Council: skate park update, garbage collection revamped

...District-chamber rift, overdue business licenses, municipalities want more say on forest, sturgeon centre expansion, and more.

Skateboard park

The skateboard park committee will bring to the district council viable locations, their pros and cons, and a recommendation for consideration.

On June 20, the skateboard park committee presented to Nechako Lakes school district’s board the possibility of building on its property: beside the tennis courts or on Victoria Street, in order to determine their viability and potential requirements.

The two locations will be considered along with Ferland Park and the baseball diamond in the southwest corner of Stewart Street and Recreation Avenue.


District-chamber Rift

During regular meeting of council on June 27, Vanderhoof Chamber of Commerce’s president Joe Von Doellen asked what the council’s expected vision of the chamber. He expressed frustrations in receiving unofficial comments regarding the council’s dissatisfaction with the chamber.

The district and the chamber’s board will meet to discuss expectations, partnerships, and vision.


Deposit for garbage truck and bins

A new garbage truck and specified bins will revamp solid waste collection by the District of Vanderhoof next year.

The district’s current collection vehicle was identified by staff as beyond its economical useful life, requiring replacement.

The new truck would require residences and businesses to use and pay a deposit for a 35-gallon, 65-gallon, or 95-gallon bin.

With the new equipment and the ban of cardboard from landfills as of July 1, the district is expecting increased efficiency and less solid waste to be picked up. Though collection rates will remain the same, the new system would be monitored for the district to eventually expand its service area and rates will be reviewed after two years.

To provide an incentive for residents to recycle, the district is also writing to the regional district to add tipping fees at the transfer station for its waste management plan. However, a councillor raised the concern of increased illegal dumping by residents.


Overdue biz licenses

Seventeen businesses in Vanderhoof — four no longer running — were identified to not have kept their licenses up-to-date.

While most are overdue for one to three years, the business license of Siesta Hotel, owned by KRK Ventures Ltd., is outdated by nine years.

The district will continue to send reminders — going to court for fee collection is calculated by the district’s accountant to be more costly than the actual outstanding amount. Business licenses cost $150 a year.


More say in forestry

According to a survey responded by 69 out of 161 B.C. communities, local governments dependent on forests would like more community community consultation in forestry decisions.

Respondents say that limited consultation led to community impact such as over harvesting, flooding, water quality concerns, and negative economic and scenic impact.

The survey is conducted by the Union of B.C. Municipalities, who looks to build relationships with industry associations and the provincial government, in order to establish better communication for forestry issues.


Sturgeon conservation facility expansion

The Interpretive Centre Working Group is now established to create a business case and pursue funding to expand the education amenities of the Nechako White Sturgeon Conservation Centre.

Chaired by Councillor Ken Young, the group is comprised of two community members as well as Councillors Steve Little and Kevin Moutray.


Water Use Plan for Nechako River

The District of Vanderhoof plans to host a public meeting on Aug. 16 to gather input on community values for the Nechako River.

Last fall, the District of Vanderhoof approached the provincial government and Rio Tinto Alcan, the reservoir’s operator, to establish a water use plan that would include input from the local community, arguing that Vanderhoof may avoid future flooding if the Nechako Reservoir gets a WUP, just like other reservoirs in B.C.

In a presentation to the district this spring, the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations stated that WUPs are usually initiated by industry, and would facilitate a meeting between Vanderhoof and Rio Tinto Alcan regarding the concern.

According to the Ministry of Environment, the provincial government has been developing Water Use Plans for water control structures in the last decade to address a growing concern in fish resources and their relationship with flood protection and other water uses.

Twenty-three of B.C. Hydro’s facilities currently have implemented Water Use Plans — with one in the works for the Cleveland and Seymour dams — in consultation with water licensees, government agencies, First Nations, and the general public to address interests at stake.


Food truck bylaw adopted

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, are now 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.


Improving age-friendliness

Perceived gaps for senior healthcare and resources in Vanderhoof were discussed and identified by local government, service groups, and health authority on June 8.

Discussed aspects include buildings’ accessibility, local and regional transportation, housing, social participation, food security, and respect.

A core group will be created to work on next steps to address the identified issues, including workshop facilitation for seniors to participate in the process.

The Age-Friendly Community Task Force is comprised of representatives from Nechako Valley Community Services Society, Northern Health, YMCA of Northern BC, Nak’azdli Health Centre, Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako, Village of Fraser Lake, and the District of Vanderhoof.


– with files from the District of Vanderhoof