Wednesday, April 25, 2012

New Audit Council for Auditor-General for Local Gov't

Courtesy of the Province of BC:

Editor's Note - I was surprised to see no current local government officials like Joan Sorley (Cariboo RD Area 'F' Director)

Five British Columbians have been named to the Audit Council overseeing the Auditor General for Local Government (AGLG), ensuring the independence of the office, announced Ida Chong, minister of Community, Sport and Culture.

The installation of the Audit Council is a crucial step toward establishing the autonomy of the AGLG. The Audit Council’s first task will be to make a recommendation to the minister as to who should be appointed Auditor General for Local Government.

The Audit Council will also be responsible for monitoring the performance of the AGLG by reviewing and providing comments on performance audits, annual reports and service plans. It will also disseminate information about recommendations made by the AGLG.

The council is comprised of a broad mix of professionals from different parts of British Columbia with backgrounds in accounting, law, finance, business and local government. The five members appointed today are Anthony Ariganello (chair), J. Richard Heney, Donalda MacDonald, Lisa Payne and Timothy J. Wood.

Ida Chong - Minister of Community Services says:

“The key to the AGLG’s effectiveness is its separation from government and an audit council of impartial experts ensures that independence. These five council members have an ideal balance of expertise, and I am fully confident that they will do an exemplary job both in making a recommendation and in overseeing the position.”

Frank Leonard, Mayor of Saanich & major supporter of the Auditor-General for Local Gov't also said:

“I have always supported an Auditor General for Local Government as I appreciate the importance of scrutinizing how taxpayers' dollars are spent at every level of government. The appointment of the Audit Council is a step towards helping local governments to serve taxpayers better.”
Finally - Heath Slee, UBCM President concluded with:

“The Auditor General for Local Government needs to be independent in order to be effective. The Audit Council will safeguard the independence of the new Auditor General and ensure that the office works within the capacity set out in provincial legislation.”

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Register your bike in Williams Lake

Courtesy of the City of Williams Lake:

The City of Williams Lake (City) encourages all bicycle owners to register their bicycles in its Bike Protection Program.

Bicycle owners can complete a registration form including a photograph of their bicycle. The owner retains the information, and in the event the bike is lost or stolen, he or she can bring the form to City Bylaw Services. This will assist the bylaw department in identifying bikes and owners, reuniting owners with lost or stolen bicycles. Registration forms are available at WL City Hall, local bicycle stores or click here. There is no fee for the Bike Protection Program.

Bicycles are a high theft item in Williams Lake, and the City wants to reduce thefts,” says Councillor Laurie Walters, Chair of the City’s Community Services Committee. “By registering your bike, you can increase the chances of having your missing or stolen bike returned to you.”

A City representative will be in attendance at a bike rodeo May 13, 2012 at the Canadian Tire parking lot from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm to help owners register their bicycles.

In addition, the City will assist with registrations again at the Pedal by the Puddle June 10th, 2012 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm on Gun-A-Noot Trail, near the old Williams Lake Airport.

For more information, please contact the City at 250-392-2311 or you can contact Councillor Walters, via email, at

Quesnel Council Highlights - Apr 23rd mtg

Courtesy of the City of Quesnel:

Land stability contract awarded

Council approved a $745,700 contract to the Jensen Drilling Company to cover the costs of drilling at nine horizontal drain sites as part of the West Quesnel Land Stability dewatering program. Jensen Drilling was the firm that drilled the horizontal drains that were part of the 2008 WQLS trail dewatering program.

The total cost of installing the horizontal drains was estimated at $1.489 million, which includes $284,000 for engineering and inspection and $80,000 for plumbing. At this stage, this portion of the WQLS dewatering program is under budget. All three major contracts relating to the 2012 dewatering program (horizontal drains, vertical wells, and the Stork/Hawk storm drain) have been approved.

RCMP contract

Council approved the Municipal Police Unit Agreement with the RCMP for a 20-year period beginning in 2012. The contract between the Province of British Columbia and the City of Quesnel maintains the same cost-sharing formula; cities with populations between 5,000 and 15,000 people pay 70% of the costs. The City's RCMP budget for 2012 was based upon regular RCMP forecasts and a full compliment of 21 officers. Those forecasts included provisions for pay increases. Even with the Treasury Board's March decision to approve pay increases for RCMP members, the existing City budget is sufficient.

Municipalities not ratifying the agreement would be required to start their own police force.

New deputy fire chief named

City Council recognized Mike Russell as the successful candidate for the Deputy Chief position
with the Quesnel Volunteer Fire Department. Russell has been a department employee since October 1999. His primary role has been that of the Fire Prevention Officer, although in 2001 he added the City's Safety Officer duties. Russell has completed his Fire Officer Level 4 qualification, holds a diploma in Fire Service Leadership and is working on his bachelor in fire & life safety studies. He will start in his new position on April 30.

Other News

The City gave first three readings to its five-year financial and tax rate bylaws The average homeowner will see an increase of 3.3% to the City's portion of the property tax bill, which equals $20.71. The bylaws will return to Council for final adoption on May 14. An overall summary of property taxes for the average homeowner will be presented at that time.

Council made several decisions around economic development and twinning trips to Japan and China. First, Council approved Mayor Sjostrom using up to $1,000 of her existing travel budget to pay for some costs associated with her upcoming trip to China (flight to Vancouver, hotel and incidentals). Second, Council approved using up to $23,700 from the Asia Pacific Twinning Grant funds to pay for the Mayor, three Councillors and the economic development officer to travel to Shiraoi and other sites in Japan.

Council approved the 2012/2013 transit and handyDART contracts. There is a 1.7% (approximately $4,000) increase to the City's share of total costs compared to the last agreement.


April 22 to 28 - National Victims of Crime Awareness Week April - Daffodil Month
April 27 - Daffodil Day
May 6 to 12 - Hospice Palliative Care Awareness Week
May 20 to 26 - Local Government Awareness Week, National Public Works Week

Important Dates

April 27, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. - Share what you love about Quesnel and where you'd like to see it in the future.
April 28, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and Noon to 3:30 p.m.
Envision a sustainable and successful future.
(Both events at the North Cariboo Community Campus) May 6, Noon - Hike For Hospice - LeBourdais Park

Next Delegation/Committee of the Whole Meeting: Monday May 7, 7 p.m.
Next North Cariboo Joint Planning Committee Meeting: Tuesday May 8, 5:30 p.m.

Next Regular Council Meeting: Monday May 14, 7 p.m.

Above 3 meetings held in Quesnel Council Chambers (2nd Floor - 410 Kinchant St)

Monday, April 23, 2012

North Cariboo Fire Meeting - May 3rd

CRD Area 'B' Director Heloise Dixon-Warren has informed me and her residents' about an upcoming Quesnel and area Fire meeting to clarify matters concerning the burning ban regulations and also any other connected matters

Location - Quesnel Seniors' Centre (461 Carson Avenue, Quesnel)
Date - Thursday, May 3rd
Time - 7:00pm

If you live in the City of Quesnel or in CRD Areas 'A', 'B', 'C' or 'I' - I strongly encourage you to attend and get the proper information on forests fires and the related bans, direct from the source


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Rafe Mair speaks on by-elections in Port Moody/Chilliwack

Yesterday - former Socred cabinet minister & radio talk show host Rafe Mair wrote on the by-elections in Port Moody-Coquitlam and Chilliwack-Hope

He speaks candidly on what the future holds for both Christy Clark, John Cummins and Adrian Dix and how the environment was a 'winner' in the Chillwack-Hope by-election

Read his post here

Central Cariboo Joint Committee Mtg Business - Apr 25th


1) Desi Cheverie (Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Res Ops) re: Recreation Sites/Trails BC


1) Update from Graham Kelsey (President - CC Arts/Culture Society)
2) Final Report re: 25th Rick Hansen Anniversary Relay
3) Chiller Room Upgrade at CMRC (Note - this item is mandatory due to new standards from BC Safety Authority)

4) Review of 2011 Financials at CMRC
5) Review of Options to fund Dry Grad ceremonies at CMRC including renewal of Joint Use agreement between City of WL, CRD, School District #27 and TRU

6) Notes from April 4th Pool Task Force Mtg

All of these items can be read here

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Upcoming Quesnel Council business - Apr 23rd mtg

1) Skyfest Review - read here (Staff Report), here (Skyfest Proposal), here (Skyfest Business Plan)

2) Mayor Sjostrom to ask Quesnel Council for $1,000 as part of her travels to China - read here
3) Budget/Tax Bylaws to be presented to Quesnel Council for three readings - read here (Staff report) and Bylaws #1703 (read here) and 1704 (read here)

4) Quesnel Council to do a trade mission to Japan in 2012 with costs covered by provincial grant - read here

5) Award of Contract for Horizontal Drain, as part of West Quesnel Land Stability Program - read here (Staff Report) and here (Attachments to Staff Report)

6) Ratification of Municipal Police Agreement (RCMP) with Victoria - read here (Staff Report) and here (Municipal Police Agreement

Upcoming WL Council Business - Apr 24th mtg

WL Council, in Commitee of the Whole, will discuss the following:


1) Presentation on Local Transit - BC Transit
2) Update from local Rotary clubs


1) Wrap on Utility Cabinets - read here
2) Update on New Sign Bylaw - read here
3) Proposal re: Carriage Houses in Williams Lake - read here

Editor's Note - in my brief research, carriage houses are defined by some jurisdictions as 'secondary suites' however this will be the first time that Williams Lake City Council has dealt with the issue around Carriage Houses.  In order for this to be successful, WL City Staff are recommending that the proposed carriage house go forward with more research done to develop policy on this which includes amending the current City Zoning Bylaw and also possibly  allowing carriage homes on large lots only.  It should be noted that the City of WL  has no policy on carriage homes within the boundaries of Williams Lake

4) Update to the proposed new Communications Policy -read here.

Editor's Note - this item was last dealt with at the Apr 10th Committee of the Whole (WL Council) Mtg

5) Ratification of the Muncipal Police Agreement (RCMP) with Victoria - read here
6) New Chief Administrative Officer Performance Review Policy - read here

Friday, April 20, 2012

NCLGA converges on 100 Mile House

Courtesy of the North Central Local Government Association:

The North Central Local Government Association (NCLGA) will hold its 57th Annual General Meeting and Convention in 100 Mile House from May 2- 4, 2012. Over 250 delegates are expected to attend, representing local governments from 100 Mile House to the Yukon border and Valemount to Haida Gwaii. The theme of the conference this year is "Building Relationships ~ Sharing Knowledge".

"We are very pleased to be heading to 100 Mile House for our Convention this year, where we are being co-hosted by both the District of 100 Mile House and the Cariboo Regional District" said NCLGA President Art Kaehn, "It has been many years since we've been to the South Cariboo, so we are looking forward to enjoying the warm western hospitality the region is renowned for."

Keynote speakers for the event are Vaughn Palmer, Vancouver Sun's Provincial Affairs Political Columnist, and Tod Maffin, Digital Marketing Strategist. Other speakers will cover a wide variety of subjects including the BC Jobs Plan, Carbon Offsets, Forestry, Health Care, and Food Security. As in previous years, Northern Health will hold individual meetings with NCLGA Members at the event, and the Northern Medical Programs Trust will hold their AGM in 100 Mile House to coincide with the NCLGA AGM.

NCLGA Convention Committee Chair Mitch Campsall, the Mayor of 100 Mile House says "I have enjoyed working with NCLGA and the Cariboo Regional District to bring this convention to 100 Mile House and I am really looking forward to being able to showcase our community to everyone."

"The delegates will get a taste of what the region has to offer when they attend the Welcome Reception at the 108 Heritage Site," stated Cariboo Regional District Chair Al Richmond. "We hope they will consider adding a day or two onto their travel schedules and use it to take in more of the great opportunities the Cariboo has to offer."

"Welcome to 100 Mile House. As past Mayor of the host community I know your convention will be memorable. I wish you success in your deliberations and look forward, to hearing of the great work of the NCLGA and all its Local Governments." said Donna Barnett, MLA for Cariboo Chilcotin, and Parliamentary Secretary for Rural Communities.

NCLGA members will be debating 38 resolutions on issues affecting northern communities and rural areas. Resolutions endorsed at the meeting will be forwarded to the appropriate Ministries and the Union of BC Municipalities for consideration at their Annual Convention in September. Resolutions and the Convention Agenda may be viewed on the NCLGA website at:

Registration is available online at:

CRD Board Highlights - April 20th mtg

Courtesy of the Cariboo Regional District:

Community Gardens & Cariboo Growers

Tatjana Bates, Community Dietician, Interior Health, Promotion and Prevention, Community Integrated Health Services, appeared before the Board to discuss community gardens and the Cariboo Growers food co-op. The presentation included information about the Williams Lake Food Action Plan which was developed by the local Food Policy Council, the benefits of the program to the community, and local food strategies. Further information is available online at about the organization and current projects.

Smoke-Free Outdoor Public Places

The Board received a letter from the Heart and Stroke Foundation and BC Lung Association, encouraging the Cariboo Regional District Board to implement a smoke-free outdoor public places bylaw. The Heart and Stroke Foundation is working to increase public health by protecting citizens and visitors from second-hand tobacco smoke.

Feasibility Funds Endorsed

The Cariboo Regional District received a request from the West Chilcotin Search and Rescue Association (WCSAR), which outlines what the group does and requests a permanent source of funding through regional district taxation. A total of up to $3,000 in feasibility funds will be allocated to explore this opportunity for Electoral Area J residents.

Health Care Meetings

The Cariboo Chilcotin Regional Hospital District (CCRHD) will be requesting the North Central Local Government Association to arrange dedicated Health Care meetings with both the Interior and Northern Health Authorities. The focus of the meetings will be the recruitment and retention of medical professionals to the region among other health care issues. The CCRHD will also be requesting meetings with Interior and Northern Health to discuss the opportunities for the realignment of the current Health Authority boundaries in the region.

Funding for First Nations Consultation

The Cariboo Regional District will be resubmitting a resolution originally proposed to the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) in 2009. The resolution dealt specifically with funding for First Nations Consultation, as the process can be expensive and time consuming for both First Nations and local governments. If successful, this funding would be used to help offset costs of this consultation process.

Area F Special Projects Funds Authorized

The Cariboo Regional District authorized up to $800 from the Area F Special Initiative Fund to support the Cedar Point Park 50th Anniversary. The funds will be used to purchase banners which will hang for the entire season commemorating the milestone. Anniversary celebrations will be held on July 21 at the Park.


April 15-23 National Volunteer Week
April 28 National Day of Mourning
May 20-26 National Public Works Week
May 29 National Day of the Honey Bee

Next CRD Board Meeting

Friday, May 11 – 9:30 am

Local Gov't Mtgs - Week of Apr 23-27

Wells - No meeting until May 1st

Quesnel - Regular Council Mtg on Monday, April 23rd at 7:00pm in Quesnel Council Chambers (2nd Floor - 410 Kinchant St).  Read the Agenda/Reports here

School District #28 (Quesnel) - No meeting until May 16th

School District #27 (Cariboo-Chilcotin) - Regular Meeting on Tuesday, April 24th at 6:30pm in the 100 Mile Jr Secondary School Library.  Read the Agenda/Reports here

Williams Lake  - Committee of the Whole Mtg on Tuesday, April 24th at 6:00pm in the Rick Hansen Boardroom (WL City Hall basement).  Read the Agenda/Reports here

100 Mile House - No meeting until May 8th

Cariboo Regional District:

South Cariboo Joint Committee - Meeting on Monday, April 23rd at 5:00pm in 100 Mile Council Chambers (385 Birch Avenue).  Read the Agenda here

Central Cariboo Rural Directors Caucus - Meeting on Wednesday, April 25th at 3:00pm in the CRD Boardroom (180D North 3rd Avenue in Williams Lake - across from 7-11).  Read the Agenda here

Central Cariboo Joint Committee - Meeting on Wednesday, April 25th at 5:00pm in the CRD Boardroom - read the Agenda here

County style government for South Cariboo??

At their regular meeting on Monday - the South Cariboo Joint Committee (made up of the Council of 100 Mile House and the CRD Directors' for Areas G, H and L) will receive a delegation of Maureen Pinkney, Rick Takagi and Tom Bachynski from the South Cariboo Chamber of Commerce in which Ms. Pinkney and Mr. Bachynski/Takagi will ask the Joint Committee to support a "Country-style" governance model for the South Cariboo

In support of their application - they note that there would be administrative and cost savings to switch from a two level government system (municipal & regional) to one 'county-based' governance model.  Cost savings would apply as well, if the Central Cariboo and North Cariboo sub-regions also looked at this model.  They note that this is not a "regional muncipality" system

Read the full details, in the full South Cariboo Joint Committee Agenda, here

Thursday, April 19, 2012

BC NDP Wins in Port Moody & Chilliwack

As I privately thought would occur (and based on previous BC Political History in by-elections) - the BC NDP won the two by-elections in both Port Moody-Coquitlam & Chilliwack-Hope:

I extend my congradulations to the winners in both by-elections and those who were defeated.  We are all winners by offering ourselves up for election - regardless if it is for local, regional, provincial, or federal elected offices.  More choices = healthier democracy :)

In Port Moody - Coquitlam:

With 126 of 126 Polling Stations reporting...

Joe Trasolini (BC NDP) - 6,070 votes (or 54.36% of all votes cast)
Dennis Marsden (BC Liberals) - 3,377 votes (or 30.24% of all votes cast)
Christine Clarke (BC Conservatives) - 1,720 votes (or 15.40% of all votes cast)

In Chilliwack - Hope:

With 124 of 126 Polling Stations reporting...

Gwen O'Mahony (BC NDP) - 5,499 votes (or 41.34% of all votes cast)
Laurie Throness (BC Liberals) - 4,273 votes (or 32.12% of all votes cast)
John Martin (BC Conservatives) - 3,396 votes (or 25.53% of all votes cast)

Final Analysis:

As you can see above - had the BC Liberals/BC Conservatives run one candidate between them - the BC Liberals would have easily won Chilliwack - Hope but still would have lost to the NDP in Port Moody-Coquitlam

Meanwhile - Vaughn Palmer of the Vancouver Sun reports that because of the 2 NDP wins in Port Moody and Chillwack tonight - this may stir up discussions about one "free enterprise" party in BC prior to May of 2013.  Read his article here.  If it doesn't happen before then - it is virtually guaranteed that the BC NDP under Adrian Dix will become government

Finally - I don't expect much change in the final result between initial count (tonight) and when the final count starts on April 30th

ourQuesnel to host community discussions

Courtesy of the City of Quesnel:

What does our Quesnel mean to you? What makes this community a great place? And how can we make it better in the future?
If questions like this have you thinking, join the ourQuesnel team at the North Cariboo Community Campus next weekend to socialize and talk about these and many other topics.

First, celebrate Quesnel on Friday April 27 at 7 p.m. We'll share what we love about our community and where we'd like to see it in the future. Then, on Saturday , April 28th from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from noon to 3:30 pm, envision Quesnel's sustainable and successful future. Come for the morning or afternoon sessions . . . or stay for both. Lunch is on us!

Quesnel is developing a comprehensive, community-wide vision, plan, and process under the ourQuesnel: Sustainability in Action initiative to guide our community's future. It is meant to include as many community members and organizations as are willing to participate.

our Quesnel is being led by the City of Quesnel with help from the Whistler Centre for Sustainability. The Whistler Centre for Sustainability is a non-profit organization that provides sustainability planning and implementation advisory services to local governments in BC and across Canada. To learn more about the Centre's work, visit To learn more about ourQuesnel, visit or like us at

We're talking about our jobs, our environment, our families and our future. We're talking about ourQuesnel.

2012 Property Tax Bylaw - City of WL

Courtesy of the City of Williams Lake:

City Council gave the first three readings to the 2012 Tax Rate Bylaw at its regular meeting April 17. The 2012 Tax Rate Bylaw reflects the 3% increase in taxation revenue that was identified in the 2012 budget and specifies how the municipality will distribute taxation amongst the various classes of properties in the City.

Continued declines in Major Industry assessed property values over the years has resulted in Williams Lake having one of the highest Industrial tax rates in BC. This issue was identified by the Business Expansion and Attraction Strategy Task Force as a major impediment to attracting new industry and it was recommended to Council that efforts be made to reduce the Industrial tax rate over time to create a more competitive investment climate in the City.

The 2012 Tax Rate Bylaw shifts the percentage of tax collected from Major Industry from 23.4% of total taxation revenue to 22.4%.

The 1% difference was reallocated equally to Residential and Business property taxes.

As a result of the redistribution, the following are the 2011 to 2012 changes to tax rates (per $1,000 of assessed value) by class:

Residential $5.26 to $5.50
Utilities $40.00 to $40.00
Major Industry $88.24 to $89.37
Light Industry $34.71 to $43.39
Business $11.20 to $11.88

Under this Tax Rate Bylaw, a residential property assessed at $200,000 would see an increase of $48 in the municipal portion of property taxes in 2012, a business assessed at $200,000 would see an increase of $136, and major industrial property assessed at $1 million would see an increase of $1,130.

Council had committed to addressing our major industry tax rates, which have consistently been among the highest in the province, to attract development and decrease our dependency on our major industrial properties,” says Williams Lake Mayor Kerry Cook. “This tax shift is a small but important step in that direction. The decision to raise or redistribute taxes are never easy, but
Council is committed to putting the City in a strong position going forward: reducing our dependency on major industry, setting money aside for future capital projects so that they can be done without adding to the debt, and adopting a long-term view of financial planning.”

The Five Year Financial Plan was adopted at the April 17 Council meeting and the Tax Rate Bylaw will be adopted at the next regular Council Meeting on May 8th

For more information, please contact:

Brian Carruthers - CAO
City of Williams Lake
Ph: 250-392-1763

Massive jobs losses coming to Quesnel/Williams Lake??

Last week - Independent Cariboo-North MLA Bob Simpson quoted from a confidential BC Government Study which suggested, following loss of healthy timber, losses of 12,000 jobs could be imminent within 5 years, if no action is forthcoming.  MLA Simpson suggests that, with no action from Victoria, Quesnel could stand to lose up to 1,600 jobs with Williams Lake losing up to 2,800 jobs.  Read more here

The document in question has now been pulled from the BC Government website...

Earlier today - BC Forests Minister Steve Thomson spoke with CBC Daybreak North co-host Carolina de Ryk on the report and what Victoria is doing, in the wake of the mountain pine beetle timber and its' impact on communities like Williams Lake and Quesnel.  Ms. de  Ryk also plays a clip from former Quesnel Mayor Nate Bello

You can listen to the full interview (with the BC Gov't confidential internal study) here 

WL News - April 19th edition

1) Wrap on Tuesday's 5-2 vote by WL Council to shift 1% of heavy industry taxes to .5% more for business & .5% more for residential - read here

2) Joe Alphonse and TNG Leaders meet with Federal Aboriginal Affairs Minister re: 'New Prosperity' - read here

3) Bob Simpson is very concerned about the forest industry and challenges Victoria to 'rise to the occasion' - read here

4) Wolves becoming a major 'thorn in the side' for local ranchers - read here
5) 'Day of Mourning' event on April 28th at 11:00am - WL City Hall - read here
6)Roughly 80 turn up for an abattoir meeting in 100 Mile yesterday - read here
7) Bob Simpson: Bad process leads to bad outcomes - read here
8) Mayor Cook's weekly column - read here
9) Doug Wilson of Williams Lake says that there must be 'give and take' on 'New Prosperity' - read here

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Quesnel Volunteer Citizen of the Year named

Courtesy of the City of Quesnel:

Liz Miller, who has spent more than a decade contributing to the enrichment and growth of hundreds of Quesnel's young women, is the 2011 Volunteer Citizen of the Year.

Miller, who spearheads the Miss Quesnel Self Development Program, was named the winner of the 32nd annual award at a banquet Tuesday evening to celebrate Quesnel's outstanding spirit of volunteerism. Miller plays an integral role in the program, which exists to help young women develop self-esteem and leadership skills. She attends dozens of community events each year with the candidates, and promotes education, community volunteerism and personal skills development in the program's participants.

Sheri Coles and Helen Boudreau, the other nominees for 2011, were also thanked and congratulated for all they do in the community by the roughly 100 people in attendance. In addition, life-long community resident and former City Councillor Peter Couldwell received the Lifetime Achievement Award. He was noted as being a humanitarian with passion and enthusiasm who has spent thousands of hours volunteering his time as an auctioneer to raise funds for a wide variety of causes around Quesnel.

"Every year we celebrate volunteers in Quesnel, and we always have an impressive line-up. Liz's commitment is vital to the Miss Quesnel program and is an enormous benefit. And having worked for so many years with Peter, I am pleased to see him receive further recognition of all the good work he does," said Quesnel Mayor Mary Sjostrom. "On behalf of City Council, it makes me very proud to congratulate all our nominees. We appreciate the effort you commit to making Quesnel such an outstanding community."

"Volunteerism is a key piece of any vibrant community, and Quesnel is blessed with an abundance of committed volunteers," added Quesnel Volunteer Citizen of the Year Committee Chair and City Councillor John Brisco. "By celebrating our volunteers, we inspire new ones to take on a cause and further enrich our society. I offer my thanks to this year's award recipients, the nominees, nominators, our sponsors and the committee."

In addition to the celebration, the table's centerpieces, created by Blumko Flower Art, were auctioned off, raising $395 for the Seniors Advocacy Service.

The Quesnel Volunteer Citizen of the Year program is a joint venture of the City of Quesnel and the Quesnel Cariboo Observer. A committee of past citizens of the year judges the nomination packages and hosts the event.

Landslide destroys two pipes in WL River Valley

Courtesy of the City of Williams Lake:

Sometime between April 10 and April 11, a landslide in the River Valley adjacent to the Williams Lake solid waste transfer station destroyed a large section of the treatment water outfall from the Capital Power plant and a storm outfall pipe, which are critical components of City’s infrastructure.

Plant operations were not affected, and there is no danger to the public as a result of the slide. The Ministry of Environment and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans have been notified of the incident. The City completed emergency works April 17 to divert the storm flow that was flowing through the slide and dumping silt into the creek.

Replacing the destroyed pipes is a priority, and the City is exploring options for long-term replacements for them,” says Mayor Kerry Cook. “It is expected there will be a significant financial impact, and we looking at ways to address the situation within our existing budgets.”

The public will be updated as developments unfold.

My take on Apr 17th WL Council Mtg

Last night - Council agreed by a 5-2 vote to give 3 readings to the 2012 City of Williams Lake Property Tax Rates Bylaw (Bylaw #2158)

Before the vote - a number of Councillors stated their views on Bylaw #2157 as follows:

Councillor Bonnell - tax shift of 1% from heavy industry to residential/business of 0.5% each is a "gift" to heavy industry and equates to a 5% tax hike for residents and a 6% tax hike for business.  And Council will face a bigger problem in 2013.  The real solution is less spending.  Also, I'm disappointed we could not engage residents' about this tax shift prior to Council making a formal decision on it

Councillor Rathor - Majority of residents' I talk to do not support the tax hike of 3%.  Costs are going up, wages are not and yet we are increasing our costs when we should reduce them

Councillor Zacharias - Budget is fiscally responsible.  Residents' need to quit spending unnecessarily.  City needs to bank money for future years.  Future is bright for Williams Lake

Councillor Bourdon - tax shift is 'right thing to do'.  Need to plan for future.  Tax Shift identified by BEAS Task Force.  Recognize this is not a 'vote winner' but at end of day, needs to be done

Councillor Walters - not sure which 'people' Councillor Rathor talks to, but the ones I talk to are good with this budget.  2012 City Budget is responsible

Steve's view - while I agree with Councillor Bourdon around need to look at future when it comes to tax rates and agree with Councillor Zacharias around need to plan/invest in recreation capital, but I primarily agree with Councillor Bonnell that the real solution to tax rates for Heavy Industry is not tax shifting but focused spending on basic needs like the South Lakeside Drive road upgrade project and the Woodland Dr water upgrade project and not on pet projects like the Dog Park.  Also - I don't think it was a useful exercise for Councillor Zacharias to 'chide' residents about their spending.  If she felt the budget was 'fiscally responsible' - address her comments there and don't 'talk down' to residents' about their own spending - generally speaking, it is not helpful and probably will alienate her own supporters than anything else

Also - as I noted last night, local 'Council-watcher' Elke Reiner asked for and was denied permission by Mayor Cook to address Council on Bylaw #2158. While Mayor Cook was correct to deny this on procedural grounds, I believe tweaking of the new budget process should address Ms. Reiner's concerns for the 2013 Budget Year which I intend in the next few days to write to Council on how to tweak the process better for 2013 but as I've said previously - Williams Lake City Council should be congratulated for being more open/inclusive with its' budget planning exercises

Finally - with last night's Council decision for Bylaw #2158 - your property tax rates will look like this:

Please note - this is all inclusive MINUS School Taxes:

Property Tax Class
2012 Property Tax Rate (per $100,000 of assessed value)
Percentage of Taxes Paid
Supportive Housing

Heavy Industry
Light Industry

Regional News Wrap - April 18th edition

In Quesnel:

* RCMP bust heroin dealer - read here
* Quesnel's "Volunteer of the Year" was announced.  In addition, former Quesnel City Councillor Peter Couldwell was recognized with a "Lifetime Achievement Award" - read here

In Williams Lake:

* Local ranchers work to remain competitive in global markets - read here
* Wrap on Taseko Mines Open House for their 'New Prosperity' project - read here/here
* TELUS to invest $4.5 million in Williams Lake area - read here
* City of Williams Lake agrees to pay $15,000 to former Finance Director - read here

Editor's Note - please remember the $15,000 is addition to the already paid out 1 year severance package of roughly $90,000 that was paid to Ms. Laporte when she and the City parted ways

* Local MLA's weigh in on Ottawa's plans to radically shift how it does environmental assessments on natural resource projects - read here
* Massive job losses coming to Quesnel & Williams Lake?? - read here & here
* Mayor Cook defends deferral of South Lakeside road upgrade to 2013 - read here

Editor's Note - as of this writing - 23 people have commented on this story on Facebook, comments ranging from "Mayor Cook lied to voters' in the last civic election" to "Walt Cobb, please run again".  In addition, Mayor Cook expressed her frustration, at last night's WL City Council Meeting, that this project could not move forward this year but said that is what Council decided. Meanwhile Williams Lake City Councillor Surinderpal Rathor says he is prepared to "take his licks" and express to the community why the project can not move forward this year - namely, due to timing, the project would carry over two years rather than start to finish in one year in 2013

* Tribune editorial on Monday's Taseko Mines Open House at the Gibraltar Room - read here
* Diana French: Let's steer 'Earth' in the right direction - read here
* Donna Barnett: Let's recognize our volunteers - read here
* Bill Carruthers: Natural resource development will help to pay for our social costs in future years - read here
* Eric Freeston: MLA Barnett - take more aggressive stand on removal of the HST - read here

In 100 Mile House:

* Will Van Osch: Education Ministry 'flying by seats of their pants on Bill 22' - read here
* Postal services changing at Bridge Lake - read here
* 100 Mile House Food Bank Society needs food, money and younger volunteers - read here
* 100 Mile Mayor Mitch Campsall speaks out at Taseko Mines Open House at the 'Valley Room' - read here
* Region 10 BC Conservative Director Alan Forseth comments on 1st anniversary of Christy Clark being in power - read here
* Local 100 Mile realtor speaks out on natural resource development - read here

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Public Hearing – Zoning Amendment Bylaw #2152


Mayor Cook and and Councillors’ I. Bonnell, G. Bourdon, D. Hughes, SPS Rathor, L. Walters and S. Zacharias

Staff Present:

Brian Carruthers - CAO
Geoff Goodall – GM of Planning and Operations
Rena Schill – Corporate Services Records Management Coordinator
Tom Chung – IT Manager
Ken MacInnis – Communications Coordinator
Chris Hutton – Planning Technician

The Public Hearing was called to order at 7:01pm

The Records Management Coordinator read out the purpose/intent of Bylaw #2152 – a Bylaw of the City of Williams Lake to amend Zoning Bylaw #1825, 2002

Council had previously received a memo outlining public queries about Bylaw #2152 and City Staff responses to them and was further advised that two additional phone calls had been received at WL City Hall

As Chair of the Public Hearing – Mayor Cook explained the rules of conduct for tonight’s Public Hearing

Mayor Cook then called for oral input – where one individual expressed concerns about neighborhood impacts around Bylaw #2152 if fully implemented and Darcy Lazzarin from Axis Resources clarified some of the concerns brought forward

Mayor Cook then called for additional oral input – none received
Council agreed to refer Bylaw #2152 back to the April 17th Williams Lake City Council meeting for consideration of 3rd Reading/Adoption

The Public Hearing adjourned at 7:13pm

WL Council Highlights - April 17th meeting


Mayor Cook and Councillors’ I. Bonnell, G. Bourdon, D. Hughes, SPS Rathor, L. Walters and S. Zacharias

Staff Present:

Brian Carruthers - CAO
Geoff Goodall – GM of Planning and Operations
Rena Schill – Corporate Services Records Management Coordinator
Tom Chung – IT Manager
Ken MacInnis – Communications Coordinator
Chris Hutton – Planning Technician
Anne Burrill – Manager of Social Development

Meeting called to order at 6:03pm
Minutes of April 3rd, 2012 WL Council meeting approved


1) Allison Ruault of Interior Health appeared before Council to give an update on health services in Williams Lake area including Deni House, integrated health services, practioner support program, changes to residential care policy (emphasis on home care as long as possibility), diabetes, lab progam at CMH, wine tasting event at Gibraltar Room on May 5th (fundraising event for Cariboo Hospital Memorial Trust – Mammography Machine)

2) Jay Goddard, Tracey Elkins and Tatijana Yung from the TRU Sustainability Committee appeared before Council regarding the "Awakening the Dreamer" Sustainability Forum on April 21, 2012 at the TRU WL Campus

3) Patrick Newsome (WL Junior Councillor) appeared before Council to give a ‘Junior Council’ update on April 26th Youth Forum at TRU


1) Council amended its’ internal Committee appointments where responsibility for Scout Island was transferred from the Community Services to the Planning & Operations Committee

2) Council received for information a report from the Manager of Economic Development indicating the 2012 Economic Development Association of BC Awards process and determining that none of the City's current economic development projects, including the BEAS project, meet the awards program categories or ranking criteria

3) Council received the 2012 First Quarter Economic Indicators Report for information.
4) Council approved the proposed mural project at 298 Proctor Street, on the corner of Third Avenue and Proctor Street (RONA Store)
5) Council approved the Annual Tim Horton's Bicycle Rodeo on Sunday, May 13, 2012 at the Canadian Tire parking lot from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM

Meeting recessed at 6:53pm to conduct Public Hearing at 7pm on Bylaw #2152
Meeting resumed at 7:13pm

6) Council received a report from the Planning Technician regarding Heritage Value Workshop Outcomes and directed Staff to work with the Heritage Advisory Committee to proceed with further public input over the summer months on the heritage values drafted out of this Heritage Value Workshop
7) Council adopted two Central Cariboo Joint Committee recommendations as follows:

a) a member from the Seniors Advisory Committee be added to the Pool Task Force Committee; and further, the Pool Task Force Terms of Reference be amended to include the additional member
b) Ross McCoubrey, from the Seniors Advisory Committee, be appointed to the Pool Task Force and Diana French be appointed as his alternate.

8) Bylaws #2152, 2156 and 2157 were adopted by Council – Councillor Rathor registered a ‘no’ vote to adoption of Bylaw #2156 (APC Repeal) while Councillors Bonnell, Hughes and Rathor registered ‘no’ votes to adoption of Bylaw #2157 (2012-2016 5 Yr Financial Plan/2012 Budget)

9) Council adopted 1 recommendation from its’ Committee of the Whole meeting last week, as follows:

a) Approval be given for the installation of up to twelve inspirational quotes by the Girl Guides on the exterior fence of Kiwanis Park, to be removed no later than October 30, 2012; and further, Staff be directed to work with the Girl Guides group to ensure all signage is appropriately constructed and installed in Kiwanis Park

10) Council gave approval for the annual Stampede Parade on Saturday, June 30, 2012 at 10:00 a.m.
11) Minutes of the March 28th Central Cariboo Joint Committee meeting were received and all recommendations contained in the minutes were endorsed by Council
12) Council declared two proclamations as follows:

a) "Day of Mourning" - April 28, 2012
b) "Day of the Honey Bee" - May 29, 2012

13) Council received for information two In-Camera Reports as follows:

a) In-Camera Report #1-2012 - appointments to the Accessibility Advisory Committee and Heritage Advisory Committee for the 2012 term
b) In-Camera Report #2-2012 - receipt of the March 27, 2012 letter from the BC Human Rights Tribunal advising of the dismissal of Ms. Candie Laporte’s Human Rights complaint be received and Council issue a statement regarding the settlement

During consideration of Item H2 – Mayor Cook read out the following statement:

Candie Laporte, the former Director of Finance for the City, filed a human rights claim against the City of Williams Lake in May 2011 alleging discrimination on the basis of sex in respect of wages. The City strongly felt that it had not breached the Human Rights Code. The parties agreed to attend a mediation with the Tribunal on January 24, 2012, to see if there was a way to resolve this complaint without proceeding any further with the complaint. In doing so, the parties were successful and resolved the complaint.

The resulting settlement was an economic and practical resolution of the complaint and it did not constitute any admission of wrongdoing, liability, blame, or lack of confidence in the merits of its case by the City. In agreeing to settle, the City recognized that the costs to defend this complaint, even if it was successful, was going to be much larger than the sum to be paid to Ms. Laporte.

The City felt that it was more responsible to the taxpayers to resolve the complaint at mediation rather than paying the City’s lawyers to defend the complaint even though the City was confident the complaint would be dismissed. In return for Ms. Laporte agreeing to withdraw her complaint and release the City from any further claims or actions, the City made a business decision to pay $15,000.00 to Ms. Laporte.

14) Late Item - Council approved the proposed 2012 Municipal Property Tax Rates and Bylaw No. 2158 (2012 Tax Rates) was given 1st, 2nd and 3rd Reading – Councillors Rathor and Bonnell opposed

15) Council received the “Council Information Package” as of April 17th as follows:

a) March 22, 2012 - Letter from NDIT to the Williams Lake Cycling Club re Approval of Funding for Snakes and Ladders Signature Trail Development - read here
b) March 30, 2012 - CRD Board Highlights - read here
c) April 2, 2012 - Response Letter from Interior Health to RE/MAX Williams Lake Realty re Future Redevelopment of Cariboo Memorial Hospital - read here

Meeting adjourned at 8:34pm and recovened In-Camera, persaunt to Section 90(1a) of the Community Charter

Editor’s Note – Elke Reiner requested and was denied permission to speak to WL Council regarding Bylaw #2158 but was requested by Mayor Cook to provide her comments in writing to Williams Lake Council on Bylaw #2158

Harry Bloy and his deplorable speech on 'Smart Meters'

Yesterday morning in the BC Legislature during Private Member Business' where a private member (opposition/government) can bring forward a motion for debate for one hour.  NDP Opposition House Leader (and MLA for Juan de Fuca) John Horgan brought forward this motion:

Be it resolved that this House urges the Government to direct the B.C. Utilities Commission to do a full and comprehensive review of the Smart Metering Program

Everything was going well until Harry Bloy (MLA for Burnaby-Lougheed) spoke this words (and no, I don't buy into this "heat of the moment" argument by Bloy.  His words were calculated and fully considered) :

Is he excited because the Leader of the Opposition can't fraudulently do something against the consumers of British Columbia, can't lie and cheat and steal money from the citizens of British Columbia? Is that why he speaks out of both sides of his mouth? It really makes me wonder how a Leader of the Opposition can steal from the public.


You know, sometimes it really makes me wonder about the Leader of the Opposition stealing from the public, fraud. I wonder how he proposed to his wife. Is he like his good friend, Svend Robinson? I wonder how he did that.

See the video below for the entire exchange between Bloy, MLA Claire Trevena (North Island) and John Rustad (Nechako Lakes):

See also the "apology" from MLA Bloy below:

The Globe and Mail also review the story here

As a BC Liberal supporter - even I have to condemn the words of Harry Bloy - there is no place for them in a debate over Smart Meters.  There is no justification for personalizing the debate over Smart Meters and the "so-called" apology of Harry Bloy to Adrian Dix was weak and pathetic and I certainly know he can come up with a better apology that the one that was offered by MLA Bloy.  Finally - comparing Adrian Dix to Svend Robinson is totally out of line.  In the case of former MP Robinson, he had a legitimate mental illness for which Mr. Robinson sought and received appropriate treatment and going after Mr. Dix's wife is beyond the pale.  Since then, even BC Premier Christy Clark called Bloy's comments totally inappropriate

Charlie Smith of the Straight asks: Was Harry Bloy acting alone or was he acting on orders? - read here

I hope that Harry Bloy, at some point today, finds within himself to offer a full and irrevocable apology to Svend Robinson, Adrian Dix and his wife for his "lowest of the low" commentary on Smart Meters and let us return to debating the issues of the day without resorting to 'American-style' politics where anything and anyone is fair game...


Monday, April 16, 2012

'New Prosperity' Open House tonight

Good morning... :)

Hope your weekend was well....

Don't forget that today from 1-3pm & 7-9pm at the Gibraltar Room, Taseko Mines will hold an open house for its' "New Prosperity" proposed mine.  The Open House will start with a formal presentation and then people are free to mull around and look at the different displays...

Read more details explaining the intent/purpose of the Open House here

Whether you are opposed to or in support of 'New Prosperity' - I ask you to show up and to get your questions answered or to simply tell Taseko Mines officials that you are opposed to the project and explain why in your own words or simply tell them that you support the project....


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Pat Bell's Top Ten for week of April 15th

Courtesy of Hon. Pat Bell - BC Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation:

1. The Wood Innovation and Design Centre (WIDC) in Prince George is one step closer to construction with the release of a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to design and construct the building. The RFQ seeks eligible firms to design and construct the WIDC with a minimum height of six storeys. It is expected that three firms will be shortlisted and be asked to provide proposals to the government through a collaborative Request for Proposals that will begin in July of this year. Construction is expected to be completed by fall of 2014. The multi-storey iconic wood building will showcase British Columbia's expertise and global reputation as a leader in wood construction and design, and engineered wood products. Its construction will catalyze new wood product development, commercialization and adoption. Once complete, the building will house office space for provincial economic development and industry use, as well as academic and research programming with the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC). It will focus on advancing B.C.'s expertise in wood-related products, and it will highlight new and innovative wood building products and techniques.

2. We were very please last night to announce another $10 million investment in medical education for the North. The money will be used to construct new lecture space as well as technology focussed on training new medical proffesionals at the University Hospital. This has been a missing element that Shirley and I have been working on for some time and we were very pleased to announce it in a bit of an unusual way at the Bob Ewart dinner.

3. On Thursday John Rustad announced that we are moving ahead with plans for a Lakes District Hospital replacement in Burns Lake as a part of Budget 2012. The announcement comes less than three months after the tragic events on Jan. 20, 2012 when a fire destroyed the local sawmill. It is anticipated the new facility will go to procurement later this year, with construction expected to start in 2013 and be completed in 2015. The project will generate approximately 200 direct jobs. It is expected that the cost of the new hospital will be in the $50 to $55 million range.

4. In addition we are moving ahead with planning for a new hospital on Haida Gwaii as part of Budget 2012. It's anticipated the detailed planning process will start this spring. The proposed centre includes acute and residential-care beds. Anticipated cost of the new hospital is up to $50 million and will be refined once the final business plan has been approved, the tendering process complete and a contract awarded. Funding for the project will be cost-shared by the Province and North West Regional Hospital District. The existing Queen Charlotte Islands General Hospital, built in 1950, serves a population of approximately 4,800 people. It is an outdated facility for current health services, and a replacement facility is needed.

5. On Friday, Shirley (Bond) and I delivered its final payment of $10.12 million in direct funding for the 2015 Canada Winter Games. It is projected that the 2015 Canada Winter Games will inject an estimated $70 million to $90 million into the regional economy. Families in the region will benefit from other Games legacies such as improved infrastructure, a trained volunteer base, and sport-development programs and services. This will improve the long-term social and economic health of B.C.'s northern residents.

6. Premier Christy Clark announced an additional investment of $200 million over the next 5 years to the Cariboo Connector expansion, to widen 30 km of Highway 97 to four lanes between Prince George and Cache Creek. At the completion of Phase 2, almost 50 per cent of the 440 km highway between Cache Creek and Prince George will be either three or four lanes wide, improving the safety and mobility of this important corridor. What a difference will have been made in a period of 10 years!

7. The Province is providing $4 million for a new recreation and cultural centre in Quesnel that will create jobs and support healthy family activities. The North Cariboo Multi-Centre project includes a 1,600-seat arena, 450-seat theatre, and accompanying event and assembly space. While each component has a specific use, they can also be combined with one another to ensure flexibility in hosting larger events such as conferences and trade shows. The arena and theatre also encourage participation in physical activity and healthy lifestyles in the North Cariboo.

8. British Columbia's forest sector strategy, released under the BC Jobs Plan, will build on and grow six priorities planted by the Working Roundtable on Forestry to support a more vibrant sector that supports employment in every part of the province. The entire strategy is available at

9. Prince George has been identified as one of seven communities to participate in a pilot project where poverty-reduction strategies will target the unique needs of families struggling to get out of poverty. Prince George, along with Cranbrook, Port Hardy, Surrey, New Westminster, Stewart and Kamloops have been identified as the first to pilot community poverty-reduction strategies. These communities were recommended by the UBCM to reflect a mix of metro, urban, rural and remote communities across B.C.. The strategies will optimize existing resources and will initially focus on families with children living in poverty. They will be guided by feedback from town hall meetings, community discussions and conversations with low-income families and individuals vulnerable to poverty. Key to developing successful strategies is recognition that each community has distinctive needs and resources. Community teams will take responsibility for the day-to-day implementation of the project. Key to these strategies is working directly with families to understand their individual needs, connect them with supports and to develop personalized paths out of poverty designed by families themselves.

Op-Ed re: BC Triple-A Credit Rating

Courtesy of Hon. Kevin Falcon - BC Minister of Finance & Deputy Premier:

There’s an important story to tell about B.C.’s record of fiscal prudence that often gets lost in the daily political coverage. In a world filled with “who’s up and who’s down”, we need a clear perspective on what we’ve accomplished and how we measure up in the global economy.

I’ve just come back from meetings in North America’s financial centres. When I tell the B.C. story, investors are impressed by the turnaround in B.C.’s economy and provincial finances since 2001, and how that turnaround has helped us navigate the recent global economic turbulence.

This history is backed up by major credit rating agencies, which have just reported their annual assessments of B.C.’s performance and outlook. All three major agencies affirmed their credit ratings for the Province of B.C., including triple-A ratings—the highest possible—from Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s Investors Services.

At a time when governments around the world struggle with massive debt and deficits and are earning credit downgrades, B.C. stands out with a record of exceeding our budget targets in 10 out of 11 years.

The rating agencies cited B.C.’s record of fiscal discipline, coupled with one of the most competitive tax rates for residents and businesses in Canada, and the province’s shifting trade mix toward Asia rather than North America, as strengths of B.C.’s fiscal and economic performance.

Sometimes we forget that for many years British Columbia didn’t have a strong credit rating. When we formed government in 2001, B.C. had just finished one of the worst decades of fiscal management, had received multiple downgrades, and was one of the least competitive provinces with high taxes and regulation.

We were elected to fix our economic situation, and we did. Our strong fiscal management received outside validation, and by November 2004 B.C. had received the first of seven credit rating upgrades.

Why should that matter to you? Because our triple-A credit rating saves taxpayers millions of dollars a year in government borrowing costs. Every dollar we don’t pay in interest is one we can invest in public services or in paying down debt.

A triple-A rating also sends a powerful message to investors looking for stability and certainty in an uncertain world. New investment is key to protecting and creating jobs in every region of the province, which in turn supports the public services British Columbians want.

How did we earn a triple-A credit rating? Just like any B.C. family would for its own finances, we focused on the fundamentals: reducing spending and paying down debt. We also looked at how we could best keep companies and investment in B.C.

We reduced the general corporate income tax rate five times, for a total reduction of almost 40 per cent since 2001. For small business owners and entrepreneurs we increased the small business threshold from $200,000 to $500,000. We reduced red tape by over 42 per cent to free up the private sector. For families, we reduced income taxes by 37 per cent. What’s more, we did it while protecting investment in health care, education and social services. The economy recovered and benefitted from increased trade and natural resources. And we used revenues from a strong economy to pay down debt.

We also made strategic investments with partners in projects like the Pacific Gateway, that are paying off in diversified trade, stronger market connections, and jobs for British Columbians.

The benefit of those investments to our province’s economy were underlined by Standard & Poor’s this week, when they highlighted the benefit of B.C.’s role as Canada's gateway to Asia, giving our economy significant wealth and diversification, and shifting B.C.’s trade mix towards Asia to balance the effect of the slower North American economy.

Now more than ever, governments that manage their finances well are rewarded, and those that don't are penalized. This is why our government remains committed to balancing the provincial budget in 2013-14 through continued fiscal discipline.

We’ve earned our triple-A credit rating through years of hard work. British Columbians can be proud of what we’ve accomplished together.

National Volunteers Week...

From Hon. Christy Clark - Premier of BC:

"The volunteers in our communities enrich our lives with their time, compassion and daily acts of selflessness. National Volunteer Week is dedicated to recognizing these unsung heroes who make such a big impact with each and every hour of service, and this week we thank them and celebrate their commitment.

“Later this month, this year’s recipients of the Community Achievement Awards will be recognized in an official ceremony at Government House in Victoria. Each of these individuals is a wonderful example of how the simple gifts of personal time, dedication and energy can make a positive difference in our province."

“This National Volunteer Week, I encourage all British Columbians to thank the volunteers in their community and to get active and make a difference in someone's life. Your time is the most valuable and meaningful gift you could donate.”

From Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada:

“During National Volunteer Week, we pay tribute to the over 13 million volunteers in Canada and the remarkable contributions they make every day in communities across our great country.

“These individuals, who volunteer their time and energy, are often the lifeblood of charitable organizations that could not operate without their help. Their contributions range from helping the elderly and sick, to elections, to putting their lives on the line as volunteer firefighters and disaster relief personnel.

“In recognition of the volunteers across Canada, our Government launched the Prime Minister’s Volunteer Awards Program in 2011. Through this program, Canadians have the opportunity to nominate fellow Canadians who have been a force for good in their communities.

“I encourage all Canadians to thank the volunteers in their lives, and to get involved and make a difference in their communities not only this week, but throughout the year.”

Upcoming WL Council Business - April 17th

1) Alison Ruault from Interior Health to give an update to WL Council

2) Jay Goddard, Tracey Elkins & Tatijana Yung of TRU Sustainability Committee to appear before WL Council re: "Awakening the Dreamer" Sustainability Forum - April 21, 2012 at TRU WL Campus

3) 1st Quarter Economic Indicators Rpt - read here
4) New Mural for RONA Building (3rd Ave and Proctor St) - read here
5) Report from Heritage Workshop held earlier this year - read here

6) 4 Bylaws up for adoption including the APC Repeal Bylaw & 2012-2016 Financial Plan Bylaw. Watch for Councillor Rathor to vote no to both of these bylaws while Councillor Bonnell will oppose adoption of the 2012-2016 Financial Plan Bylaw

7) City of Williams Lake settles a human rights complaint with its' former Director of Finance - Candie Laporte.  Read full details here

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Victoria gives $4 million for North-Cariboo Multicentre

Courtesy of the Government of BC:

Update from the Rush here

The Province is providing $4 million for a new recreation and cultural centre in Quesnel that will create jobs and support healthy family activities.

The North Cariboo Multi-Centre project includes a 1,600-seat arena, 450-seat theatre, and accompanying event and assembly space. While each component has a specific use, they can also be combined with one another to ensure flexibility in hosting larger events such as conferences and trade shows. The arena and theatre also encourage participation in physical activity and healthy lifestyles in the North Cariboo.

Of the total project cost of $30 million, the Province will provide $4 million with the remaining committed funds coming from Cariboo Regional District/City of Quesnel ($15 million) and the Northern Development Initiative Trust ($2 million). The Province’s investment provides significant leverage for the CRD and City as they pursue further fundraising. A fundraising committee has been established to promote the economic benefits of the facility such as attraction and retention of people to the North Cariboo region, sport and event tourism and job creation.

The Cariboo Regional District and City of Quesnel intend to maximize wood use in the facility and have targeted the project for completion in September 2014.


Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation Pat Bell –

“Our government’s primary objective is to create jobs and if there are additional benefits that build a healthy community, it’s an added bonus. It’s clear that this project does both.”

Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development Ida Chong –

“Promoting healthy, safe physical activity is a priority for our Province. We are pleased to provide funding to Quesnel for such a significant project – this recreational and cultural centre will be a tremendous asset to the people of this area, helping to make more opportunities for involvement available to a wide range of people.”

Cariboo – Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett –

“For the Province to contribute is a major stepping stone for the North Cariboo Multi-Centre project. The community will benefit economically and this will help promote healthy lifestyles. The updated facility will also help lower operational costs. It's great that the Province has been committing to rural communities and affirming our importance.”

Northern Development Initiative Trust Chair Evan Saugstad –

"Northern Development is committed to working with communities to build a stronger north. The North Cariboo Multi-Centre project will attract new residents to the communities of the North Cariboo, generate substantial economic activity and tourism revenues, and serves as an excellent example of what can be accomplished through strong partnerships".

Cariboo Regional District Board Chair Al Richmond –

“The Cariboo Regional District believes in investing in communities and supporting the athletic and artistic elements of the Cariboo. It helps us improve the amenities our current residents enjoy while helping us attract new business ventures and residents.”

Quesnel Mayor Mary Sjostrom –

“Quesnel is already an excellent place to raise a family, but the Multi-Centre will bring our community to a whole new level of liveability. This investment is a welcome boost as we continue to enhance and develop partnerships while working towards making this community’s dream a reality.”

To learn more:

Editor's Note - although $4 million is great for this project, another $9 million is still necessary to make this project a full reality before the taxpayer commitment of $15 million in November of 2013 expires for this project.  In fact, Bob Simpson spoke to this today on Facebook by stating:

"The Provincial Govt's $4million contribution to the Quesnel Mulit-Centre is a welcome addition to the fundraising drive that's been going on for a few years now. If the Federal Govt matches that then we're getting pretty close. I'll work with Quesnel Mayor and Council and the Northern Directors of the CRD (Cariboo Regional District) to see what we can do to get more from the Northern Trust (NDIT) than what's currently assigned.

Big Kudos to all those who haven't given up hope we can have a new Multi-Centre for Quesnel despite the economic downturn that set in as the plans came into place for this new complex."

Meanwhile - CRD Area 'B' Heloise Dixon-Warren stated on her Facebook page:

"Today at 1 pm the Province of British Columbia announced a contribution of $4,000,000 towards the proposed North Cariboo Multi-Centre. I will follow up with some additional information on the referendum held in Nov. 2008 for the Cariboo Regional District / City of Quesnel to borrow upwards of $15,000,000 if $15,000,000 is secured. Currently, $6,000,000 has been secured... $4,000,000 from the province and $2,000,000 through Northern Development Initiative Trust. Another $9,000,000 will need to be secured prior to Nov. 2013 for the project proceeding."

Upcoming CRD Business - April 20th

1) Interior Health to present 'Planning Principles' document to local Hospital District Board - read here

2) Board to ratify recommendation of Central Cariboo Joint Committee to spend $25,000 at the CMRC to install a temporary liquid chlorine system - read here

3) Board to ratify recommendation from Central Cariboo Rural Directors' Caucus, of other things, to encourage WL City Council to appoint one of its' members' to the local Air Quality Roundtable & Interface Fire Committee - read here

Editor's Note - I can't recall a time when CRD Directors' have actively asked a local municipal council to appoint one of its' members to an external committee.  Curious that they felt the need to ask... usually CRD Directors let municipal councils' make appointments to local Committees' at their own pleasure

4) Area 'J' Director Roger William will ask for Board suppport to approve feasibility funds to look into supporting, with tax dollars, 'West Chilcotin Search & Rescue' - read here.

5) Area 'F' Director Joan Sorley will ask for Board support to assist the Cedar Point Park Board to install banners by use of the Area 'F' Special Projects Fund - read here

6)Tatjana Bates (Community Dietician with Interior Health) will appear before the Board to discuss community gardens and the Cariboo Growers food co-op

Friday, April 13, 2012

Local Gov't Mtgs - Week of Apr 16th - 20th

Wells - Regular Meeting on Tuesday, April 17th at 7:00pm in Wells Council Chambers (4243 Sanders Ave)

Quesnel - Committee of the Whole Meeting on Monday, April 16th at 7:00pm in Quesnel Council Chambers (2nd Flr - 410 Kinchant St).  Read the Agenda/Reports here

School District #28 (Quesnel) - Regular Meeting on Wednesday, April 18th at 7:00pm in the SD #28 Boardroom (401 North Star Rd, Quesnel).

School District #27 (Cariboo-Chilcotin) - No meeting until April 24th
Williams Lake - Regular Meeting on Tuesday, April 17th at 6:00pm in Williams Lake Council Chambers.  Read the Agenda/Reports here

100 Mile House - Public Hearing at 7:00pm in 100 Mile Council Chambers (385 Birch Ave).  Read the Agenda here

Cariboo Regional District - Regular Meeting on Friday, April 20th at 9:30am in the CRD Boardroom (Suite D - 180 North 3rd Ave in Williams Lake).  Read the Agenda/Reports here

Cariboo-Chilcotin News - April 13th edition

In Quesnel:

* Bill 22 opposed by Quesnel teachers - read here
* Investigation into death of 15 year old continues - read here

Note - there will be an announcement on Saturday at the Quesnel Twin Ice Arenas at 1:00pm.  Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett will be in attendance.  I have no insight as to what the announcement relates to

In Williams Lake:

* WL Council considers tax shift of 1% from heavy industry to residential/business - read here
* City of WL Accessibility Committee visits local Safeway - read here
* WL Indian Band signs agreement with Gold Fields Horsefly Exploration Corporation - read here
* NDP talks forestry policy in Prince George last week - read here
* School District #27 plans to cut 4.4 teaching positions for 2012-13 School Year
* 'New Prosperity' Open House next Monday at the Gibraltar Room from 1-3pm & 7-9pm - read here
* Kerry Cook: Crime Numbers showing a great turnaround - read here
* Bob Simpson: What about our future? - read here
* Clarence Moore: Something wrong with teachers' asking for more money - read here

In 100 Mile House:

* Brian Battison (Taseko Corporate Affairs VP) foresees 'economic boom' when 'New Prosperity' approved - read here
* Green Lk OCP goes back to another Public Hearing - read here
* Local group wants to sustain local abattoir - read here
* Energy Efficiency improves at 100 Mile General - read here
* District of 100 Mile Financial Bylaws revised - read here
* Gordon Hogland commends 100 Mile Mayor Mitch Campsall for his stanch on the provincial Business Tax Panel - read here
* BC First Party President speaks out on the provincial democratic system - read here
* 100 Mile Free Press editorial on the F-35 program while the Vancouver Sun takes a different stance on the F-35's.  See here (100 Mile Free Press) and here (Vancouver Sun)