Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Administrative Savings to SD28

Courtesy of the Hon. Coralee Oakes - MLA for Cariboo-North:

I am pleased to announce that the provincial government is redirecting $168,780 in administrative savings back to Quesnel School District 28 to help it deal with local cost pressures and provide front line services for students.
Over the last many months, I have met with and taken the messages I have heard from both the School District Trustees, CUPE, First Nations band members as well as constituents to Victoria, and today’s announcement is part of this collaboration. 
While the school district has autonomy, there is a fear amongst constituents of the financial trickledown effect of closing rural schools. The decision to close Kersley and Parkland reduces the small community supplement by $378,000 (a provincial fund designed to support keeping rural schools open) and the decision also reduces the operation funding for geographic factors by $35,500. Rural schools bring additional partnerships to the table such as the Regional District for local recreation and library services. Finally, there is a tipping point on how long parents will allow their children to be on a bus (especially small children) I have heard from concerned parents that over an hour is that tipping point over that they will consider home schooling their children. I have heard from ?Esdilagh First Nation and Lhtako Dene First Nation members that their families are struggling with this decision. This is all lost revenue to the school district and is putting considerable pressure on our children.
It’s never easy to make the tough decisions and I thank the Quesnel School District for their diligent work to reduce administrative costs.I heard from them clearly about the challenges they were having funding the landmark labour stability agreement reached with the B.C. Teachers’ Federation and with CUPE. In April, the provincial government responded and announced additional funds to the school districts to cover the wage increases. For exempt staff and upper management, trustees set these amounts for increase and was not part of the April announcement. 
The Chair raised concerns last week in the media about loss of funding protection and I can confirm that the School District is not expected to come out of funding protection this year or next and is estimated to receive $2,187,485 in funding protection for 2016/17 school year.
I was also proud to support the School District's application to invest in Correlieu Secondary School. Last week the Province provided $1,040,500.00 for capital upgrades through the School Enhancement Program.
It is my hope to meet with the school district’s chair quickly to discuss this funding and options to keep rural schools open, ensuring the region’s smaller communities continue to be well-served and minimizing the time students need to travel to-and-from school on buses. 
I hope this announcement will encourage trustees not to dismiss the recommendations from rural communities and try to keep their schools open, ensuring these important financial resources continue to benefit the entire district. It’s important we work in collaboration to ensure our region’s students continue to receive the high-quality instruction that has made B.C. a world-leader in educational outcomes.

Administrative savings redirected back to SD27

Courtesy of the BC Government:

The provincial government is redirecting $259,687 in administrative savings back to School District 27 to help it deal with local cost pressures and provide front-line services for students.
The school district can use this funding as it sees fit – such as ongoing classroom programs, hiring new teachers, or for busing.
“School District 27 has worked very hard to find administrative cost savings and now we can put those savings into services for students,” Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett said. “We have made a commitment to ensure that services and amenities for students receive the bulk of B.C.’s education funding.”
The funding to School District 27 is part of a $25-million provincewide initiative that sees all districts receiving funds from administrative savings. 
Districts made real efforts to reduce spending on their administration costs – and those efforts have made it possible to help flow those resources into classrooms and services for students. The amount of money being left with districts is equal to the Year 2 of administrative savings districts were asked to find.
School districts, including SD 27, have been informed that they will not have to pay their share of $25 million worth of provincial charges this year, and instead can redirect that money into frontline services for students.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Special Mtg - Central/South Cariboo Joint Committee, May 30th

Present from Central Cariboo/City of Williams Lake Joint Committee - Directors S. Forseth, B. Kemp, J. Sorley; Williams Lake City Councillors S. Nelson/S. Zacharias and Williams Lake Mayor W. Cobb

Present from South Cariboo Joint Committee - Directors A. Richmond, M. Wagner, B. Coakley, District of 100 Mile Councillors S. Henderson, D. Mingo and B. Hadden, District of 100 Mile Mayor M. Campsall and District of 100 Mile House CAO R. Scott

Meeting called to order at 5:00pm - Director A. Richmond (CRD Co-Chair, South Cariboo Joint Committee/Meeting Chair)

Meeting Agenda Approved


Caroline Sherrer, General Manager; Stephen Pelliazzari, Director; Michelle Swalwell, Director; and Debbie Dengel, Director (via conference call); all from the Mount Timothy Ski Society appeared before the Committee about the Society's financial situation.

A Question/Answer period ensued

Director S. Forseth left the meeting at 5:58pm

The Chair, on behalf of the Committee, thanked the delegation for their time/information

Resolved - That the information package, as provided by the Mt Timothy Ski Society, be received

General discussion ensued on the presentation from the Mt Timothy Ski Society

Director S. Forseth returned to the meeting at 7:05pm

Meeting adjourned at 7:25pm

BC honours Robin Hood

Courtesy of the BC Government:

Robin Hood from Likely, B.C. may not have been from Nottingham but his legend for those involved in the province’s community forests is as big as the heart he had for the communities in which he worked.

Last night, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Steve Thomson announced the creation of a new $10,000 grant to be given annually to the community forest that best exemplifies the values exhibited by the late Robin Hood and the community forest program. These values include community leadership, providing local and social economic opportunity and passion for community forestry. Thomson made the announcement at the 14th annual BC Community Forests Association convention.

The inaugural award is being granted to the Likely-Xat'súll Community Forest for which Robin Hood was instrumental in establishing; one of the first under the community forest pilot program in the late 1990s.

The grants will be used for community, project-based proposals such as recreation trail construction and maintenance, incremental silviculture, and community fireproofing and fuel management. These activities will help to further support local, community employment and raise the profile of the community forest program in Robin Hood’s honour.

Significantly dedicated to the success of community forests, Robin Hood passed away after a short battle with cancer in March of this year.

A community forest is managed by a local government, community group or First Nation for the benefit of the entire community.

Community forest agreements carry an initial term of 25 years and are replaceable for another 25-year term after 10 years. They are long-term, area-based tenures designed to encourage community involvement in the management of local forests, while expanding economic opportunities and opening doors to local job creation.

The Hon. Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations stated –

“Robin Hood’s dedication to bringing success to his community and local forest stewardship is admirable. His big heart and positive influence touched the lives of those around him. These annual grants will recognize the community forest that best exhibits the values he demonstrated and will raise the profile of the community forest program.”

Jennifer Gunter, executive director, BC Community Forest Association further stated –

“Robin Hood was a visionary, an inspiring leader and a maverick with a contagious drive to improve the communities and lives of those he came in contact with. The new, annual grant to the community that best mirrors the values that Robin displayed will cement his legacy in the community forest program, and will serve as a yearly reminder for us to reach solutions that have communities at the core.”

Finally, John Stace-Smith, secretary/treasurer, Likely-Xat'súll Community Forest said –

“Robin Hood was a cornerstone of the Likely community. Enough can’t be said for his commitment to the community’s success – and for the people in it. The Likely-Xat'súll Community Forest is honoured to be the inaugural recipient of the community forest award that bears his name and recognizes the values he stood for.”

Quick Facts:
  • Fourteen of the 23 podiums for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver were built from wood donated from community forests.
  • The podium used at the Vancouver Olympic Centre for curling events was made of Interior Douglas-fir sourced from the Likely-Xat'súll Community Forest.
  • It was 619 centimetres long, 185 centimetres deep, 60 centimetres at its tallest point, and assembled from 227 pieces.
  • Our Natural Advantage: Forest Sector Strategy for British Columbia identifies community forests as a key element in supporting prosperous rural forest economies.
  • In British Columbia, there are 57 community forests issued or communities that are close to getting one, accounting for approximately two-million cubic metres of timber volume.
Learn More:

A tribute with more information about Robin Hood’s impact on the community forest program can be found on the BC Community Forest Association website:

More information on the Likely-Xat'súll Community Forest is available on the Likely Chamber of Commerce web page: http://likely-bc.ca/chamber-commerce/likely-community-forest
and on the BC Community Forest Association web page: http://bccfa.ca/likely-xatsull-soda-creek-community-forest

British Columbia’s strategy for continued growth in the forest sector, Our Natural Advantage: Forest Sector Strategy for British Columbia: http://www.for.gov.bc.ca/mof/forestsectorstrategy/Forest_Strategy_WEB.PDF

Saturday, May 28, 2016

SD27 Trustee Electoral Zone Boundary Review

In an issue that dates back to 2001 when current Williams Lake City Councillor Ivan Bonnell was then-Mayor, the Board of Education for School District #27 (Cariboo-Chilcotin) is proposing to change the way that School District #27 Trustees are elected

Earlier this year - the School District took the issue, along with Rural Education/SD27 Strategic Plan, to several public meetings throughout the Region in Feb/March 2016 which you can read a story on that from the Williams Lake Tribune here. You can review the Trustee Electoral Boundary Review proposal yourself here.

As a result of the City of Williams Lake boundary expanding over time and the Cariboo Regional District's (CRD) Electoral Area boundaries shrinking, also over time - the School District's Trustee Electoral Zones, particularly Zone 5 (WL Rural Fringe) and Zone 6 (City of Williams Lake) were not adjusted accordingly.

As a result, some people who reside in the City proper may vote for a Trustee in Zone 5, rather than Zone 6.  Furthermore, some people on top of Fox Mountain, as a result of boundary re-alignment still vote for a Zone 5 Trustee/CRD Area F Director, even though their properties are physically within CRD Area D.

The options for review are:

1) Option 1 - Realign Trustee Boundaries to Match City of Williams Lake and Cariboo Regional District boundaries (Maintain 7 Trustees)

2) Option 2 - Reduce Zones to 3, with elections at large. Zones 1 to 3 inclusive (CRD Areas G, H, L and District of 100 Mile House) would become one Zone and elect 3; Zones 4/7 (CRD Areas F, J and K) would become 1 Zone and elect 1 and Zones 5 + 6 (CRD Area D/E + City of Williams Lake) would be one and elect 3

3) Option 3 - Reduce Zones to 2, with elections at large. Zones 1-3 would be one big "Zone" with 3 people to be elected at large and Zones 4-7 would become one big "Zone" with 4 to be elected at large

4) Option 4 - Reduce Zones to 6, with elections at large. Zones 1-4 would elect one Trustee, Zones 5+6 would elect two at large and Zone 7 would elect one at large

Williams Lake City Council, meeting as a Committee of the Whole, will review the above 4 options at their meeting on Tuesday evening

At their April meeting - the Board of Education discussed meeting dates in the month of June to review these options with elected officials from the Cariboo Regional District, City of Williams Lake and the District of 100 Mile House. As of this writing, I, as the CRD Area D Director, have not received an official request to meet from the School District

It will be interesting to see what the Board of Education does with this proposal, going forward...


Friday, May 27, 2016

Local Gov't Mtgs - Wk of May 30 - June 3rd

The following local governments are meeting next week:

Quesnel - Meeting of the Financial Sustainability/Audit Standing Committee on Tuesday, May 31st at 10am.  On the Agenda:

* Snow Removal Discussion
* In-Camera Meeting - as per Section 90(c/l - labour and strategic planning) of the Community Charter

View the full Agenda here

Williams Lake - Council-in-Committee on Tuesday, May 31st at 6pm in the Rick Hansen Boardroom (Basement - 450 Mart Street).  On the Agenda:

* Delegation: Marlene Morris, Community Development Institute & Janis Bell, Chief Administrative Officer, Cariboo Regional District re: Regional Prosperity Initiative

* Letter from SD27 re: Possible Re-Alignment of SD27 Trustee Zones

View the full Agenda here

Cariboo Regional District - Special Combined Meeting of the Central/South Joint Committees on Monday, May 30th at 5pm in the CRD Boardroom (180D North 3rd Avenue, Williams Lake) to hear from reps from the Mt Timothy Ski Society on their financial situation.  View the full Agenda here

Also - lots going on this weekend and next week in the City of Williams Lake.  Full wrap on the events here plus the Cariboo Potters have their Spring Sale on Saturday - more here


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

CC Rural Caucus - May 25th mtg

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

Meeting called to order at 3:15pm

The Chair acknowledged that the meeting was being held on traditional Northern Shuswap territory

Meeting Agenda approved with additions to the Agenda pertaining to Regional Prosperity/Community Ec Dev Initiative and Rural Non-Profits/requirements of the new Societies Act

Mins of the March 23rd CC Rural Caucus meeting adopted


Sarah Jackman, Executive Director of the Punky Lake Wilderness Camp Society (PLWCS), appeared before the Committee to discuss the PLWCS and the First Nations Court Initiative

A Question/Answer period ensued

The Chair, on behalf of the Committee, thanked Ms. Jackman for her time/information

Director B. Anderson declared a perceived conflict of interest on the next item and left the meeting at 3:35pm


1) City of WL - Stampede Entry Structure

The Chair reported on this item to the Committee
Discussion ensued thereon

Resolved by Consensus - That the letter from Mayor Walt Cobb, City of Williams Lake, dated May 19, 2016, requesting financial participation in a project to construct a log entryway to the Williams Lake Stampede grounds, be received and that $3,000 from the Electoral Area 'D' Economic Development Function and up to $3,000 from the Electoral Area 'F' Economic Development Function be approved for this purpose and the funds be forwarded to the City of Williams Lake and the City be requested to appropriately recognize the Cariboo Regional District's financial participation in the project and that a letter be forwarded to the City of Williams Lake advising of same

Director Anderson returned to the meeting at 3:52pm

2) Late Item - Letter from MOTI re: Speed Signs on West Coast and Mountain House Roads

The Committee discussed the letter from Todd Hubner, District Manager (Cariboo), Ministry of Transportation

Resolved by Consensus - That the letter from Todd Hubner, District Manager, Ministry of Transportation Cariboo District, dated May 21, 2016, replying to the Cariboo Regional District's concerns regarding speed limit signs on the Westcoast Road and Mountain House Road, be received and a letter be forwarded to the RCMP asking for more enforcement in rural speed zones

3) Renewal of Central Cariboo Victim Services Contribution Agreement with the City of Williams Lake

The Committee held a general discussion on this topic

Resolution by Consensus - That the Victim Services Agreement be amended to strengthen reporting requirements between CRD/City of WL and bring back the amended agreement for review at a future Rural Caucus meeting

4) Appointment of Representative to UNBC Central/South Advisory Committee

Director Sorley reported on this item to the Committee
Discussion ensued thereon

Resolved by Consensus - That Director J. Sorley be appointed to the UNBC Central/South Advisory Committee

5) Community Economic Development

General discussion ensued by Committee members

No Resolution Resulted

6) Rural Non-Profit Societies/Requirements of the new Society Act

The Chair reviewed this matter with the Committee

No Resolution Resulted

7) Action Page

Resolved by Consensus - Action Page as of May 25th be received and Items 1-3 be removed

Meeting adjourned at 4:30pm

Quesnel Council Highlights - May 24th mtg

Courtesy of the City of Quesnel:

Seniors Housing Development

Director of Development Services updated Council on the Quesnel Lions Housing Society’s proposed 30-unit apartment on the corner of Reid Street/McNaughton Avenue. Parking concerns remain as this 30-unit development is proposed with 11 parking stalls. A Public Hearing has been set for 7 pm, June 28, 2016 at City Hall Council Chambers.

Bowling Alley/Mini Golf Recreation Centre

Council passed first reading of a bylaw amendment regarding a proposed 13,000 ft2 recreational facility that will offer twelve bowling lanes, 18-hole black light mini golf, minor food concession and a primary liquor license with an eventual retail use attached to the bowling alley on the corner of Racing Road and Valhalla Road. The Applicant is hosting a public consultation regarding this proposed development scheduled from 6 to 8 pm on June 1, 2016 at the Tower Inn located at 500 Reid Street.

Multi-Family Incentives

Council passed the first two readings of the proposed City of Quesnel Multi-Family Incentive Bylaw. This incentive program would assist with the development of multi-family housing in the community that would allow developers to access funding through the Provincial Investment in Affordable Housing program. The Province is looking for municipalities to partner in assisting housing providers to develop self-sustaining housing projects for the provision of affordable housing. Should this bylaw pass, the City’s contribution towards these types of development(s) would exempt the municipal portion of property taxes for 10 years for a specifically outlined area of North Quesnel (Primary Growth Area) and for 5 years in a specifically outlined area of West Quesnel (Secondary Growth Area). Further this Multi-Family Incentive program would also see the City waive development cost charges 100% for affordable units and 25-50% for units meeting low environmental impact criteria.

Gymnastics Facility Design Development

Council chose to allocate $80,000 from the City’s $204,166 Gymnastics Reserve to complete Construction Documents for a proposed gymnastics facility. The Quesnel Technics Gymnastics Club completed a business plan in November 2015 that estimated the cost to construct a new gymnastics facility connected to the indoor soccer complex was $1.24 million. The development of construction drawings and specifications will advance the project so that it is ‘shovel ready’ and in a better position to obtain grant funding. Should the project proceed, it will be part of the North Cariboo Recreation and Parks Service, as approved in principle by the Joint Planning Committee at its April 22 Strategic Planning meeting.

Temporary Use Permit

Council denied a Temporary Use Permit proposed for temporary lodging use for up to 16 temporary foreign mining workers, for mining operations in the Quesnel area, for a property along Highway 97 North between Smith and Rome Avenue. Apogee Gold Corporation applied for a three-year temporary use permit for the following uses: 1. Office use; 2. Sale, rental, and lease of various mining equipment; and 3. Temporary lodging for up to 16 workers with ancillary meal preparation and laundry services.

Rezone Application – Secondary Suite

Council approved first and second readings of a zone amendment bylaw for a proposed development of a single detached dwelling with a secondary suite with proponent consolidating two vacant lots into one parcel of land located on Nickle Ridge Avenue. The Public Hearing Date has been set for 7 pm on June 7, 2016 at City Hall Council Chambers.

Quesnel Downtown Accessibility & Tourist Attraction Project

Council approved staff submitting an application to the BC Rural Dividend Program, in partnership with the Quesnel Downtown Association, for a project that will look at accessibility and vibrancy of Quesnel’s downtown core. This project will look at: retrofitting an existing downtown building to include accessible washrooms; improving the accessibility of the downtown network of roads and sidewalks and accessibility training for business owners/staff.


Bylaws 1781/1782 - Seniors Housing Development (Reid St./McNaughton Ave) – Public Hearing 7 pm June 28 at City Hall

Bylaw 1801 – Solid Waste and Disposal Amendment – First/Second/Third Readings

Bylaw 1802 – Mini Golf/Bowling Development (Racing Rd/Valhalla Rd) – First Reading – Public Consultation at Tower Inn 6-8pm on June 1st

Bylaw 1803 – Secondary Suite (Vacant Lots 4&5/Nickel Ridge Ave) – First and Second Readings, Public Hearing 7 pm June 7 at City Hall

Bylaw 1805 – Multi Family Housing Incentives – First/Second Readings

Next Meeting

7 pm – June 7th - Regular Council

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

WL Council Highlights - May 24th mtg

Present: Mayor W. Cobb; Councillors I. Bonnell, S. Nelson, J. Ryll, L. Walters and S. Zacharias

Meeting called to order at 6pm

Meeting Agenda approved/Minutes of the May 10th Regular Meeting and May 12th Special Meeting of WL City Council adopted


Normand Dionne, Commanding Officer of the Rocky Mountain Rangers local, Canadian Armed Forces appeared before Council to present Regiment Information.

A Question/Answer period ensued

Mayor Cobb, on behalf of Council, thanked Mr. Dionne for his time/information


1) Council received for information the accounts payable computer cheque listing dated May 11, 2016

Councillor Zacharias, after making a statement, declared a perceived conflict of interest on the next item and left the meeting at 6:25pm

2) Council, at the request of Mayor Cobb, agreed to reconsider Council Resolution #168/16 as per Section 131 (Mayor's right to ask Council to reconsider a Resolution/Bylaw) of the Community Charter, as follows:

"That the report of the Planner dated May 5, 2016 be received and Council approve Development Variance Permit No. 02-2016 for the Cariboo Community Church to vary Section 408 of the City of Williams Lake Zoning Bylaw No. 1825, 2002 to reduce the Off-Street Parking Requirements for a Place of Worship from 98 spaces to 25 spaces at 35 Oliver Street, legally described as Lot 6, District Lot 6483, Cariboo District, Plan PGP44921."

Council, after some discussion, then agreed to re-affirm Council Resolution #168/16 by the following Vote:

Affirmative -Councillors Nelson, Ryll and Walters

Negative - Mayor Cobb and Councillor Bonnell

Councillor Zacharias returned to the meeting at 6:30pm

3) Council awarded the Pavement Rehabilitation & Waterworks 2016 contract to Peters Bros. Construction Ltd. for total tendered amounts of $954,532.15, $203,246.00 and $29,432.00, excluding GST, for paving, waterworks and tennis court, respectively and Staff were directed to issue a Change Order, per contract requirements, reducing the paving area to fit within the original budget

4) Council awarded the South Lakeside Trunk Sewer Replacement contract to Ram Excavating for a total tendered amount of $219,810.83, excluding GST, and agreed to reallocate up to $37,310.83 from Sewer Reserves to cover higher than expected construction costs.

5) Council received two reports from Councillor Sue Zacharias concerning:

a) WLCBIA Meeting Update
b) Women's Spirituality Circle Gathering

6) Council adopted 3 May 17th Committee of the Whole recommendations as follows:

a) That pursuant to Committee of Whole Council Report #19-2016, Council support and endorse partnering with Andre Chevigny of Pioneer Log Homes and the Stampede Association for installation of a new log Williams Lake Stampede Park entrance sign, with costs not to exceed $35,000; and further, the Stampede Association be responsible for any future maintenance of the structure and that the project costs be charged against the 2017 City of Williams Lake budget

b) That pursuant to Committee of Whole Council Report #20-2016 and the report of the Director of Development Services dated May 10, 2016, Council endorse the following recommendations:

Detailed geotechnical and hydrological investigations of active hazard areas identified in the 2006 Golder report, identification of management options and opportunities, and development of Monitoring Response Plans;

Invitation to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (Approving Officer) to participate in a neighborhood assessment of ground stabilization options in the Dog Creek and Hodgson Road slide area, and make application for sustainable infrastructure grant funding; and

Consultation with property owners on a neighborhood level to advise of the above actions and to address questions of individual owners.

c) That pursuant to Committee of Whole Council Report #21-2016 and the report of Councillor Ryll dated May 5, 2016, Council agree in principle to participation in the SEEDS Initiative pending confirmation of financial contributions from partners; and further, Council support the application to the Rural Dividend Fund for potential funding to assist in this initiative.

7) Council agreed to provide a letter of support for Williams Lake Association for Community Living's application to BC Housing for funding towards their proposal to create 40 units of affordable housing by constructing an apartment building at 253 First Avenue North in Williams Lake, subject to the required municipal approvals.

8) Council agreed to provide a letter of support for Williams Lake Powder Kings' application to Northern Development Initiative Trust (NDIT) for funding towards their Yank's Peak Snowmobile Riding Area Upgrades and Enhancements project

9) Council gave approval for the Williams Lake Puddle Pounders' Special Occasion Liquor License from 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM on Sunday, May 29, 2016 at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex, Rink II, to host a Women's Roller Derby event, pursuant to City Policy and subject to RCMP approval

10) Council proclaimed the following four events:

a) Access Awareness Day" - June 4th, 2016
b) 90th Williams Lake Stampede - June 30th to July 3rd, 2016
c) "ALS Awareness Week" - June 19th to 25th, 2016
d) "World Oceans Day" - June 1st to 8th, 2016

11) Council received the 'Council Information Package' as follows:

• May 13, 2016 - CRD Board Highlights

Members of Council gave oral reports as to their recent activities

Meeting adjourned at 7:03pm and after a 5 minute break, Council then convened an In-Camera Meeting as per Sections 90(1a,c,e,j - appointment, labour, land, information prohibited from public disclosure as per Section 21 - FOI Act) of the Community Charter

CCBAC approves Regional Prosperity Initiative Funding

Joint Release of the Community Development Institute, Cities of Quesnel/Williams Lake, Districts of Wells/100 Mile House, Cariboo-Chilcotin Beetle Action Coalition and the Cariboo Regional District:

During the Cariboo Chilcotin Beetle Action Coalition (CCBAC) Board of Directors meeting on Monday, May 16, the Board approved a request for funding for a collaborative economic diversification and community prosperity initiative headed up by the Cariboo Regional District (CRD). CCBAC will provide $80,000 towards the initiative.

Earlier this year, the CRD formalized a partnership with the Community Development Institute (CDI) from the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) to create a more vibrant and prosperous region. The goal of the project will be to achieve true prosperity, defined as having a strong, diverse and resilient economy with a vibrant cultural and environmental context that offers a lifestyle that attracts and retains residents. The project will support economic & community development strategies for the Central, North and South Cariboo sub-regions, as well as an overarching regional strategy.

Through this initiative, the CDI will work with key stakeholders including businesses, industry representatives, governments, First Nations, and community organizations to realize change and transformation in our communities. Project partners will work to identify and build on sub-regional and regional assets and strengths to create new opportunities and diversify the regional economy.

We are extremely grateful to the CCBAC Board for supporting this initiative with funding and for recognizing the value of regional collaboration. It will involve this type of partnership and coordinated planning and action, so that real results can be achieved in the short-term,” states CRD Chair Al Richmond. “The long-term objective for this initiative is to build a more diverse economy with healthy, resilient communities.”

“This partnership initiative fits well with CCBAC’s focus on economic renewal in the Cariboo Chilcotin,” said CCBAC Chair and Mayor of Quesnel Bob Simpson. “Economic diversification strategies benefit from collaboration, the integration of multiple perspectives and a way of addressing both local and region-wide opportunities.”

“The CDI would like to thank CCBAC for its support for this project,” states Marleen Morris, Co-Director, Community Development Institute at UNBC. “We look forward to working with communities throughout the region on strategies for economic diversification and growth.”

“The City of Williams Lake is pleased that the CCBAC Board has made this significant investment in the future of our region,” states Williams Lake Mayor Walt Cobb. “This funding will assist in a more collective approach that will support each community in achieving their goals and eliminate duplication or cross-purpose development.”

We are pleased with the support of CCBAC and the recognition that a philosophy of working together, to be better as a region, is the driver of our future in the Cariboo,” states 100 Mile House Mayor Mitch Campsall. “The financial partnership with our communities and CCBAC can help set the direction for economic diversification in the decades ahead.”

"We would like to thank CCBAC for supporting this project,” says District of Wells Mayor Robin Sharpe. “It will provide lasting benefits for the people of Wells, Barkerville, and Bowron Lake.”

Social Media/Local Elected Officials

Yesterday - Kamloops This Week (sister paper to the Williams Lake Tribune) reviewed the use of social media tools by Kamloops BC Liberal MLA's Todd Stone/Terry Lake and Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo Conservative MP Cathy MacLeod in regards to staying in touch with their electorate.  Read the article here

Locally - there are many elected officials throughout the Region who maintain some sort of presence on social media, whether that be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.  Those elected officials include Williams Lake City Councillors Craig Smith, Jason Ryll, Scott Nelson, Cariboo Regional District (CRD) Area 'D' Director Steve Forseth, CRD Area 'F' Director Joan Sorley, CRD Chair/Area G Director Al Richmond, CRD Area H Director Margo Wagner, CRD Area J Director Roger William, Quesnel Mayor Bob Simpson, Quesnel Councillors Scott Elliot, Laurey-Anne Roodenburg & Sushil Thapar and Wells Mayor Robin Sharpe.  In addition, Cariboo-North MLA Coralee Oakes maintains a presence on both Twitter/Facebook.

For myself - I find use of Facebook (both personal or CRD Area D Director page), Twitter, Instagram and this blogsite is generally effective to have that two way conversation with most of my electorate plus engaging with people on the various local Facebook pages...

Although I still make use of "old fashioned" tools like phone, email or direct meetings with people and I try to do have the meetings, whether at places like the CRD Williams Lake office, the Oasis Cafe or Pub at McLeese Lake or at an agreed to location.  The point being - use the appropriate tool that people are comfortable with and allows you to serve the people (i.e.: electorate) who ultimately are your 'boss'..


Monday, May 23, 2016

Job Creation Partnership provides experience & new amenities

Courtesy of the BC Government:

Editor's Note - this is covered by the local media here.  I also attended this announcement last Friday in 100 Mile House along with CRD Chair Al Richmond, CRD Electoral Area 'L' Director Brian Coakley and 100 Mile House Mayor (and 100 Mile House CRD Director) Mitch Campsall

Five people in the Cariboo region will gain new job skills as they upgrade the Gold Rush Snowmobile Trail and other local recreation sites through a Job Creation Partnership with the British Columbia government.
The New Pathways to Gold Society received nearly $400,000 from the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation’s Community and Employer Partnerships program for the Joint Cariboo Project, which will see participants install new amenities along the Gold Rush Snowmobile Trail, at the local ice caves and on Canim Lake Band territory.
The program participants will be at work until December 2016 as they gain skills in general construction, log building, road work and trail building. They will also receive Level 1 first aid training, chain saw and power saw training, and training in off-road recreational vehicles, WorkPlace Hazardous Materials Information Systems (WHMIS) and Bear Aware programs.
Along the area’s Gold Rush Snowmobile Trail, popular among snowmobilers, project participants will install four warming huts and nine information kiosks to make the trail more accessible for new users. At local recreation sites they will install 15 outhouses, 35 picnic tables, 12 pit toilets and steps, and 30 picnic table planks. On the Canim Lake Band territory, participants will build 12 log picnic tables, two outhouses and log tables, a pow-wow arbour and a baseball field dug-out. They will also build a trapper’s cabin, renovate another cabin and build a trail along Bob’s Lake. In the final stage, participants will overhaul the ice caves with similar amenities, as well as add a foot bridge, new railing and parking lot improvements.
Job Creation Partnerships are part of the Employment Program of British Columbia’s Community and Employer Partnerships, which fund projects that increase employability and share labour market information.
The Community and Employer Partnerships program is featured in B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint and provides more support to people who are struggling to gain a foothold in the job market. It helps build stronger partnerships with industry and labour to connect British Columbians with classroom and on-the-job training, while making it easier for employers to hire the skilled workers they need – when and where they need them.
To date, more than 1,000 job seekers benefited from work experience and more than 200 projects have been funded throughout the province.
The B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint was launched two years ago to help British Columbians get the skills they need to be first in line for the almost one million job openings that are projected by 2024 and to re-engineer B.C.’s education programs toward a data-driven system focusing investments toward training for in-demand jobs.
Donna Barnett, MLA for Cariboo-Chilcotin said –
"The Gold Rush Trail is an asset to economic and social development. I have a personal connection as my late husband was an active volunteer for many, many years and I am pleased ‎to see this project continue to improve and grow. It is also great to have partnerships with First Nations on the trail project. The ice caves tourism project is another economic and social project which will tell the story of the ice caves, the history of the First Nations and benefit us all. The jobs that are created from these two projects and the ongoing tourism opportunities for growth are a great benefit to the South Cariboo.”
Both Cheryl Chapman/Terry Raymond, Co-Chairs of the New Pathways to Gold Society First Nations said:
It’s great to partner with government to provide First Nations communities and others with valuable skills while improving the heritage tourism infrastructure of the Gold Rush-Spirit Trails corridor" and “This project puts people on the land and provides real learning and employment opportunities for some First Nation community members.”
Learn More:
Learn more about the New Pathways to Gold Society: http://www.newpathwaystogold.ca/
For more information on Community and Employer Partnerships: www.workbc.ca/CEP
Find a local WorkBC Employment Services Centre: www.workbccentres.ca
Learn more about the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation: www.gov.bc.ca/sdsi
For more information on B.C.'s Skills for Jobs Blueprint: www.workbc.ca/skills
To find out more about the BC Jobs Plan: www.engage.gov.bc.ca/bcjobsplan/

Friday, May 20, 2016

Local Gov't Mtgs - Wk of May 24-27

Next week is an abbreviated week for local governments in the Cariboo-Chilcotin, due to the Victoria Day long weekend, but the following local governments' meet next week:

Quesnel - Regular Council Meeting on Tuesday, May 24th at 7pm in Quesnel Council Chambers (2nd Floor - 410 Kinchant Street).  On the Agenda:

* Presentation to Quesnel City employee - retirement
* Committee Reports
* June 2016 Council Calendar Report from Mayor Simpson
* Quesnel Lions Housing Society - Seniors Housing Development (McNaughton Avenue/Reid Street)
* 1st Quarter of 2016 Report
* NDIT Grant Application - Arts and Recreation Centre (Replace Pool's Filter Room Metal Grating)
* Rezoning Application - Bowling Alley/Mini Golf Recreation Centre (Racing Road)
* Permissive Tax Exemptions
* Multi-Family Housing Incentives Bylaw
* Gymnastics Facility Design Development
* Temporary Use Permit for Temporary Lodging for Mining Camp Workers (Two-Mile Flats)
* Rezoning Application - Secondary Suite (Consolidated Lots 4-5 Nickel Ridge Avenue)
* Local Procurement Policy
* BC Rural Dividend Fund Grant Application - Quesnel Downtown Accessibility and Tourist Attraction Project
* Bylaw of the Month - June 2016 - Unsightly Properties
* Emergency Incidents Communication Policy
* Climate Action Revenue Incentive Program Report

View the full Agenda here

Policy/Bylaw Review Standing Committee - Meeting on Wednesday, May 25th at 3pm.  On the Agenda:

* Office of the Ombudsperson Report - Bylaw Enforcement
* Review of City of Quesnel Sign Bylaw 1527 of 2002 - Follow Up/Action Items - Political Signage

View the full Agenda here

School District #27 (Cariboo-Chilcotin) - Regular Board of Education Meeting on Tuesday, May 24th at 6:30pm at PSO Secondary in 100 Mile House.  When available, the Agenda can be viewed here

Williams Lake - Regular Council Meeting on Tuesday, May 24th at 6pm in Williams Lake Council Chambers (450 Mart Street).  On the Agenda:

* Delegation: Normand Dionne, Commanding Officer & Tom Newell, Honorary Lieutenant Colonel of the Rocky Mountain Rangers of the Canadian Armed Forces - Regiment Information

* Reconsider DVP #2-2016 (Cariboo Community Church)
* Pavement Rehabilitation & Waterworks 2016 Contract Award
* South Lakeside Trunk Sewer Replacement Contract Award
* WLCBIA Meeting Update - Report of Councillor Sue Zacharias
* Women's Spirituality Circle Gathering - Report of Councillor Sue Zacharias
* Adopt three recommendations from the May 17th Council-in-Committee meeting

View the full Agenda here

100 Mile House - Regular Council Meeting on Tuesday, May 24th 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 - 3pm on Wednesday, May 25th in the CRD Committee Room (180D North 3rd Avenue).  On the Agenda:

* Delegation - Sarah Jackman from the Punky Lake Society to discuss the activities of the Society and the recent First Nations Court initiative

* City of WL - Financial Contribution to Stampede Entranceway Project
* Renewal of Victim Services Agreement with City of WL
* Appointment of Representative to UNBC Advisory Committee

View full Agenda here

Then, at 5pm on May 25th, the Central Cariboo/City of Williams Lake Joint Committee meets in the CRD Boardroom (180D North 3rd Avenue).  On the Agenda:

* Canada Day 2016 Events Information
* Summer Child and Youth Pass at CMRC
* BC Games Bid
* Pool Upgrade Project - Monthly Status Report for April 2016
* Discussion Item: Chinese Community Leaders Visit to Region

View the full Agenda here

Community Events this Weekend/Next Week:

* TRU Commencement Ceremony - 5:30pm tonight (Friday, May 20th) at the TRU Campus in Williams Lake
* In Likely - May Day Parade/Fishing Derby on Saturday, May 21st.  Parade on 21st only with the Fishing Derby on May 21st/22nd - more details here

* BC Enduro Series, here in Williams Lake both May 21st/22nd - more details here
* Visit Barkerville this long weekend - right now, it is "pay what you can" until May 31st.  More details here

* Provide your input to the City of Williams Lake on their Park Deposition (Sell) Plan until Tuesday, May 24th - more information here and public response sheets here


Craft Brewer in 100 Mile House benefits from new regulations

Courtesy of the BC Government Caucus:

As British Columbia continues to grow its reputation as the craft beer capital of Canada, craft brewers in every corner of the province will now benefit from an additional $10 million per year in economic support thanks to a significant reduction in the mark-up rate for craft beer products.

Effective July 3, 2016, the mark-up rate for small and regional breweries will be reduced by approximately 25 per cent, ensuring craft breweries will have increased financial capacity to grow and expand. These changes further improve mark-up rates for craft beer that were announced last year when government introduced the new wholesale pricing model, and will enable craft breweries to increase production and create jobs, while increasing the availability of high-quality, made-in-B.C. products.

As part of these new changes, craft breweries will also no longer be required to remit the supplier price of their products to the Liquor Distribution Branch, which will improve the companies’ cash flow.

This announcement has a positive impact on Broke ‘N Rode Brewing Co. in 100 Mile House.

“Craft brewers and consumers are the main beneficiaries of these changes,” Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett said. “This announcement supports the growth of the craft beer sector in the Cariboo and throughout B.C. by giving breweries more resources to create jobs, while giving consumers more choices of high-quality, locally made beverages.”

Quick facts:

·         The B.C. craft beer industry has seen exponential growth over the past few years, increasing from 54 in 2010 to 118 breweries in 2015, with up to 20 new breweries on the horizon.

·         Provincial efforts to cut red tape and increase supports for the craft beer industry have resulted in a 35 per cent increase in the amount of craft beer produced in B.C. over the past year.

·         Microbreweries now have opportunities to showcase their products at their local BC Liquor Stores and can access new revenue streams thanks to changes that allow on-site tasting lounges at breweries and beer sales at artisan and farmers’ markets.

·         The mark-up rate is the revenue generated by the Province from the sale of liquor products.
·         The mark-up rate for craft brewers with a production output of 15,000 hectolitres or less, per year, will be reduced from $0.55 to $0.40 per litre, which will benefit 99 brewers in the province.

·         The mark-up rate for craft brewers with a production output of between 15,001 to 350,000 hectolitres will be reduced from between $0.56 to $1.02 per litre to between $0.41 to $0.99 per litre, which will benefit 19 brewers in the province.

·         To date, 41 of the 73 recommendations from the Liquor Policy Review have been implemented. Work to continue implementing additional recommendations is ongoing.

·         Read the full list of Liquor Policy Review recommendations: www2.gov.bc.ca/local/haveyoursay/Docs/liquor_policy_review_report.pdf

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Northern Communities Poised For Election Year

Courtesy of the North Central Local Government Association:

As the dust settles from the North Central Local Government Association’s (NCLGA) recent four day convention in Dawson Creek, community leaders from across north-central BC are primed to ensure their region receives unprecedented consideration over the coming twelve months, culminating in a Provincial election on May 9th, 2017. 
Newly minted NCLGA President, Laurey Roodenburg, points to strong efforts over the past two years to give northerners the best possible advantage. “With just seven percent of the provincial population covering 70% of the provincial landmass, we have to look for strategic advantages where we can find them”, said Roodenburg. “In just the last year, for example, we’ve ratified MOU’s with UNBC, the Fraser Basin Council, Northern Development, two Beetle Action Coalitions and we’ve built strategic alliances with many others”. 
As they continue to fulfill their role as “The Elected Voice of North Central BC”, the NCLGA has stressed a non-partisan, conciliatory approach in dealing with stakeholders like the Provincial Government. “Our primary role is to promote the environmental, economic and social wellbeing of northern communities”, said NCLGA Past President, Brian Frenkel. On that front, finger pointing and grandstanding get us nowhere; we see other levels of government as partners, not opponents.” 
Roodenburg added that the resolution process coupled with ongoing dialogue with stakeholders leaves the NCLGA well positioned to ensure northerners are not forgotten in the political discourse. “Our communities might be small, but as a whole, our region accounts for 80% of provincial exports, 60% of BC’s aboriginal population, 80% of agricultural land and we’re home to the vast majority of this Province’s major resource development projects. We’re far from insignificant.” 
Over the next twelve months, we’ll be meeting with as many decision makers as possible- in senior levels of government, industry and with other influential NGO’s, said Roodenburg, a three term Councillor from Quesnel. Since the last municipal elections, we’ve heard from 265+ elected leaders that fall under the NCLGA umbrella and can summarize their thoughts in a single phrase: capacity building. 
We’re ready to do amazing things in this corner of the world. We’re ready to show everyone that economic development and environmental stewardship are not mutually exclusive. We’ve got the plans, the expertise and most importantly, the will. We just need the tools.” The tools Roodenburg is referring to run the gamut from increased broadband communications to the replacement of decaying infrastructure and, in many cases, legislative change. 
A detailed list of current and past resolutions, newsletters, and a list of the 2016 – 2017 NCLGA Board can be found at www.NCLGA.ca
For additional comment and information, please contact: 
NCLGA President, Laurey Roodenburg: (Home) 250-747-7406, (Cell) 250-255-5394
NCLGA Past President, Brian Frenkel: (Cell) 250-567-8620
NCLGA Executive Director, Oliver Ray: (Cell) 250-612-9801

KAAS Donates Sweeper to 108 Mile Airport

Joint Release of the Kamloops Airport Authority Society/Cariboo Regional District:

Due to the generosity of the Airports Canada Assistance Program through the Government of Canada, the Kamloops Airport Authority Society (KAAS) purchased two new runway
sweepers for the Kamloops Airport in the summer of 2015. These new sweepers provide snow clearing services to allow flights to land at the airport in winter conditions.

The new equipment resulted in the retirement of two sweepers that no longer met the snow clearing needs for the Kamloops Airport. The Cariboo Regional District (CRD) heard about the surplus equipment and asked if it could be secured through a donation. The Kamloops Airport Authority Society agreed to donate a sweeper to its northern neighbour, whose airport allows for medevac flights and tourist visits to the region.

"The Kamloops Airport Authority Society was very fortunate to receive funding last year from the Federal Government’s ACAP program, and purchased two new sweepers to replace aging equipment,” says Kamloops Airport Authority Society Vice-Chair Peter Milobar. “We heard that South Cariboo Regional Airport was in need of one and are pleased to support our northern neighbour with a donation of one of our retired sweepers."

“The Cariboo Regional District is extremely grateful to the Kamloops Airport Authority Society for this generous donation,” states South Cariboo Regional Airport Commission Chair Mitch Campsall. “This is a welcome addition to our airport and will be extremely helpful in ensuring we continue to provide the best possible services to our airport and the South Cariboo communities.”

SD27 receives $321,000 from BC for 3 schools

Courtesy of the BC Government Caucus:

Students, parents and teachers at three schools in the Cariboo-Chilcotin School District will see revamped and refreshed schools thanks to $321,073 going to School District 27 under the Province’s School Enhancement Program.

The projects:

· Dog Creek Elementary School and Likely Elementary School: Heating, ventilation and air condition (HVAC) upgrades at each school – totalling $146,073 in provincial funding.

· Cataline Elementary School (Williams Lake): Fire protection upgrade, $175,000 in provincial funding.

The School Enhancement Program is improving 80 schools across every district this year. Districts applied to the Ministry of Education this spring and successful projects were chosen based on need and priority.

As a result of B.C.'s fiscal discipline and its balanced budget, the government is able to support key investments like the School Enhancement Program.

“Through the School Enhancement Program, these three schools will receive much-needed improvements that will benefit students, teachers and staff,” Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett said. “This is another example of how schools and students continue to benefit from B.C.’s balanced budget.”

The projects have to be substantially complete by March 31, 2017.

This year’s $45-million School Enhancement Program builds on last year’s $35-million Routine Capital Program investment, which supported 109 school improvement projects throughout the province.

Budget 2016 provides $1.7 billion in capital funding over three years to replace aging facilities, build more student spaces in growing communities and improve seismic safety.

Frizzi Road Switchback

Courtesy of the City of Williams Lake:

The City of Williams Lake is reminding users that Frizzi Road switchback to the River Valley is no longer maintained for vehicle traffic. 
The switchback has been identified as an area of high potential for land failure resulting from poor water drainage. In order to assure safety, warning signs are posted at top and bottom of the switchback.
Visitors to the River Valley are welcome to park at the Comer Street entrance or on Frizzi Road before proceeding onto valley trails. When using the River Valley, please remain on the road or on posted trails in order to avoid trespassing on private property. ATVs and dirt bikes are not permitted in the River Valley Recreation Sites. 
When parked on Frizzi Road, drivers are reminded to ensure that vehicles are not impeding traffic, nor blocking driveways. When using the Comer Street access, please use extra caution. In addition to public works vehicles, the Comer access route is now used by the rural residents and resource license holders in the River Valley. 
The City is working with provincial resource staff to identify a safer access route to the river valley. Further information is available by contacting Gary Muraca, Director of Municipal Services or Leah Hartley, Director of Development Services, City of Williams Lake.
Ph: 250-392-2311 or Emails:
Gary Muraca - click here
Leah Hartley - click here

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Mental Health System can do more to ensure specialized services for people

Courtesy of the BC Auditor-General:

Auditor General of British Columbia Carol Bellringer issued her latest audit today: Access to Adult Tertiary Mental Health and Substance Use Services.

Bellringer’s team looked at how B.C.’s health system manages access to the highest level of mental health and substance use services. They found pockets of good practice, but more is needed to ensure that highly vulnerable patients – for example, someone suffering from an acute mental illness with a long history of hospitalization and substance use issues – can access the services they need.

“More information is needed,” says Bellringer. “The Ministry of Health and health authorities need to know where the bottlenecks are, how long the waitlists are, and whether or not programs are effective and meet patient needs now and in the future.”

Mental health and substance use services were once housed at Riverview Hospital (in Coquitlam). Services have slowly transferred to the health authorities. This audit is about the current system and the planning for future services.

Currently, some people may not be well-served. This includes people with serious mental health and/or substance use problems, plus acquired brain injury, developmental disabilities, and/or a history of extreme violence or current aggressive behaviour. These gaps in service are compounded by the lack of available resources for patients ready for discharge, such as appropriate housing, and pressures on other parts of the medical system, such as emergency rooms.

Barriers to access and discharge need to be analyzed and coordinated. Bellringer recommends leadership from the Ministry of Health to keep the momentum going, set province-wide direction, and enhance collaboration with the health authorities for more consistency across the province.

“We’re not recommending a one-size-fits-all approach, but there needs to be some consistency,” says Bellringer. “Different approaches and philosophies of care are necessary because patient needs vary across the province. There should be fair and equitable access for everyone.”

To read the BC's Auditor-General's report on this subject, click here

View a summary video of the BC's Auditor General's report on Mental Health Services below:

WL Mayor clears air over alleged conflict of interest charge

Back in February of this year, a resident of Williams Lake alleged that Williams Lake Mayor Walt Cobb was in a conflict of interest, given his role as a Director on the Royal Canadian Legion Board, while at the same time, Williams Lake City Council approved a Grant in Aide of $7,500 and property tax exemption to the Legion.  After a review by the City's legal counsel - it was determined that Mayor Cobb is not in a conflict of interest on the basis that "That the pecuniary interest is so remote or insignificant that it cannot reasonably be regarded as likely to influence the member in relation to the matter"

Mayor Cobb sat down with the Williams Lake Tribune yesterday to fully explain the situation.

Read here

Conflict of interest charges against elected officials do not happen often, let alone be made public and when they do, in most cases, they are either proven to be false or dropped altogether.  In the rare times that it is indeed proven that an elected official is indeed in a conflict of interest, Section 100 of the Community Charter (view here) and case law provides for when an elected official may be or must be disqualified (thrown out) from office, however it is ultimately up to the individual elected official to determine if they are in a conflict and act accordingly

As a result of the 2013 Schlenker vs Torgrimson court ruling - elected officials in BC, whether on a Regional District Board, Municipal Council or Island Trust, were previously cautioned to be very mindful of their elected role and on which non-profit boards they sit on as a result of "divided loyalties" and the theory of "which master you serve"

However, back on May 4th, the Province announced that the provincial Cabinet passed a Regulation which exempts local elected officials from conflict of interest rules as a result of being appointed from a local government body (Board, Council or Trust) to certain corporate bodies or non-profit boards - more details here

For myself - as an elected official, I purposely avoid sitting on non-profits to avoid the possibility of having "divided loyalties" between sitting on a non-profit board and being an elected Cariboo Regional District Electoral Area Director


Dave Dickson to receive Medal of Good Citizenship

Courtesy of the BC Government:

Editor's Note -- Congrats to Dave Dickson who holds a number of roles in the City including his work with Rotary and the City of Williams Lake's Manager of Community Safety.  Well done, Dave!

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations for Rural Development Donna Barnett, on behalf of Premier Christy Clark, will present Dave Dickson, a well-known Williams Lake citizen, with the province’s newest honour, the Medal of Good Citizenship.

The ceremony will be held Tuesday, May 24, 2016, at 5 p.m. at the Williams Lake City Hall, 450 Mart St., Williams Lake.

Launched in July 2015 by Premier Clark, the prestigious Medal of Good Citizenship recognizes individuals who, through exceptional long-term service, have made outstanding contributions to their communities without expectation of remuneration or reward. The medal reflects their generosity, service, acts of selflessness and contributions to community life. Nominations for the Medal of Good Citizenship are accepted year-round.

Dickson was honoured with the medal for his wide-ranging volunteer contributions made in the Williams Lake and Chilcotin Cariboo region, many of which have helped to make the community safer, reduced crime, and ensured those who are in need or vulnerable are taken care of.

His service to the community and countless hours of volunteering have benefited the Williams Lake Community Policing unit, Canadian Red Cross, Williams Lake Rotary Club, Northern BC Mobile Support Team with the Provincial Emergency Program, the local emergency support services team and the Canadian Cancer Society.

Among his many other contributions, Dickson was also instrumental in establishing a number of programs including the Mounted Citizens on Patrol, a first-of-its-kind program that sees local citizens ride horseback to patrol areas that are difficult to observe; Wandering program for those at risk of going missing; and the Positive Ticketing Program which rewards children for being positive citizens. He has been a member of the Cops for Cancer Tour de North team for a number of years, is a multiple Paul Harris Fellow and has been involved in a number of international projects.

Dickson is among a select group of British Columbians who will receive the Medal of Good Citizenship.

BC's Premier - the Hon. Christy Clark said:

“Every British Columbian deserves to feel safe in their community. Dave Dickson’s selfless contributions to community safety initiatives have helped vulnerable residents feel safer, and inspire youth to be the next generation of great citizens.”

While local Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett stated:

"Dave Dickson is an excellent example of a British Columbia good citizen. His passion and hard work for the betterment of his community goes above and beyond. It is an honour to present him with the Medal of Good Citizenship.”

Finally, Mr. Dickson stated:

“I have always enjoyed helping other people and helping to make someone else feel or be a little better. When volunteering you get a lot back in return as you always meet outstanding people who share your mission to make your community a better place. I am certainly pleased to receive the honour although it is not about me, it is about the wonderful people that I get to work with and serve, however large or small the task might be.”

Quick Facts:

  • The Medal of Good Citizenship was launched in 2015 to recognize individuals who, through exceptional long-term volunteer efforts, have made outstanding contributions to the well-being of their communities.
  • Nominations for the Medal of Good Citizenship are accepted year-round.
  • All regions in the province were represented on the Medal of Good Citizenship Selection Committee and members came from various professional backgrounds.
  • More than 220 nominations were reviewed.
  • Additional medal presentation ceremonies will be held across the province in the coming months.
  • Monday, May 16, 2016

    National Police Week (May 15-21)

    Courtesy of the Hon. Mike Morris - BC Solicitor-General/Minister of Public Safety:

    For nearly half a century, Police Week has provided Canadians with annual opportunities to connect with their local police agencies and learn about the range of services they deliver.

    Beyond providing families with a chance to check out different vehicles and equipment that police use to further public safety, Police Week lets people get to know the women and men behind the badge. This year, police agencies are also using it to highlight important issues like family violence. As our government continues its multi-year Violence Free BC strategy, police are critical, front-line partners in preventing and eliminating the violence that affects too many women and children throughout our province.

    Of course, opportunities to interact with police officers can also help to influence the career choices our young people make, adding to the value of Police Week. Positive interaction with officers early in my life contributed to my decision to join the RCMP for what would become a 32-year career in the force – decades that I look back on with fondness and pride.

    I encourage British Columbians to participate in the open houses and other events that local detachments and departments are hosting over the next few days, to meet officers, learn about the important work that they and various support staff perform, and perhaps consider the career opportunities that policing affords.

    SD28 Budget Pressures continue

    Courtesy of the Board of Education for School District #28 (Quesnel):

    The Board of Education of School District 28 (Quesnel) is in the process of preparing its preliminary budget for the 2016/17 school year. While the Board intends to announce a balanced budget for the upcoming year, they do so with a great deal of frustration and displeasure. On March 30, 2016, the Board passed a bylaw to close three schools – École Baker Elementary, Parkland Elementary and Kersley Elementary – effective June 30, 2016. The savings that resulted from these closures is estimated to be $777,000 which would have been sufficient to cover the funding shortfall of $749,000 which has substantially resulted from declining enrolment and decreases in funding protection. Unfortunately, because of way the provincial government has downloaded certain costs to the District, instead of being able to add services back to the system after closing schools, the Board is being forced to make further cuts of $324,000. These cuts may directly impact students.

    The Quesnel Board of Education, like other districts in the province, is demanding that the government reverse decisions which have contributed to a significant funding shortfall for the upcoming and future years. First, the Board demands the return of the District Administrative Savings, the result of which is that $370,000 has been permanently taken out of operating budgets – $202,000 in the 2015/16 year and a further $168,000 for the 2016/17 year. Second, repay the costs for the new provincial network for internet access. Our District’s cost for this are $260,000 in the 2015/16 school year and will cost a further $135,000 in 2016/17 school year – costs which will be ongoing. Finally, the Board will be demanding that exempt staff wage increases (frozen since 2009 but recently approved by the government) be fully funded. These wage increases cost the Quesnel School District $55,000 for the 2015/16 year and it is anticipated that there will be additional exempt staff increases in future years that should be fully funded as well

    As a Board, we feel that it is disingenuous for the government to announce increases to per student funding on one hand, while offloading unexpected costs to Districts on the other. We wonder what will happen when we have no excess capacity to reduce, or educational programs to cut. Unexpected funding decisions ultimately affect student programming, especially in districts that do not have any capacity to generate additional funding.

    In a year when the budget could be balanced with an overall increase to current service levels, the Quesnel School District is down over $1 million in funding resulting from the above-noted cost pressures in just the 2015/16 and 2016/17 years, necessitating cuts being made for the upcoming school year. We are calling on the government to return those funds to School District #28 students, and invite members of the public to voice their concern and outrage directly to the Ministry of Education and/or provincial government.

    Sunday, May 15, 2016

    Local Gov't Awareness Week (May 15-21)

    Courtesy of the BC Government:

    The Province of British Columbia is proud to proclaim Local Government Awareness Week, May 15-21, 2016, Community, Sport and Cultural Development Minister Peter Fassbender said today.

    Local governments play a key role providing citizens, businesses and communities with essential services they need to prosper and thrive. Safe drinking water, wastewater management, streets, sidewalks, libraries, land-use planning, fire and police protection, recreation and parks are just some of the important benefits that B.C.’s local governments help support in order to foster strong, successful communities.

    Every year, the Government of British Columbia approves grants that help local governments provide public services. In 2016, the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development increased funding for local government grant programs to more than $165 million – a $30 million increase over last year. The increases apply to the Small Community Grants Program and the Traffic Fine Revenue Sharing Program.

    In addition to grants, partnerships are an important part of the on-going collaboration between the Province and B.C.’s local governments. For example, the B.C. government and the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) negotiate the terms of the Gas Tax Fund with the federal government. UBCM administers the fund within British Columbia.

    The Gas Tax Fund will invest $2.76 billion in British Columbia’s local governments over the next ten years – and the Small Communities Fund under the New Building Canada Fund represents a $327 million investment over the next decade in B.C.’s local community infrastructure.

    Every year, Local Government Awareness Week is celebrated simultaneously with National Public Works Week.

    Community, Sport and Cultural Development Minister Peter Fassbender said –

    “In communities throughout B.C., elected municipal and regional representatives make vital decisions on behalf of British Columbians. Local governments impact communities directly, through planning, managing and operating public services and infrastructure that enable communities of all sorts and sizes to flourish. As we observe Local Government Awareness Week, I want to thank all the elected officials and staff in B.C.’s local governments for their dedicated service to their communities.”

    While Union of BC Municipalities President (and Cariboo Regional District Chair) Al Richmond –

    “Local governments are honoured to deliver the basic services British Columbians rely on daily. The infrastructure, facilities and services that local residents count on are the result of generations of planning and implementation. The vibrancy and health that characterizes our communities is a credit to the Province of B.C.’s empowering legislative framework for local government. I am pleased the Province has set aside this week to highlight the contributions of B.C.’s municipalities and regional districts."

    Quick Facts:

    There are 189 local governments in British Columbia, including 162 municipalities and 27 incorporated regional districts. In addition, the Islands Trust and the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality combine features of a municipality and a regional district.
    In British Columbia, elected local officials represent cities, towns, villages, regional districts, parks boards and the Islands Trust.

    The Community Charter (Bill 14, 2003) is the first local government legislation in Canada to establish a full set of principles for municipal-provincial relations.

    Under the Community Charter and the Local Government Act, local governments have broad authority to provide any service that their respective council or board considers necessary or desirable, including water, sewer, garbage disposal, recreation, child care and economic development.

    The Local Government Act provides a legal framework and foundation for local governments. It provides local governments with powers, duties and functions – and with the flexibility to respond to the diverse needs and changing circumstances of their communities.

    Learn More:

    Read the Local Government Awareness Week Proclamation at:


    For more on Local Government Awareness Week, visit: http://www.lgaw.bc.ca/

    For further information about local government in British Columbia, visit CivicInfo BC at:


    Check out the provincial government’s role in supporting communities, sport, arts and culture through the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development at:


    To learn more about the Community Charter, visit:


    To learn more about the Local Government Act: