative (bottom of Carson Drive)

• Community Garden Planning Team
• Overview (Community Farms, Benefits of Community Gardens, Partners and Sponsors)
• Request to City (2 Stand Pipes and Donation of Land)
• Conclusion

A Question and Answer Period ensued
Mayor Cook, on behalf of the Committee, thanked Mr. Veitch for his presentation

Council Action – Referred to Development Services Portfolio for investigation

3) Kim Judd – Parking at Big Mama’s Restaurant

• Ministry of Transportation says no parking on Highway #97 effective September 1st, 2010
• Seating Capacity of 440, 44 parking spots and 19,000 square feet of space
• Standard of Service – Pedestrian and Transit
• Future Direction – 2 Stages

A Question and Answer Period ensued
Mayor Cook, on behalf of the Committee, thanked Ms. Judd for her presentation

Council Action – Referred to Development Services Portfolio for investigation


1) Report from Recreation Portfolio (Councillor Rathor) regarding opening of Cariboo Memorial Complex during Stat Holidays

Councillor Rathor reviewed his report with the Committee
Discussion ensued thereon

Council Action – Item referred to Central Cariboo Joint Committee for discussion

2) Report from Recreation Portfolio (Councillor Rathor) regarding bid for 2013 or 2015 BC Winter Games

Councillor Rathor reviewed his report with the Committee
Discussion ensued thereon

Council Action – Item referred to Central Cariboo Joint Committee for discussion

3) Letter from BC Federation of Labour re: Increase Minimum Wage

Councillor Barr reviewed this item with the Committee

Council Action – Letter received and Council write the Provincial Government requesting they investigate increasing the minimum wage

4) Report from Acting Manager of Social Development re: Summer Students at City Hall

General Discussion by Council

Council Action -Council receive the attached flyers for information and for distribution to the media and public

5) WL Stampede / Billy Barker Days – General Discussion

General Council Discussion on activities that they’ll be involved in at WL Stampede and a Council Member to cover for Mayor Cook for the Billy Barker Days in Quesnel

Meeting adjourned at 7:30pm
Council then moved into an In-Camera Meeting

Fraser Institute & HST Myths'

The Fraser Institute has published another report in support of the HST, including myths' of why the HST should be repealed

You can read the report here

Premier Campbell says HST is still good for BC

The Premier of BC attempts to explain why the HST is good for BC, with the implementation date this Thursday for the Harmonized Sales Tax:

July 1 is the first full day the Harmonized Sales Tax takes effect and I know that most British Columbians are concerned about what it will mean to them and for their family budget. I understand British Columbians from every region have expressed frustration and anger about how the HST was implemented. I know you have many questions for our government and for me personally. Why did we say we were not considering an HST before the election? What made us change our position? Why are we bringing in the HST when much of the public opposes it? How will the HST impact my family? You deserve answers to all these questions.

Although you may not have seen much media coverage before last summer, combining the PST and GST to create a harmonized sales tax is something that has been discussed publicly for many years. Federal governments - past and present - and business organizations - large and small across the province - repeatedly asked us to harmonize the PST with the GST because it eliminates unnecessary costs, reduces administration and is more transparent.

Each time we were asked, we said we would not consider it for two primary reasons.
First, it would eliminate B.C.'s ability to set our own tax rate. Second, we wanted to be able to shape our tax regime with flexibility that would allow us to exempt certain goods and services from being taxable. It wasn't until last year that kind of flexibility was available.

After the election, the Minister of Finance and I were informed that the Province's financial situation had deteriorated significantly. I asked officials to find a way to meet our budget targets without cutting core services. By late May 2009, it was becoming clear that after months of discussion Ontario had negotiated new flexibility within the HST model. Through further discussions with the federal government, we learned of additional flexibility that would allow provinces to set their own tax rate, instead of adopting a national rate of 13 per cent. This allowed us to set our own rate at 12 per cent, the lowest in the country. We were also offered new flexibility that would allow us to exempt products we felt would be important to families - children-sized clothing and footwear, books, motor fuel, diapers, car seats and a range of other products. In addition, the federal government offered $1.6 billion in transition funding. That meant we could reduce the future debt we would pass on to our children and support increased funding to both health care and education.

With those new conditions in place, we asked ourselves if the HST would strengthen the Province's economy as we move through the global economic downturn. Would the HST allow our industries and small businesses to better compete internationally and within Canada? Would it create jobs? Would it give business the ability to pay higher wages and lower prices? Study after study confirmed the HST would do all those things. World-renowned economist Jack Mintz from the University of Calgary found that moving to an HST will create more than 110,000 jobs, attract over $11 billion in new investment, increase wages and lower prices.

Those working in small business, forestry, mining, energy, agriculture, retail, transportation and construction will realize immediate and direct benefits. For the rest of us, the stronger economy will mean more job opportunities, stronger communities and more revenues to support critical public services. The HST, combined with our other tax reductions, will soon make British Columbia one of the most attractive places to invest and do business anywhere in the world.

I know many people feel like they are paying more and getting less. That's why over the last nine years our government has acted to leave more of people's hard-earned wages in their pockets. We've cut income taxes by at least 37 per cent for individuals since 2001, and British Columbians now pay the lowest personal income taxes in the country if you earn less than $118,000. The after-tax size of an average British Columbian's paycheque today is considerably higher than it was in 2001. An individual earning $50,000 a year pays $2,012 less in provincial income taxes today. That's more than $2,000 for individuals to save or spend as they choose.

Cutting taxes has helped our economy stay strong enough that we've been able to make record investments into health care and education.

The HST has not been good short-term politics. But in the end, everyone has to decide whether they are going to do what is right or what is easy. I believe the HST is the right thing for our Province's economy and for our children's future. Change today will make us stronger tomorrow.

Tuesday News Round-up

In the Wiliams Lake Tribune:

* The City will lose the Katimavik program, due to budget cutbacks at the Katimavik head office - see the article here (Note - this is a shame as Katimavik volunteers' did a lot of good work in the community and it'll be missed without their presence)

* School District #27 receives $1.25 million for new school buses - more here (Note - this is part of the Province's $12.5 million for school buses throughout all School Districts')

* Letter writer Paul French (former City Councillor) disagrees with proposed 4 year terms for muncipal councils/regional district boards - more here (Note - I'll be blogging tomorrow as to why I disagree with Mr. French on this point)

In the Vancouver Province:

* Political Columnist Micheal Smyth discusses the next phase of the HST war - more here

In the Vancouver Sun:

* Political Columnist Vaughn Palmer pokes fun at the Province's HST pop quiz. more here

In the Globe and Mail - BC Edition:

* Forestry & other natural resource groups are seeking to have the HST Initiative Petition's draft Bill declared invalid - more here

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Analysis of Tuesday's WL Council "Committee of the Whole" Meeting

1) Potato House (48 Proctor Street)

Mary Forbes from Dandelion Interpretation will discuss this item with Council the necessity to save this building. It will be interesting to see what Council decides to do with this item. It should be noted that this building is privately for sale and this is not the same situation with the Cariboo Lodge site, which was publicly owned and where there was a public outcry to get control of the Cariboo Lodge site from Interior Health. See here for Ms. Forbes's request to Council

2) "Memory Garden" - Community Farm Initiative

Ryan Veitch, from the local Food Policy Council, will discuss this initiative with Council. This proposal will see a plot of land used below the track at Williams Lake Secondary (bottom of Carson Drive) used as a "community garden" tendered by students and others' in our community. There are many partners' to this project. The City will be asked to partner, by way of providing water to the site. I hope that Council will agree to their request because this is a wonderful initiative for the City. See here for Mr. Veitch's presentation to Council on this matter

3) Parking at Big Mama's Steak House

Kim Judd (Owner - Big Mama's Steak House) will appear before Council to discuss the challenge around parking at this business. When this business was the "Bill-Nor", parking was and continues to be a challenge as you had and still have people parking in the designated area plus up and down Highway 97. Council will have to work with the Ministry of Transportation (if City of WL Staff have not yet engaged the Ministry) to see what options, if any, are available.

4) 2 Reports from Recreation Portfolio (Councillor Rathor)

Councillor Rathor's Recreation Portfolio will be reporting out on:

1) Opening the Cariboo Memorial Complex on Statutory Holidays (except September Maintenance Shutdown) - read the report here
2) Bid for 2013 or 2015 BC Winter Games - read the report here

I've discussed this with him and CRD Area 'D' Director Deb Bischoff but the City and CRD must find some method and process to have these items and Recreation-related matters discussed at Joint Committee first to ensure everyone can discuss this item at once (Recreation is a partnership between City and CRD), rather than the following process, which, I suggest, breeds a feeling of the City bringing an Agenda to Joint Committee:

1) Discuss at Portfolio
2) Portfolio makes a recommendation to Council - either Committee of the Whole or Regular/Special Open Council
3) Refer to Joint Committee for discussion

There is no indication that the CRD had input on either:

1) Opening the Cariboo Memorial Complex on Statutory Holidays (except September Maintenance Shutdown)
2) Bid for 2013 or 2015 BC Winter Games

The Recreation Portfolio should have formally engaged the CRD on these 2 items and their comments be included in the Portfolio Report (which it isn't). In addition, the local Recreation Advisory Committee hasn't been engaged on these two items as well which also leaves the discussion at the May 19th and June 9th Joint Committee meetings' on the Recreation Advisory Committee a little suspect

5) Letter from Jim Sinclair (President - BC Fed of Labour) re: Minimum Wage

Finance Portfolio has not provided a recommendation on this item so it will be interesting to see how Council deals with this item. At minimum, Council will agree to receive the letter. I am still not convinced that raising the minimum wage in the Province is the panacea to keeping families, who work for the minimum wage already, above the poverty line. Raising it could have an opposite effect. In the mean time, the provincial government should look at other measures that could mean the same thing as raising the minimum wage

You can read the letter from Mr. Sinclair here

Friday, June 25, 2010

Local Government Meetings in Cariboo-Chilcotin. Week of June 28-July 2

Here is the schedule of upcoming local governments meetings in the Cariboo-Chilcotin for the week of June 28 - July 2nd

Monday, June 28th - City of Quesnel

Regular Meeting starts at 7:00pm in Quesnel Council Chambers (410 Kinchant Street, Quesnel, BC)

The Agenda and Reports are here

Tuesday, June 29th - City of Williams Lake

Committee of the Whole Meeting which starts at 6:00pm in Committee Room #1 at Williams Lake City Hall - Basement (450 Mart Street, Williams Lake, BC)

The Agenda and Reports are here

Wednesday, June 30th - City of Williams Lake

Special Meeting which starts at 5:00pm in Williams Lake Council Chambers
Purpose of meeting
: Adopt 2009 Annual Report

Please note - The 2010 Williams Lake Stampede starts on Thursday, July 1st until Sunday, July 4th. Find more info about events occurring in the City during this time at I encourage you to take in as many of the Stampede and related events on July 1-4 as you can, including the 2010 Williams Lake Stampede Parade on Saturday, July 3rd with the Honorary Parade Co-Marshalls Diana and Bob French

John Les not to be charged in Land Deals in Chilliwack

John Les (Chilliwack MLA) has been cleared of any wrongdoing, with regard to land deals in Chilliwack when he was Mayor. The Criminal Justice Branch of the BC Attorney-General Ministry has announced that they will not proceed with criminal charges against Mr. Les

More here from the Globe and Mail - BC Edition

Recalling of BC Liberal MLA's a tall order

In the Vancouver Province, Political Columnist Micheal Smyth talks about the tall order that lays ahead for Bill Vander Zalm and his supporters' to successfully recall a BC Liberal MLA

More here

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Mackenzie Avenue Rehab Project - Weekly Update

Work Currently Underway

• The sections of Mackenzie near Soda Creek Road that will be finished in concrete are currently being formed up for pouring. The concrete in this section will be completed by Friday.
• Removal and replacement of failed sidewalk, curb, and gutter along Mackenzie near Oliver Street is underway, and will continue for the remainder of the week.

Work Planned for Next Week

• If all goes well, excavation and installation of new culvert along Mackenzie near Beaver Valley feeds will proceed, as well as excavation for the mixed use path.
• Replacement of sidewalk will continue next week.
• Due to the shorter week, installation of the next section of concrete will not begin until after the long weekend. There will thus be less traffic interruption next week.

School District #27 Board meets tonight

A reminder that the Board of Education (School District #27) meets tonight at 7:00pm at the School District Boardroom for the final time in the 2009-2010 School Year.

You can see the Agenda and Reports here

The Board of Education will then take July and August off and resuming meeting in September when the 2010-2011 School Year commences

Mayor Cook and the City's 2009 Annual Report

This morning, during Mayor Cook's Town Hall radio program with Dale Taylor, she made mention that the Annual Report was electronically available on the City's website last Friday (June 18th) and for that, she is half-right.

It was available but one would have to dig around the myriad of the website to find it. It should have been placed on the main page of the City's website. In my mind, it was not easily available for members of the public to find. In addition, no paper copies were made available at the same time.

Paper copies should be now available for public review with a Special Council Meeting scheduled at 5:00pm on Wednesday, June 30th for adoption of the City's 2009 Annual Report

Again (and I blogged on this yesterday), Council has no real reason to claim that the requirements to make the Annual Report available for 14 days was "overlooked". The same process was used in 2009 for the City's 2008 Annual Report so they (Williams Lake City Council) should know what to do.

Thursday News Roundup

In the Vancouver Province, Political Columnist Micheal Smyth talks about the next stage in the HST war between Bill Vander Zalm and the Fight HST forces and the governing BC Liberals.

More here

In the Vancouver Sun, Jim Sinclair (President - BC Fed of Labour) calls on Victoria to scrap the HST

More here

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Interior Health awards contract for CMH Master Plan

See below for press release from Interior Health on the award of a contract to develop a Master Site Plan for Cariboo Memorial Hospital. Certainly, I'm glad to see this move forward. I look forward to the final Master Site Plan for Cariboo Memorial Hospital and hope that everyone will get a place at the table to ensure that the Cariboo Memorial Hospital site is serving everyone - both seniors, children and everyone in between

Interior Health has awarded the contract to develop a Master Site Plan for Cariboo Memorial Hospital to the firm Farrow Partnership Architects of Toronto, Ontario. The goal of the project is to develop a plan to guide development at the site over the next five, 10,
and 15 years.

“We are pleased to see this project moving forward. A long term plan for our hospital will
provide us with a road map in order to assess the impact of recent capital improvements and
building investments at Cariboo Memorial Hospital,” said Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna
Barnett. “This plan will help us understand what the hospital’s needs will be in the future, so we are well prepared to meet patient demand.”

Next steps in the process will include gathering data and information, planning documents,
historical workload, staffing, and population demographic forecasts. The process will include
every department on site at Cariboo Memorial and the Cariboo Health Unit and will include
input from administrative and frontline staff, physicians, the Mayor, the CCRHD, and other
stakeholders in the community.

Farrow will begin this collaborative planning process within the coming weeks, conducting
introductory workshops and establishing project guiding principles and a balanced score card in order to effectively evaluate project decisions.

“This is a vital project as we move forward to build on past successes, learn from past experience, and most importantly to prepare for the future,” said Interior Health Board Chair Norman Embree. “The Master Plan will allow us to be visionary in health service delivery, and work with our stakeholders to build consensus around shared values, needs and priorities.”

Some of the elements that will guide the development of the Master Plan include site parking
requirements and flexibility for future expansion for programs and their associated demands on the site, including the requirements of the community programs at the Health Unit. The plan will align with Interior Health’s Vision and Mission while offering realistic deliverables and timelines, and will improve quality of care for the communities and residents of the Cariboo Chilcotin.

“The master planning process provides an opportunity to look at all aspects of health care,” says Rick Mumford, CCRHD Chair. “The integration of the various health care needs with the
central Cariboo can be achieved through this project, while the level of care and service
offerings to our residents, will be maximized.”

Farrow has a strong focus on health care settings. The firm’s roots extend back to 1958. It has
since evolved into a world leader in creating exceptional health-focused architecture.

“This process will allow us to take a close look at current and future healthcare services
provided on site, and develop a forward-looking document for redevelopment,” says Allison
Ruault, Acute Health Service Administrator, Cariboo. “The plan will identify opportunities and
constraints for sustainable physical growth of the site.”

The same firm has also been selected to develop a Master Site Plan for Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. Completion for both projects is estimated for spring 2011.

Water and Sewer Work on Mackenzie Avenue (between Oliver and Borland Streets) on Sunday, June 27th

See below for public notice regarding work on Mackenzie Avenue, between Oliver and Borland Streets, on Sunday, June 27th:

Please be advised that on Sunday, June 27th - Mackenzie Avenue will be closed between Oliver Street and Borland Avenue to allow the City’s Water and Waste Division to do an upgrade to the Water and Sewer System.

6:00 am to 9:00 pm on Sunday, June 27th

Two-lane traffic will be open from:
9:00 pm on Sunday with construction continuing
Flag persons will be on site directing traffic through the BC Rail property to the west of Mackenzie Avenue. Please use extreme caution when proceeding through the construction site and if at all possible avoid that part of Mackenzie Avenue completely.

“The infrastructure needs replacement due to its age and completing the work now will have a positive long lasting effect on the City’s water and sewer system and will also help eliminate future damage to other City infrastructure.” stated Councilor Sue Zacharias.
The City of Williams Lake thanks the public for their patience and cooperation while this project is underway.

Response to My Letter - City of WL 2009 Annual Report

Earlier today, I shared with my blog readers' a letter that I wrote yesterday (Tuesday, June 22nd) to Mayor and Council - City of Williams Lake regarding the City's 2009 Annual Report.

This afternoon, I received an email response from Brian Carruthers, the City's CAO (Chief Administrator):


I am responding to your letter of June 22, 2010 regarding the requirement for public review of the Annual Report prior to consideration by Council. Requirements under Section 99 of the Charter were overlooked when the Annual Report was submitted to Council for their consideration at the June 22nd Council meeting. The City is inquiring with the Ministry as to options available to us with respect to the Charter. In the meantime, Council passed a resolution to hold a special Council meeting on June 30 to approve the 2009 Annual Report, recognizing the report will only have been available to the public for 13 days (June 18 – June 30). Thank you for bringing this matter to the City’s attention. This e-mail will be filed as response to your June 22, 2010 letter.

However, his response does raise 1 question:

1) The Annual Report requirements have been in place since 2004 - how could both City Staff and Williams Lake City Council, as a whole, somehow "overlook" the requirement to ensure that the Annual Report is both in paper and electronic copy and that the public has sufficient time to review the 2009 Annual Report. (Section 99(2) of the Community Charter says 14 days must take place between public release of the Annual Report and the public Council meeting where a municipal council formally considers the report for adoption)

The entire City Council knew the process last year (2009 for the 2008 Annual Report) so they (Williams Lake City Council) have no real excuse here.

Let's hope they learn their lesson and that this is not repeated in 2011 for the 2010 Annual Report

My read of this situation is that the Ministry will likely tell the City to have the 2009 Annual Report adopted by June 30th - a week from today and remind the City to do what is required under Sections 97-99 of the Community Charter in 2011 for the 2010 Annual Report

2010 Williams Lake Stampede Parade Marshalls

In the Cariboo Advisor today, it was announced that Bob and Diana French will be the co-marshalls for the 2010 Williams Lake Stampede Parade to be held on Saturday, July 3rd.

The French's involvement in the City is long and varied so I wish to express my personal gratitude at their selection as Parade Marshall in this year's Stampede Parade. A very wise choice in my view!! :)


City of WL crack-sealing operations on-going

See below for a press release of crack-sealing of roads in the City of Williams Lake:

The City of Williams Lakes asphalt management plan utilizes two forms of crack sealing to prolong the life of City streets and roads. Hot Tar Emulsion is used to treat cracks in the asphalt road surface up to 5mm in width. The cracks are blown out with compressed air to remove dirt and debris and the cracks are then filled with tar heated to a temperature of 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

Velocity Patching is used on City streets where there are cracks greater than 5 mm. Cracks are blown out with compressed air to remove dirt and debris and then a cold spray patch emulsion is mixed with a ¼” fractured aggregate is blown into the cracks producing a solid binder. A layer of fractured aggregate is then put down over the crack which stays on the road surface for up to three days, allowing the traffic to compact the material deep into the cracks. After the three-day compaction period the City’s street sweeper picks up any excess material. The City has been utilizing Velocity Patching for the last eight years.

“Velocity Patching and Hot Tar Emulsion are both similar in that they prevent water from entering into cracks in the asphalt, causing premature failure of the road surface.” states Kevin Goldfuss, Director of Municipal Services.”

According to Councillor Sue Zacharias who holds the Public Works Portfolio, “The City uses these different methods of crack sealing because they are a proven method of preventative maintenance. The Municipal Services Streets Division has been crack sealing City streets since 1990 and by doing so have been able to prevent costly overlays.”

The City asks for the public’s patience during the crack sealing process and that traffic proceeds slowly as loose rock poses a hazard to vehicles and pedestrians

Fight HST's Draft List for MLA Recall in November

Fight HST co-chair Bill Vander Zalm has now released a draft list of 24 BC Liberal MLA's that will be targeted for recall, starting in mid-November

1. John Slater – Boundary-Similkameen
2. Pat Pimm – Peace River North
3. Donna Barnett – Cariboo Chilcotin
4. George Abbott – Shuswap
5.Terry Lake – Kamloops North
6. Bill Bennett – Kootenay East
7. Ida Chong – Oak Bay – Gordon Head
8. Ron Cantelon – Parksville – Qualicum
9. Bill Barisoff – Penticton
10. Murray Coell – Saanich North
11. Gordon Hogg – Surrey-Whiterock
12. Barry Penner – Chilliwack – Hope
13. Norm Letnik – Kelowna-Lake Country
14. Ben Stewart – Kelowna- Westside
15. Steve Thomson – Kelowna – Mission
16. Eric Foster – Vernon-Monashee
17. Kash Heed – Vancouver- Fraserview
18. Kevin Kruger – Kamloops South
19. Richard Lee – Burnaby North
20. John Les – Chilliwack
21. Don McRae – Comox Valley
22. John Rustad – Nechako Lakes
23. Mary Pollack – Langley
24. Pat Bell – Prince George – Mackenzie

Letter to Minister Ben Stewart (Local Gov't Minister) on City of WL's 2009 Annual Report

This morning, I wrote to the Hon. Ben Stewart (Minister of Community & Rural Development) on concerns I had with the City of Williams Lake's 2009 Annual Report vis-a-vis the public. For the record, here's the letter in its' entirety:

Dear Minister Stewart

Re: City of Williams Lake 2009 Annual Report

According to Sections 97-99 of the Community Charter (Charter), all municipal governments are required to release an Annual Report, which is to include: (Section 98 (2) of the Charter)

• Audited Financial Statements for the previous year
• Tax Exemptions provided by a municipal council
• Municipal Services & Operations for the previous year
• Statement of Municipal Objectives for the upcoming year
• Any declaration of disqualifications

On Friday, June 18th, 2010, the City of Williams Lake released their 2009 Annual Report to the public (as a Council Meeting Agenda Item) with the Municipal Council of Williams Lake formally considering this report at its’ Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010 meeting. As of this writing, I do not know if the City Council of Williams Lake has adopted this report. However, I would strongly suggest that Williams Lake City Council is right now in violation of Section 99(2) of the Charter, which states:

“The annual meeting must occur at least 14 days after the annual report is made available for public inspection under section 97”

I have gone back and reviewed all editions, going back to May, of both of the local papers (Williams Lake Tribune/Cariboo Advisor) and the City of Williams Lake has not done any advertising with regard to the City stating that an Annual Report is available for Public Inspection and when the Municipal Council of Williams Lake will meet to formally consider this report.

In addition, the Annual Report was released in electronic version and when I enquired City of Williams Lake Staff when the paper version of the Annual Report would be available for the public, I was told it would be made available on Wednesday, June 23rd, the day after Williams Lake City Council considered the report. I believe this to be in violation of a principle that access to municipal records should be in both forms – electronic and paper.

I request that your staff review this situation and work with the City of Williams Lake to see what deficiencies’ need correcting so they are not repeated next year

Should you or your staff desire to contact me to discuss this further, they or yourself can do so, in the following ways:

Email –
Phone – (778) – 412-7282
Cell – (250) – 303-0951

Thank you for your consideration in this matter

Respectfully yours,

Steve Forseth


Kerry Cook – Mayor, City of Williams Lake
Donna Barnett – MLA, Cariboo-Chilcotin

Letter to Mayor and Council on City of WL 2009 Annual Report

Yesterday afternoon, I wrote to Mayor and Council - City of Williams Lake on concerns that I had with the City's 2009 Annual Report. For the record, here's the letter in its' entirety:

Dear Mayor Cook and City Councillors:

Re: City of Williams Lake 2009 Annual Report

I apologize, in advance, that I was unable to appear personally to deliver my concerns with the City’s 2009 Annual Report but there was another meeting I had to be at and I could not get out of.

The only good thing that I can say about this report is that is professional-looking then previous Annual Reports’ and for that, I thank you.

However, there are a number of issues that cause me grave concern and I hope that this Council will be prepared to hear them out and act on them so they are not repeated for the 2010 Annual Report in 2011


1) Section 99(2) of the Community Charter (Charter) says:

“"The annual meeting must occur at least 14 days after the annual report is made available for public inspection under Section 97 of the Community Charter "

As Council released its’ Annual Report on Friday, June 18th on the City’s “FilePro” website as it was an Agenda Item and the consideration of the Annual Report is tonight, it is clear that Council is violated both the spirit and intent of Section 99(2) of the Charter. In addition, no paper copies will be available until tomorrow (Wednesday, June 23rd), according to your Manager of Legislative Services. I do not know if this was a case of Council hoping that they would get away with it or not, but if so, you all should be ashamed. You’re supposed to ensure everyone has equal access to the Annual Report and not those who have computer access or those who are “Council watchers”, like myself. Of course, this also applies to other Municipal documents. Just as an aside, Quesnel Council had their 2009 Annual Report ready, in all formats, on June 11th and will consider it on Monday, June 28th. Finally, no advertising has taken place on this subject, to the best of my knowledge, in both the Williams Lake Tribune and Cariboo Advisor. How can the public give any comments if they do not know when their local government is taking written or oral submissions on this report? This also applies to no information on this subject on the City’s website.


Council delay adopting the 2009 Annual Report until June 29th and a Special Council Meeting be called for this purpose

By Council waiting one week to consider this report on June 29th, it gives the public a few days to review this Annual Report. Granted – it is still in violation of Section 99(2) of the Charter, but it is better than adopting the report tonight.

2) 2009 Audited Financial Statements

The City has placed its’ Annual Financial Statements for 2009 in SOFI (Statement of Financial Information). This information should be placed in the Annual Report as well and this was the case in the 2008 Annual Report, to the best of my knowledge

3) 3 Year Corporate Goals vs Annual Goals

Williams Lake City Council has decided to employ 3 Year Strategic Goals in your Annual Report as opposed to Quesnel Council using Annual Goals, reporting out on the previous year goals and new goals for the upcoming year. In addition, the Quesnel City Manager comments on this Annual Goals, by way of Staff perspective. I would like to see Williams Lake Council employ Quesnel’s model of reporting out on its’ work

4) Letter to Hon. Ben Stewart (Minister of Community & Rural Development)

Because of the lack of actions by Council on this subject, I am Wednesday morning authoring a letter to the Minister requesting that his staff review this matter. I will ensure that a copy is tabled with the Mayor and in addition, a copy will be placed in the hands of Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett for her information.


Had Council done this year what took place in 2009 with regard to the 2008 Annual Report, I would not have authored this letter to Council. I hope that Council will heed my advice and ensure that it is not repeated in 2011 with regard to the 2010 Annual Report

If any member of Williams Lake City Council desires to discuss this matter with me, they can reach me at the following:

Phone – (778) – 412-7282
Cell: (250) – 303-0951

Finally – I ask Council to formally reply to this letter so I know it has been received and what Council’s response is to my concerns with regard to the 2009 City of Williams Lake Annual Report

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Mayor Cook vs Councillor Rathor

At tonight's Council Meeting (June 22nd), Councillor Rathor asked Council to amend the already approved Minutes from June 8th as follows:

RES #238/10
Moved by Councillor Zacharias
Seconded by Councillor Bourdon
That the meeting be closed pursuant to Section 90(1)(L).

Councillor Rathor wanted to add " of the Community Charter" after (L). However, Mayor Cook ruled this motion out of order as Council had already dealt with the minutes at the beginning of the meeting. I believe Mayor Cook made a improper ruling as, in my opinion, it is always in order to return to a item that Council had previously considered at the same meeting.

However, after that, Mayor Cook stated that a notation in the minutes, as per Councillor Rathor's request would be done. However, you can't amend your minutes without formal approval and shame on Mayor Cook for doing it without Council approval

Mayor Cook should apologize to Councillor Rathor for treating him so poorly on the minutes

WL Council Highlights (Partial) - June 22nd

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

Staff Present:

Geoff Goodall - Acting CAO
Cindy Bouchard - Manager of Legislative Services
Tom Chung - Manager of IT


1) Council, after receiving no public submissions, approved DVP #3-2010
2) Council gave its’ approval for a strata conversion for 18 Units at 275 Gibbon Street and 16 Units at 615 Pigeon Avenue
3) Council approved renewal of Airport Lease #CWL1900 between the City and Canadian Helicopters Ltd
4) Council gave 1st, 2nd and 3rd reading to Williams Lake Cameron Street Reconstruction Short Term Borrowing Bylaw No. 2118, 2010.
5) Council added the name "Margetts" to the list of approved names for consideration in future street naming processes.
6) Council received for information the CRD Board Highlights for its’ June 11th meeting
7) Council received the June 9th meeting minutes of the Central Cariboo Joint Committee and adopted all recommendations contained in the minutes
8) Council encouraged the community to participate in the 1st Annual Gathering of the Nations at the Stampede Grounds on July 1st to 4th

Council members made certain announcements on issues/events occurring in the City

Cariboo Regional District Annual Remuneration & Expenses for 2009

Earlier this month, the Cariboo Regional District released its' version of the Annual Remuneration & Expenses Paid List paid to CRD Directors.

Remuneration paid to CRD Directors' varies depending on what you do at the CRD Board Table. Expenses paid out is per CRD Board Policy

Area 'A' Director Ted Armstrong raked in the most money at $47,203.19 with District of Wells Director Jay Vermette earning a paltry $13,015.60 in all of 2009

The CRD Board Chair & Area 'G' Director Al Richmond earned $38,099.94 in remuneration and expenses
The CRD Board-Vice Chair & Area 'A' Director Ted Armstrong earned $47,203.19 in remuneration and expenses
The CRD Hospital Board Chair & Area 'K' Director Rick Mumford earned $33,674.98 in remuneration and expenses
The CRD Hospital Board Vice-Chair & City of Quesnel Director Mary Sjostrom earned $17,745.59

Grand Total of Paid Remuneration & Expenses to CRD Directors for 2009 - $407,438.55.

Good use of taxpayers' money? - You decide.....!!

You can see the entire list here. The list also includes how much remaining debt the Cariboo Regional District has in addition to remaining long-term debt held by the 4 Member Municipalities. See below for actual amounts:

Long Term Debt Remaining:

Cariboo Regional District - $7,646,994.43

District of Wells - $84,061.88

City of Quesnel - $11,162,710.49

City of Williams Lake - $8,937,681.28

District of 100 Mile House - $815,998.09

BC Conservatives the new 3rd Political Party in BC?

In the Vancouver Province, Political Columnist Micheal Smyth talks about the BC Conservative becoming a viable 3rd option to the BC Liberals and BC NDP.

More here

Monday, June 21, 2010

City of Williams Lake 2009 Annual Report

All municipal governments in the Province are required to file an Annual Report with its residents' prior to June 30th in each year (Sections 98 & 99 of the Community Charter)

You can read the City of Williams Lake 2009 Annual Report here

However, the City of Williams Lake has so far only made its' final draft of the City's 2009 Annual Report available online and one would have to dig through the City's website to get to it (Annual Report on Council's Meeting Agenda for tomorrow night). In addition, paper copies will not be made available, I'm told, until Wednesday, after Council is set to adopt the 2009 Annual Report. Talk about being committed to "building communities" and "being accountable".

I would suggest that this would violate, in spirit, Section 99(2) of the Community Charter which says:

"The annual meeting must occur at least 14 days after the annual report is made available for public inspection under Section 97 of the Community Charter"

Paper copies of the City of Williams Lake 2009 Annual Report should have & must be made available to the residents' of Williams Lake prior to Williams Lake Council considering this report and for the usual period of 2 weeks between release of the report and the Council meeting at which the Annual Report is considered. Quesnel Council has already done this. Their 2009 Annual Report was released for Public Inspection on June 11th and will be considered formally by Quesnel Council on Monday, June 28th at 7:00pm in Quesnel Council Chambers. If I get the chance, I hope to have the opportunity to address Quesnel Council on their 2009 Annual Report

Furthermore, this report, although it contains aspects that I like, is still full of errors and omissions that I find lacking includes:

* Lack of Full Audited Financial Statements for 2009
* Up to date information in Portfolio Assignments (former CAO Alberto DeFeo left in August of 2009)

All in all - a decent improvement (2009 vs 2008 Annual Report) but this Council can do considerably better on the Annual Report for 2010 which I hope to see some of my concerns addressed

Williams Lake Council Remuneration & Expenses for 2009

The City of Williams Lake has just released the remuneration & expenses incurred by members of Williams Lake Council for 2009

Mayor Cook received a yearly stipend of $44,051.96 with expenses totalling $8,818.24

Among the Councillors:

Councillor Rathor incurred the most expenses in 2009 totalling $7,878.19.
Councillor Barr incurred the least in expenses in 2009 totalling $2,968.19.

For the record, here is the complete list of City Councillors' for expenses claimed, from highest to lowest. Please note - Councillors all get the same yearly stipend of $15,367

Councillor Rathor - $7,878.19
Councillor Walters - $4,515.62
Councillor Montoya - $4,466.85
Councillor Bourdon - $4,152.76
Councillor Zacharias - $3,973.33
Councillor Barr - $2,968.19

Grand Total of Council Remuneration & Expenses for 2009 - $173,027.87

Good use of taxpayers' money? - only you can decide that!!

Local Government Meetings in Cariboo-Chilcotin - Week of June 21 - 25

There are two local government meetings' occuring in the Cariboo-Chilcotin this week:

Monday, June 21st - City of Quesnel

Delegation/Committee of the Whole Sessions - Meeting starts at 7:00pm in Quesnel Council Chambers (410 Kinchant Street, Quesnel, BC)

The Agenda/Reports are here

Tuesday, June 22nd - City of Williams Lake

Regular Meeting #12 of 2010. Meeting starts at 6:00pm in Williams Lake Council Chambers (450 Mart Street, Williams Lake, BC)

The Agenda/Reports are here

Fraser Institute says HST is good for low & medium income earners in BC

The Fraser Institute praises the HST for being good for low & medium income earners in BC

See more here

A reminder - the HST is effective Thursday, July 1st in BC and Ontario

Friday, June 18, 2010

Cariboo Regional District & Solid Waste Management

The Cariboo Regional District is just starting in the process to review its' Solid Waste Management Plan for the next 10 years and I encourage everyone to fill out the CRD's Solid Waste Management Survey. If we don't get a handle on how solid waste (aka garbage) is dealt with in the Cariboo Regional District, your taxes will go up as costs to handle the region's solid waste has been rising over the last number of years

See below for the CRD's Press Release:

Instead of just a penny for your thoughts, how about a chance to win a prize worth $200? Residents in the Cariboo Chilcotin are being asked to complete a short survey and give their input on the future of garbage, recycling and composting programs and services in the CRD. In return, they can enter their name into a draw for one of three prizes: $200 towards the purchase of a “green” prize that will reduce their carbon footprint, such as a tree or shrub, or a rain barrel, donated by Sperling Hansen Associates; a composter contributed by the Williams Lake Canadian Tire Store; or a CRD prize package. Deadline for survey entries is July 9, 2010.

“The Cariboo Regional District is responsible for solid waste management in the region and works with member municipalities and electoral areas to provide landfills and transfer station services. We’re just starting the process of updating our Solid Waste Management Plan,” stated CRD Chair Al Richmond. “We want to hear how we can improve garbage and recycling services over the next 10 years. The survey kicks off the collection of community feedback on Solid Waste Management and we’re looking forward to the input we receive.”

The survey results will be shared with the Solid Waste Management Advisory Committee that has been formed to help with the process of updating the region’s solid waste plan. The Advisory Committee is made up of residents, community group representatives, local politicians, the recycling sector, First Nations, local business, local environmental/sustainability group representatives, a Ministry of Environment representative and local professionals from a number of different fields.

The results of the survey and feedback from the advisory committee will help guide the development of the plan, including what programs and services should be investigated for consideration. It is the starting point in the process, which also includes developing a list of options and costs and presenting these to the public at a series of open houses in early 2011.

Surveys can be returned several ways:

· Complete it online at

· Drop off at any CRD office or library

· Mail to Cariboo Regional District at Suite D 180 N. Third Ave., Williams Lake, BC V2G 2A4

· Email to

· Fax to (250) 392-2812

For more information about the survey, the prizes and conditions that apply or the Solid Waste Management Plan process, visit the Cariboo Regional District website, phone 1-800-665-1636 or email

HST & the Initiative Petition - the continuing saga

In the Vancouver Province, Political Columnist Micheal Smyth talks about the continuing myth around the Initiative Petition trying to kill the HST - more here

Over at the Vancouver Sun, Political Columnist Vaughn Palmer discusses the major differences between the two Independent MLA's - Blair Lekstrom & Vicki Huntington and what their political futures may be - more here

Thursday, June 17, 2010

My Blog & Mayor Cook

This afternoon, I had a terse 15-minute meeting with Mayor Cook regarding my blog and specifically certain blog entries with respect to her. I have agreed to amend the ones that she found offensive and I've conducted a review of all blog entries that had to do with her since December of 2008 until today and have amended any blog entry that could be perceived as offensive.

Although I would love to share what she and I talked about, I believe that it would be inappropriate at this time. I will confirm that I will be very cautious when commenting on information about Mayor Cook that I've acquired 2nd or 3rd hand.

However, I will continue to be critical about Mayor Cook or any Williams Lake City Councillor when either I have personally witnessed any act of hers or the City Councillors' or if it was published in the media (and I always quote my media sources) and will provide comment on what I would do, in Mayor Cook's shoes or that of any of the City Councillors'

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Western Provincial Premiers' develop an Economic Agenda

The Western Provincial Premiers' of Gordon Campbell, Ed Stelmach, Brad Wall, Dennis Ferte, and Floyd Roland are meeting to discuss several subjects including the development of an Western Economic Agenda which includes:

* Trade
* Labour Market
* Innovation and Investment

More info here

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Small Business Taxes in the Cariboo-Chilcotin

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) has just released a study comparing small business tax rates levied by municipal governments in the Cariboo Regional District:

District of Wells:

Small Business Burden Change since 2003 - Up
Rank of 160 Municipal Portion - #77 of 160 (#1 is worst, #160 is best)
House Value - $51,320
Residential Taxes Paid - $556
Small Business Taxes Paid - $1286
Total Gap in 2003 (Small Business to Residential) - 2.05
Total Gap in 2009 (Small Business to Residential) - 2.31

City of Quesnel

Small Business Burden Change since 2003 - Up
Rank of 160 Municipal Portion - #92 of 160 (#1 is worst, #160 is best)
House Value - $144,637
Residential Taxes Paid - $1573
Small Business Taxes Paid - $3536
Total Gap in 2003 (Small Business to Residential) - 1.96
Total Gap in 2009 (Small Business to Residential) - 2.25

City of Williams Lake:

Small Business Tax Burden Change since 2003 - Up
Rank of 160 Municipal Portion - #139 of 160 (#1 is worst, #160 is best)
House Value - $179,907
Residential Taxes Paid - $1984
Small Business Taxes Paid - $4293
Total Gap in 2003 (Small Business to Residential) - 1.84
Total Gap in 2009 (Small Business to Residential) - 2.16

District of 100 Mile House:

Small Business Burden Change since 2003 - Up
Rank of 160 Municipal Portion - #132 of 160 (#1 is worst, #160 is best)
House Value - $166,172
Residential Taxes Paid - $1666
Small Business Taxes Paid - $3720
Total Gap in 2003 (Small Business to Residential) - 1.83
Total Gap in 2009 (Small Business to Residential) - 2.16

Tuesday News Round-up

In the Williams Lake Tribune:

* Diana French muses about moving the Station House Gallery to the Courthouse Square - more here

* Hon. Pat Bell (Minister of Forests) is out at Anahim today to sign a Tsilhqot’in Framework Agreement - more here

* Council of Canadians to protest at Taseko Mines' AGM in Vancouver over Prosperity Mine and Fish Lake - more here

In the Vancouver Sun & Vancouver Province:

Political Columnists Vaughn Palmer and Micheal Smyth both talk about the Premier's response to the HST and the on-going saga about the HST Initiation Petition. Palmer's article here & Smyth's article here

Monday, June 14, 2010

CRD Board Highlights - June 11th Meeting

Fraser Basin Council

Dr. Charles Jago, Chair of the Fraser Basin Council (FBC), and Mike Simpson, FBC Senior Regional Director appeared before the Board with an update on the activities of the Fraser Basin Council. Some of the key areas of focus for FBC include salmon and watersheds, flood hazard mitigation, sustainability indicators and challenges, smart planning, climate change and regional programs. Further information about the Fraser Basin Council and their ongoing projects is available online at

Community Works Funding

The Board approved an application from the McLeese Lake Recreation Society for up to $5,000 of 2010 Community Works Funding. The funds will be used to make repairs and upgrade the septic system at the community hall.

UBCM Resolutions

The Cariboo Regional District will be sending resolutions to the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) annual conference and AGM this September. During the 2010 North Central Local Government Association (NCLGA) conference last month, the following CRD resolutions were endorsed and have been submitted to UBCM for debate during the convention:
• Palliative Care Fees
• Accessibility Designation
• Interim Tax Relief for Resort Owners
The CRD will also submit a resolution requesting legislation that will provide regional districts with tools to help the RCMP to deal with marijuana grow operations in the region and the risks they pose to communities.

Board on the Road

The Board of Directors and staff of the Cariboo Regional District travelled to Forest Grove in the south Cariboo for the first of two Board on the Road meetings for 2010. On Thursday, June 10 the Board hosted a community barbeque that saw approximately 50 residents enjoy the opportunity to meet CRD elected officials and staff. On Friday, the Board held its regularly scheduled meeting in the Forest Grove Community Hall.

The next Board on the Road event will be held September 16 and 17, when the CRD will travel to West Fraser Fire Hall in Electoral Area I of the north Cariboo.

Annual Report

The Board of Directors received and endorsed the CRD’s 2009 Annual Report. In the past, the publication won the UBCM’s Excellence Award Honourable Mention title on two previous occasions. The 2009 Annual report will be available at all CRD offices and an electronic version on the CRD website at

NCLGA - North Cariboo Local Government Association

The Cariboo Regional District and the District of 100 Mile House will be submitting a joint bid to co-host the 2012 NCLGA conference and AGM. The last time the conference took place within the region was in 2006, when the City of Williams Lake and the CRD co-hosted the event in Williams Lake.

Forest Capital Update

As the 2010-2011 Forest Capital of Canada, the CRD will be applying to the BC Community Forest Association (BCCFA) to host the 2011 conference in the Cariboo Chilcotin. Hosting the BCCFA Conference would be an excellent addition to the CRD’s Forest Capital program, and is in keeping with the Forest Capital of Canada Committee goals and objectives of bringing economic development opportunities to the region. In the past three years, the BCCFA Conference has attracted between 70-130 participants. The CRD includes three community forests; the Likely-Xat’sull Community Forest, 100 Mile House Community Forest, and the Esketemc Community Forest.

National Aboriginal Day

On June 18, CRD Board members will be attending an Open House with the Northern Shuswap Tribal Council in Williams Lake. The Open House is being held in celebration of Aboriginal Day 2010 from 1 to 4pm. More information about the Tribal Council is available online at

Next Board Meeting

Friday, July 9 – 9:30am

Upcoming Events

Tuesday, June 29 – 1:30pm
Opening of the Sisters Creek Trail located in Kersley.

Thursday, July 8 – 11am
Grand Opening of the CRD’s 100 Mile House Library

CRD Board Policy Session Notes - June 10th


Chair Richmond and Directors Armstrong, Faust, Massier, Bischoff, Mazur, Dumaresq, Glassford, Campsall, Sjostrom (1:14pm), Vermette, and Alternate Area ‘F’ Director Sorley


Directors Bracewell, Mumford and Cook

CRD Staff Present:

Janis Bell – CAO (Chief Administrative Officer)
Rick Hodgson – Deputy CAO
Lynn Paterson – Chief Financial Officer
Alice Johnston – Corporate Officer
Shelly Burich – Communications Manager

The Chair called the meeting to order at 12:35pm

Agenda approved


1) Graphic Standards Manual

The Board reviewed the memo from the Communications Manager
Discussion ensued thereon

Resolved – Graphic Standards Manual endorsed and CRD Staff be requested to look into costs to register the CRD Logo

2) Wood First

The Deputy CAO reviewed his report with the Board
Discussion ensued thereon

Resolved – Wood First Policy endorsed

3) Inflationary Pressures

The Chief Financial Officer reviewed her report with the Board
Discussion ensued thereon

Resolved – Memo received

4) Target Requisition Increase

The CAO reviewed her report with the Board
Discussion ensued thereon

Resolved - That the overall targeted inflationary increase for 2010 be set at a maximum of 1.25% exclusive of Board approved service increases and new services.

5) Insurance

The Chief Financial Officer reviewed her report with the Board
Discussion ensued thereon


1) CRD Staff to report back on increasing insurance deductible to $10,000 with a increasing sliding scale of $5,000 intervals

2) CRD Staff to report back on risk management for covering contractors’

The Chair recessed the meeting at 2:20pm and called the meeting back to order at 2:26pm

6) Governance Costs

The Chair, on behalf of the CAO, reviewed her report with the Board
Discussion ensued thereon

Resolved – CRD Staff to create a new governance function for 2011 to cover the expenses related to directors participation at the Board table utilizing the tax base of the entire Cariboo Regional District

7) Performance Management Audits

The CAO reviewed her report with the Board
Discussion ensued thereon

Resolved - The Terms of Reference for an Audit Committee be endorsed as presented. This item be reviewed in 1 year and the Audit Committee report directly to the CRD Board

8) Standing Committees of the Board

The Chair reviewed this item with the Board
Discussion ensued thereon

Resolved – Item received and the following Standing Committees of the Board be established:

i) Policy & Procedures Committee
ii) Executive Committee

9) Strategic Planning (Facilitated)

The CAO reviewed her memo with the Board
Discussion ensued thereon

Resolved – A Strategic Planning Session take place on Wednesday, October 6th from 2:00pm to 6:00pm with a dinner
Topic discussion items include – Forest Capital 2010/2011 & Public Consultation

10) Corporate Priorities

The CAO reviewed her report with the Board
Discussion ensued thereon

Resolved – Memo received

11) Procedure Bylaw Review Update

The Corporate Officer reviewed her memo with the Board
Discussion ensued thereon

Resolved – Continue practice of recording Directors’ names who move and second motions during Board meetings’

12) Annual Report – 2009 Edition

Board received a copy of the Annual Report

Board resolved to refer the issue of conference calls to Committee reviewing remuneration

Meeting adjourned at 4:15pm

Central Cariboo Joint Committee Meeting - June 9th

Present from City of WL:

Mayor Cook (Co-Chair) and Councillors Rathor, Barr, Walters, and Zacharias

Present from CRD:

Directors Steve Mazur (Co-Chair), Deb Bischoff, Rick Mumford and Alternate Area ‘F’ Director Joan Sorley

Staff Present:

Brian Carruthers – CAO, City of WL
Geoff Paynton – Director of Community Services, City of WL
Darron Campbell – Manager of Community Services, CRD

Meeting called to order at 5:00pm


1) Mins of May 19th Central Cariboo Joint Committee meeting

By Consensus – Minutes approved

2) Report from CRD Manager of Community Services re: Central Cariboo Arts & Culture Society (Proposed Bylaws & Constitution)

The CRD Manager of Community Services reviewed his report with the Joint Committee
Discussion ensued thereon

By Consensus – Report received

3) Report of City of WL Director of Community Services re: Amended Terms of Reference for the Central Cariboo Recreation Advisory Committee

The City of WL Director of Community Services reviewed his report with the Joint Committee
Discussion ensued thereon

By Consensus – Amended Terms of Reference be approved

4) Report of City of WL Director of Community Services re: Capital Plan Update – Cariboo Memorial Complex

The City of WL Director of Community Services reviewed his report with the Joint Committee
Discussion ensued thereon

By Consensus - That the Central Cariboo Recreation and Leisure Services Financial Plan be amended to allow implementation of the revised capital plan for the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex and a press release be issued to inform the public of these Capital Upgrades

5) Action Page

The City of WL CAO reviewed the Action Page with the Joint Committee
Discussion ensued thereon

By Consensus – Action Page received and remove Item #2 from the Action Page

6) Late Item – Report from CRD Manager of Community Services re: Amended Terms of Reference for the Central Cariboo Joint Committee

The CRD Manager of Community Services reviewed his report with the Joint Committee
Discussion ensued thereon

By Consensus – Amended Terms of Reference be approved and the City of WL & CRD Memorandum of Understanding be amended accordingly

Meeting adjourned at 6:00pm

Central Cariboo Rural Caucus Meeting Highlights - Wednesday, June 9th


Directors Steve Mazur (Chair), Deb Bischoff, Rick Mumford and Alternate Area 'F' Director Joan Sorley

Staff Present:

Darron Campbell – CRD Manager of Community Services


1) Minutes of May 19th Central Cariboo Rural Caucus Meeting

By Consensus – Minutes of May 19th Rural Caucus meeting adopted

2) Memo from CRD Community Services Manager re: Central Cariboo Transit Public Meeting Results

The CRD Manager of Community Services reviewed his memo with the Rural Caucus
Discussion ensued thereon

By Consensus – Memo be received, Staff to put a Function Establishment Bylaw to establish the “Central Cariboo Transit Function” before the CRD Board at its’ July 9th meeting and the taxation method for this Function be “Land & Improvements” and a referendum to approve the Function Bylaw take place in September

3) Memo from CRD Community Services Manager re: Amended Rural Caucus Terms of Reference

The CRD Manager of Community Services reviewed his memo with the Rural Caucus
Discussion ensued thereon

By Consensus – The Amended Terms of Reference for the Central Cariboo Rural Caucus be approved

Director Bischoff provided updates to the Rural Caucus on the following items:

i) Central Cariboo Airshed Committee meeting
ii) Williams Lake Air Quality Round Table meeting
iii) Williams Lake Interface Committee meeting
iv) Williams Lake & District Chamber of Commerce meeting
v) Central Cariboo Sustainability Committee meeting

City of WL to unveil new signage at Williams Creek Trail Head

Members of Williams Lake Council and the Williams Lake Conservation Society will jointly unveil new signage for the Williams Creek Trail Head at the bottom of Comer Street and Mackenzie Avenue (at the Williams Creek Trail Head) on Friday, June 18th at 3:00pm

Fight HST team clears new hurdle

CKNW reports that the HST Opponents have now achieved 15% of voter signatures' in all of BC's 85 Provincial Electoral Districts

More here

Cariboo-Chilcotin School District to have Building Upgrades for Full-Day Kindergarten

Williams Lake Tribune talks about the investment that the Provincial Government will make for Full-Day kindergarten in the Cariboo-Chilcotin School District

More here

BC Liberals' to stand by Premier Campbell

In today's Vancouver Sun, Political Columnist Vaughn Palmer states the reasons' why the BC Liberal Party will stand by Gordon Campbell as Party Leader

More here

Friday, June 11, 2010

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

The City of Quesnel is having their usual Council Meeting on Monday, June 14th, 2010 at 7:00pm in Quesnel Council Chambers (410 Kinchant Street, Quesnel, BC)

The Agenda/Reports can be found here

Mayor Cook & Thursday's CRD Policy Meeting

At the December 15th, 2009 meeting of Williams Lake City Council, Mayor Cook was appointed as Cariboo Regional District (CRD) Director for Williams Lake for the 2009/2010 term with Councillors Sue Zacharias and Surinder Rathor to act as Alternate Directors, in the absence of Mayor Cook.

On Thursday, June 10th, 2010 from 12:30pm to 4:30pm – the CRD Board of Directors’ held a “Policy Session” in Forest Grove, BC to discuss 11 topics of which 6 had potential or actual financial impacts to the City of Williams Lake taxpayers’.

One such impact is how costs to taxpayers' are dealt with, with regard to CRD Directors' costs. The new formula distributes costs equally to ensure all 16 Directors' (12 Electoral Areas and the 4 Muncipal Directors - Wells, Quesnel, Williams Lake and 100 Mile) can attend CRD Board meetings.

1 fundamental problem I have is that I shouldn't have to pay for Wells, Quesnel or 100 Mile's Director to attend a Board meeting. If they can't attend due to costs, then that is a problem for them to resolve and not all taxpayers' in the Cariboo-Chilcotin and due to Mayor Cook's and Councillors' Zacharias & Rathor's absence, Williams Lake taxpayers' interests were not properly defended.

Again - With 3 people from Williams Lake Council duly authorized to attend the CRD Board representing the City of Williams Lake, surely Mayor Cook could have ensured that either herself or one of her two Councillors' be in attendance at this meeting. This, in spite of the fact that CRD 100 Mile House Director Mitch Campsall asked for and received permission to delay discussion of the governance costs for CRD Directors for almost 3 hours to wait until the Municipal Directors showed up. The governance costs were then debated with 3 of the 4 Municipal Directors (Wells, Quesnel and 100 Mile Directors in the room)

Finally - 100 Mile House Director Mitch Campsall said this during discussions on governance costs for CRD Directors':

"Williams Lake, no matter what, still wins"

I took that as code for - "Williams Lake and its' taxpayers' get preferential treatment"

Again - without a elected official from Williams Lake at the CRD Board table, Mayor Campsall was able to get away with it. I believe the former model was the most appropriate one and those who are whining should suck it up. If Wells can't attend a CRD Board meeting, then that's their problem. They made a decision to incorporate (Wells was previously a community inside CRD Area 'C') and they'll have to live with the consequences of that decision - good or bad