Rolling out new garbage truck and bins
Starting this week, new bins fitted for the district’s new automated garbage truck are being distributed to current customers, and the first revamped pickup will take place on Feb. 14. Garbage stored in the designated bins will not be picked up.
Depending on the size and number of bins each residence is requesting, the service will annually cost $200 for a 360-litre, $135 for 240-litre, and $75 for 120-litre. Bins are shown in the district office for reference and the default bin for customers carries 240 litres, unless otherwise requested.
The previous cost for garbage pickup by the district was $87 for each residence.
Alleyway pickups are no longer available due to the size of the new garbage truck, and bins placed on curbs would be picked up by 8 a.m. on collection days.
Details are outlined in the district’s new residential solid waste collection bylaw, the third reading of which took place during regular meeting of council on Jan. 23 and the bylaw is up for adoption on Feb. 6.
Expanding mountain biking opps on the ‘hoof
Upgrades to Vanderhoof’s bike park will be supported by the District of Vanderhoof with $5,425 from its Attraction/Retention Fund.
With potential grants from local development funds, the Rip’N the North Bike Club is looking to add a three-kilometre bike trail for regional races and park amenities, including a water fountain, a covered area, and picnic tables.
Some local trails, groomed for fat biking during winter, were also used by snowshoers as well as hiker in the summer.
Last year’s upgrades, while done by July 1, were unintentionally damaged by nearby horseback riders during the wet summer season.
Community Forest update
For a year, the District of Vanderhoof will join the British Columbia Community Forest Association, which will provide support in creating a working plan for Vanderhoof’s new community forest.
Issued to the community on May 13 by the provincial government, the forest is located about 15 kilometres north of Vanderhoof and covers 23,181 hectares. Local forestry company L&M Lumber Ltd. is a partner in the agreement.
The BCCFA will provide support the District in creating a working plan for the forest, which is slated to be use for not only timber harvesting, but also outdoor recreating including the Waterlily Lake trails and part of the Omineca Trail.
A professional forester position was suggested by the district’s working group to be hired as a consultant for the project to assist with technical issues, working plan creating, and auditing the operations, but was not passed by council — two councillors suggested that the company partner provides necessary support.
Northern Health update
New care model, synchronized records, physician recruitment, recent flu outbreak, as well as opioid and fentanyl cases were discussed in Northern Health’s update to Vanderhoof’s mayor and council on Jan. 23.
The update was presented by April Hughes, the health authority’s health services administrator of the Omineca region, which encompasses Fraser Lake, Fort St. James, and Vanderhoof.
For the past year, a primary care model that focuses on a patient and his/her family is introduced for individuals who have one or more multiple chronic diseases, access mother/child services, have mental health concerns, or are the “frail elderly” — those who require team-orientated services.
Service requests and doctor visits are centralized and coordinated, and patient and family alike can participate in developing a care plan if necessary.
In Vanderhoof, an electronic medical record system is piloted last year to eliminate phone tag between physicians and the interprofessional team, as well as lessening document printing.
A new social worker is also being recruited to the local team to help community members apply and access services.
Physicians-wise, the health authority is looking for two in Vanderhoof, two in Fort St. James, and one in Fraser Lake.
This year’s influenza and the stomach flu strains circulating in the region are especially a concern for the very young or old — last year’s susceptible demographic was adult age — and the currently available flu vaccine provides good immunity, Hughes said. Hand washing and extra care were advised for those visiting patients and senior home residents.
On opioid and fentanyl overdosage, all communities in the Omineca region have seen incidents — two confirmed incidnets in 2016, according to the police — and Naloxone kits are available in the emergency ward for those with OD symptoms, as well as at the Vanderhoof Public Health Unit.
The health unit also provide safe injection needles to those who bring back old ones, in order to encourage safe needle disposal as well.
Looking forward, Northern Health’s annual application call for its Healthier Communities grant funding for local health projects takes place in the next months. To address senior housing concerns, the health authority also had preliminary discussions with the provincial government on offering group housing in Vanderhoof that serves a need between fully independent living and 24/7-care assisted living.
– with files from the District of Vanderhoof