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Official report shows Chetwynd sewage lagoons “insufficient”

FRIDAY,AUGUST 2, 2013

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BY MIKE CARTER Chetwynd Echo Reporter –––––––––––––– CHETWYND- An engineering report by Golder Associates Ltd. commissioned by the District of Chetwynd to find out what went wrong this past winter with the town’s sewage lagoons, points to a multitude of circumstances which led to effluent being discharged into the Pine River that was toxic to some fish

species. There is no indication of a “fish kill” at present as a result of the above normal toxicity in the effluent discharged. The Golder report states the current lagoon system is insufficient for the town’s current population. As a result, the Golder report recommends deepening the current lagoons, upgrading the aeration to a sub-surface system and adding a

fourth aerated cell to increase capacity, prompting District Council to pass a motion which commits the town to an initial $84,000 in planning costs. The entire capacity-increasing project, which could begin as early as this fall, carries a final price tag in excess of $4.5 million. The Golder report itself cost $41,000. According to District Chief Administrative Officer Doug

Please see "DISTRICT," page 2

Bernier ignoring bus issues

Page 20

Look what’s in this weeks flyer at your local

Prices are in effect from Friday, August 2 to Thursday, August 82013


2

Fri day, August 2, 2013

C het w y nd Echo

LOCAL NEWS

District must find almost $5 million to upgrade system Continued from page 1

Fleming and Public Works Manager Paul Gordon, there are several reasons why the problems arose that could be attributed to an historical lack of regular maintenance and a failure on the part of the District to realize the actual capacity of the lagoons. “When I started here, I was told the sewer [lagoons] were more or less

designed for 5,000 people,� Fleming said. Operating on this assumption, the district accepted commercial haulers in 2008 and began accepting sewage from the Pine River Gas plant as well as the Grizco camp servicing the now defunct Willow Creek Mine in 2010. “It was a result of this investigation [by Golder] that we were shocked to

NOTICE

Due to the BC Day Holiday,

The Chetwynd Echo office will be closed Monday August 5.

We will resume our regular schedule on Wednesday, August 3, 2013 Our regular office hours are Mon Thurs 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (Closed 12-1 for lunch)

find this 5,000 number that was circulated around town for the last 25 years wasn’t an accurate number,� Gordon added. “The results of the study were a bit of a wake up call for us. We said OK we have to pull up our socks. Doing nothing is not an option.� Earlier this year the Ministry of Environment threatened the town with an initial fine of $250,000, which would escalate to a larger amount if steps were not taken to deal with the issue. Like most municipalities in the province, Chetwynd does have a permit from the provincial Ministry of the Environment under the Waste Management Act to discharge semi-treated effluent into bodies of water. The process of treating sewage water relies on Mother Nature to assist in this last step of the treatment. The amount of discharge allowed by a permit is measured in units of Biochemical Oxygen Demand or BOD, which is

Doing nothing is not an option. -Paul Gordon Public Works Manager

the amount of dissolved oxygen needed by microorganisms in a body of water to break down the organic material present. The Golder report shows that this past winter, the District’s six-celled lagoon treatment system was exceeding the permitted BOD count by as much as three times the allowed amount. “We found that some of our presumptions weren’t exactly accurate and it forced us to really address what we have out there and accelerate any work

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plan that we had anticipated,� Gordon stated. “The problem didn’t happen overnight and it was a long time coming I’d suggest. There was a complacency that I think we all had based on this 5,000 that had been circulating. When I go back to when those lagoons were built, I can’t find proof of that number. It was an urban myth that everybody in town believed. To see that for us; we’ve been going on the wrong premise all along.� Fleming added that some elements of the story this far just didn’t make sense. “It’s what we did and didn’t know at the time. It never drew any concern to my attention that we would add somebody like Grizco into the pack [because] when I started here I was told the sewer treatment plant was designed for 5,000. I can’t believe that 20 years ago they would have designed a sewer treatment plant just to [service] the population of the day.�

Going forward, the District will now have to come up with a plan to fund the nearly $5 million lagoon-system upgrade. “It’s our intent to leverage provincial and federal grants,� Fleming said. “The way the project is going to unfold is in pieces. We may end up having to borrow a significant amount of money.� What this means for the taxpayers of Chetwynd is that the debt will be repaid through service and utility charge increases. Yet, Fleming believes the town can minimize the rate increases by being creative in how it finds the funds for the much-needed work. “This is a huge cost to the taxpayers of Chetwynd potentially, so we are going to try to mitigate that as much as possible,� he said. “The easy way is to just borrow the money and do the work and tack it on the tax bill, but we’re going to work a little harder and do Please see "PROBLEM," page 24

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C het w y nd Echo

Fri day, August 2, 2013

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LOCAL NEWS

British media blast was no match for Chetwynd baby boy news from Dawson Creek and District Hospital

Dawson Creek Daily News –––––––––––––– CHETWYND – For many Canadian residents, news that a prince was born last week to Will and Kate (more formally known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge) filled their social media pages. But that news is just a footnote for Colleen Simpson and Thomas Lightburn of Chetwynd who "feel like royalty" after the birth of their baby boy Barrett George Lightburn on the same day in Dawson Creek. "The prince is lucky to share a birthday with our little Barrett," said Colleen Barrett was born at 7:45 Simpson, seen here with her new baby Barrett George Lightburn and his father, a.m. local time on Photo submitted Tuesday July 23, just Thomas Lightburn. before it was announced the royal baby had "surprising to hear" that as he had more pressing "The prince is lucky to arrived later in the morn- Kate and Colleen were in matters to attend to at share a birthday with our ing. The father said it was labour at the same time, that time. little Barrett," said the

mom, her baby nestled in her arms. The royal child was born at 8:24 am, our time, and quickly social media lit up with news of the long awaited birth, despite earlier reports that the announcement would be made traditionally by the use of an easel. As yet unnamed, the baby weighed in at 8 lbs, 6 oz. "Let us join together in celebration across the province to mark the birth of our future King," suggested the Honourable Judith Guichon, Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia. "As the third in line, he is the future King of Canada. For Canadians, this historic occasion is an opportunity to reflect on our strong and enduring connection to the Crown - an

institution that embodies the stable character of our democracy." Premier Christy Clark also issued a statement on royal birth. "We join in welcoming a new generation to the Royal Family. We also celebrate the renewal of an institution that ties us to our shared history across the Commonwealth," she said. "For many British Columbians, the Monarchy serves as a symbol of stability and hope in times of global transformation. With the birth of their baby boy, this promise and commitment is renewed for another generation. On behalf of all British Columbians, I wish the new family health, happiness, and joy."

Chetwynd resident flying high after winning contest

BY MIKE CARTER Chetwynd Echo Reporter –––––––––––––– CHETWYND – Chetwynd resident Stella Chamale has won the North Peace Regional Airport’s “Take the Pledge to

High: 22 Low: 13

Friday 2

High: Low:

Fly YXJ” contest, bringing home two tickets to anywhere Central Mountain Air flies. Chamale said she wasn’t sure yet just where she would be going. The “Fly YXJ” pledge cam-

Saturday 3

22 13

High: Low:

24 11

paign was a unique program that encouraged residents of the Peace Region to consider the Fort St. John Airport first when making their travel plans. All anyone had to do to be entered into the contest was take

Sunday 4

High: Low:

prepared for driving winter driving conditions. BeBe prepared for seasonal conditions. Check www.drivebc.ca

Check www.drivebc.ca or phone 1-800-550-4997 phone 1-800-550-4997 for the latest conditions in BC foror the latest road conditions in road British Columbia.

Monday 5

25 11

the pledge either on the contest’s Facebook page, the airport’s website, or the many pledge box locations found around the Peace in airports and at special events. The pledge read, “I pledge to

High: Low:

Tuesday 6

25 10

make the North Peace Regional Airport my first choice for travel. I understand this commitment will benefit me, my family, my business, my community and my region.” Please see "PLEDGE," page 6

Wednesday 7

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Thursday 8

High: 24 Low: 12

Use caution when passing Use caution when passing or encountering or e n cmaintenance o u n t e requipment. ing road road maintenance equipment.

Drive Safely! Drive Safely!


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C het w y nd Echo

Fri day, August 2, 2013

OUR VIEWS

Sensible BC and Dana Larsen are coming to Chetwynd next week to garner support for a referendum to legalize Marijuana - do you support the cause?

Email editor@chetwyndecho.net or log onto our Facebook page. Your response could be included on page 5 next week.

So many unanswered questions in the death of Sammy

O

NOTABLY NOMI :)

Naomi Larsen is Editor for the Chetwynd Echo. Contact her at by phone at 250.788.2246 or via email editor@chetwyndecho.net

n e 1 8 - y e a r- o l d kid with one pocketknife. Tw e n t y t w o o ff i c e r s , nine gunshots and a t a z e r. H o w d i d t h a t happen? Public outrage over the death of 18-year-old Sammy Yatim who was shot in an altercation with Toronto police officers on an empty streetcar Saurday night is

being made very clear. In this time of social media, the incident was caught on video by several witnesses and posted online within minutes. As of Tuesday one online site had more than 750,000 views. I grew up in a family that that taught me to respect the law and the officers who enforce those laws. And my views have not changed. I can’t imagine how hard a job being an officer is – especially in the city. However, I find it tough to respect the officers from the Toronto Police

C HETWYND E CHO

Published each Friday by Draper & Dobie Company Inc. P.O Box 750 • 5016 50th Ave. Chetwynd, BC • V0C 1J0

Telephone: 250-788-2246 Fax: 250-788-9988 Email: publisher@chetwyndecho.net Fan us on Facebook • Read us online www.issuu.com

Department armed with after this. very little B o t t o m danger to line: This kid anyone. didn't have Why did to die. He Instead of immedi- they have to was confined ately shooting to shoot him in an empty nine times? kill why didnʼt they How many streetcar and try to shoot to bullets does was therefore no danger to incapacitate him? it take at the public. If close range to the officers kill one skinpresent were ny youth? afraid to There had to approach this be more than kid because he had a one officer shooting. knife, why didn't they After having shot this kid call for someone to bring nine times, why did they a riot shield? He could feel the need to use a have been easily dis- tazer? An independent community newspaper established in 1959. Its main interests are those which best serve the Chetwynd area including Hudsonʼs Hope, Jackfish, Hasler and Groundbirch areas.

Instead of immediately shooting to kill, why didn't they try to shoot to incapacitate him? A shot to the arm or leg would have almost certainly made the kid drop the knife and he'd be alive today (and perhaps getting the help he needs.) I understand that one officer has been suspended (with pay). What about the other officer(s) who discharged their weapons? There is either something very wrong about the way our police officers are trained or, once they get out on the streets

Naomi Larsen, Publisher/ Editor/Sales publisher@chetwyndecho.net editor@chetwyndecho.net sales@chetwyndecho.net

Malerie Klassen production@chetwyndecho.net

Mike Carter, Reporter reporter@chetwyndecho.net

Tammy Cloarec, Office Manager accounts@chetwyndecho.net

some of them "go rogue." The list of those who have lost their lives to police bullets keeps growing. I'm not saying that a police shooting is never justified but, far too many are not and yet the officers involved have been cleared. It has got to stop. If we as a society are going to place guns in the hands of our police officers, they must be accountable and the Special Investigations Unit has got to stop covering up and condoning what amounts to murder.

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Submission deadlines: Tuesday at 4 pm

The opinions expressed on the editorial page of the Chetwynd Echo are strictly those of the paricular writers involved and are not necessarily shared or supported in any way by Draper & Dobie Company Inc, itʼs management or employees. The columns of the Chetwynd Echo editorial page are open to letters to the editor of reasonable length dealing with current events or other concerns. All correspondence must include the name, address and telephone number of the author. The newspaper reserves the right to edit, condense or reject any submission or advertisements.


C het w y nd Echo

Welcome Prince

To the Editor: A few of your readers actually tracked me down to ask what I meant by that last list of abbreviations for Canadian provinces which appeared in a recent Echo. Sorry, Naomi, it was my goof, but could you see fit to clarify, as follows: Wherever we livei n Canada we can contact our Prime Ministers through our MLA (member of the legislative assembly). His job is to report what we said to him. Our job is to stand up and be counted when there is controversy over issues which vitally concern our nation. At the present time our MP (member of Parliament) is Mike Bernier. Also, a hearty welcome to our newborn Crown Prince George. He will be trained intensively in preparation for his coronation. I hope that on the day some of my descendents will be privileged to serve in our armed forces and to solemnly swear allegiance to King George VI. By the grace of God, may he long reign over Canada. Bea Kurjata Chetwynd

Fri day, August 2, 2013

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YOUR VIEWS

“Gullible spineless public” has bought the the bull: reader

To the Editor: Radical element replies to insinuations by members on the committee in regards to my outspoken stand against the bylaw and several other programs proposed by the PRRD. My take on what a radical is in this instance is that if you rock the boat these schemers are riding in you become a radical. You might upset their plans. It is my firm belief that if the people who signed these peti-

READER COMMENTS from our Facebook page

THE CHETWYND ECHO IS CONSIDERING

PHASING OUT CARRIER DELIVERIES COME

2014. DO

YOU HAVE

YOUR PAPER DELIVERED BY ONE OF OUR PAPER CARRIERS?

IF

YES,

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

“My son was one of your carriers , His customers were super awesome to him always , for the amount they get paid and it's not much, its more work then it's worth for them, I would say and it's just as easy

tions to reject the bylaw would have stood their ground and not been induced to compromise by a smooth talking chairman on the committee, the bylaw would have been thrown out or on its way out. It is amazing how easily people will swap ends when a little doubt or fear are suggested. It is my opinion that the chairman on this committee wants the bylaw in but knows he must get some concessions in order to

for my subscription to be delivered in the postal box he had a good little run but he is 14 now and 45$ a month is not enough for 14 year olds now a days . You guys treated him well I may add as well he was happy just became to old and wanted more $$$ ” - Vicki “I hope they do not phase out our carriers, it's a great first job for our youth and we have always enjoyed our carriers!” - Janet

“I don't have delivery, but I think you should keep the carriers. It's a great way to teach kids responsibility and they love making money! And, it would be nice to

sell it to the people. The board of directors wants the 11 million hectares that is not in their clutches at the moment. They see the possibilities that this massive land grab will give them in revenue and power to further their schemes against the landowners. Charlie Lasser wants to chair the committee because he wants the law in but slightly modified just enough to sell the scheme and a gullible spineless public has

be able to say "I delivered newspapers just like mom or dad” - Alyssa “We have excellent service from our carrier but unless you have a waiting list of new carriers wanting these jobs, it is more cost effective to have the papers sent to our post office box.” - Sheree “Yes and I like it.” - Tara

“I think it's an awesome first job. My sister and I use to do a rural route in our neighbourhood, and made 50 cents a paper plus tips! (Getting goodies and a twenty dollar tip at Christmas from each

bought the truckload of bull. You of faint heart still have a chance to reject the bylaw at the upcoming meetings. Don’t miss the opportunity. Radical is a convenient term for someone who rocks the political boat. Do not mistake cunning for wisdom. Be reasonable. See it their way.

house was thrilling when your 9) it probably cost my parents more in gas for the skidoos During the winter, but I think it was a very valuable I didn't even know they had paper routes in chetwynd..” -Nicole

“I love getting my paper delivered and it does give a young person a chance to experience a job and some responsibility.” - Kelly

“All three of our kids delivered papers and that taught them responsibility and many other traits. People loved them and treated them great. They also loved the treats etc. at special

Jim Ross Chetwynd, B.C.

times like Christmas and their birthday. They still talk about their experiences. It isn't a lot of money, but they can learn from that too. Our youngest learned quickly that it was cheaper to by a great at the grocery store than at a convince store. They all managed to save a little money too. It did cost us quite a bit of money for gas because we lived out of town, but it was worth the sacrifice to us. We love to see the young ones doing this service.” - Marleta

LOG ONTO OUR FACEBOOK PAGE FOR MORE DISCUSSION AND JOIN IN! PLEASE KEEP COMMENTS RESPECTFUL.

You can email us at editor@chetwyndecho.net; mail to Box 750 Chetwynd B.C. V0C 1J0 or drop of your letter at 5016 50 Avenue. All letters submitted must be signed with a return address and daytime telephone number so we can confirm that it came from you. The Echo reserves the right to edit letters for clarity, legality, length and to refuse publication of any submitted material. We may also choose to use a letter as the basis for a story. So, be sure to keep your letters brief and to the point. Letters originating from the Peace region get priority. We encourage new contributors as we attempt to publish a cross-section of public opinion. - Naomi Larsen, Editor


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Fri day, August 2, 2013

LOCAL NEWS

C het w y nd Echo

Stella Chamale celebrates outside of the Chetwynd Echo Office on Monday. She has won two tickets to any destination flown by Central Mountain Air. Chamale is not sure yet where she will be taking her trip. Photo by Mike Carter

Pledge campaign launched Continued from page 3

If you see a wildfire call *5555 on your cell. Nearly half of all wildfires are preventable. Please, be responsible in our forests.

To learn more visit BCWildfire.ca

Airport manager Moira Green says the contest was a huge success and the winners are excited to receive their prizes, which should be delivered later this month. “The North Peace Regional Airport now has three commercial carriers with the addition of West Jet in June of this year,” Green said. “As a commitment to our carriers, the airport went to the community with a request that the community make the North Peace Regional Airport their first choice for travel.” All three airlines donated prizes in support of the event and the winners were announced Sunday at the Fort St. John International Air Show. The pledge campaign was launched in late April. “We had a wonderful time doing the

campaign,” Green said. “We used Facebook and Twitter as our primary means of reaching the community and we also went on the road and had organizations and city council’s and local councils take the pledge and posted their photos all on twitter.” Among the local governments that took the pledge were the District of Hudson’s Hope, the City of Fort St. John, the District of Taylor and the Peace River Regional District. President of the North Peace Airport Society Fred Jarvis said the airport is an important contributor to business and pleasure pursuits in the region. “Without this airport there would be a tremendous void in our economy and our lifestyle,” he said. “I believe we should endeavor to make sure our operators keep operations going well wherever possible to make sure our airport is in competition with others.”


C het w y nd Echo

Fri day, August 2, 2013

No Giant Hogweed in Peace Region yet...

BY NAOMI LARSEN Chetwynd Echo Editor –––––––––––––– CHETWYND – It’s tall, hairy and boasts leaves with serrated edges and huge white flower umbrella heads and it looks almost identical to Giant Hogweed – but it’s not. Many people have seen what’s called Cow Parsnip growing thick along Peace region roadways and while at first glance it may look like Giant Hogweed however one of the main differences is it’s height. Hogweed can grow 15 feet tall or more. Cow Parsnip tops out at around six. And Cow Parsnip is native to this area and is completely harmless. In fact, you can even eat it. Elaine Armagost, Invasive Plant Program Manager for the Peace River Regional District said Cow Parsnip is also known

7

LOCAL NEWS

Giant Hogweed sap can cause severe burns and blindness. It looks very similar to Cow Parsnip. Photos submitted

as Indian Celery. “It was a staple for our aboriginal groups back in the day,” she said. Giant hogweed season is starting in on the B.C. coast

and in some areas of the Kootenays and plant experts are warning people to stay away from the harmful and invasive plant. The plant's sap can cause

serious skin burns and blisters that result in long-term sensitivity to the sun. Aragost said the burns can last up to 10 years. If the sap gets into a person's eyes, it

... But similar plant discovered

BY NAOMI LARSEN Chetwynd Echo Editor –––––––––––––– CHETWYND – While Giant Hogweed isn’t a problem in the Peace, Elaine Armagost, Invasive Plant Program Manager for the Peace River Regional District said a new plant that causes similar reactions has been discovered near the previous Willow Creek mine owned by Walter Energy. “On Friday the crew from here and the area controllers for the Pine Pass area, we had recently had the invasive plant specialist for the province and for the north up here and on their way home they spotted this plant, stopped and collected a sample.” Armagost said the plant ended up being Wild Parsnip which looks a lot like Cow Parsnip – but

with a bite. “It (Wild Parsnip) is yellow and it’s not in the same family but it does have the sap like the Giant Hogweed does,” she said. Armagost said the leaf structure is very different as well. The very small infestation has already been taken care of. She says if anyone suspects they have Wild Parsnip on their property or find any to contact the PRRD immediately.

can even cause temporary blindness. "If there was ever a plant that looked mean, this plant does," said Jennifer Grenz of the Invasive Species Council of Metro Vancouver. The noxious plant- commonly mistaken for cow parsnip and Queen Anne's Lace- is covered with stiff, spiky hairs and has leaf edges that look like a serrated knife. The plant can grow up to five-metres tall. When mature, it produces large white flowers made up of smaller umbrella-like clusters. The toxic sap, which is clear and watery, can be found on both the leaves

and the stem. Once the sap touches skin, a person will feel tingling at first and then burning pain. If the skin isn't treated, the patch of skin can become ultrasensitive to the sun for up to 10 years, said Grenz. "It's not a one-time problem," she said. "It's really serious." If they come into contact with the sap, Grenz recommended people cover their skin to shield it from sunlight and wash off the sap using soap and water, and see a doctor. For more information on how to tell the difference check out http://www.youtube.com /watch?v=sysmrqw4sEo

NOTICE TO THE PUBLIC:

The construction of the Right-in Right-out project on highway 97 and the Chetwynd & District Rec Centre will begin on August 6, 2013. The project duration will be for approximately 6 weeks.

Exterior work to the Chetwynd & District Rec Centre, including painting of the exterior walls, will commence during this time as well.

Please be advised that there may be delays along highway 97 and a shortage of parking in the Chetwynd & District Rec Centre parking lot. Access along the front of the building may NOT be available and all users are encouraged to park in the rear of the building.

We appreciate your patience during this time. All questions and concerns can be directed to our Project Manager, Paul Gordon.


8

C het w y nd Echo

Fri day, August 2, 2013

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

A trip back Chetwynd’s Atrium to in time take part in Grizfest Atrium is set to perform in the Battle of the Bands at Grizfest this weekend.

Photo submitted

• Chetwynd Echo: July 11, 1973

Clarice McLean celebrated her 85th birthday on July 4. She was guest of honour when relatives and friends gathered for a supper party at the home of her grandaughter Betty Gladue.

Battle of the Bands

BY MIKE CARTER Chetwynd Echo Reporter –––––––––––––– TUMBLER RIDGE – Music fans, get excited. The peaceful tranquility of the wilderness is about to get rocked. The 12th annual Grizfest music festival will kick off this long weekend with one of the most diverse line-ups anyone could ask for. The event runs Aug. 2 – 4 on the grounds of the Tumbler Ridge High School and is organized by the Tumbler Ridge Days Society (TRDS). This year’s festival is headlined by two Juno award-winning acts.

On Saturday evening, Nova Scotia-born rhinestone cowboy George Canyon saddles up on stage. On Sunday, the crowd will witness Canadian pop-electronica act Dragonette, A.K.A Martina Sorbara, cap of the weekend with what is sure to be another one of her critically acclaimed high-energy, 80s inspired dance-your-butt-off performances. Grizfest 2013 also features performances from the 1970s British glitterrock band Sweet, Vancouver Celtic-punk quartet, the Real

McKenzies, Wide Mouth Mason, Kira Isabella, Alyssa Reid, The Walking Shadows, Rick Stavely, and rock veterans Holly Woods & Toronto. The festival gets started Friday evening with the battle of the bands and vocalist competitions, which are free to the public. Winners of the two contests will have the chance to perform as the opening act for the Saturday and Sunday shows. Chetwynd’s own alternative-rock/punk band Atrium will be competing Please see "FULL STUDIO," page 9


C het w y nd Echo

Fri day, August 2, 2013

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Full studio album to be released later this year Continued from page 8

in this year’s battle of the bands along with Alister Stone from Fort St. John, Dawson Creek’s Flees from Bears and Morgan McGown & Cover Me from Pouce Coupe/Dawson Creek. Atrium was originally composed of two sets of brothers: Connor and Michael Pohl, and Matt and Josh Stayner. However, the group announced in April that Josh Stayner was leaving the group due to a move. This will be he bands third time competing at the Grizfest battle of the bands, placing second both times prior. The band played last year at the world famous Whiskey A-Go-Go on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, and hope to have a full studio album released in 2013. Competing individual vocalists are Pouce Coupe’s Morgan McGown along with Lesa Madsen, Andy Smith and Kyla McNeil who are all from Tumbler Ridge. Battle of the bands winners will receive $1000 cash and 6 hours recording time at a local studio, while the winning vocalist will receive $500 cash and 2 hours of recording time. The two competitions add a unique element to the festival. According to Grizfest organizer Joy McKay, who said incorporating the two competitions into the festival gives local artists the opportunity to gain some experience being on stage. “TRDS recognizes the importance of the arts and

9

George Canyon is set to take the stage Saturday night. this is one way of giving new artists an opportunity to perform on a large stage, before a large audience with a professional sound company,� she said, adding that it also gives them the chance to network with professional musicians and managers. On top of providing Tumbler Ridge with a destination event, the idea behind Grizfest when it was founded 12 years ago was to create an event that promoted local artists and Canadian music in general. “Grizfest is a unique festival with a diverse musical line-up,� McKay said. “The festival started small but has grown over the years. Living in the north. Residents don’t have the opportunity to be exposed to the arts and holding the festival in town gives them that opportunity.� McKay praised the sponsors of the event and

the hardworking team of volunteers. “Without volunteers the festival would not be a huge success,� she said. The festival also depends on the loyal support of local and out of town businesses. “These businesses donate equipment, manpower, [and] cash which allows the festival to promote a professional event.� Grizfest typically welcomes between 15-20 vendors on site as well selling everything from clothing items, specialty foods, ice cream treats, jewelry and more. “The festival has grown at a steady pace, and today we are able top secure high caliber artists for all to enjoy.� McKay added that artists often stay an extra day or two to enjoy what the region has to offer. “Artists do comment on

how beautiful the Peace Region is,� she said “and are often excited to visit our dinosaur track ways and waterfalls.� For adults aged 18-65, a weekend pass is $100 if purchased in advance, or $110 at the gate. One-day passes sell for $55 in advance or $65 at the gate. Youth aged 13-18 and seniors 65 and over can get a weekend pass in advance for $60 or for $70 at the gate, while one-day passes are available for $35 in advance or $45 at the gate. Advanced tickets can be purchased by phoning the Tumbler Ridge Days Society at 250-242-4246.

2013 Peace Reg egion Community ty to to Community ty Poker Ru R un Chetw tw wy ynd, d, BC Aug Au ugust 17, 7 , 20 1 3 2#46+ 2# 6+% +% %+++2 2# 2 #6+ 6+0 +0 0) ) %1 %1/ 1// //7 /70 70+ 0++6 6++' 6 +' '5 5 %* 5 %* *' '69; 9;0 ;0 0& & *7 & *7 7& &5 &5 51 105 10 5 *1 *1 12 2' 2' ' For Fo ort St St. t. Jo Jo oh hn h n,, Ta n Tayl ylor or, Da Daws wso so on n Cr Cree ee ek k and nd Tu Tum umb mbl bl le er e r Rid idge ge In CHETWYND: Regist tration begins @ 8:30am m ² The Chetwynd Visitor Centre (5217 North Access Road) Ride start a s at 9:00am and winds down @ 5:00Pm Cost: $30 per hand ² 50% AWARDED TO WINNER FOR POKER HAND PLUS DOOR PRIZES Lunch: h: HOSTED AT VISITOR CENTRE Winner for Best e Hand announced at 7: 7 00pm AT DINNER Location: The Twins Rest e aurant

Chetwyn nd Contact: the Chetwyn nd Visitor Centre @ 250-788-1943 FOR MORE INFORMATION or to register


C het w y nd Echo

10 Fri day, August 2, 2013

INDUSTRY

Proposed Peace pipeline projects boost Trans Canada’s second quarter earnings

BY MIKE CARTER Chetwynd Echo Reporter –––––––––––––– CALGARY – TransCanada Corporation released its second quarter earnings last week, showing many future projects including the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission system, and the Costal GasLink pipeline contributed to the company’s positive outlook. The earnings report provided updates on the Costal GasLink pipeline and the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission (PRGT) project, both of which have a direct effect on the Peace

Region. “All three of our business segments generated strong results during the second quarter,” said Russ Girling, TransCanada’s president and chief executive officer. “We were pleased by the significant shipper interest in our Energy East Pipeline project, which would transport crude oil from western Canada to eastern Canadian markets and add to our existing $26 billion portfolio of commercially secured projects.” The PRGT proposed pipeline will transport nat-

ural gas primarily from the North Montney gas field near Dawson Creek, to the Pacific Northwest Port Edward liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant near Prince Rupert, BC. Malaysian national oil company Petronas recently announced it will be investing $16-billion into the Port Edward facility. “The proposed Prince Rupert Gas Transmission project will allow British Columbians, and all Canadians, to continue to benefit from the responsi-

Please see "LUNCH," page 11

Open House Events North Montney Mainline Project August 12, 2013 4 – 8 p.m.

Join us for an open house to talk about TransCanada’s proposed North Montney Mainline project.

City of Fort St. John Pomeroy Sports Centre East Meeting Room 9324 – 96th St. Fort St. John

Come out and join us for a great meal and a conversation about the project and a chance to win a door prize.

August 13, 2013 4 – 8 p.m. District of Hudson’s Hope Community Centre 10310 – 100th St. Hudson’s Hope

August 14, 2013 4 – 8 p.m. District of Chetwynd Chetwynd Recreation Centre, Aspen Room 4552 North Access Rd. Chetwynd

Bring your questions and we’ll supply the refreshments. For more information, please call our project information line at 1.855.895.8753 or email us at northmontney@transcanada.com. Everyone is welcome. We hope to see you there.

Proposed Kahta Receipt Meter Station

Sikanni Chief River

Proposed North Montney Mainline (Kahta Section)

Beatton River Halfway River

Townsend Creek97

Proposed Aitken Creek Compressor Station

Gundy Creek

Proposed North Montney Mainline (Aitken Creek Section)

About the Project The proposed natural gas pipeline, up to 48 in in diameter and approximately 305 kilometres (km) in length, starts from a southern point about 35 km southwest of Fort St. John to a northern point about 200 km northwest of Fort St. John where it will tie into a new meter station. The proposed project will safely deliver natural gas to the existing NGTL System and will create opportunities for local and Aboriginal businesses and annual property tax revenues.

Proposed Aitken Creek Receipt and Delivery Meter Station

Kobes Creek

Potential PRGT Farrell Creek Meter Station Interconnection

Peace River

Fort St. John

Prince Rupert Gas Terminal Flow Direction

Existing Saturn Receipt Meter Station

29 Hudson Hope

Proposed Saturn Compressor Station Existing NGTL Pipeline

Moberly River Existing Groundbirch Receipt Meter Station

Pine River Chetwynd

Coastal GasLink Flow Direction


C het w y nd Echo

Surveys to be conducted over next two months Continued from page 10

ble development of the growing supply of valuable natural gas resources in the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin,” Girling said. PRGT president Tony Palmer expanded on this saying, “[our clients] believe that they can economically develop gas in northeastern BC, transport it across the province, liquefy it and ship it to Asia and make a profit.” “That’s how any natural gas or any development project is assessed is - do you believe that you can do it on a profitable basis, and also of course, do it in an environmentally friendly fashion and also satisfy stakeholders that live along that right of way. Those are critical factors.” The British Columbia E n v i r o n m e n t a l Assessment Office and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency announced in June that it is seeking public input on the project as part of its environmental review. Over the next few months, TransCanada and the two environmental assessment offices will be conducting surveys and

All three of our business segments generated strong results... GIRLING

studies to determine the pipeline’s impact on wildlife, vegetation, marine life, communities and culturally significant First Nations lands. The full project description is available at www.eao.gov.bc.ca. “We want to be clear that we have heard the input from the communities with which we have met along the conceptual corridor,” Palmer said in a letter to local governments of the Peace Region. “As part of our engagement, we received input and suggestions about how to improve the routing from a number of communities. As our investigating work continues on these routes we will continue to engage you to

inform you of the outcome of our work.” The 700-kilometre Coastal GasLink pipeline project will also deliver natural gas from the Montney gas-producing region, near Dawson Creek, to LNG Canada’s proposed liquefied natural gas facility near Kitimat, B.C. The company released a statement on the Costal GasLink projects progress with its second quarter report that indicated it is still in the early stages. “We are currently focused on community, landowner, government and First Nations engagement as the Coastal GasLink pipeline project advances,” the statement read.

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Fri day, August 2, 2013

INDUSTRY

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Learn more at fortisbc.com/safety.


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Fri day, August 2, 2013

C het w y nd Echo

HEALTH

STARS receives more than $1 million

BY MIKE CARTER Chetwynd Echo Reporter –––––––––––––– FORT ST. JOHN – The Peace River Regional District was honoured this past weekend at the Fort

St. John international air show for giving over $1 million in donations to the Alberta-based Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society (STARS). The STARS air ambu-

lance team unveiled the Peace River Regional District’s (PRRD) logo on one of its eight helicopters July 28 in Fort St. John. Last year, the PRRD committed to giving

DISTRICT OF CHETWYND NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING for

Proposed Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 986, 2013 (Moberly Lake Construction Ltd.)

Pursuant to Section 892 of the Local Government Act RSBC 1996, the Council of the District of Chetwynd gives notice that all persons who believe their interest to be affected by the provisions contained in the “District of Chetwynd Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 986, 2013 (Moberly Lake Construction Ltd. – 45 Avenue NW)” shall be afforded an opportunity to be heard on matters contained in the Bylaw at a Public Hearing scheduled for the below noted date and place: Date: August 12, 2013 Time: 4:00 p.m. Place: Council Chambers, District Office

Bylaw No. 986, 2013 proposes to amend the District of Chetwynd Zoning Bylaw No. 932, 2010 by rezoning part of Lot 1, Plan 28021, District Lot 1976, Peace River District from Multiple Family Residential – Low Density (RM-1) to Single Family Residential (R-1). The purpose of the rezoning is for future single family residential development.

Subject Properties

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NW E. V A

Property owners who believe their interest in property may be affected by the proposed amendment bylaw may view the bylaw and all other written information pertaining to this matter in detail at the District of Chetwynd Office located at 5400 North Access Road, between the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday inclusive, excluding statutory holidays. Any inquiries should be referred to the District of Chetwynd, Telephone: 250-401-4100, Fax: 250-401-4101, Email: d-chet@gochetwynd.com or by mail to P.O. Box 357, Chetwynd, BC, V0C 1J0. Dated this 31st day of July, 2013. Carol Newsom, Director of Corporate Administration.

$510,000 to STARS for three years, totaling in $1,530,000. With this year’s installment, the regional district reached the one million dollar giving milestone, earning them the right to have their logo displayed on the helicopter serving the Peace Region. “The Peace River Regional District has supported STARS initiatives to be a quick responder to critically ill and injured patients in our region,” PRRD Chair Karen Goodings said. The PRRD joins other organizations like the Royal Bank of Canada, Fortis Alberta, TransCanada, Shell, Petroleum Services Association of Canada and ATCO, who have also reached the $1 million milestone over the 25-year history of STARS. “This incredible support helps STARS save lives,” STARS president and CEO Andrea Robertson said. “Now, when our helicopter

and crew respond to emergencies in the region, we can proudly display the PRRD’s logo for all to see.” STARS is a charitable, non-profit organization serving the Peace Region from a base located in Grande Prairie. The base has been in existence since late 2006, flying hundreds of missions every year, including emergency responses into northern British Columbia. 2007 marked the first mission in northeast British Columbia. Since then, STARS has attended to more than 76 patients in the region, including nine critical transfers from Chetwynd. "STARS touches a lot of people in a lot of ways,” Russel Bardak, Community Education leader and flight paramedic for STARS explained. “One of the disadvantages of living rurally is distance. We don’t have that quick access, we're not ten minutes away from

definitive care.” Before becoming a flight paramedic, Bardak experienced STARS first hand, when a friend of his became entangled in farm equipment in rural Alberta and had to have a life saving helicopter ride to Edmonton. “Fundamentally what we do is only one part of a complete chain of survival,” said Bardak. “Other links in the chain include other first responders, fire departments, other Emergency Medical Services, law enforcement, dispatchers, and bystanders that happen to come across somebody who is critically ill or injured.” STARS has fuel caches located all over Alberta, and BC including one in Dawson Creek. These caches facilitate long distance travel. The organization has carried out over 23,000 missions and covers 95 per cent of people living in Western Canada.


Fri day, August 2, 2013

C het w y nd Echo

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We accept Taxi Saver Coupons Call us for: •Hotshots •Crew Transport •Pilot car

Sun: 9:00 am – 1:00 am Mon: 7:00 am – 1:00 am Tue: 7:00 am – 3:00 am Wed: 7:00 am – 3:00 am Thu: 7:00 am – 3:00 am Fri: 7:00 am – 3:00 am Sat: 9:00 am – 3:00 am


14

Fri day, August 2, 2013

C het w y nd Echo

10th Annual 3-D Archery Shoot July 27 @ Broken Arrow Archery. Course opens at 9 am. All ages!

Free English Practice Mondays 9:30 am at Northern Lights College and Wednesdays at 5:30 pm at the Chetwynd Public Library Call 250-788-2559 Chetwynd Breastfeeding Support Network meets every Tuesday at 9:30 a.m at the Chetwynd Public Library. Fun Darts at the Royal Canadian Legion Saturday’s 7 pm

Little Giant Air Cadets . Mondays at 6:30pm at the Royal Canadian Legion. Ages 12-18. 2013 Peace Region Community to Community Poker Run. August 17 2013 Contact Chetwynd Visitor Centtre 250-7883345 Taking Off Pounds Sensibly (TOPS) meets every Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Pine Valley Seniors Centre Call 250-788-3306

Pine Valley Seniors Hall weekly activities including Cribbage, Whist, Bingo and Carpet Bowling. Call Anita at 788-5838 for info. Pine Valley Seniors Hall Carpet Bowling Tuesdays @ 1:30 pm.

FREE Cree Lessons Wednesdays 5-6 pm at Tansi Friendship Centre

Baby’s Best Chance Pregnancy Outreach Program Drop in : Mondays 10am to Noon. Weekly Group Sessions Tuesdays 11 am1pm. Located at Kici. Farmer’s Market Thursdays 12-5 Spirit Park Alanon meetings 6:30 pm Tuesdays Mickey’s Place (behind A&W)

Chetwynd Society for Community Living Board Meeting. First Monday of each month. 4699 Airport Road Ph: 250-788-4889.

L O C AL S P O T L I G H T

A night of comedy: Don Burnstick 7:30- 8:30 pm August 23 Chetwynd Rec Centre Tickets call 250-7889910

Chetwynd Community Arts Council Calendar in the Buff 2014 photo call: do you want to be in the pages of this year’s calendar? Email chetwyndartscouncil@gmail.com Treaty Day Fun at West Moberly First Nations. 9 holes for $5

Chetwynd Family Fun Nights at the Rec Centre! Free activities for families July 26. Call 788-2214 for more info.

Stroller walking group. Thursdays 2:304:30. Meet at Recreation Centre main doors.

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BUSINESS PROFILE

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Fri day, August 2, 2013

People can opt out of Hydro Smart Meters - for a cost

ALASKA HIGHWAY NEWS –––––––––––––– CHETWYND – Smart meter opponents across British Columbia aren't satisfied with the concessions announced by the provincial Ministry of Energy and Mines on Thursday, July 18. Bill Bennett, minister of energy and mines, followed up on earlier suggestions that B.C. residents would soon be able to opt out of the smart meter program if they have concerns about the technology by offering three options to BC Hydro customers. The three options are: accept the standard smart meter installation at no cost; accept the smart meter, but pay an initial fee to turn off the smart component of the meter the radio - and a monthly fee to read the meter; or keep the existing analog meter and incur a monthly fee to read the meter and cover the cost of what the government calls "instituting duplicate systems." "The cost of instituting duplicate systems," said an incredulous Sharon Noble of the Coalition to Stop Smart Meters. "It says it's going to be more expensive than the digital - why?" she continued. "The digital without the transmitter in it is supposed to do nothing more than the analog is doing. So, why would there be a separate cost for the analog?" "We have developed a poli-

cy that respects the wishes of those who do not want a smart meter," said an Energy and Mines spokesperson in an email, addressing the matter of the additional cost to residents who don't want the technology. "Customers who choose this option will pay for the cost of installation and manually reading the meter every second month," he added. "We believe it would not be fair for the 96 per cent of those who have taken a standard smart meter to pay the additional costs that will be created for the four per cent that don't want one. This is a fair solution for everyone." However, Sage Aaron, communications director for the Canadian Office and Professional Employees

Union (COPE) 378, whose membership includes a number of meter readers in the Peace Region who have lost their jobs since the installation of smart meters began, said it seems the government is trying to make refusing the technology "financially prohibitive" if it can't simply convince residents to accept the smart meters. "If they can't get them one way, they seem to be trying to force them into it another way," said Sage. Noble said it amounts to extortion. "I don't think it really offers us a whole lot," she said. "My initial reaction is: 'Yes, finally, the government under Bill Bennett is being a little bit more willPlease see "METERS," page 18

17

LOCAL NEWS

F O H C T A C K E E W E TH

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Fri day, August 2, 2013

C het w y nd Echo

LOCAL NEWS

Meters being used to gather information from residents Continued from page 17

ing to discuss things with us than under Rich Coleman's department.' But I think it's a cynical political ploy to try to get smart meters onto all of our homes. "Bill Bennett says he doesn't want to bully, he doesn't agree with intimidation, but when you're telling people that you're going to have to pay significantly to keep your health and to protect your family from something you think is dangerous, that's extortion." Noble's concerns about the smart meters are mostly associated with the potential long term health effects of exposure to radiation emitted by the transmitter, but also extend to fire dangers and inaccuracy reportedly associated with the technology. "The radiation is a big thing," said Noble. "Perry Kendall, our provincial [health] officer, we've been pushing him and pushing him to implement the precautionary principle based on so many new scientific articles and studies showing how dangerous these are," she continued. "And he said he would refer the studies to the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC). And he would take action. Well, a report was released by the BC Centre for Disease Control that acknowledges major health problems [associated with] this radiation. And they're calling for precautionary action. This stuff is real. And it's dangerous." It has been reported that Kendall, Health Canada and the World Health Organization have all said

... it始s a cyncial political ploy to try to get smart meters onto all of our homes. NOBLE

smart meters do not pose a health risk, according to the B.C. government. "It's just one more thing that adds to the cumulative effect of all this electronicmagnetic radiation," said lifelong Fort St. John resident Jewel Bacon. "And my concern is all the pregnant women mothers - and all the children out their playing. And they're going to be exposed to that every day, all day. And that is my concern. I have no concern for myself, but I have concern for the children." Bacon also noted that concern exists whether or not some residents can hold onto their analog meters because their neighbours would likely have smart meters. "It's dangerous," Noble continued. "It's a fire hazard. There have been many fires. And many are not being reported." Noble also said that information about fires caused by smart meters can't be obtained from the fire authorities because there isn't a code for smart meter fires. "But there have been smart meter fires all over North America," she added.

Additionally, Noble is concerned about the accuracy of the instruments. "Last week, I sent to Bill Bennett 50 pages of complaints from people ... who've received smart meters and their subsequent bills were astronomically high," she explained. "You can look at your usage on your bill and compare it to last year. And, in some instances, it's two and three times higher, and the home hasn't changed. ... They have no explanation for it." Noble said she has heard many "sad stories" from single parent homes where residents can't afford to pay the electricity bills they have received since their smart meters were installed. "The bills are astronomically high," said Noble. "And the options that Mr. Bennett is offering will do nothing to help these people. This is a sad state of affairs and we're going to keep fighting it. We've got our lawyer. We've instructed our lawyer to prepare the filing for next week with our class action suit." The primary concerns of COPE 378 are about their members. In addition to the lay offs

experienced by meter readers throughout the province, the union is concerned about the future of field services representatives who currently perform tasks such as reading analog meters where they still exist. Sage said COPE 378 hasn't received any information about the futures of those members from either BC Hydro or Accenture, the company that assumed responsibility for over 1,600 BC Hydro employees including meter readers - in 2003. "We worked hard to pressure the government [to look] into a transition plan for our members," said Sage. "What we want and what

department." Now meter readers have lost their jobs and BC Hydro has lost potential employees for other departments, situations not likely to be rectified by this new policy around smart meters. "It's an orchestrated marketing scheme," said Arthur Hadland, director of Area C of the Peace River Regional District (PRRD), discussing the smart meter issue. "And it takes the power away from the people." Hadland believes there is a plan in the works to sell BC Hydro to General Electric (GE). "They came within a finger pinch of doing it in 2005," he said. "And with the $70 billion debt, I suspect that that's the agenda

It始s an orchestrated marketing scheme. HADLAND

we always asked for was quite simply a transition plan so that our meter reader workers could move to other work within BC Hydro," she continued. "At the beginning, when BC Hydro and Accenture were one animal, the meter reader department was the ground floor - was the mailroom - [where] people would come in and they would move into other streams within BC Hydro, like the design and drafting

again." The smart meter saga starts to dip into conspiracy theory territory at that point thanks to the idea that an appliance manufacturer could also be an energy producer who knows everything about household energy consumption. "Many people are concerned about privacy issues with this ZigBee chip," said Noble. ZigBee chips allow smart meters to transmit data.

"The government is going to be pushing [for] appliances to have smart meters," she continued. "Little tiny chips in them ZigBee chips - so they can communicate and they can gather data. And this data will be sold." Noble characterizes the situation as government turning her home into a "business enterprise" against her will. "Hydro is putting these things on our homes that are more than meters," she said. "They are transmitters. They are radios. And they are being used to gather information from all of my neighbours. Maybe 1,000 neighbours are going to have their data running through my home to help Hydro run its business." "It's all about marketing," said Hadland. It is all about money, too. "They should pay me to keep my analog," said Noble. "We're saving them money. The analog costs $49 to buy new. The smart meter costs $555. The analog has a life expectancy of 30 to 40 years - some even last longer than that. The smart meter is going to last 10 years if we're lucky." Noble added there is also the cost of software upgrades. "There are so many costs," she said. "It's going to cost the province money we don't have. So, as far as I'm concerned, they should be paying me to keep my analog." "I think this a little late," Hadland said of the smart meter opt-out plan. Workforce Training and conTinuing educaTion "They spent a billion dollars ramming it down people's throats."


Fri day, August 2, 2013

C het w y nd Echo

19

OPINION

Meeting with the province about boundary expansion The Mayor’s Report with Merlin Nichols Red-right-through strawberries the size of smallish cups, that actually taste like strawberries, clustered ripe on the bushes; shiny tomatoes begging to feel the bite of your teeth; and succulent cukes weighing down the vines all speak of high summer and remind us of beautiful gardens (but that’s another story for another time). Right now it’s time to stay home and experience. Why would I want to leave when summer is resting so sweetly on countryside, garden, and greenhouse? Why would I go to

Victoria when everything to gladden the life and warm the soul is right here in my home town? Why? Good questions. I thought you’d never ask. Answer: You may remember that the District has been working for more than a year to expand the District boundaries to include the major taxable assets at Willow Creek Mine. The mineral lease has been within District boundaries since 1996 but the land generates little tax revenue. Council and Administration had been urging the Provincial government to act quickly on our request and Ministry staff were on side with us. Political considerations and a looming provincial election brought everything to

“Our visit to Victoria coincided with the last day of the sitting legislature...”

a halt back in February. Now, because the former provincial government was unable to act on our request before the election, we are starting over to make our case with a new Minister and several new ministerial staff. Hence, our flying trip last week to the Capital. Our visit to Victoria coincided with the last day of

the sitting legislature so CAO Doug, Director of Finance Bill, and I took in an hour of Question Period while we waited for our appointment with the Minister. Entertaining! Mike Bernier, our newly elected MLA for South Peace introduced us and the members gave us a truly bipartisan welcome. We also spent a productive

R E A D A LL A B OU T I T E V E RY W E E K ! PICK UP YOUR COPY AT THE FOLLOWING LOCATIONS: IGA Super Valu 7-Eleven Peoples Fas Gas Pomeroy Hotel Crowfeathers Store Chetwynd Home Hardware A&W

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hour with MLA Bernier bringing him up to date on the history, process, and present status of our boundary-expansion request. Fortuitously, we encountered North Peace MLA and Minister of Agriculture Pat Pimm at Vancouver Airport and briefed him on our mission thus gaining another ally. It is difficult to weigh the impact of our half hour with the Minister of Municipal Affairs. With the hopes and fears of every municipality in the province ringing in her ears, we know that an answer will not be on our desk next week but we are hopeful for a sometimethis-fall response. Some Ministry staffers have worked on this file in the

past and have its history in mind; we sense that they are at least sympathetic to our needs. Chetwynd has secured a follow-up audience with the Minister in September at the Union of BC Municipalities convention at which we will urge the importance of resolving the boundary expansion issue sooner than later. However, the wheels of government turn very slowly though they grind exceeding small. While we wait, Chetwynd Administration will continue to contact Ministry staff to urge the process on to a successful conclusion. Disclaimer: The preceding is the opinion of Mayor Merlin Nichols and may or may not reflect the views and/or wishes of council.


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Bus issue being left behind by MLA

Fri day, August 2, 2013

EDUCATION

DAWSON CREEK DAILY NEWS –––––––––––––– DAWSON CREEK – Mike Bernier, MLA for Peace River South is coming under fire from school board officials, who are calling him out for a lack of support regarding the school bus budget cap. "We're not sure how much support we're getting from the MLA,School District 59 (SD 59) Secretary-Treasurer Gerry Slykhuis said last Thursday at a public board

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meeting of the Peace River Regional District (PRRD). Last year, SD 59 began changes to how its bussing system was run in line with a change in how funding was divvied out to schools for transportation. The changes meant that some school districts were left with more money than before, but others - like SD 59 - were left with less money. Some of the changes that have already happened include increases to bus fees for some schools, a cancellation of Rolla bus runs, and no longer allowing certain bus routes to deviate to pick up some students. Other changes that SD 59 is currently considering include canceling further bus routes, and putting other drivers into underutilized bus runs. "The Board has decided to hold a referendum in October 2014 to raise the funding shortfall through local rural taxation," SD 59's presentation states. "Raising $400,000 in tax revenue in Regional District areas D and E would result in a tax increase of approximately $18 per year on a property assessed at $300,000." Another possibility could be to start going to a four-day school week at rural schools, or additional fees. SD 59 Board Chair Richard Powell said that the meeting was to let the

BERNIER

regional directors know about these upcoming possibilities. After the election, Bernier was quoted as saying that he "will be working ... with both school districts to see what if any changes can be made to fix this issue." At the meeting, Slykhuis said that SD 59 had meetings with Bernier about the issue. However, he said that so far, his group has not heard any type of response from him about the concerns brought up in that meeting. SD 59 Board Chair Richard Powell also said that he felt Bernier "hasn't looked into it as much as (former MLA Blair Lekstrom) did." However, he felt that was Lekstrom had been in the position longer, and that Bernier only became MLA last May. "It's hard to make changes," he said. "I would give him some time." Powell also said that

Slykhuis would be leaving SD 59 for another position in another school district. He said that Slykhuis who has been heading up the transportation issue would be working with his predecessor about the issue. Similar concerns are also felt in School District 60, which houses Fort St. John schools. At the PRRD meeting, the board agreed to write a letter to current provincial Minister of Education Peter Fassbender asking for a timeline of a technical review regarding what the PRRD called "a cookie cutter approach." The letter would include information on the area's expected increase of economic growth, and the expected increase of highway traffic as well. "Kids need to get out there safely," said Fort St. John Mayor Lori Ackerman. One PRRD director, Arthur Hadland, also chose to criticize Bernier. "It really bothers that (Bernier) wasn't as supportive as the previous one," he said. Hadland also felt that these recent cuts were "disrespecting our community." Hadland lost to Liberal candidate Pat Pimm in the election last May. Both Pimm and Bernier are Liberals. Bernier could not be reached as of press time for response.


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LOCAL NEWS

The above graphic depicts the current sewage lagoons and the future expansion area. The District of Chetwynd must find approximately $5 million for the project following a report stating the ponds were insufficient. Photo submitted

The Sensible BC tour is coming to town!

Meet Dana Larsen and join the campaign for a marijuana referendum

Chetwynd: Fri. Aug 9. 6 pm Murrayʼs Pub (4613 47th Ave) ••• Dawson Creek: Sat. Aug 10. 11 am White Spot (11300 8th St) ••• Hudsonʼs Hope: Sat. Aug 10. 4:30 pm Hudsonʼs Restaurant (9006 Clarke)

Find out more at http://SensibleBC.ca

Problem was a long time coming says District CAO Continued from page 2

some politicking to try and find some financial assistance.” “Fair share” tax benefits that the District receives Doing nothing is from the province as a way not an option. of mitigating stresses on -Doug Fleming municipal systems from District of Chetwynd CAO industrial resource companies operating just outside of the municipal tax boundaries will be considered as an option. “That’s probably part of our debt repayment plan, The lagoons will most but there is not enough likely fall outside of the fair share to do the entire parameters of the permit thing.” again this winter. But

Gordon says the ministry is aware of that and is pleased that something is being done to fix the issue. “We’re spending a pile of money for a small community and we’ll get that consideration this winter if we are struggling again,” Gordon said. “All I can commit to them is to keeping our existing system running as best I can but in the event that we should fall outside of our parameters again, at least they know we are moving forward. They were happy to see our commitment.”


Chetwynd Echo August 2, 2013