Council: new speed limit in place, pending youth centre closure

From regular council meeting on June 13: updates for skateboard park and aquatic centre design, new food truck bylaw to be adopted, and more

Some lines and crosswalk repainted a month ago by the district's public works crew are washed away on June 15 after several days of heavy rain.

Some lines and crosswalk repainted a month ago by the district's public works crew are washed away on June 15 after several days of heavy rain.

Update for skateboard park

The pros and cons of two proposed skateboard park locations, Ferland Park and the ball diamond southwest from the intersection of Recreation Avenue and Stewart Street, were discussed in the last committee meeting on June 1.

A location, agreed by the committee, will be brought to the district council, with an invitation to the public for input.

Anna Pye, one of the committee’s members, is organizing a graffiti-removal activity for local skateboarders this summer.


New speed limit in place on Burrard Avenue

As of June 14, commercial vehicles weighing over 13,700 kilograms (GVW) are restricted to a maximum speed of 30 kilometres per hour when travelling on Burrard Avenue between the bridge and Stewart Street.

The new bylaw, adopted during regular council meeting on June 13, originated from the RCMP and residents’ concerns on heavy vehicles’ ability to stop or slow down in the downtown core, while travelling at 50 kilometres per hour.

Another concern involves the main street’s increased traffic in recent years, with more heavy vehicles travelling through downtown regularly.


Update for aquatic centre design

The design to be put forward for a cost estimate will include:

– a six-lane lap pool (with a five-lane design estimate for reference)

– the original design’s leisure pool

– provisions for a second floor as a multi-use space

– building moved eastward to stay separate from arena

– washrooms will be separated as men, women, and family

– a deck viewing area


Youth centre pending closure

Vanderhoof’s youth centre will open for the last day on June 30, as the College of New Caledonia withdraws its support of family services in the region as part of its restructuring process this year.

To continue the centre’s programs potentially by September, the District of Vanderhoof is currently looking into partnerships with other organizations.

The recently-vacated and district-owned chamber of commerce building on Burrard Avenue is proposed as a potential new home for the youth centre; budget concerns for the move are also currently under consideration. The centre’s operating budget totals at $62,000, including salary of its staff, rent of its location, and office supplies.

While the proposed location would save rent costs for the youth centre, its current layout — an assortment of small rooms — may not be suitable for the centre’s current programs and amenities, such as a pool table, expressed a councillor during council meeting.

Scott Zayac, CNC’s regional principal of Lakes/Nechako, presented the college’s decision to the district council on March 14.


Mayoral letter to Premier on Quesnel road to Blackwater Project

In a letter emailed on June 3, Vanderhoof’s mayor Gerry Thiessen is bringing to the attention of B.C.’s Premier Christy Clark the district council’s concern with the proposed road from Quesnel to New Gold’s Blackwater mining project.

Proposed by the City of Quesnel in January to the region’s MLA, the road would connect Quesnel to the Kluskus Forest Service Road, which is currently used by New Gold to access its Blackwater Mining Project.

“We believe there would be significant negative implications in regard to resource development and forestry within the Vanderhoof Forest District as well as potential economic and social impacts should the connector road be built,” states Thiessen in his letter.

A study, prepared last fall for Quesnel’s Community and Economic Development Corporation, indicates that improved access to the Lower Nechako Basin and area, including Blackwater, would increase jobs and income of local and future Quesnel residents and nearby First Nation communities, with a positive impact on mineral exploration and tourism activities based out of Quesnel.


Food truck bylaw to be adopted

A new food truck bylaw would be up for adoption in the next council meeting.

Mobile food vendors that, a) operate for an extended period of time (i.e. six months) on District of Vanderhoof property and b) possess cooking facilities on site, would be required to apply for a Mobile Food Vendor Permit costing $300, vehicle approval by Northern Health, and possession of a $5-million liability insurance.

Businesses that operate in events, do not have food preparation capabilities on its mobile unit, or set up shop on private property, would not be required to apply for a permit.


Concert in the Park

This summer’s Concert in the Park will take place on July 22 and 23 in Ferland Park, finishing with Church in the Park on July 24. The first night will involve acoustic or roots music from 6 to 9 p.m., and rock music will ring through the park from 4 to 10 p.m. on the second night.


Wheelchair accessible swing to come in Ferland Park

The Vanderhoof Kinette Club will be donating a standalone swing, designed for wheelchairs, to be added to Ferland Park’s playground this fall.

The equipment, with an estimated cost of $8,000 and would be installed by volunteer staff from the district, is the latest community need that the club looks to address this year, said president Karren Carver.

“If you or a group know of a need in the community, they can bring it forward to Kinettes,” Carver said. “We’re always looking for projects to contribute to.”


Update from the Agricultural Land Commission

With the ALC receiving an additional $1.1 million for its 2016/17 budget, more regional panel and compliance staff will be hired to increase enforcement efforts, said Kim Grout, the ALC’s CEO.

Those who aren’t farming on ALR are required to apply for a non-farm use permit, and farm retail or processing is only permitted when the business is registered as a cooperative association.

In Vanderhoof specifically, the increased staff will help to discourage businesses from using the agricultural land reserve to avoid municipal zoning bylaws.

To help prevent firefighters from entering unsafe situations when responding to rural sections of the fire protection district, Grout suggested creating bylaws such as requiring sprinkler systems or water reservoirs on site.


Business Walk

On June 22, representatives from Vanderhoof’s district council and chamber of commerce will be visiting business owners to survey the current economic climate of the downtown retail corridor.

The three-hour business walk, kickstarting with Mayor Gerry Thiessen and Councillor Darren Carpenter, would be the first of the Walk series to address the businesses of the target area.


Code of Conduct

A code of conduct for the District of Vanderhoof, based on those of the Union of B.C. Municipalities and City of Vancouver, was adopted on June 13.

Value of gifts offered or accepted by staff or council members are limited to under $250.


– with files from the District of Vanderhoof