Property tax penalty refund
The district council will now ensure that property tax payments that were made through electronic fund transfers (EFT) before deadline, but the district has not received, will not be penalized.
A $28,757.47 of penalty, now-waived, was charged to the Vanderhoof Co-Op when its EFT in July did not arrive on time.
Having started EFTs three years ago, the district council will be reviewing past transactions to check for others that were similarly affected.
Happy 90th birthday to Vanderhoof
Along with Councillors Steve Little and Ken Young, four other community groups will form the Celebrate Vanderhoof – 90 Years Committee as the main organizing body for a year of celebration, starting with the district’s birthday on Jan. 22.
Potential groups include the Sturgeon Recovery Initiative, the YMCA, Vanderhoof Farmers’ Market, the Nechako Valley Historical Society, and Seniors Connected.
Business facade improvement
Accepting the latest application from Rich’s Saw Sales, the district council has finished off its Business Facade Improvement Program on Highway 16 this year, supported by NDIT’s $20,000 matching grant and an additional $810 from the district.
Businesses along Burrard Avenue will be the program’s focus next year.
Following the results from the recent report on Vanderhoof housing needs, the district council is establishing a new committee, led by Councillor John Murphy, to focus on community planning that would not only address age-friendly housing, but also include a broad range of projects including transportation and sidewalks.
Vanderhoof was officially recognized by the B.C. government as an Age-Friendly Community this year.
Champions of Vanderhoof
As another initiative to attract and keep young professionals in town, the district council is looking into a welcoming team for newcomers to Vanderhoof.
“Someone to champion our community, not just one slant, not just recreation, have someone who will be engaged in the wide facets of Vanderhoof,” said Thiessen.
He added that though not all who come to town may be looking to stay, individuals could leave with a positive image of Vanderhoof and spread the word to other potential recruits.
Annual UBCM Convention
During the annual Union of BC Municipalities Convention from Sept. 21 to 25 in Vancouver, Mayor Gerry Thiessen presented to the provincial government concerns regarding the Vanderhoof Aquatic Centre, the College of New Caledonia’s Nechako campus, brownfield sites along Highway 16, water use plan for the Nechako River, and air quality in Vanderhoof.
In addition to what has been secured to date, the district council is currently seeking $4 million in federal and provincial infrastructure grants, $2 million from local industries, and $265,000 from community contributions.
College of New Caledonia – Nechako
To expand the current CNC programs offerings in Vanderhoof as well as move the campus to a more central location, the district council is looking for more planning and capital funding from the province.
Though most Vanderhoof students tend to move to larger city centers for post-secondary education, expansion of local offerings can not only provide better access for others — particularly the First Nations — who may prefer to stay closer to home, but may also help to keep professionals in the community, said Thiessen.
Referencing abandoned service stations along Highway 16, the district council is requesting for legislation that would require owners of contaminated sites to remediate the locations not only for a more prettier streets cape, but also provide prime real estate for business opportunities.