Wednesday, August 31, 2011

CRD Electoral Area Director Nomination Package Now Available

From the Cariboo Regional District:

Along with all other local governments in the Province of BC, the Cariboo Regional District (CRD) will be conducting General Elections on Saturday, November 19, 2011. 

The upcoming elections will identify twelve Electoral Area Directors for a three-year term of office, commencing in early December 2011.

The CRD nomination packages are now available in all three CRD offices for those who are interested in running for office. Potential candidates must complete the nomination forms and return them to the Chief or Deputy Chief Election Officer at the CRD office in Williams Lake between 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, October 4, 2011 and 4:00 p.m. on Friday, October 14, 2011 to participate in the 2011 elections.

In order to qualify to run for office, a person must be a Canadian Citizen, be at least 18 years old on Election Day, and have lived in BC for at least the last six (6) months. An individual is not eligible if they are disqualified by the Local Government Act or any other enactment from voting in an election in British Columbia or from being nominated for, being elected to, or holding office.

For further information, please visit the CRD online at or contact the Chief Election Officer, Alice Johnston or Deputy Chief Election Officer, Rick Hodgson at 250-392-3351 or toll free at 1-800-665-1636.

What is Adrian Dix trying to hide?

From the BC Government Caucus:

Adrian Dix and the NDP are trying once again to rewrite history in a desperate attempt to fool British Columbians into believing the 1990s NDP government was actually a strong economic performer.

“It’s strange that Adrian Dix wants to run on his record as architect of the disastrous 1990s NDP economic policy, but we’re happy to oblige by showing what Adrian Dix is trying to hide from British Columbians,” says Chilliwack MLA John Les.

NDP claim:
• Under the B.C. Liberals, economic growth has been weaker (just 2.4 per cent on average) than in the 1990s (3.0 per cent).

What Adrian Dix is trying to hide:
• It’s about context! GDP per capita in B.C. increased by 8.7% under the 1991-2001 NDP. Unfortunately, they didn’t mention that across Canada in those same years, the growth was 25.3% - which means B.C. under the NDP did only about a third as well as the rest of the country.
• Between 2001-2009 under the BC Liberals, GDP per capita grew by 11% - double the national average.
• Even the independent, non-partisan BC Stats described B.C. “an under-performer in Confederation during the 1990s.” (BC Stats Infoline, Issue 02-04, pg. 3).

NDP claim:

• Under the Liberals, job growth has also been slower - just 1.5 per cent growth per year on average, compared with 2.2 per cent in the 1990s.

What Adrian Dix is trying to hide:
• B.C. was last in job growth in Canada from 1991 to 2001. During this time, only 257,800 jobs were created.
• Despite the worst economic recession in over 30 years, the BC Liberals created more than 380,000 jobs, - 47.4 per cent more than during the 1990s.

NDP claim:
• Under the Liberals, British Columbia’s business sector investment has lagged well behind the Canadian average. This has resulted in the second-lowest record in the country on productivity growth. The gross domestic product per hour worked has increased by only 0.7 per cent on average under the B.C. Liberals.

What Adrian Dix is trying to hide:
• Private sector investment in the 1990s was crippled under the policies of Adrian Dix and the NDP. Capital investment from 1992-2000 grew at an average of only 2.8% annually. Under the BC Liberals, it has grown at an average of 7.5% - almost three times as fast.
• “British Columbia’s anaemic economic performance in 1998 was largely attributable to a decline in business sector investment. Overall, business spending on structures and equipment was down 7.8%, marking the third time in the last four years that it has fallen.” (BC Stats Infoline, Issue:00-04, pg. 2)

“When Adrian Dix and the NDP point to their economic record in the 1990s, they only show you a small part of the whole,” says Les. “By almost any measure, the NDP record on jobs and the economy was dismal.

“We know that Adrian Dix was the architect of those failed economic policies of the 1990s, and we now know that the only plan they have is to take us back there again. Higher personal income taxes and higher job-killing business taxes are both the past and the future of the NDP.

“Adrian Dix is trying to hide that fact, but British Columbians will not be fooled.”

Two More Press Release from the City of WL

From the City of Williams Lake:
Editor's Note - I'm not personally thrilled that the City put out press release #1 prior to WL Council discussing the Parks, Trails and Outdoor Master Plan with the Central Cariboo Joint Committee at the September 14th meeting.  My issue is optics and the fact that you shouldn't praise something before discussing it with your CRD Partners, especially when they contributed some money towards this Plan
1) WL Council adopts Parks, Trails, and Outdoor Master Plan

At its regular meeting August 30, City Council adopted the Parks, Trails, and Outdoor Recreation Master Plan- Imagine Our Parks 2020, which offers a road map for planning, developing, protecting, enhancing and maintaining Williams Lake’s recreation resources – both present and future. The Plan is a living document that provides the City of Williams Lake and the Central Cariboo Joint Committee with direction and guidance in the management of parks, public use of these facilities, parks infrastructure and community investment in these areas over the next ten years and beyond. A series of public engagement sessions and public data gathering techniques, personal consultations with stakeholders and staff, inventory assessments, best practices, gap analysis, trend analysis and data analysis were used to develop the plan. The preparation of the Master Plan has relied heavily on the input and participation of many individuals and organizations, residing in the City and in the surrounding Cariboo Regional District. In addition, the Official Community Plan provided important data in the formation of the Parks, Trails, and Outdoor Recreation Master Plan. The plan lays out a large number of concepts and initiatives, priorities and strategies, as well as guidelines and classifications that when adopted will help the City of Williams Lake manage, develop and grow its parks, trails and outdoor recreation opportunities. The priorities and strategies outlined within it will become the guide for all future for capital and operational planning in the recreation area. “Now that Council has adopted the Plan, staff will begin work with Council, partners such as the Cariboo Regional District, and community stakeholders to start prioritizing projects and bring them forward for discussion and at budget deliberations,” says Director of Community Services Geoff Paynton. “Our beautiful parks and our world-class recreation opportunities are part of what makes Williams Lake great,” says Mayor Kerry Cook. “This plan will set a direction to further enhance our park space and outdoor recreation for residents and visitors alike.”

2) WL Council adopts Internal Control Policy for Financial Management

At its regular meeting August 30, City Council adopted an internal control policy to set responsibilities with respect to financial management governance and capabilities. The policy arises from a recommendation earlier this year to ensure City financial management provides transparency and accountability for how the City spends public funds. While City management have always had the responsibility to ensure that internal controls are regularly reviewed in the context of risk, ensuring that those internal controls are balanced against and proportional to the risks which they mitigate, this policy will set responsibilities with respect to financial management governance and capabilities.

Under the policy:

• Any increase to the overall annual personnel budget will be brought to Council for approval.
• Council shall approve any new management/ union excluded positions and any increases to management/union excluded salaries other than those provided for in the Management Compensation Policy.
• Any material item that has a significant financial impact of over 10% of the budget or $50,000 whichever is lower will be the threshold for reporting variances.
• Council will be provided with budget status reports at the end of the second and third quarters with explanations for any revenue or expense variance over 10% and actions that will be taken to address the variance in relation to the overall Departmental or Global budget.
• Council will be advised as soon as practical of any circumstance, situation or occurrence that would affect revenues or expenses in excess of 10% of the approved budget.

“While City staff have always followed best practices to ensure prudent use of public funds and their proper reporting, this policy sets a clear direction,” says Mayor Kerry Cook. “This Council has always committed to be transparent and accountable in all of the Council’s decisions and in City operations, and this policy cements that commitment as part of the City’s day-to-day operations.”

PG City Council to fight one of its' own in Supreme Court

See the video of the PG City Council Special Meeting on this here

From Opinion

In a special meeting that lasted less than 12 minutes, City Council for the City of Prince George has voted to postpone it’s planned meeting on September 14th (that would have dealt with the possible censure and sanctions against Councillor Brian Skakun) until after the Court has had an opportunity to hear the petition that has been filed by Skakun’s Lawyer.

The possible censure and sanctions are in response to Councillor Skakun’s admission that he released a confidential document. He was found guilty of breaching the Freedom of information and Protection of Privacy Act and fined $750 dollars.

He is appealing that ruling. Today's meeting, held over the lunch hour, Council, ( Mayor Dan Rogers and City Councillors Garth Frizzell, Dave Wilbur, Don Bassermann, Sheri Green, Cameron Stolz and Murry Krause) voted to oppose the request for orders outlined in the petition. Councillor Brian Skakun was not in attendance, nor was Councillor Deborah Munoz.

Councillor Sheri Green said she was disappointed this matter is dragging on, “Of course I respect the Court’s process and we need to follow that “ but she questioned whether this was a tactic designed to carry over into the upcoming election campaign “I think frankly this is a waste of the Court’s time, and I would like to get on with the business of the City, and this is a delay, I don’t know if it’s a tactic, but certainly it’s going to drag us through the election season which perhaps is the goal.” It has been two years since Councillor Skakun was charged with breaching the Act, and three years since the confidential document in question was released to the CBC and published on their website.

Councillor Cameron Stolz commented that there has been a lot of time and effort spent on this issue and the actual sanctions proposed are no more than a slap on the wrist. “My concern is that we’ve spent a lot of effort time and energy on this, something that is, to be very perfectly candid, a minor slap on the wrist.” He added the censure motion would not prevent Councillor Skakun from taking part in any closed meetings of Council, nor would it restrict his access as a Councillor from being able to sit in Council Chambers, “ It will not fringe upon the duties he was elected to do. It is simply Council saying his actions , we think , were inappropriate and there are some consequences for that.”

In the event the Court can hear the petition and the City’s response soon, that would then set Council back to the drawing board for holding a special meeting to set a date for the censure and sanction hearing. Also at issue, is the court’s jurisdiction on how a municipal government conducts its business. The City believes the Court will rule that it has no jurisdiction in this matter, thereby ruling in the City’s favour. While there have been other communities in B.C. which have censured members of Council, there is no information to suggest those matters were put before the courts.

Noise/Nuisance Amendment Bylaws adopted by WL Council

From the City of Williams Lake:

At its regular meeting August 30, City Council adopted Bylaws No. 2143 and 2144 to amend Nuisance Abatement and Noise Control Bylaws.

The amended bylaws will hold property owners, regardless of being rental or owner occupied, responsible for activities that occur on their properties that “substantially and unreasonably interfere” with another person’s ability to enjoy their property or “activities which cause injury to health, comfort or convenience of an occupier of a real property.

Two or more excessive nuisance infractions in a 24-hour period or in a one-year period will lead to a bill for a $250 fee. After public consultation, it was determined that one rental unit in an apartment building or complex will be treated as a separate residence for the purposes of the bylaws.

“These amendments provide another tool to reduce noise and nuisance complaints that the Williams Lake RCMP must attend,” says Mayor Kerry Cook. “We want to protect the right of all residents to safety, peace, and enjoyment of their neighbourhoods.”

For more information, please contact:

Geoff Goodall - GM of Planning and Operations
The City of Williams Lake
Ph: 250-392-1766 or

WL Council awards South Lakeside Engineering Contract...

From the City of Williams Lake:

At its regular meeting August 30, City Council awarded the design work for the widening of South Lakeside Drive from Hodgson Road to Pioneer Drive to TRUE Consulting Group.

The widening of South Lakeside Drive has been identified as an important improvement to the City’s transportation network, and engineering design is included in the 2011 budget in order for construction in 2012.

The proposal includes provisions for extending the existing taper lane from its current location near Hodgson Road to Pioneer Drive, and includes the addition of a mixed use pedestrian/bike path along the north side of South Lakeside Drive from Hodgson Road to Pioneer Drive. The mixed use path, which will be separated from South Lakeside Drive, will provide an important bike/pedestrian link to commercial and residential areas along South Lakeside Drive.

The award to TRUE Consulting Group is for $19,000, within the City’s budget of $20,000.

“This is an important early step in the process of improving South Lakeside Drive,” says Mayor Kerry Cook. “The community has identified this road as a priority, and we expect to begin work next year.”

For more information, please contact:

Geoff Goodall - GM of Planning and Operations
The City of Williams Lake
Ph: 250-392-1766 or

Pat Bell's "Top Ten" for August 31st

1. PST will be restored at 7%
2. Target date is March 31, 2012
3. Permanent exemptions that existed as of June 30, 2010 will return.
4. We may try and make some administrative improvements
5. $230 HST low‐income credit replaced with $75 PST credit
6. The Province will work with the federal government to develop HST transition rules and to make any necessary changes to systems and processes.
7. The provincial government will begin discussions with the federal government about exiting the Comprehensive Integrated Tax Coordination Agreement (CITCA) including the return of the funding received for adopting the HST. Provincial Legislation and Transitional Rules:
8. The provincial government will develop legislation and regulations necessary to re-implement the PST in B.C. and may make some administrative changes to streamline and improve the PST.
9. Provincial PST transition rules to mirror federal HST transition rules will be developed.
10. The provincial government will develop other legislation and administrative programs necessary to support the full reimplementation of the PST (e.g. hotel room tax, etc). Provincial Systems Development:
11. The Province will develop and establish appropriate reporting, data gathering, billing, remittance/collection, audit, assessment and appeal processes, and supporting computer systems to properly administer the PST and other related taxes (e.g. hotel room tax, etc.) in B.C.
12. The Province will re-establish its capacity to administer the tax in the areas of registration and close of business, field and desk audit, appeals, rulings, provincial tax information phone lines, billings and remittances, collections and refunds. This will include staffing, facilities and equipment, and staff training to administer the PST and related taxes. This also includes developing appropriate administrative reporting forms and other information and communications material required to support the transition.
13. The provincial government will register approximately 100,000 businesses as tax collectors before the PST is re-implemented and provide information and training on the tax application, collection, compliance and reporting rules related to the PST. By the time the PST is re-implemented, there will be an estimated 30,000 new businesses in B.C. with no PST experience. These businesses will need to be registered and provided with detailed information and training to enable them to comply with the tax law.
14. Businesses will need to change their own electronic and manual systems and processes to assess, collect, report and remit the PST and other related taxes to the provincial government.
15. The provincial government will consult with key administration stakeholders once provincial transition rules are completed. The Province relies on partner agencies to help ensure efficient tax collection, reporting and compliance. These agencies will need to make a number of systems and process changes, as well as receive information and training to help complete the PST transition.

Mid-Week News Wrap - August 31st edition

In Quesnel:

* Cariboo-North MLA Bob Simpson weighs in on HST Rejection - see here
* Letter writer Susan Maile laments about the HST Rejection and what it could mean for basic services like health and education - see here

In 100 Mile:

* CRD accepting applications for 2012 Grant-in-Aides until September 30th- see here
* District of 100 Mile House advises local residents on sewer system flush from August 29th - Sept 2nd - see here
* Local editorial on HST Rejection - see here

In Williams Lake:

* Audrey MacLise says that MSP Premiums should not be charged to seniors - see here
* According to the WL Seniors' Advisory Council website (see here)- their next "Members' meeting" - will be on Wednesday, September 21st at 1:00pm in the WL Public Library Meeting Room
* Williams Lake Independent Community TV does a really good story on the outcome of the HST and an interview with CRD Chair Al Richmond on the proposed Municipal Auditor-General - see here
* Dog and Suds Restaurant gets "approval-in-principle" from WL City Council - see here
* Prosperity Mines revised application applauded at WL City Council's meeting last night - see here
* Donna Barnett goes over a "Day in the Life of the Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA" - see here
* Diana French (Tribune columnist) reviews the rejection of the HST and how it is was good, overall, for average folks exercising their democratic rights - see here

* 3 Videos - upcoming public consultation meetings on new CRD Solid Waste Management Plan, Municipal Auditor-General and proposed "Code of Conduct"for CRD Directors':

Bourdon v Rathor re: Fire Hall Budget Overrun & New Internal Control Policy

At last night's WL Council meeting - Council approved a Committee of the Whole recommendation which saw Council adopt a new Internal Finance Control Policy (see that here), but before it was adopted, Councillors Geoff Bourdon and Surinderpal Rathor decided to re-open a "can of worms" called the "Fire Hall Budget Overrun" - see the 2:20 video below between Councillors Bourdon and Rathor, with slight interjections at the end between Councillor Tom Barr and Mayor Kerry Cook

I'll let each blog reader decide for themselves who was in the right and who was wrong in their statements.  I suspect that the Fire Hall Budget Overrun will be one of many issues that will be debated in public prior to the public deciding on who will form the 2011-2014 Williams Lake Municipal Council

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

WL Council Highlights - August 30th meeting


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

Staff Present:

Pat Higgins – Director of Finance/Acting CAO
Cindy Bouchard - Manager of Legislative Services
Chris Hutton – Planning Technician
Jeff Bernardy – Engineering Technician
Anne Burill – Manager of Social Development
Geoff Paynton – Director of Community Services
Ken MacInnis – Communications Coordinator
Tom Chung – IT Manager

Meeting called to order at 6:00pm
Minutes of July 19th WL Council meeting adopted


1) Council received a report from the City’s CAO with an attached letter from Madeleine Maley (Acting Regional Executive Director for Southern Area – Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Ops) re: Joint Invitation to City of WL/WL Indian Band for a Community Forest License – 40,000 cubic metres

2) Council received a revised schedule of Council Committee appointments, in light of the resignation of former WL City Councillor Natalie Hebert

3) Council received the 2011 – 6 month Interim Financial Statement for the period ending June 30th, 2011

4) After receiving no public comments – Council approved Development Permit #3-2011 (Paul Sangha – Best Western Hotel)

5) Council gave 2nd Reading to an amended Zoning Amendment Bylaw #2133 (Regulating Shipping Containers)

6) Council approved the extension of sanitary sewer from Eagle Crescent to accommodate future Woodland Drive improvements at a total cost of $36,000. Council also authorized entering into a cost-sharing agreement with Pinetree Developments for a portion of the sanitary system, the City's share being $7,250.

7) Council awarded South Lakeside Drive Widening engineering design to TRUE Consulting Group for the amount of approximately $19,000

8) Council received applications for Development Permit #5-2011 and Development Variance Permit #7-2011 (Dog and Suds’ Restaurant) and referred them to the Advisory Planning Commission for consideration. This matter will be considered next by WL Council at its’ September 13th, 2011 meeting

9) Council gave 1st, 2nd and 3rd Reading to Sign Amendment Bylaw No. 2145 (Accommodation of Parapets/Parapet Wall)

10) Council ratified the following email polls:

a) Approval for Mural on Central Cariboo Arts Centre Building Wall facing Borland St
b) Approval to apply to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation and the Real Estate Foundation of BC for a grant to complete a housing need and demand study for Williams Lake and surrounding area

11) Council approved a change to the Heritage Committee Terms of Reference to allow for the appointment of seven members of the community

12) Council awarded a three (3) year lease to operate the food concession at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex to Karen's Place Holdings

13) Council awarded a five (5) year contract to Blackstock Ventures Ltd. to furnish, install and maintain four (4) vending machines for the bid price of 0% commission

14) Council adopted Bylaws #2143/2144 (Noise and Nuisance Amendment Bylaws)

15) The following Committee of the Whole recommendations were adopted:

a) Parks, Trails and Outdoor Recreation Master Plan completed by Stantec Consultants was adopted and the Master Plan was referred to the Central Cariboo/City of Williams Lake Joint Committee for their information
b) A Policy regarding Internal Control Over Financial Management and Financial Reporting was approved
c) Council received the draft Permissive Tax Exemption Policy and Staff were asked to organize public consultation with the current recipients of permissive tax exemptions
d) A Report on the role and function of social planning for the City of Williams Lake was received and Staff were directed to create a Social Development Strategy with input from the community regarding activities and priorities.
e) A letter from the Royal Canadian Legion dated June 16, 2011 regarding a request for an increase in their permissive tax exemption be received and was referred to the 2012 budget process
f) Council approved the design for a new Rick Hansen monument to be located at the Tourism Discovery Centre, and Staff were asked to approach the community for donation

16) Council proclaimed the following:
a) September 15th as “National Family Dinner Night”. Staff were also asked to provide a letter of support for this community based initiative
b) September 26th to October 1st – Celebrate Life Week
c) November 13th to 20th – Restorative Justice Week

17) Council received the “Council Information Package” dated August 30th as follows:

a) June 26, 2011 – Letter from British Columbia Old Age Pensioners' Organization re MSP Premiums for Seniors - (note - Mayor Cook indicates that this item will come forward for debate at the September 13th WL Council meeting)
b) June 30, 2011 - Letter from District of West Kelowna to Premier Clark
c) July 20, 2011 - Letter from BC Hydro re UBCM Convention (meeting requests)
d) July 25, 2011 - Letter from Cariboo Chilcotin Aboriginal Training Employment Centre
e) July 25, 2011 - Letter re Gas Tax Agreement Community Works Fund Payment
f) July 27, 2011 - Letter from WL Central Business Improvement Area re WLCBIA President Resignation
g) August 4, 2011 - UBCM Executive Release
h) August 4, 2011 - Spanish Mountain Gold - Update on Environmental Assessment, Permit Progress and Project Scope
i) August 4, 2011 - UBCM Release re Survey Results on the Public Health Act & Relationships between Local Governments & Health Authorities
j) August 22, 2011 - CRD Solid Waste Management Plan
k) August 26, 2011 - Release from Taseko Mines re Prosperity Project
l) No Date - Letter from Ministry of Health re Creating an Age-Friendly Business in BC

Meeting adjourned at 7:27pm and reconvened In-Camera (Section 90(1)(b) of the Community Charter)

Quesnel appoints new Director of Public Works & Engineering

From the City of Quesnel:

Quesnel City Council has named Ken Coombs as the City of Quesnel's Director of Public Works and Engineering.

Coombs has been the acting director since October 2010, and over the years has regularly filled in as the director when required. He has been with the City as deputy works superintendent since 1991, and previously worked in the construction industry in various supervisory capacities.

Coombs' breadth of experience, training, and education as well as his knowledge of the City's infrastructure are assets the City will benefit greatly from in the years ahead.

D-Day for PG City Councillor Brian Skakun Wednesday

Tomorrow, PG City Councillor Brian Skakun or his representative, will face Prince George City Council and debate whether he (Skakun) should be formally reprimanded or censured by his PG City Council colleagues at 12:15pm Wednesday.  See a story from the Prince George Citizen here

Coincidentally - you can watch the proceedings live tomorrow - click here

Update - PG Mayor Dan Rogers will ask his Council to delay consideration of a censure motion against Councillor Brian Skakun until after the BC Supreme Court rules on an injunction from PG City Councillor Brian Skakun - see Mayor Dan Rogers report here.  See more from here

Local Election Page on City of WL's website

On Friday - I noted that the City of Williams Lake, unlike other municipal governments, did not yet have pertinent information about the upcoming civic election this November.  See that blog post here

On Monday - the City of Williams Lake put a link on its' main web page, in regards to the upcoming local government election, which you can find here.  Interesting set of coincidences though - on Friday, no information on the local gov't election and I blog on it and Monday - all of a sudden, it is there.  Just like when I announced, earlier this year, that the City was not getting a provincial grant to move the Station House Gallery, and then hours later - the City formally announces the same.  Coincidence.....?  You be the judge....

The City has also pertinent information about time commitment, relevant provincial legislation and a link to the Local Government Department - Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development on local government election information, which I strongly encourage anyone running in this November's election (City of Williams Lake) to review this information prior to submitting your nomination papers

However - I was disappointed to read that the City of Williams Lake reports that in the 2008 Local Election - the overall participation rate in that civic election was 44.7% of the City's local electors, when a report authored by the then Chief Election Officer (Ms. Sue Moxey) reported that the actual participation rate was in fact 36.6%Read her report here.  I hope that the City will want to correct that factual error ASAP


Monday, August 29, 2011

Kerry Cook NOT a fiscally responsible Mayor

At the July 19th, 2011 WL Council Meeting, the following Resolution was adopted:

Moved by Councillor Zacharias
Seconded by Councillor Bourdon

That pursuant to the report of the Executive Assistant dated July 12, 2011, Council approve travel for Mayor Kerry Cook to meet with Minister Pat Bell in Prince George on Monday, August 8, 2011

Since then - I have learned that CCBAC (Cariboo-Chilcotin Beetle Action Coalition) paid Mayor Cook's travel expenses and City of Williams Lake taxpayers, on top, paid Ms. Cook an additional $120 for attendance at this meeting, as per Council Policy #193 which says:

“Council members shall receive $120.00 per day for attendance at conferences, conventions and meetings, including travel days, as authorized by Council Resolution"

Meanwhile - Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett, a former CCBAC Chair herself, attended this meeting and returned to her home in 100 Mile House in the same day and I'm informed that she did not charge to CCBAC travel expenses previously, when Ms. Barnett was the CCBAC Chair of the day

My Question - why is Kerry Cook, despite proclaiming herself as a fiscally responsible Mayor in the last civic election in the fall of 2008, trying to stick it to City of Williams Lake taxpayers?

For this CCBAC meeting in PG, why didn't she consider using videoconferencing (a free option I might add) or via telephone...?  Especially considering that sawmill workers at both Tolko - Soda Creek and Lakeside were off work earlier this summer

Finally - Kerry Cook needs to come clean NOW and say how much, in total, this trip to PG for CCBAC business cost Williams Lake taxpayers, in total (CCBAC + City of WL) (note - CCBAC just received $3 million from Victoria - your tax dollars)

Update - A rough estimate puts Mayor Cook's CCBAC trip to Prince George consisting of $120 + CCBAC paying for mileage only (.52 cents per kilometre) (no word if Mayor Cook stayed overnight in PG as Donna Barnett returned to 100 Mile once the meeting concluded) totaling $375.84.  A huge chunk of that money, almost the entire amount, could have been saved, if videoconferencing or teleconferencing was used instead


Double Standard of Customer Service at WL City Hall??

Customer Service, as defined by Wikipedia, is:

"the provision of service to customers before, during and after a purchase"

However, there has been examples, that I've been made aware of, where the City of Williams Lake has, in my opinion, demonstrated a double-standard of customer service to the public, when it either comes to information being requested and the City asking what the information will be used for or no response over a period of days or when a certain blogger expresses his personal opinion on City Staffing (based on publicly available information) and the City of WL CAO responding in hours

Examples of where residents' putting in a request(s) for information, where the City has asked what the information is going to be used or taken days ( 5 days or more in some cases) to respond include:

1) Status of Long-Term Debt
2) Relationship between Registration Fees + New False Alarm Bylaw

In these cases - the City has no right to ask what a resident, etc what they plan to do with the information if the information is publicly available or simply not responding at all.  Simply put - if the information that is being asked for is not contrary to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, then the information should be released as quickly as it can be arranged, subject to any applicable photocopy fees for a paper copy of the information being requested.  In the case of not responding at all - this is not acceptable at all.  When the City of Williams Lake receives a request for information, then it should, at a minimum, acknowledge receipt of the request and advise when a decision, on whether or not the request for information can be complied with, will be rendered. 

I should note that whenever I've asked for information - I've personally not had an issue.  The latest example of this is request of Gaming Fund expenditure information for the 2009-2011 Fiscal Years.  Information was requested, late on a Thursday, and a respond was received on a Monday (roughly 24 hours to respond, which is acceptable, in my mind, and is a example of how a request for information should be treated)

In conclusion - when a request for information is received (at least, in my opinion):

1) Acknowledge receipt of the request for information, not later than 24 hours after receipt (or in cases of holidays, a response acknowledging receipt be provided on the 1st business day after a 24 hour period between submission for information and when the request is received by WL City Staff, although if a response can be provided sooner, then that would be better for the public perception that WL City Staff do go out of their way to assist the public)
2) If the information can not be provided, explain why and what mechanisms are available for appeal
3) If the information can be provided - do not ask what the information will be used for but simply provide it.  Extend an offer if they require additional information or clarification, to contact them (WL City Staff) again.  This is what CRD (Cariboo Regional District) Staff do whenever I put in for information.

Given that WL City Staff (or so I'm told) read my blog on a daily or bi-weekly basis - I hope that they'll heed my advice and agree to implement my suggestions ASAP.


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Standard and Poors - BC Gov't retains Triple-A Credit Rating

Editor's Note - This is good news for the BC Government, especially with BC returning to the former taxation regrime (old PST/GST) by March of 2013

From the Province of BC:

Standard & Poor’s Rating Services has confirmed the Province’s AAA credit rating will continue after British Columbians voted to bring back the PST plus GST tax system, Finance Minister Kevin Falcon announced today.

Standard & Poor’s noted the Province has the solid revenue and expenditure flexibility necessary to meet its deficit targets and a moderate tax-supported debt burden.

They added that the challenges facing British Columbia are the need to address the loss in revenue, initial administrative costs of transitioning back to a PST plus GST tax system and the likelihood the Province will be required to repay $1.6 billion in HST transitional funding provided by the federal government.

Minister of Finance Kevin Falcon goes on to say —

“I am very pleased Standard & Poor’s has confirmed our AAA credit rating. I believe this is a reflection of the fiscally conservative approach we have taken over the past decade.

“During this time of global economic uncertainty, our credit rating is more important than ever and we will continue to manage taxpayer dollars responsibly while we focus on strengthening our economy and creating jobs.”

St Laurent Revitalization Program - August 25th update

From City of Quesnel website:

St. Laurent Revitalization

News and updates:

August 25

■Asphalt and concrete removal is complete.
■Storm system replacement is complete.
■Sidewalk, curb, gutter and paving installation is underway.
■Walking areas may be narrower for the next 10 days.
■The project is on schedule.

The City encourages pedestrians to be cautious when walking on St. Laurent Avenue or driving across the affected intersections. Please pay attention to construction crews and obey all signs.

The City thanks the downtown business owners as well as members of the public for their patience as this much-needed investment is made in our infrastructure.

The project is scheduled to take 12 weeks to complete (mid-October), with Jacob Bros. Construction crews working from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., with an intent to work seven days a week.

Important notes

■ St. Laurent will be closed to traffic for the duration of the project.
■Traffic will be able to drive north-south on Reid, McLean and Kinchant during construction.
■ The City’s transit stop on St. Laurent Avenue at the Spirit Square has been moved to the east side of McLean Street.
■Pedestrians have access to the businesses on St. Laurent throughout the project.
■As with any major construction job the schedule is fluid and may change.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

3 Major Items Coming Forward at Tuesday's WL Council Meeting

1) South Lakeside Drive Improvements - Engineering Work (bottom of Hodgson Rd to Pioneer Way - road going up to Wal-Mart Site) - see City Staff report here.  Note - if this is approved and the engineering work is done, paving is scheduled to be completed in 2012, although the next Council as part of a "budget restraint" program could delay the paving for this project in 2012 - if they so choose as part of a 2012 Budget and 2012-2016 5 Year Financial Plan

2) Updating at Dog and Suds Restaurant - see City Staff Report here and here.  If both the Development and Development Variance Permits are approved (WL Council to formally consider this item at the September 14th WL Council meeting) then the applicant proposes that this project proceed in late September

3) Committee of the Whole has recommended a request for the local Legion for 100% tax exemption be forwarded to the 2012 Budget Process.  See the City Staff report here.  Question - should the local Royal Canadian Legion get a 100% tax exemption, like Salmon Arm gives their local Legion, or should our local Legion continue to apply for their usual property tax exemption...?

Weekly News Review - August 27th edition

In Quesnel:

* Country singer George Canyon supports a Multi-Centre in Quesnel - see here
* Local resident questions need for late payment on $100 mininum payment on property taxes - see here
* QCEDC reports on upcoming Job Fair on Thursday, September 8th and Friday, September 9th - see here.  Also they report that QCEDC can assist with grant writing - see here

In Williams Lake:

* Non-Profit Groups appear before Skip Trippett Commission about Community Gaming Grants - see here
* Controlled fire burns on Fox Mountain - see here
* Human remains found on outskirts of Williams Lake - see here
* Federal Environmental Assessment agency accepts 'revised' Prosperity Mine proposal - see here
* TNG Tribal Chair Joe Alphonse (Chilcotin National Gov't) says 'no proposal for a mine near Fish Lake, no matter what, is acceptable to us' - see here
* Tribune columnist Dean Fulton on BC Teachers tactics on their desire for a new collective agreement - see here
* Karen Roberts/Nancy Giesbricht thanks everyone for helping with putting on the 2011 Canada Day celebrations - see here
* Ranching community not happy with HST Defeat - see here
* With HST Defeat - Donna Barnett comments here and Cariboo-Chilcotin BC NDP Candidate Charlie Wyse comments here.  Editor's Note - Hey Charlie, the reason it takes 18 months to go from HST to PST/GST is because tax policy on provincial/federal level is complex and it takes time and care to ensure the switch is done in a thoughtful and fair way to all sectors, but gov't will respect the will of the public on the HST Vote

In 100 Mile House:

* OSB Ainsworth Plant in 100 Mile sustains fire damage - see here
* Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA speculates on possibility of fall election - see here
* South Cariboo Labour Council 'too small to survive' - see here

In Kamloops:

* Former Langley Township Councillor and BC Director for the Canadian Taxpayer Federation reviews why the HST failed to pass muster with the public and what Victoria should do next - see here (see also a column today from Province political columnist Mike Smyth on same here)

* Kamloops City Councillor Nancy Bepple pleads with Kamloops residents to vote in November's civic election - see here (Good advice for Cariboo-Chilcotin residents vis-a-vis civic votes in Wells, Quesnel, Williams Lake, 100 Mile House and Cariboo Regional District elections)

Friday, August 26, 2011

BCLTV - August 26th edition

                                         BC Liberal TV "Rewind" - August 26th edition

Poll Question - New Multi-Plex vs Curtail Spending

About 10 days ago - I asked my  blog readers' to vote on the following Question:

Should the Cariboo Regional District/City of Williams Lake pursue a Multi-Use Complex or curtail spending?

10 of the 14 votes cast (or 71% of all votes cast) said spending should be curtailed with 4 of the votes cast (or 29% of all votes cast) said City of WL/CRD should pursue a Multi-Use Complex

With almost a three-to-one spread on people saying spending should be curtailed vs those who think local government here should pursue the idea of a Multi-Use Facility, given the HST Vote today and the financial situation facing most households in Williams Lake , I wonder if candidates who advocate for less spending at both WL City Hall and the CRD  will sway voters as Williams Lake Councillor/Mayor Candidates, in addition to CRD Director-candidates begin door-knocking this fall....


CRD Board Highlights - August 26th Meeting

From the Cariboo Regional District:

CCRHD Authorizes Capital Funds for NH

The Cariboo Chilcotin Regional Hospital District (CCRHD) approved in principle $337,200 of Capital Funds for four projects initiated by Northern Health (NH). The total cost for all four projects is $843,000 and the requested contribution from the CCRHD is $337,200. NH submitted the request to the CCCRHD for 40 percent of the costs to undertake four major equipment and building integrity projects in Quesnel. At the GR Baker Memorial Hospital, the funds will be used to purchase a diagnostic imaging – ultrasound machine and a medical air system. Funds will also be used to develop Anesthetic Unit 2. The remaining funds will be allocated to the purchase of a proximity card security system for Dunrovin Park Lodge. Further information can be found online at

Spanish Gold

Brian Groves, President and Chief Executive Officer and Marissa Nobauer, Community Engagement representative from Spanish Mountain Gold provided the Regional District Board with information about the Spanish Mountain Gold project. The project is located about 6 kilometres from Likely, in the central Cariboo and has potential as a bulk mineable, large tonnage, sediment hosted gold deposit. At the beginning of August, Spanish Mountain announced it has been accepted by both the British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency. The acceptance of the Project Description means the project has now entered the “Pre-Application‟ phase of the Environmental Assessment and Permitting process. It is expected that public meetings will be scheduled soon. Further updates and information about Spanish Mountain is available online at

Lac La Hache Elementary new home for CRD Library

The CRD Board of Directors endorsed a proposed agreement between School District #27 and the Cariboo Regional District for the location of the Lac La Hache Community Library within the Lac La Hache Elementary School. The CRD will also be undertaking a number of renovations to ensure the provision of a wheelchair accessible public washroom and installation of a wheelchair access ramp at the school’s north entrance/exit. Based on the estimates received by the School District, these renovations will cost approximately $8,025 plus taxes.

Rick Hansen Relay Route Communities in the CRD

The Cariboo Regional District has been informed that it has had a number of communities selected under the Route Communities with Medal-Bearer Mode and Route Communities with Endurance Mode as part of next year’s Rick Hansen 25th Anniversary Relay.

Cariboo Route Communities - Medal-Bearer Mode

March 25th - Kersley
March 27th - Lac La Hache
March 27th - 108 Mile Ranch

Cariboo Route Communities - Endurance Mode

March 25th - McLeese Lake
March 27th - 150 Mile House

Opportunity Funds Approved

The Cariboo Regional District Board gave authorization for two electoral area requests to access Opportunity Funds for their communities. In Electoral Area F, $2000 of Opportunity Funds will be used by the Cedar Point Park Board to remediate the flood damage to the park’s ball diamond and campground caused by this spring’s flooding of Cedar Creek. The Board also endorsed a total of $4,000 of the Electoral Area E Opportunity Funds to assist the Chimney and Felker Lakes Landholders’ Association in its process to obtain certification of their local volunteer fire department.

Carbon Neutrality

The Cariboo Regional District received information regarding an updated option to help local governments meet the commitment contained in the Climate Action Charter to continue to work towards achieving carbon neutrality. This new option, “Making Progress Towards Carbon Neutrality” will require demonstrating that progress is being made through measuring, reducing and reporting on corporate emissions. Local governments can reduce emissions and purchase carbon offsets to become carbon neutral if they choose, but this will not be mandatory for the year 2012. The CRD will continue to research methods to reduce corporate emissions and refine our corporate emissions inventory.

Next Board Meeting

Thursday, September 15 – Policy Session
Friday, September 16 – Board Meeting

Quesnel/WL City Councils' meet next week

Next week - only City Councils' for Quesnel and Williams Lake are meeting as follows:

Monday, August 29th - City of Quesnel:

Delegation Session which starts at 7pm in Quesnel Council Chambers (410 Kinchant St).
See the Agenda/Reports here

Tuesday, August 30th - City of Williams Lake:

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

City of WL makes 2011 Nomination (Local Gov't Election) Papers Avaiable

From the City of Williams Lake:

Nomination packages for potential candidates in the 2011 Local Government Election are now available at City Hall. The package contains information for candidates and a number of forms to be completed. A person must be nominated by two eligible electors.

A person is qualified for office if they meet the following criteria:

a) Canadian citizen;

b) 18 years of age or older;

c) Resident of British Columbia for at least 6 months immediately before the day nomination papers are filed

d) Not disqualified from voting by the Local Government Act or any other enactment from voting in an election in British Columbia or from being nominated for, being elected to, or holding office.

Packages can be picked up at Corporate Services on the second floor of City Hall between 8:30 a.m. and 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.

The nomination period begins at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, October 4, and ends at 4 p.m on Friday, Oct. 14. One mayor and six councillors are to be elected for a three-year term beginning Dec. 6, 2011.

General Voting Day is Nov. 19 at the Marie Sharpe Elementary School gym from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Advance voting days are Nov. 9 and Nov. 16 in the City Hall foyer, also from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

More election information will be posted shortly at

For more information please contact:

Cindy Bouchard, Chief Election Officer
The City of Williams Lake
250 392-1773 or

City of WL looks for Bylaw Services Officer

Not only is the City of Williams Lake looking for a Human Resources Manager (Temp - 1 year), and a Senior Bylaw Officer, but now it is looking for a "Bylaw Services Officer" as of this past Tuesday - see that ad here

I can not recall a time, of the 33 years I've lived in this City, where I've seen more City Staff turn-over then during this term of local government.  Usually a few leaving the City for new jobs, retirement, etc is expected and does occur in most local governments in BC, but having 14 leaving the City in 33 months should be deeply troubling and certainly from my perspective suggests that there is, indeed, some sort of morale or other workplace issue(s) that needs resolving...


Update - I'm advised that the Senior Bylaw Officer post has now been filled.  Still - I stand by my conclusion that the high amount of staff turnover should be concerning to this community and the appropriate questions need to be asked - why this is occuring and what the City can do to ensure it retains its' employees as long as it can

Action Plan to return to old PST/GST System

From the Province of BC:

The Province will reinstate the combined 12 per cent PST and GST tax system following the referendum decision by British Columbians to extinguish the HST in B.C., Finance Minister Kevin Falcon announced today.

An action plan has been established to guide the transition process and help ensure an effective and orderly transition from the HST to the PST plus GST system in B.C.

The PST will be reinstated at seven per cent with all permanent PST exemptions. The Province may make some common sense administrative improvements to streamline the PST.

The transition period is expected to take a minimum of 18 months, consistent with the report of the independent panel on the HST. During this period, the provincial portion of the HST will remain in place at seven per cent. Eligible lower-income British Columbians will continue to receive the B.C. HST Credit until the PST is re-implemented. The B.C. HST credit will then be replaced by the re-implemented PST credit.

During the transition period, the Province will provide quarterly updates on the progress of returning to the PST.


Minister of Finance Kevin Falcon—

“British Columbians have made their choice and we will honour that decision. Now more than ever, government must provide British Columbians economic stability and focus our attention toward growing our economy to create jobs and balancing our budget in a time of global economic uncertainty.

“We will work as quickly as we responsibly can to return to the PST. We have always been clear that, as the independent panel found, dismantling the B.C. HST and returning to the PST will take time to do properly.

“I can assure British Columbians PST will not be applied to such items as restaurant meals, haircuts, bikes and gym memberships – just as it was before the HST was introduced in B.C.”

Learn More:

For more information about the return to the PST, visit:


Action Plan to Re-implement PST

An action plan has been established to ensure an effective and orderly transition to the PST. Key phases in the transition process are described here.

Federal Transitional Rules and Systems:

· A letter from the provincial finance minister to the federal finance minister is conveying the referendum results and advising the federal government that B.C. will re-implement the PST.

· The Province will work with the federal government to develop HST transition rules and to make any necessary changes to systems and processes.

· The provincial government will begin discussions with the federal government about exiting the Comprehensive Integrated Tax Coordination Agreement (CITCA) including the return of the funding received for adopting the HST.

Provincial Legislation and Transitional Rules:

· The provincial government will develop legislation and regulations necessary to re-implement the PST in B.C. and may make some administrative changes to streamline and improve the PST.

· Provincial PST transition rules to mirror federal HST transition rules will be developed.

· The provincial government will develop other legislation and administrative programs necessary to support the full reimplementation of the PST (e.g. hotel room tax, etc).

Provincial Systems Development:

· The Province will develop and establish appropriate reporting, data gathering, billing, remittance/collection, audit, assessment and appeal processes, and supporting computer systems to properly administer the PST and other related taxes (e.g. hotel room tax, etc.) in B.C.

Provincial Administration:

· The Province will re-establish its capacity to administer the tax in the areas of registration and close of business, field and desk audit, appeals, rulings, provincial tax information phone lines, billings and remittances, collections and refunds. This will include staffing, facilities and equipment, and staff training to administer the PST and related taxes. This also includes developing appropriate administrative reporting forms and other information and communications material required to support the transition.

Provincial Business Registration and Outreach:

· The provincial government will register approximately 100,000 businesses as tax collectors before the PST is re-implemented and provide information and training on the tax application, collection, compliance and reporting rules related to the PST. By the time the PST is re-implemented, there will be an estimated 30,000 new businesses in B.C. with no PST experience. These businesses will need to be registered and provided with detailed information and training to enable them to comply with the tax law.

Business Transition:

· Businesses will need to change their own electronic and manual systems and processes to assess, collect, report and remit the PST and other related taxes to the provincial government.

Other Key Stakeholders:

· The provincial government will consult with key administration stakeholders once provincial transition rules are completed. The Province relies on partner agencies to help ensure efficient tax collection, reporting and compliance. These agencies will need to make a number of systems and process changes, as well as receive information and training to help complete the PST transition.

Breaking News: HST is dead!

Just out of Victoria...

HST is now officially dead by a vote count of 55% to 45%.  Awaiting a press conference from Finance Minister Kevin Falcon and BC Premier Christy Clark...

Closer to home...

Residents in Cariboo-North voted to kill the HST by a vote count of 59% - 41%
Residents in Cariboo-Chilcotin voted to kill the HST by a vote count of 57% - 43%

2011 Local Gov't Election Campaign Documents Available

Today is the 1st day that most, if not all, local government (municipal/regional district) jurisdictions should be making the necessary nomination papers for either Mayor, Councillor or Electoral Area Director available at your local government office(s) for the 2011 Local Government Election.  In some cases, some municipal or regional district offices will have the necessary papers to file for School District Trustee as well

More closer to home...

I have confirmed that both the Cities of Quesnel and Williams Lake will have the necessary nomination documents to file for either Mayor or City Councillor for the 2011 Local Government Election available for pick-up today (Friday, August 26th).  See info for the City of Quesnel "2011 Local Government Election" here.  The City of Williams Lake website has no local government election information, at the moment (perhaps this will be corrected later but the City of Quesnel, like other muncipal governments has had information on the November civic election up since May of this year)

Reminder - though you can pick up the relevant nomination document for the Office of Mayor or Councillor today, you are still unable to formally file the necessary document until October 4th at 9am at your local municipal hall

I have been informed that the Cariboo Regional District will be making these same documents available to those who want to seek the Office of Electoral Area Director for CRD Areas 'A' to 'L' on September 5th.  A formal press release will be issued when the CRD Nomination document is available for pick-up

School District #27 will have their nomination documents for the Offices of School District Trustee (Zones 1-7) available from their Williams Lake or 100 Mile House offices on Monday, September 12th.  See more information here

I have no confirmation from either the District of Wells/100 Mile House that the nomination document for the Offices of Mayor/Councillor are available today as well as any school trustee election information for School District #28 (Quesnel)

For more information, please contact the following:

District of Wells - (250) - 994-3330 or

City of Quesnel - (250) - 992-2111 (ask for Lori Scott - Chief Election Officer or Sandy Brunt - Deputy Chief Election Officer) or email Ms. Scott at or email Ms. Brunt at

City of Williams Lake - (250) - 392-2311 (ask for Cindy Bouchard - Chief Election Officer or Cindy Walters - Deputy Chief Election Officer) or email Ms. Bouchard at or email Ms. Walters at

District of 100 Mile House - (250) - 395 - 2434 (ask for Donna Bellingham - Chief Election Officer) or email Ms. Bellingham at

Cariboo Regional District - (250) - 392-3351 or 1-800-665-1636 (ask for Alice Johnston - Chief Election Officer or Rick Hodgson - Deputy Chief Election Officer) or email Ms. Johnston at or Mr. Hodgson at

School District #28 - (250) - 992-8802

School District #27 - (250) - 398-3833 (ask for Bonnie Roller - Chief Election Officer or Connee Newberry - Deputy Chief Election Officer) Email Ms. Roller at or

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Update on St. Laurent Project - Quesnel, BC

From the City of Quesnel:

The revitalization of St. Laurent Avenue between Kinchant and Reid Streets is right on schedule, with crews entering the second phase of work.

Over the past three weeks, the City's contractor, Jacob Bros. Construction, has removed all the asphalt and concrete from the site, removed the old storm drainage pipes and installed a completely new storm drainage system. Old electrical posts have been dismantled, with bases for new lighting installed.

The second phase involves curb, gutter, paving stone and sidewalk installation, with landscaping and paving being the third and final phase. The second phase is scheduled to run until late September. This schedule is subject to change, with future phases and progress updates to be announced by the City.

St. Laurent Avenue remains closed to traffic for the duration of the project, but traffic is able to move north-south on Reid, McLean and Kinchant Streets. The City's transit stop on St. Laurent Avenue at the Spirit Square has been moved to the east side of McLean Street.

Pedestrians have had access to the businesses on St. Laurent throughout the project; for the next 10 days, however, the pedestrian walkway from Kinchant Street to McLean Street will be narrower. Pedestrians should be cautious when walking on St. Laurent Avenue or driving across intersections.

The City asks residents to be cautious, pay attention to construction crews and obey all signs.

Work on the $1 million project began on August 4. It is funded through the Quesnel Works: Capital Reinvestment Program, a special levy Quesnel taxpayers pay to support infrastructure reinvestment.

The City encourages residents and businesses to get the latest information on the project by visiting and clicking on the Quesnel Works link, or by calling City Hall at 250-992-2111.

Pioneer Haven opens in 100 Mile House

Joint Release - Province of BC / Gov't of Canada:

The governments of Canada and British Columbia gathered today to celebrate the official opening of Pioneer Haven, a new $1.5-million affordable seniors housing development providing eight apartments of modular housing for seniors and persons with disabilities.

“Our Government is investing in affordable housing here in 100 Mile House, to help create jobs and improve the quality of life for those who need it most,” said Cathy McLeod, MP for Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo, on behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada and Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). “These initiatives will help seniors living on low income and persons with disabilities in our community access safe and affordable housing that meets their needs.”

“Seniors made our communities what they are today, and continue to be active, engaged members,” said Donna Barnett, MLA for Cariboo-Chilcotin. “That’s why providing safe, affordable housing for seniors to remain in their community, close to friends and family, is an important initiative for our government.”

Through an amendment to the Canada-British Columbia Affordable Housing Agreement, the federal government contributed over $590,000 to support the construction of Pioneer Haven. The Province of British Columbia provided over $867,000 to this project through the Seniors Rental Housing Initiative (SRH) and provided the land valued at over $29,000.

The Seniors’ Rental Housing (SRH) initiative is a result of a $365-million joint investment under an amendment to the Canada-British Columbia Affordable Housing Agreement, which includes funding through Canada’s Economic Action Plan and by the Government of British Columbia. This initiative, first announced by the two levels of government on April 8, 2009, includes the provision of $123.5 million, which is comprised of $104 million for seniors and $19.5 million for persons with disabilities, to develop approximately 1,300 new affordable rental housing units, which will help to stimulate local economies in smaller communities across B.C. Under terms of the agreement, the provincial and federal governments are providing matching contributions of $61.79 million each.

Canada’s Economic Action Plan built on the Government of Canada’s commitment in 2008 of more than $1.9 billion, over five years, to improve and build new affordable housing and help the homeless. It provides $475 million, over two years, to build new rental housing for low-income seniors and persons with disabilities. Overall, the Economic Action Plan included $2 billion for the construction of new and the renovation of existing social housing, plus $2 billion in low-cost loans to municipalities for housing-related infrastructure.

A new agreement signed recently by both orders of government implements B.C.’s allocation of the remaining three years of the $1.9 billion, which amounts to a further $90 million in federal funding to match with $90 million in provincial funding for a total of $180 million for British Columbians in housing need.

The Province of British Columbia’s $14-billion capital infrastructure program is creating up to 88,000 jobs, building vital public infrastructure and stimulating local economies across the province.

Over the last decade, the Province has invested $2.8 billion to provide affordable housing for low income individuals, seniors and families. This year, more than 93,000 B.C. households will benefit from provincial social housing programs and services.

To find out more about how the Government of Canada and CMHC are working to build stronger homes and communities for all Canadians, call CMHC at 1 800 668-2642 or visit:

To learn more about provincial programs and services to address homelessness, visit:


Pioneer Haven, located at 350 Aspen Road in 100 Mile House, is an affordable seniors’ housing development providing eight apartments of modular housing to seniors and people with disabilities.

The apartments are directly managed by BC Housing.

The development consists of two buildings with four apartments each and will be directly managed by BC Housing. This development is co-located on the grounds of the existing 16-unit Pioneer Haven seniors housing building, which is also directly managed by BC Housing.

Modular housing has been used extensively for the Seniors’ Rental Housing developments as it allows construction take place in a factory with less dependence on weather conditions. The modular units meet EnerGuide 80 standards, and are designed to be easily accessible for seniors and people with disabilities. This includes room sizes that allow for wheelchair access and manoeuvring, shelves and light switches at an accessible height and bathroom grab bars or step-in showers.

The total capital cost of this development is approximately $1.5 million:

· The Government of Canada, through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), contributed $594,000 through Canada’s Economic Action Plan.
· The Province of British Columbia contributed $867,730 toward this project through the Seniors Rental Initiative.
· The Province also provided the land, valued at $29,580.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

CRD Announces Public Consult Meetings on Solid Waste Management Plan Update

Editor's Note - I strongly encourage you to make it to these meetings in your local community as this has a significant impact on your property taxes - regardless if you live in an CRD Electoral Area or a Municipality

From the Cariboo Regional District:

The Cariboo Regional District invites you to talk trash – literally! Thirteen open houses are being
held across the region where you can learn more – and have your say – about proposed options for future recycling and composting programs as well as improvements to transfer stations and landfills.

“We value the importance of public consultation and encourage residents to attend the Solid Waste Management Open House and presentation in your area,” says CRD Chair Al Richmond. “By utilising the feedback we receive from the consultation process, we will be able to ensure we design a solid waste management plan that meets the needs of our residents now and well into the future.”

The open houses are being held as part of the process to update the region’s Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP), as required by the Ministry of Environment. This plan provides direction for the types of garbage, recycling and other waste reduction programs we need to develop over the next 10 years.

The goal is to create a plan with input from residents and businesses that will meet our needs for managing waste – for the good of our communities, our environment and our pocket books.

The proposed options were developed with the input and guidance of the Solid Waste Advisory Committee made up of residents, community groups, businesses, local government, First Nations and Ministry of Environment representatives. In addition, close to 900 residents responded to a survey last spring, providing valuable information about preferences for various programs. The next step is to present the proposed options for feedback at 13 open houses being held across the region this fall.

Key options to be presented at the open houses for feedback include:

 increase convenient access to recycling, including controlling sites to reduce contamination and clean-up costs;
 develop “one-stop” Eco-depots for convenient recycling of products such as electronics, paint, waste oil, batteries and household hazardous wastes;
 gauge public interest for yard or food scraps collection and composting;
 improve education and enforcement programs;
 get input on “user-pay” programs and tipping fees;
 manage wood waste;
 investigate waste-to-energy options.

For more information, please contact the CRD at 250-392-3351 or 1-800-665-1636. Information about the meetings along with a full schedule of events is available online at or by emailing us at

Public Consultation Meeting Schedule:

Sept 13th - City of WL (CRD Boardroom) (Open House from 4-8pm w/formal presentation at 7pm)

Sept 14th - City of Quesnel (Quesnel Library) (Open House from 4-8pm w/formal presentation at 7pm)

Sept 21st - Nimpo Lake (local Community Hall) (Open House from 4-8pm w/formal presentation at 7:30pm)

Sept 22nd - Alexis Creek (local Community Hall) (Open House from 4-8pm w/formal presentation at 7:30pm)

Sept 24th - 150 Mile House (150 House Fire Hall) (Open House from 2-5pm w/formal presentation at 3:00pm)

Oct 1st - Wildwood (Wildwood Elementary) (Open House from 2-5pm w/formal presentation at 3pm)

Oct 4th - Lac La Hache (local Community Hall) (Open House from 7-9pm w/formal presentation at 7:30pm)

Oct 5th - District of 100 Mile (Creekside Seniors' Activity Center) (Open House from 4-8pm w/formal presentation at 7pm)

Oct 8th - Mountview/Dog Crk Area (Rod/Gun Club on Bond Ld Road) (Open House from 2-5pm w/formal presentation at 3pm)

Oct 12th - Forest Grove (local Community Hall) (Open House from 7-9pm w/formal presentation at 7:30pm)

Oct 13th - Lone Butte (local Community Hall) (Open House from 7-9pm w/formal presentation at 7:30pm)

Oct 18th - Interlakes (local Community Hall) (Open House from 7-9pm w/formal presentation at 7:30pm)

Oct 20th - Baker Creek (local Community Hall) (Open House from 7-9pm w/formal presentation at 7:30pm)

Breaking News: Iain Black leaves BC Politics...

This afternoon - Iain Black announced that he was leaving politics to take up his new post as President/CEO of the Vancouver Board of Trade.  See more here

In the meantime - local Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett says that with Mr. Black leaving, it is a big loss for the BC Liberals

Meanwhile - over in Twitter-ville:

1) Two more BC Liberal MLA's may be on the "bubble" of leaving
2) Premier Christy Clark is not worried about two Cabinet Ministers leaving inside of a week
3) According to her, Clark says press worry more about fall election than she does.  Really.... this after Premier Clark says she needs a election, sooner than later, to get a mandate from voters, as soon as this fall (from earlier this year)

My thoughts - With both Barry Penner/Iain Black out - if I were the BC Liberal Caucus - I'd be really nervous, especially with a possible fall election looming and a BC Conservative Party behind them and with 2 others possibly looking at leaving - I'd be armtwisting Christy Clark in private and saying - just announce you won't be calling a fall election and will concentrate of governing, for the moment and we'll look at a provincial election sometime in 2012


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Practice Makes Perfect...

From the Cariboo Regional District:

Practice makes perfect right? While those words may ring true regarding many things, but the Cariboo Regional District’s Central Cariboo Search and Rescue's Auto Extrication and Highway Rescue division uses "practice" to hone potentially life-saving skills.

CCSAR is one of the many volunteer emergency responder groups in the Cariboo Chilcotin. The Auto Extrication and Highway Rescue Division responds to all types of motor vehicle incidents, providing embankment rescue, jaws-of-life vehicle extrication, assisting the BC Ambulance Service and other first responder groups at accident scenes.

In order to keep their skills sharp, they need constant practice. The auto extrication team would like to thank Bee Jay’s Towing and Auto Wrecking for their enormous support of the practice program. For many months now on a weekly basis, Bee Jay’s has provided a wrecked or disabled vehicle for the rescue group to use as a "practice car" to basically tear apart with their extrication tools, and to use during various training scenarios.

"We cannot say enough about how grateful we are and how awesome these guys are for giving us vehicles to work on, and a safe compound to use,” says Assistant Chief in Charge of Auto Extrication & Highway Rescue, Cody Grier. “It's the best possible training we could have and shows huge support to a very important community service. This training is what we use in real life emergency situations. We're good at what we do and our rescue techniques are efficient, safe and effective.”

For more information about Central Cariboo Search and Rescue or to join the unit, visit CCSAR online at or email or contact 250-398-5445.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Breaking News: Federal NDP Leader Jack Layton passes away

At 4:45am this morning (Ontario time) or 1:45am our time, Federal NDP Leader Jack Layton passed away with friends and family surrounding him.  This was due, of course, to Mr. Layton's fight with cancer

See a story announcing Mr. Layton's death from CTV here

For myself - Mr. Layton was full of conviction and passion, even though I didn't share his political ideals and I wish to express my deepest sympathy and prayers to the Layton family and the wider NDP family at this time. 


Update at 6:17am - Official Statement from Olivia Chow:

We deeply regret to inform you that The Honourable Jack Layton, leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada, passed away at 4:45 am today, Monday August 22. He passed away peacefully at his home surrounded by family and loved ones. Details of Mr. Layton’s funeral arrangements will be forthcoming

2nd Update at 10:33am - Letter from Jack Layton to Canadians:

Saturday, August 20, 2011
Toronto, Ontario

Dear Friends,

Tens of thousands of Canadians have written to me in recent weeks to wish me well. I want to thank each and every one of you for your thoughtful, inspiring and often beautiful notes, cards and gifts. Your spirit and love have lit up my home, my spirit, and my determination.

Unfortunately my treatment has not worked out as I hoped. So I am giving this letter to my partner Olivia to share with you in the circumstance in which I cannot continue.

I recommend that Hull-Aylmer MP Nycole Turmel continue her work as our interim leader until a permanent successor is elected.

I recommend the party hold a leadership vote as early as possible in the New Year, on approximately the same timelines as in 2003, so that our new leader has ample time to reconsolidate our team, renew our party and our program, and move forward towards the next election.

A few additional thoughts:

To other Canadians who are on journeys to defeat cancer and to live their lives, I say this: please don’t be discouraged that my own journey hasn’t gone as well as I had hoped. You must not lose your own hope. Treatments and therapies have never been better in the face of this disease. You have every reason to be optimistic, determined, and focused on the future. My only other advice is to cherish every moment with those you love at every stage of your journey, as I have done this summer.

To the members of my party: we’ve done remarkable things together in the past eight years. It has been a privilege to lead the New Democratic Party and I am most grateful for your confidence, your support, and the endless hours of volunteer commitment you have devoted to our cause. There will be those who will try to persuade you to give up our cause. But that cause is much bigger than any one leader. Answer them by recommitting with energy and determination to our work. Remember our proud history of social justice, universal health care, public pensions and making sure no one is left behind. Let’s continue to move forward. Let’s demonstrate in everything we do in the four years before us that we are ready to serve our beloved Canada as its next government.

To the members of our parliamentary caucus: I have been privileged to work with each and every one of you. Our caucus meetings were always the highlight of my week. It has been my role to ask a great deal from you. And now I am going to do so again. Canadians will be closely watching you in the months to come. Colleagues, I know you will make the tens of thousands of members of our party proud of you by demonstrating the same seamless teamwork and solidarity that has earned us the confidence of millions of Canadians in the recent election.

To my fellow Quebecers: On May 2nd, you made an historic decision. You decided that the way to replace Canada’s Conservative federal government with something better was by working together in partnership with progressive-minded Canadians across the country. You made the right decision then; it is still the right decision today; and it will be the right decision right through to the next election, when we will succeed, together. You have elected a superb team of New Democrats to Parliament. They are going to be doing remarkable things in the years to come to make this country better for us all.

To young Canadians: All my life I have worked to make things better. Hope and optimism have defined my political career, and I continue to be hopeful and optimistic about Canada. Young people have been a great source of inspiration for me. I have met and talked with so many of you about your dreams, your frustrations, and your ideas for change. More and more, you are engaging in politics because you want to change things for the better. Many of you have placed your trust in our party. As my time in political life draws to a close I want to share with you my belief in your power to change this country and this world. There are great challenges before you, from the overwhelming nature of climate change to the unfairness of an economy that excludes so many from our collective wealth, and the changes necessary to build a more inclusive and generous Canada. I believe in you. Your energy, your vision, your passion for justice are exactly what this country needs today. You need to be at the heart of our economy, our political life, and our plans for the present and the future.

And finally, to all Canadians: Canada is a great country, one of the hopes of the world. We can be a better one – a country of greater equality, justice, and opportunity. We can build a prosperous economy and a society that shares its benefits more fairly. We can look after our seniors. We can offer better futures for our children. We can do our part to save the world’s environment. We can restore our good name in the world. We can do all of these things because we finally have a party system at the national level where there are real choices; where your vote matters; where working for change can actually bring about change. In the months and years to come, New Democrats will put a compelling new alternative to you. My colleagues in our party are an impressive, committed team. Give them a careful hearing; consider the alternatives; and consider that we can be a better, fairer, more equal country by working together. Don’t let them tell you it can’t be done.

My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.

All my very best,
Jack Layton

Letter to BC Premier C. Clark/Minister Ida Chong on Municipal Auditor-General

Today, I wrote BC Premier Christy Clark and Community, Sport and Cultural Development Minister Ida Chong on the policy idea of a Municipal Auditor-General.  See below for the letter:

I am writing to you on the proposed establishment of a municipal Auditor-General for the roughly 180+ municipal/regional district governments in the Province of British Columbia

For someone who has actively watched local governments in the Cariboo-Chilcotin since 2001, the primary reason as to why a municipal Auditor-General is being proposed and, in my humble opinion, thrust onto local governments relates to the public perception about local government spending, especially as it relates to those local governments in Metro Vancouver where a big chunk of the increase in spending either relates to decisions made by local municipal governments or as it relates to union contracts, again decisions made at the local level

Secondly – I’ve reviewed the distributed survey to all UBCM members on a Municipal Auditor-General. To be perfectly frank – I find the language very leading, which leads me to believe Victoria has already decided to have a Municipal Auditor-General, regardless of how local governments respond to the survey. I find this development stunning, just after going through the very public exercise over the Harmonized Sales Tax debacle

Thirdly – I categorically reject the assertion that small local governments (ie: Villages, Districts) need the position of a Municipal Auditor-General, in order to conduct “value for money” audits. If a village or district, in addition to other local governments, want to do a “value for money” audit in addition to a special audit (outside of the usual auditing of Financial Statements), then a local government can choose to do so. Victoria should not dictate this to local governments, especially after Victoria enacted the Community Charter in 2004 with Section 1 of the Charter stipulating as follows:

1 (1) Municipalities and their councils are recognized as an order of government within their jurisdiction that

(a) is democratically elected, autonomous, responsible and accountable,
(b) is established and continued by the will of the residents of their communities, and
(c) provides for the municipal purposes of their communities.

Fourthly – By the actions of Victoria on a Municipal Auditor General – announce first, then consult with the UBCM breaks previous practice and doesn’t build a consultative relationship between the Union of BC Municipalities and Victoria, as was present during the building of the Community Charter. Saying that Premier Clark announced this during the recent BC Liberal Party Leadership race and local government officials should have paid attention does not, in itself, constitute consultation with UBCM and local governments

In conclusion - The provincial government would do well to kill this proposal as it does nothing to solve the issue of municipal spending. If Victoria decided not to get directly involved in the issue of industrial taxation issues, then Victoria should be prepared to do the same on general municipal spending, which in my opinion, is directly tied to the proposal for a Municipal Auditor-General, but will only add to the bureaucracy. In fact – there is no information, at present, as to who will pay for this position. Will local governments have to pay for this post or will provincial taxpayers have to pay for another bureaucrat?

I strongly encourage you to repeal this policy idea and allow the debate of spending by local governments to take place at a local level, as it should and will take place in our local communities, especially with civic elections coming up in November

Should you wish to discuss this letter further – I can be contacted in the following ways:
Phone – 250-267-6725

Respectfully yours,

Steve Forseth
Williams Lake, BC

CC: Alberto DeFeo, CAO – District of Lake Country (via email)
       Al Richmond, Chair – Cariboo Regional District (via email)
      Mary Sjostrom, Mayor – City of Quesnel (via email)
      Donna Barnett, MLA – Cariboo-Chilcotin (via email)