Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Water Levels in Nimpo & Anahim Lakes stablizing

The Cariboo Regional District has declared a Local State of Emergency in Electoral Area J due to flooding and erosion resulting from rapidly rising waters in the Anahim and Nimpo Lake areas. The Cariboo Regional District Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) is currently activated at a Level 2, to support flood related operational responses occurring throughout the region.

In the Anahim/Nimpo Lake areas several residents have been using sand, sand bags and landfill to protect structures on their properties from flooding waters. Presently the water levels on the Dean River have stabilised. Anahim Lake Interior Road Services, in tandem with Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, report that all roads in the area that were impacted are now re-opened.

In the Alexis Creek area two homes also in Electoral Area J are on evacuation alert. Representatives from the Cariboo Regional District, Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure as well as a hydro technical engineer have visited the site to determine potential impacts to homes and infrastructure.

In Deka Lake, Interior Road Services have been in the area carrying works to protect roads, presently no homes or structures are reported at risk.

The BC River Forecast Centre is issuing a high stream flow advisory for the Central Interior Region. Specific areas included in this advisory include areas to the east and west of Quesnel, Williams Lake and 100 Mile House.

Residents throughout the Cariboo Chilcotin that require sand and/or sand bags are requested to call the Emergency Operations Centre public information phone at 250-398-5117.

The current Evacuation Order and Alert for the Quesnel/Hixon Road area on the Cottonwood River remain in place.

For all inquiries contact the Cariboo Regional District at 250-398-5117. For further information and mapping, visit the CRD website at www.cariboord.bc.ca

Eric Freeston/Bill Vander Zalm, HST Referendum Debate and Facts

Earlier today, the Rush ran a story in which Eric Freeston (Local HST Opponent) said the following, on proposed changes to the HST, pending the upcoming referendum: See the story here

1) Rebate Cheques to children under 18 and seniors - $135 (at least, that is what Mr. Freeston said on the radio)
2) Rebate Cheques are illegal, under the Referendum Act

FACT #1:

The Government of BC has committed, if the HST is retained, a rebate to every family with children under 18 of $175 and not $135 as Mr. Freeston has suggested

Source: Government of BC Press Release dated May 25th - see here

FACT #2:

The Referendum Act DOES NOT say that the rebates cheques are illegal under a referendum conducted under the Referendum Act and I openly challenge Mr. Freeston or Mr. Vander Zalm to point what Section of the Referendum Act where it says this

I urge every British Columbian to get ALL THE FACTS before you vote on the June 24th Referendum to either continue with or get rid of the HST

Please remember:

1) Vote YES to get rid of the HST
2) Vote NO to continue with the HST

Good sites for information include:

1) http://www.hstinbc.ca
2) http://www.fighthst.com
3) http://hstjobs.ca/

No Committee of the Whole Meeting (WL Council)

As I stated on Twitter - tonight's (Tuesday, May 31st) Committee of the Whole (WL Council) was cancelled, due to no quorum available, according to Geoff Goodall, City of WL General Manager of Planning and Operations

Interesting though that I saw Mayor Cook's car earlier today at WL City Hall along with Councillors Tom Barr (parked at WL & District Credit Union) and Geoff Bourdon, driving past 3rd Avenue & Oliver St, again happening earlier today, and Councillor Rathor is in town (he and the City's CAO Brian Carruthers' are travelling to Halifax for the FCM Conference later this week) as we were supposed to get together after Council's meeting to type a letter that he needed me to type up for him

According to CRD Area 'D' Director Deb Bischoff's Facebook page - she is attending a dinner with the guest host being the Hon. Steven L Point (Lt Gov of BC) because of a new library being installed at Toosey (west of Williams Lake).  Wonder if Mayor Cook and City Councillors Zacharias, Bourdon, Walters and Barr were also at that dinner tonight instead?

Finally - Lt Gov Steven L Point is scheduled to give a speech to students at Marie Sharpe Elementary in June (probably will happen tomorrow as I can't see him at a dinner Tuesday night and then coming back later for a speech when both events could be wrapped into a two-day event)

UPDATE - June 1st at 5:22pm:

Councillor Rathor has advised me that he was sick and wasn't able to come and attend with Mayor Cook at the Lt-Gov's dinner Tuesday evening & Councillor Laurie Walters in Vancouver for education training.  He isn't aware where Councillors Zacharias, Barr and Bourdon were, although I indicated earlier, Councillors Barr/Bourdon are in town and were available for a meeting and Natalie Hebert is no longer a City Councillor as she gave her resignation date as June 1st, earlier this year

The numbers were still available for a meeting as Mayor Cook could have had the meeting tonight as she, Councillors Rathor, Barr, Bourdon are, to the best of my knowledge, available with Councillors Walters and Zacharias (if she is out of town) joining in via teleconference

Guest Op-Ed on BC Conservatives spliting right wing vote

Today, Alan Forseth (BC Conservatives Cariboo & Kamloops Regional Director) gave a short 90 sec op-ed on why it is the BC Liberals' and not the BC Conservatives splitting the right-wing vote in the next provincial election

Click here and look for "Tuesday Editorial"

City of WL Notices on Water Main Flushing & 2011 Property Taxes

The City of Williams Lake has published two notices, pertaining to Water Mains Flushing & 2011 Property Taxes.  Details are:

1) Water Main Flushing:

City Staff will be flushing water mains in certain parts of the City, from May 24th until June 24th, which includes:

* West of Country Club Blvd & WL Golf Course/Westside Subdivision
* South of Western Avenue
* North of 2nd Avenue
* Windmill Crescent area

Water may appear discoloured so the City advises to run the tap for 30 seconds to get clear water

For further details or questions - contact Joe Engelberts (Manager of Water/Waste) at 250-392-1785 or by email at jengelberts@williamslake.ca

2) 2011 Property Taxes:

The City has now sent the 2011 Property Tax Notice to all property owners in the City of Williams Lake.  This year's Property Taxes are due by 4:30pm on Monday, July 4th.  If you pay them on July 5th or later - there is a 10% late fee and no, WL City Council will not (and hasn't previously) consider appeals on late payment of property taxes

While you can not pay your property taxes at your local financial institution (Bank or Credit Union), you can pay them at WL City Hall (450 Mart St) by debit card, cheque, cash or bank draft. 

For more details or questions - contact Pat Higgins (Director of Finance) at 250-392-1762 or phiggins@williamslake.ca

Vancouver Canucks Stanley Cup Final Games #3-7 in Gibraltar Room

Catch Canucks fever and watch the Stanley Cup Finals games on the giant HD screen in the Gibraltar Room at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex. Unfortunately, only games 3 through 7 will be available for viewing due to prior bookings.

“We’re pleased to be able to open the Gibraltar Room to the public for these games,” said Geoff Paynton, Director of Community Services. “Canucks fans have been waiting 40 years for this chance, and what better way to watch them with a roomful of excited fans?”

Admission to watch the games is by voluntarily donation of any amount to KidSport, which supports local disadvantaged children to get involved in sports they may otherwise not be able to afford. The Gibraltar Room is not available for Games 1 and 2 due to previously booked events.

The game schedule is as follows:

Game #3 Monday, June 6 @ 5 p.m.
Game #4 Wednesday, June 8 @ 5 p.m.
Game #5 Friday, June 10 @ 5 p.m. (if necessary)
Game #6 Monday, June 13 @5 p.m. (if necessary)
Game #7 Wednesday, June 15 @ 5 p.m. (if necessary)

For more info:

Contact Geoff Paynton (Director of Community Services)

Ph - 250-392-1786
Email - gpaynton@williamslake.ca

Oliver Street Project Update #3

Last week on Oliver Street, water service connections were replaced between 2nd and 1st Avenues and irrigation was installed to the islands between 2nd and 1st Avenues.

Work recommenced Sunday, May 29 with the replacement of the main water distribution line at the intersection of 1st Avenue and Oliver Street.

Works are expected to last another three weeks, and there will be intermittent periods of traffic disruption. Work is anticipated to be performed from Sunday during the day and Monday to Thursday starting at 7:00pm. In an effort to perform the work while keeping the downtown open and accessible, traffic and street parking on Oliver Street will be limited during the evening hours after 7:00pm while contractors are at work. While steps will be taken to mitigate disruption, schedules and traffic restrictions may change if circumstances require. The public is asked to exercise caution in the area of construction and to obey signs and the instructions of flagging personnel.

For more information please contact:

Joe Engelberts - Manager of Water/Waste

Phone: 250 392-1785
Email: jengelberts@williamslake.ca

Saturday, May 28, 2011

CRD declares State of Emergency in Electoral Area 'J'

The Cariboo Regional District has declared a Local State of Emergency in Electoral Area J due to flooding and erosion resulting from rapidly rising waters in the Anahim and Nimpo Lake areas. The Cariboo Regional District Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) is currently activated at a Level 2, to support flood related operational responses occurring throughout the region.

In the Anahim/Nimpo Lake areas several residents have been using sand, sand bags and landfill to protect structures on their properties from flooding waters. Local RCMP have been busy sizing up reports and the Cariboo Wildfire Management Branch has made human resources available, through the EOC, to assist in ongoing sand bagging activities. Anahim Lake Interior Road Services, in tandem with Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, have delivered truckloads of sand over the past couple of days as requested by the Cariboo Regional District Emergency Operations Centre.

The BC River Forecast Centre is issuing a high stream flow advisory for the Central Interior Region. Specific areas included in this advisory include areas to the east and west of Quesnel, Williams Lake and 100 Mile House - see more info on this here

Residents throughout the Cariboo Chilcotin that require sand and/or sand bags are requested to call the Emergency Operations Centre public information phone at 250-398-5117.

The current Evacuation Order and Alert for the Quesnel/Hixon Road area on the Cottonwood River remain in place.

For all inquiries contact the Cariboo Regional District at 250-398-5117. For further information and mapping, visit the CRD website at www.cariboord.bc.ca

BC Conservatives, Maureen Bader & Gov't Spending

Over at his blog - BC Conservatives' Kamloops Director Alan Forseth reviews a speech given by former Canadian Taxpayer Federation Director Maureen Bader at today's BC Conservative Party's AGM on government spending

See here

Pat Bell's Top Ten on HST & BC's AG explains why Judges won't get raises

Pat Bell (Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation) in his latest "Top Ten" explains why the HST, at the end of the day, is good for British Columbia:

1. It’s clear British Columbians were not happy with the way government introduced the HST and the impact that it had on families.
2. Over the last two months, our government entered into the largest listening and engagement exercise – with more than 275,000 people taking part in tele-town halls and responding to our HST survey.
3. Based on those conversations, government introduced changes to improve the HST that will ease the burden on families and maintain the competitive advantage and reduced red tape of having a single tax system.
4. We will reduce the rate of the HST from 12 to 10 per cent in two steps – dropping to 11% on July 1, 2012, and then 10% in July 2014.

5. To ensure BC families are paying less tax, not more, we will provide one-time additional relief in the form of transition cheques to help those most affected by the HST. Parents will be receiving $175 for each child and senior citizens with a family income of less than $40,000 will receive $175.

6. The corporate income tax rate on big businesses will temporarily increase from 10 to 12 per cent.
7. As a result of these changes, the average BC family will go from paying about $350 more tax each year to coming out ahead by about a $120 compared to the old PST and GST.

8. The announced today still allow us to meet our balanced budget plan.

9. I believe the HST is worth keeping because it cuts red tape, encourages investment, creates jobs, and supports critical industries like film, mining, manufacturing, and forestry.

10. But the final decision on the HST is in your hands in the upcoming referendum.

Also - the Hon. Barry Penner (Attorney-General) explains why the provincial government can not give pay increases to Judges at this time.  Listen here

High Streamflow Advisory - Cariboo Region

The BC River Forecast Centre is issuing a High Streamflow Advisory for the Central Interior Region. Specific areas included in this advisory include areas to the east and west of Quesnel, Williams Lake and 100 Mile House.

River levels elevated for the past 2 weeks due to on-going snowmelt and a number of rainfall events within the region. Snow melt rates from 15-25 mm/day have been observed at automated snow pillows within the region over the past several days. Snow and soils are saturated, and this can lead to more rapid response of river levels to rainfall or snowmelt.

The Quesnel River near Quesnel Water Survey of Canada gauge (08KH006) is between a 2-year and 5-year discharge of approximately 800 m3/s, and is slowly rising. Quesnel Lake near Likley (WSC 08KH011) is continuing to rise at 3cm/day.

A weak upper low pressure system is working its way across Central British Columbia. Environment Canada is forecasting convective showers through the region today, with localized rainfall amounts in the 10-15 mm range.

Rainfall rates observed will be highly variable by location based on the convective nature of this event. River level responses will also be variable, depending on how much rain falls within a given watershed. River levels in the region are expected to remain elevated, and potentially rise in response to this rainfall and on-going snow melt at elevation.

The River Forecast Centre will continue to monitor conditions and will provide updates as warranted.

HST Video & Zalm says HST Rebates "probably illegal"

A blog reader sent me a YouTube link about an individual who pleads a case for the HST in a "Open Letter to Bill Vander Zalm

See below:

Also - Bill Vander Zalm, in the Kamloops Daily News, says the proposed HST Rebates to children under 18 & seniors' is "probably illegal" - see here

Finally - the Prince George Chamber of Commerce gives its' two thumbs up to the proposed changes to the HST, subject to the referendum vote in June.  See here

Review of Items - WL Committee of the Whole Meeting

On Tuesday, WL Council, meeting in Committee of the Whole, will be considered the following items:

1) 2010 Annual Report - I'm impressed to see this item so early before Council and it certainly will meet the required deadlines in the Community Charter so kudos for Council/Staff to try and get this before the public before Council is required to hear from the public on the 2010 Annual Report by the end of June.  See the 2010 Annual Report here

2) Industrial Tax Revitalization Bylaw - see the proposed Bylaw here however I'm not certain that this will attract the type of industrial investment Council is seeking because, at present, we are #1 for the heavy industry tax mil rate, in addition to high business & light industry tax mil rates.  The bylaw, for the record, will:

a) Establish 3 Classes of Tax Revitalization
b) Formula of tax deferral established based on level of investment, sustainable local jobs, building based upon LEED Green Energy Building Standards (note - building to LEED standard is expensive, depending on the level desired - silver, gold or platinum)
c) Areas defined - West Fraser Sawmill/Plywood, Tolko - Soda Creek, Co-Gen Plant, former Jackpine Engineered Wood facility and an area at the WL Regional Airport

3) Parking on City Boulevards Proposal - see here.  This is what was presented to the community in April so we'll have to wait and see what Council's reaction to this is but it was endorsed by Council's BRAC (Bylaw Review Advisory Committee) of which Councillor Geoff Bourdon in addition to City Staff sit on the BRAC

4) Expansion of Off-Street Parking - see here.  City Staff propose that the local area tax of $0.10 per .093 sq metres remain and allow $50.00 deduction per customer parking spot offered as an incentive to supply parking spaces. The $50.00 deduction was to be included within the previous revision of the Off-Street Parking Bylaw, however, it was not included which was an oversight. As a response to this error, Staff has been giving the $50.00 credit for qualifying parking spaces as it was the previous Bylaw revisions intention and expand the off-street parking zone to include the Station House Gallery and area site, Cariboo Lodge parking area, business area encompassing "Movies on the Go", "Red Tomato Pies" and the property directly behind & area between 1st Ave and Cameron to 1st Ave and Proctor St

Local Gov't Meetings in Cariboo-Chilcotin - Week of May 30-June 3

3 Local Governments are meeting this upcoming week:

Tuesday, May 31st - Board of Education (SD #27)

Regular Meeting which starts at 7:00pm in the Board of Education Boardroom (350 2nd Ave North)

See the Agenda/Reports here

Tuesday, May 31st - City of Williams Lake

Committee of the Whole Meeting which starts at 6:00pm in the Rick Hansen Boardroom (old Committee Room #1)

See the Agenda/Reports here

Tuesday, May 31st - District of 100 Mile House

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

Friday, May 27, 2011

CRD Board Highlights - May 27th meeting

Northern Health Update

Margaret Sadlon, Health Service Administrator, Quesnel Health Services, provided the Board with an update on health issues in the Northern Health administrative service area. The presentation focused on residential, home and community care; GR Baker Memorial Hospital; Primary Care; as well as Mental Health and Addictions. Further information about Northern Health’s current initiatives is available online at www.northernhealth.ca

Board on the Road

On June 16 and 17, 2011, the Cariboo Regional District Board of Directors will be travelling to the 150 Mile House Community Hall for the first of two Board on the Road events in 2011. Residents of Area F will be treated to a community barbecue on Thursday, June 16 from 5 to 7 p.m. while the regularly scheduled Board meeting will take place on Friday morning starting at 9:30 a.m. All residents are welcome to attend.

National Aboriginal Day
Information was received by the Regional District from the Northern Shuswap Tribal Council regarding National Aboriginal Day on June 21, 2011. Festivities begin at 10am with a parade through downtown Williams Lake followed by displays in Boitanio Park until 2:30 p.m. National Aboriginal Day is designed to help people understand aboriginal culture and the importance of acknowledging and respecting sacred traditions.

Annual Report

During the meeting, the Cariboo Regional District unveiled its 2010 Annual Report. The document features departmental overviews, 2010 accomplishments, and goals outlined for the upcoming year. The report will be posted online at www.cariboord.bc.ca while hard copies will be available at all CRD offices soon.

Climate Change Adaptation Strategies

Mike Simpson, Senior Regional Manager, Cariboo-Chilcotin Thompson, Fraser Basin Council, appeared before the Board to discuss the draft climate change adaptation strategy. The information looked at past and future climate change, current local government services, the regional development strategy and the next steps in climate change adaption. Further information about current projects of the Fraser Basin Council is available online at www.fraserbasin.bc.ca

CRDL Supports Slave Lake Library

The Cariboo Regional District will be supporting the Peace Library System’s request for donations of new or nearly new books for the Slave Lake Library which was destroyed during the recent wildfires. Residents are encouraged to donate books to their local CRD Library. All books received will be sent to the Peace Library where they will be catalogued, processed and stored until a temporary library opens in Slave Lake.

CRD Heritage Registry

The CRD Board of Directors will send a letter of request to School District 27 for authorization to include the historic 150 Mile School House on the CRD’s Heritage Registry. In 1997, the School Board did provide a letter to the school principal advising that the Board did give approval of the 1890’s schoolhouse being designated as an official heritage building.

Accessibility Awareness

At the encouragement of the Social Planning and Research Council of British Columbia (SPARC BC), the Board of Directors declared June 4, 2011 as Access Awareness Day throughout the Cariboo Chilcotin. SPARC BC has been partnering with the Union of British Columbia Municipalities to call attention to the need for greater accessibility and inclusion of citizens with disabilities. This year’s event marks the 14th Annual Access Awareness Day and will be celebrated province wide.

During the meeting, the CRD presented the Horsefly River Roundtable with the Measuring Up the North Award for Communities under 5,000 which the CRD accepted on their behalf at the recent North Central Local Government Association Conference in Prince Rupert. The successful project was aimed at improving the salmon spawning channel area for the general public. A new accessible boardwalk and 1.7 kilometre trail includes wood benches and a portable accessible bathroom.

Next Board Meeting

Friday, June 17 – 9:30 a.m.
Board on the Road - 150 Mile Community Hall
3038 Pigeon Road, 150 Mile House

Upcoming Events

Thursday, June 16 – 5-7 p.m.
CRD Community BBQ – 150 Mile Community Hall
All residents welcome!

Prince George & Neighbourhood Engagement

The City of PG is launching a pilot program to have a long-term neighbourhood engagement strategy, inside of their myPG program.  See more details here

Coincidentally - former WL City Councillor Deb DeMare tried this as well during her term of 2002-2005 and unfortunately it didn't get too far and it'll would have been nice to see the different "neighbourhoods" of Williams Lake celebrate their uniqueness

City of WL looks for Senior Accounting Clerk

Over at CivicInfo BC - they advise that the City of Williams Lake is looking for a Senior Accounting Clerk with the job posted online yesterday with an application deadline of June 6th, 2011 at 4:00pm

See the job details here

End of Week News - May 27th edition

* Quesnel resident questions why home had to be "demolished" rather than "dismantled" at Cottonwood River  - see here

* Quesnel Council gets into a heated debate over the posting of expense reports involving Mayor Sjostrom and City Councillors L-A Roodenburg, Coralee Oakes & Sushil Thapar - see here

* Quesnel Cariboo Observer Editor Autumn MacDonald blasts inaction by government over the 3 homes on the Cottonwood River - see here

In Provincial News:

* Globe and Mail - BC Edition political reporter Justine Hunter says BC Premier Christy Clark, on her proposed HST moves, has captured the political middle ground - see here

* Vancouver Sun political columnist Vaughn Palmer says the "temporary" changes to the corporate tax rate to assist saving the HST is likely not to be temporary - see here

Outcome from Retirement Concepts Public Meeting (Rezoning Application)

Yesterday, from 4-6pm at WL Seniors' Village in the "Media Room" with 8 people present including representatives from Retirement Concepts, former MLA Charlie Wyse, WL & Area Seniors' Advisory Council Chair Audrey MacLise, City of WL General Manager of Planning and Ops Geoff Goodall and local media came together to discuss Retirement Concepts prooposal to rezone their property, which currents has a CD-14 (Comprehensive Development 14) Zone but doesn't allow to have "apartment" housing.  Numerous questions were asked including:

1) Any other jurisdictions where mixed use (senior + young/adult) is permitted at a predominately seniors' facility?

2) Chance to restrict the empty 50 units to strictly seniors' uses (indepedent, etc)?

3) Reduce rent charged ($1100 charged at this facility)?

A good conversation overall but I believe if the meeting had been held from 7-9pm in WL Council Chambers, a better  public turnout could have been had (pls note - it was a Staff Recommendation that WL Council adopted that set this meeting in motion).  Also - City Council should require, in this case, wide public notification via newspaper ad and mail out to all residents', given Retirement Concepts is current the only major seniors' care home in Williams Lake and any zoning change needs to be thoughtfully and carefully considered
The next step now is that the City's Advisory Planning Commission will review this proposal and provide a Recommendation for 2nd Reading to WL Council to which Council will make a decision at their June 7th meeting with a Public Hearing on this application by July 7th or a little after that

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Argument for Slate Civic Politics (outside Metro Vancouver)

Over at this blog - Bernard Van Schulmann argues for reasons why slates are necessary to defeat sitting incumbents on municipal councils

See here

Although formal slates are frowned upon in this region, informal slates or candidates working together for a common cause in a muncipality, like Quesnel, WL, 100 Mile or even Wells, may be acceptable to the public, if you can explain how the "team" can improve the muncipality and in fact, we could see that possibility here in Williams Lake and even maybe in Quesnel/100 Mile again

(slate politics occured in 2008 Civic Election in 100 Mile with "100 Mile First Team" but ultimately the slate saw all their candidates defeated)


Concrete Fitness is Exclusive Sponsor for 2011 Performance in Park Program

The City of Williams Lake has announced today that Concrete Fitness has purchased exclusive naming rights to Performances in the Park 2011, which will now be known as "Concrete Fitness Performances in the Park." This exclusive three month sponsorship package provides naming rights to the performances, which is a community-based non-profit program which focuses on showcasing local artists and musicians, in addition to hosting entertainers from around the province. This summer will mark the 10th year Performances in the Park has been successfully drawing crowds from Williams Lake and area, providing an opportunity for residents to enjoy free local entertainment throughout the summer.

Concrete Fitness, a Williams Lake based company employing 15 staff, is a 15,000 sq ft facility with a gym, exercise room, two squash courts and a complete ladies only section upstairs. Concrete Fitness was purchased by Stefan Hoelzler and Brian Doering two years ago, and
will celebrate its third year in operation this upcoming fall. Concrete Fitness offers personal training, spinning, yoga, Zumba, latin dance aerobics, plyo kickboxing, as well as plyometric classes.
Owners Stefan Hoelzler and Brian Doering both grew up in Williams Lake and are proud to call Williams Lake home. "We are very excited to be giving back to the community. The community has supported us so much in our first 2 years. A healthy lifestyle is not just body but mind as well, and we feel that Performances in the Park goes together very well with leading a balanced healthy  lifestyle," remarks Brian Doering. "Performances in the Park has always been a very popular grassroots, community event and we are a very community minded company," adds Stefan. "Our company is always looking for ways to get involved and to contribute to our community."

As part of the partnership, Concrete Fitness’s naming rights will provide exclusive naming exposure, banner and booth space at the event, exclusive rights to distribute fitness-related products and samples at the event, as well as sponsor recognition in all media and advertising campaigns affiliated with the event.

This year the City of Williams Lake has taken over the role of coordinating the logistics of the performances. The Performances in the Park 2011 summer series begins July 7
th and runs every Thursday until August 25th. Performances start at 6:30 pm and are held in the Gwen Ringwood Theatre in Boitanio Park. Information including the lineup of entertainers for Performances in the Park 2011 can be found online at www.activewilliamslake.com

For more information regarding Performances in the Park 2011 contact:

Kim Emsley-Leik
Events & Marketing Coordinator
City of Williams Lake

Running for Local Government Offices (Mayor, Councillors, EA Director & SD Trustee)

 Over at his blog - Bernard von Schulmann has some good tips for those who plan to run for local government this fall with just under 6 months to go before the November 19th civic vote

See here

Please note - although written for Victoria and area muncipalities in March of 2011, the tips Mr. Schulmann gives are good ones for those running for local gov't (municipal council and regional district board) throughout British Columbia in November

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

WL Council Highlights - May 24th meeting

As provided by the City of WL as I was not in attendance - family business:

Community Spirit Awards

Mayor Kerry Cook and Council presented Community Spirit Awards to the Lions and Lionesses Clubs for their numerous positive contributions and service to the community.

Alexis Forseille and Tori Swan — Williams Lake British Columbia Student Leadership

Alexis Forseille and Robert Pedersen of Williams Lake British Columbia Student Leadership spoke to council about the British Columbia Student Leadership Conference being hosted in Williams Lake October 20 to 23, 2011.

Regular Agenda

North Central Local Government Association (NCLGA) 2011 Conference Report

Council received a report from Chief Administrative Office Brian Carruthers about the 2011 North Central Local Government Association conference held in Prince Rupert from May 10th to 14th. Discussions at the conference included the Canada Winter Games in Prince George, the impact of marijuana grow ops, and a transportation roundtable. The City of Williams Lake received Gold Award for best crafted resolution regarding streamlining the Provincial and Federal Environmental Assessment Review processes.
Contact: Brian Carruthers at 250-392-1763

2010 Audited Financial Statements

Council accepted the 2010 Audited Financial Statements, which record the City’s financial position as of December 31st, 2010.
Contact: Pat Higgins at 250-392-1777

Official Community Plan (OCP) Bylaw No. 2140

Council received an Advisory Planning Commission report on the Official Community Plan Bylaw No. 2140, and gave second reading to the bylaw. A public hearing on the bylaw is scheduled for 7 p.m. on June 7 in Council Chambers.
Contact: Geoff Goodall at 250-392-1766

Aviation Fuel System Upgrade

Council approved an increase of $80,000 for the combined fuel system upgrade at the Williams lake Regional Airport, with funds to be allocated from the airport reserve fund. The Williams Lake Regional Airport is upgrading their existing fuel system to include two additional fuel tanks and a loading port for the City’s new fuel bowser truck. In January Council awarded the contract to Hatch Mott MacDonald to engineer and manage the upgrades to the fuel system at the Williams Lake Regional Airport. Based on the completed engineered drawings, Hatch Mott Macdonald estimates the completed project to cost approximately $290,000, compared to original estimates of $210,000. Engineering services are anticipated to come in lower that the initial $87,230.00 estimated cost. The airport started 2011 with a surplus of approximately $568,000.
Contact: Reg Ryan at 250-392-1784

Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 2138 – Pine Tree Developments Ltd. - 11 Eagle Crescent

Council accepted the application to amend the City of Williams Lake Zoning Bylaw No. 1825 to change the zoning of Lot 1, District Lot 8840, Cariboo District, Plan 34691, Except Plan Phase 1, 2 & 3 Strata Plan PGS215 from Low Density Multiple Family Residential (R-3) to Single Family Residential (R-1) subject to the approval of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. Council gave first reading to Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 2138 and forwarded the application be forwarded to the Advisory Planning Commission for their comments and recommendations.
Contact: Geoff Goodall at 250-392-1766

Development Variance Permit – Platform Properties Ltd. – 1185 Prosperity Way

Council directed staff to distribute notification of the development permit application to the surrounding property owners within a 100-metre radius and directed that the application be forwarded to the Advisory Planning Commission for their comments and recommendations back to Council. The Development Variance Permit from Platform Properties Ltd. Is for construction of a new commercial retail building on Lot 3, District Lots 7046, 7047 and 8836, Plan BCP38739, Cariboo District, at 1185 Prosperity Way subject to the applicant constructing temporary barriers to restrict access to the remainder of the undeveloped lands be received.
Contact: Geoff Goodall at 250-392-1766

Oliver Street Infrastructure Improvements

Council gave approval for an addition $50,000 required to complete the water infrastructure improvements on Oliver Street. The existing budget for this project is $100,000 to replace water service connections and accompanying equipment. An extra $50,000 is required to replace main line valve clusters that are greater than 50 years old and were not initially identified as needing to be replaced. The existing valve clusters have a useful life span of 50 to 60 years. These valve clusters were installed in the early 1950s. Also included in the $50,000 are funds to replace a portion of the existing 150mm cast iron water main that runs between City Hall and The Glen Arbor Building and connects to the water main on Oliver Street. This cast iron line is part of the original water system that was installed over 60 years ago.
Contact: Geoff Goodall at 250-392-1766

2011/2012 BC Transit Annual Operating Agreement

Council approved the 2011/2012 Annual Operating Agreement with BC Transit. Drivers for cost changes this year include increased hourly wages, distance costs, an increase to the maintenance budget, and an increase in insurance costs. Over a 6-year period, the average operating cost for similar public transit systems throughout the rest of Canada increased annually by 6%. During this same period, BC Transit has been successful in holdings its overall increases in the average operating cost per hour to 3.9% annually.
Contact: Brian Carruthers at 250-392-1763

Tim Hortons Bike Rodeo

Council received a report regarding the Tim Hortons Bike Rodeo being organized by Recreation Services, Community Policing, the Brain Injury Society & Success by Six. This program will teach children the skills required to ride safely and learn precautions to avoid accidents and injury. The Tim Hortons Bike Rodeo is on Saturday, May 28, 2011 and will include bike maintenance & helmet check stations along with six other bike riding safety challenges. This event is open to children of all ages who can ride a tricycle or bike. It will start in the Canadian Tire parking lot at 10 a.m. and conclude at 2 p.m. The event is free, but parents and/or guardians are encouraged to register by calling Recreation Services at 250-398-7665 as 200 participants are anticipated.
Contact: Geoff Paynton at 250-392-1786

Central Cariboo Arts & Culture Grants

Council approved the following grants to be awarded from the Central Cariboo Arts and Culture function, as approved by the Central Cariboo/City of Williams Lake Joint Committee and recommended by the Central Cariboo Arts and Culture Society:

Operating Grants

Williams Lake Museum & Historical Society $3000
Station House Studio & Gallery Society $3000
Project Grants
150 Mile Greenbelt & Trail Society $1000
Arts on the Fly $1160
Cariboo Art Society $ 790
Cariboo Chilcotin Youth Fiddle Society $ 850
Cariboo Direct Farm Market Association $ 800
Cedar City Museum $2000
Likely Community School Association $2000
McLeese Lake Recreation Community $2000
Station House Studio & Gallery Society $2000
Williams Lake Spinners, Weavers & Fibre Artists’ Guild $1400
Contact: Geoff Paynton at 250-392-1786

Central Cariboo Arts & Culture Fee For Service Agreements 2011

Council approved the following recommendation from the Central Cariboo/City of Williams Lake Joint Committee: “That the Central Cariboo/City of Williams Lake Joint Committee the memorandum dated April 28, 2011 from Darron Campbell, Manager of Community Services regarding the Central Cariboo Arts and Culture 2011 Fee for Service contribution agreements with the Station House Gallery, Stampede Parade Committee and Harvest Fair, be received. Further, that the agreements be funded at existing levels in 2011 and that the Central Cariboo Arts and Culture society be included in a review of the agreements prior to development of the 2012 financial plan. Further, that the applicants be advised that the City of Williams Lake and Cariboo Regional District will be reviewing all jointly funded fee for service
programs for 2012.” Funding levels are: $2,500 for the Harvest Fair, $4,500 for the Station House Gallery, and $5,000 for the Stampede Parade Committee.
Contact: Brian Carruthers at 250-392-1763

Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 2132 – Ry-Ty Holdings Ltd. – 4535 Cattle Drive

Following a public hearing, Council gave third reading and adopted the bylaw to amend Zoning
Bylaw No. 1825 by allowing for the construction of a hockey rink training facility upon Lot C, District Lot 6483, Cariboo
District, Plan BCP38984 (4535 Cattle Drive) through a text amendment to the permitted uses in the General Industrial (M-2) zone.
Contact: Geoff Goodall at 250-392-1766

Proposed Farmers Market in Herb Gardner Park

Council gave approval to the Williams Lake Saturday Market Association to hold a Farmer's Market in Herb Gardner Park on Saturdays from June 11 to October 29, 2011 for a one year trial period and the Association be requested to increase their liability insurance from $2,000,000 to $3,000,000.
Contact: Brian Carruthers at 250-392-1763

Community Partnership Agreement With Williams Lake Cycling Club

Council endorsed a Community Partnership Agreement (CPA) with the Williams Lake Cycling Club. The Partnership Agreement addresses topics such as signage to promote and direct visitors to mountain bike trail heads, collaboration between the City, businesses and WLCC to develop and market events, infrastructure and economic benefits and generally increase the profile and culture of mountain biking in the community.
The CPA does not imply or commit the City to any direct funding or in-kind support, but rather articulates a shared vision and desire to collaborate.
Contact: Brian Carruthers at 250-392-1763


Access Awareness Day – June 4, 2011
Stampede Season – June 1 to July 3, 2011

Next Council Meeting: June 7, 2011 at 6 p.m. in Council Chambers

Cottonwood River Evac Orders/Alerts Update

The Evacuation Alert issued May 12, 2011 to properties on Landry Road and the Quesnel-Hixon Road has been removed, with the exception of two properties on the Quesnel-Hixon Road which remain on Evacuation Alert. The Evacuation Order issued to three properties on the Cottonwood River remains in effect.

Residents are reminded to use extreme caution at this time of year near, on or around waterways as a result of elevated water levels and rapid currents.  Rivers, streams and creeks throughout the Region are swollen and should be considered hazardous as warm temperatures this weekend could see increased flows.

Further information will be available as the situation develops. For all inquiries, visit the CRD online at www.cariboord.bc.ca  or call the Emergency Operations Centre at 250-398-5117. Current information is also available from the BC Government online news centre at  www.newsroom.gov.bc.ca/emergencyinfobc/

Thursday's Retirement Concepts (RC) Public Meeting on Rezoning Application

As I noted last week - Retirement Concepts (RC) has applied to the City of Williams Lake for a change to the CD-14 or Comprehensive Development 14 Zone to allow it to offer rental market housing to the general public at their Phase 3 Building where 24 of the 85 units are filled with seniors' and Retirement Concepts will be hosting a meeting to discuss their rezoning application

The meeting details are:

Where - WL Seniors' Village (1455 Western Ave)
When - 4pm to 6pm on Thursday, May 26th

A report to Council on this subject can be viewed here as well as a letter to the editor over at Welcome to Williams Lake on this subject from Kim Tuerlings entitled "Screaming need for care facilities in BC" here

One Question though:

If the City suggested that RC hold a public meeting between 1st and 2nd Reading of their rezoning application, why didn't the City offer RC the opportunity to hold the meeting in a central location (ie - Council Chambers) and at a time convient for most people (ie 7-9pm) and not 4-6pm where it looks like both RC and City Council have something to hide here?

HST Forum in PG Thursday

Tomorrow, there'll be a HST Forum in Prince George to discuss the pros/cons of the Harmonized Sales Tax or HST.

Forum Details:

Date - Thursday, May 26, 2011
Time - 7:30 to 9:00 pm
Location: University of Northern BC (UNBC) - 3333 University Way, Prince George
Canfor Theatre, Conference Centre
Moderator: Dave Barry, News Director CKPG

Or you can watch online at www.hstpublicforums.ca

Quesnel Council Highlights - May 24th Meeting

Expense reports to go online

The City of Quesnel will become just the second municipality in B.C. to post travel expense reports online. Council approved posting not only Council's travel expenses, but senior administration's expenses as well, effective June 1. The reports will be included on a regular Council meeting agenda once each month for a six-month trial basis, after which time the practice will be reviewed. To the City's knowledge, only the City of Vancouver has a similar procedure in B.C.

City receives accessibility award

The City of Quesnel was named the winner of the North Central Local Government Association's accessibility awards for communities with a population greater than 5,000 people. The community was commended by the NCLGA "thanks to the inspired efforts of members of a grass roots community initiative dedicated to making a difference - the Measuring Up Quesnel Committee. Several community recreational buildings have been renovated to enhance and improve accessibility. An accessible sidewalk replacement policy, and the ongoing development of accessible trails in local parks and campgrounds will benefit everyone."

Other News:

Council approved a development permit at 2153 Dragon Hill Rd. to allow the development of a door and window assembly/distribution shop. Council also approved amending the zoning from CR-2 (Rural Single and Duplex Residential) to C-4 (Highway Commercial) to permit the commercial use.

Council approved providing $150 for Project Hope, a new, non-profit organization focused on the Women's Resource Centre renovation.

The City's exempt employees (management and other employees who are not members of CUPE) will receive a 1.5% pay increase, effective Jan. 1 , 2011. This equals the amount provided CUPE members.

Special Council meeting news - May 9:

Council approved a number of changes for Quesnel transit. The City will add 250 hours of handyDART service beginning in June, with a $1 fee increase per fare. In addition, Quesnel Transit conventional service will pass through the Westland, Dennis and Gassoff Road areas starting in September. The changes add $14,600 to the transit budget for a full year.

May 16 Council's strategic objectives for 2011 have been approved. These objectives and suggested action steps are reported annually as part of the City's Annual Report. The 2010 Annual Report will be available for public inspection by June 6.

Council approved locating a Firefighters Memorial Monument in LeBourdais Park. The final location will be determined over the coming months. The monument will honour deceased members of the area's fire associations.

Northern Strike Paintball will be able to hold their events on a piece of City property just off the Quesnel-Hixon Road after Council approved signing a licence of occupation. The City was not asked to provide any funding for the group.

The City will submit a grant application to the BC Real Estate Foundation to complete an Affordable Housing Strategy and Action Plan. The grant amount is for $37,800, with the City contributing staff time valued at $3,150. A strategy and action plan was one of the next steps identified in the City's Affordable Housing Needs Assessment completed in 2010.

Important Dates:

June 4, 10 a.m. at Ceal Tingley Park - Walk for Witzke June 4 - Skyfest Pub Night fundraiser

Future Meetings:

Next Delegation Meeting:
Monday May 30

Next Regular Council Meeting:
Monday June 6

Next Committee of the Whole Meeting:
Monday June 13

Next North Cariboo Joint Planning Committee Meeting:
Tuesday June 14

Local Voter Anger in Williams Lake....?

In my blog post yesterday (see here) on reviewing last week's poll for support for the Mayoralty Candidates in Williams Lake, I received the following comment:

I can't imagine Cook getting even one vote. I love the new initiatives and surveys that Mayor and Council are doing right now. This is because they want to see what services they can provide or improve on. Where were you all two and a half years ago. All you have been doing is ensuring you get accolades on non essential things. Isn't that like putting icing on dogfood and calling it a birthday cake. Shame on you Mayor Cook and Council...I hope the voters aren't too stupid to fall for your last minute, desperate measures.

If this commentor is in line with the average voter in Williams Lake - things really don't look good for Williams Lake Council, especially, I would suggest, for Mayor Cook and Councillors Sue Zacharias, Laurie Walters, and Geoff Bourdon.  I have a hunch that it is unlikely that voters are willing to turf the entire WL City Council for new people.  At tne end of the day - I suspect that Councillors Tom Barr and SPS Rathor are the only two Councillors who will survive re-election


Mid-Week News - May 25th edition

In 100 Mile:

* Rising waters at Canim Lk left a resort owner scrambling for sandbags - see here
* 99 Mile Hill project on time despite major setback - see here
* Cariboo Family Enrichment Centre Society has their AGM on June 8th - more details here
* CRD has success on its' resolutions at the NCLGA AGM - see here
* A Victora-based company praises the HST - see here
* Rural Crime Watch express its' support for public use of their website (http://www.ruralcrimewatch.com) - see more here

In Williams Lake:

* WL Stampede to go ahead late June-early July, even though rodeos in 100 Mile/Quesnel were cancelled last week - see here
* Welcome to Williams Lake has two stories from last night's WL Council Meeting - see here & here
* Britco, a portable building making company near Langley, is donating one of its' professional commentators' buildings for a library at Toosey, west of Williams Lake - see here

In Quesnel:

* Continued work for residents' displaced due to Cottonwood River flooding - see here

* Although not posted at the Rush's website yet (http://www.therushfm.ca) - they ran a story this morning where Quesnel Mayor Mary Sjostrom and Quesnel Councillor Sushil Thapar locked horns over the minutes of the May 16th Committee of the Whole Meeting  (Quesnel Council) where Councillor Thapar objected to how a couple of motions were recorded to which Mayor Sjostrom responded with:

"Councillor Thapar, that is a serious charge that you are levelling"

Mayor Sjostrom was absolutely right to call Councillor Thapar on his questioning of how the minutes were recorded.  If Councillor Thapar had any concerns about how minutes were recorded, the appropriate action would have been to request a meeting with Quesnel's Mayor & City Manager and express his concerns that way and not on the floor of a Council meeting and knowing Quesnel's Mayor like I do - she would have been open to such a meeting and addressed any and all of Councillor Thapar's concerns

In Provincial News:

* Vancouver Sun political columnist Vaughn Palmer says BC Premier Christy Clark's fix for the HST may involve the corporate sector - see here

* In the Twitter universe - Victoria says to save the HST means, pending a vote in July:

a) HST to 10%
b) $175 per child under 18
c) 2% hike in corporate taxes

Stories from Times Colonist and Globe & Mail on this - see here and here
Also see a story from Black Press here and the official Gov't of BC Press Release here

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

City of WL Survey on City Services

In today's (Tues May 24th) Williams Lake Tribune, the City of WL has run its usual "Step Ahead" ad regarding the upcoming phone survey on City Services and how residents' feel about the services the City of Williams Lake provides

The City requests that if you participated in the phone survey that you not fill out the online survey, which can be found here

The City also states that, although the online results will not be included in the response analysis in order to maintain statistical validity, both the online and phone survey results will be considered as Council makes future decisions on City Services.  The review shall which services, if any, should be reviewed immediately

If you have any questions about the City Services Phone or Online Survey - you are asked to contact Ken MacInnis (Communications Coordinator) at 250-392-8488

Central Cariboo Recreation Survey Results Released

In early 2011, the Central Cariboo Recreation Advisory Committee (CCRAC) undertook an extensive online survey to gather community input on recreation services in Williams Lake and the surrounding areas. This information was presented to the Joint Planning Committee of the Cariboo Regional District and the City of Williams Lake to help in future decisions regarding recreation in our area.

The survey itself was developed through an extensive process which included feedback from the Joint Committee on the contents of the survey. Every effort was made to ensure survey questions were impartial and advertising was done in an equitable manner as to not influence the results.

“It is always a good thing to hear what people have to say,” said Mayor Kerry Cook. “It helps to provide input and understanding for future decisions.”

“Surveys are an important way the general public can provide feedback on how we are doing, what we might be missing, and how things could be improved,” says Central Cariboo Joint Committee Co-Chair Joan Sorley. “Information gathered from this survey will be valuable in helping us to prioritize our resources in the area of recreation.”

The survey was made available online, via e-mail, fax and regular mail and through hard copies available at many locations around Williams Lake. The survey was opened to the public for the entire month of February and advertising was done throughout this period to encourage people to participate. A total of 521 persons completed the survey either on-line or via hard copies. Survey participation was self-selected; not a random selection process.

It is important to note that due to the nature of self-selected surveys, the survey itself is not considered scientifically valid. Generally, a non-random sample survey such as this one is considered to have a high risk for “Non-Response Bias”, which simply means that those people who do not respond have the potential to have much different views than those who do respond. This is because those people who do respond are more likely interested in the topic, or may have a personal agenda for doing so and tend to focus on problems or issues that are specific to them.

Even with potential “Non Response Bias” the results of the survey are still an important tool and should be considered one part of a bigger bag of tools, along with other methods of data collection, in making decisions.

“A survey such as this is valuable in helping to identify areas where we may be able to make positive changes”, said Geoff Paynton, Director of Community Services for the City of Williams Lake. “ We’ve already taken some of the information and used it to implement some customer service initiatives at the CMRC and there are some other ideas in there that we are looking closely at.”

You can see the Survey Results Summary here

Update from Emergency Info BC on Beaver Valley Rd Washout

From Emergency Info BC:

Likely / Horsefly - Choate Bridge on Beaver Valley Rd washed out. Approach on the Horsefly side also washed out. Alternate routes are available.

Analysis of locations for new Saturday Farmers Market

At tonight's WL Council meeting (6pm in Council Chambers - 450 Mart St), they are set to approve a trial farmer market on Saturdays' in Herb Gardner Park (Committee of the Whole Recommendation)

Also - an analysis of other locations (Spirit Square and Boitanio Park) was also done

See the full analysis of locations - pro/con (Herb Gardner Park, Boitanio Park and Spirit Square) for a Saturday Farmer Market here

Social Media and Local Gov't Elections

Story from CKNW but I hope to see others, especially in the Cariboo-Chilcotin, use social media (blog, Facebook and Twitter) as a tool as they campaign for their various positions (Mayors, Councillors and Electoral Area Directors) in this November's civic election

It's been credited with helping a relative unknown win Calgary's Mayoral chair in 2008. Social media is no longer a new phenomenon.

But, expert Dave Teixeira of dave.ca says civic politicians wanting to fully harness the power of social media in the run-up to elections in the fall need to start now. He adds, its not good enough to Tweet messages or make comments.

Teixeira says politicians need to pay attention to the conversations happening on Twitter and Facebook, "What are the issues that people are speaking about? Because maybe they're slightly different in the Twitter-verse, or maybe they're the same. But the first thing to do is to listen, what's the conversation?"

Some civic politicans in Vancouver are already doing that. Mayor Gregor Robertson has almost 13-thousand followers on Twitter while his opponent Suzanne Anton has only 861.

Breaking News - Quesnel Millionaires officially sold

Quesnel Cariboo Observer is reporting that the local Junior 'A' Hockey Team "Quesnel Millionaires" is now sold to a group in Chilliwack.  Suspect that today is a sad day for the community of Quesnel

See more details here with an update to the story sometime later today

UPDATE - See more on this story here

Review of Last week's Poll Question - Support for City of WL Mayor - 2011-2014 Term

Last week - I asked my blog readers the following question:

Which individual will get your support on November 19th as the next Mayor of Williams Lake for the 2011-2014 Term:

a) Kerry Cook (Incumbent)
b) Walt Cobb
c) Scott Nelson

With 84 people registering votes and this poll was unscientific & is based entirely (including my analysis) on those who voted (and I thank everyone who participated), the final results of the poll are as follows:

a) Scott Nelson - 61 votes or 72% of all votes cast
b) Kerry Cook (Incumbent Mayor) - 17 votes or 20% of all votes cast
c) Walt Cobb - 6 votes or 7% of all votes cast

So - how should Mr. Nelson & Mr. Cobb and Ms. Cook interpret these results with the November 19th vote fast approaching:

For Mr. Nelson and his supporters - He'll be most pleased with these results and speaks generally of what I hear in the community as well

For Ms. Cook and her supporters - The results of this poll should leave her very concerned and should worry her and her supporters as they head towards a Nov 19th vote

For Mr. Cobb and his supporters - Knowing Walt Cobb like I do, it is unlikely that that any poll would concern him.  If he believes in his heart that he has the support necessary to win, then he'll run. 

But for now - all we can do is sit and wait to see how many challengers go up against Williams Lake Mayor Kerry Cook in November's vote, but based on what I hear in the community, it is inconceivable to believe that Kerry Cook will survive re-election will either a 2, 3 or even a 4 person Mayor's race

So - what would a 3 person Mayor's Race look like, in terms of potential votes .....

Based on the poll results I ran and with the number of people who voted for a Mayoralty candidate in the 2008 Local Government Election - City of Williams Lake (2,970)

The results would be:

Scott Nelson - as many as 2,138 votes
Kerry Cook - as many as 594 votes
Walt Cobb - as many as 208 votes

Stay tuned folks - I believe the Mayor's Race in Williams Lake will be a heated one in contrast to the Councillors' Race which will be a tame and polite debate about ideas, or at least, I hope the Councillor Candidates will be a polite and respectful debate about ideas and not personalities


Local News Wrap - May 24th edition

In the Williams Lake Tribune:

* Cariboo-PG Dick Harris returns to Ottawa on June 2nd when the 41st Parliament of Canada convenes - see here

* Review of what the local Salvation Army Food Bank does for our community - see here

* Lots of activities in Williams Lake this weekend - see here

* Localized flooding is possible, especially in the Horsefly River area, due to a melting snowpack - see here

* Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Barnett says "Have a stay-cation" - see here

* Tribune columnist Diana French comments on three City of WL initiatives including the fluoride debate, Retirement Concepts rezoning proposal and City Council's stance on a streamlined environmental review process - see here

* Letter writer Dona Jensen publicly calls for the Cariboo Lodge site to remain only for seniors' - see here (Editor's Note - I wholeheartedly agree with Ms. Jensen and look forward to the local election debate in November as I suspect that this item will be one of many things that the community will want discussed before deciding who forms the City Council of Williams Lake for the 2011-2014 Term)

Over at Welcome to Williams Lake:

* Review of last Thursday's public meeting on regulating shipping containers in the City of WL - see here

Finally - today is D-Day (Decision Day) for PG City Councillor Brian Skakun on whether or not he violated the Province's Privacy Act by releasing an In-Camera Report - see here.

Update  - PG City Councillor has now been found guilty of violating BC's Privacy Act by leaking an In-Camera Report and Judge Ken Ball fined Mr. Skakun $750.  See more details here (PG Citizen)here (Globe and Mail) and here (CBC-BC)

Extreme Textiles Workshop

Get ready to immerse yourself in the world of extreme textiles, as Quesnel & District Leisure Services hosts an extraordinary workshop.

The Extreme Textiles workshop features Vancouver artist Patricia Chauncey on Saturday and Sunday June 4 and 5 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Arts and Recreation Centre.

In addition, Chauncey will open her solo show at the Quesnel Art Gallery entitled Evolution - Hive, Rust and Bone on Friday June 3 at 7 p.m. The show runs through to the end of June.

The weekend workshop includes an introduction to a new world of textile skills, including: the safe use of extreme methods; an introduction to heat distortion; solar and natural methods; experiments with a large variety of fabrics; using minerals and ordinary household supplies to create destructive textiles; and ways to create more complex cloth through a layering of methods.

There will be open access to the artist's samples and reference materials, with each participant provided a portfolio of instructions, materials, samples and a bibliography for future exploration. Participants will also be given a beautiful organza scarf to create through the weekend.
"Evolution - Hive, Rust and Bone, is an exploration using extreme textile art in a very visceral body of work inspired by my time living in the Quesnel/Wells/Barkerville area two summers ago" said Patricia Chauncey. "I have a direct relationship to this region. Members of my family were gold miners here. There is a toughness to this place that permeates my bones. Hopefully Evolution- Hive, Rust, Bone reflects some of my understanding and love for this place."

For more information or to register, please call 250.991.4013.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Site 'C' Dam & John Horgan

From Mike Smyth's Blog - Victoria Secrets:

The proposed Site C dam has moved to an environmental assessment _ and an eye-popping new price tag: $8 billion.

The 1,100-megawatt megaproject would be the long-planned third dam on the Peace River. B.C.

Hydro says it would provide power for over a century, and generate enough clean electricity to power more than 450,000 homes a year.

The governing Liberals support the project. So what is the opposition NDP's position?

When it comes to NDP energy critic John Horgan, it's been like trying to follow a bouncing ball.

Horgan said this week the project is a "boondoggle", the environmental review is a "sham" and he's "not sure" if the electricity is needed anyway.

However, he said the NDP stil might support the project. Maybe. Maybe not. He's really not sure.

Par for the the course for Horgan, who has been all over the map on the project for many years. Here is just a small sampling of his earlier positions:

"I was a proponent and an advocate for Site C when I worked in government, talking to the engineers and the forecasters at Hydro. It made a lot of sense." Shaw Cable's Voice of BC, July 3, 2008.

"The party has historically been opposed to Site C. We continue to be opposed. We don't believe we need the power at this time. If this environmental assessment can demonstrate that there is a minimal environmental impact, then I think we would perhaps change our position." A News, April 19, 2010.

"I supported, as you know, Site C in the 1990s before I'd ever been to Fort St. John, but since then I've had an opportunity to meet the people in the region; I've had an opportunity to go to the valley, to fly over it and see what the impacts of Site C would be; and I'm not convinced that that's the best option today. If I can be persuaded by science and economics that that's the case, then I'll try and argue that for the people in the region, but as it is right now, let's get some answers to those tough questions." CKNW, January 16, 2011.

"It would be as clean and green as any dam in North America." The Province, 2007.

"We should pay a premium for renewables so that we can rid ourselves of technologies like coal, and [this is] why I get excited about the prospect of large projects like perhaps Site C." The Province, 2006.

Nothing like taking a strong, clear position and sticking to it, huh? When it comes to the Site C dam, this guy _ and this party _ have more positions than a Romanian gymnast.

Can't wait to hear what they come up with next.


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Flooding and Road Access in Central/South Cariboo-Chilcotin

From Emergency Management BC:

Likely / Horsefly - Choate Bridge on Beaver Valley Road washed out and the approach on the Horsefly side is also washed out. Alternate routes are available. Contractor and Ministry of Environment both agree to wait for the waters to recede before repairs commence

108 Mile - Bridge on Woodjam Road is closed and the approach has washed away. An alternate route (forest service road) is being used by local residents

Noteworthy WL Council Items for Tuesday

Williams Lake Council will be dealing with the following items on Tuesday:


1) Update on IHA Activities from Allison Ruault - local IHA Acute Care Services Administrator
2) Request from 2 Local Students for assistance for their Student Leadership Conference here in October.  It's been recommended that City Pins & a copy of the City's Conference Incentive application form be provided


1) Report from the City's CAO re: 2011 NCLGA Conference in Prince Rupert.  See here

2) 2010 Audited Financial Statements for ratification.  See here.  Interesting, provincial legislation sets deadline for handing in yearly audited financial statements as May 15th and date of Council meeting is May 24th.  As one person pointed out - should there be penalities for handing this important information in late with no real excuse?  Both the CAO/Director of Finance must sign off on the Managment's Report, as part of the yearly Audited Financial Statements, and there hasn't been an issue with yearly audited financial statements in 2009/2010 being late in to Victoria from the City of Williams Lake.

Also note - the Audited Financial Statement noted two legal actions as follows:

The City has been named as a co-defendant in a lawsuit pertaining to a traffic accident.
The claim amount is undetermined at this time.

Fomer WL Mayor Scott Nelson advises that this type of lawsuit can be covered, via City insurance

In the current year (2010), the City of Williams Lake was named as defendant in a Statement of Claim
regarding the design and construction of a retaining wall. The claim amount is undetermined at this time

The above pertains to either Jasvinder Kondola at 238 Crosina Crescent (Nov 3, 2009) or Sharon/William Whitely (April 2010) at 123/127 Lakeview Ave

3) OCP Bylaw #2140 for 2nd Reading - See here.  Please note that the Staff report makes reference to an "APC Member" (Steve Forseth - APC Chair) who disagreed with the Bylaw moving forward due to 2 Policies namely:

a) Establish of a Standard of Maintenance Bylaw to enforce basic levels of maintenance for rental accommodation and ensure that apartment buildings, secondary suites, houses, condominiums, and any other types of rental housing that are rented, meet minimum standards of comfort and safety.

b) Promote the Central Cariboo Arts Centre, Museum and Station House Gallery as the focal points of Williams Lake’s “cultural district”, with close proximity to the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex and Boitanio Park where there are organized performances and farmers markets.

For my blog readers' information, I was not comfortable with these two policies for the following reasons:

On "a" - I believe the language was too harsh, from a tact/diplomacy point of view, to have that polite policy discussion with the public around minimum standards of comfort & safety without it turning into a divisive session between tenants and rental owners which it need not turn into if we, as a community, are serious about resolving the issues around rental accomodations

On "b"  - I was not in agreement with the new wording of the idea of a cultural district (which I don't disagree with) but couldn't support the idea that the amended "cultural district" policy advocates for re: the move of the Station House Gallery (something I agree with in principle) but by stating an area (Botanio Park/CMRC) where the cultural district is to go limits your options of discussing alternate locations for Station House Gallery with the public, as currently worded & also given concerns around the new home for the Station House Gallery.  Note - the previous wording stated support for a cultural district which mentioned only the Arts Centre and Museum and that was something I can support wholeheartedly

4) Two Developments Proposals coming forward including:

i) Zoning Amendment Bylaw #2138 (Pinetree Developments) - Downgrade Zoning from R-3 (Townhouse) to R-1 (Single Family Home).  See here.  If all approvals are received - Council could give adoption to this proposal by its July 19th meeting

ii) DVP #2-2011 (Platform Properties) for 10,000 sq ft of commericial space on Wal-Mart site.  See here  DVP could be approved by June 7th if APC/Public give consent to the DVP

5) WL Saturday Market Association gets its' request approved for a Saturday Farmers' Market in Herb Gardner Park, starting in June - October with the City asking the Association increases their liability insurance to $3,000,000.  See here.  This notwistanding a City Staff report which suggested that other locations be considered like the old Courthouse Square/Boitanio Park

6) Letter from District of Clearwater congraulating Williams Lake Council for their Junior Council initiative  - see here

Finally - On Tuesday, Quesnel Council is set to approve a trial where the expense reports of Quesnel Council and their senior Staff will be posted on Quesnel Council Agendas.  However, when this item was discussed at the May 16th Committee of the Whole (Quesnel Council) Meeting, Quesnel Councillor S. Thapar (Quesnel Finance Chair) said:

Acting Mayor Thapar stated his disappointment that the report was brought forward in a
Committee of Whole Council meeting rather than at a regular Council meeting.
I personally see this as a cheap political shot at Quesnel's City Staff & Mayor and I wonder if he took the time to call Mary Sjostrom and simply say - "Madam Mayor - I'm not real comfortable with this item at a Commitee of the Whole Meeting".  He would have gotten a lot further than making statements like this when a media rep is present at the meeting

Friday, May 20, 2011

Removal Begins for 2 Homes near Cottonwood River

Provincial specialists from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Ministry of Environment, as well as Emergency Management BC have made the determination to dismantle and remove two homes on the shorelines of the Cottonwood River near Quesnel to prevent imminent environmental damage due to continued erosion placing the residences at risk.

The affected homes have been under an evacuation order and owners have been contacted. RCMP were called on site to ensure public safety, and Emergency Social Services have been offered to provide immediate lodging assistance, help with moving and securing storage for belongings, counselling services, as well as support provisions for livestock.

The Province will carefully consider compensation options for the affected families and continue to work with the Cariboo Regional District to support, guide and provide access to resources as the flooding situation continues across the region. Technical experts from key ministries continue to regularly assess, monitor and take action on site where reasonable and feasible to do so.

The Cottonwood River is a meandering river with a known history of open water, log jam and ice jam flooding, and river bank erosion problems. The river is north of Quesnel in the Quesnel/Hixon and Landry Road area and remains under flood warning. The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure continues to closely monitor the Quesnel-Hixon Road. The Cariboo Regional District Emergency Operations Centre has been activated and issued a Declaration of Local State of Emergency on May 12, 2011. Eight residences are threatened due to bank erosion and flooding.

For more information on local emergency responses visit the Cariboo Regional District at www.cariboord.bc.ca and to learn more about this and other flood warnings and advisories in effect, visit http://bcrfc.env.gov.bc.ca/warnings/index.htm

Local Gov't Meetings in Cariboo-Chilcotin - Week of May 24-27

A number of local governments in the Cariboo-Chilcotin are meeting this upcoming week:

Tuesday, May 24th - City of Quesnel:

Regular Council Meeting which starts at 7:00pm in Quesnel Council Chambers (410 Kinchant St)
See the Agenda/Reports here

Noteworthy Items for Consideration include:

a) Quesnel Managers get 1.5% increase effective January 1st yet constrast that to some City of WL Managers who got a range of 13-21% wage hikes April 1st, 2011 to Jan 1st, 2012 - see here
b) Work on new Smoke-Free Bylaw in Quesnel - see here
c) Tolko Industries thanks Mayor Sjostrom for her interesting in resolving Rail Issues for the exporting of Tolko's wood products - see here

Tuesday, May 24th - City of Williams Lake:

Regular Council Meeting which starts at 6:00pm in WL Council Chambers (450 Mart St)
See the Agenda/Reports here

Public Hearing on Ry-Ty Holdings proposal for Private Ice Rink which starts at 7:00pm in WL Council Chambers
See the Agenda/Report here

Tuesday, May 24th - Board of Education (SD#27):

Regular Meeting which starts at 7:00pm in the Boardroom (350 North 2nd Avenue)

Thursday, May 26th - City of Williams Lake:

Public Consultation Meeting on a Rezoning Application from Retirement Concepts - Amend CD-14 Zoning for their "Phase 3" Building

Meeting from 4-6pm at 1455 Western Avenue (WL Seniors' Village)

Friday, May 27th - Cariboo Regional District:

Regular Board Meeting which starts at 9:30am in the CRD Boardroom (Suite D - 180 North 3rd Ave)
See the Agenda/Reports here

Noteworthy Items include:

a) Quesnel resident asks for the Board's help to reduce or erdicate deer in his local neighbourhood - see here
b) UBCM defence of Municipal Fiscal Management - see here
c) Director (WL Mayor) Kerry Cook calls for new process to elect a rep to the NCLGA Board - see here
d) New Regional Economic Development Framework - Final Report.  See here
e) 2011 CRD Election Bylaw - see here.  FYI - CRD Staff recommend number of electors required to nominate a candidate remain at 2 and Chief Election Officer be given authority to set 2nd advance voting day as per Section 98 of the Local Government Act.  Otherwise, all language from 2008 Election Bylaw remains same

CMRC Operating Hours on Monday, May 23

Our local Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex will be open Monday, May 23rd (Victoria Day) as follows:

Pool & Fitness Center Open
12:00pm - 3:30pm

Recreation Swim with 3 Lanes
12:00pm - 1:30pm

Everyone Welcome Swim 
1:30pm - 3:30pm

Oliver Street Capital Works Update #2

This week on Oliver Street, water service connections were replaced between 2nd and 3rd Avenues, irrigation was installed to the islands between 2nd and 3rd Avenues, and the fire hydrant at the corner of 3rd Avenue and Oliver Street was removed.

Work recommences Sunday May 22 with replacement of four main line water valves and fittings at the corner of 1st and Oliver Street. Work will continue next week between 1st and 2nd with the replacement of water service connections.

Works are expected to last another four weeks, and there will be intermittent periods of traffic disruption. Work is anticipated to be performed from Sunday during the day and Monday to Thursday starting at 7:00pm. In an effort to perform the work while keeping the downtown open and accessible, traffic and street parking on Oliver Street will be limited during the evening hours after 7:00pm while contractors are at work. While steps will be taken to mitigate disruption, schedules and traffic restrictions may change if circumstances require.

The public is asked to exercise caution in the area of construction and to obey signs and the instructions of flagging personnel.

For more info - contact either Ken MacInnis at 250-392-8488 or kmacinnis@williamslake.ca or Joe Engelberts at 250-392-1785 or jengelberts@williamslake.ca

End of Week News - May 20th edition

In Quesnel:

* High School Rodeo cancelled/Jr Finals moved to Valemount, due to EHV-1 virus outbreak - see more info here

* Quesnel Cariboo Observer editor Autumn MacDonald says Cottonwood River flooding situation demonstrates "missed opportunities".  See here

In Williams Lake:

* WL RCMP Detachment Commander Warren Brown welcomes move by Victoria for civilian oversight to serious RCMP misconduct cases - see here

* RCMP on look-out for bad drivers this long weekend - see here

* Letter writer Gary Young says BC Liberal Party name change won't change stench - see here

* Tribune columnist Walt Cobb says Did we do the right thing on BC's mininum wage? - see here

* Local DPAC (District Parent Advisory Council) hosts alcohol/drug conference May 25th at 7pm in WL Council Chambers.  See here

In 100 Mile:

* Little Briches Rodeo, normally held this week, also cancelled due to the EHV-1 virus outbreak.  See here