Vanderhoof council: Final pool design in, youth centre back

Community Forest committee seeks community members, ice costs discrepancies questioned, Rio Tinto update, and more.

Final pool design

Vanderhoof Aquatic Centre’s design is finalized and adopted by the district council on Oct. 11.

Going to tender on Nov. 15 and including contractor hiring by Feb. 1, the pool is estimated to require 18 months to build.

The final design includes a six-lane, 25-foot lap pool, a leisure pool with lazy river, hot tub and sauna, south-facing skylight windows, and change rooms for men, women, and families.

A community meeting for the public to understand and ask questions about the final designs will take place on Nov. 8, 6:30 p.m., at the district office.

 

Youth centre returns next year

Carrier Sekani Family Services is looking to be the new manager of Vanderhoof’s youth centre.

Located on First Street and previously run by CNC, the centre closed in June when the college decided to withdraw its support of family support services in the region as part of its restructuring process this year.

With support from local partnerships, CSFS will start operations with three days a week, 3 to 6 p.m., while it seeks funding for additional programs and longer hours.

With a potential reopening date in March 2017, the centre may need to be relocated to a new location, in the event that other groups secured the current space in the meantime.

The district council confirmed that previously-allotted $30,000 can contribute to the youth centre’s rental costs.

 

Community Forest committee and plan

A committee of five, composed of two district councillors and three community members, will meet regularly until June 30 next year to create a working plan for Vanderhoof’s community forest.

Interested members of the public are invited to contact the district to become part of the committee.

The Working Plan will direct how the forest will be developed, taking into consideration community values such as recreation trails and environmental concerns, as well as First Nation engagement. The plan is different from a forest stewardship plan, which provides a framework to manage the forest according to provincial regulations, and a forest management plan, which includes objectives and building principles for the forest.

 

Ice costs discrepancies questioned

Carl Larson, a representative of Old Timers Hockey, seeks fairer costs for adult time, in comparison with youth time.

With decreasing number of participants and later ice time allocations i.e. 9:45 p.m., Larson expressed that the undesirability of certain times should be reflected in the costs. Youth ice, subsidized by the district, costs $65 while adult ice costs $128.

 

Rio Tinto Update

Nechako Reservoir’s regulator is revamping their public communication this season, with a new Vanderhoof-based community communications advisor and interactive online tool that reflects real-time reservoir data.

Historical, current, and forecasted flow facts on the Nechako Reservoir are now shown on  www.riotinto.com/bcworks/flowfacts. and new staff member Jacqueline Lytle will be based in Vanderhoof for more community engagement.

Lianne Olson of Rio Tinto also presented to the district council that the company’s percentage of customers from Asia decreased from 95 to 75 per cent in the last five years, as a result of new Chinese producers entering the market with low cost labour and hydro power.

 

CNC millwrightry

The College of New Caledonia is working with provincial government for a new Vanderhoof campus and a positive announcement may be in coming, said CNC president Henry Reiser to the district council on Oct. 11.

For now, eleven students of the college’s millwright program in Vanderhoof are transported regularly to Prince George for select sessions of the course.

Introducing new regional operational staff Nicolette Prince and Karen Bancroft, CNC academic vice president Jay Notay explained that 10 potential local venues for the program in Vanderhoof were investigated, but proved to be not viable.

Three of the most possible locations either are too small for the current class size, require $50,000 of equipment upgrades — which is not feasible for a temporary venue — or has an owner who would prefer to sell instead.

A councillor questioned whether the cost of bus transportation is lower than short-term upgrades, and another asked about whether minimum class size numbers can be changed for rural communities such as Vanderhoof, to accommodate for small population size.

Reiser stated that he will support Vanderhoof in presenting to the B.C. government for a rural approach to education.

 

Tax exemption request

Nechako View Senior Citizens Home Society’s request to have their location on Northside Road exempted from property tax is deferred to next year, as it came too late for bylaw adoption deadline.

A councillor also expressed that the district council recently supported the society in other ways, such as their driveway renovations.

 

Arena concession upgrade

With funding granted by the Nechako-Kitamaat Development Fund Society, the district’s arena concession will undergo industrial facility upgrades by November.

 

District office potential expansion

The district-owned building that served as the former home of the Vanderhoof Chamber of Commerce is discussed as potential extra office and exercise spaces for public works and firefighting crews.

More confirmed plans will be discussed during budget talks later this fall.

 

Community transport update

To run a free community transport service for the next three years, the District of Vanderhoof will contribute $17,900 per year, while Saik’uz First Nation contributes $10,000 per year and B.C.’s Highway 16 Community Transportation Grant Program — to be applied to — will cover the remainder 70 per cent of the costs.

 

Council attendance

Mayor and councillors’ meeting attendance in 2016 so far was reviewed on Oct. 17, with Mayor Gerry Thiessen receiving full score, followed by Councillor Steve Little at 97 per cent, Brian Frenkel, Ken Young, and Kevin Moutray at 94, John Murphy at 69 and Darren Carpenter at 53.

A councillor raised the question of being excused from meetings due to non-council work obligations, and district staff is instructed to adjust counts accordingly.

 

– with files from the District of Vanderhoof

 

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