Wednesday, July 31, 2019

UBCM Executive Meeting Highlights - July 10-12, 2019

Courtesy of the Union of BC Municipalities:

A wrap of the July 10-12th, 2019 meeting of the Executive of the Union of BC Municipalities....

Link here


Use caution on wildfire-affected Crown land in Cariboo-Chilcotin

Courtesy of the Government of BC:

Members of the public are being reminded to be careful when travelling on Crown land in the Cariboo where wildfires occurred in 2017 and 2018, especially in areas where fireguards were established to help fight those fires.
A fireguard is a strip of land running along a wildfire’s perimeter (typically five to 10 metres wide) that is cleared of vegetation and other flammable material to slow the fire’s spread. Fireguards are either constructed manually by ground crews or by using heavy equipment, such as bulldozers, excavators or tractors. Firefighters use these open areas to carry out fire suppression operations and help bring a wildfire under control.
The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development has been working to rehabilitate fireguards created in the Cariboo over the past two years. These environmentally sensitive areas are not intended for vehicle traffic, including off-road vehicles.
Anyone travelling or participating in recreational activities near fireguards or within burned areas should be aware of the following risks:
  • Heavy machinery (including excavators, skidders and graders) may be working on or near fireguards. Always stay clear of any such machinery.
  • Existing off-road vehicle trails may be impassable due to the effects of wildfires and fireguard construction.
  • Fireguards may be impassable due to a rehabilitation treatment called “pullback,” in which soil and wood debris that were removed during the fireguard’s construction are redistributed along the fireguard.
  • Trees and tree roots within burned areas can be severely damaged by fire. This could make the trees unstable and they could fall down without warning.
  • Increased water flow during spring runoff periods (freshets) may have washed out sections of roads, trails and fireguards, which could result in deep ditches across previously established routes.
  • Members of the public who use fireguards to reach hunting areas or participate in recreational opportunities may find those routes impassable on their return if the fireguards have been rehabilitated in the meantime.
Off-road vehicle operators must remain vigilant while riding on Crown land to help prevent wildfires. Spark arrestors are required for all off-road vehicles operating on Crown land.
Learn More: 
To read more about wildfire behaviour and wildfire management techniques, visit the BC Wildfire Service website:

Regional Food Hub coming to Quesnel!

Courtesy of the Government of BC:

A new regional food hub based in Quesnel will help people in B.C.’s agriculture and processing sectors, and those wanting to join them, develop innovative products, grow their businesses and create jobs.
Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture, was joined by Bob Simpson, Mayor of Quesnel, to announce the Province’s commitment of up to $500,000 for the city to develop a regional food hub, which will help the local economy recover and diversify following devastating wildfires, timber loss and mill closures.
“Partnering with the City of Quesnel to bring the second facility in the B.C. Food Hub Network to the Cariboo will help strengthen food security, create good jobs and increase diversity and resiliency in the local economy,” Popham said. “We are committed to supporting British Columbians in the region and helping transition the economy by reinvigorating the agricultural and food and beverage processing sectors.”
A food hub is a centralized shared-use food and beverage processing facility that provides business owners with affordable access to production facilities, specialized equipment, new technology, research and development, expertise and services. The Cariboo regional food hub will help new processors get started and existing food processors expand their product lines and develop new markets. The hub will also bring more opportunities for farmers, ranchers and wild harvesters to increase revenue by adding value to their products.
“This new food hub will benefit not only our local business owners and residents, but it will also draw companies and residents from around the region,” Simpson said. “We appreciate the Province’s continued support for our economic transition strategy and their recognition of the important role that agriculture plays in that strategy.”
In February 2019, the first regional food hub officially opened in Vancouver at Commissary Connect’s Laurel Street location, the pilot and demonstration hub for the network. The second food hub in Quesnel brings opportunities to grow and diversify the region’s economy and provide skills training and development for people affected by recent challenges in the community. The new facility will also help build and connect future regional food hubs in other communities to create the B.C. Food Hub Network.
I was very pleased to hear that Quesnel was going to be home to the second B.C. food hub,” said Florian Bergoin, owner and operator of La Belle Vallee Fromagerie. “This will give local processors and prospective businesses opportunities to grow, innovate and work together to build a strong agricultural and food economy in the Cariboo, hence making the region more diversified, dynamic and resilient.”
The food hub is part of the Province’s Feed BC program, which aims to increase the use of local food in all aspects of the food supply chain: farmers and food producers, processors, distributors and public facilities where food is prepared and served. Feed BC is a key priority for the Ministry of Agriculture, which is committed to encouraging more food and beverage processing in B.C., which helps expand local economies, create jobs and support farming families throughout the province.
Quick Facts:
  • Commissary Connect provides both new and current food and beverage processors with 24/7 access to shared facilities and equipment including commercial kitchen space with new technology. The hub is also developing on-site infrastructure for business advisory and product development services.
  • B.C.’s food and beverage processors produce approximately $10 billion worth of value-added products each year.
  • On July 30, 2019, the ministry announced $275,375 for food hub feasibility studies and business plans in six B.C. communities.
  • Feed BC aims to help food processors expand in both rural and urban communities, which also provides additional business opportunities for area farmers who grow and produce their ingredients.
Learn More:
Feasibility studies and business plans for future food hub sites: 
Commissary Connect:
For more on Buy BC:
La Belle Vallee Fromagerie:

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Rehabilitation of wildfire sites continues in Cariboo-Chilcotin

Courtesy of the Government of BC:

Wildfire rehabilitation and recovery activities are ongoing in the Cariboo region as staff from the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development and contractors repair damage to landscapes burned during the 2017 and 2018 wildfire seasons.
Information about the progress made to date on wildfire-related land base recovery in the Cariboo region (including a factsheet) is available online:
The rehabilitation activities undertaken since 2017 address slope instability, disruption of natural drainage patterns, erosion and potential fire hazards (e.g., piles of dead vegetation and wood debris) related to the construction of fireguards.
During a wildfire event, fireguards may be established along the fire’s perimeter to slow its spread. This often includes the removal of trees and other vegetation to deprive the advancing fire of fuel.
Other wildfire recovery activities in the Cariboo region include:
  • replanting trees in burned areas;
  • repairing range fencing and other burned or damaged infrastructure;
  • salvaging burned timber; and
  • deterring the spread of invasive species by sowing grass seeds by hand or by helicopter.
British Columbia experienced record-setting fire seasons in both 2017 and 2018, with about 1.2 million hectares burned in 2017 and about 1.3 million hectares burned in 2018. Due to the severity and scope of the fires, some recovery efforts will require many years to complete. Public safety and environmental concerns are top priorities when planning and prioritizing this type of work.

Cariboo RD Board holding public hearing regarding cannabis production in Electoral Areas

Courtesy of the Cariboo Regional District:

The Cariboo Regional District (CRD) continues to adopt changes in its policies and bylaws to account for the legalization of cannabis retail sales and production. Overall, the CRD’s intent is to allow cannabis production in areas that are zoned as heavy industrial and to evaluate cannabis retail stores on a case by case basis, by having each proposed store apply for a zoning amendment.
“We are open to having cannabis retail sales and production within the regional district, but for now we want to keep production to heavy industrial zones and we want to be able to consider cannabis retail stores individually,” says CRD Chair Margo Wagner. “Depending on the interest and feedback we hear from interested producers and retailers, we may look at changes down the road, but this gives us a good foundation to manage cannabis for now.”
The CRD has allowed medical marijuana production in heavy industrial zones since 2014. Now, the CRD is planning to permit all types of federally-licensed cannabis facilities within heavy industrial zones.
There will be a public hearing on Thursday, Aug. 8, regarding amending those cannabis-related definitions in CRD zoning and rural land use bylaws. It will be at 7 p.m. in the boardroom at the CRD Williams Lake Office (Suite D, 180 North Third Ave.). Members of the public are invited to provide verbal comments at the public hearing or send written submissions 48 hours ahead of the public meeting. Email written submissions to or drop them off at one of the CRD’s offices.
“The definition changes in our bylaws will clarify where cannabis production can happen in the CRD,” explains Havan Surat, CRD Manager of Development Services. “For retail sales, we have a new policy where cannabis retail stores will be evaluated on a case by case basis in commercial zones through a site-specific rezoning application.”
The CRD Board adopted its policy concerning non-medical cannabis retails sales on June 7, 2019. The policy outlines the process for when the CRD receives cannabis retail sales referrals from the BC Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch. CRD staff and the Board will use the evaluation criteria in the policy for considering cannabis retail sales applications and each proposed location will need to apply for site-specific rezoning.
“There is a variety of criteria we will use to consider cannabis retail stores. For instance, the policy outlines that cannabis retail locations must be 300 metres from daycares, community care facilities, hospitals, libraries, parks, playgrounds, schools and other cannabis retail sales establishments,” Surat adds.
Anyone who wishes to establish a non-medical cannabis retail store in the regional district needs to apply to the BC Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB) for licensing. The Province will refer the application to the CRD, and staff will then initiate the rezoning requirement.
The CRD’s fees for processing retail sales referrals received from the LCRB will vary between $700 to $1,900 depending on the application type and whether rezoning or an Official Community Plan amendment is required. The CRD’s proposed licensing fees bylaw has passed first and second reading and is anticipated to be on the Board’s Sept. 13 agenda for third reading and adoption.
Find more information about non-medical cannabis retail sales and production in the CRD at Information on the public hearing is posted at

Monday, July 29, 2019

Water Quality Advisory – Manganese in Drinking Water (Bottle-fed Infants and Young Children)

Courtesy of the City of Williams Lake:

The City of Williams Lake is issuing a Water Quality Advisory about the levels of manganese in its drinking water supply.  While the quality of the City’s drinking water has not changed, the Canadian Guideline for drinking water has.
In May 2019, Health Canada established a new maximum acceptable concentration (MAC) for manganese in drinking water of 0.12 mg/L.  The City of Williams Lake draws its water from five deep wells. Test results show that the City’s ground water wells have between 0.13 to 0.25 mg/L of manganese; the level depends on which wells are pumping and for how long.  Full water reports are available on the City’s website at
Manganese (Mn) is an element found in air, food, soil and drinking water. While a small amount of Mn is essential for human health, new Health Canada research has shown drinking water with too much Mn can be a risk to health for infants and young children.
 In response to this new information, the City of Williams Lake recommends people use another source of water, such as bottled water, for preparing baby formula for infants and food or drinks for young children.
The City of Williams Lake tests each well as part of its Water Quality Monitoring Program. A Water Management Strategy was prepared for Williams Lake in March 2019, which provides treatment options and costs. The City has started upgrading its water infrastructure and will be applying for Provincial and Federal grants to help offset the cost of the needed treatment plant. The City expects to meet the new guidelines in the near future. 
 For those who would like more information please follow the following resource links to learn more about manganese in drinking water and the City’s Water Management Strategy:
Health Canada 
 BC Ministry of Health 
First Nations Health Authority  
City of Williams Lake 
For more information please contact: 
Gary Muraca, Director of Municipal Services City of Williams Lake / 250.392.1783
For more information regarding the water quality advisory: 

South Quesnel Park Construction This Week!

Courtesy of the City of Quesnel:

Starting this week, Mcintosh Trailworks will begin trail development work in South Quesnel Park.
The project includes three non-motorized, multi-purpose trails throughout the park and a pump track in a portion of the field off of Quesnel Hydraulic Road.  A pump track is a circuit of rollers, banked turns and features designed so that cyclists can generate momentum without pedalling.  The pump track is designed to meet the needs of new and young riders.
All three trails and the pump track will be built to International Mountain Bicycling Association’s Whistler Trail Standards, which focuses on the needs of multiple user groups and takes safety, environmental and geographical factors into account.
Please be aware there will be small machines in the park during the development of the trails. Signage will be posted, and some areas park may be closed during different stages of development.
The playground area off Neighbour Road will not be impacted and will remain open throughout the construction of the new trails and pump track.  The project is expected to be completed by the end of October.
This project is funded by Northern Development Initiative Trust and Gas Tax Fund.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Quesnel City Council meets Tuesday!

While the Boards of Education for School Districts #27/28 (Cariboo-Chilcotin and Quesnel), the Districts of Wells/100 Mile House, the City of Williams Lake and the Cariboo Regional District are still on summer recess - Quesnel City Council will meet on Tuesday, July 29th starting with a Public Hearing at 5:30pm followed by a Regular City Council meeting at 6pm - both of which taking place in Quesnel Council Chambers (4th Floor - 410 Kinchant St).  On the Agenda:

Public Hearing:  1702 Dyke Rd (View the full Agenda here

Regular Council Meeting:

* Presentations -- Quesnel Ambassador Leadership Program - Welcome New Ambassadors/Sponsors and Farewell to Quesnel Princesses

* Report from July 19th Cariboo RD Board of Directors Meeting
* Rural Dividend Grant Applications
* Northern Development Initiative Trust Grant Application
* Letter from Quesnel School District #28 re: New Quesnel Junior School

Full Agenda can be viewed here


BC Governments', Responsible Resource Development and Area Directors'....

Letter from  BC Conservatives to
BC Premier John Horgan in regards to Forestry 
Last Saturday (July 20th, 2019) -- BC Conservative Party Leader Trevor Bolin (who is also a Fort St John City Councillor) wrote to BC Premier John Horgan asking that his provincial government work with Mayors', COFI and other affected stakeholders, by way of forming a Committee, in regards to what is currently occurring in the Forest Sector (see letter at left).  Also - the BC Liberals have written to BC's Premier on the same subject - click here

However, this is another example (over many, many years) of keeping out the local rural reps (Electoral Area Directors) from initial or on-going discussions in regards to Responsible Resource Development (Mining, Forestry, Oil/Gas, etc) and running to Mayors first who represent the nearby service communities.

To be fair to Mr. Bolin -- many provincial governments, regardless of political stripe, have had many discussions, in relation to Resource Development (Forestry, Mining,Oil/Gas, etc) that do not involve the duly elected Electoral Area Director(s) but they first go to the Mayors and Indigenous Governments.. in regards to Resource Development.  Engaging Mayors/First Nations Chiefs is laudable however where the work is to occur, the local elected official (typically, the Electoral Area Director) should be engaged first through their duly elected local elected official!

What is required here is a change in protocol and mindset from the Provincial Government side of things that initial discussions must occur with the local government where Responsible Resource Development is occurring -- in most cases, this is in the Electoral Areas whose local government is the local Regional District

I like to give credit where is due -- City of Dawson Creek Mayor Dale Bumstead does have a wonderful relationship with his Peace River RD Area Directors.... and I'm sure many other Mayors in BC do have a productive relationship with their rural elected Area Directors however this is not necessarily always the case, and that is true here in the Cariboo-Chilcotin...

I contacted Mr. Bolin yesterday via Twitter/Facebook in regards to the above noted points and I thank him for his support regarding the above

In short -- understanding where the issue resides (usually outside municipalities) and engaging the duly elected local elected official is the the appropriate first step, along with engagement of other stakeholders (ie: Mayors, Councillors, First Nation Chiefs, etc).

It need not be Mayors/Councillors vs Area Directors (which unfortunately does happen) but Mayors/Councillors' AND Area Directors and Other Stakeholders working together for a common cause - that is how you will have Strong Regions and a Strong Province!


Thursday, July 25, 2019

Nearly 70 new affordable homes open in Quesnel

Courtesy of the Government of BC:

People with low to moderate incomes, including Indigenous peoples, seniors and families, now have access to 68 new rental homes with the opening of two affordable housing projects in Quesnel.
On July 25, 2019, community partners celebrated the official opening of both projects, which began welcoming tenants earlier this year.
Located at 424 McLean St., Dakelh & Quesnel Community Housing Society’s new development provides 38 units, including 11 accessible units for Indigenous Elders, as well as seniors and families. The four-storey building is comprised of studios and one- and two-bedroom units. Monthly rents range from $375 for a studio unit to $950 for a two-bedroom unit.
Seniors in the community are also benefiting from new affordable rental homes at 255 McNaughton Ave. Quesnel Lions Housing Society is operating the four-storey building, which features 30 one-bedroom units designed and built to adaptable and accessible standards. Monthly rent is $575.
Quick Facts:
  • Funding for 424 McLean St.:
    • The Government of Canada, through CMHC, and the Government of British Columbia, through BC Housing, jointly contributed approximately $1.6 million under the Social Infrastructure Fund. CMHC also provided $25,000 in seed funding.
    • The Province also provided a $5.5 million grant. 
    • The City of Quesnel provided municipal waivers in the amount of approximately $47,000.
    • The society provided $540,000 and the land valued at approximately $165,000.
  • Funding for 255 McNaughton Ave.:
    • The Government of Canada, through CMHC, and the Government of British Columbia, through BC Housing, jointly contributed approximately $307,000 under the Social Infrastructure Fund.
    • The Province also provided a $4.8 million grant, as well as interim construction financing of $1.6 million.
  • The Government of Canada is currently rolling out its National Housing Strategy, a 10-year, $55-billion plan that will create 100,000 new housing units and lift 530,000 families out of housing need as well as repair and renew more than 300,000 housing units and reduce chronic homelessness by 50%.
  • To address the issue of housing affordability for British Columbians, the Government of B.C. is curbing speculation in the province’s housing market and building 114,000 affordable market rental, non-profit, supported social housing and owner-purchase housing through partnerships.
Learn More:
As Canada's authority on housing, CMHC contributes to the stability of the housing market and financial system, provides support for Canadians in housing need and offers unbiased housing research and advice to all levels of Canadian government, consumers and the housing industry. For more information, visit:
To find out more about the National Housing Strategy, visit:
To find out what the Province is doing to improve housing affordability, visit:
A map showing the location of all announced provincially funded housing projects in B.C. is available online:

Cat 2 Open Fire Ban in Cariboo Fire Centre on Monday July 29th

Courtesy of the BC Wildfire Service:

Effective at noon on Monday, July 29, 2019, Category 2 open fires will be prohibited throughout the Cariboo Fire Centre to help prevent human-caused wildfires and protect public safety.  
This prohibition is being implemented due to increased fire danger ratings caused by a warming trend throughout the Cariboo Fire Centre. Anyone who has been conducting Category 2 open burning anywhere in the Cariboo Fire Centre must extinguish any such fire by the deadline.
This prohibition will remain in place until Sept. 27, 2019, or until the public is otherwise notified. 
In addition to Category 2 open burns, the following activities will also be prohibited:
  • the burning of any waste, slash or other materials;
  • open fires larger than 0.5 metres wide by 0.5 metres high;
  • stubble or grass fires of any size over any area;
  • the use of sky lanterns;
  • the use of fireworks, including firecrackers;
  • the use of tiki torches and similar kinds of torches;
  • the use of binary exploding targets;
  • the use of burn barrels or burn cages of any size or description; and
  • the use of air curtain burners.
This prohibition does not ban campfires that are a half-metre high by a half-metre wide or smaller and does not apply to cooking stoves that use gas, propane or briquettes.
Larger Category 3 open fires have been prohibited throughout the Cariboo Fire Centre since April 15, 2019. A map of the areas affected by these prohibitions is available online:
A poster explaining the different categories of open burning is available online:
These prohibitions apply to all public and private land, unless specified otherwise (e.g., in a local government bylaw). Check with local government authorities for any other restrictions before lighting any fire.
Anyone found in contravention of an open burning prohibition may be issued a ticket for $1,150, required to pay an administrative penalty of up to $10,000 or, if convicted in court, fined up to $100,000 and/or sentenced to one year in jail. If the contravention causes or contributes to a wildfire, the person responsible may be ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs, as well as the value of resources damaged or destroyed by the wildfire.
The Cariboo Fire Centre stretches from Loon Lake near Clinton in the south to the Cottonwood River near Quesnel in the north, and from Tweedsmuir Provincial Park in the west to Wells Gray Provincial Park in the east.
To report a wildfire, unattended campfire or open burning violation, call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone. For the latest information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, road closures and air quality advisories, visit:
Follow the latest wildfire news:

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Forseth seeks Electoral Area rep position on UBCM Executive for 2019/20 term

Cariboo RD Director S. Forseth's
nomination to UBCM Executive as
Electoral Area Director rep. for the
2019/2020 term
This past Monday, with the support of my Cariboo RD Areas E/K Director colleagues (Angie Delainey/Chad Mernett), I submitted my application for the position of Electoral Area Director representative on the UBCM or Union of BC Municipalities Executive for the 2019/2020 term

This was necessary as RDFFG (Regional District of Fraser Fort George) Chair and the current 2018/19 UBCM Electoral Area rep, Art Kaehn, informed me that he would not seek re-election this fall at the 2019 UBCM Convention as various positions, except Past President, reps from the 5 Area Associations and Metro Vancouver RD, are up for annual election at the UBCM Convention

Chair Kaehn has held this position since 2012 and I'm sure that I would speak for all Electoral Area Directors' in BC that we all collectively thank him for his dedication to this position and represent us all on the UBCM Executive and elsewhere

My decision was arrived at - after receiving word from Chair Kaehn about his intent to not seek re-election to the UBCM Executive and after discussions with many of my Electoral Area Director colleagues in the North Central and Southern Interior Local Government Associations' areas

In the month of August - I will be writing to all 155 Electoral Area Directors' in BC, introducing myself, why I'm running for the position and what I hope to accomplish on their behalf, if elected.... and I'm sure continuing those conversations at #UBCM2019/2019 Union of BC Municipalities Convention from Sept 23-27, 2019 in the City of Vancouver


Southern Dakelh Nation Alliance monitoring morel harvesting

Courtesy of the Government of BC:

As part of wildfire recovery efforts following the 2018 wildfires in the Cariboo and West Coast natural resource regions, the Province is supporting local First Nations as they monitor the season’s morel harvest.
The Southern Dakelh Nation Alliance (SDNA) is implementing the 2019 SDNA Morel Harvest Program, which aims to minimize impacts to sensitive ecosystems and cultural areas, increase public safety and encourage respectful land-use practices.
The Province is supporting the program’s objectives, as British Columbia and the SDNA continue to work together to enact the Foundation Framework Agreement, or Hubulhsooninats’Uhoot’alh – Dakelh for “together we will fix it” – signed in July 2018.
The SDNA has developed environmental and camp standards, as well as social and safety standards, to mitigate impacts to biologically and culturally sensitive areas. Pickers and buyers in certain wildfire areas can receive safety and educational materials, basic camp services, such as portable toilets, and large, animal-proof waste bins. Experienced SDNA stewardship guardians are monitoring and reporting on the impacts of the commercial mushroom harvest in permitted areas.
The British Columbia government’s support of the SDNA’s stewardship role in morel and fire management in the area demonstrates its ongoing commitment to implementing the Foundation Framework Agreement and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
As part of the environmental recovery process, the B.C. government has closed specific areas to mushroom harvesting activities from July 8 to Aug. 31, 2019.
Learn More:
Harvesting morel mushrooms in the Southern Dakelh Territory:
Information and safety tips for picking mushrooms in wildfire-affected areas are available by calling FrontCounter BC at 1 877 855-3222 toll-free, or by visiting:
Interactive map showing all areas in B.C. where mushroom picking is restricted:

Williams Lake Fire Department Collecting Donations for Food Bank on July 30th

Courtesy of the City of Williams Lake:

The Williams Lake Fire Department is once again conducting its "Christmas in July" food drive to collect donations for the Salvation Army Food Bank. 
From 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm on Tuesday, July 30th, Fire Department members will go door to door in the areas of Westridge, Country Club Boulevard, Terra Ridge, Western Avenue, Midnight Drive, and sections of 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th Avenues to collect non-perishable food items. 
"The Salvation Army Food Bank shelves are generally running low this time of year," says Williams Lake Fire Chief Erick Peterson. "The Williams Lake Fire Department is once again asking the community to help bring ‘Christmas in July’ to those that rely on the Food Bank by donating non-perishable food items for us to deliver to the Salvation Army." 
Residents who would like to participate are asked to place their donations at their front door for the firefighters to collect on July 30th. Donations can also be dropped off at the Fire Hall between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. July 30th – August 2nd. 

Full steam ahead for Cariboo Memorial Hospital redevelopment

Courtesy of the Government of BC:

The business plan for a redeveloped and state-of-the-art Cariboo Memorial hospital has been completed and officially approved on time and on schedule.
It is now full speed ahead for key, high-priority health capital projects in the Interior.
“Approving this business plan on time and on schedule for Cariboo Memorial Hospital demonstrates Premier Horgan’s commitment to Williams Lake and the Cariboo Chilcotin,” said the Hon. Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “This project will improve health care in the region, increase necessary services and help retain health-care professionals. In the construction period, it will bring some 1,400 direct and indirect jobs to the region.”
Work will include a three-storey (plus basement), approximately 9,500 square metre (102,000 square foot) new addition to the hospital, as well as renovations to parts of the current facility.
Cost of the project is $217.75 million and will be shared between the provincial government, Interior Health, and Cariboo Chilcotin Regional Hospital District.
“The project has expanded since we approved the concept plan in February 2018 with an increase of up to 53 beds. Cariboo Memorial currently has 28,” said Dix.
People in the area have been awaiting redevelopment of the hospital since 2011, when the Cariboo Memorial Hospital master site plan was completed. In the spring of 2015, the original concept plan was submitted to the Ministry of Health. More than two years later, in October 2017, a revised concept plan was submitted, and approved in February 2018. The business plan was approved on schedule.
Features include a larger emergency department, more room for ambulatory care, a mental health and substance use inpatient unit, a maternal services unit – which lets new parents stay in the same room with their babies until they are ready to go home, University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine space, 71 new parking spots and the addition of 15 new beds with space reserved to open more in the future.
The redevelopment includes the creation of an inter-faith sacred space on the main floor of the new building, which will allow for traditional, sacred cultural and healing practices. During the business planning stage, several people and groups participated in planning sessions, including First Nations and Aboriginal groups. As a result, the hospital redevelopment will reflect the unique identity and needs of the local communities.
Construction will be completed in two phases. Phase one will begin in 2021 with work on the new addition and is expected to finish in 2023. Then phase two will begin on renovations to the current hospital, which is scheduled to be complete in 2025.
Quick Facts:
  • Business planning finalizes details such as scope, budget and procurement model.
  • The next step is the procurement process, followed by construction.
  • The project will be design-build, in which a contractor designs and builds the facility to meet standards and performance requirements specified by the health authority.
  • The health authority will retain ownership throughout construction and will be responsible for maintaining the facility over its lifespan.
  • Ambulatory care includes minor surgical procedures for outpatients. No inpatient stays are required.
  • Work will be completed at an energy-efficiency level above the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold standard.
  • Opened in 1963, the 28-bed Cariboo Memorial Hospital is considered outdated in terms of space and functionality.
  • The population served by the Cariboo Memorial Hospital is expected to increase by 5.3% by 2033.
  • 23% of the population served by the hospital is Indigenous.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

City of WL hires new Director of Community Services

Courtesy of the City of Williams Lake:

The City of Williams Lake is pleased to announce the hiring of Ian James as the City’s Director of Community Services. 
Ian brings with him over 15 years of senior management experience directing recreation facilities and programs, along with sports and leisure services from a variety of settings, including municipal, private and post-secondary. Ian holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Recreation and Parks Administration, a diploma in Recreation Facility Management, and Master Fitness Trainer certification. 
A former three-time Olympian and NCAA All American in Track and Field with a passion and commitment to performance excellence in recreation, sports and fitness, Ian is "very excited to be a contributing member of the City of Williams Lake’s leadership team working with stakeholders and community groups to enhance, promote and encourage active living and quality of life." 
"We are extremely fortunate to be adding someone of Ian’s caliber to the City’s management team," states Williams Lake Mayor Walt Cobb. "We are looking forward to continued improvements and quality programming at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex, and are confident that Ian’s broad range of experience will enhance the delivery of services in response to an ever-increasing demand." 
Ian will be joining the City on Monday, August 12, 2019

Network upgrades to provide an economic boost in North/South Cariboo

Courtesy of the Government of BC:

Work to diversify economic opportunities in the Cariboo will soon get a boost, thanks to wireless network upgrades designed to expand access to modern, high-speed internet for people in the region.
“The activation of reliable, high-speed internet is essential in ensuring people in rural and Indigenous communities have the same opportunities to diversify and navigate shifting economic forces as those in urban areas,” said the Hon. Jinny Sims, Minister of Citizens’ Services. “Investments such as this will help citizens better provide for their families and benefit from local economic success.”
The Connecting British Columbia program is providing $298,406 to ABC Communications to help fund wireless network upgrades in communities including Bouchie Lake, rural 122 Mile House, rural Lac La Hache, rural Lone Butte (including Horse Lake), Ten Mile Lake and rural Quesnel. The total estimated cost of the project is $596,812.
Thank you to the Province for making this investment in the Cariboo,” said John Massier, vice-chair, Cariboo Regional District. “These kinds of investments are vital to our urban and rural communities in the Cariboo Regional District. Improving internet not only grows our communities. Connectivity is a critical need during emergencies, as our recent wildfire seasons have shown.”
Government announced the Province’s largest-ever investment in connectivity under Budget 2019. This $50-million grant to the Connecting British Columbia program is expected to benefit many more rural communities in B.C.
“The Quesnel & District Chamber of Commerce celebrates the investment to our rural areas through the expansion of high-speed internet, specifically in the Bouchie Lake, 10 Mile Lake and rural Quesnel areas,” said Tracy Bond, vice-president of the Quesnel & District Chamber of Commerce. “The benefits include opening up the marketplace to our rural business members and remote workforce, streamlining business operations to increase competitiveness and strengthening our region through increased communications and mutual support.”
The Connecting British Columbia program supports work to expand high-speed internet access in rural and Indigenous communities by providing grants to cover up to 50% of project costs. The Province continues to welcome applications for funding to help improve connectivity for people living in rural and remote areas of B.C.
The federal government recently launched Canada’s Connectivity Strategy with a $1.7-billion investment and a goal of all Canadian households having access to high-speed internet by 2030. British Columbia’s support for this target means rural and Indigenous communities in this province have an incredible opportunity to move forward with their connectivity goals.
“The B.C. government’s commitment to investing in rural and Indigenous connectivity projects will help ensure future generations benefit from a strong economy, wherever they live in the province,” said Falko Kadenbach, vice-president of ABC Communications Ltd. “It is vital that we keep up with changes in technology so that people have the tools they need to succeed. Without these investments, the digital divide between urban and rural communities in B.C. would continue to grow.”
The Ministry of Citizens’ Services routinely works with the federal government, local governments and service providers to find solutions that best meet peoples’ needs. Resources and helpful guidance are available to help communities achieve their connectivity goals.
“With reliable high-speed internet reaching more rural and remote communities than ever before, British Columbians can enjoy a unique rural lifestyle, while not missing out on any of the opportunities that increased connectivity brings,” said Joel McKay, CEO, Northern Development Initiative Trust. “Connectivity generates new prospects for economic diversification in rural B.C., thus strengthening rural communities and contributing to their attractiveness to businesses and people.”
Quick Facts:
  • The funding will improve high-speed internet access for people in rural 122 Mile House, Bouchie Lake, Cherryville, Horsefly, rural Lac La Hache, rural Lone Butte (including Horse Lake), rural Mackenzie (including the Gantahaz subdivision), rural Quesnel, Salmon Valley (including Pineview), Ten Mile Lake, rural Osoyoos (including areas near Bridesville) and Lakelse Lake.
  • Since July 2017, projects to improve high-speed internet connectivity are underway or complete, benefiting 479 communities, including 83 Indigenous communities and approximately 45,000 households.
  • Northern Development Initiative Trust is currently accepting applications for Connecting British Columbia program funding. This funding is available to help rural and Indigenous communities with infrastructure builds and infrastructure planning projects.
Learn More:
For more information on internet in British Columbia and the Province’s work to expand connectivity in rural, remote and Indigenous communities, visit:
Northern Development Initiative Trust administers the Connecting British Columbia program:
To see how connectivity changed communities throughout the province, visit:

Monday, July 22, 2019

Lightning-fast internet coming to Williams Lake Indian Band 1

Courtesy of the Government of BC:

Editor's Note -- attended today's announcement on behalf of Cariboo RD Chair Margo Wagner, in my capacity as Chair of the Cariboo RD's Broadband Committee

People in the Williams Lake Indian Band 1 community, who currently share a single fibre connection to the band office, will soon enjoy a substantial upgrade to internet speeds.
Improving internet connectivity will enhance local services, including health care and education, and bring new economic development opportunities to the community.
“Affordable and reliable high-speed internet can open new doors for rural and Indigenous communities,” said the Hon. Jinny Sims, Minister of Citizens’ Services. “The new fibre network will produce immediate benefits, such as enabling community health workers and educators to access new services or creating opportunities for people to start home-based businesses.”
The Province is investing $177,000 through its Connecting British Columbia program to help support a Telus project to bring cutting-edge fibre optic internet to Williams Lake Band 1 homes and workplaces. The total value of the project is more than $354,000.
“We’re extremely excited about the pending upgrades to Williams Lake Indian Band’s broadband internet service,” said Williams Lake Indian Band Chief Willie Sellars. “As community leaders, we are committed to improving the quality of life for our people. Services, such as reliable internet, are a necessary part of existence in the modern world. We’re grateful for the support offered by the Connecting British Columbia program and look forward to enjoying the many benefits that will flow from this project.”
Connecting British Columbia is a program funded by the Province, and administered by Northern Development Initiative Trust (NDIT), to expand and upgrade broadband connections in rural and Indigenous communities throughout B.C.
“Bringing reliable high-speed internet to members of Williams Lake 1 is another step in closing the gap between rural and urban communities and opening doors to new opportunities,” said Joel McKay, CEO, Northern Development Initiative Trust. “These infrastructure updates will support people as they realize their entrepreneurial goals, access broader education and share their rich culture with more people.”
The completion of this project will enable residents and businesses of Williams Lake Indian Band 1 to access the internet at speeds of up to 750 Mbps, fast enough for multiple family members to stream high-definition video online.
“Our government is working to help rural and Indigenous communities achieve their connectivity goals,” said Sims. “Combined with our support for the Government of Canada’s Connectivity Strategy, we are seeing an incredible opportunity for B.C. communities to move forward on projects and be full participants in growing good-paying jobs.”
This year government made the largest investment in the Connecting British Columbia program’s history, committing another $50 million to expand high-speed internet access for people living in rural and Indigenous communities.
“Telus and the Government of B.C. share a vision to ensure that all British Columbians can thrive in our digital world, regardless of where they live. We are excited to partner with Williams Lake Indian Band and the Government of B.C. through its Connecting B.C. program to bring Telus PureFibre to Williams Lake Indian Band 1,” said Tony Geheran, chief customer officer, Telus. “This critical network will provide the backbone for continued innovation, entrepreneurship, education and access to health care for generations to come, and would not have been possible without the spirited collaboration between public and private organizations. By the end of next year, Telus will have connected 54 Indigenous communities across B.C. to this network.”
Quick Facts:
  • Since July 2017, projects to improve high-speed internet connectivity are underway or complete benefiting 479 communities including 83 Indigenous communities and approximately 45,000 households.
  • NDIT is currently accepting applications for Connecting British Columbia program funding. This funding is available to help rural and Indigenous communities with infrastructure and planning projects.
Learn More:
For more information on internet in British Columbia and the Province’s work to expand connectivity in rural, remote and Indigenous communities, visit:
Northern Development Initiative Trust administers the Connecting British Columbia program:
To see how connectivity changed the community of Haida Gwaii, visit:
For more information on the Government of Canada’s Connectivity Strategy, visit: