Sunday, July 31, 2011

4 Car Fire at BJ Auto Wreckers

Courtesy of Welcome to Williams Lake:

Just before 11:00pm Saturday night, two men who said they were driving by Bee Jay Auto Wrecking on Mackenzie Avenue noticed a single vehicle on fire within the storage compound and called 911.

The Williams Lake Fire Department arrived shortly after the call was made, but the vehicle fire was so intense that it quickly spread to vehicles on both sides of it.

Bee Jay's owner Ken Preeper advised that although he couldn't be certain at the time, the row the cars were in is often used for Bee Jay's own salvage and stored vehicles.

Crews battled the flames for more than 20 minutes before extiguishing the fire. There was no report of anyone having been injured, and no cause was given for the fire at this time

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Special August 4th Central Cariboo Joint Committee Meeting

I have been advised of a special Central Cariboo Joint Committee meeting to be held as follows:

Date: Thursday, August 4th
Time: 5:00pm
Location: Rick Hansen Boardroom - WL City Hall (450 Mart St)

Purpose of Meeting: Discuss recent award by City of WL for Concept/Business Plan for an Indoor Turf Facility in the amount of $53,250 + HST ($6,390) = $59,640.  See the City's report on this item from their July 5th meeting here

It has also been brought to my attention that the CRD Directors for Areas D, E and F did not know of this award prior to Williams Lake Council awarding the Business/Concept Plan for an Indoor Turf Facility on July 5th to CEI Architecture and hence the reason for this special meeting of the Central Cariboo Joint Committee

In my view - this is a violation of a unspoken protocol that items affecting the CRD (Recreation Function/Budget) but managed by the City of Williams Lake should be brought forward for discussion at the Joint Committee prior to approval by Williams Lake City Council

Note - the Agenda has not formally being uploaded by the City for the public's information (as of July 30th) as they are responsible for preparing Joint Committee Agendas and hosting of Joint Committee Meetings during July - December


Top Ten Places to visit in British Columbia

Courtesy of Pat Bell's Top Ten for July 29th:

1. Touring the Kootenay region with the natural Hot Springs and spectacular mountains came in at number one. Special award goes to Nakusp and Radium!
2. Barkerville was a strong second and a personal favorite for those of us from the north.
3. Tied for second is Penticton and especially the Skaha lake beach had lots of support.
4. Also tied for second place is the Mount Robson hike to Berg Lake. A popular spot that I have not been to yet but maybe this year?
5. In a 6 way tie for fith is the area around Barrier and Clearwater with honourable mention to a little resort called “Alpine Meadows Resort”.
6. The Pemberton/Whistler to Lillooett drive alson received multiple votes and my personal support. This is spectacular country.
7. The Kitimat/North Coast saltwater fishing experience rates high as well. Special mention to the Pink/Chum fishery in early August.
8. The Sunshine Coast and Gulf Island kayaking experience seems popular with many.
9. Another ‘Ocean Experience” with multiple votes is the Tofino/West Coast of Vancouver Island experience.
10. Last but not least is the Alaska Highway drive. It’s been a few years since we’ve done this but going up the Alaska Highway and back down Highway 37 makes a great week long round trip out of Prince George.

Passing the 50,000 Pageviews Mark

Early this morning - my blog passed the 50,000 pageviews mark (number of people who read this blog)

At this point - I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to read my blog posts and express their views on them and I intend to continue the type of information that I blog on here, whether local, provincial or federal as we move forward.  The blog passed the 4th year mark on March 26th of this year (started the blog in 2007)


Good Initiative by City of WL - Crosswalk Warning Painted on-street

In what I agree is a good initiative by the City of Williams Lake, these "look" on-street signage have been painted at crosswalks throughout the City, the picture at left was taken at Columneetza Senior Secondary and these "new" crosswalk is also in place downtown at 4th Avenue and Oliver Street.     I have yet to see a muncipality do this in BC - so I tip my hat off to Williams Lake City Hall. This should help remind the young ones in our community to always look both ways before crossing the street and especially a busy street like Western Avenue can be, near Columneeta Senior Secondary

Couple of Oopsies at WL City Hall

From the file of "Oops":

1) Election Bylaw Review

Section 39(1) of the Local Government Act (LGA) states that a local government must have its general election bylaw (if the local gov't chooses to make an amendment to its existing general election bylaw or adopt a new general election bylaw) in place 8 weeks before the start of the nomination period.  The date to have done this was August 8th.  When I inquired what the City was doing in regard to this - I received the following response from the City's Manager of Legislative Services/Chief Election Officer:

We did not require any changes to our election bylaw so that section does not apply. If Council was interested in making any changes then we’d have to do an amending bylaw before the deadline referred to in Sec 39 of the LGA.

Which raises a couple of questions:

1) Who is "we"?  At this point - I've assumed that she is referring to City Staff/Council
2) If Council was not informed, then why didn't Mayor Cook bring this up with the CAO to be brought forward as a discussion item as it was in June of 2008 with the Council of the day who then proceeded to adopt General Election Bylaw #2072, 2008 (same bylaw that will be used for the 2011 Civic Election).  How can individual Council members provide input, if they apparently don't know about the topic??

2) Media Comments by Alan Madrigga:

In releasing the 2nd Quarter Economic Indicators Report (see here)and in a "WTF!!" moment - Alan Madrigga (Manager of Economic Development) said the following:


Really - things are fine, huh?? - wanna explain that to the 100+ workers at Tolko - Lakeview Division who are off work for "at least" 1 week, due to bad weather in the bush to bring logs in.  It's sad to see WL City Hall (Mr. Madrigga likely speaks for majority of WL Council as well) have the "rose-coloured glasses" when it comes to the state of the local economy and shows how out of touch WL Council is with the general public who is looking forward to rendering its' judgement on whether or not people like (at this point) Mayor Cook and Councillors Tom Barr, Surinder Rathor, Laurie Walters, Sue Zacharias and Geoff Bourdon deserve re-election.  Methinks not but we all see on November 19th

Follow-up Blog Post #2 - Community Garden at Cariboo Lodge

On June 22nd of this year - I blogged on concerns I had relating to the Community Garden at Cariboo Lodge.  See that blog post here.  However (see picture at left) - since WL Council changed the terms of the lease for this site - there has been a dramatic improvement and for that - I am impressed, given the short turn around time from approving a change to the leaseholder to cleaning up this site.  Given this was a City-sponsored project - I still fail to understand why it took a whole year to get this site cleaned up when the issue around insurance and the Food Policy Council could have been solved over weeks, rather than a full year and for that - WL Council deserves the blame and demonstrates that Council needs to acknowledge that when it takes on projects, even when they aren't doing it themselves, they need to ensure things are followed up on, in a timely fashion.  After all, Section 115 (a) of the Community Charter states - consider the well-being and interests of the municipality and its community and this is something no Councillor or even the Mayor did, with regard to this project


Friday, July 29, 2011

BC Liberal TV - July 29th edition & Restaurant Info

Also - on their blog, Quesnel Community Economic Development Corporation report on a list of restaurants and their health inspection reports in the Northen Health Authority region (Quesnel and points north, north-west and north-east).  See here

Video Blog - Mayor Cook Wants to Finish what she started

Also see below - the Cariboo Advisor article I was referring to

1st Six Months Comparison for Travel Budgets for 2010 vs 2011 (City of WL)

Again, as a public service, let's look at where Williams Lake Mayor/Councillors were, with their travel budgets, for the first six months in 2010 vs 2011:

Jan 1st - June 30th 2010:

Mayor Cook - spent $5,467 of $10,600
Councillor Barr - spent $1,568 of $6,360
Councillor Bourdon - spent $457 of $5,560
Councillor Hebert (nee Montoya) - had a credit of $460 of her $5,560 budget
Councillor Rathor - $699 of $5,560
Councillor Walters - $663 of $5,560
Councillor Zacharias - spent none of her $5,560 budget

Total Spent to Date (Jan 1st - June 30th, 2010) - $8,204 of $44,760

Jan 1st - June 30th, 2011:

Mayor Cook spent $3,269 of $10,600
Councillor Barr spent $1,403 of $5,560
Councillor Bourdon spent $351 of $5,560
Councillor Rathor spent $3,228 of $5,560
Councillor Walters spent $0 of her $5,560 budget
Councillor Zacharias spent $0 of her $5,560 budget

Total Spent to Date (Jan 1st - June 30th, 2011) - $8,251 of $43,960

City of WL 2009 - 2011 Budgets (Updated)

In advance of the coming civic elections and as a public service, I'd thought I would post the Operational/Capital Budget numbers for years 2009 - 2011 and remind everyone who voted which way


One individual has asked me to post the budgets for 2004 -2008 for comparison sakes (2004 is the earliest budget document that is online) and the blog post has been amended to reflect years 2004-2011


Operations - $12,155,875.00
Capital - $7,761,055.00

Total Budget - $19,916,930

No member of Council opposed with a 0% tax increase


Operations - $12,804,257
Capital - $8,224,497

Total Budget - $21,028,754.00

No member of Council opposed with a 0% tax increase


Operations - $13,672,127
Capital - $10,857,623

Total Budget - $24,529,750

No member of Council opposed with a 2.1% tax increase


Operations - $13,986,922
Capital - $15,748,347

Total Budget - $29,735,269.00

No member of Council opposed with a 3.9% tax increase


Operations - $15,428,908
Capital - $12,838,746

Total Budget - $28,267,654

No member of Council opposed with a 3.9% tax increase


Operations - $16,358,353
Capital - $13,990,034

Total Budget of $30,348,387.00

Property Tax Increase of 2.5% which was supported by all WL Council members but Councillor SPS Rathor


Operations - $17,589,150
Capital - $13,850,235

Total Budget - $31,439,385.00

Property Tax Increase of 3.5% which was supported by all WL Council members but Councillor SPS Rathor


Operations - $18,327,640
Capital - $3,672,180

Total Budget - $21,999,820.00

Property Tax Increase of 3.0% which was supported by all WL Council members but Councillor SPS Rathor

Williams Lake in Top 4 Communities at 11,000 Population for Highest Long-Term Debt Load

Recently - I ran into one individual who asked where does Williams Lake rank in the grand scheme of things, as far as long-term debt goes.  So, after doing some research, this is what I discovered:

Communities around 11,000 population and their long-term debt levels:

1) Resort Municipality of Whister - $40,394,713.00
2) District of Summerland - $28,538,327.00
3) City of Dawson Creek - $25,378,984.00
4) City of Williams Lake - $17,600,000.00
5) District of Lake Country- $11,645,000.00
6) City of Quesnel - $9,803,395.00
7) District of Sooke - $8,553,650.00
8) City of Terrace - $4,236,391.00
9) District of Coldstream - $4,089,985.81
10) City of Parksville - $3,717,311.00
11) Town of Sidney - $2,651,113.00

Now - given we are #4 of 11 for highest long-term debt for communities with 11,000 population and also given we are looking at a Indoor Turf Facility and what to do with the current Recreation Centre (both of these projects would be possibly borrowed under the CRD but Williams Lake taxpayers' would share in those costs ranging in the tens of millions if both did go ahead, in the future) and given the state of the local economy and the fact we need to start planning for a mill closure in the next 5-10 years - long term borrowing should come to a halt, save any borrowing necessary for an emergency.  We all need to look ourselves in the mirror and say to ourselves - Here is our wants and needs.  Wants are nice but there are things we absolutely must have.  Those "needs" would obviously include police/fire, garbage collection, water and sewer and finally basic recreation needs.  Beyond that - residents need to decide, and let their politicians know for the 2012 Budget Year (CRD, City of Williams Lake, City of Quesnel, Districts of 100 Mile House/Wells) what matters more - holding the line on taxes or reducing them or having it all - even at a greater cost to local taxpayers


B.C. improves Public Environmental Reporting

The launch of a new online database will make it easier for British Columbians to keep track of the people, businesses and industries running afoul of B.C.’s environmental rules.

“The searchable database is part of our mission to improve the way we make information available to the public,” said Environment Minister Terry Lake. “People have a strong interest in environmental stewardship in their communities and an equal interest in knowing who is responsible for environmental offences.”

The free database includes a wide variety of compliance and enforcement actions taken by ministry staff and enforcement officers. It includes orders, administrative sanctions, tickets and court convictions covering hunting and fishing, open burning, mud bogging, dam safety, and pesticide and pollution violations.

Users can search by names, dates or types of infractions dating back to 2006 when the Ministry of Environment began public reporting of violations.

The database augments reporting that takes place through the release of a quarterly Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Summary in conjunction with the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

“One of the benefits of making this information even more accessible is that it will serve as an added deterrent and help increase compliance with our regulations,” said Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

The public can also help by reporting environmental violations and human-wildlife conflicts to the 24-hour Conservation Officer Service call centre at 1 877 952-7277.

Learn More:

Use the new search tool and find the most recent quarterly Environmental Compliance and
Enforcement Summary at:

Interested in other useful government data? Check out the new DataBC site:

City looks for new Events/Marketing Coordinator

In a continuing long list of people leaving the City of Williams Lake employ - CivicInfo BC reports that the City is now looking for a new Events/Marketing Coordinator - see here

I wonder though - does Williams Lake Council discuss whether or not these positions should be replaced, on a on-going basis and just do more with less or even look at what the City does and whether or not it should be involved or do they just capitulate to the City's CAO/Senior Managers when they say - we need this position

Msg from BC Premier re: BC Day

“B.C. Day is a time to celebrate all of the things that are most important in our lives - the friends, families and neighbours who mean so much to us, the many blessings and privileges that we enjoy and the very special nature of this place that we call home. It is also a time to consider how we can continue to strengthen the future for our children and our communities.

“As British Columbians, we are fortunate to enjoy multiculturalism, which enriches us all. People from across the world have immigrated to B.C. and along with our First Nations, have worked hard to build a strong and vibrant province in an embrace of cross-cultural acceptance. This has made B.C. a shining beacon throughout the world, and it reflects who we are as a province.

“In 1858 Queen Victoria named a rough and lonely outpost of her empire ‘British Columbia’. Today we reflect on those humble beginnings and the impressive record of achievement that created the province we know today.

“Ours is a province of promise and opportunity where we live together in mutual respect and inclusiveness. We enjoy peace, security and freedom, and a healthy environment of unparalleled natural beauty. None of these things can be taken for granted. They are privileges that we must protect and celebrate.

“I encourage you to enjoy time with family and participate in some of the many festivals and events taking place across B.C. this weekend. On behalf of the government of British Columbia, I extend my best wishes for a safe and fun B.C. Day.”

Port Coquitlam Mayor Greg Moore discusses Budgets/Taxes

City of WL Trial Project: Use 1 Truck to collect Garbage/Recycables

Editor's Note - From the City of Williams Lake.  One question though - if we couldn't mix recycles and garbage when the City started doing curbside recycling/garbage collection (and I might add City residents weren't directly asked if they want to pay for the service, via the two containers each property owner now pays for until 2014), then why the sudden change to do this and will this not open the possibility that, through an accident, garbage might contaminate the recyclables collected and the City be put into the position of dumping recyclables that garbage mixture created??

The City of Williams Lake would like to inform residents of Williams Lake that a pilot project will be implemented that will allow the City and its contractor to gather information on the collection process that may lead to future changes that benefit the residents and the environment. This pilot project will include:

Testing the viability of serving the residents of Williams Lake with only one automated truck during this last week of July and the month of August. Using one truck for pickup of both garbage and recycling will help reduce the carbon emission created by providing this service Initially a second truck will be used during the 5-week trial in the downtown core area to minimize interference with the morning traffic. If downtown traffic does not appear to be affected, this second truck will be removed during the pilot program. The timing of the service for solid waste or recycling pickup at your address may be shifted slightly during the day of service, but the day of service will remain the same. Please continue to ensure your solid waste and recycling carts are at the curb before 7:00 am on the morning of your collection day.

After the trial period, the effectiveness of the pilot project will be analyzed. During this time, the City’s contractor will resume the original process using two trucks.

The City will communicate the results of the pilot project to the public before any proposed changes to the service take effect.

Thank you in advance for your understanding and patience during this process.

For more information please contact:

Joe Engelberts
The City of Williams Lake
250 392-1785 or

End of Week News...

In Quesnel:

* Quesnel City Councillor Mike Cave explains his views on the recent censure motion against Quesnel Councillor Sushil Thapar and the issue around paving Anderson Drive - see here
* Quesnel resident Victor Hegan explains his personal opposition to the HST - see here
* Quesnel Cariboo Observer columnist and former CRD Area 'B' Director Andy Motherwell looks at the legacy of a farm family - see here

In Williams Lake:

* Debate on HST in "Letters to the Editor" - pro-HST letter from Tolko CEO Brad Thorlakson (see here) and anti-HST letter from Summer McFayden of the BC Fed of Labour (see here)
* Tribune columnist Dean Fulton says a recent report by the Northwest Institute looking at the two environmental reviews processes (BC + Canada) on the recently failed Prosperity Mine project "lacks credibility" - see here.  Also - West Coast Environmental Law has an "interesting" take on this situation as well - see here
* Community Grant Review Panel visits Williams Lake on August 18th - see here
* Reconstruction under way at Husky's on Highway #97 - see here

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Quesnel/100 Mile News

In Quesnel:

* Recently acquired mountain bikes will assist Quesnel RCMP Bike Patrol - see here

Editor's Note - this is something WL City Councillor SPS Rathor has tried to get for the WL RCMP but has not yet been successful.  Williams Lake RCMP have, in the past, had a bike patrol but we haven't had one here for a little while now and I think it would be good to have a bike patrol in addition to our local Community Policing people to enhance proactive police patrols.  It may very well be that WL Council may have to prioritize this as a goal for policing in Willliams Lake and as far as equipment goes - we could turn to our local business community and the BIA to partner acquiring the necessary bikes and equipment to make a bike patrol a reality

* Letter writer Ron Caskey of Quesnel complains about repairs to the local sauna taking too long - see here
* Letter writer Robin Hay thanks the community of Quesnel and BB Days re: treament Beijing visitors had during the BB Days - see here
* Over on their blog - local Quesnel and Community Economic Development Corporation report on a little contest that they have going on until Friday - see here

In 100 Mile House:

* Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA laments regarding BC Fed of Labour "anti-HST" campaign against her - see here
* Editorial on recent Community in Blooms initiative - see here
* Local Agriplex Society applies for building permit - see here
* TELUS responds to complaints over weeds at their Lac La Hache compound - see here
* Independent Wood Processors of BC supports keeping the HST - see here

Surrey Council on Parkland Referendum

Surrey Councillor Bob Bose recently put forward an idea to Surrey City Council about holding a referendum on acquiring parkland in the City of Surrey.  See the result here

Mayor Green declares war on Township Councillors

In today's Langley Times - they reported Township Mayor Rick Green unveiling his 7 member "team" for the civic elections in November.  See here

A point of interest though - he directly attacks Township Councillors Jordan Bateman, Bev Dornan, Steve Ferguson, Charlie Fox, Grant Ward, Bob Long and Kim Richter and called them the "Six Pack plus One"

Councillors Bateman, Ward, and Ferguson - I understand because of the intense personal interaction between these Councillors and TOL Mayor Rick Green.  But I must profess - I was scratching my head when he said that Councillors Dornan, Long, Fox and Richter must go as well.  These Councillors rarely if ever (all of the times I've observed Township Council meetings) had any interaction with Rick Green at TOL Council meetings.  As such - it is my conclusion that Mr. Green feels that all 7 of these Councillors have voted as a "block" and because of how they voted, contrary to his wishes and his 2008 campaign platform - Mr. Green has decided these 7 Councillors should all go, save TOL Councillor Mel Kositsky

I believe TOL residents should be scratching their heads at both this move and comments from TOL Mayor Rick Green

Again - this move plus any others in the Township of Langley, relating to the civic election in November, will make this muncipality the one to watch on November 19th


Kevin Falcon: HST is the right tax for BC

From the Deputy Premier of BC and for the record - I wholeheartedly agree with Kevin Falcon on the HST being the right tax for BC:

With just a few days left for British Columbians to vote and return their ballots I’d like to discuss the importance of the decision in front of you, and encourage you to vote if you haven’t already.

One of the concerns we’ve heard quite frequently is the confusion over the ballot question itself. This question was developed by Elections BC, an organization independent from government. To be clear, a ‘NO’ vote is a vote to keep the HST and a ‘YES’ vote is a vote to go back to the PST plus GST.

I have said since day one that I intend to vote ‘NO’ to higher taxes, and to keep the HST. It is important to understand what this means. If you are in favour of lower taxes and a 10 per cent HST, you should vote ‘NO’ on your ballot.

Nine of the 10 fastest-growing economies in the world all use an HST-type consumption tax. So do 140 countries around the world. No jurisdiction anywhere has introduced a retail sales tax in decades. Voting ‘YES’ is a vote for a 12 per cent GST plus PST tax with a bureaucratic and expensive dual-tax system.

Also, if voters choose to keep the HST and vote ‘NO’, the Province will provide a $175 per-child HST transition payment for families and $175 for seniors with annual incomes of up to $40,000, to help with the transition until the rate drops – one per cent in 2012 and a further one per cent in 2014.

These proposed changes are responsive and fair, and allow us to keep our commitment to balancing our budget. Importantly, the proposed changes to the HST, including transition payments, will only take effect should British Columbians vote ‘NO’ to the referendum question and retain the HST.

Overwhelmingly, businesses, small and large alike, are in support of the HST and are encouraging people to vote ‘NO’ to keep it. This is an important consideration because these companies are the backbone of our economy and ensure you and your family have well-paying jobs throughout all our communities. For almost every sector – whether it’s the film industry, tourism, forestry, mining or agriculture – the HST is a better tax because it is simpler and more progressive, which means these companies save money and can add jobs.

The anti-HST forces are trying to make this an emotional vote instead of focusing on the facts. I have acknowledged we did a poor job introducing the tax, but we all need to move on and focus on what is right for the province. They are trying to convince you that the HST is a tax break for big business and hurts everyone else. They completely ignore the fact we are taking a balanced approach by lessening the burden on families and shifting some of the burden onto business. I know British Columbians will see past their games and focus on the decision at hand.

Over the last 10 years, we’ve worked hard to keep British Columbia competitive by developing a business climate that encourages companies to invest here and create jobs for families across every region of this province. The HST is one more reason B.C. is a good place for business to invest and grow. Voting ‘NO’ in the referendum will mean a 10 per cent HST for British Columbia by July 1, 2014. It will also help us remain a top investment choice for businesses and mean more high-paying jobs for our families.

Your opportunity to vote ends soon. All ballots must be received by Elections BC or any Service BC office no later than 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 5, 2011. I will be voting ‘NO’ in the referendum because I believe the HST is the right choice for our families, our businesses and our communities. I encourage all British Columbians to ensure you have all the information you need to make an informed decision and vote. It’s your choice.

For more information about the HST, visit:
You can also follow us on Twitter at:

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Civic slate coming to the Township of Langley municipal election

As reported tonight - local Langley blogger and Township of Langley (TOL) Councillor Jordan Bateman reports that current Township of Langley Mayor Rick Green has formed a civic slate called "Vote Langley Now".  See his blog post here

Now, from what I read on TOL Politics - slates are not new but haven't been seen since the former LLT or Langley Leadership Team days of former Mayor John Scholtens.  It will be interesting to see how this development will affect this fall's TOL civic election and especially what impact it'll have on both the challengers to TOL Council this November and also current TOL Councillors Bev Dornan, Charlie Fox, Steve Ferguson, Grant Ward, Bob Long, Kim Richter, Mel Kositsky and Jordan Bateman

Please keep in mind that anyone watching TOL Council knows that TOL Mayor Rick Green has not gotten along with TOL Councillors Grant Ward, Steve Ferguson and Jordan Bateman

The TOL civic race will likely go down as being one of the important civic elections to watch in all of British Columbia


Update at 11:52pm Tuesday - Langley Advance is covering this development here and here

Vancouver City Council: Quit using replacement workers, Rocky Mountaineer!

Kamloops Daily News reports that 9 out of the 11 Vancouver City Council members signed a letter calling on Rocky Mountaineer Vacations not to use "replacement workers" to man the trains used by Rocky Mountaineer

See here

The letter was signed by Vancouver City Councillors Geoff Meggs, David Cadman, George Chow, Andrea Reimer, Heather Deal, Tim Stevenson, Kerry Jang, Ellen Woodsworth and Raymond Louie. 

However the letter was not signed by Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and NPA Mayoralty Candidate/Vancouver City Councillor Sue Anton

See the letter here with the BC Federation of Labour announcement here


Bob Simpson: Pacific Carbon Trust robs schools to subsidize business

Indepedent Cariboo-North MLA Bob Simpson continues to raise concerns about the Pacific Carbon Trust and the impact it has on school district budgets

See here

I do agree with Bob on one point - whatever schools pay into the Carbon Trust, they should get back for "green" projects and not pay in and get nothing back


Hon. Terry Lake vs MLA John Les

After the decision to approve Metro Vancouver's Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP) which included incineration in the Fraser Valley Air Shed, which includes the City of Chillwack - the MLA for Chillwack and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier, John Les, express his public outrage at the approval for this plan - see here

But a couple of issues come up:

1) Why this plan with incineration was approved, given historical opposition to incineration by Fraser Valley BC Liberal MLA's going back to the late 90's and the apparent lack of knowledge on this by Terry Lake?

2) With Cache Creek Mayor John Ranta express his deep disappointment in this decision - see here but it remains to be seen (and I would support it) if Mayor Ranta attempts to meet with Terry Lake and get him to revisit the decision on incineration and the Metro Vancouver SWMP

Finally - with policy decision reversals between Blair Lekstrom and Christy Clark over the Evergreen Line and now this apparent reversal to approve the Metro Vancouver SWMP, given past history of BC Liberal MLA's in the Fraser Valley

As a BC Liberal Party member - we, as BC Liberals', are plain not ready for a fall election and we should look towards a new time table of either the Spring or Fall of 2012 and use the time between now - Spring/Fall of 2012 to get our $#$##$ together to start governing like a team, lest the voters say - enough is enough! - send the NDP in, they can't be any worse


New Bike Park in Quesnel

Over at their blog - the Quesnel and Community Economic Development Corporation reports on the new bike park that is open in the City of Quesnel

I congratulate everyone in Quesnel who had a hand in this endeavour :).  Well done, all

See more here

Breaking News - Sam Ketchum Pool will not re-open August 2nd

Initial work to repair a leak in the main tank of the Sam Ketcham Pool was completed; however upon refilling the pool to test the repairs further issues have arisen and substantial water is still being lost from the main tank. Additional testing is now required to find the source of these water leaks and then subsequent repairs will have to be done.

This situation means that unfortunately, the session of swimming lessons that was to begin August 2, including the Red Cross Assistant Water Safety Instructor course, will have to be cancelled. All persons affected will be personally contacted by CMRC staff. There is no timeline for re-opening of the pool.

“We are sorry for the inconvenience of this delay,” says Councillor Surinderpal Rathor. “We will inform the community as soon as possible when we have more information.”

Update at 1:47pm - Story from the Rush here

2nd Quarter City of WL Report released

On Tuesday, July 19th - WL Council, in a Special Committee of the Whole meeting, dealt with two items:

1) 2nd Quarter Report (covers period of April 1st - June 30th) - see here
2) 2011 Interim Financial Report to end of June 2011 - see here

I'll be doing an in-depth review for Item #2 later today as it relates to the 2009, 2010 and to the end of June 2011 City of WL Budgets, for comparison sakes

On Item #1:

Several Items of Note:

1) City of WL's new website scheduled to launch August 1st which at that time, the social media tools (Facebook, Twitter, etc) are also scheduled to go online as well, as per adopted Social Media Policy from earlier this year

2) On City Council Individual Budgets (again as of June 30th):

Mayor Cook - $3,269 of $10,600 or 31% of her total 2011 budget
Councillor Rathor - $3,228 of $5,560 or 58% of his total 2011 budget
Councillor Barr - $1,403 of $5,560 or 25% of his total 2011 budget
Councillor Bourdon - $351 of $5,560 or 6% of his total 2011 budget
Councillors Walters and Zacharias - $0 of $5,560 or 0% of their 2011 budget

3) District Heating System for Downtown Core - Research continues and "Expression of Interest" projected to take place by Quarter 3 (July 1st - September 30th)

4) Infrastructure Design for Woodland Dr Water/Sewer - scheduled for Quarter 4 (October 1st - December 31st), but is dependent on federal grant arriving to help defray costs for this project

5) Airport Service Delivery Review completed through Quarter 2 (April 1st - June 30th)

Provincial News Wrap - July 26th edition

In Williams Lake:

* Miss Canada International Anna Dell meets with the public, after her win - see here
* Local Provincial NDP Riding Assoc holds nomination meeting on Wednesday, July 27th at the Longhouse - meeting open to the public at 6:30pm - see here.  The meeting is to confirm Charlie Wyse as the NDP Candidate for Cariboo-Chilcotin in the next provincial election, whenever it comes
* Man assaulted in Boitanio Park on July 18th and RCMP asks for police help - see here
* Local 7-11 robbed on this past Saturday - see here
* Federal Environmental Assessment Office faces budget/staff cuts - see here
* Think-tank in Smithers, BC looks like Provncial/Federal Environmental Review Processes, as they relate to the failed Prosperity Mine bid - see here
* Total expenses for local MLA's in 2010-2011 Fiscal Year released - see here
* Columnist Diana French looks like crime issues - both at a local and international level - see here
* MLA Donna Barnett reviews her time at the "Alexis Creek Daze" - see here
* Lots of letters to the editor: one from myself on fluoride education (see here), one from Micheal Jones on crime and WL Mayor Kerry Cook (see here), and one from a previous Donna Barnett supporter on the HST and dishonesty (see here)

In Kamloops:

* Newly adopted Metro Vancouver Solid Waste Management Plan will be a body-blow to the Village of Cache Creek - see here
* Fight HST Lead Organizer for the current HST Referendum Chris Delainey expresses his confidence that the voters' of BC will vote to kill the HST by August 5th (last date to vote in the HST Referendum) - see here

In Vancouver:

* Global TV Victoria bureau chief Keith Baldrey looks at the 2 cent gas tax hike and the impact on both municipal and provincial politics - see here
* Province political columnist Mike Smyth looks at yesterday's announcement by Federal NDP Leader Jack Layton to take time off to fight a new cancer - see here

Also - the Winnipeg Free Press is citing a APTN (Aboriginal Peoples Television Network) Report that Ottawa is set to table a "take it or leave it" offer with Canada's First Nations, with regard to land claims.  See here.  If this report turns out to be true - then it may signal the beginning of a fight between Canada's First Nations and Ottawa and we, as a country, province and region, need to signal compromise, rather than "drawing the line in the sand" if we have any hope of prospering as, again, a country, province and region

Update - Globe and Mail reports on this story here

Monday, July 25, 2011

Dangerous Weapon Bylaw and Impact on Business

On July 12th at a WL Committee of the Whole (COW) meeting  - Council considered a report from the City of WL's CAO on the possibility of a "Dangerous Weapons" Bylaw.   See that report here. 

This recommendation to proceed investigating adopting a Dangerous Weapons Bylaw in the City of Williams Lake was approved at the July 19th WL Council meeting.  Both Councillor Barr and Rathor made mention of a video presented to them, on July 19th, at the July 12th COW meeting, except there is no reference to that presentation in the July 12th COW Minutes, which you can read here

Since then - several individuals I have ran into have stated that businesses that would be impacted by a Dangerous Weapons Bylaw are not thrilled with how this was proceeded with.  One question I have already is the effectiveness of passing a dangerous weapon bylaw to regulate the sale of machetes and bear spray when someone can just drive somewhere else to get these weapons

Also - there is no direct evidence to suggest that either Mayor Cook, the local RCMP or City Staff approached businesses that might be impacted by this bylaw and get their input other than the CAO saying in his report to WL Council, at the July 12th COW Meeting:

It is recognized that some retailers have taken it upon themselves to stop selling some of these items or at least limiting access to these items and/or using discretion in who they sell them to.

It is truly sad and disappointing that Mayor Cook (who ran on Crime in the last civic election) or even Councillor Tom Barr, as head of Council's General Governance Committee, where Crime issues are considered by this Committee, did not try to either intervene, by getting business input, either before July 12th or even make an invitation to any business that would be affected by the adoption of a Dangerous Weapon Bylaw to make a presentation to the July 12th COW meeting before Williams Lake Council made a decision to proceed or not on a Dangerous Weapon Bylaw and tells of a bigger problem with this Council that they don't understand process and how it relates to good government for the people of Williams Lake, whether it's the Dangerous Weapons Bylaw, the upcoming amendments to the Zoning Bylaw to regulate shipping containers, regulate parking on boulevards, or even the False Alarm Bylaw


PG City Council decides to proceed with Censure Motion against PG City Clr Skakun

At a meeting of Prince George City Council tonight - they voted to proceed to a hearing on a censure motion against PG City Councillor Brian Skakun after receiving a report from PG Mayor Dan Rogers and after hearing from Councillor Skakun's legal counsel.  It should be noted that Councillor Skakun left PG City Council Chambers during the discussion on this item, at the advice of his legal counsel. 

See the Opinion story here and the Prince George Citizen story here

It should be also noted, contrary to PG City Councillor Murry Krause's comments that this censure motion was the 1st in BC - in fact, it would be the 4th censure motion considered by local governments in BC during this term (2005-2008) of local government but the 1st in Prince George Council history

As well - PG City Council has agreed to consider this censure motion not later than September 14th

Finally - Interesting that, unlike the Township of Langley and the Cities of Fort St John and Quesnel who dealt with censure motions behind closed doors and then ratified in public, PG Council chose to debate the whole series of issues, relating to a possible censure motion, in public.  I wonder as well what impact that this will have on the PG City Council election in November, especially for both Councillor Brian Skakun and Mayor Dan Rogers

Warren Brown promoted to rank of Inspector

The City of Williams Lake is pleased to announce that Staff Sergeant
Warren Brown, Officer in Charge of the Williams Lake RCMP detachment, will be promoted to the rank of Inspector and will continue to lead the detachment.

Due to the number of staff assigned to the Williams Lake detachment it has
been upgraded to an Inspector-rank Officer in Charge. After a selection and
interview process conducted by the acting RCMP North District Officer
(Superintendent), a Superintendent from RCMP Officer Staffing, the Mayor, and the Chief Administrative Officer, Brown was selected as the candidate to lead the detachment as an Inspector.

“We have been very impressed by Staff Sergeant Brown since he arrived in
Williams Lake in 2009,” says Mayor Kerry Cook. “He has been instrumental in
helping to lead the charge in our community against crime, and his work has paid off. Since he arrived, Williams Lake has dramatically reduced crime.

“Also of critical importance is the relationship building Staff Sergeant
Brown has done in our community, and in the communities surrounding Williams
Lake. He recognizes that crime prevention and reduction involves everyone,
because everyone is a stakeholder. He has shown incredible leadership, and we are looking forward to working with Staff Sergeant Brown in the years ahead as we look to reduce crime even further and continue to build relationships.”

“We’re happy to hear of Staff Sergeant Brown’s promotion,” says Chief Ann
Louie of the Williams Lake Indian Band. “Williams Lake Indian Band has had an excellent working relationship with him, and we’re pleased that his efforts have been rewarded. We look forward to continuing our work with Staff Sergeant Brown in his new position.”

“I am honoured to have been chosen,” says Staff Sergeant Brown. “I have been very fortunate to work with a number of strong leaders in the city and First Nations communities, and together these relationships have enabled the Williams Lake RCMP to move forward in creating stronger and safer communities.”

The Williams Lake RCMP detachment service area includes the City of Williams Lake, 150 Mile House, Wildwood, McLeese Lake, Horsefly, Likely, and the First Nations communities of Sugarcane, Toosey, Alkali Lake, Dog Creek, Soda Creek, and Canoe Creek.

Water Act Order rescinded for Chimney Crk Watershed

As of Thursday, July 21, 2011, the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations has rescinded water licence restrictions within the Chimney Creek watershed, thanks to significant rainfall in the area.

On May 16, 2011, the Province temporarily suspended water rights for licences issued after Oct. 6, 1976. The order was invoked to control the amount of water used within the Chimney Creek watershed, which includes Chimney Lake, Felker Lake and Brunson Lake.

Under the Water Act, water licences are regulated by the licence priority date, meaning older licences have priority over newer ones. The priority date of a licence usually reflects the date the application for water rights was received.

Priority rights were also invoked within the Chimney Creek watershed last year. Residents are encouraged to continue taking voluntary conservation measures to help ease pressures on the water supply.

For more information on what the public can do during drought conditions, go to:

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Heated Township of Langley Council Race coming

In this term of local government  - relations between Township Mayor Rick Green and his Councillors has been very acrimonious and he and Township Councillor Kim Richter have been isolated, when it comes to Budget Votes - both in 2009 + 2010 and as a result - Mayor Green announcing in 2010 that he wants a 2nd term and laying out his wish list.  See that blog post here

In the meantime - both of Langley's newspapers (Times/Advance) are full of stories and letters to the editor concerning Rick Green and whether or not he should step down relating to an investigation concerning himself and what Township of Langley Councillors should be doing as it relates to their relationship with Mayor Green

Which gets us to yesterday - Township Councillor Jordan Bateman, filling in for Alise Mills, on the World Today (Weekend) on CKNW with guest host Marcella Bernardo during a segment called "Life on the Right" got a call from clearly a Rick Green supporter challenging Councillor Bateman to his views on local taxation.  It is my view that Councillor Bateman recieved a small taste of what his constituents may deliver come this fall as he and his colleagues and Mayoralty/Councillor candidates for the Township Council go door knocking.  Already there is talk on the Internet about civic slates for the Township election race (slates or civic political parties are common place in places like Burnaby, Surrey, and Vancouver for starters)

Here in Williams Lake - the race for Mayor is starting to hear up with 2 letters to the editor in the Williams Lake Tribune - one in support of current Williams Lake Mayor Kerry Cook and one in support of Mayoralty Candidate and former WL Mayor Scott Nelson

In fact - the Township election may very well turn out to be one of the nasty civic races in all of British Columbia.  I imagine that people like Jordan Bateman and some of his colleagues plus others (who've announced or thinking about a run at Township Council) could very well be discussing this possibility and how that plays into their strategy for either a re-election bid or first timers - an election bid for Township Council

The AC/DC song "Highway to Hell" seems appropriate for the civic election in the Township of Langley, but I do hope that the civic election can settle some personality issues clearly on Township Council and that the next Township Council can move on to issues that need solving and not focus on petty personality issues between members of the Township of Langley Council


Williams Lake gets new Provincial Court Judge effective August 29th

Earlier today - BC Attorney General Barry Penner announced that five (5) new Provincial Court Judges would be appointed to Surrey/South Fraser, Vernon, Williams Lake, and Prince George.  See the full press release here

The Hon. Barry Penner stated:

“I'm confident these qualified individuals will serve the Provincial Court well by contributing their significant legal expertise and experience to B.C.’s judicial system. I congratulate all of the appointees and thank them for taking on the important responsibility of being a Provincial Court judge.

“These five new appointments will help reduce caseload pressures while we continue to work to balance the budget.”

The new Provincial Court Judge for Williams Lake is Marguerite Church effective August 29th.  Ms. Church practices civil and family law with Cundari Seibel LLP in Kamloops, where she is an associate. A B.C. lawyer since 1998, she hears appeals under the Employment Assistance Act and regulations for the provincial Employment & Assistance Appeal Tribunal

Mayor Cook on Jobs...

Over at the Rush - Mayor Cook stated the following with regard to the newly-adopted Industrial Tax Revitalization Bylaw:




Interesting statement from the Mayor - however she still hasn't answered the question of how she reconciles the fact that this Bylaw is good for Economic Development for the North End of Williams Lake and the WL Regional Airport while the City has the highest heavy/light industry tax rates in all of British Columbia?  And why she and her Council intentionally "thumbs their nose" at people like Tom Hoffman and Mark Stevens (local Tolko Managers) who have tried to tell this Council that high tax rates in addtion to this Bylaw will not bring the net new jobs that this Municipal Council is looking for - both at the WL Regional Airport & the north end of Mackenzie Avenue

The next WL Council will have to "rebalance" the tax rates and specifically the heavy and light industry tax rates in order to obtain the maximum benefits from this Industrial Tax Revitalization Bylaw

A Message from your local RCMP Dog Service

Courtesy of Welcome to Williams Lake:

From Corporal Joe St. Amand

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Williams Lake home owners and business owners for allowing the RCMP Police Dog Services to utilize your properties for the last 23 years to train our police dogs.

You may have seen us throughout the years running on tracks on your properties, searching in alleys or backyards, which allows us to keep our police dogs trained in order to serve the community to its fullest in efforts to keep us all safe.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

What a difference a year makes in the Forest Fire Situation

Earlier today - Radha Fisher from the Wildfire Branch - BC Forest Service was interviewed about the forest fire situation which reminded me about where our region was about 1 year ago today.  See that blog post here where things were so grim that Pat Bell (then Forest Minister) announced a total campfire ban except in the Southwest Forest Area (Kootenay Region).  In July of 2010 - the Province had spent hundreds of millions of dollars to fight forest fires throughout BC.  As of today - Ms. Fisher reports that about $30 million has been spent for forest fires in a handful of places in BC but keeping in mind that we still have August to get through and it would only take a few hot days to dry out the ground and make the forest fire situation as bad as what Ontario is going through right now

Today at 1:00pm - the Wildfire Management Branch reports most of BC at a "very low or low" fire risk.  See that map here.  Also - the following bans are in place:

Open Fire - Prohibited in the Coastal, Cariboo, Kamloops and Southeast Fire Centers
Campfire - Permitted in all 6 Fire Centers
Forest Use - Unrestricted in all 6 Fire Centers

See more details on the above here

Just a friendly reminder though - even with the wet weather around - I remind everyone to practice caution while enjoying your camping experience, in both the Cariboo-Chilcotin and in BC


BC Invests in 4-H Young Members

Victoria announces today that it is investing $85,000 in 4-H young members, via a provincial grant.  See the full press release here

With a number of 4-H Clubs' here in the Cariboo-Chilcotin, this money will be received warmly

Victoria invests $8 million for clean energy projects

Victoria announced today that it would invest $8 million from the Innovative Clean Energy (ICE) Fund to fund 12 projects throughout BC

See the full press release here

The Hon. Rich Coleman (Minister of Energy/Mines) stated:

"These twelve new ICE Fund projects bring 475 jobs and almost $79 million in investment to B.C. communities, creating a strong green economy for all British Columbians. For example, the Tsay Keh Dene First Nation is producing heat from wood waste, a clean energy solution for this diesel-based and the EcoSmart Foundation is installing the first B.C. grid-connected solar plant on a brownfield mine site"

One of the 12 ICE Projects being funded locally, at Anahim Lake, is being sponsored by ASG Canada Energy Inc and it is to convert waste biomass to biodiesel and show how communities and industry can use the excess heat and electricity for power.

Season of Censure Motions

In a unprecedent move - not one, not two, not three but four local governments have now either passed or will consider passing "motions of censure"against a member of a municipal council, as follows:

September 13th, 2010 - Township of Langley Council passes a "Motion of Censure" against Township Mayor Rick Green - see here

February 28th, 2011 - Fort St John Council passes a "Motion of Censure" against Fort St John Mayor Bruce Lantz - see here

April 18th, 2011 - City of Quesnel Council passes a "Motion of Censure" against Quesnel Councillor Sushil Thapar - see here

July 25th, 2011 - City of Prince George Council is set to consider a report from PG Mayor Dan Rogers recommending that a "Motion of Censure" be considered against PG City Councillor Brian Skakun at the August 15th meeting of Prince George City Council.  See the Mayor's report here

Also - reports on a possible "Motion of Censure" against PG City Councillor Brian Skakun here

Bob Simpson and MLA Expenses

In yesterday's Times Colonist (Victoria newspaper) - Independent Cariboo-North MLA Bob Simpson the current system of the posting of MLA expenses is so vague that he is working with the Legislative Comptroller and his office staff to post detailed MLA expenses.  See the article here

I publicly congratulate Bob on this initiative and his views on MLA expenses are generally in line on how I feel on the posting of expenses for not only provincial MLA's but also local politicians.  See that blog post here

Anna Dell's Homecoming on Monday

Video and Article Courtesy of Welcome to Williams Lake:

Miss Canada International 2012 Anna Dell is hosting a homecoming celebration at the Stampede Grounds on Monday July 25. She is taking this opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to everyone who has supported and encouraged her on her road to international recognition; sponsors, individuals, the entire community of Williams Lake.

Pat Bell's "Top Ten" for July 22nd (2010-2011 Public Accounts)

1. The province ended the year with a deficit of $309 million, compared to a budgeted deficit of $1,715 million.

2. Taxation revenue increased by $1,095 million compared to 2009/10 reflecting growth across the economy.

3. Corporate income tax increased by $341 million over 2009/10 and property tax increased by $33 million. This was offset by a decrease in personal income tax of $168 million over 2009/10.

4. Natural resource revenue, federal government transfer, and fees and licenses also increased by $1,486 million over the previous year.

5. Program spending increased by $903 million in 2010/11 as the province spent more on health, education and social programs.

6. In 2010/11, the province continued to invest in capital as part of the economic stimulus initiatives undertaken by government to respond to slow growth. The province's net investment to build and upgrade schools, universities, colleges, hospitals, roads and bridges was $2,050 million in 2010/11, $1,685 million in 2009/10, $1,918 million in 2008/09 and $1,937 million in 2007/08. Capital investment is financed through a combination of debt, partnerships with the private sector, cost sharing with partners such as Federal and Municipal governments, and other sources including cash and temporary investments.

7. In calendar year 2010, the provincial economy grew by 4.0% as measured by real GDP. This is greater than the national average rate of 3.3%. The province's ratio of net liabilities to GDP increased by 0.3%.

8. British Columbia continues to maintain a strong credit rating with all three major credit rating agencies. Dominion Bond Rating Service affirmed the province a rating of AA(high) while Standard & Poor's and Moody's Investors Services Inc. affirmed the province a rating of AAA and Aaa respectively, their highest possible ratings.

9. The unemployment rate in BC averaged 7.6% below the National average of 8.0%

10. The ratio of own source revenue to GDP having decreased from a range of 17.6% to 16.0% in 2009/10, own source revenue to GDP has remained relatively stable in 2010/11 ending the year at 15.8%.

Friday, July 22, 2011

BC Liberal TV - July 22nd edition

Friday Wrap Up - July 22nd edition

Hope your Friday was well.  Most local governments are on a break until mid August.  Wells doesn't resume until August 16th, Quesnel until August 15th, Williams Lake until August 9th (Committee of the Whole Meeting) and 100 Mile House meets next Tuesday (July 26th).  Cariboo Regional District Board meets again on August 26th and the 2 School District Boards do not meet until September

Over at Welcome to Williams Lake:

* Rick Hansen Monument to be established at the TDC (Tourism Discovery Center).  See here.  I should clarify, contary to information posted here yesterday, that the City of WL's Manager of Economic Development states that no local taxpayer money is going into this project.  The local Rick Hansen Committee will be looking after raising the necessary funds for this particular project

* Williams Lake City Council, as posted here earlier this week, will spend $25,000 (money coming from 2011 Water Budget) to educate the public on the issue of continuing to put fluoride in the City's Water System - see here.  If the comments I had on this subject on my personal Facebook page (22 comments in 7 hours) are any indication of the general mood of the public - this decision will not be a popular one, going into November's vote

* One local landlord takes exception to WL Council's decision to give 3 readings to Bylaw Amendments to the City's Noise and Nuisance Bylaws - see here

Over at the Rush - Councillor Rathor reports repairs to the Sam Ketchum Memorial Pool are now done and the pool should be operational by Tuesday, August 2nd - see more here

Local Events this weekend:

* Oliver St Market on Saturday from 10am - 3pm
* Racing at Thunder Mountain Speedway (West of Williams Lake on Highway #20) - Time Trials at 5pm and Racing at 6pm
* Lakers' Club "Show and Shine" at Canadian Tire (South Lakeside Drive) on Sunday from 10am - 2pm

Food for Thought:

Earlier this year (Jan 11th, 2011) - the City of WL adopted a new Social Media Policy which called for a Facebook Page (already established in late December of 2010) and a Twitter account (not established) to both be established for the purpose of online communications with the general public at the time that the new City of WL website is brought online.  The date for this was the end of May.  I would suggest that one of the two options be employed by City Staff:

1) Begin using Facebook/Twitter forthwith until the new City website can be established.  One advantage is to immediately communicate with City residents' on emerging or immediate issues that residents' would have an interest in and would appreciate a "conversation" between City Staff and the general public

2) If #1 is unacceptable - the City of WL CAO should then advise Williams Lake Council and the Williams Lake community as to the date when he expects the new City website to be active.  In any event - an update is warranted, in my opinion, given it has been 60 days since he stated the new City website was to be "online" (end of May)

Tomorrow, on the blog - I'll have Pat Bell's latest "Top Ten" (2010-2011 Public Accounts) and on Monday - I'll be reviewing the City's 2009-2011 Budgets

Have a great weekend!!! :)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

"Christmas in July" with Wildwood Fire Department

The Cariboo Regional District’s Wildwood Volunteer Fire Department is supporting the Salvation Army Food Bank with their version of Christmas in July. On Wednesday, July 27, firefighters will be canvassing the Wildwood, Fox Mountain and Pinell Road areas encouraging residents to make a donation of a non-perishable food item for the Food Bank.

Residents who wish to participate are asked to place their donations on their front porches for firefighters to collect. Donations can also be dropped off at the Wildwood Fire Hall, located at 4253 Wildwood Road, from 5 to 9 p.m.

For further information about this event, contact the Wildwood Volunteer Fire Department Chief Bawnie Ward at or call the fire hall at 250-989-0089.

Williams Lake #1 for Crime Severity Overall and Violent/Non-Violent Crime Severity among BC Communities

Earlier today - the Globe and Mail reported, in addition to other print media, that national crime stats are at their lowest point since 1973 and have dropped steadily for the last 20 years - no one knows really why but I'd like to see an in-depth study on this topic, like the United States did a few years back.  You can read the Globe and Mail full article here

At the same time - Stats Canada, a non-partisan federal agency, released the 2010 Crime Severity Stats for communities 10,000 in population or bigger to which you can read the full stats here however one little tidbit for Williams Lake was it was #1 for Overall Crime Severity among surveyed BC Communities and #5 Canada wide.  It was #1 for Violent Crime Severity among, again surveyed BC Communities and #4 Canada wide.  It was #1 for Non-Violent Crime Severity among, again, surveyed BC Communities and #5 Canada wide

For the record - Stats Canada notes the City of Williams Lake was twice the Canadian average for Total (211.6 with Cdn average of 100), Violent (227.3 with Cdn average of 100) and Non Violent Crime Severity (205.6 with Cdn average of 100)

This is certainly not the kind of crime stat news current Williams Lake Mayor Kerry Cook needs going into November's civic vote.  Wonder if she'll ignore this story and use the "good news" crime stats story she promoted earlier this month.  See that story here

Oliver St Project Update #7

A project to replace a 28-metre, 6-inch diameter water line between Glen Arbor and City Hall is expected to be completed today - Thursday, July 21st. That will mark the end of underground work on Oliver Street.

It is expected that the installation of the upgraded traffic signals at 3rd Avenue and Oliver Street will be completed later this week. As with the upgraded traffic lights at 2nd Avenue and Oliver Street, a voice feature informs pedestrians when it is safe to cross the street, and which street is safe to cross. The system is activated by pressing the buttons on the poles at the corners of the intersections. The upgrade also includes efficient LED lights, cameras, and street lights at all four corners.
Curb, gutter, and sidewalk repairs in the downtown core will continue for the next few weeks. It is expected that grinding and paving of Oliver Street from 8th Avenue to Mackenzie Avenue will commence in mid-August.

For more information please contact:

Kevin Goldfuss - Director of Municipal Services
The City of Williams Lake
250 392-1783 or

2010 City of WL Water Report

The City of Williams Lake has just posted its' 2010 Annual Water Report on its' website, as per provincial Drinking Water regulation and legislation

You can find the report here

However, I would note a few items:

1) Information in the report is almost 6 years old including the emergency plan.  One would think that an relevant and up to date emergency plan would be standard practice.  Can we say Walkerton, Ontario?

2) There should be a report from WL City Staff to WL Council annually like Quesnel Council has done, on presenting the Annual Water Report formally.  Such a Staff report could include items like positives of our water system and challenges that the City of WL's water system faces like training, infrastructure, etc.  What should not happen is doing the simple act of placing the Annual Drinking Water Report on a website and calling it satisfactory because I, as one water user/City taxpayer, do not believe it is

Perhaps the next WL City Council can take this matter up and make this change because as it is - I would strongly argue that the City of Williams Lake, like the City of Quesnel, is meeting the intent of the provincial Drinking Water regulation/legislation however unlike the City of Quesnel - it is my personal opinion that the City of WL is not meeting the spirit of the same drinking water regulation/legislation

Thursday News Wrap - July 21st edition

In the Prince George Citizen:
They report that the Ulkatcho Band (Anahim Lake) and the Canoe Creek Indian Band (140 kilometres southwest of Williams Lake) will each receive $40,000 to study the following:

Ulkatcho - Feasibility study for a 5 Megawatt Biomass system
Canoe Creek - Assess/Enable the exploration of clean energy projects

The grants were announced earlier this week from Victoria's First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund.

In your Williams Lake Tribune:

* Fire at the local Recreation Complex - see here
* As part of Victoria's recently announced $10 million dollar health initiative to keep rural ER's open 24/7 - Williams Lake's ER may receive a part of this funding - see here
* Letter writer Doug Wilson expresses his relief that no one was killed in the recent rock slides affecting Highway #20, east of Bella Coola - see here
* On Tuesday, Micheal A. Jones of Williams Lake said that Scott Nelson left a mess when it came to crime for current WL Mayor Kerry Cook to clean up, however Brice O'Neill of Williams Lake in a letter to the editor disputes this , read the letter below:

In response to Michael A. Jones letter to the editor regarding crime in Williams Lake.

I’m sure that former councillors Ed Mead, Judy O’Neill, Jon Wolbers and Paul French, and current and then councillors Surinderpal Rathor and Tom Barr would take issue with you discrediting them and their hard work on crime which the current council inherited.

There is no question that the council you scorn actually laid the groundwork for the decrease in crime that you see today.

In other words, give credit where credit is due.

And then there was the small matter of who was at the helm … you guessed it, Scott Nelson.

Mead led the charge and, under his portfolio, the RCMP began the implementation of the Crime Target Team, hiring of a safer communities coordinator, lobbied for the Prolific Offender program, created a full time municipal drug investigator position, began crime mapping and many more tools which were used to help bring the crime statistics down (these initiatives are noted in the City’s 2001 Corporate Business Plan and Five-year Financial Plan).

And lowering crime stats does not happen overnight. It can take years.

Hurray that the current council continued to carry the torch, but please give credit where credit is due.

Under Mayor Nelson’s leadership and with the hard work and dedication of the council of the day, particularly Mead, the groundwork was laid.

And hopefully it will continue.

Finally - over at the District of Lake Country CAO's blog - Alberto DeFeo discusses water system and the bottled water industry.  See here however WL City Council still uses bottled water at its' meetings including use at Advisory Committee meetings, like the Advisory Planning Commission, for instance and I believe  the time has come to put our collective foot down and say that we are going to lead by example and prohibit the buying of bottled water and show that we believe in our local water system so much that the City will not longer buy bottled water.  WL Council can do that today by passing a Resolution (motion) directing WL City Staff forthwith to no longer buy bottled water for meetings and to make tap water available

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Local Government on Summer Recess

Quesnel, Williams Lake and Wells Councils are now on summer break until mid August, the CRD Board will have its' next meeting on August 26th and the School District Boards in the Cariboo-Chilcotin are on break until school returns in early September

However - 100 Mile Council will have a Council meeting and Public Hearing on July 26th.  You can see the Agendas here. 

Future meetings:

August 9th - WL Council Meeting, in Committee of the Whole
August 9th - 100 Mile Council Meeting
August 15th - Quesnel Council Meeting
August 16th - WL Council Meeting
August 16th - Wells Council Meeting
August 26th - CRD Board Meeting


Quesnel Council HIghlights - July 18th meeting

Latecomer’s, not too late

The recommendations linked to the May Road Latecomer’s Agreement were unanimously passed by Council. The Agreement establishes the charges that will be collected from latecomers who connect to or use the designated services within a 15-year period.

This May, the City was approached by Royal City Charter Coach Lines Ltd. to discuss certain lands and propose funding the establishment of a water main along May Road for the purpose of servicing those lands. The company further requested a Latecomer Agreement be established to help them regain some of their costs should other benefiting parcels wish to connect to the system. Council approved the extended services being apportioned between those lands occupied by Royal City Charter Coach Lines Ltd. and the benefiting lands on the basis of their respective EDU’s (Equivalent Development Units per Parcel).Connection to the extended water service along May Road is optional.

There are no financial implications for the City. The Latecomer Policy allows for full cost recovery.

Notice: Gone Fishing

No excuse, the Go Fish BC! Rod Loan Program is being offered to all locals and visitors alike through visitor centres in Terrace, Prince George, Williams Lake and Quesnel. The program provides free rods, free tackle, free fishing information and even fish, stocked in local lakes. All that participants are required to bring is their sense of adventure!

This program is being offered through a joint effort of the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC, the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, Tourism BC and the Angler’s Atlas.

Topics for UBCM Convention

The Mid-Sized Communities Forum will again form part of the 2011 UBCM Convention in Vancouver. The focus is on issues relevant to mid-sized communities that wouldn’t normally be addressed in the general business of the UBCM Convention. Councillor Cave suggested a topic for discussion would be recycling in the city and Councillor Oakes would like more information on how the community can support the deterrence of grow-ops in the area.

Call for action

Quesnel residents are asking for a call to action by Council on several issues concerning our community. They have asked to be involved and offered to assist in any way. Their concerns included our river walk and the fact that some dog owners do not clean up after their pets, the delayed repair of potholes and the expense of damages to vehicles, the paving of the last section of Anderson Drive, and the situation in some of our parks as far as garbage and glass lying around and vandalism.

Important Dates

July 23 to August 27 - Hands on art at the Quesnel
and District Arts and Recreation Centre
July 29 to August 1 - Arts Wells, Festival of All Things Art
August 6 - Quesnel’s 3rd Annual Amazing Race
August 26 to 28 - Prospectors Car Club Annual Show and Shine

Next Regular Council Meeting:
Monday August 15, 7 p.m.

Next Committee of the Whole Meeting:
Monday August 22, 7 p.m.

Next Delegation Meeting:
Monday August 29, 7 p.m. (if necessary)

Next North Cariboo Joint Planning Committee Meeting:
Tuesday September 13 - 5:30 p.m.

Quesnel/100 Mile News...

In Quesnel:

* Local MLA Bob Simpson sits on bio-mass Committee - see here
* Local MLA Bob Simpson explains why his travel expenses ($49,000) are twice as much as Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett ($23,000) - see here
* 2011 Billy Barker Days successful - see here
* Letter writer Lloyd Atkins of Vernon has a cheeky look at polls and the BC Liberal Party - see here

In 100 Mile House:

* BC Cattlemen Association receives $1.35 million this year as part of a 6 year, $10 million dollar livestock fencing project - see here
* Ruth Lake to receive high-speed internet - see here
* Tourism in South Cariboo receives $23,000 for local marketing and development projects - see here
* Post office returns to Canim Lake Store....? See more here
* Rain didn't dampen spirits for recent Show and Shine event - see here
* Letter writer Joe Sawchuk of Duncan says BC Teachers contract demands are excessive and they need a lesson in BC Economics - see here

Finally - A Communication Strategy in regard to the upcoming referendum on whether or not the City of Williams Lake should continue to put flouride in the City's water system splits Williams Lake Council - see the story here

Mayor Cook and "Blank Cheque"

At last night's WL Council meeting - Mayor Cook asked for and received permission for travel expenses to be covered for a meeting with Pat Bell (Minister of Jobs and Tourism on August 8th with regard to CCBAC (Cariboo-Chilcotin Beetle Action Coalition). 

She also noted that CCBAC is covering most of her expenses and that the CCBAC with Minister Bell is open to CCBAC members which caused Councillor Rathor to ask what the City might have to cover for costs that CCBAC might not cover.  She didn't provide a clear answer.  As Council needs precise information when approving or rejecting these kinds of travel or conference requests - I'd like to see the model used by the CRD Board which is when these requests come forward - Staff identify if sufficient money exists in the member of Council's travel budget and if it does not, then Council can make the appropriate decision to either charge the travel expense to another Member of Council's account or to decline approve the travel or conference expense.  What Council should not do is give a member of Council or Staff "a blank cheque".  Requests for travel or conferences should be coming forward with precise information and not the usual "Trust me" routine as I think local taxpayers' have  been burned too many times with City projects where government says a project is for this much and will not cost us a penny more and we all find out later how much over it has gone

I was pleased to see Councillor Rathor asking these questions and continuing to do his due diligence as the most senior member of Williams Lake's Municipal Council


Various City of WL Press Releases - July 20th

Editor's Note - Although there was already money allocated for a new Rick Hansen sign earlier this year and in light of another temporary shutdown (rumoured) at the old Lignum's mill (Tolko's Lakeview Division) because of wet conditions in the bush, I'm wondering maybe if this plan should be re-evaluated for appropriateness.  I remember the public wasn't happy about the statutues going up around Williams Lake in 2007-2008, due to cost and the then-state of the local economy

1) City Council adopts new criteria for boulevard parking

At its regular meeting Tuesday evening, Williams Lake City Council adopted Traffic Control Amendment Bylaw No. 2139, which revises the criteria for boulevard parking in residential zones of the city.

The City held public consultation sessions on the bylaw in the spring of 2011, and incorporated public feedback in the revised criteria, which are as follows:

1. Parking spot must be delineated (must have a clear border)
2. Parking spot must be surfaced either by paving (preferred), crush, or with grindings (available from the City at a low cost)
3. Parking spot must be connected to driveway
4. Homeowner can request a “curb drop” however this cost will be borne by the homeowner
5. Plans for parking spots must be approved by the General Manager of Planning and Operations (GMPO) BEFORE construction takes place
6. Parking spot must be clearly marked in the winter months for easy identification by snow removal crews
7. All passenger vehicles parked within boulevard parking spots must be licensed and insured
8. No recreational vehicles, trailers, or storage of any kind
9. Vehicle must not exceed size of allotted area both in width and length
10. Deadline for markers: October 31 of any given year to correspond with beginning of snow removal season.

The Bylaw Department will be actively enforcing these new criteria in the coming months.
Questions about the revised boulevard parking criteria can be directed to General Manager of Planning and Operation, via the City’s Communications Coordinator at 250-398-8488 or via email at

2) Council adopts Industrial Tax Revitalization Program

At its regular meeting Tuesday evening, City Council adopted an Industrial Revitalization Tax Exemption Program, with the aim of providing another tool to attract investment in the community and offer incentives to current industries to upgrade their facilities.

The program is unique in that it links the amount of tax exemption to three strategic goals: capital investment, job creation, and green building initiatives.

The program provides three classes of tax exemption for industrial properties in the north end of Williams Lake and at the Williams Lake Regional Airport. Tax reductions are offered through three classes of five year declining exemption terms; with higher scoring developments receiving higher tax exemptions. The City will realize new tax revenues from each property participating in the program in the second year of their exemption term and beyond.

“Increased revenue from additional industrial investment may help us reduce tax rates for all properties in the industrial rate class,” says Mayor Kerry Cook. “That is something this council has promised to address, and we will continue to work to foster a positive atmosphere for business and industrial development in Williams Lake.”

For more information, please contact:

Alan Madrigga
Economic Development Manager
Ph: 250-392-1764 or

3) Rick Hansen Highway #97 South Sign to be replaced with a Monument

The City of Williams Lake has become aware of public concern with the condition of the Rick Hansen sign at the Welcome to Williams Lake on Highway 97 South.

The City is in the process of developing a new commemoration feature for Rick Hansen that will coincide with the 25th Anniversary of the Man in Motion Tour, which will be routed through Williams Lake and include an End of Day celebration in March 2012.

The City has commissioned Three Dimensional Services Inc. to design a new Rick Hansen Man in Motion Celebration Monument at the Tourism Discovery Centre to replace the existing sign. The monument will be erected well before the arrival of the Rick Hansen 25th Anniversary Relay. The design will be approved by Council before construction begins.

The City is looking to remove the sign due to its poor condition. It will not be replaced, as the pullout may eventually be eliminated to accommodate major road reconstruction in that area in the future.
The City is still looking for members to join the Rick Hansen Anniversary Relay Celebration Committee. Contact Deb Radolla at 250-392-1788 or if you are interested in serving on the committee.

4) Williams Lake Council explores Dangerous Weapons Bylaw

At its regular meeting Tuesday evening, Williams Lake City Council directed staff to investigate and develop a Dangerous Weapons Bylaw that would control the sale of bear spray and prohibit the sale of machetes and bladed weapons intended for purposes other than dressing or preparing food. This comes after a request from the Williams Lake RCMP.

Council also directed staff to send letters to those retailers who currently sell such items requesting their cooperation in exercising discretion when selling them. City staff will investigate examples from other municipalities and consult with the RCMP and the City’s legal counsel in the preparation of a draft bylaw for consideration by Council.

Increasingly, violent incidents in the city involve the use of machetes and bear spray and the Williams Lake RCMP are routinely finding these weapons being carried by criminals as a weapon of choice. The possession of these items as weapons presents a risk to law enforcement officers and those who may become involved in altercations with these individuals.

“Council is committed to exploring ways to add additional tools in our pursuit of crime reduction,” says Mayor Kerry Cook. “There is no reason for residents to be in possession these weapons in our City, unless pursuing outdoor or wilderness pursuits.

“The aim of the bylaw is to better control the availability of these weapons, not to interfere with City businesses. We can all take steps to reduce the number of weapons in our city, and to reduce violent crime as well.”