Thursday, March 31, 2011

"Free Dump" Days in the Cariboo Regional District

Down in the Thompson-Nicola Regional District (TNRD), they are having a "Free Dump" Day from Sunday, April 3 in Lytton to Sunday, May 15th in Blue River (north of Kamloops)

See more details here

In light of Solid Waste Function budget challenges in the South Cariboo - I'd like to see the Cariboo Regional District look at this initiative and see if it would be one way to reduce costs

I've emailed the Cariboo Regional District's CAO (Janis Bell) on this subject and I'll let you know her response when I receive it


The Kerry Cook Show...

Earlier today, on the Kerry Cook Show, errr I meant the Rush's Town Hall Radio Program - host Dale Taylor asked a question around the City of WL's new Staff Salaries vis-a-vis Councillor Tom Barr's earlier comments that he doesn't support a wage hike for senior managers ranging from 13-21%

Mayor Cook's comments included:

* Need to compare to similar sized jurisdictions (ie - Quesnel, Cranbrook, etc)
* Based on above - City of WL Staff justified in receiving wage hikes
* Need to correct "mess" after being sworn in as Mayor

Based on her comments - I offer the following thoughts:

a) Yes, we should compare and keep in mind what other municipalities are paying their civil servants but we should always consider our ability to pay staff wages at comparable rates from other similar sized communities and whether or not the wage hike is appropriate, given the economic circumstances

b) Is Mayor Cook suggesting that former Williams Lake Mayor/Councils were "incompetent" in managing Staff affairs??  Because in my humble judgement, they were not

Finally - unlike former Mayors, this Mayor allows anyone to speak at a Committee of the Whole meeting (proof: Gurbux Saini, a member of the public in attendance, told the committee that shifting the tax burden was not the answer - from today's WL Tribune).  Also - Mayor Cook allowed Bill Derbyshire to speak at a March 16th, 2010 Committee of the Whole meeting while WL Council was considering a Wood First Resolution, even though Council had not passed a resolution allowed general public input to the Committee of the Whole on a Wood First Resolution

She should know that meetings of Council are formal, even when Council is meeting in Committee and unless Council, when meeting in Committee of the Whole, allows input for the public at the meeting (which rarely occurs), then the Mayor should have shut down any member of the public that is not a delegation, otherwise it has the possibility of turning into a circus show without adequate control

This is the same standard I apply at Advisory Planning Commission meetings as Chair - City of Williams Lake/Cariboo Regional District, Electoral Area 'D'

Finally - I hope the Rush will be suspending their Town Hall program for municipal officials this fall to ensure Mayor Cook or CRD Chair Al Richmond (in the event he is challenged for the Area 'G' Directorship) do not receive free advertising

Thursday News....March 31st edition

In your Williams Lake Tribune:

* Tolko senior Managers Mark Stevens/Tom Hoffman meet with WL Council-in-Committee to discuss Major Industry tax rates and that they will reconsidered at the 2011 level.  See here

Editor's Note - based on the above article, it seems Mayor Cook was not taking Mssrs. Stevens/Hoffman's message to heart and it is very likely (although I haven't talked with Tom Hoffman about this yet) that they came away from the meeting disappointed

* School Board decides to move French Immersion from Marie Sharpe Elementary to Glendale Elementary - see here

* Support for the patio bylaw here and here

* In his weekly column, Indepedent MLA Bob Simpson asks: Should personal attack ads be allowed if they are funny? - see here

And over at

* Decision Day for the trial of PG City Councillor Brian Skakun over leaking a In-Camera Report will be Tuesday, May 24th by Surrey Judge Ken Ball - see here

Finally , over at PG Citizen:

* City of Prince George website gets a major facelift - see here

Editor's Note - I hope Williams Lake's website incorporates some of the same features that Prince George's website has - social media tools, daily newsbits, etc...the City of WL CAO said end of March, the City of Williams Lake would have its new website....still waiting

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Missing Policy Manual for the BC Conservative Party

Over in the Twitter-universe, veteran political columnist Vaughn Palmer noted that the BC Conservative Party recently took down their Policy Manual and explained it this way:

BC Conservatives have removed 22-page May 2010 policy platform from website. Subject to review, sez president Wayne McGrath.

Question - Why put it (Policy Manual) up in advance of AGM in May then??

Mr. Palmer also notes some of their policies as follows, from the "disappeared" Policy Manual:

* carbon tax will be repealed" Revenue hit: $950 million.

* investigate harmonizing the provincial sales tax with the GST.

* A BC Conservative government will open up the offshore to the northwest coast

* A BC Conservative government will not place a toll on the Port Mann bridge

* A B.C. Conservative government will gradualy abolish the property transfer tax." Revenue hit: $800 million per year

* A BC Conservative government will provide equal per student financing for public, traditional, charter and independent schools.


1) Where will a BC Conservative Party come up with $1,750,000,000 or 1.750 billion in lost revenue by ditching the Property Transfer Tax and Carbon Tax?  What kind of deep cuts will a BC Conservative gov't impose on British Columbians??  Inquiring minds desire to know

2) Is a BC Conservative really prepared to start a war with the BC Teachers Federation?  Moreover, is a BC Conservative gov't really prepared to start a war with parents who may not want private schools funded from public dollars?  Because this is exactly what will happen

3) Again, if no tolls on Port Mann Bridge (voter getter in "South of Fraser" region) but again - how will they finance this - traditional means, etc?)

4) Drilling off the North Coast - non-starter with region residents, I would suspect

But it was good to see that the BC Conservatives are pulling their policy on investigating joining the Provincial Sales Tax and the federal Goods and Services Tax as it is redundant

Given an election could happen at any time, it is my enlightened position that the BC Conservative Party is not 100% ready for an election , if the above policies make it into a BC Conservative Party Platform for the upcoming provincial election, whenever it comes


New Website for Independent MLA Bob Simpson

Recently, Bob Simpson - the Independent MLA for Cariboo-North, had his website totally revamped and you can find it at

If you are a voter in the provincial electoral district of Cariboo-North and want to know what your MLA is up to, it is a good source of info

2011 MoneySense Poll Out on "Best Community in Canada"

MoneySense - Canada's Personal Finance Magazine, just like in 2010, released its poll on the best communities in Canada with 10,000+ in population.  See more on this here and see my blog post on this topic last year here and here

See the spreadsheet for all 180 Communities in Canada that were compared here

Some comparables included:

* Average House Price
* Time to Walk/Bike to Work
* Crime Severity Index
* Doctors per 1,000 of population

For the record - the top 10 Best Communities in Canada, according to MoneySense are:

1) Ottawa-Gatineau, Ontario/Quebec
2) Victoria, BC
3) Burlington, Ontario
4) Kingston, Ontario
5) St. Albert, Alberta
6) Fredricton, New Brunswick
7) Brandon, Manitoba
8) Edmonton, Alberta
9) Repentigny, Quebec
10) Winnipeg, Manitoba

Closer to home:

Williams Lake in the 2010 MoneySense's poll was ranked #178 and this year, we came up one position to #177 of 180 Communities in Canada

Quesnel in the 2010 MoneySense's poll was ranked #176 and still is ranked #176 of 180 Communities in Canada

Bottom Line - Notwithstanding the above, we know Williams Lake and Quesnel are wonderful communities always with challenges but the people who live in Williams Lake and Quesnel make these communities the very places that we love to work, play, invest and retire in


BC Conservative Party Leadership Race

As announced yesterday, John Cummins, former Richmond-Delta East MP, announced his intention to seek the Leadership of the BC Conservative Party

See Alan Forseth's (BC Conservative Party's Kamloops Regional Director) take on this here and here

However - both Jay Hill, former MP for PG-Peace River, and Stockwell Day, former MP for Okanagan-Coquihalla & Federal President of the Treasury Board expressed dismay at their colleagues move.  See here

Unlike BC Conservative Party spin, Mr. Cummins and the BC Conservative Party will need to address the following questions:

1) Why haven't more people decided to seek the Leadership of this "upstart" political party
2) How does Mr. Cummins resolve his previous position, as a Conservative MP, to support the HST for both BC and Ontario and now his stated intention to remove the HST, if he is both elected Leader of the BC Conservative Party and then Premier of BC?

But, at the end of the day, BC Liberals, like myself, should be and are likely a little concerned about this development but unless the BC Conservatives field a 85 candidate slate in the next Provincial Election or get more than 9% of the vote then it's likely they'll not have too much of a political impact on the 40th Provincial General Election

City Sprinkling Regulations take effect Friday

From the City of Williams Lake:

The City of Williams Lake would like to remind residents that sprinkling regulations take effect on Friday, April 1.

Watering of lawns within the City of Williams Lake is not permitted between the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Residents are reminded that watering days are in accordance with residential addresses (odd-numbered addresses waters on odd days, even-numbered addresses water on even days). In the case of mobile homes in mobile home parks and strata developments, watering days are determined by bay numbers or unit numbers.

Residents who have installed a new lawn, either by sod or seeding, may apply to the City for a permit to water beyond the conditions set out within the Bylaw. Properties that have automatic sprinkler systems can water grass between 12 and 4 a.m. The sprinkling regulations are in effect until September 30.

The regulations are to ensure there is enough water supply during peak daytime hours, and non-compliance can carry a $100 fine. The City’s bylaw enforcement department will enforce the regulations. Bylaw officers will give residents who break the regulations a warning, and usually don’t issue a ticket unless the residents sprinkle incorrectly for a second time.

The community’s cooperation is appreciated as water is a very precious resource.

Mid Week News - March 30th edition

In the Williams Lake Tribune:

* In their "open government" initiative, Williams Lake City Hall released salaries for City ManagersSee here

Editor's Note - This would have been done anyways as all salaries released, save the Executive Assistant salary, exceeds the $75,000 level required for release under the SOFI (Statement of Financial Information) rules and was required to be done anyways by June 30th, 2011

* Former Socred Cabinet Minister and CKNW Radio Host Rafe Mair was in Williams Lake last Friday to discuss water and democracy issues. See here

* Central Cariboo Arts and Culture Society President Dr. Graham Kelsey espouses the benefits of local gov't investment in the Arts and Culture Sector - see here

Editor's Note - I'm a little concerned about taking studies for bigger centres and using them as justification for the local Arts Function.  If we are going to have a fair debate, let's find a study that compares us to comparable communities.  The City of Kelowna obviously is not the same size as Williams Lake, even if you factor in the trading area for Williams Lake at 30,000 (Williams Lake + Electoral Areas D, E, F).  Dr. Kelsey rightly states the Cariboo Regional District is the only Regional District/Local Gov't to invest in the Arts and Culture Sector with its own money and probably because the 26 other Regional District and other local governments in rural BC probably fear the "download" debate that could take place.  In all honesty - Victoria should be funded this and other "Arts and Culture" needs to a higher level

And while I'm on this subject, I saw recently a Q&A for the Station House Gallery move and I must say that, with the greatest of respect to the Station House Gallery Board, that I'm not convinced that packing/moving a building equals saving the Gallery.  I have lots of concerns with this project and why other options were not reasonably considered in this case however I am aware that Donna Barnett has committed herself to get Victoria to fund the $375,000 "Towns for Tomorrow" grant for this project and we'll all see soon if she is successful in that regard - see some more details on this subject here

In the 100 Mile House Free Press

* Plenty of debate over land swap in Bridge Lake Area.  See here, here, and here
* Controversy over "School of Choice" Policy in Lac La Hache/South Cariboo Region - see here

Major Projects Inventory - Cariboo-Chilcotin Area

Every quarter (every 3 months) - the BC Ministry of Finance publishes a "Major Projects Inventory - Capital" in the Province of BC worth $15 million or more in rural areas or $20 million or more in the Metro Vancouver area.  You can find the latest report here

Some of the major capital projects (proposed/underway), as at December 31st, 2010, in the Cariboo-Chilcotin are:

Proposed - 100 Mile House:

Project Name - 100 Mile Bioenergy Project
(Project part of Sept 2010 BC Hydro Community-based BioMass Power Call)
Proponent: Ainsworth Energy Co Ltd
Estimated Cost: $45 million
Start of Project: Unknown
Project Completion: Unknown

Project Name - Hills Health Ranch Expansion
Proponent: Hills Health and Guest Ranch Ltd
Estimated Cost: $40 million
Start of Project: 2011
Project Completion: 2020
Comments: Site Work underway, Planned Expansion to 108 Mile Ranch Health Facility, also plans for 250 housing units, and village with health and wellness services

Proposed - Hanceville:

Project Name - Tsilhqot'in Power Project
Proponent: Tsilhqot'in Power Corp/Western Biomass Corp
Estimated Cost: $200 million
Start of Project: Unknown
Project Completion: Unknown

Proposed - Williams Lake:

Project Name: Prosperity Gold/Copper Project
Proponent: Taseko Mines (
Estimated Cost: $815 million
Start of Project: Unknown
Project Completion: Unknown
Comments - Project failed to receive federal approval in November 2010.  Proponent currently in process to re-submit revised project with Ottawa

Proposed - Quesnel:

Project Name - Cariboo Pulp & Paper Upgrades
Proponent - Cariboo Pulp & Paper Co
Esimated Cost: $42 million
Start of Project: Unknown
Project Completion: Unknown
Comments: $41.5 million for this project from Ottawa's "Pulp and Paper Green Transformation Fund"

Project Name - Commercial Bio-Refinery
Proponent: Pure Power Global Ltd/City of Quesnel
Estimated Cost: $18 million
Start of Project: Spring 2011
Project Completion: End of 2011
Comments: Project to receive $880,000 from Province of BC's Innovative Clean Energy or ICE Fund

Project Name - North Cariboo Multi-Center
Proponent: Cariboo Regional District/City of Quesnel
(See more at
Estimated Cost: $26 million
Start of Project: Unknown
Project Completion: Unknown
Comments - Project referendum of $15 million taxpayers' support for project secured.  Currently securing funding for this project from Victoria/Ottawa

Project Name - Australian Creek Coal Mine
Proponent: West Hawk Development Corp (
Estimated Cost: $100 million
Start of Project: Unknown
Project Completion: Unknown

Project Name - Bonanza Ledge Zone
Proponent: Barkerville Gold Mines Ltd
Estimated Cost: $60 million
Start of Project: Unknown
Project Completion: Unknown

Projects Underway - Cariboo-Chilcotin Region:

Project Name: Cariboo Connector
Proponent: Province of BC
Estimated Cost: $241 million
Start of Project: June of 2005
Project Completion: End of 2011
Comments - Funding for this Project comes from various Ottawa sources including:

* Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative
* Building Canada Plan
* Infrastructure Stimulus Fund

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Up to 21% Wage Hikes for WL City Hall Staff....?

Over at the Rush - WL City Councillor Tom Barr raised concerns around senior staff salaries at WL City Hall, as follows: (Story to be aired at 4pm today - listen at 97.5 FM on your local radio or listen online at and click on "Listen Live" at the bottom of the website page)

Management salaries at Williams Lake City Hall are about to jump a lot higher than originally expected.

Last week we told you those salaries were scheduled to go up 2% April 1st. However we’ve now learned that three of those salaries will go up 13%.

Williams Lake City Councilor Tom Barr says the increases will go into effect April 1st.

Barr says one of those positions will not only see a 15% boost in 2011 but an additional 6% jump in 2012.

Barr says he was the lone councilor to vote against the measure during an in-camera meeting last month.

He says he believes senior staff are hard working and deserve a raise but says with economic times so tough he couldn’t justify supporting a 15% increase.

He says senior staff shouldn’t be shielded from the tough economic realities citizens in this area are facing.

Mayor Cook's response to this is:

Williams Lake Mayor Kerry Cook says senior management at city hall deserves every penny they get.

That was her reaction to Councilor Tom Barr’s opposition to a 13% salary increase for three to four senior members of city staff.

Cook says council agreed last year to the pay increases and also says they agreed to compare staff salaries to municipalities of similar size.

Cook says that exercise revealed three to four management positions were significantly below average and required a salary catch-up.

As for Barr’s criticisms Mayor Cook says everyone on council has a right to view their opinions and says as Mayor she values all points of view.

As for me - I must say that Williams Lake City Hall Staff do work hard but I don't believe, given the economic times, they deserve between 13-21% wage hikes over the next year and I certainly don't think taxpayers' in Williams Lake got a 13-21% hike in their wages.  This is a case of Staff saying what they want in their pay and WL Council being totally unable to say no.  Especially considering the state of small business in Williams Lake (empty stores downtown and in Boitanio Mall).  I'm now curious - do City Councillors Geoff Bourdon, Natalie Hebert, Surinderpal Rathor, Laurie Walters and Sue Zacharias feel the same as their colleague, Tom Barr??  They should...if not, they may find that they could receive a frosty response from City taxpayers' as they go doorknocking for re-election this fall

Finally - consider Friday, it will be 8 months when the Municipal Council of Williams Lake for the 2011-2014 Term officially takes over, it can't be good when a City Councillor (Tom Barr) reveals something as serious as a vote on Staff Salaries from In-Camera and what impact this will have on Kerry Cook's plans for a 2nd term as Mayor of Williams Lake and that of the sitting 5 City Councillors for their re-election bids (note - Natalie Hebert is not seeking re-election in November)

If I was John Dube from the local IUOE and I saw senior City Managers get between 13-21% in wage hikes, I certainly would ask for a "substantive" wage hike for unionized employees as their contract with the City expires July 1st, 2012.  Councillor Tom Barr says the City has handed Mr. Dube and his IUOE colleagues a "loaded gun" for next year's negotiations

Monday, March 28, 2011

2011 BC Community Achievement Awards (Updated)

Earlier today, BC Premier Christy Clark & Kevin Mitchell - Chair of the BC Achievement Foundation announced the 36 winners of the BC Community Achievement Award

BC Premier Christy Clark stated:

"Each of these people have a remarkable record of enhancing the quality of life of residents throughout the Province and each truly deserves to be singled out and recognized by all British Columbians for their contributions"

Meanwhile - Kevin Mitchell, Chair of the BC Achievement Foundation stated:

These individuals work diligently all-year round and their contributions yield concrete and lasting benefits for all of us.  Their work stands as a beacon to selfless community service and our lives are richer for it"

An independent advisory council selects the recipients of the BC Community Achievement Awards.  The 2011 Council members are:

* Langley Mayor Peter Fassbender
* Quesnel Mayor Mary Sjostrom
* Former Vancouver Councillor Kim Capri
* Past BC Community Achievement Award winners Patrick Kelly (Victoria - 2009) and George Puil (Vancouver - 2008)

See the full press release here

More closer to home - one of the BC Community Achievement Award winners for 2011 is Quesnel Councillor Peter Couldwell.  As the press release states:

"Peter Couldwell has served his community of Quesnel as a councillor for more than 20 years. He has also personally helped to raise close to $3 million through his skills as a volunteer auctioneer for scores of events and organizations, including local charities, the Quesnel Community Foundation and the Hospice Palliative Care Association.

Former winners of the BC Community Achievement Award in the Cariboo-Chilcotin include WL City Councillor Surinderpal Rathor (2005) & Seniors' Advocate/Chair of the WL and Area Seniors' Advisory Council Audrey MacLise (2010) both from Williams Lake & Ron Silver (2008) / Susan Maile (2009), both from Quesnel and CRD Area 'J' Director Alex Bracewell (2009)

I offer my personal congrats to Quesnel Councillor Peter Couldwell.  The 2011 BC Community Achievement Award winners will be formally presented with their award on Wednesday, April 20th, 2011 at Government House in Victoria, BC

UPDATE - From the City of Quesnel:

Quesnel City Councillor Peter Couldwell was named a winner of the BC Community Achievement Awards today by Premier Christy Clark and Keith Mitchell, chair of the British Columbia Achievement Foundation.

"On behalf of Quesnel City Council we are extremely pleased that Peter has been recognized in this fashion," said Mayor Mary Sjostrom. "It is a well-deserved award for a lifelong member of this community who has contributed significant volunteer hours and helped raise more than $2.8 million for a wide range of fundraising endeavours. We also congratulate his wife Elaine for the dedication and volunteer hours she has given in support of her husband."

"I thank my family, Council colleagues and City staff for all the hard work they did to prepare the nomination package," said Couldwell. "I'm very humbled by this. I wasn't expecting an honour of this magnitude. I don't do the work I do for the awards, I do it so that Quesnel is a better place, a community that one can be proud to raise a family in."

Couldwell was one of 36 outstanding British Columbians named today in Vancouver. He was recognized for his 20 years service as a City Councillor as well as his volunteer efforts as an auctioneer to raise money for community fundraising causes. Couldwell will receive a certificate as well as a medallion designed by B.C. artist Robert Davidson at Government House in Victoria on April 20.

Previous BC Community Achievement Award winners from Quesnel are Ron Silver in 2008 and Susan Maile in 2009.

3 Cariboo Regional District "Wildfire Sessions" this week

This week - the Cariboo Regional District with the Cariboo Fire Center will be holding its first 3 "Wildfire Sessions" in the Cariboo-Chilcotin:

Monday, March 28th - South Cariboo

Meeting runs from 6-8pm at the Creekside Seniors' Center (501 Cedar Avenue South - by 100 Mile Hospital)

Saturday, April 2nd - Chilcotin:

Meeting runs from 10am - 12pm at the Anahim Lake Community Hall and then 3-5pm at the Alexis Creek Community Hall

If you had or still have any concerns relating to how the Cariboo Regional District/Cariboo Fire Center handled last years Wildfires or suggestions on how they can do a better job communicating with the public around evac orders and alerts, etc - then I strongly encourage you to make it to these sessions. 

Wildfire Sessions for North and Central Cariboo residents will be held next week


Review of Local Government Stipends (Salary)

Yesterday, the Prince George Citizen reported that Prince George Council is set to begin a process to review its' salary to Mayor/Council.  See here.  Also, PG Council will establish a Ad-Hoc Committee of 4 community members to do the review and report back to PG Council.  See that here

Last week, the Thompson-Nicola Regional District (TNRD) Board upped its' stipend for its Board Directors by 40-70%.  See that story from the Kamloops Daily News here

Former Kamloops Mayor & Kamloops Daily News Editor Mel Rothenburger blasts both the TNRD Board and current Kamloops Mayor Peter Milobar for the TNRD stipend increase here

Question - should Williams Lake, Quesnel, Wells and 100 Mile Councils and the Cariboo Regional District Board review their stipend (salary) packages or do they get sufficient pay from their local taxpayers?


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Attack Ads from BC NDP

Earlier this year, the BC NDP launched a website called "Are You Falcon Kidding Me" because they (NDP) were scared of Kevin Falcon becoming BC Liberal Leader/Premier of BC.  See that website

Now - in a not surprising move - the BC NDP has launched a new attack ad against sitting BC Premier Christy Clark.  You can see that ad here and check the NDP's "Christy Crunch" website here

Is this a sign of things to come from the BC NDP??  I hope not because if so, this may turn off voters from the BC NDP, especially considering the next scheduled Provincial Election is not until May of 2013.  The same voters they need to become government in May of 2013. 

Methinks - Same Old NDP - Negative, Destructive, Pessimistic

Let's give Christy a chance to govern before anyone or any political party attacks her for her policies


Saturday, March 26, 2011

CRD Board Highlights - March 25th Meeting

Audited Financial Statements

Chartered Accountant, Clay Rasmussen presented the Cariboo Regional Hospital District (CRHD), the Cariboo Chilcotin Regional Hospital District (CCRHD) and the Cariboo Regional District’s (CRD) 2010 audited financial statements. According to Rasmussen, the financial position of the corporations remains strong. For inquiries contact the CRD’s Chief Financial Officer at 250-392-3351 or toll free at 1-800-665-1636.

Taxes Held to CRD Target

During the meeting, both the CCRHD and the CRD proposed budgets were adopted. At the end of 2010, the Board of Directors provided CRD staff with a target goal of 1.25 percent maximum requisition increase for inflationary purposes. The target has now been achieved with the approved budgets reflecting an inflationary increase of 1.25 percent exclusive of new services and the specific inclusion of funds within the 2011 budget to cover the cost of the general elections taking place in November 2011 and the 20th anniversary of the annual Fire Chief’s Workshop in October. The financial statements will be available online soon at

Barkerville Heritage Trust

Walt Cobb, representing the Board of Directors for the Barkerville Heritage Trust announced a Wine and Cheese event taking place at the Tourism Discovery Centre on April 1 from 5 to 7 p.m. Residents are invited to come out and meet Barkerville Heritage Trust Executive members and staff and learn about what is happening at Barkerville in the upcoming year. To confirm your attendance, please contact Barkerville at 1-888-994-3332 ext 21 or email

Hixon Refuse Transfer Station

The Cariboo Regional District and the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George (RDFFG) have renewed a cost sharing agreement for the Hixon Transfer Station, operated by the RDFFG, since 1997. The last agreement expired in December, 2010 and the RGFFG requested a renewal with an increase of five percent to cover increasing operating, transportation, and maintenance costs along with an increase to tipping fees in 2010. The Cariboo Regional District’s annual payment of $11,617 has been in place since 2003 and CRD staff. The new contract amount is $12,198 annually for 2011 through 2013.

Earth Hour 2011

The CRD Board of Directors have proclaimed March 26 from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. (local time) as Earth Hour 2011 in the Cariboo Chilcotin. Cities and communities in more than 70 countries will be flicking off their lights on March 26, to mark Earth Hour and show support for climate action change. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Canada, is asking local governments to sign up, participate, and engage in celebrating sustainability efforts. Further information about this international event is available at

Support for Volunteer Firefighter Tax Credit

The Regional District Board of Directors will be providing a letter of support to the Fire Chiefs Association of British Columbia (FCABC) and the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs (CAFC) for a proposed tax credit for volunteer firefighters. The Regional District will also be sending letters to all Federal political leaders requesting this item be included in their budgets. The FCABC and the CAFC requested assistance to show the government of Canada the importance of their campaign to establish a $3000 federal tax credit for volunteer firefighters.

Let there be Light

The Cariboo Regional District will be installing lights at the 150 Mile Refuse Transfer Station. One street light and one yard light will be installed at the transfer station and is scheduled to be completed by the end of May, 2011.

Accessible Equipment for Quesnel Arts and Recreation

The Regional District was informed about a recent donation from the Rotary Club of Quesnel of new wheelchair accessible equipment for the Quesnel and District Arts and Recreation Centre gym. The Rotary Club raised $8,900 to cover the entire cost of the equipment with funds raised through the 2010 Rotary Radio-TV Auction. The Quesnel and District Arts and Recreation Centre gym now features a number of pieces of accessible equipment. A number of other improvements such as improved door controls and better curb cuts have also been added to enhance accessibility at the centre.

Next Board Meeting

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

City of WL to start sending graffiti notices

From the City of Williams Lake:

The City of Williams Lake will begin to issue notifications next week to residents and business owners who have graffiti on their properties, reminding them of the provisions of the new City graffiti bylaw.

The notices inform property owners that they have 14 days to remove graffiti from their properties. If the property owner fails to remove it, the City will enter onto the property and remove it, without cost to the owner. However, the City will not colour-match paint when covering over graffiti on property.

It is a proven fact that where communities take an immediate and consistent approach to address graffiti, the incidents of graffiti decline significantly.

"We have seen an increase in graffiti in recent months, and this is a significant and growing problem," says Mayor Kerry Cook. "We are issuing these notices to remind property owners that we all must take responsibility for fighting graffiti. We cannot ignore the disrespect that graffiti represents, and that is why we are taking swift action to address it."

Review of Items - Tuesday's Committee of the Whole (WL Council) Meeting

On Tuesday, WL Council will be dealing with the following items at its' Tuesday Committee of the Whole Meeting:

Delegation - Tom Hoffman/Mark Stevens (Tolko) re: Major Industrial Tax Mill Rates.  See Mr. Hoffman's covering information here

Editor's Note - congrats to Mr. Hoffman for trying to convince WL Council for three long years that there is a problem with the City's major industrial tax mill rates but I suspect he'll face a "closed-minded" Council.  FYI - According to Victoria (see background info above) - the City of Williams Lake has presently the 3rd highest major industry tax mill rate in BC with the City of Quesnel having the 9th highest major industry tax mill rate and the District of 100 Mile House having the 14th highest major industry tax mill rate in BC. 

I do agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Hoffman that if WL Council wants to attract new industrial/business investment to Williams Lake - this Council needs to seriously look at its' tax mill rates as a present "disincentive" to invest in Williams Lake, but I honestly have to report that it will likely be the next Council to being "open-minded" , looking at this issue seriously and to change Council's policies enough to have a "investor-friendly" environment in the City of Williams Lake.  I also intend to lobby Council, via email, on this subject and on the subject of the Secondary Suite Policy vis-a-vis Affordable Housing



1) "Secondary Suite Bylaws" - Changes to Water/Sewer Works Bylaws + Amendment to Zoning Amendment Bylaw - see Staff items here (Bylaw #2130 - Sewer Works Management Bylaw Amendment), here (Bylaw #2131 - Water Works Bylaw amendment) and here (Bylaw #2134 - Zoning Amendment + Secondary Suite Policy).  Pls note - City of Williams Lake has decided not to hire a Building Inspector and plans to contract with the Cariboo Regional District for Building Inspection services and at this writing, the CRD Board has not debated this item or made any decisions on this except to approve a contract for Building Inspection Services with the District of 100 Mile House

I reviewed the Sewer Works and Water Works Bylaws back in early March.  See that blog post here.  However, I would strongly encourage WL Council to put all 3 Bylaws before the public (public hearing) as all 3 are interconnected (ie - all 3 bylaws pertain to Secondary Suites and have an impact on the public).  It should be pointed out that Bylaws #2130+2131 (Water/Sewer Works Amendment Bylaws) are "regulatory" bylaws and Council is not required to put them before the public at a public hearing however Bylaw #2134 (Zoning Amendment + Secondary Suite Policy) is a "land-use" bylaw and as such, Council is legally required to place it before the public (ie - public hearing) before adopting it.  I also intend to lobby WL Council on this subject, via email, as well, and I'll let all know how WL Council responds

Not to do so would be the continuous act of a "undemocratic" Council.  Note - WL Council imposed the False Alarm Bylaw (specific costs to the public) and Traffic Control Bylaw (no parking on boulevards) before talking with the public at a public hearing earlier on in 2009/2010 when this should have been done, as it was the "right thing to do"

2) Traffic Control Bylaw Enforcement - No Parking on Boulevards

City Staff are bringing this item back to Committee of the Whole as there are still issues around the public parking on City-owned boulevards (removal of snow) when it is currently illegal, as per City Bylaw #2093.  See that report here.    Will WL Council bring this item back before the community as this issue was previously discussed back in November of 2009 and learn the lessons earned from that meeting??  I hope so, but based on this Council's previous actions - I wouldn't bet the farm on it

Finally - WL Council will be reviewing the public comments from the March 10th Budget Meeting (Note - I'll post the report link when available) and continue the review of the City's Draft OCP (Official Community Plan)


Bits 'N Bytes News

Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett comments on the upcoming HST Mail-in Ballot Referendum
See here

Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP Cathy MacLeod calls the defeat of the Harper government as "Over the top partisan move" - see here

Quesnel Mayor Mary Sjostrom also comments on the 41st Federal General Election which takes place on Monday, May 2nd, 2011.  See here.  Also, Walt Cobb comments on the upcoming Federal Election.  See here.  100 Mile House Mayor Mitch Campsall also expresses disappointment with the upcoming Federal Vote.  See here.  Heidi Redl (local Green Party MP-candidate) says she's looking forward to upcoming Federal Election campaign locally.  See here.  Editor's Note - I am continously disappointed that Mayors of 100 Mile House/Quesnel comment on items in the media before Mayor Cook of Williams Lake does.  Why doesn't Mayor Cook comment on WL Airport services, upcoming Federal Vote, etc in a proactive way like Quesnel/100 Mile House/Cariboo Regional District unless you "arm twist"information out of her??  Just asking....

100 Mile House Council will join "Communities in Bloom" in partnership with South Cariboo Chamber of Commerce - see here

Finally - last night, the local Council of Canadians co-hosted an event which saw Rafe Mair (former CKNW host + Social Credit Cabinet Minister) discuss issues like "Run of River" hydro-electric projects, and BC Hydro, etc.  In attendance - CRD Area 'D' Director Deb Bischoff.  However, John Dressler from the local Council of Canadians advised both WL Indian Band + WL Council were "too busy" to attend.  WL Indian Band, I can understand, being too busy with their development projects.  But WL Council, and all 7 members I don't understand - Council agreed to create a "Master Schedule" which was supposed to ensure that a member(s) of Council were available to attend community events back in 2009.  Surely - one member of Williams Lake Council could have been made available for this event, given I believe this event was advertised well in advance & all 7 members of WL Council were invited (I'm told) to welcome out of town guest to Williams Lake - why is WL Council apparently so afraid of the Council of Canadians??  Again, just asking??


Local Gov't Meetings in Cariboo-Chilcotin - Week of March 28-April 1

There are 3 Local Government Meetings in the Cariboo-Chilcotin this upcoming week:

Monday, March 28th - City of Quesnel:

Delegation/Committee of the Whole Session which starts at 7:00pm in Quesnel Council Chambers (410 Kinchant St)

See the Agenda/Reports here

Tuesday, March 29th - City of Williams Lake:

Committee of the Whole Session which starts at 6:00pm in Committee Room #1 (in basement) at WL City Hall

See the Agenda/Reports here

Tuesday, March 29th - School District #27:

Open Board Meeting which starts at 7:00pm in the School District Boardroom (350 North 2nd Ave - next to Marie Sharpe Elementary)

See the Agenda/Reports here

*** Reminder *** - The City of Quesnel is holding a workshop for Elected Officials/Candidates for Local Government on Wednesday, March 31st from 6-8pm in Quesnel Council Chambers.  See further details on this here

Friday, March 25, 2011

Breaking News - Provincial HST Vote under "Referendum Act" and it'll be Mail-in Ballot

The Province of BC is announcing that the HST vote will be a "Mail-in Ballot" and it'll be conducted under the Referendum Act

See more details here

New City of WL Planning Technician

Over at CivicinfoBC - they report that the City of Williams Lake is seeking applications for the Planning Technician position at City Hall with a deadline to apply of Friday, April 8th, 2011

At present - Drew Roberts is the Planning Technician.  Remember he was hired in 2010.  It will be interesting to see what happens to the Integrated Community Sustainability Coordinator position, currently held by Lilliana Dragowska, once the City's new OCP (Official Community Plan) is adopted

See the job details here


Breaking News - Harper Gov't is Defeated

In a vote of 156-145, the Conservative minority federal government was defeated after the Federal House of Commons adopted the following Resolution (Motion):

"That the House agree with the finding of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs that the government is in contempt of Parliament, which is unprecedented in Canadian parliamentary history, and consequently, the House has lost confidence in the government."

Tomorrow - Prime Minister Stephen Harper will be required to go to His Excellency, the Governor-General and report that his government has lost the confidence of the 40th Parliament of Canada and request a General Election for either May 2nd or May 9th

End of Week News - March 25th edition

In the week that was, here's a wrap of news in the Cariboo-Chilcotin area:

* WL Council directed their Staff to bring forward an amendment to the City of WL's Zoning Bylaw to regulate Shipping containers - see here

* WL Council agreed on Tuesday to submit a 75% grant application to Ottawa for Woodland Drive Water/Sewer - see here

* TNRD (Thompson-Nicola Regional District) has "communication breakdown" with respect to the Eagan Lk Transfer Station (TNRD Area 'E' and CRD Area 'L') - see here (Editor's Note - CRD during its' Public Consultation Meeting on the next 10 year Solid Waste Management Plan will need to ensure that it has a multi-faceted approach to communicating with the public on the new Solid Waste Management Plan, lest they receive the same public mood that was presented to TNRD officials at this meeting, given many in the rural Cariboo-Chilcotin do not have access to high-speed Internet)

* Lac La Hache parents told to lobby MLA's for more funding, but Donna Barnett says lobby your school trustees - see here

* 13 Sick Dogs discovered at busted pot site in Williams Lake area - see here

* Donna Barnett says "no provincial election on the horizon" - See here

Please Note - I'll be blogging later today when the federal government falls.  The official vote is expected to take place at 10:30am, our time

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

City of WL Spring & Summer Active Living Guide Online

From the City of Williams Lake:

The Spring & Summer Active Living Guide is now online at The online Guide is presented in a dynamic, easy to navigate format. The Guide will also be distributed with the March 25 Tribune Weekend.

The Guide features many new programs, including:
 African Dance
 Zumba
 Jazz Fit
 Summer Fitness Challenge
 Women’s Mountain Biking
 Prenatal Yoga
 Meditation
 Dill Pickles & Salsa
 Wild West Williams Lake

For the latest information on events, programs, and activities going on at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex, residents can become fans of its Facebook page. Just search for “Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex.”

Management Compensation Policy part of Public Record

From the City of Williams Lake:

As part of its commitment to open and transparent government, Williams Lake City Council at its meeting last night, brought forward an in-camera report on management compensation to the public record.

“As municipal leaders, we want always to be forthcoming and accountable to the public,” says Mayor Kerry Cook. “That is why the management compensation and benefits policy and the 2010 management base salary review and 2011 management compensation report has been brought out into the public record.

“Under the Community Charter, communities are only required to disclose management salaries of $75,000 or more in the Statement of Financial Information report, which comes out yearly in May or June. Council feels it is important to go above and beyond that requirement.”

The management compensation policy, adopted in December 2009 and revised in February 2011, provides direction from council with respect to management pay and benefits. The policy outlines benchmark salaries, a performance based compensation program, and policies for vacation, benefits, and termination.

In order for the City to compete with other municipalities to attract and retain qualified, talented management staff, the policy sets management base salaries at 105% of the average of similar-sized municipalities sampled in a five-year review, and are subject to an independent review every five years.

The 2011 preliminary budget calls for a 2% increase to management salaries effective April 1, with an annualized cost of $67,632 and a cost in 2011of $50,728.50. Some salaries have been raised by more than 2% in order to meet the benchmarks set out in the management compensation policy.

“It’s important to note that in November 2009, after six months of review, we restructured a number of positions, and that resulted in a total savings in 2010 of $345,310,” Mayor Cook says. “Salaries and wages are a large part of the City’s budget, and we want to ensure we deliver a high level of service in the most cost-effective way possible.”

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

WL Council Meeting Highlights - March 22nd

Present: Mayor Cook and Councillors’ Barr, Bourdon, Hébert, Walters and Zacharias

Absent: Deputy Mayor Rathor

Staff Present:

Brian Carruthers - CAO
Cindy Bouchard – Manager of Legislative Services
Ken MacInnis – Communications Coordinator
Tom Chung – IT Manager
Brad McRae – Senior Bylaw Officer

Meeting called to order at 6:00pm
Minutes of March 8th, 2011 WL Council meeting approved


1) Walt Cobb appeared before Council to invite them to the Friday, April 1st, 2011 “Open House” Event for the Barkerville Heritage Trust at the Tourism Discovery Center from 5-7pm


1) Council approved the donation of City dump trucks to be operated by qualified volunteer union Staff for the purpose of hauling dirt for the 2011 Williams Lake Indoor Rodeo.
2) Council gave approval for Councillor Surinderpal Rathor to attend, with the City of WL CAO, the 74th Annual Federation of Canadian Municipalities Convention to be held June 3 to 6, 2011 in Halifax, Nova Scotia -
3) Council referred DVP #2-2011 (Doug and Cindy Neufeld) to the City’s Advisory Planning Commission for review prior to Council considering DVP #2-2011 at its’ April 5th, 2011 meeting
4) Council gave 1st, 2nd and 3rd Reading to Bylaw #2129, 2011 (Traffic Control Amendment Bylaw – Traffic Fines)
5) Council ratified 3 Recommendations from Committee of the Whole as follows:

a) A request for a permissive tax exemption from the Williams Lake and District Day Care Society was denied. Editor's Note - the WL and District Day Care Society applied for the permissive tax exemption in "good faith" and by the required deadline and Council denying the exemption is "morally wrong" and indefensible.  Councillor Barr's response as Council doesn't want to pit day cares against each other doesn't wash with me either.  Council had a moral obligation to give the exemption, even though Staff fumbled with the paperwork and the Daycare Society applied within the required deadline and met the requirements under the current rules.  If/When a future City Council changes the policy on Permissive Tax Exemptions, then it may be appropriate to say no, until then - permissive tax exemption applications should and must be considered under the current rules

b) Council directed Staff to prepare the necessary amending Bylaw(s) to amend Zoning Bylaw No. 1825 with regards to regulating metal shipping containers within the City.

Mayor Cook declared a personal conflict of interest on Council Agenda Item E3 and Acting Mayor Natalie Hébert assumed the Chair at 6:19pm

c) Council approved Option #4 from the Woodland Drive Preliminary Design Report recommendations at an estimated cost of $3,522,157 and Staff be directed to proceed with an application to the General Strategic Priorities Fund for 75% of the total project

Mayor Cook resumed the Chair at 6:20pm

6) Council gave approval for the 2011 Stampede Parade and City Council will participate in the parade
7) Council encouraged the community to participate in “Earth Hour 2011” on March 26th from 8:30-9:30pm
8) Council received 3 In-Camera Reports as follows:

a) 2011 City Advisory Committee Appointments
b) Management Compensation and Benefits Policy
c) 2010 Management Base Salary Review and 2011 Management Compensation

9) Council received for information the “Council Information Package” as of March 22nd, as follows:

a) March 4, 2011 – Letter from BC Government & Service Employees' Union re Community Social Services Awareness Month - see here
b) March 7, 2011 – Letter from Ministry of Natural Resource Operations re Southern Interior Regional Drinking Water Team - see here
c) March 8, 2011 - NDIT Meeting Summary - First Quarter 2011 Cariboo Chilcotin/Lillooet Regional Advisory Committee - see here
d) March 9, 2011 – Letter from UBCM re Community Tourism Program (Phase 2) – Williams Lake Golf Course Promotion - see here
e) March 18, 2011 - Natural Resources Canada Newsletter - Winter 2011 Edition - see here

Council gave oral reports on issues/events occurring in the City of Williams Lake
Council adjourned at 6:39pm reconvening In-Camera, in accordance with Sections 92 and 90(1)(a – appointments) of the Community Charter

BC Liberals poll numbers up, BC NDP Numbers down & HST Vote defeat likely

The Globe and Mail reports that the BC Liberal Party poll numbers are up to 43% support compared to 38% support for the BC New Democrats with BC Greens at 10% support and 5% support for BC Conservatives

Also, 54% of people polled stated that they'll vote against the HST whenever the referendum is held while 33% of people polled stated that they'll vote for the HST

Error of Margin for this set of polls is +/- 3.5 per cent

See the article here
See an story from CBC BC here

Quesnel Rotary Club provides $8,900 for Evolv Easystand Glider

Working out and improving fitness levels just got a little bit easier for those living with a disability in the North Cariboo, thanks to a generous donation from the Rotary Club of Quesnel. The gym at the Quesnel and District Arts and Recreation Centre is now home to an Evolv Easystand Glider after the service club donated $8,900 to cover the entire cost of the equipment. The funding was raised thanks to the 2010 Rotary Radio-TV Auction.

Active wheelchair users, sports enthusiasts or those in recovery can benefit from whole body workouts. The fully adjustable unit is easily transferred to, and has a hydraulic mechanism that raises the user into position. The user then employs the pull/push handles, altering the resistance as fitness increases.

"We understand the importance of accessibility improvements, including those that are made at the Arts and Recreation Centre," said Quesnel Mayor Mary Sjostrom. "With each improvement we make, our community is that much more welcoming for those living with a disability."

"It is through support from organizations such as the Rotary Club of Quesnel that we are able to continue building communities together," stated Cariboo Regional District Vice-Chair and North Cariboo Co-Chair Ted Armstrong. "By providing improved accessibility at the Quesnel and District Arts & Recreation Centre, we are proud to be able to promote healthy and active lifestyles in an inclusive manner for all our residents of all abilities."

"The Rotary Club of Quesnel is proud to offer funding to support innovative projects such as this one," said Club President John Havens. "We believe that improving accessibility makes for a stronger and healthier community."

The Quesnel and District Arts and Recreation Centre gym features a number of pieces of wheelchair accessible equipment. A number of other improvements such as improved door controls and better curb cuts have also been added to enhance accessibility at the centre.

Quesnel and District Leisure Services is a partnership between the CRD and the City of Quesnel.

2011 Federal Budget

Earlier today, The Hon. Jim Flaherty, Federal Minister of Finance, presented the 2011 Federal Budget

Key points:

* Tax Credit for Volunteer Fire Fighters of $3,000
* Improved pension for seniors - $600 for single seniors', $840 for senior couples
* $1,000 "Hiring" Tax Credit for employers
* Tax Credit for children in arts
* Forgiveness of student loans for Doctors/Nurses in Rural Canada
* $228 million for bridges in Montreal
* Family Caregiver Tax Credit
* $72 million for storm-damaged harbours, $100 million for brain research fund
* ECOenergy Program extended for one year - $5,000 grant available for energy efficient home upgrades

We know that both Liberal Leader Micheal Ignatieff and Bloc Leader Giles Duceppe have rejected this budget and NDP Leader Jack Layton rejects the budget "as presented" but will the Conservatives accept amendments to the budget to allow Mr. Layton to vote in favour of the budget....time will tell, but I guessing the Conservatives will likely say to Mr. Layton and the Federal NDP - the budget is final - take it or leave it!

But I think overall  - it is a prudent budget in the political environment we're in - but is it enough to stop a federal election on either May 2 or May 9..... we'll know by either this Friday or next week at the latest as the Main Budget Vote will take place by either next Tuesday or Wednesday at the latest

Budget documents:

* PDF Version here
* HTML Version here

Budget Speech:

* PDF Version here
* HTML Version here

UPDATE at 2:30pm: The federal finance minister says no amendments to the Federal Budget - so we'll see what Jack Layton does either tomorrow (Wednesday), Thursday and Friday of this week

Local News - Tuesday, March 22nd edition

In your Williams Lake Tribune today:

* Anahim Band Chief Joe Alphonse speculates on the possibility of a Independent MLA candidate for Cariboo-Chilcotin in the next provincial election - see here

* TELUS will invest $700,000 in its' infrastructure in the Williams Lake area - see here

* Possibility of Tolko's Creekside division re-opening? - see here

* Senior in 400 block on 4th Avenue (by Hospital) was victim of home invasion this past weekend - see  here

* Letter writer Doug Wilson says City of WL's new Patio Bylaw hurts business like Esquire Barber Shop - see here

Monday, March 21, 2011

Should there be a Provincial General Election on June 24th?

Over in the Twitter-universe, Independent Cariboo-North MLA Bob Simpson publicly mused about a June 24th provincial election with a HST Referendum Vote (if there is no federal election - which we'll all know the answer tomorrow or Wednesday) which could offer the following benefits to the governing BC Liberals:

1) Catch BC NDP off guard as they have their Leadership Convention on April 17th and Moe Sihota (BC NDP Party Leader) is supposedly (according to media reports) going around the Province getting the 85 BC NDP Riding Associations ready for a September provincial election

2) Avoid public battle with BC Teachers Federation who are asking for (according to Global BC), a "double-digit" wage increase while the provincial gov't is sticking to its "net zero" contract mandate

3) Premier Clark avoiding by-election in Vancouver-Point Grey and run in nearest riding in general election

4) Having referendum vote on same day as General Election would allow Premier Clark to claim the HST Debate resolved

5) Catch the BC Conservative Party (no relation to Federal Conservative Party) off-guard as their Leadership Convention is on May 28th and they don't presently have all 85 Riding Associations registered yet (ran 24 Candidates in the 2009 Provincial General Election)

As I said earlier tonight on Twitter  - if the BC Liberals decide to "pull the plug" on the Province's 39th Parliament by May 26th (necessary date for start to 28 day campaign) , I believe such a decision will really backfire on the BC Liberals and voters' will likely make them pay for it at the polls

There is some political advantage logic to it but I don't think it'll wash with the average voter who still harbours some anger towards the BC Liberals' over the HST and believe it can/will become a campaign issue, should the BC Liberals call for a June 24th General Election vote

What do you think -- should the BC Liberals call for a June 24th vote or should they wait until at least 2012/2013?


Next Steps for CRD Solid Waste Management Plan Review

From the Cariboo Regional District:

The Cariboo Regional District’s Solid Waste Management Advisory Committee ('Advisory Committee') has been working hard to ensure contents of the Stage Two Report covers all issues identified by CRD residents.

In 2010, Stage One of the Solid Waste Management Review was completed in which a public survey and efficiency review of the current waste and recycling systems was completed. The purpose of the Stage One Report (see that report here) was to fully understand and quantify the CRD’s existing system and gather input from the public on their level of satisfaction with the existing system. This also allowed the CRD to identify where it should be focusing future resources to further improve service delivery and make the program more sustainable.

The Stage Two Report will outline proposed changes to solid waste services and their associated costs. Providing recycling options for residents topped the list. Other items that were very popular on the list included:

• centralized composting;
• user pay vs. taxation for service funding;
• providing attendants for sites;
• promotion and education;
• illegal dumping strategies; and
• wood waste management strategies.

Once the Stage Two Report is completed, the Advisory Committee will meet to review the findings and help to develop future options for service scenarios and consultation material.

A public consultation campaign will follow to provide information to the public and gain feedback from residents on all options for new programs and services for reducing and managing our waste. To help gauge this process, a survey will be developed and available for residents to complete to indicate their preferences. The feedback received will be used to help guide future decisions about new programs and services.

“We realize the value and importance of public consultation and encourage residents to attend the Solid Waste Management Review meeting in their area,” stated CRD Chair Al Richmond. “By utilising the feedback we receive from the consultation process, we will be able to ensure we design a solid waste management plan that meets the needs of our residents now and future years.”

Dates and times for open houses and refuse site visits will be announced once they have been confirmed. For the complete list of the Stage Two contents and for more information on the status of the CRD’s Solid Waste Management Review, visit the website  or contact the Environmental Services Department at 250-392-3351 or toll free at 1-800-665-1636.

Quesnel residents' encouraged to help their sister City in Japan

From the City of Quesnel:

The City of Quesnel is spearheading a community fundraising initiative to provide assistance to its sister city Shiraoi, Japan. Although Shiraoi was largely unaffected, its own Japanese sister city Sendai, was devastated by the earthquake and resulting tsunami.

"The situation in Japan is critical. The community of Shiraoi is extremely important to us, as strong ties have been made with the people there over the past 30 years," said Mayor Mary Sjostrom. "Our sister city relationship with Shiraoi is unique as is their connection to Sendai. Because of these special bonds, the City encourages the residents of Quesnel, young or old, to make a contribution or host their own fundraiser."

Donations are being accepted at the Integris Credit Union for the Shiraoi-Sendai Relief Fund or at any of the donation boxes located throughout the community. Funds collected will be forwarded to the Shiraoi local government to help them provide much-needed assistance to the residents of Sendai.

"Many of us have made wonderful friends in Shiraoi through the twinning of our cities and we have had the incredible opportunity of visiting their beautiful country," added Marie Skinner, President of the Shiraoi Twinning Society. "Shiraoi is doing everything they can to assist Sendai in this crucial time and we want to help."

On March 11, 2011, a 9.0 Richter scale earthquake struck off the northeast coast of Japan. Subsequent tsunamis between 3.7 and 10 meters high came ashore along the Pacific Coast of Japan's islands.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Cariboo Regional District and Cariboo Fire Center to host Wildfire Info Sessions

The Cariboo Regional District (CRD) and the Cariboo Fire Centre (CFC) will be hosting a series of Open House sessions throughout the region to help develop and provide basic emergency wildfire response information to the general public. A total of five separate meetings have been scheduled for the Cariboo Chilcotin beginning March 28 and ending April 6, 2011.

CRD and CFC staff will provide short presentations defining roles and responsibilities in emergency and wildfire responses. The majority of the meeting time will be an open discussion where residents will be able to ask questions and seek clarification on matters related to emergency operations and the Wildfire Management Branch.

“I encourage all residents to attend their closest Open House session and learn more about the CRD’s Emergency Operations and the Cariboo Fire Centre,” stated CRD Chair Al Richmond. “These meetings are in response to some of the recommendations made during the debriefing process following last year’s fires, alerts and evacuations, and will help improve communications and understanding should we find ourselves battling fires or other emergencies in the upcoming years.”

The meetings will take place as follows:

Area                    Date                        Time                 Community                        Location

South Cariboo   March 28, 2011   6PM – 8PM        100 Mile House       Creekside Seniors’ Centre

Chilcotin            April 2, 2011     10AM – 12PM      Anahim Lake         Anahim Lake Community Hall

Chilcotin            April 2, 2011        3PM – 5PM        Alexis Creek        Alexis Creek Community Hall

North Cariboo    April 5, 2011        6PM – 8PM          Quesnel             Quesnel Council Chambers

Central Cariboo April 6, 2011         6PM – 8PM       Williams Lake     Long House, Stampede Grounds

City Senior Staff Salaries - 2011 and 2012

On Tuesday, WL Council is set to release from In-Camera two items relating to senior City of WL Staff:

1) Management Compensation/Benefits Policy, as passed at WL Council's December 8th, 2009 "In-Camera" Meeting - see here
2) 2010 Management Base Salary Review/2011 Management Compensation as passed at WL Council's Feb 8th "In-Camera" Meeting - see here

On Items 1 and 2 - I'm surprised that these two items are being released from In-Camera but suspect that Mayor and Council wish to promote aggressively its' "open government" stance, as a result of the Candie Laporte issue

Item #1 is fairly boring as it is simply a policy to compensate City Management so unless you love reading policies (like I do), then it's not really worth reading however as a public service, I posted a link for you here

Item #2 is a little more "meatier" here and provides details around how City Staff are compensated, both now and going forward into 2012.  I will post below, again as a public service, what each senior manager will be making in 2011 and 2012.

Please Note - Brian Carruthers salary info is not available at this time as it was not part of this In-Camera report but his salary is required to be published when Council makes the 2010 "Statement of Financial Information" known to the public by June 30th but it is a fair educated guess that Mr. Carruthers earns from the City at least $120,000 per year plus any benefits that his contract with the City of Williams Lake entitles him to

Salary Information - City of WL Staff:

Name - Geoff Goodall
Title - General Manager of Planning and Operations
Current Salary - $107,000
April 1st Salary - $111,400
2012 Salary: $115,300

Name - Patricia Higgins
Title - Director of Financial Services
Current Salary - $99,550
April 1st Salary - $100,980
2012 Salary - $106,590

Name - Geoff Paynton
Title - Director of Community Services
Current Salary - $89,100
April 1st Salary - $94,962
2012 Salary - $99,960

Name - Kevin Goldfuss
Title - Director of Muncipal Services
Current Salary - $98,000
April 1st Salary - $99,960

Name - Randy Isfeld
Title - Director of Protective Services (Fire Chief)
Current Salary - $98,000
April 1st Salary - $99,960

Name - Joe Engelberts
Title - Manager of Water/Waste
Current Salary - $88,698
April 1st Salary - $90,780

Name - Ashley Williston
Title - Manager of Human Resources
Current Salary - $72,030
April 1st Salary - $81,702
2012 Salary: $90,780

Name - Reg Ryan
Title - Manager of Transportation and Buildings
Current Salary - $79,828
April 1st Salary - $81,702
2012 Salary - $86,241

Name - Cindy Bouchard
Title - Manager of Legislative Services
Current Salary - $72,027
April 1st, 2011 Salary - $81,702
2012 Salary - $86,241

Name - Post being filled
Title - Manager of Finance
Current Salary - $72,027
April 1st Salary - $81,702
2012 Salary - $86,241

Name - Alan Madrigga
Title - Manager of Economic Development
Current Salary - $77,028
April 1st Salary - $81,600

Name - Deb Radolla
Title - Manager of Active Living
Current Salary - $74,945
April 1st Salary - $77,520
2012 Salary - $81,600

Name - Annie McKitrick (Acting)
Title - Manager of Social Development
Current Salary - $72,030
April 1st Salary - $77,520
2012 Salary - $81,600

Name - Tom Chung
Title - Manager of Information Technology
Current Salary - $80,050
April 1st Salary - $81,600

Name - Ellen Power
Title - Executive Assistant
Current Salary - $56,100
April 1st Salary - $57,222

So, assuming the April 1st, 2011 Salaries for the Executive Assistant, Manager of IT, Manager of Economic Development, Manager of Water/Waste and the Director of Municipal and Protective Services carried forward into 2012 then the salaries paid to City Staff (minus the CAO and Communications Coordinator - Union position) looks like this:

Total Current Salaries: $1,309,243
Total April 1st, 2011 Salaries: $1,300,312
Total 2012 Salaries: $1,345,675

No 2011 Property Tax Assistance to WL and District Daycare Society

Earlier this week, I noted several items going before WL Council's "Committee of the Whole" this past Tuesday including a request from the local WL and District Daycare Society for a Grant-in-Aide to cover their 2011 Property Taxes as their organization was regrettably missed for the Master 2011 Property Tax Exemptions given to various groups in Williams Lake as passed by WL Council last October.  See my blog post on this here

However, on Tuesday, WL Council is set to receive and endorse the following recommendation from Committtee of the Whole:

That the certified resolution from the Committee of Whole Council meeting held March 15, 2011, together with the report of the Director of Finance be received and the request for a permissive tax exemption from the Williams Lake and District Day Care Society in their letter dated June 24, 2010, be denied

The certified resolution is as follows:


“That the report of the Director of Finance dated March 10th be received and a contribution be approved to the Williams Lake and District Daycare Center in the amount equal to the 2011 Property tax calculation on Roll #1701000 (660 North 2nd Avenue) of approximately $1,430 and
further, a contribution agreement be entered into for 2011 only”


Mayor Cook and Councillors Barr, Bourdon, Hebert, and Zacharias registered negative, or "no" votes

I am perplexed, as one City taxpayer, at this for a couple of reasons:

1) Usually Certified Resolutions of Council do not go before Council unless it is required for a legal purpose (court case or for submission of a loan authorization bylaw to the Cariboo Regional District Board for a security-issuing bylaw to formally authorize the borrowed funds from the MFA or Municipal Finance Authority as all borrowed funds from MFA must go through a regional district board)

2) WL Council is willing to spend roughly $6,000 (for registration fees, airfare and hotel rooms) to send one City Councillor and the City CAO (Councillor Rathor & CAO Brian Carruthers) to attend the Annual FCM (Federation of Canadian Municipalities) Conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia to receive little or no information that really benefits Williams Lake (FYI - I think Williams Lake should get out of the FCM, given the Cariboo Regional District is a member of FCM and City taxpayers' contribute to CRD Operations) but refuses to assist the WL and District Daycare Society who really helps families with childcare needs for a measly $1,430.  Sounds like WL Council has its' priorities in the wrong place

Local Gov't Meetings in Cariboo-Chilcotin - Week of March 21st - 25th

There are a number of Local Government meetings this week in the Cariboo-Chilcotin:

Tuesday, March 22nd - City of Williams Lake

Regular Council Meeting which starts at 6:00pm in WL Council Chambers (450 Mart St)

See the Agenda/Reports here

Tuesday, March 22nd - District of 100 Mile House

Regular Council Meeting which starts at 7:00pm in 100 Mile Council Chambers (385 Birch Avenue)

Thursday, March 24th - Cariboo Regional District

Central Cariboo Rural Directors Caucus which starts at 3:00pm in the CRD Committee Room (Suite D - 180 North 3rd Avenue)

See the Agenda/Reports here
See the Late Item here

Thursday, March 24th - Central Cariboo Joint Committee

Regular Meeting which takes place at 5:00pm in the CRD Boardroom (Suite D - 180 North 3rd Ave)

See the Agenda/Reports here
See the Late Item here

Friday, March 25th - Cariboo Regional District

Regular Board Meeting which starts at 9:30am in the CRD Boardroom
See the Agenda/Reports here

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Williams Lake Crime Stats - #1 among similiar sized jurisdictions in BC

Over at the BC Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor-General - they've released a report which lays out policing resources throughout the Province which includes details on population in 2009, money spent on policing in BC by individual municipalities, effective crime rate, case load per officer, cost per RCMP member and cost per capita

I'm also aware of further stats on crime in BC that is set to be released tomorrow.  However, I can say the title of "Crime Capital of BC" belongs (and properly in my view) to Vancouver with Surrey close behind

More closer to home - in the category of 5,000 - 15,000 population, here are the top 3 municipalities, in terms of crime stats in the Province of BC:

#1 - Williams Lake

Crime Rate - 252
Criminal Code Offences - 2,797
Case Load - 117 cases per officer (only Smithers is higher at 121 cases per officer)
Number of Officers - 24
Budget - $2,934,899
Per Capita (cost per person) - $265

#2 - Quesnel

Crime Rate - 246
Criminal Code Offences - 2,387
Case Load - 114 cases per officer
Number of Officers - 21
Budget - $3,172,696
Per Capita (cost per person) - $327

#3 - Prince Rupert

Crime Rate - 239
Criminal Code Offences - 3,070
Case Load - 85 cases per officer
Number of Officers - 36
Budget - $3,925,854
Per Capita (cost per person) - $306


1) You can read the entire document where the above came from here
2) There are 29 Municipalities in the "5,000-15,000 Population" category

So - it seems while individual crime stats may be on the way down, overall, we still have a long way to go and given WL Council's desire to be #1 for highest industrial property tax mil rate in all of BC, this is certainly good news that Mayor Cook and Council can use


BC Premier Christy Clark decides to raise minimum wage

Under the file of "Promise Made - Promise Kept", BC Premier Christy Clark announced yesterday that the minimum wage in British Columbia is going up in stages starting May 1st and November 1st of this year and May 1st of 2012

See here (Globe BC) and here (Black Press) and here (CBC)

See commentary from local Chamber of Commerce President Walt Cobb on this subject here

Also - BC Conservatives got in on the act by releasing a statement on the minimum wage:

For three months Christy Clark said, “I plan to consult with the public”. Maybe she didn't consider a +25% increase to the minimum wage worthy of consultation, however restaurant owners are probably wondering what happened to that consultation.

During the recent Liberal leadership campaign Clark said she wanted to increase the minimum wage; however telling 60 thousand odd members of the BC Liberal Party her plans, is not exactly public consultation – whether you agree with this increase or not. She won the Liberal leadership with just over half (52%) of those Liberal voters – not exactly an overwhelming show of support for her ideas.

Just recently 700 thousand British Columbian's indicated their disapproval of Gordon Campbell and Colin Hansen delivering the HST with NO public consultation. Now, here we go again with Christy Clark.

There are three million people who are eligible to vote in British Columbia. Again, whether you agree with the increase in the minimum wage or not, telling 60 thousand Liberal Party members you want to increase the minimum wage, is not public consultation.

Once again we are getting government dictating direction; in exactly the same way that Gordon Campbell did. It is obvious from today’s announcement BC Liberals, no matter who the leader is, they have no idea what it means to have government accountability, and public consultation.

Local News - Thursday, March 17th edition

In your Williams Lake Tribune today:

* WL City Councillor Natalie Hebert to resign her seat by June or July - see here

Editor's Note - when the Rush ran this story earlier this week, she indicated June 1st however June or July doesn't really matter because WL Council will likely let the seat remain vacant until the muncipal general election in November as it would costs thousands of dollars to run a by-election for someone to sit as a Councillor for just a few months until the muncipal general elections (Mayor/Councillor) are held

* Committee of the Whole on Tuesday recommended WL Council apply to Ottawa for 75% of the Woodland Drive Water/Sewer Project, estimated at $3.5 million to complete - see here

Editor's Notes:

1) Recommendation(s) from the Commmittee of the Whole are rarely if ever refused by WL Council
2) Costs per property owner on Woodland Drive/City Resident is as follows (Note - information comes from City Staff report on this subject found here

These numbers are my rough math for this project and they don't come from the City

Total Project Cost: $3,500,000
Grant to be applied for: $2,625,000 (75% of total project costs)
Cost remaining to be funded locally: $875,000

Cost to 49 Woodland Drive residents: $1,220.73 (roughly)
Additional Cost to all other City residents (Water/Sewer utility fees): $16.17 (roughly)

But expect a public meeting in the short term on local costs if grant approval is confirmed with the general public being asked to vote for formal approval to borrow funds in November, in conjunction with the general local gov't election.  Also, costs above do not include cost to hook up from each home to the Water/Sewer system as each individual homeowner is personally liable for that cost

* Coverage of Monday's NDP Leadership Candidates' debate - see here
* Letter writer Gideon Schuetze calls Mayor Cook's comments from the March 8th WL Council meeting of "political games" arising from the Candie Laporte allegations on financial wrongdoing at WL City Hall as "comical" - see here
* Also, letter writer Alan Trenzek says Prosperity Mine is good for Williams Lake - see here

Meanwhile - over at Welcome to Williams Lake:

City of WL celebrates its' 82nd Birthday at the local Museum - see here

Editor's Note - I arrived at 1:00pm on Tuesday for the event following my City Advisory Planning Commission meeting and heard some comments that members of WL City Council did not stay for very long and I find that curious given Mayor Cook and Council agreed to establish, in 2009, a Council Master Schedule so there would be ample coverage for Mayor/Councillors to be at various community events.  I'm aware Mayor Cook was on official business outside the City and Acting Mayor Natalie Hebert acted in Mayor Cook's place for cutting of the birthday cake at this event and there is a picture of this in today's WL Tribune on Page A4

* WL Indian Band signs a protocol agreement with Spanish Mountain Gold (SMG), with regard to SMG's gold project near Likely - see here

* Cariboo-North MLA Bob Simpson reviews how Christy Clark got to be Premier without being an MLA - see here

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Photographer Chris Harris to visit WL Public Library on Friday, March 25th at 7:00pm

Renowned local Cariboo photographer Chris Harris will be on hand at the Cariboo Regional District Library Williams Lake Branch on Friday March 25 at 7:00 p.m. to share from his latest book Motherstone: British Columbia’s Volcanic Plateau. Harris will provide an overview on the process of going from an original idea to a finished book.

Motherstone refers to a large area of volcanic activity that spans the edge of the Chilcotin Plateau to the Coast Mountains in the west to the North Thompson River basaltic columns in the east. Over two years, Harris took the photographs that appear in Motherstone, while the text was researched and written by BC author Harold Rhenisch.

According to Harris, the idea for Motherstone came from an image he took 15 years ago when photographing for his book Chilcotin. “Every picture in Motherstone has a story behind it and I will be happy to share them with the audience,” says Chris Harris. “I would say that some of the most powerful experiences were when I stood on 'unaltered ground', landscapes that were built and sculpted for millions of years and have never been touched by mankind and have never been photographed. Just to stand in those places was a very powerful experience.”