Thursday, March 29, 2018

Local Gov't Mtgs - Wk of April 2-6

Next week, the Cariboo Regional District's Emergency Preparedness Committee and Quesnel City Council will meet.  Details below:

Quesnel - Regular Council Meeting on Tuesday, April 3rd at 7:00pm in Quesnel Council Chambers (4th Floor, 410 Kinchant St).  On the Agenda:

* Presentations (2) - Nominees, Quesnel Volunteer Citizen of the Year & New City of Quesnel Bylaw Officer

* Standing Committee Reports/Recommendations
* Quesnel Junior School Replacement Project
* Proposed Elliott Street Supportive Housing Development (Second Proposal)
* Fiscal Year 2017 Statement of Financial Information Report
* Reid Street Revitalization Project (Award of Tender)
* 2017 Final Capital Report & Reserves Balances Report
* 2017 Surplus Report

View the full Agenda here

Cariboo Regional District - Emergency Preparedness Committee - Regular Meeting on Tuesday, April 3rd at 10:00am in the Cariboo Regional District Boardroom (Suite D, 180 North 3rd Avenue, Williams Lake).  On the Agenda:

* Consider memorandum from Director S. Forseth concerning Red Cross Funding Programs - 2017 Wildfires

* Resume review of Final Report -  Post Wildfires Community Consultation Meetings
* Review Final Report - EOC/Board Post 2017 Wildfire Event Debrief

View the full Agenda here


Also - on Thursday, April 5th at 7pm at the McLeese Lake Community Hall, TELUS will be presenting information to the community of McLeese Lake and area on the opportunity of High Speed Internet being provided.  Local Cariboo Regional District Electoral Area 'D' Director Steve Forseth will moderate the session.  The McLeese Lake Community Hall is located at 6178 Forglen Road, just off of Highway 97 North


School District No. 28 Moves to Next Stage in School Replacement Planning

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

The Board of Education is pleased to announce that the Quesnel School District has been asked to deliver a final Project Definition Report (“PDR”) by October 31, 2018 for the replacement of Quesnel Junior School (QJS).

While this is not yet approval for a new school, a PDR is the second stage of planning and demonstrates that we have received Ministry of Education support for advancing the QJS replacement.

To advance this project, the PDR submission would include more detailed assessment of need, options, costs, benefits, risks, engineering, design, environmental requirements, permit requirements, and all other items affecting project scope, schedule or budget. The Ministry will rely on the information within the PDR to seek project funding approval by Government in early 2019.

In addition to this, the approved Capital Plan submission also included funding of $1,588,000 for HVAC and flooring upgrades at Correlieu Secondary School and $674,388 for the replacement of four buses for the upcoming school year.

“On behalf of The Board of Education I would like to thank Minister Fleming and Ministry of Education staff for their support on advancing the QJS replacement project and the community of Quesnel for their continued advocacy,” said Board Chair, Gloria Jackson.

“Rising From the Ashes” Benefit Concert

Courtesy of the New Pathways to Gold Society:

Legendary saxophonist and Sound Tribe front man Al Stager headlines “Rising From the Ashes,” a benefit concert to assist Interior communities hit hard by the 2017 wildfire crisis being held in the traditional territory of the Lytton First Nation on April 15.

Stager leads an all-star cast of talented, veteran First Nations musicians that includes Ritchie and the Fendermen lead guitarist Ritchie Adams in an evening of country, rock and roll and blues music. Adams will perform with fellow Fendermen Jim Billy and Big George Kirstenstein. Francis Charlie of the Black Owl Blues Band and Gordon Dick of Sound Tribe and the Baby Fats Blues Band will join the jam along with solo artist Willard Wallace.

The concert at the Lytton Memorial Hall at 8:00 p.m. is a joint-project of the Lytton First Nation and the New Pathways to Gold Society (NPTGS). Organizer Byron Spinks of the Lytton First Nation says all are very experienced musicians who can put on a good show – especially for a good cause.

“This will be the first time that all of these musicians will have an opportunity to play together,” said Spinks, who is also an NPTGS Director. “They’re very excited and the audience will get a mix of good old country, rock and roll and blues.”

NPTGS First Nations Co-Chair Cheryl Chapman says the concert shows the resilience of the communities along the Hope-Barkerville corridor.

“Once again we see the people and communities coming together to uphold each other and rebuild after challenging circumstances,” Chapman said.

Stager is known throughout B.C. and has played all over the province for over 30 years and Spinks says organizers are “very fortunate to have him perform. He’s in his 70's and only plays a few times a year now.”

The concert is part of the NPTGS’ “10+” anniversary celebration, April 14-15 in Lytton. In partnership with the Lytton First Nation, NPTGS will also hold the Chief Cexpe'nthlEm Recognition and Reconciliation Storytelling Circle, celebrating the courage and wisdom of Chief Cexpe'nthlEm in bringing peace to B.C. in 1858 by negotiating an end to the Canyon War with American militia Captain H.M. Snyder.

Descendants of Chief Cexpe'nthlEm and Captain Harry Snyder will participate, as will traditional knowledge keepers, drummers and dancers from the Nlaka’pamux and other First Nations. Plans to renovate the memorial to Chief Cexpe'nthlEm will be unveiled at the event, which takes place at the Parish Hall in Lytton, commencing at 4:30 p.m.

The New Pathways to Gold Society is a non-profit, non-partisan organization founded in 2007. The Society partners with First Nations, communities, corporations, local businesses and government to develop and deliver projects supporting local economies and creating heritage tourism assets. With financial support from the Government of British Columbia and other partners, NPTGS has raised and/or leveraged over $4.5 million for projects and contributed nearly $3.55 million to local communities. In partnership, the Society has also built or restored over 230 kilometers of heritage trails launched and/or completed 19 major projects and staged over 150 events, performances, symposia and lectures.

The Lytton First Nation is located on 14,161 acres of land divided into 56 reserves, located at the site of the Indian Village of Kumsheen, meaning, “where the Rivers Cross.” Rich in natural resources, they’re a vibrant First Nations community that has survived adversity by continuing to practice their core traditional values of generosity, respect and welcoming strangers into their territory.

Quesnel Council Highlights - March 27th mtg

Courtesy of the City of Quesnel:

Highway 97 Quesnel Transportation Plan – Phase II
Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure representatives Oliver Schwuchow, Regional Project Manager and Kathryn Weicker, Senior Regional Transportation Planning Engineer reviewed Phase II of the Highway 97 Quesnel Transportation Plan. Included in this presentation was an overview of:
  • Project Development Life Cycle – Over the last two years, the Infrastructure Planning Phase of this initiative has been completed. The remaining subsequent phases, if options proceed, are Preliminary Design, Functional Design, Detailed Design, Tender and Construction phases.
  • Study Areas
    • Study Segment A – South Quesnel/Commercial
    • Study Segment B – North Start Interchange
    • Study Segment C – Downtown Quesnel
    • Study Segment D – Two Mile Flats
  • Public Input Results and Key Findings from February 7 and 19, 2018 Public Open Houses
    • 903 residents and community members participated
    • 843 survey feedback forms submitted
    • 25 survey questions organized around 12 topics
    • 84% chose Option AR-1 North South Interconnector as their top potential highway improvement
  • Option Evaluation and Recommendations (Short Term and Long Term Potential Options)
    • AR-1 North-South Interconnector – Implemented 0 to 5 years
    • AR-2 North-South Industrial Connector – Screened Out
    • AR-3 East-West Connector – Screened Out
    • A1-A3 – South Quesnel Access Management
      • Racing Road and Quesnel-Hydraulic Road Access Management – 0 -5 Years
      • Highway Realignment onto Legion Drive – Screened Out
      • Front Street 3-Lane Reconfiguration – 0–5 years
    • D1-D2 – Two Mile Flat Access Management – 15 – 25 Years
Next steps include:
  • Finalize Quesnel Transportation Plan report by March 31, 2018 and present final reports to Elected Officials and First Nations.
  • Project Development
    • Front Street - finalize design and stakeholder input, construct fall 2018
    • Racing Road - request funding for next level of design
    • North-South Interconnector – request funding to develop business case
Council Remuneration
Council remuneration policy options were reviewed by Council. Council approved the following draft options to be finalized in November/December 2018. The draft options approved are:
  • A model for remuneration that includes additional pay for positions such as Acting Mayor and Committee Chair that require additional time and effort on the part of the Councillors.
  • A model that includes a penalty for missed meetings above a set amount of missed meetings.
  • Look at possible options to address the anticipated January 1, 2019 loss of the one-third tax exemption for Council remuneration in the fall after reviewing practices of other municipalities.
Housing Agreements
Council approved Housing Agreements for two housing developments located at 424 McLean Street and 255 McNaughton Avenue through the City’s Multi-Family Housing Incentives Program. This Program entitled these two eligible projects to a 10-year revitalization tax exemption on assessed value of improvements of municipal portion of property taxes and 100% waiver of Development Cost Charges because the projects offer affordable housing for at least 10 years.
Tourism and Social Media Marketing Progress
Tourism Website:
The Tourism website is divided into four major categories: Stop and Eat; Stop and Sleep; Stop and Play; and Stop and Discover. The Tourism website helps users narrow down their search for activities and provides contact information for individual businesses. The Tourism website also links to the Instagram page that has a constant updating feed of local tourism content.
Adventure Cards:
The Adventure Cards program is meant to infuse the City’s new brand throughout the community and change the community’s culture to be more knowledgeable about tourism/adventure opportunities. The Adventure Card program allows stores to provide adventure cards to customers with a business’s personal activity/adventure recommendation(s) for visitors and locals. The aim of this program is to eventually lead to broader scale culture change where residents increasingly view Quesnel as a place to adventure, all while providing tourists with easier access to information on local activities.
Social Media:
The City’s Social Media program has seen increasing growth, both with #ExploreQuesnel Facebook account and Instagram Page. The #ExploreQuesnel Facebook account has grown 34% since February 2016, up over 10% in the last month, coinciding with the publication of the Winter Tourism Video. This video received over 20,000 independent views, and was “liked and shared” over 100 times. The City’s Instagram Account, started in July 2017, has grown to nearly 500 followers, with 2000 “likes“ in the third quarter of 2018.
Business Improvement Levy
All three Business Improvement Associations (“BIA”) submitted an update on BIA’s activities and budgets. Council approved the following grants:
· $80,000 – South Quesnel Business Association
· $65,000 - Quesnel Downtown Association
· $40,000 – West Quesnel Business Association
All grants to these organizations are funded through a local service area tax on the commercial properties in each Business Improvement Area.
Hosting Precinct Grant Application
Council approved staff to submit a grant application to the Northern Development Initiative Trust Strategic Initiatives for a Hosting Precinct project. The City has partnered with the Quesnel Curling Club on a major placemaking initiative aimed at creating a new “hosting space” at the City’s Arena Precinct (West Fraser Centre, Arena II, curling rink, the Plaza and parking lots surrounding these buildings.) Major aspects of the funding request include:
· Upgrades to the curling rink façade and lounge
· Integrating the plaza and parking lot with the Reid Street redevelopment design
· Murals on the curling rink and Arena II
· Closed-caption TV’s between the three buildings
· Adding a dry floor and stage to the West Fraser Centre
· Installing wayfinding signage throughout the community
Bylaw of the Month Program
For the month of April 2018, the City’s Bylaw of the Month Program will focus on providing educational awareness, through the Bylaw Enforcement Department, around the following third-party sign regulations:
  • Third party (off-premise) signs are any signs which advertise goods, services, or events that are not sold or offered on the same location as the sign.
  • Third party signage (whether from businesses, individuals, or non-profit organizations) is prohibited in the City.
  • The purpose of this provision is to ensure pedestrian and vehicle traffic safety is maintained and to preserve citizens’ right to enjoy an aesthetic visual environment without the proliferation/clutter of signs.
  • 1783 Quesnel Lions Society Housing Agreement - Reid Street/McNaughton Avenue Housing Development – First Reading
  • 1840 Dakelh Housing Agreement (2017) – 424 McLean Street – Bylaw Rescinded
  • 1847 Dakelh Housing Agreement (2018) – 424 McLean Street - First Reading
Next Meetings
  • 7 pm, April 3, 2018 – Regular Council Meeting
  • 5:30 pm, April 10, 2018 – North Cariboo Joint Planning Committee

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Central Cariboo Joint Committee Highlights - March 28th mtg

Present from Cariboo RD - Directors S. Forseth, M. Neufeld and J. Sorley

Present from City of Williams Lake - Councillors I. Bonnell, J. Ryll, L. Walters, S. Zacharias and S. Nelson, via teleconference

Guest: CRD Chair M. Wagner

Meeting chaired by CRD Director J. Sorley and called the meeting to order at 5:30pm

The Chair acknowledged the meeting is taking place on traditional Shuswap territory and welcomed CRD Chair Margo Wagner to the meeting

Meeting agenda approved and Minutes of the Central Cariboo Joint Committee held on January 24th, 2018 be received/adopted

Resolved - At the request of the Chair, Director Sorley/Councillors J. Ryll and I. Bonnell be appointed to work with Staff to make a presentation on the 2019 North Central Local Government Association (NCLGA) Convention in Williams Lake at the 2018 NCLGA Convention in Fort Nelson and a Joint Press Release be issued announcing that the City of Williams Lake/Cariboo Regional District were successful in being awarded the 2019 NCLGA Convention


1) 2017 CCACS Grant Report Completed Projects Summary

The Committee considered a report from the Central Cariboo Arts/Culture Society (CCACS)
Discussion ensued thereon

Resolved - That the report be received

2) CCACS 2018 Project Grants Program Recommendations

The Committee considered a report from the Central Cariboo Arts/Culture Society
Discussion ensued thereon

Resolved - That the report be received and that it be recommended to the Regional Board, the following CCACS 2018 Project Grants be approved:

Arts on the Fly Festival Society (Arts on the Fly Festival) $ 3,000
Cariboo Chilcotin Child Development Centre (Uptown Art) $ 3,000
Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society (Water Wise/Salmonid Art Exhibit)$ 3,000
Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society (Trash Art Project for Secondary Students) $ 1,500
Cariboo Chilcotin Partners for Literacy (Storywalk Williams Lake) $ 500
Cariboo Chilcotin Youth Fiddle Society (Love and Lemonade Community Dance) $1,500
Cariboo Potters’ Guild (Hand Building with Slabs Workshop) $ 1,600
Community Arts Council of Williams Lake (Cariboo Wildfire Legacy) $1,000
Esk’etemc (Alkali Lake First Nation) (Esk’etemc Canvas Art Project) $ 3,000
Station House Studio and Gallery Society (Williams Lake Spring Lilac Festival) $ 1100

3) Grant Funding for CMRC Arena Change Room Expansion

The Committee considered a report from the City of Williams Lake's Director of Community Service G. Paynton
Discussion ensued thereon

Resolved - Report received/and that it be recommended to the Regional Board:

That an application be submitted to the NDIT “Capital Investment Analysis” grant program to help cover the costs of the planning for an arena change room expansion at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex, and that Staff be authorized to apply for any further grant programs that may become available for the planning process.

And that the Central Cariboo Recreation budget be amended to allocate up to $20,000 to accommodate the development of the design and costing of the project, should it be necessary

4) Conservation Society Water Wise Art Display Request

Resolved - That it be recommended to the Regional Board/City Council:

That the report from Geoff Paynton, Director of Community Services, City of Williams Lake, dated March 20, 2018, regarding a request from the Conservation Society to place water conservation related art works in the pool viewing area of the West Fraser Aquatic Centre, be received. Further, that the Conservation Society be permitted to display water conservation related artwork in the designated areas of the Sam Ketcham Memorial Pool viewing area provided they cover cost of installation and on-going maintenance

5) Letter from Westen Becker regarding Pool Accessibility Issues

The Committee considered the letter from Mr. Becker concerning Sam Ketcham Pool Accessibility Issues
Discussion ensued thereon

Resolved - That the letter be received

6) Action Page

Discussion ensued thereon

Resolved - Action Page received and Items 2,9,10,11 be removed from the Action Page

The Committee adjourned at 6:03pm

Don’t like something in our community…roll up your sleeves

Courtesy of the City of Quesnel:

Editor's Note -- this week's Quesnel Council Column is written by Quesnel Mayor Bob Simpson.  He can be reached via email here

Sometimes, I fear we’re turning into a society of finger-pointers and complainers. I’ve noticed that I particularly tend to feel this way around the time the snow melts away and the dog poop complaints start to mount.

For some members of our community “the City” is somehow responsible for all the dog poop that accumulates over the winter and becomes evident “everywhere” every spring: all over the Riverfront Trail, throughout West Fraser Timber Park, all over the downtown streets, in every neighbourhood. Alongside the cries of ‘shame on the City’ on social media are calls to ‘tag the Mayor,’ supposedly so I’ll be forced to make it the City’s number one priority to get on top of this issue. (Fortunately, some people rightly point out that the shame belongs on the irresponsible dog owners who could make this a non-issue by simply picking up after their dog).

This year, discarded needles and drug paraphernalia has joined dog poop as another issue that “the City” or “Council” or “the Mayor” must address with all of the resources at our disposal. Some people now love to take pictures of errant needles and post them on social media as proof that our City has gone downhill dramatically, seemingly oblivious to the fact that the opioid crisis and the corollary public health issues associated with discarded needles is a world-wide epidemic.

Many of the finger-pointers and social media complainers want tougher bylaws, more bylaw and RCMP officers, steeper fines, bans on dogs in public spaces (and cats and addicts), and they invite people to take pictures of the offending feces or the offending dog owners or the discarded needles and send them to City Hall. They’ll also spend hours on social media complaining and calling for action. In short, expending significant energy complaining and finger-pointing instead of rolling up their sleeves and actually addressing the issue by safely picking up the offending feces or needle when they see it or by organizing a work bee with their friends and neighbours to clean up a particularly problematic area of the community.

Civil society is based on the fundamental premise that people will be responsible for themselves, will voluntarily obey the law, will look out for their neighbours and those less fortunate, and will contribute to the well-being of the community as a whole. A safe, clean, beautiful community cannot be attained by tougher laws, bigger fines, and more police or bylaw officers. A great community is built and sustained by informed and engaged citizens, not more laws, signs, or uniformed enforcers.

Monday, city staff and I spent time with the Downtown Business Association (DBA) discussing ways we can minimize the impact of the Reid Street project on businesses in that area. The consultant the DBA brought in to facilitate this session made a critical observation in his introductory remarks that is pertinent to this discussion. He suggested that when we find ourselves saying “somebody should” we need to reframe that as “what can I do;” that is, if I’m bothered by something and think it needs to be resolved then start resolving it rather than pushing the responsibility elsewhere.

No matter what the issue, Council will be better able to address it if those concerned about that particular challenge approach us with informed options, solutions, examples of best practices elsewhere and a willingness to become partners with us in solving the problem.

Advance Voting Day #1 for Cariboo RD Area 'E' By-Election

Today is the 1st of two advanced voting opportunities for the electors in Cariboo RD Electoral Area 'E' (Russet Bluff - Esler - Dog Creek) to elect one person (Melynda Neufeld or Angie Delainey) to serve the remainder of the 2014-2018 local government term as the Cariboo Regional District Electoral Area 'E' Director

Advanced Voting takes place today (Wednesday, March 28th) from 8am - 8pm at the Cariboo Regional District Williams Lake Office (180D North 3rd Avenue, Williams Lake, across from 7-11).

Details on what you need to know before voting can be viewed here.  If Advanced or General Voting Days is not an option for you, you can request a mail in ballot - for details, click here.  Deadline to apply: Thursday, April 5th at 4pm

The next advanced voting day is Tuesday, April 3rd, 2018 at the CRD Williams Lake Office (180D North 3rd Avenue, across from 7-11) with General Voting Day set for Saturday, April 7th

If you have any additional questions - you can contact the Cariboo Regional District's Chief Election Officer, Alice Johnston, at 250-392-3351 or via email here


Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Summary of Public Feedback - Quesnel Transportation Study

Courtesy of the Government of BC:

As part of the Quesnel Transportation Plan study, which is assessing highway safety and traffic flow through the community, summary results of two public consultation sessions and online feedback are now available at:

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure hosted an open house on Feb. 7, 2018, to gather public input on potential transportation improvements from the Highway 97/26 Barkerville Highway Junction to Basalt Road. A second open house, sponsored by the City of Quesnel, was held on Feb 19.

Online input was received from Feb. 7-21, 2018. More than 900 people shared their thoughts on improvement options to this section of Highway 97 through Quesnel.

Participants were asked to rank the priority of improvement options on a scale from one to six. The highest ranked option was for the proposed North-South Interconnector, with 81% of responses ranking it No. 1. The lowest ranked option was the proposed highway realignment onto Legion Drive.

Full results are available in the summary report, which has been presented to the City of Quesnel council and First Nations. The ministry will review the results of the Quesnel Transportation Plan, and decide next steps in the coming weeks.

$3.4 Million in Maintenance Funding coming to SD27/SD28

Courtesy of the Government of BC:

Students throughout British Columbia will benefit from safer, more efficient and comfortable schools, thanks to $198 million in maintenance funding for school districts.

Students deserve to learn in schools that are well maintained and operating the way they should. That’s why we’ve boosted funding to these programs by more than $20 million over last year,” said BC Education Minister, the Hon. Rob Fleming. “We are supporting B.C. schools with this funding, so students, teachers and school district staff can focus their energy to where it matters most – in the classroom.”

Under the School Enhancement Program, all school districts will receive a portion of this year’s $65-million investment. The program is funding 176 separate projects that upgrade a wide range of building systems. For example, schools might receive mechanical upgrades to improve the heating, cooling and ventilation of classrooms, or safety upgrades to fire alarm and sprinkler systems.

Each year, the Carbon Neutral Capital Program funds $5 million for upgrades that cut greenhouse-gas emissions and boost energy efficiency. Three of the 19 schools receiving funding this year are using it to install solar panel systems.

This year’s $12.5-million investment under the School Bus Replacement Program is buying 93 new and replacement buses in 28 school districts. The replacement buses will make travelling to school safer and more reliable for students. The new buses will add to districts’ fleets, allowing them to better serve students with new routes.

These funding programs build on the Annual Facilities Grant (AFG), which flows to districts annually for routine school maintenance costs. This year, the total AFG is $115.5 million, an increase of $5 million over last year. This is the first increase to the AFG since 2004-05.

Many of the projects being funded through these programs will benefit schools by saving them money on electricity, natural gas, fuel and maintenance. Those savings can be reinvested in classrooms to support student learning.

“Our government recognizes that students will be better off in an education system that is properly resourced,” said Fleming. “Increasing the funding to these programs is the first step to address the backlog of school maintenance in this province.”

Funding to School Districts 27 (Cariboo-Chilcotin) and 28 (Quesnel):

Cariboo Chilcotin School District (SD 27)

 School Enhancement Program – $500,000 for mechanical system upgrades at Horse Lake Elementary
 School Bus Replacement Program – $660,497 for five replacement busses
 Total – $1,160,497

Quesnel School District (SD 28)

 School Enhancement Program – $1,588,000 for flooring and HVAC system upgrades at Correlieu Secondary
 School Bus Replacement Program – $674,387 for four replacement busses
 Total – $2,262,387

Province clarifies intent of Property Speculation Tax

Courtesy of the Government of BC:

Editor's Note - while the clarification from the Provincial Government around its' intent for the proposed property speculation tax is useful, this will likely not satisfy those in the Cities of Kelowna/West Kelowna, Capital Regional District, Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley and the Nanaimo area who will still feel singled out vs the rest of BC... In addition, at the request of Cariboo RD Area 'L' Director Brian Coakley, the Cariboo RD Board considered this matter at its' meeting last Friday but was deferred until Cariboo RD Staff can review the matter and report back at the April meeting of the Cariboo RD Board.  Stay tuned, as they say!

Map of BC where provincial speculation tax will apply
In Purple
To help make housing in overheated markets more affordable and available, the B.C. government is targeting property speculators, while making sure that over 99% of British Columbians will not pay the speculation tax.

Carole James, Minister of Finance, made the announcement while releasing details of the new tax on speculators, which was announced in the February budget.

“Our government wants to make sure people who live and work here are able to find and afford a good home in their community,” said James. “For too long, this housing crisis was allowed to escalate, and it has hurt working families, renters, students, seniors and others around the province. With this new tax, we’re targeting speculation in the housing market and freeing up vacant housing to be homes for British Columbians.”

The tax details released today contain a series of thresholds, exemptions and geographic refinements that serve to focus their reach on people who own multiple homes left empty in overheated markets, while making sure that British Columbians who own vacation properties are largely exempted.

“The speculation tax focuses on people who are treating our housing market like a stock market,” said James. “So people in smaller communities, those with cottages at the lake or on the islands, will not pay this tax. People with second homes outside of high-cost, designated urban areas will not pay the tax. We are going after speculators who are clearly taking advantage of the market, leaving homes vacant and driving up prices.”

At the heart of the tax details are:

A highly refined set of geographic areas in which the tax will apply, defined as: Metro Vancouver, the Capital Regional District (excluding the Gulf Islands and Juan de Fuca), Kelowna, West Kelowna, Nanaimo-Lantzville, Abbotsford, Chilliwack and Mission.

Details on the exemptions for British Columbians’ primary residences and for qualifying long-term rentals.

A rate design that will see British Columbians who are subject to the tax, paying lower rates than owners from outside the province in 2019 and beyond. Canadians from other provinces will have a rate of 1% in 2019 and beyond, while foreign investors and satellite families will pay a 2% rate.

“We have focused the geographic areas so this tax only applies in urban housing markets hardest hit by this crisis,” said James. “With so many people desperate to find good homes in these urban areas, we need to take every step we can to free up and create more housing opportunities.”

Additional details of the speculation tax include:

Geographic areas

On implementation, the speculation tax will apply to:

Metro Vancouver
The Capital Regional District (excluding the Gulf Islands and Juan de Fuca)
Kelowna and West Kelowna
Abbotsford, Chilliwack and Mission
Rate design

In 2018, the tax rate for all properties subject to the tax is 0.5% of the property value.

In 2019 and subsequent years, the tax rates will be as follows:

2% for foreign investors and satellite families;
1% for Canadian citizens and permanent residents who do not live in British Columbia; and
0.5% for British Columbians who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents (and not members of a satellite family).

Exemptions and tax credit design

There are exemptions for British Columbians’ primary residences and for qualifying long-term rentals.

British Columbians with vacant second homes will be eligible for a non-refundable tax credit that is immediately applied against the speculation tax. This credit will offset a total of $2,000 in speculation tax payable. This tax credit will ensure that British Columbians do not pay tax on a second home valued up to $400,000.

Definition of long-term rentals

A long-term rental is a property that is rented out for at least six months out of the calendar year in increments of at least 30 days. In 2018, a long-term rental is a property that is rented out for three months of that year.

Special case exemptions

As announced in Budget 2018, there will be exemptions for homeowners facing special circumstances. These include:

The owner or tenant is undergoing medical care or residing in a hospital, long-term care or a supportive-care facility.
The owner or tenant is temporarily absent for work purposes.
The registered owner is deceased, and the estate is in the process of being administered.

Quick Facts:

The speculation tax was announced as part of Budget 2018.
The B.C. government will introduce legislation this fall to enact the tax.
Over 99% of British Columbians are estimated to be exempt from the tax.

Background can be viewed here

Monday, March 26, 2018

Cariboo RD Board Highlights - March 23rd mtg

Courtesy of the Cariboo Regional District:

CRD and CCRHD Budgets Endorsed

The Cariboo Regional District (CRD) and the Cariboo Chilcotin Regional Hospital District (CCRHD) adopted the proposed 2018 Budgets and Five-Year Financial Plans.

The CRD's budget for 2018 includes operating expenditures of $26.4 million and capital expenditures of $6.6 million for a total of $33.0 million. Budgeted operating and capital expenditures for 2017 were $25.9 million and $27.5 million, respectively, for a total of $53.4 million. Capital expenditures for 2018 return to historical levels, after being significantly higher in both 2016 and 2017 due to major recreation and water service capital projects.

The CRD’s tax requisition revenues in 2018 will total $24.1 million (an increase of 3.1 per cent or $725,000 from 2017) to support the budgeted expenditures. The balance required to fund 2018 expenditures will be provided by grants, existing operating and capital reserves, and debt associated with the capital expenditure projects.

Significant 2018 budgeted expenditures for services provided by the CRD include Environmental Services ($7.5 million); Recreation Services ($7.0 million); Protective Services ($5.7 million); and Library Services ($3.0 million).

For the CCRHD, budgeted expenditures will total $2.5 million in 2018. The tax requisition for 2018 is $7.8 million, which is 2.0 per cent or $150,500 more than 2017. This translates to $70 per $100,000 of residential property assessments. Total revenues from all sources will be $8.4 million. Revenues in excess of budgeted expenditures will be placed into a reserve for future CCRHD capital expenditure projects.

The CCRHD and CRD Budgets will be posted early this week on the Finance webpage at In the meantime, they can be found in the March 23 agenda.

Funding Sought from NDIT

The CRD Board supported an application from the City of Quesnel to Northern Development Initiative Trust (NDIT) for upgrades to the West Fraser Centre, Arena 2, Curling Club and plaza. The goal of the upgrades is to create a sense of place and facilitate hosting major events. These facilities are jointly funded by the City of Quesnel and the CRD under the CRD’s North Cariboo Recreation and Parks function.

In addition, the Board also will be sending a letter of support for the Anahim Lake Community Association’s grant application to NDIT. The Association is applying for $2,500 in funding to support the Anahim Lake canoe race.

Action Urged Regarding Wildfire Crime

The Regional District Board is writing a letter of support regarding the City of Quesnel’s resolution about crime during wildfires, which will be submitted through the North Central Local Government Association (NCLGA). The resolution calls for action from the provincial and federal governments to enable and provide for more appropriate and meaningful penalties for crimes committed during wildfires or similar emergencies.

Wildfire Reports Reviewed

The Board of Directors received an Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) after action report, prepared by consultant Shawn Carby. The report collates information received from those who participated in the 2017 emergency response, including CRD staff, volunteers, elected officials and external EOC support staff and agencies. The report looks at the effectiveness of the EOC’s plans, processes and actions during the event.

This report is in addition to the Cariboo Chilcotin Wildfires 2017 Report released last week. The Board referred both reports to the CRD’s Emergency Preparedness Committee for consideration, discussion and development of an action plan. Read both plans on the Recovery webpage at

Next Meetings:

Committee of the Whole – Thurs., Apr. 12
CCRHD & CRD Boards – Fri., Apr. 13

Cdn PM Justin Trudeau exonerates 6 Tsilhqot’in Chiefs

Courtesy of Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada:

As Canada continues its journey of reconciliation and renewal with Indigenous Peoples, we need to confront our history so we can build a new nation-to-nation relationship guided by the recognition of rights and the values of respect and partnership.

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today delivered a statement of exoneration on behalf of the Government of Canada to the Tsilhqot’in Nation and the descendants of six Tsilhqot’in Chiefs. He confirmed the posthumous exoneration of all six chiefs – Chief Lhats’as?in, Chief Biyil, Chief Tilaghed, Chief Taqed, Chief Chayses, and Chief Ahan.

These chiefs were leaders and warriors of the Tsilhqot’in Nation who acted in accordance with their laws and traditions, and are regarded by their people as heroes.They fought against the colonial government of the time, ultimately leading to their hanging in 1864 and 1865. Prime Minister Trudeau acknowledged that the capture, arrest, and hanging of the six Chiefs was borne of a profound lack of respect for the Tsilhqot’in people, traditions, and territory.

The posthumous exoneration of these six leaders of the Tsilhqot'in Nation is an important symbol of the Government of Canada's commitment to reconciliation.

The Right Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada stated:

"I know that this posthumous exoneration cannot by itself repair the damage that has been done.It is my sincere hope, though, that it will allow healing to begin as Canada and the Tsilhqot’in Nation embark on a new journey together toward reconciliation. This is another important step forward to recognize and support the implementation of the rights of the Tsilhqot’in and all Indigenous Peoples, enshrined in our Constitution.”

Meanwhile, Joe Alphonse, Tribal Chair of the Tsilhqot’in National Government went on to say:

"Our people’s journey to this place of reconciliation has been long and enduring. 154 years have passed where our truth has gone unrecognized. Under a flag of truce, our Chiefs were wrongfully shackled, tried, and hanged. We have always been proud of the sacrifices made by our Chiefs, who are heroes to our people, and continue to inspire and guide the work of the future. Today, Canada has finally acknowledged that our warriors did no wrong. The Chilcotin War has defined us as who we are today – building our spirit and shaping our perseverance. The deceit we faced 154 years ago can never be forgotten, but we can move forward on a different path, a new journey, one carved out by a mutual understanding and respect of our rights, title, and ways of life. We are prepared to work with Canada to transform the lives of our people and this country – in a way that ensures our children will not have to see such things as Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women, high Indigenous incarceration rates, or over representation of Indigenous children in the foster care system.”

District of Wells By-Election -- June 9th, 2018

At the District of Wells Council meeting of Tuesday, March 20th -- Wells Council appointed their Chief Administrator, Andrew Young, to be Chief Election Officer for the Saturday, June 9th by-election to elect 1 Mayor and 1 Councillor to serve out the remainder of the 2014-2018 term of local government

This was necessitated due to the recent resignations of former District of Wells Mayor Robin Sharpe and former District of Wells Councillor Lorraine Kozar

Full details on what one, either perspective candidate or District of Wells elector, needs to know about the June 9th by-election can be viewed here


Sunday, March 25, 2018

New Cariboo RD NCLGA rep for 2018/19

The Cariboo Regional District (CRD) Board, at their meeting this past Friday, appointed a new North Central Local Government Association or NCLGA representative after CRD Area 'F' Director Joan Sorley advised the Board of her intent not to seek an additional term on the NCLGA Board of Directors' for the forthcoming 2018/19 term

After hearing from both CRD Area 'C' Director (and CRD Board Vice-Chair) John Massier and CRD Area 'K' Director Betty Anderson, as to their candidacy for the position -- the CRD Board voted, by secret ballot, to appoint Director Massier to the position of NCLGA rep from the Cariboo Regional District for the 2018/19 term

Also - the Board voted, upon the recommendation of Director Massier, to support Director Anderson in her bid for 1 of the 3 Director-At-Large positions at the 2018 NCLGA Convention in Fort Nelson, being held on May 7-9

Congratulations to Director Massier for being appointed to this new post and the best of luck to Director Anderson in her bid for the Director-at-Large position at the 2018 NCLGA Convention


Friday, March 23, 2018

Local Gov't Mtgs - Wk of March 26-30

The following local governments' of the Cariboo-Chilcotin will be meeting next week, as follows:

Quesnel: Below noted meetings as follows in Quesnel Council Chambers (4th Floor, 410 Kinchant St).

Policy/Bylaw Review Committee - Regular Meeting on Tuesday, March 27th at 1:15pm in Quesnel Council Chambers.  On the Agenda:

* Late Written Submissions for Public Hearings
* Official Community Plan Policies - Specific Sections - Director Turner to Report
- Urban Agriculture - Chicken and Bees
- Secondary Suites, Coach Houses, Laneway Houses
- Shipping Containers
- Cannabis

* Canine and Feline Regulations

View the full Agenda here

Muncipal Council - Regular Meeting on Tuesday, March 27th at 7pm in Quesnel Council Chambers.  On the Agenda:

* Highway 97 Quesnel Transportation Plan - Phase II (30 Minute Presentation)
* Community Based Tenures in the Wildland Urban Interface
* Agriculture Centre - Special Circumstance Request
* Annual Review of Council Remuneration and Expenses
* Housing Agreements (affordable housing units for at least 10 years at 424 McLean Street and 255 McNaughton Avenue)
* Rotary Community Welcome Sign
* Hosting Precinct Project
* #explorequesnel
* Business Improvement Associations Levy

View the full Agenda here

Williams Lake - Committee of the Whole session on Tuesday, March 27th at 6pm in the Rick Hansen Boardroom (Basement - 450 Mart Street).  On the Agenda:

* Delegation - Michael Kidston, Mount Timothy Ski Society - Grant-in-Aid Request
* Draft Central Industrial Area Revitalization Tax Exemption Bylaw No. 2279
* 2018 Citizen Budget Online Consultation
* Managing Legal Cannabis
* Development Cost Charge Bylaw Update

View the full Agenda here

100 Mile House - Regular Council Meeting on Tuesday, March 27th at 7pm in 100 Mile House Council Chambers (385 Birch Avenue).  On the Agenda:

* 2019 Operating Budget & Capital Plan Approval
* Various Bylaws for 1st, 2nd, 3rd Readings and Adoption

View the full Agenda here

Cariboo Regional District - Meetings as noted below

Central Cariboo Rural Directors' Caucus - Regular Meeting at 3pm on Wednesday, March 28th in the CRD Williams Lake Library Program Room (180A North 3rd Avenue, Williams Lake)

On the Agenda:

* Delegation: Jordan Davis - Overdose Crisis Presentation
* Referred Item from Regional Board - Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure - Campbell and Pigeon Roads

View the full Agenda here

Central Cariboo Joint Committee - Regular Meeting at 5:30pm on Wednesday, March 28th in the Rick Hansen Boardroom (Basement - 450 Mart Street, Williams Lake).  On the Agenda:

* 2017 CCACS (Central Cariboo Arts/Culture Society) Grant Report Completed Projects Summary
* CCACS 2018 Project Grants Program Recommendations - For Endorsement to CRD Board
* Grant Funding for Arena Change Room Expansion
* Conservation Society Water Wise Art Display Request at West Fraser Aquatic Centre (old Sam Ketcham Pool)
* Letter from Westen Becker regarding Pool Accessibility Issues

View the full Agenda here

Why I'm staying with Facebook

Yesterday - City of Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps announced that she would be leaving the social media site Facebook calling it a "toxic chamber".  Read her blog post here and a story from the Vancouver Sun here

As an elected official in the Central Interior (Cariboo Regional District - Electoral Area 'D' Director)  - Facebook is one of many tools I use to communicate with my constituents.  Other tools that I use include email, phone texts, Facebook Messenger, phone calls, personal website and meeting with people directly.  I think use of all the tools at one's disposal is necessary to ensure that you remain an effective elected official

While I acknowledge that some do use Facebook inappropriately sometimes, I personally feel use of Facebook is still an appropriate tool to communicate out but it is knowing how to best use the tools at your disposal as an elected official to be effective to the people you serve and addressing the concerns/issues they bring forward


Thursday, March 22, 2018

CRD Emergency Preparedness Committee Highlights - March 22nd mtg

Present: Chair M. Wagner and Directors T. Armstrong, J. Massier, S. Forseth, J. Sorley and B. Anderson

Meeting called to order at 5:00pm

Meeting Agenda approved


1) Butterfly Effect Communications - 2017 Wildfire Consultation Report

The Committee began its' review of the 2017 Wildfire Consultation Report from Butterfly Effect Communications

The Committee agreed to continue its' review of the report at a future Committee meeting

2) Discussion Items

The CAO reported to the Committee on the following two items:

a) Update on Hiring of New Manager of Protective Services
b) Cariboo Regional District Emergency Plan

The Committee adjourned at 7:15pm

CRD Policy Committee Highlights - March 22nd mtg

Present: Chair J. Massier and Directors J. Bruce, S. Forseth, M. Neufeld, J. Sorley,and  D. Cash

Meeting called to order at 2:00pm

Meeting Agenda approved

The Committee appointed Director J. Sorley as Vice-Chair of the Committee


The Committee reviewed the following matters:

1) Committee's Terms of Reference

2) Workplace Bullying and Harassment Policy

3) Election Period Communications Policy

4) Information Provided Prior to Elections

5) Policy Development and Review Policy

6) Central Interior Rural Division of Family Practice Request for Additional Funding for Recruitment and Retention of Medical Practitioners

Resolved - That Items 5 and 6 be deferred to a future Committee meeting

The Committee adjourned at 4:07pm

Cariboo RD/Williams Lake will host 2019 NCLGA AGM/Convention

At the January 24th, 2018 meeting of the Central Cariboo Joint Committee which is made up of the Cariboo Regional District Directors for Areas D,E,F,J,K (Steve Forseth, Melynda Neufeld, Joan Sorley, Roger William and Betty Anderson) and all of Williams Lake City Council -- the Committee discussed the Cariboo Regional District/City of Williams Lake formally submitting a joint bid for the 2019 North Central Local Government Association's (NCLGA) AGM/Convention.  After a brief discussion, the following was resolved:

That the City of Williams Lake and CRD staff work together to submit an application to host the 2019 North Central Local Government Association Convention.

The above mentioned Resolution was endorsed by Williams Lake City Council at its' February 6th, 2018 meeting and by the Cariboo RD Board at its' February 16th, 2018 meeting

At its February 5th, 2018 meeting - Prince George City Council, at the urging of its' Mayor, Lyn Hall, resolved to put in a bid for the 2019 NCLGA AGM/Convention

However, on March 6th, 2018  - NCLGA President (and Dawson Creek City Councillor) Shaely Wilbur wrote to Prince George Mayor Lyn Hall to advise that the 2019 NCLGA Convention/AGM will be held in Williams Lake but encouraging the City of Prince George to agree to host the 2020 NCLGA Convention/AGM.  Read the full letter here

The last time NCLGA Conventions' were held in the Cariboo-Chilcotin include:

* 2007 - Jointly between Cariboo Regional District/City of Williams Lake
* 2012 - Jointly between Cariboo Regional District/District of 100 Mile House
* 2013 - Jointly between Cariboo Regional District/City of Quesnel

I am very much looking forward to hosting my fellow NCLGA Colleagues in 2019 in the Cariboo-Chilcotin.  I know that they will have a great time here while doing NCLGA Business!


Wednesday, March 21, 2018

WL Fire Department Fire Chief retires!

Courtesy of the City of Williams Lake:

Fire Chief Des Webster has announced his retirement from the Williams Lake Fire Department. Des has worked for the City of Williams Lake for 27 years.

The City thanks Des for his years of dedicated service, and wishes him well as he enters retirement.

Becoming a Hosting Community

Courtesy of the City of Quesnel:

Editor's Note - This week's Quesnel City Council column is written by Quesnel Mayor Bob Simpson who can be reached via email here

I’ve written before that (Quesnel) City Council cannot directly create private sector jobs or demand that companies invest in our community, we can only attempt to create conditions that are attractive to investors and job creators. Over the past few months, Council’s efforts to create those conditions has advanced substantially on a number of fronts with considerable help from the provincial government.

Last week, we received notice that four of our strategic initiatives will receive financial support from the province’s Rural Dividend Fund: the formalization of our macro-economic development strategy and vision, the creation of a technical plan and vision for the development of our riverfront properties (Fraser and Quesnel Rivers and Baker Creek), a two-year comprehensive community marketing initiative, and a major investment in the development and marketing of the mountain bike and hiking/running trails surrounding the City (a partnership initiative with the Cariboo Regional District).

All of these projects, which represent an investment of almost a million dollars, will advance our desire to become a destination community that people deliberately plan to come to as visitors, residents, and investors (rather than simply being known as a “beautiful community to drive through”).

A sub-strategy of this destination initiative is to become a “hosting” community; that is, a community that attracts major events, conferences, conventions, sports competitions, and concerts because we have the right kinds of amenities and facilities to make hosting these events attractive and affordable. The economic multiplier effect of hosting events is significant and lasting, if we do a good job of promoting our community when people are here for those events.

To help us attract more events to the region, the North Cariboo Joint Committee (NCJC, which consists of the four Northern Directors of the Cariboo Regional District and all members of City Council) has created a new events coordinator position. This individual will not only assist organizations to apply to host bigger events, she will also provide insight to the NCJC about what investments are needed in our public amenities and spaces to attract more and bigger events.

Last week, to support this strategy, we submitted a major “hosting” project to the Northern Development Initiative Trust’s (NDIT) new Strategic Initiatives Fund. If successful, the funding from the Trust will enable us to aesthetically and technologically integrate the new West Fraser Centre with the Curling Rink and Arena 2. The plaza surrounding these facilities will get a significant upgrade using the same beautification and gateway features we’ll be installing on Reid Street this summer (integrating those two parts of downtown). Two new murals will also be created on the Curling Rink and Arena 2 walls that border the parking lot.

In short, if we’re successful in our grant application, we will be able to create a beautiful, modern, integrated, and attractive hosting venue in our downtown core that will enable us to attract major events and enjoy the direct and indirect economic benefits that come with them.

The West Fraser Centre is already attracting major tournaments, as evidenced by this week’s BC Midget Hockey Provincial Championships and next year’s BC Men’s Curling Championships in February. The City has also been invited to apply to host the Minerals North Conference in 2020. These events will bring significant profile to our community and we hope that the amenities and infrastructure investments we’re making will give such a positive impression of Quesnel to those attending these events that they will become repeat visitors and maybe even new residents and job creating investors.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

WL Council Highlights - March 20th mtg

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

Meeting called to order at 6pm

Meeting agenda approved/Mins of the March 6th WL Council Meeting adopted


Mr. Tim Rolph from the Williams Lake Stampede Association appeared before Council to provide an update of the Association's activities

A Question/Answer period ensued

Mayor Cobb, on behalf of Council, thanked the delegation for their time/information


1) Council received for information the accounts payable computer cheque listings dated March 8 and 15, 2018

2) Council endorsed the following Committee of the Whole recommendations, as it pertains to the 2018 Budget/2018-2022 5 Year Financial Plan of the City of Williams Lake:

a) Balance the 2018 Budget by:

• Implementing an approximate 1.9% tax rate increase for 2018;
• Utilizing internal reserves;
• Utilizing prior year surplus;
• Utilizing community forest revenues

b) 2018 Capital Projects List be received/endorsed

c) Council approve the transfer of the amount not exceeding one million dollars ($1,000,000) from the Water Fund for the purposes of the General Fund and the money so transferred shall be used solely for the purposes of 2018 annual paving rehabilitation, being the work of the capital nature and the City repay to the Water Fund the amount of one million dollars ($1,000,000) in 5 (five) equal annual instalments of two hundred thousand dollars ($200,000) over the period of 2019 to 2023, and no later than the time when the money is needed for the purposes of the Water Fund and the City also pay to the Water Fund annual interest in the amount equivalent to the interest that would have been earned on the amount used had it remained in the Water Fund

d) Council give 1st, 2nd and 3rd Readings to 2018-2022 Financial Plan Bylaw No. 2275

At 6:18pm, Councillor S. Nelson declared a conflict of interest and left Council Chambers

3) Council gave 1st Reading to Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 2272 (Managing Legal Cannabis in certain zones in the City of Williams Lake), as amended, and Staff were directed to refer the proposed bylaw to the Cariboo Regional District, the Interior Health Authority, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, the RCMP, and the Williams Lake Indian Band for initial consultation, and to hold a public information session in April 2018.  Council divided - Approved by the following Vote:

Affirmative - Mayor Cobb; Councillors Bonnell, Ryll, Walters and Zacharias
Negative - Councillor C. Smith

At 6:34pm - Councillor S. Nelson returned to the meeting

4) Council approved the use of City staff and equipment for the hauling of material into the Indoor Rodeo event, and the use of a loader to remove the material at the end of the event

5) Council awarded the contract for the re-bricking of the retort at the crematorium to Bryant Crematory out of Tulsa, OK, for the price of $40,900 USD, plus taxes and duty, for an estimated $61,584.00 CAD

6) Council awarded the Water Management Strategy contract to Urban Systems Ltd. for the total contract amount of $120,000 plus GST, subject to increase in services by the Urban Systems water engineer

7) Council agreed to consider the Second Renewal Term Agreement for the Seniors’ Activity Centre Lease at its' April 10, 2018 Regular Council Meeting and the usual Notice of Disposition be published in accordance with Section 26 (3) of the Community Charter

At 6:38pm - Councillor C. Smith declared a conflict of interest and left the meeting

8) Council approved-in-principle the special occasion liquor license request for the sale of alcohol at the professional boxing event scheduled for Saturday, June 2, 2018 in Rink I of the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex, subject to the provision of a professional security service at the event, and a security plan approved by both the RCMP and CMRC Staff prior to final approval of the liquor license.

At 6:40pm - Councillor C. Smith returned to the meeting

9) Street Naming Bylaw No. 2273, 2018 was reconsidered and adopted

10) Upon recommendation from the Committee of the Whole meeting held March 13th -- Councillor Scott Nelson was appointed as Council’s liaison, and Councillor Craig Smith was appointed as alternate Council liaison, to the Williams Lake Youth Soccer Association and Cariboo Chilcotin Gymnastics Association’s Indoor Turf / Gymnastics Facility Committee

11) Council agreed to support the Cariboo Friendship Society's application to the Northern Development Initiative Trust (NDIT) for a grant of up to $30,000, from the Community Halls and Recreation Facilities Fund, toward upgrading of the Longhouse

12) Council proclaimed the week of March 26 to 31, 2018 as "Coy Cup Week", in the City of Williams Lake

13) The Corporate Officer brought forward the following Closed Council Resolutions from previously held Closed Council Meetings, for public information:

a) That the report of Mayor Cobb dated November 3, 2017 together with the correspondence from the Downtown Williams Lake Business Improvement Association (DWL) dated January 16, 22 and February 21, 2018 respectively regarding 2018 BIA renewal be received and the process for a 5 year renewal of the Downtown Williams Lake BIA Bylaw occur via a favourable petition comprising of at least 50% of the property owners that would be subject to the levy and that in total represent at least 50% of the assessed value of land and improvements.

b) That pursuant to the report of the Chief Administrative Officer dated March 2, 2018, Council:

i) Authorize the purchase of a tender (water tanker truck) at a cost of $350,000 to be ordered in 2018 with anticipated delivery in 2019 (to be split 50/50 between 2018 and 2019 budgets);
ii) Authorize staff to begin the process of capital planning for a ladder truck and bring back recommendations to facilitate this substantial capital item currently estimated to be $1,200,000; and
iii) Direct Staff to begin implementing those changes within the (Williams Lake) Fire Department as identified within the Fire Underwriters Survey report, which will contribute to greater fire prevention, fire education and fire inspection capacities where those changes can be accomplished within current staffing levels and budgets.

c) That the report of the Chief Administrative Officer dated February 16, 2016 be received and Council support the negotiated agreement on solid waste with the Cariboo Regional District and authorize the Mayor and Corporate Officer to sign a one year agreement with the Cariboo Regional District on these terms for the period of January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018 with the understanding that there will be more opportunities during the contractual term to make progress towards eventual goals and recommendations identified in the Stuart Lilley report as the Cariboo Regional District works towards their next Solid Waste Plan

d) That the information from BC Hydro regarding an electric vehicle charging station in Williams Lake be received and Council approve entering into a Memorandum of Understanding involving BC Hydro’s installation and operation of a DC fast charging station for electric vehicles at a suitable location in Williams Lake

14) Late Item - Council agreed to provide a letter of support for the Downtown Williams Lake BIA in their NDIT application for a up to $2,500 Fabulous Festivals and Events Grant to assist with conducting the July 2018 Four Direction Festival (former Downtown WL Stampede Party event)

15) Late Item #2 - Council declared the week of May 20-26 as "Public Works Week" in the City of Williams Lake

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

* March 2, 2018 - CRD Board Highlights;
* March 9, 2018 - Ministry of Attorney General re Information Package 'Hosting a Gambling Facility: A Local Government Information Package on the Public Health Risks of Gambling'

Members of Council and the Administrator provided verbal reports on their recent activities

Media Question Period -- Public Works Week (May 20-26), Open House at the City's Public Works Yard

Council adjourned at 7:05pm

Cariboo Regional District offers Business Façade Improvement Grants

Courtesy of the Cariboo Regional District:

Funding is available again in the Cariboo Regional District (CRD) for business and property owners to improve their commercial building frontages. The 2018 Business Façade Improvement Program is open to all commercial businesses located within the rural areas of the Regional District.

Eligible businesses can receive a 50 per cent reimbursement to a maximum of $5,000 for exterior renovations and improvements such as façades, signage, murals, architectural features, siding, lighting and awnings. Funding will be committed on a first-come, first-serve basis (subject to project eligibility and availability of funds).

The 2018 Business Façade Improvement Program is made possible through a $20,000 grant from the Northern Development Initiative Trust.

In 2017, the CRD delivered the program in Kersley, Chilanko Forks, Forest Grove, Big Lake Ranch and Sugar Cane (Williams Lake). Program applicants completed five projects representing a total investment of $19,388 in business façade improvements.

Business Façade Improvement Program guidelines and application forms are available online at under Community Economic Development or at the CRD offices in Quesnel, Williams Lake and 100 Mile House.

The CRD program excludes businesses within municipal boundaries as they can apply with their local municipality. The City of Quesnel, City of Williams Lake, District of 100 Mile House and District of Wells are offering the program in 2018.

For more information about Northern Development Initiative Trust’s funding programs and success stories, visit

103 Mile Boil Water Notice Lifted

Courtesy of the Cariboo Regional District:

The Cariboo Regional District (CRD) has consulted with Interior Health and received approval to remove the boil water notice for the 103 Mile Water System, effective March 19, 2018. Residents can now resume normal use of water and are no longer required to boil water for domestic use. Yesterday, the CRD delivered notices to the properties connected to the water system.

The 103 Mile Water System upgrade project is now complete, which meant the boil water notice could be cancelled. Two new wells have been drilled that meet provincial regulatory standards with a surface seal that prevents precipitation and surface water from entering the well and aquifer. A new pumphouse with all new electrical and mechanical components, a disinfection system and emergency generator have also been installed. The new system provides a safe and reliable potable water source for the community.

The old wells and pumping system have been disconnected from the water system and will be removed this spring.

“The completion of this water system upgrade is long-awaited news for the 103 Mile community. I am glad residents can now have peace of mind about their drinking water,” commented Electoral Area G Director Al Richmond. “Thank you to all the residents for their patience during this project.”

Spring 2018/International Day of Happiness

At 9:15am - the 2018 Spring Equinox will commence with sundown (if you can see it at all today) at 7:22pm

Meanwhile - today is also the International Day of Happiness.  A day whose roots go back to 2011 where the pursuit of happiness as a human right and a "fundamental human goal.", as per UN General Assembly Resolution 66/281

For more background on this day - click here

Monday, March 19, 2018

Quesnel Community Theatre Survey

Courtesy of the City of Quesnel:

Is Quesnel and the Cariboo Regional District ready to add a performing arts centre to its list of community amenities? Schick Shiner and Associates have been contracted to revisit the 2005 Performing Arts Centre Feasibility Study.

The objective of this study is to determine if there is still a compelling vision for a new performing arts centre that will capture the imagination of the arts community, arts supporters and the general public.

The primary goal of the performing arts centre is to provide a facility that can host consistent, quality entertainment for all residents in a comfortable and professional venue. The theatre will also fulfill the current needs of the performing arts community to grow and flourish.

Please fill out the survey and share your thoughts and opinions. Deadline is March 28, 2018.

Click here

Ltr to Min. Robinson re: 2018 Local Gov't Videos/Electoral Area Directors'

On Thursday, March 1st of this year -- the BC Ministry of Municipal Affairs/Housing launched a series of videos and other relevant information in advance of the 2018 Local Government elections, being held on Saturday, October 20th for Electoral Area Directors', School Trustees, Mayors and Councillors'

You can view the videos and other documentation here

Before the launch on March 1st - Staff from the Ministry showed a draft version of the videos at the January 30/31st Union of BC Municipalities Electoral Area Directors' Forum held in Richmond, BC.

An Electoral Area Director from the Cowichan Valley Regional District (south of Nanaimo) expressed his concern that the video was far too slanted towards Mayors'/Councillors' and literally nothing for the role of an Electoral Area Director.  Ministry Staff at the time acknowledged the Electoral Area Director's concern.  I too, at the time and still do, shared the Electoral Area Director's concern is the videos were/are far too slanted towards municipal elected officials (Mayors' and Councillors) and not enough for local elected officials from rural areas

Later that week (February 2nd) at the 2018 Local Government Leadership Academy's Annual Leadership Forum, also held in Richmond, BC  - I participated in an evening roundtable conversation on local governance with local elected officials including Comox Valley Regional District's Electoral Area 'C' Director Edwin Grieve who vented that provincial bureaucrats did nothing to hide their disdain at rural elected officials, like him, for a local project in his Area but wouldn't do the same for local elected officials like Mayors' and Councillors' - likely because there are literally thousands of Mayors' and Councillors' locally elected every 4 years in BC and they represented the very vast majority of British Columbians whilst the 155 Electoral Area Directors' in BC (including myself) represent vast unincorporated (rural) areas in BC but a minority of BC residents' and suggested that these provincial bureaucrats and their Ministers' should be "re-educated" about local governments' in the rural areas - a suggestion I fully agree with

To that end -- this past weekend, I drafted a letter to BC's Minister of Municipal Affairs/Housing, Hon. Selina Robinson, make the above noted points and will be sending to her this morning

You can read the letter here.  As soon as I have a reply, I will share that here


Saturday, March 17, 2018

CRD Wildfire Consultation Report released

Courtesy of the Cariboo Regional District:

Yesterday, the Cariboo Regional District Board of Directors held a special Board meeting to review a wildfire report following the CRD’s community consultations in the fall. The report combines results from two dozen community meetings, a survey and Facebook event, which engaged over 2,600 residents between October and December 2017.

The consultant, Butterfly Effect Communications, presented the report identifying numerous recommendations regarding communications, emergency operations, prevention, wildfire fighting and recovery. Recommendations and information within the report are not directed solely at the CRD, but are designed to be useful for other governments to adapt ahead of emergencies as well. Many of the recommendations also require coordination and collaboration between multiple levels of government and various agencies.

Following the presentation, the CRD Board referred the report to the Board’s newly formed Emergency Preparedness Committee, which consists of Chair Wagner and Directors Armstrong, Massier, Forseth, Sorley, Richmond and Anderson. The Committee will review the report and recommendations in depth and develop an action plan.

As a first step in preparedness efforts, the Board asked CRD staff to prepare a report and implementation plan for the Board’s consideration that would facilitate fuel reduction on private land in the Wildland Urban Interface, including the identification of costs, revenue loss and potential sources for funding. They also requested information on how to provide meaningful and timely information to residents related to the FireSmart program.

The Cariboo Regional District commissioned the report following 262 wildfires burning over 900,000 hectares during a 77-day long disaster from July 6 to September 20, impacting nearly every corner of the region which is home to 61,000 residents.

Three of the largest wildfires in the province’s history were within the region last summer, including the Plateau Fire, which burned nearly 500,000 hectares. Sixty homes and 167 other structures were destroyed in the region’s fires, with no loss of life directly attributed to the disaster despite 60 per cent of the population being under evacuation order or alert.

During the consultations, over 53,000 pieces of data were collected, including verbal and written comments and survey answers. To collect the feedback, meetings were held in communities across the vast area of the Cariboo impacted by the wildfires. The consultant and CRD staff spent over 50 hours listening to residents and traveled over 3,500 kilometres.

Margo Wagner, Chair of the Cariboo Regional District Board of Directors' stated:

“Looking back at the summer of 2017 and what our communities went through, I want to thank the residents of the Cariboo for taking that extra step to participate in our public consultations last fall. Thank you for sharing your feedback and concerns – this is how we can make improvements for the next time and understand how the emergency affected you.”

“We have a lot to digest in this report, but I look forward to working with our Emergency Preparedness Committee to discuss these recommendations further and make an action plan for steps forward.”

Meanwhile, Tim Conrad from Butterfly Effect Communications commented:

“Recovery resources, particularly around mental health and financial assistance, are not meeting the needs of residents. The timing of this disaster, during peak season for many activities, combined with the length of this disaster, which stretched over three months, equaled a devastating impact on residents and businesses in the region.”

The final report can be viewed here with its' Appendix here

Friday, March 16, 2018

Local Gov't Mtgs - Wk of March 19-23

The following local governments of the Cariboo-Chilcotin are meeting next week, as follows:

Wells - Public Hearing/Regular Council Meeting on Tuesday, March 20th at 7pm in Wells Council Chambers (4243 Sanders Avenue).  On the Agenda:

Public Hearing at 7pm -- Zoning and Tree Protection Bylaw No. 26, 2000, Amending Bylaw No. 158, 2018. Full details here

Following the Public Hearing, the Regular Council Meeting will consist of:

* Appointment of Chief Election Officer for June 9th By-Election for 1 Mayor of Wells and 1 District of Wells Councillor
* Proposed 2018 Council Meeting Schedule Amendments
* Draft Terms of Reference for the Wells Age-Friendly Advisory Committee
* 3rd Reading to Proposed Fees and Charges Bylaws No. 159, 160, and 161-2018

View the full Agenda here

Williams Lake - Regular Council Meeting on Tuesday, March 20th at 7pm in WL Council Chambers (450 Mart St).  On the Agenda:

* Delegation: Tim Rolph and Court Smith, Williams Lake Stampede Association re: Update on WL Stampede Association Activities
* 2018 Budget Recommendations, for endorsement
* Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 2272 - Managing Legal Cannabis -- Consideration of 1st Reading only
* Appointment of Councillor Scott Nelson as Council Liaison to Indoor Turf / Gymnastics Facility Committee
* 4 In-Camera Resolutions for receipt of public information -- Downtown Williams Lake Business Improvement Association 2018 Renewal; Fire Underwriters Report; Solid Waste Management Contract (2018) and BC Hydro Electric Vehicle Charging Station

View the full Agenda here

Cariboo Regional District - Meetings as noted below:

Policy Committee -- Meeting on Thursday, March 22nd at 2pm in the CRD Committee Room (180D North 3rd Avenue).  On the Agenda:

* Committee Terms of Reference
* Draft Workplace Bullying and Harassment Policy
* Review of Election Period Communications Policy
* Information Provided Prior to Elections?
* Policy Development and Review Policy
* Central Interior Rural Division of Family Practice Request for Additional Funding for Recruitment and Retention of Medical Practitioners/Review of CCRHD Recruitment and Retention Policy

The Committee is made up of CRD Directors John Massier, as Chair, Steve Forseth, Joan Sorley, Melynda Neufeld, Jerry Bruce, Dylan Cash and Al Richmond (CRD Electoral Areas B, C, D, E, F, G and I)

View the full Agenda here

Emergency Preparedness Committee - Meeting on Thursday, March 22nd at 5pm in the CRD Board Room (180D North 3rd Avenue, Williams Lake).  On the Agenda:

* Post-Wildfire Community Consultation Meetings - Final Report
* Report from Director Forseth re: Red Cross Phase 2 Funding for Small Business, Non-Profits and First Nations Cultural Organizations
* Update on New CRD Manager of Protective Services
* CRD Emergency Plan

The Committee is made up of CRD Directors Margo Wagner, as Chair, and Ted Armstrong, John Massier, Steve Forseth, Joan Sorley, Al Richmond and Betty Anderson (CRD Electoral Areas A, C, D, F, G, H and K)

View the full Agenda here

Cariboo Chilcotin Regional Hospital District -- Meeting on Friday, March 23rd at 9:30am in the CRD Boardroom (180D North 3rd Avenue, Williams Lake).  On the Agenda:

* Delegation, 11am -- Trevor Barnes, Executive Director, and Jill Zirnhelt, from the Central Interior Rural Division o f Family Practice, will appear before the Board speak to their request for an increase in annual contribution for health care professional recruitment and retention activities.

* CCRHD 2018 Budget Bylaw - For 1st, 2nd, 3rd Readings/Adoption
* Additional Funding Request for the Cariboo Memorial Hospital Business Plan
* Verbal Update from Chair Simpson on the GR Baker Hospital Project

View the full Agenda here

Cariboo Regional District -- Meeting on Friday, March 23rd at 9:45am in the CRD Boardroom.  On the Agenda:

Delegation, 11:30am -- Lindsey Wood, Resource Manager, from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development will appear before the Board, on behalf of the Cariboo-Chilcotin Natural Resource District, to provide an update on the forest recovery plan for the region

* Land Use Items for consideration of the Board
* NDIT Funding Application – Anahim Lake Canoe Race
* Letter and Petition Requesting Transfer of Fire Protection Services to Area 'F' (150 Mile Fire Department)
* Request to Waive Procurement Policy and Issue Direct Award for Turnout Gear - Miocene Fire Department
* Request from City of Quesnel for Support of NCLGA and FCM Resolution regarding Wildfire Crime
* Committee/Commission Minutes for receipt and recommendations for endorsement
* 2018 Cariboo RD Budget Bylaw for 1st, 2nd, 3rd Readings/Adoption
* North Cariboo Agricultural Development Advisory Committee Bylaw No. 5137, 2018 - For 1st/2nd Readings
* Deferred Item – South Cariboo Recreation Loan Authorization Bylaw No. 5130, 2018 -- For 1st, 2nd and 3rd Readings
* Request from Director Forseth to Access Electoral Area D Director Initiative Funds -- April 5th Telus Meeting at McLeese Lake for High Speed Internet
* 2018 Appointment to NCLGA Board
* Request from Director Wagner to Access Electoral Area H Director Initiative Funds - Fire Smart Meeting in Area 'H'

View the full Agenda here