Council: updates on New Gold, skateboard park

From regular meeting on April 25: food truck bylaw to be adopted, minister seeks input on shared rides

The District of Vanderhoof is working with Saik'uz First Nation to move the Saik'uz-owned log cabin in Bednesti to the district's historical grounds by next winter.

The District of Vanderhoof is working with Saik'uz First Nation to move the Saik'uz-owned log cabin in Bednesti to the district's historical grounds by next winter.

New Gold update

Blackwater project’s scheduled start remains in 2018, New Gold spokesperson Claudette Gouger presented to the district council on April 25.

The mining company will turn its attention to the proposed silver and gold mine, located 110 kilometres southwest of Vanderhoof, when the construction of its Rainy River project in northwest Ontario finishes in mid-2017.

Currently half-completed with construction continuing on schedule, Rainy River involved 65 per cent local employees and 23 per cent from nearby First Nation communities so far, Gouger said.

When construction starts for Blackwater, first items to tackle include a new road access to the mining site to avoid rain sheds, a transmission line, and a potential air strip.

As Blackwater’s environment assessment process continues this year, the company will focus on reclamation of the land, planting endangered species whitebark pine seedlings in the project’s area.

When completed, the proposed mine would double the size of New Gold’s current production.


Skateboard park update

The district states that the decision for where Vanderhoof’s future skateboard park will go has not come to the council yet.

The April 25 regular meeting of council was attended by several neighbours of Ferland Park, two of which presented letters against the skateboard park’s current preferred site — identified as the park’s southeast corner by the council’s skateboard committee so far.

As some urged for Ferland Park to be dropped an option and questioned why another proposed site by Nechako Valley Secondary’s tennis courts was not preferred, committee co-chair Ken Young expressed that the concerns included additional costs required.

Earlier this month, committee co-chair Steve Little states that the location is chosen for four reasons: it’s the only District-owned property, there are existing contours and slopes for a free-flow park design, some nearby residents available for help in the event of injuries, and it’s conveniently close to the future recreation centre.

The District of Vanderhoof hosted in last October consultation meetings between contracted designers and Vanderhoof’s skateboarders, as well as locating three potential sites for the skateboard park with the assistance of Spectrum Skateparks: empty lots behind the District of Vanderhoof office, grass area by Nechako Valley Secondary’s tennis courts, or a location in Ferland Park.

Site selection, currently at its information-gathering stage, will continue to be a consultative process, the district states.


Food truck bylaw

A new bylaw for mobile food vendors is up for adoption at the next council meeting.

Food trucks looking to operate on municipal property would require a permit, vehicle approval by Northern Health, possession of a $5-million liability insurance, as well as a $300-fee to operate for six months.


Unsightly premise on Douglas

The owner of a home on Douglas Street is given notice to demolish his fire-destroyed property by June 14.

The district received one complaint regarding the premise, while some council members said they heard other unofficial complaints from the community as well.


Bednesti log cabin update

The cabin would be moved to Vanderhoof’s museum grounds from Bednesti before this winter, according to the District and Saik’uz First Nation’s current plan.

Both councils are preparing grant applications to various funds.

The District is looking into performing a geotechnical study on the cabin’s new preferred location, and will also coordinate with the Nechako Valley Historical Society on the move.


National Day of Mourning

For the first time in several years, the District of Vanderhoof’s staff and council gathered at the cenotaph in Ferland Park for the National Day of Mourning on Apr. 28.

The day honours the memory of workers who died or got injured from work-related incidents.

The District hopes to expand the commemorative ceremony to the rest of the community next year, CAO Tom Clement said.


Ministry letter on shared transportation

The district is currently doing due diligence on shared infrastructure services before responding to ministry correspondence.

The B.C. government is consulting local governments on the implications of having global infrastructure network providers such as Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb in the community.

British Columbians may be interested in having more choice, convenience, and competition in transportation and accommodation, but the potential impact of these companies on existing service providers in the area needs to be accessed, states Minister Peter Fassbender in a letter.

Driver-passenger connecting companies such as Uber are currently unauthorized in B.C.


– with files from the District of Vanderhoof