Monday, February 29, 2016

2016 Business Façade Improvement Program - City of WL

Courtesy of the City of Williams Lake:

The City of Williams Lake’s application to the Northern Development Initiative Trust (NDIT) for a $20,000 Business Façade Improvement program grant has been approved for another year by the NDIT. The funds will be delivered through a local Business Façade Improvement Program to improve retail and commercial building facades in the City’s downtown and highway commercial corridor. A primary purpose of the program is to assist in improving the physical appearance and / or functionality of commercial buildings for the betterment of business viability and service to the public. 
By facilitating improvements to business facades, business areas can become more appealing to consumers, thereby increasing the marketability of commercial spaces and assisting business viability and retention. 
Existing buildings in the Downtown and Highway Corridor Development Permit Areas of the City of Williams Lake are eligible for the program. Building owners or business owners with written authorization of the property owner can apply to the City for a 50% reimbursement grant up to a maximum of $5,000 for approved façade improvement projects. 
Examples of eligible improvements include exteriors works such as decorative and architectural details, signage, accessibility and entranceway improvements, and lighting. 
The Business Façade Improvement Program application and guidelines are now available on the City’s website at
For more information about funding programs and success stories of the Northern Development Initiative Trust, visit their website at

For more information, contact:
Linda Evans
Additional Info...

Sunday, February 28, 2016

108 Water System Assent Vote passes!

Yesterday - the following question was put to those within the 108 Mile Water System service area:

“Are you in favour of the Cariboo Regional District borrowing up to two million dollars to construct a new well, water main and water treatment plant at the 108 Mile Water System? The combined costs to build and operate the improved system would be as follows:

Parcel tax of approximately $250 per year for 15 years, starting in 2016; and
Increased user fee to approximately $284 per year per single family residence, starting in 2017.

To accommodate the above, an amendment to the current service bylaw is necessary to increase the annual maximum tax requisition to the greater of $400,000 or an amount raised by applying a tax rate of $1.61/$1,000 of assessment to the net taxable value of land and improvements in the service area.”

The unofficial results are:

YES - 415
NO - 100

Official results of the assent vote will be declared Tuesday afternoon...

2016 Business Façade Improvement Program - City of Quesnel

From City of Quesnel website:

The 2015 Business Façade Improvement Program has been a success! Façade improvement projects in Development Permit Areas of the City (see map below) may be eligible for 50% reimbursement of the project cost, up to a maximum of $5,000 per project. To apply, please complete the application form below and contact the City Planner, Urszula Walus at or call 250-992-2111 to discuss your project.

Apply for funding as soon as possible as funds are limited!

Map of Proposed Eligible Properties
2016 Facade Improvement Program Guidelines
2016 Façade Grant Application

Saturday, February 27, 2016

NStQ "Blinded Sided" by BC Government

Courtesy of the Northern Shuswap Tribal Council"

The Board of Directors of the Northern Shuswap Tribal Council (NSTC), representing the four Northern Secwepemc te Qelmuc (NStQ) communities of Canim Lake Indian Band (Tsq’escen’), Williams Lake Indian Band (T’exelc), Soda Creek Indian Band (Xats’ūll) and Stswecem’c/Xgat’tem (Canoe Creek / Dog Creek Indian Band), have been blindsided and insulted by the February 12th announcement of the Nenqay Deni Accord between the B.C. Government and the Tsilhqot’in Nation.

The land claimed by the Tsilhqot’in in this Accord, as ‘Category A’ lands on which the province recognizes that the Tsilhqot’in will have ownership of the land and resources, covers a huge area of central British Columbia, including significant portions of Secwepemc territory and that of other neighboring First Nation communities. The NStQ and neighboring First Nations share a unified message - they are offended by the lack of respect and consultation from the Province of British Columbia and the Tsilhqot’in National Government (TNG). NStQ member nations have been engaged with the governments of British Columbia and Canada in the six stage made-in-BC Treaty process for over 20 years and are currently on the threshold of entering into stage five Final Agreement negotiations. NStQ leaders insist they should have been consulted and properly informed, prior to the February 12th signing of the Nenqay Deni Accord.

The NStQ and our neighboring First Nation communities fully support reconciliation between aboriginal and non-aboriginal groups and applaud the Tsilhqot’in communities in their continued efforts to achieve recognition and reconciliation of aboriginal title & rights, but believe this can only be achieved in a manner that honours and respects the interests of all affected First Nation communities. However, the approach taken in reaching this Accord appears contrary to what the province of British Columbia and the Tsilhqot’in National Government subscribe to in the preamble language* written into their own agreement;

* “A tremendous opportunity stands before all of us, if we can overcome conflict and truly recognize and celebrate our different cultures, laws and governance, and our responsibilities to our lands and our future generations. It is our sincere hope that this Agreement offers an opportunity for healing and for building a better Province, for the Tsilhqot’in people and all British Columbians”.

NStQ leaders acknowledge the different cultures, interests and governance structures of its First Nations neighbours and sincerely thank the leaders of Lhoosk’uz Dene First Nation and Lhtako Dene First Nation for their support and concern in extending our unified message regarding the lack of provincial consultation and colonial attitude regarding the future of our lands. The NStQ encourage all British Columbia First Nations to review the Nenqay Deni Accord in detail and become vocal in their positions relating to this Accord.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Local Gov't Mtgs - Wk of Feb 29th - March 4th

Next week - the following local governments will meet:

Quesnel - Regular Council Meeting on Tuesday, March 1st at 7pm in Quesnel Council Chambers (2nd Floor - 410 Kinchant Street).  On the Agenda:

* Receive Minutes of Executive and Policy/Bylaw Review Committee Meetings
* Intent & Objectives of Local Procurement
* Request for Naming of the Fraser River Pedestrian Bridge
* Northern Development Initiative Trust Grant Applications Update
* Marketing Initiative Projects Budget
* Land Policy - Shipping Containers/Accessory Buildings
* Response Letter - BC Emergency Health Services - Request for Consideration for Community Paramedicine

View the full Agenda here

Wells - Committee of the Whole Meeting on Tuesday, March 1st at 7pm in Wells Council Chambers (4243 Sanders Avenue).  When available, the Agenda can be viewed here

Williams Lake - Committee of the Whole Meeting on Tuesday, March 1st at 6pm in the Rick Hansen Boardroom (450 Mart Street - Basement).  On the Agenda:

* Auditor General for Local Government's (AGLG) Policing Audit - City Action Plan
* Pavement Rehabilitation 2016 - Street Selection

View the full Agenda here

Following the meeting - Williams Lake Council will hold an In-Camera Meeting (closed to the public) as per Section (901f - law enforcement) of the Community Charter

Community Events This Weekend/Next Week:

Sunday, Feb 28th from noon-4pm - Come down to the Williams Lake Canadian Tire to meet members of Timber Kings

Friday, March 4th from 11:30am - 1:30pm -- Celebration of Women in Business: Lunch/Networking Event.  Event to be held at the Billy Barker Casino Showroom.  For more information - contact Cariboo-North MLA Coralee Oakes' office at 250-991-0296.  Tickets $25.00 each and can be picked up at MLA Oakes' office (4th Floor - 410 Kinchant St, Quesnel) or at the Quesnel Visitor Centre.  Portion of proceeds from the event to benefit the "Go Girls" Program with the Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Quesnel & Miss Quesnel Self Development Program


Cariboo Regional District Board Highlights - Feb 26th mtg

Courtesy of the Cariboo Regional District:

Hospital Project Funding
         The Cariboo Chilcotin Regional Hospital District Board gave 3 readings to bylaws authorizing a 40% contribution to the GR Baker Memorial Hospital Switchgear Replacement project and the GR Baker Memorial Hospital Quesnel Unit for Emergency Short Stay Treatment Program renovation project.  It was further resolved that adoption of the bylaws will be contingent on the Board receiving assurances that a fair and transparent procurement process will be followed when awarding contracts for the projects.

Sponsorship for Big Lake Community Association Grant
         The Board approved a request from the Big Lake Community Association to sponsor the association’s 2016 application, to the Farm Credit Canada AgriSpirit Fund, for a grant of $15,000 to aid in the replacement of the staff housing unit at the Big Lake Community Hall property. 

Support for Community NDIT Applications
         The Regional District Board of Directors will provide letters of support to the following application’s to the Northern Development Initiative Trust.

         Roe Lake & District Recreation Commission - The request is for $30,000 in grant funding from the Cariboo-Chilcotin/Lillooet Regional Development Account, under the Community Halls & Recreation Facilities program. The funding will be used to complete a newly constructed concession building on the Interlakes rodeo grounds.  The total value of the project is $44,512.

         Williams Lake Indian Band - The request is for $30,000 in grant funding from the Cariboo-Chilcotin/Lillooet Regional Development Account, under the Community Halls & Recreation Facilities program. The funding will be used to construct a new multi-use recreation trail with a low-mobility component at the east end of Williams Lake. Once complete, the trail will provide a connection from the recreation trails located near the Chief Will-Yum Campsite to those located in the South Lakeside area.The total value of the project is $59,000.

         Northern Secwepemc Cultural Society - The request is for $30,000 in grant funding from the Cariboo-Chilcotin/Lillooet Regional Development Account, under the Community Halls & Recreation Facilities program. The funding will be used to construct a cultural monument representing the Secwepemc peoples, near 108 Mile Lake. The monument is expected to be one feature of a larger project, which is the construction and operation of a Northern Secwepemc Cultural Centre at the same location. The total value of the project is $208,250.

         Spinal Cord Injury BC - The request is for $20,000 in grant funding from the Cariboo-Chilcotin/Lillooet Regional Development Account, under the Marketing Initiatives program. The funding will be used to develop a publicly available informational resource which will catalog the accessible outdoor recreation amenities found in northern BC. The total value of the project is $71,470.

         Barkerville Heritage Trust - The request is for $30,000 in grant funding from the Cariboo-Chilcotin/Lillooet Regional Development Account, under the Community Halls & Recreation Facilities program. The funding will be used to purchase and install a ‘magic carpet’ lift, which will service a tube park near Barkerville Historic Town. The total value of the project is $100,000.

Economic Development Function
         The Board resolved to create an Economic Development Function in Electoral Areas J and K, with $5,000 to be allocated to each function in the 2016 budget. 

2015 Invasive Plant Management Report
         The Board received the 2015 Invasive Plant Management Report.  A few highlight from the report are:

         The program provided invasive plant management services for the Cariboo Regional District, City of Williams Lake, and District of Wells on private, municipal, and regional district owned lands. Services were also provided on a fee for service basis for the City of Quesnel, BC Hydro, Fortis BC Energy Inc., Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, and Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

         50 privately owned lots within the CRD were inventoried and treated, 294.8 L and 0.00075 Kg were dispensed, and spray equipment was available for loan out through the services available in the CRD’s Landowner Assistance Program. Also within the Landowner Assistance Program was a new 50/50 cost share program. The program began its initial 5 year pilot in 2013 and was very successful in 2015 with just over 1315.25 acres receiving treatment on 17 participating properties.

Reduced User Fees at Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex During First Phase of Construction
         The Board adopted Cariboo Regional District Central Cariboo Recreation Fees and Charges Amendment Bylaw No. 5015, which authorizes rate reductions for recreation programs affected by the first phase of the Sam Ketcham Pool construction/renovation project slated to commence on March 1, 2016.  The reduced rates will remain in effect until completion of the first phase of construction.

Next Board Meeting
CCRHD & CRD Boards – March 24, 2016

New Mining Legislation Strengthens Compliance/Enforcement with Penalties

Courtesy of the BC Government:

Minister of Energy and Mines Bill Bennett today introduced amendments to the Mines Act that will strengthen government’s regulatory oversight of the mining industry and give the ministry additional compliance and enforcement tools.

The changes proposed today will enable government to include administrative monetary penalties as an additional compliance and enforcement tool under the Mines Act. Currently, compliance and enforcement tools under the act are limited to shutting down a mine through the cancellation of a permit, issuance of a stop-work order, or pursuing prosecutions.

Administrative monetary penalties can be imposed for contraventions without involving the courts. This type of penalty is already used by other ministries and has proven to be an efficient and effective compliance tool.

Existing penalties available for court prosecutions under the act will also increase under the amendment. The maximum penalties will be raised from the current $100,000 and/or up to one year imprisonment to $1 million and/or up to three years imprisonment.

These changes to the Mines Act will bring it in line with the other provincial natural resource legislation, including the Environmental Management Act (EMA), the Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA) and the Oil and Gas Activities Act (OGAA), all of which include administrative monetary penalties and more severe penalties for court convictions.

The amendments introduced today are part of government’s ongoing actions to implement the 26 recommendations of the independent panel and the chief inspector of mines following their respective investigations into the Mount Polley tailings storage facility (TSF) failure. Work to implement a number of these recommendations is either substantially underway or complete, including improving corporate governance, improving professional engineering practices and strengthening current regulatory operations.

Immediately following the failure at Mount Polley, the chief inspector of mines ordered inspections and third-party reviews of TSFs at all permitted mines in B.C. The inspections and reviews did not identify any immediate safety concerns and are available online at:

In addition, last January, in response to the independent panel’s recommendation to strengthen current regulatory operations, the chief inspector of mines ordered mines to confirm whether foundation materials similar to those at Mount Polley exist below any of their dams. This work was completed in June and no immediate risks or safety concerns were identified.

As well, the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia (APEGBC) is developing new guidelines to improve professional engineering practices for dam site characterization assessments. These new guidelines will be released by summer 2016.

In response to the independent panel’s recommendation to improve corporate governance, the Mining Association of Canada (MAC) last year initiated an independent, multi-stakeholder expert task force review of its tailings management requirements and guidance documents under its Towards Sustainable Mining program. Last December, MAC released the final report from this task force and is working to implement its recommendations.

The Province also committed to implement a new requirement that all operating mines with TSFs in British Columbia establish Independent Tailings Dam Review Boards. This is being addressed as part of the ongoing code review. These boards will support improved engineering practices by providing third-party advice on the design, construction, operation and closure of TSFs.

Remaining recommendations from the independent panel and the chief inspector of mines are being addressed through the ongoing review of the Health, Safety and Reclamation Code for Mines in British Columbia. The tailings storage facility portion of the Code Review is expected to be completed in this spring, and revisions could be legally in force by mid-2016. Government will also work with industry and professional organizations to ensure recommendations directed at them are implemented. It is anticipated this work will be completed by spring 2017.

BC's Energy/Mines Minister Hon. Bill Bennett stated:

“The legislative changes I introduced yesterday provide my ministry with more tools for compliance and enforcement, strengthening British Columbia’s regulatory framework so we can build an even safer, more sustainable mining industry in this province."

“It is my goal that B.C.’s regulatory regime for health and safety on mine sites is the best in the world and we will get there by implementing all of the recommendations of the independent expert panel and the chief inspector of mines.”

To Learn More:

A complete list of the recommendations from the independent expert panel and the chief inspector of mines is available here:

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Quesnel Council Highlights - Feb 23rd mtg

Courtesy of the City of Quesnel:

Public Hearing
A Public Hearing was held at 7:00 p.m. on February 23, 2015 regarding Bylaws 1789 - 1790 to permit a single family dwelling in a downtown zone in the 500 block of Reid Street; to ban shipping containers in residential areas only and to restrict in some commercial areas; amend restrictions to accessory buildings, recreational vehicles and licensee retail stores.  Approximately 50 individuals attended the Public Hearing with the majority wanting to give input to Council for the proposed shipping containers and accessory building restrictions.  Council defeated Bylaws 1791 and 1792 regarding shipping container and accessory building/RV Storage/Retail Licensee Stores, at the Regular Meeting held directly after the Public Hearing, and asked Staff/Policy and Bylaw Review Committee to bring back to Council recommendations regarding shipping containers, accessory buildings, RV Storage and Retail Licensee Stores in order to continue to move these issues forward.

Committee Support Budget and Committees

Council approved, for 2016 only, a $4,460 budget for the Shiraoi Twinning Society in part to host/celebrate the 35th anniversary of the Twinning relationship and an expected Shiraoi delegation to visit Quesnel in 2016.  
Council has asked staff to take steps to repeal the Museum & Heritage Commission bylaw and asked the Executive Committee to work with staff to look at a more flexible structure for this group.  Also, Council asked the Executive Committee and staff to create new Terms of Reference, as a starting point, for this group to review as this initiative moves forward.   Council approved $7,500 be allocated, from the 2015 general surplus, to complete structural engineering plans for the original Hudson’s Bay building located on Front Street to look at the building’s foundation and the ground that surrounds this site.
Due to logistical issues, the WildSafeBC (Bear Aware) program will not be able to solely focus on issues related to the City’s switch to bi-weekly garbage pickup in 2016.  For this reason, Council has decided not to fund the WildSafeBC program for 2016, but instead allocated these funds $2,500 for targeted education that will cover such topics as managing compostable garbage, bear-proofing garbage cans and garbage handling practises that will help to reduce problem bear issues.
Council has asked the Executive Committee to work with staff to renew the operational contract with the Chamber of Commerce who is responsible for the operation of the Quesnel & District Visitors Information Centre.  

Proposed Five Year Financial Plan

Council approved staff moving forward to build the City’s Five Year Financial Plan.  The Five year Plan is built based on Council’s three-year tax framework which includes freezing major and light industrial taxation at 2015 dollar levels and increasing the contribution to the Capital Reinvestment Plan by $675,000 from 2016 – 2018.
- Capital Reinvestment reserve is increased another $125,000 in 2017 and $155,000 in 2018 for a total of $675,000 from 2016 to 2018
- Debt has been built into this Plan with $10 million for the Public Works Facility in 2017; and $2.0 million for the Fire Hall Building in 2020
- $1,598,000 Gas Tax Reserves will be allocated for $1,508,000 capital projects approved by Council; $40,000 for the active transportation plan; and $50,000 for the waste management projects.

Development Permit - Veterinary Clinic

Council approved a Development Permit for the construction of a veterinary clinic location at 2372 Larch Avenue with an approved variance of Zoning Bylaw 1662 to permit any parking and areas of vehicle parking and travel to be gravel.  The property owner will have to post a 125% landscaping bond and provide approved plans for the preservation of the natural overland storm water route. 

Alternative Approval Process – 10% Eligible Voter Threshold

Council has approved the 10% voter threshold to be 723 eligible voters for the Alternative Approval Process for the proposed $10,000,000 Loan Authorization Bylaw for the new public works facility.  Council has final discretion (via a Council resolution) as to whether or not this issue should proceed to a full referendum after the 4:30 p.m. April 4, 2016 electoral response form submission deadline.   Electoral Response Forms packages are available at the front desk of City Hall and the City’s website.

2015 Fourth Quarter Report

City Manager Byron Johnson provided Council with the following key summary results from various City departments regarding the corporation’s 2015 fourth quarter results:
Fire Department - currently experiencing a shortage of volunteer fire fighters with Fire Chief Gauthier completing a recruitment blitz. 
Building Inspection Department - decline in total permit values from $11,146,724 in 2014 to $4,380,046 in 2015 and the number of new homes from 12 in 2014 to 2 in 2015.
Airport Operations – total number of aircraft movement is down 8% from 2014 to 2015, but the total number of passengers decreased 1% from 2014 to 2015.
Transit operations – total ridership was up 36% from 2014 to 2015.


Bylaw 1789 & 1790 – OCP & Zone Amendment – Single Family Dwelling in Downtown Zone – Third Reading
Bylaw 1791 – Zone Amendment – Shipping Containers – Defeated and referred to the Policy and Bylaw Review Committee for recommendations to be brought forward to Council for further consideration under a new Bylaw.
Bylaw 1792 – Zone Amendment – Accessory Buildings/RV Storage/Retail Licensee Stores - Defeated and referred to the Policy and Bylaw Review Committee for recommendations to be brought forward to Council for further consideration under new Bylaws.
Bylaw 1793 – Zone Amendment – Secondary Suite (Coach Road South/Hydraulic Road) - First/Second Readings and Public Hearing set for March 15, 2016 at 7:00 pm in Council Chambers

Next Meetings

- 7:00 pm, Tuesday, March 1, 2016 – Regular Council Meeting
-  5:30 pm, Tuesday, March 8, 2016 – North Cariboo Joint Planning Committee

Bob Simpson: Good Time to Invest in Quesnel

Courtesy of the City of Quesnel:

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

CC Rural Caucus - Feb 24th mtg

Present: Chair S. Forseth, Directors B. Kemp, J. Sorley and B. Anderson

Meeting called to order at 3pm

Acknowledgement of meeting on traditional Northern Shuswap territory and that today is Pink Shirt Day

Meeting Agenda approved/CC Rural Caucus Meeting Minutes of Jan 27th adopted


Williams Lake RCMP Insp. Milo MacDonald appeared before the Caucus to give an update on RCMP affairs as it pertained to rural areas

A Question/Answer period ensued 

The Chair, on behalf of Caucus, thanked Insp. MacDonald for his time/information


The Caucus discussed the following matters:

a) Final Draft of the 2016-2019 Joint Use Agreement 
b) 153 Mile Store - Financial Participation in Study with City of Williams Lake
c) Add $1,600 to approved 2016 Grant for Assistance for the McLeese Lake Volunteer Fire Department Society
d) Discussion on 2016 WL Field Naturalists Banquet in April

The Caucus also held an In-Camera Meeting as per Section 90(1k - negotiations) of the Community Charter from 4:25pm - 4:50pm

Meeting adjourned at 4:51pm

"Stop Mayor Walt Cobb" Facebook Page

Just mere hours after Williams Lake City Council passed their "Inject GPS Device" NCLGA/UBCM Resolution for High Risk or Prolific Offenders at their meeting yesterday evening - an individual has set up a "Stop Mayor Walt Cobb" Facebook page, similiar in nature to the "Stop Harper" campaign, whose description says:

(Williams Lake) Mayor (Walt) Cobb has been a disaster in so many respects. This page is dedicated to getting him to reform or else he needs to be ousted.

For the record - local elected officials, once elected, are not subject to the same provincial recall law that provincial MLA's are subject to.  This is the first time, that I can remember, where one has taken this type of action against a Mayor of Williams Lake, either via a website or social media tools (Facebook, etc) just a mere year after a local election... however I don't expect this Facebook page will change the current course of action for crime related matters relative to Williams Lake City Council

View the Facebook page here.


Inject GPS Tracking Chips in High Risk/Prolific Offenders?

At last night's Williams Lake City Council meeting - Council endorsed a resolution proposed by City Councillor Scott Nelson to inject GPS Tracking Chips into either High Risk or Prolific Offenders.

This resolution will now be forwarded to the 2016 North Central Local Government Association (NCLGA) and Union of BC Muncipalities (UBCM) AGM's for consideration of endorsement.  The 2016 NCLGA AGM will be held in Dawson Creek, BC from May 4-6, 2016 while the 2016 UBCM AGM will be held in Victoria, BC from September 26-30th, 2016

Read more from the Williams Lake Tribune here.  Meanwhile - Councillor Nelson made no apology for his "GPS Injection" Resolution for High Risk or Prolific Offenders saying "the rights of the majority (public) supersede the rights of the minority (offenders)".  Read more here

It will be interesting to follow the discussion locally on this item and also the debates at NCLGA/UBCM on this item as well...


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

WL Council Highlights - Feb 23rd mtg

Present - Mayor W. Cobb; Councillors S. Nelson, C. Smith and L. Walters (via teleconference)

Meeting called to order at 6:05pm

Meeting Agenda approved with late items
Minutes of the Feb 9th, 2016 Council meeting adopted


1) Council received for information the accounts payable computer cheque listings for the periods ending February 11 and 17, 2016

2) Council awarded the 153 Mile Store Relocation contract to McGinn Engineering and Preservation Ltd. for a total not exceeding $28,000, excluding GST. Council also agreed to add a budget of $35,000 for the work to the proposed 2016 Annual City of Williams Lake Budget.

3) Council agreed to place 'The Elks Hall' on the Williams Lake Heritage Register. Staff were directed to register the property on the Province of British Columbia and Government Heritage Registry, which will also result in placement on the Canadian Register of Historic Places

4) Council adopted a recommendation from the General Governance Committee as follows:

a) That pursuant to General Governance Committee Report #01-2016, the report of the Director of Development Services dated February 1, 2016 be received and the previous work program assignments carrying forward from years prior to this current term of office be placed in abeyance

5) Council awarded the contract for the relining of the 1041 metres of vitreaous clay sewer mainlines to Insituform Technologies Limited for the bid price of $190,450, excluding GST

6) Council received the report of the Director of Community Services in regards to a potential roundabout for the Sam Ketcham Pool Renovation Project and agreed to advise the CRD that Council wishes to proceed with a 4 way stop for the Sam Ketcham Pool Renovation Project - Parking Lot Component

7) Council adopted several Committee of the Whole recommendations as follows:

a) That pursuant to Committee of Whole Council Report #04-2016 and the report of the Bylaw Services Officer dated February 5, 2016, Council endorse the issuance of a ninety (90) day compliance order requiring the demolition of the fire-damaged building located at 55 Sixth Avenue South.

b) That pursuant to Committee of Whole Council Report #05-2016 and the report of the Director of Municipal Services dated February 11, 2016, Council approve the addition of an asphalt hot box to the 2016 Capital Budget and early budget approval be granted in the amount of $95,000; and further, Staff be requested to delete item(s) of similar value from the 2016 budget.

c) That pursuant to Committee of Whole Council Report #06-2016, the report of the Planner dated February 5, 2016 regarding the parkland disposition process be received and Council direct Staff to conduct an open house in the first week of April 2016 to inform the public of, and receive comments regarding, the disposition of the lands identified as surplus in the Parks, Trails & Outdoor Recreation Master Plan, and the materials be displayed at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex in the week following; and further, Staff report back to Council in March with a detailed consultation program and timeframe, and in May with the consultation findings.

d) That pursuant to Committee of Whole Council Report #07-2016, Staff work with the Williams Lake Central Business Improvement Association on applicable amendments to the Business Improvement Area Bylaw.

e) That pursuant to Committee of Whole Report #08-2016, Council support the Williams Lake Central Business Improvement Association inviting a representative from Business Improvement Areas of BC (BIABC) to facilitate a workshop for the WLCBIA and City.

f) That pursuant to Committee of Whole Council Report #09-2016, Council encourage the members of the Board of the Williams Lake Central Business Improvement Association to consider hosting a modified Street Party for 2016.

8) Council agreed to provide a letter of support for Youth for Christ's funding application to Northern Development Initiative Trust (NDIT) for a grant of up to $30,000, from the Cariboo-Chilcotin/Lillooet region, towards renovations to the Hotspot Youth Centre.

9) Council received the letter from the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society dated January 2016 regarding the launching of its new Green Events Planning Guide

10) Council agreed to provide a letter of support for Cariboo Elks Lodge #239's funding application to Northern Development Initiative Trust (NDIT) for a grant, from the Cariboo-Chilcotin/Lillooet region, towards replacement of the Williams Lake Elks Hall roof.

11) Council proclaimed the month of April 2016 as "Daffodil Month" in the City of Williams Lake

12) Late Item #1 - Council agreed to endorse the nomination of Councillor Laurie Walters for the position of Second Vice President on the NCLGA Executive Board for the 2016/17 term.

13) Late Item #2 - Council agreed to provide early budget approval for the partnership with the WLCBIA to purchase a number of High Resolution Cameras to be installed at various points throughout the community

14) Late Item #3 - At the request of Councillor Nelson, Council endorsed the position of having GPS Tracking Devices being placed inside Prolific or High Risk Offenders and that this matter be forwarded to the NCLGA and UBCM annual meetings for consideration

15) Council received the 'Council Information Package' as of Feb 23rd, 2016

Members of Council gave oral reports on their activities in the community

Meeting adjourned at 6:49pm and after a 2 minute recess, Council convened an In-Camera Meeting as per Section 90(1b - municipal honour) of the Community Charter

Monday, February 22, 2016

McLeese Lake VFD - Feb 2016 Newsletter

McLeese Lake VFD responds to fatal MVI last week

Last Thursday evening - the McLeese Lake Ind. Volunteer Fire Department (which is within my Electoral Area) responded to a fatal head on collision in which they were able to put out the two vehicles that both burst into flames.  Ian Hicks, who is President of the McLeese Lake Volunteer Fire Department Society (MLVFD) reports to the community of McLeese Lake as to how the MLVFD performed when called out to the incident.  The Society was formed as a result of another fatal MVI in the community back in 2012

As the Cariboo Regional District Area 'D' Director which includes the community of McLeese Lake - I am proud of the fine work they do on behalf of this community

Find below the report from the President of the MLVFD Society to the community of McLeese Lake (posted below with permission):

Hello Mcleese Lake,
On Feb 18 - 10 pm MLVFD responded to a highway accident just north of the old highways yard. A southbound car had crossed into oncoming traffic and was hit by a loaded semi-truck. Both vehicles were totally engulfed in flames. After getting a call from a local resident that had just passed through the scene, we were able to muster 7 volunteers, and within 15 minutes were at the scene of the fire. Although the incident was already attended by multiple agencies, none of them were equipped to deal with the fire situation. We've practiced this exact scenario multiple times so we were able to set into play our Winter Strategy. Our Winter Strategy basically consists of getting one of our 3 portable pumps to the lake, cut a hole in the ice, and haul water in 1000 liter totes. Nick Dube and Dominic Thorne brought three full totes within 10-15 minutes of us exhausting our first tank, which we carry in the Quick Response Truck. By the time the second tank of water was used, as well as using the foam-pack, ( that injects fire suppressant foam into the water), we were able to get the fire out completely. We were able to get right up to the hot vehicles, within arms- length, since we had on our full gear, including self- contained air tanks. Everyone worked as a team, and the equipment and strategy worked just as we've been practicing.
Every event is also considered to be a learning experience for us, so after the fire we debriefed and discussed what we did right, and what could be improved upon in the future. It was a great informative meeting and congratulations and smiles went all around. Aside from the terrible tragedy, it was a win for us as the MLVFD. We were able to safely, and fairly smoothly, deal with the big vehicle fire that had the other agencies at a standstill.
I'd like to thank the volunteers Dominic Thorne, Nick Dube, Mike Valenius, Kathy Rourke, Dan Willan, Shirley Bedard, Jacquie Wallace, Cori Gosselin and Michelle Valenius for their great effort, which went on until 2am. As always, we give thanks to the People of Mcleese Lake for their continued support and encouragement.
Absolutely Best Regards,
Ian Hicks (president MLVFD)

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Prov. $$$ boosts Outreach/Multiculturism Programs in Williams Lake

Courtesy of the BC Government Caucus:

The Cariboo Chilcotin branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association has received a grant of $49,000 from the province’s Community Gaming Grant program.

The funding will support the association’s outreach advocacy and support program, and the multiculturalism program.

“The outreach advocacy position links disadvantaged individuals to supports and services in the community, to help them navigate difficult systems, to assist in personal goal-setting and the development of expanded personal support networks,” said Bettina Egert, family councillor and program manager for multiculturalism and advocacy. “The multiculturalism program contributes to the quality of life in the community by building social cohesiveness through events and projects that celebrate our diverse cultures, promote inclusivity and address racism.”

“Bettina Egert, Marilyn Livingston, Margaret Anne Anders, Tom Salley and volunteers do amazing work for the people of Williams Lake and area,” Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett said. “Our government is proud to assist the Canadian Mental Health Association in Williams Lake to ensure it can continue its valuable work.”

This grant is awarded under the Human and Social Services category of the Community Gaming Grant program, which allows non-profit organizations to apply for provincial gaming revenues from the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development. Gaming grants are also awarded in the categories of Public Safety, Sports and Arts and Culture, Parent Advisory Councils and District Parent Advisory Councils, and Environment.

Every year, the provincial government approves $135 million in gaming grants that benefit more than 5,000 local non-profit organizations that serve communities throughout British Columbia.

Organizations interested in applying for Community Gaming Grants can find information and applications at

Friday, February 19, 2016

Local Gov't Mtgs - Wk of Feb 22-26

A number of local governments are meeting next week as follows:

Quesnel - Public Hearing on Bylaws 1789-1792 inclusive covering Vacant Lot - 500 Block of Reid Street, Zone Amendment - Shipping Containers and Zone Amendment - Accessory Building, RV Storage & Retail Licensee Stores. Public Hearing to commence at 7pm on Tuesday, Feb 23rd in Quesnel Council Chambers (2nd Floor - 410 Kinchant St).  Agenda for the Public Hearings can be viewed here

Following adjournment of the Public Hearings, the Regular Council Meeting will follow.  On the Agenda:

* Committee Reports
* Community Support Budget and Committees
* Consideration of 2016 NCLGA Resolutions covering Family Day, DNA Costs for Local Governments and Road Line Paint
* First/Second Quarter Special Meetings/Strategic Initiatives
* 4th Quarter of 2015 Report
* Five Year Financial Plan Review
* Rezoning - Secondary Suite - Coach Road South
* Development Permit - Veterinary Clinic - 2372 Larch Ave
* 7 Letters for Council to review
* Bylaws 1789-1792 inclusive for 3rd Reading, following earlier Public Hearing held on these Bylaws

View the full Agenda here

School District #27 (Cariboo-Chilcotin) - Regular Board of Education Meeting on Tuesday, Feb 23rd at 6:30pm in the SD27 Boardroom (350 2nd Avenue North).  When available, the Agenda can be viewed here

Williams Lake - Regular Council Meeting on Tuesday, Feb 23rd at 6pm in WL Council Chambers (450 Mart St).  On the Agenda:

* 153 Mile Heritage Building Offer - Award of Contract
* Listing of 98 First Avenue South on Heritage Register - "The Elks Hall"
* 2016 Development Services Workplan - General Governance Committee Rpt #01-2016
* Pipe Relining - Award of Contract
* CMRC Roundabout Update
* Adoption of Feb 16th Committee of Whole Council Recommendations

View the full Agenda here

100 Mile House - Regular Council Meeting on Tuesday, Feb 23rd at 7pm in 100 Mile Council Chambers (385 Birch Avenue).  When available, the Agenda can be viewed here

Cariboo Regional District:

Central Cariboo Rural Caucus - Regular Meeting on Wednesday, Feb 24th at 3pm in the CRD Committee Room (180D North 3rd Avenue, Williams Lake).  On the Agenda:

* Delegation: Insp. Milo MacDonald from Williams Lake RCMP re: Update
* Consideration of Staff Reports - New Joint Use Agreement and Financial Contribution to the 153 Mile Store Study

There will be an In-Camera (closed to the public) Session as per Section 90(1k) of the Community Charter.  View the full Agenda here

CC Regional Hospital District Board - Regular Meeting on Friday, Feb 26th at 9:30am in the CRD Board Room (180D North 3rd Avenue, Williams Lake).  On the Agenda:

* Capital Expenditure Bylaws for 3 Readings/Adoption - GR Baker Memorial Hospital QUESST Renovation & GR Baker Memorial Hospital Switchgear Replacement
* Receive Hospital Consent Calendar
* Receive letter from Ministry of Health re: Opposition to contracting out of Laundry Services

View the full Agenda here

Cariboo RD Board - Regular Meeting on Friday, Feb 26th at 9:45am in the CRD Board Room (180D North 3rd Avenue, Williams Lake).  On the Agenda:

* Planning Bylaws for Area F (3rd Reading only) and Area J (3rd Reading/Adoption)
* Endorsement of several applications to Northern Development Initiative Trust
* Consideration of 150 Mile VFD Training Centre
* Consideration of proposal for Ec Dev Services in Areas E, J and K
* Update on 2016-2020 5 Year Financial Plan
* Consent Calendar (3 items)
* Receive Email response from Environment Minister Mary Polak re: Nov 25th, 2015 letter of concern around discharge from Mt Polley
* Receive Minutes/Adopt Recommendations from the Feb 9th Committee of the Whole Meeting

There will be an In-Camera (closed to the public) Session as per Sections 90(1b, g, and j - municipal honour, potential/actual litigation and information prohibited for public publication as per Section 21 of the FIPPA Act) of the Community Charter

View the full Agenda here

I will be absent from the CCRHD/CRD Board Meetings on Friday, Feb 26th so my Alternate Director, Phyllis Webstad, will be attending on behalf of Electoral Area D.

Community Events next week:

Tuesday, Feb 23rd - Public Information Mtg on Potential School Closures in School District #28 (Quesnel).  7pm at Correlieu Secondary School. More details here

Thursday, Feb 25th - Public Meeting on Rail Tie Burn Proposal for Atlantic Power.  6pm at the TRU Cafeteria

Local Gov'ts/First Nations Working Together

Courtesy of the Cariboo Regional District:

 From L-R: WL Mayor Walt Cobb, WL Indian Band Chief Ann Louie
CRD Chair Al Richmond
On Friday, February 19th - 

Representatives from the Williams Lake Indian Band (T’exelc), Cariboo Regional District (CRD) and City of Williams Lake were on hand to sign a tripartite protocol agreement.   

The purpose of the agreement is to establish a long-term cooperative relationship that encourages discussion on areas of common interest and to identify opportunities where a collaborative approach may be particularly beneficial.  

The Protocol encourages open and constructive dialogue based on mutual trust, honesty and respect.  The parties will work together to explore and develop strategies around economic development, land use planning, cultural heritage, and other key interests that may arise.

Al Richmond, Chair of the Cariboo Regional District said:

“This meeting was yet another step towards developing a solid working relationship with the Williams Lake Indian Band based on mutual trust and respect.  We will continue working together to identify areas of common interest and opportunities to work collaboratively, while gaining a better understanding of our respective cultures and governance models - that is what building communities together is all about.”

Ann Louie, Chief of the Williams Lake Indian Band further commented:

"Williams Lake Indian Band is extremely pleased to conclude this Protocol Agreement with the City and the Cariboo Regional District.  There is considerable overlap in the interests of the three governments, and significant possibilities for collaboration and cooperation.  We look forward to improved communication and more regular engagement under the Protocol Agreement, and to working on some projects and initiatives that will benefit constituents of all three communities.”

Finally - Williams Lake Mayor Walt Cobb stated:

“The signing of this protocol agreement is another example of our communities working towards common goals and objectives, coming together for the betterment of our communities and building upon our collaborative efforts. City Council is very optimistic of our future as a region, our partnership strengthens the foundation of our collective efforts.”

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Bob Simpson: We Need to Tell a Better Story

Courtesy of the City of Quesnel:

Barnett on BC Budget 2016

Courtesy of the BC Government Caucus:

The B.C. government released its fourth consecutive balanced budget on Tuesday and it includes several initiatives to help Cariboo-Chilcotin and rural British Columbians, Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett said.
“Our government’s responsible planning and strong fiscal management has resulted in another balanced budget and several key benefits for people throughout the Cariboo and Chilcotin,” Barnett said. “I’m excited about the prospects for local families, and look forward to working with people in every community in the riding in any way that’s necessary.”
Rural B.C. highlights: 
·         New $75 million Rural Dividend Program to help rural communities reinvigorate and diversify their economies.
·         Farmers’ Food Donation Tax Credit worth 25% of the fair market value of qualifying agricultural products donated to a registered charity that provides food to people in need or to help a school meal program. 
·         $85 million to establish a new organization — the Forest Enhancement Society of BC — that will work towards wildfire prevention and mitigation through forest fuel management, reforestation and habitat restoration.
·         $10 million for the Strategic Wildfire Prevention Initiative for Community Wildfire Protection Plans, Fire Smart Planning Activities and Fuel Management Projects.
·         Enhanced property tax relief for tourist accommodation providers in rural areas.
·         Rural BC Connectivity Initiative.
·         Buy Local BC Program.
For more information on Budget 2016, go to

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

WL Council-in-Committee - Feb 16th mtg

Present: Acting Mayor S. Nelson (Chair), J. Ryll, C. Smith, L. Walters (entered meeting at 5pm) and Mayor W. Cobb (via teleconference)

Meeting called to order at 4:58pm
Meeting Agenda approved/Feb 2nd COW Meeting Minutes adopted


1) Ryan Little, Regional Transit Manager and Shilpa Panicker, Senior Transit Planner from BC Transit appeared before the Committee to discuss Williams Lake Transit Service Review

A Question/Answer period ensued

The Chair, on behalf of the Committee, thanked Mr. Little/Ms. Panicker for their time/information


1) Fire Damaged Building - The Williams Inn

A report from the Bylaw Services Officer was presented to the Committee
Discussion ensued thereon

Resolved - That the Committee recommend:

Council endorse the issuance of a ninety (90) day compliance order requiring the demolition of the fire-damaged building located at 55 Sixth Avenue South.

2) 2016 North Central Local Government Association AGM - submission of Resolutions

Discussion ensued thereon

Resolved - Item received

3) Asphalt Recycler/Hot Box - Addition to the 2016 Capital Budget and Early Budget Approval

A report from the Director of Municipal Services was presented to the Committee
Discussion ensued thereon

Resolved - That the Committee recommend:

Council approve the addition of an asphalt hot box to the 2016 Capital Budget and early budget approval be granted in the amount of $95,000 and Staff review the 2016 budget and remove an item(s) of equal value

4) Parkland Disposition - Consultation Plan

A report from the Planner was presented to the Committee
Discussion ensued thereon

Resolved - That the Committee recommend:

Council receive the report of the Planner dated February 5, 2016 and direct Staff to conduct an open house in the first week of April, 2016 to inform the public of, and receive comment regarding the disposition of the lands identified as surplus in the Parks, Trails & Outdoor Recreation Master Plan, and the materials be displayed at Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex in the week following; and further, Staff report back with findings.

At 6:12pm - Councillor Nelson as Acting Mayor/Chair of Committee declared a perceived conflict of interest on the next item and left the meeting.  Councillor J. Ryll assumed the Chair

5) Remedial Action Order - 27 Seventh Avenue (Slumber Lodge)

A report from the Senior Bylaw Officer was presented to the Committee
Discussion ensued thereon

Resolved - Report received

At 6:22pm - Councillor Nelson returned to the meeting/resumed the Chair as Acting Mayor

At 6:22pm - The Committee then proceeded to an In-Camera Meeting as per Section 90(1e - land) of the Community Charter

At 6:31pm - The Committee then resumed its' public meeting and recessed until the arrival of Delegation #2 - Angie Delainey WLCBIA Chair and members' of the WLCBIA Board at 6:45pm

Editor's Note - I was unable to stay further so I am unable to provide a report as to discussions pertaining to Delegation #2

Monday, February 15, 2016

WL Council/BIA Relationship into rocky waters?


Tomorrow - Angie Delainey from the Williams Lake Central Business Improvement Area Association (WLCBIA) will be appearing before Committee of the Whole Council for the purpose of having further discussion between Council/WLCBIA

In terms of background - at the January 19th, 2016 Committee of the Whole meeting, Councillors Jason Ryll and Craig Smith raised concerns about the WLCBIA's request to cease putting on the annual Stampede Street Party and their Business Plan and the legalities that may be involved.  As a result of that discussion - Council asked the WLCBIA to provide them with an updated Business Plan in a letter from the City of Williams Lake dated January 27th, 2016

However, in a letter dated Tuesday, February 9th - the WLCBIA Board rejected that request as well as a request to meet with Williams Lake Council in an In-Camera Meeting and stated that the only meeting they would be prepared to participate in is a public meeting and only on how to cooperate in a collaborative way.

Read the letters between the City of Williams Lake and the WLCBIA Board here

Since 2004 when the WLCBIA was first established by the-then Mayor/Council - successive Mayors/Councils' have had a very fruitful relationship with successive WLCBIA Boards'.

The letter of Feb 9th from WLCBIA to Williams Lake Council suggests that this may be changing.  As a community member - I hope that Williams Lake Council/WLCBIA can find a way to move forward together as the tone of the WLCBIA's Feb 9th letter suggests a fight is brewing when one is not necessary.  I think we all understand that the WLCBIA is a major proponent for a healthy downtown core and this City Council is of the same mind - the challenge is how to mutually cooperate for that key purpose and if everyone refocuses on that goal and leaves personal ego's out of it - the goal of having a healthy downtown core can be achieved


Saturday, February 13, 2016

Post-Event Report - 2016 UBCM EA Forum/2016 LGLA Leadership Conference

As I committed to earlier - find below my Post Event report covering my attendance at the 2016 UBCM Electoral Area Directors' Forum and LGLA Leadership Conference

If you have any questions - please don't hesitate to either:

a) Post a comment here
b) Email
c) Ph: 250-267-6725
d) Connect with me via Facebook -

Post-Event Report:

Friday, February 12, 2016

Local Gov't Mtgs - Wk of Feb 15-19

The following local governments are meeting next week:

Wells - Regular Council Meeting on Tuesday, Feb 16th at 7pm in Wells Council Chambers (4243 Sanders Avenue).  When available, the Agenda can be viewed here

School District #28 (Quesnel) - Regular Board of Education Meeting on Wednesday, Feb 17th at 7pm in the SD28 Boardroom (401 North Star Rd).  When available, the Agenda can be viewed here

Williams Lake - Committee of the Whole Meeting on Tuesday, Feb 16th at 5pm in the Rick Hansen Boardroom (Basement - 450 Mart St).  On the Agenda:

Delegations (2) - BC Transit and Angie Delaney from the Williams Lake BIA


a) Remedial Action Order - 27 Seventh Avenue (Slumber Lodge)
b) Fire Damaged Building - Williams Inn
c) Discussion on Resolutions for the 2016 NCLGA Convention
d) Asphalt Recycler/Hot Box - Addition to the 2016 Capital Budget and Early Budget Approval
e) Parkland Disposition - Consultation Plan

View the full Agenda here

Cariboo Regional District:

South Cariboo Joint Committee - Meeting at 5pm on Monday, Feb 15th in 100 Mile Council Chambers (385 Birch Avenue).  On the Agenda:

* Delegation - 100 Mile RCMP presents to the Committee 3rd Quarter 2015 stats
* District of 100 Mile House - 100 Mile Festival of the Arts Society - Capital Purchase
* District of 100 Mile House - Late Grant in Aid Applications
* District of 100 Mile House - Martin Exeter Hall Proposed Upgrades

There will also be an In-Camera Meeting as per Section 90(1e - land) of the Community Charter. View the full Agenda here

Tsilhqot’in/B.C. sign historic accord

Courtesy of the BC Government:

The B.C. government and the Tsilhqot’in Nation have signed a five-year framework agreement that establishes a shared vision, principles and structures to negotiate a comprehensive and lasting reconciliation between the Nation and the Province.

The agreement, named the Nenqay Deni Accord (or the “People’s Accord”), outlines eight pillars of reconciliation to be negotiated in a holistic manner, including Tsilhqot’in culture and language, children and families, healthy communities, justice, education and training, lands and resources and economic development.

Joint negotiating tables comprised of senior provincial staff and Tsilhqot’in representatives will be established to make progress in all of these areas while the longer-term negotiations unfold. A leadership table comprised of Tsilhqot’in chiefs and key ministers will continue to lead the negotiations.

Crown land within the Tsilhqot’in territory will be part of the negotiation, with no private lands involved. The amount of Crown land will be subject to further negotiations with the Tsilhqot’in.

The Nenqay Deni Accord clarifies the next steps in transitioning the title area to Tsilhqot’in management and control and commits to a joint exploration of economic and social opportunities for the Tsilhqot’in throughout the larger traditional territory.

Within the five-year agreement, there will be considerable opportunity for the Province and the Tsilhqot’in to conduct broader community and stakeholder engagement.

BC Premier Christy Clark stated:

“The Province of B.C. has entered into this framework because it holds the promise of a brighter future for the Tsilhqot’in people and the province. A key focus is going to be supporting new economic development for the Tsilhqot’in communities that also makes a positive contribution to the economies of the region and British Columbia.”

While Chief Joe Alphonse - Tribal Chairman, Tsilhqot’in National Government stated:

“This is a historic step, but it is only a first step. We view this agreement as a guide for further negotiations. It will provide us with durable resources that will be used to chart a culturally relevant and prideful path for our people – a path that understands the necessity of holding the Tsilhqot’in up, honouring our past and recognizing our future.

“Our people will ultimately have the authority on any agreements that are negotiated out of this. We call on our members, our citizens, to be fully engaged in shaping their future as Tsilhqot’in. Title to our land was recognized – we won that fight, but the larger fight – the fight for peace – that’s the work ahead of us.”

To Learn More:

Nenqay Deni Accord:

Tsilhqot’in National Government:

Sam Ketcham Pool receives $4 million in Federal Funds

Williams Lake City Councillor Laurie Walters,
Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett and
Cariboo Regional District Area 'F' Director Joan Sorley
This afternoon - an announcement was made in regards to successful projects being funded from the Strategic Priorities Fund whose funding comes from the Federal Gas Tax

Two major projects in our region to be financed from the Fund include:

100 Mile House -- Water Supply Upgrade, $5,850,000

Cariboo Regional District -- Sam Ketcham Pool Upgrade Projects, $4,000,000

For the full press release and all projects to be funded - click here

NStQ Unofficial Referendum Results

Courtesy of the Northern Shuswap Tribal Council:

The Northern Shuswap Tribal Council and its' affiliated NStQ Treaty Group held an Agreement-in-Principle (AiP) referendum yesterday (Thursday, Feb 11th, 2016).  The four First Nation communities which make up the NStQ are: Soda Creek, Williams Lake, Canoe/Dog Creek and Canim Lake

Community members from each of these Bands voted on the following ballot question:

Do you support the recommendation of the NStQ Leadership Council to proceed to Final Agreement Negotiations?"

This is NOT a vote on the NStQ Treaty itself, a process which the NStQ has been involved since 1994.  This referendum determines whether the NStQ membership wishes to continue to the Final Negotiations stage (Stage 5) of the six stage made-in-BC Treaty Process.  If the membership votes 'Yes', to moving forward into Stage 5, that process can take 3-5 years to complete

Then, once a 'final agreement' is negotiated, NStQ membership will conduct a final vote whether or not to accept the negotiated treaty before its' "Implementation" (Stage 6) can begin.  If the membership votes 'No' to moving forward, NStQ Leadership will step back and take time to analyze the results and the process itself before determining the next course of action for the Northern Secwepemc te Qelmucw (NStQ) and its' goal of achieving a future of self determination

Unofficial Results of the Feb. 11th Referendum as follows:

Canim Lake Band - Out of 458 eligible voters; 125 yes to 84 no
Canoe/Dog Creek Band - Out of 582 eligible voters; 113 yes to 72 no
Soda Creek Band - Out of 336 eligible voters; 90 yes to 48 no

Williams Lake Band - 385 eligible voters.  Voting suspended due to disruptive/illegal actions of a small group of protestors predominately comprised of non-WLIB community members.  Williams Lake Indian Band Council has convened to analyze the event and have now determined that a full re-vote will take place for all eligible Williams Lake Indian Band voters on Tuesday, March 15th, 2016

The referendum results are unofficial and currently are being verified by the Referendum Officer.

Once final counts are confirmed - leadership from each of the four NStQ member communities will be distributing individual releases with statements specific to the voting results and next steps in their respective communities

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA on Throne Speech 2016

Yesterday - Donna Barnett, the MLA for Cariboo-Chilcotin spoke in the House yesterday on the 2016 Speech from the Throne, as delivered by BC's Lt-Gov Hon. Judith Guichon.  Read the Speech here

MLA Barnett however is incorrect when saying Gibraltar Mines is in her provincial riding.  Gibraltar Mines is in Cariboo-North as is the nearby community of McLeese Lake

Find MLA Barnett's remarks below:

It is my pleasure and great honour to rise today on behalf of the people of Cariboo-Chilcotin to offer my comments in response to the throne speech during this fifth session of the 40th parliament. First, I would like to wish all members of this House a very rewarding and productive legislative session.

Our province is the envy of Canada for our growing and thriving economy. I am extremely proud that much of our province's wealth is derived from the natural resources in outlying regions, including the Cariboo-Chilcotin.

Thinking about the year ahead, I am filled with hope. Yes, there will be challenges for all of us, but it is up to all citizens to turn those challenges into opportunities. As I stated, resource industries are vital in the Cariboo and the Chilcotin. The people of that area are working together to bring investment in those key industries — and all industries, in general.

Everyone has a role to play, from ordinary citizens talking about and celebrating what makes our region a great place to live, to chambers of commerce, economic development agencies, First Nations, and all levels of government creating a business atmosphere that convinces investors to come to the Cariboo-Chilcotin. We are pulling together to attract projects that will build our economy, while being environmentally responsible.

As we know, a strong economy allows us to strengthen our social programs, create jobs, and curb crime and homelessness. Our government continues to support all communities in our great province.

Last March I was honoured to be named Chair of the Rural Advisory Council, which was established in 2014 to help identify opportunities for small communities to diversify their economies. The rural advisory council is made up of 14 other people from rural British Columbia, from towns such as Skidegate, Vanderhoof, McBride, Armstrong, Christina Lake, Port McNeill and others.

One of the rural advisory council's recommendations was the creation of a rural dividend fund to assist smaller communities in transitioning their economies. Last fall I was thrilled when our Premier announced the creation of the rural dividend, which will provide up to $75 million over the next three years to economic stimulus projects in smaller communities.

As the global resource economy is in transition, some of the communities that contribute the most to B.C. are feeling the pinch. The rural dividend will help communities that are working to reinvigorate and diversify their economies and support them in putting in place their own solutions based on each community's values and needs. The rural dividend will support innovative and ambitious ideas and solutions with potential for the greatest impact on rural communities.

Supporting rural community transition and stability, the rural dividend is focused on the following priorities: building community capacity and quality of life, expanding learning and skill-development opportunities, providing opportunities for rural youth to stay and return to rural communities, and encouraging collaboration and partnerships between rural British Columbia and First Nations

The $25 million per year pilot program will run from 2016-17 to 2018-19 and be available only to communities outside urban areas with a population of 25,000 or under. The funding will be administered by the Ministry of Forests, Land and Natural Resource Operations, which has responsibility for rural development. This is a great opportunity for the people of small communities — not governments — to work together. I hope to see as many communities as possible getting to make their common goals a reality.

I can't overstate the importance of the mining industry in our province and in my riding of Cariboo-Chilcotin. Rural communities across B.C. depend on the well-paying jobs that their mines provide residents. So it was a proud moment last Friday when I joined the Minister of Energy and Mines as he announced a plan to keep thousands of B.C.'s metal- and coal-mine workers on the job by allowing mining companies to temporarily defer a portion of their hydro bills. We are in the midst of a challenging time for the mining sector. This program will provide some temporary support to help the mines stay open as long as possible, hopefully until commodity prices bounce back. Under the five-year term of the program, which will be delivered by B.C. Hydro, companies operating metal and coal mines in B.C. will be able to defer a portion of their electricity payments to B.C. Hydro. The amount a mine will be allowed to defer is capped at the equivalent of up to 75 percent of its electricity costs over two years of the program. As commodity prices recover, the mines will repay the amounts deferred plus interest. The mining industry provides more than 30,000 direct and indirect jobs in B.C. This program offers immediate and meaningful relief to mining companies facing significant power costs and will help keep mines open. In my own riding, the Gibraltar mine employs more than 600 people who live primarily in Williams Lake, 100 Mile House and Quesnel. Gibraltar spends roughly $1 million every day to operate, most which goes directly into the local economy. The general manager of Gibraltar mine said himself that this flexibility on the part of our government will help Gibraltar continue to operate.

It is known around the world also — the Cariboo-Chilcotin and British Columbia — for its agricultural products. Another important industry in the Cariboo-Chilcotin is the cattle industry. Beef cattle are raised in great numbers in the Cariboo-Chilcotin and throughout B.C. Another important industry in the Cariboo-Chilcotin is the cattle industry. Beef cattle are raised in great numbers in the Cariboo-Chilcotin and throughout B.C., which is about 5 percent of the national beef herd. Our Cariboo-Chilcotin ranchers supply top-quality beef to local, national and international markets. As a whole, exports of B.C. food and beverage products last year accounted for $3.8 billion for the provincial economy, the highest sales total ever. Our government will continue to work on increasing provincial revenues in agri-foods and seafoods toward a goal of $15 billion a year by 2020. At home, we will capitalize on our success in agriculture by encouraging and supporting British Columbians to buy local and grow local to strengthen our cities and towns and allow the sector to flourish even further.

My riding is also a four-season vacation destination and an outdoors person's paradise. Just last weekend saw the completion of a snowmobile ride from Kamloops to Barkerville and back. This ride was to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the B.C. Snowmobile Federation, and much of the ride was on the famous Gold Rush Trail. Ice fishing and downhill and cross-country skiing are also popular tourism draws at this time of year.

Our rugged terrain can also be dangerous. Fortunately, we have some of the best search and rescue volunteers anywhere. South Cariboo search and rescue is one of the provincial organizations that will receive a portion of our government's one-time funding of $10 billion to help pay for new or additional training, replace or update equipment or provide administrative support. There is a dedicated army of 2,500 volunteers who comb our province's back country, rappel into steep ravines and weather the worst of the elements while leaving behind the comforts of home to go seek and find those who are lost or injured. Over the coming months, the B.C. Search and Rescue Association will work with its membership to bolster ground search and rescue services throughout the province. In the past year, emergency management B.C. has had several discussions with the B.C. Search and Rescue Association on an alternate support model for this service. The funding will help to meet the 80 ground search and rescue team's immediate needs while EMBC continues to work with the B.C. search and rescue association on a long-term solution.

The $10 million investment builds on the $6.3 million that our government is already providing each year to cover ground search and rescue operational costs for deployment, as well as training and equipment cost and the insurance and liability for the members of the 80 groups serving across B.C.

Within ground search and rescue, there are roughly 100,000 hours of volunteer time donated to searches. To replace these would cost more than $5 million annually in direct salary dollars. Public safety is our number one priority, and this additional resource will help to bolster support to the front lines of search and rescue operations in communities throughout British Columbia.

As I stated at the beginning of my remarks, British Columbia stands as the envy of Canada. Thanks to our government's plan and the hard work and determination of British Columbians, our economy is Canada's bright spot in a time of economic uncertainty. Our plan is working, but we will not sit and rest on our laurels. Our diverse, strong and growing economy is founded on fiscal discipline, which has made British Columbia a leader in prosperity and growth.

As a result, we created more than 50,000 jobs last year, and we have the opportunity to eliminate the operating debt in just four years, paving the path towards a debt-free B.C. Next week, we will introduce a fourth consecutive balanced budget, controlling spending and growing the economy, so we have the ability to invest further in the vital services that British Columbians rely on.

Investments in in frontline workers, patient care, persons with disabilities and easing housing pressures are key examples of the benefits that come from a growing economy.

By keeping our focus on our B.C. jobs plan and growing sectors like tech, agrifoods and natural gas development, we will create real opportunities for families here at home, ensuring British Columbians remain first in line for the jobs of today and tomorrow.

We will continue to stand up to stand up for B.C., defending the interests of our natural resource sectors and the hard-working families in Cariboo-Chilcotin and throughout our province.