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REPORTING · 9th March 2010
Walter McFarlane
Kitimat City Council had their Rugular Meeting of Council on Monday, March 8th. The following is an abridged account of the meeting and the topics presented within. Mayor Joanne Monaghan called the meeting to order at 7:30 pm. Not present was Councillor Gerd Gottschling

Monaghan started with a congratulatory letter from Peter Weeber thanking the community for the use of the facilities and services for the BC Winter Games, and thanking the 1900 volunteers in Terrace and Kitimat. Monaghan thanked the staff for the help and commented on the youths' reaction to the medals and hoped there were some Olympic champions among their number.

The first presentations began. Rick Brouwer took the stand to speak about the Skeena Nass Centre for Innovation in Resource Economics (SNCIRE). He showed a picture of a waterfall and explained just economics could be developed from the waterfall including tourism, power, minerals, etc.

“To look at things differently and to identify a path of the many potentials that exist in the region,” said Brouwer.

He explained how job loss affected the community. He suggested thinking outside the box. He stated they need to create wealth so as a region, we do not depend on the kindness of other regions. Commodities should not be a primary driver of the economy. Solutions need to be developed from within the region. “We need to find what works for us here, and the best people to do that are the people who are here,” said Brouwer.

he suggested the region needs to look at it's natural resources and Work together as a region rather then separate groups. He stated the government is receiving so many conflicting messages from all the groups carrying out economic development in the region, they are getting confused.

He branded the Sacred Circle as Skeena-Nass. He announced a forum for small business opportunities on March 29th. In the meantime, they wish to bring people in the region together. He said there is a lot which can come from our natural resources. SNCIRE also wishes to create a program to teach others how to recover their economic opportunities.

He spoke more about the work they are doing. He stated the future depends on the people of the region and he wants people to look at our resources differently. “What is it our natural resources can do for us?” asked Brouwer.

Councillor Richard McLaran wanted to know what the difference between SNCRE and KTIDS. Brouwer replied they cover a larger scale than KTIDS and work to bring groups together. He explained who sits on their board and who is funding them.

Sergeant Steve Sumner stepped up to deliver the policing report for February. Sumner introduced himself to Council as he started working in Kitimat in February. He reported Cst. Taylor represented the RCMP at the Eurocan Job and Education fair, and said Dare is continuing in the Elementary Schools.

He moved on to the statistics. There was an assault with a weapon, 10 common assaults, 3 residential break and enters, 7 mischief and 14 cases of causing a disturbance. Monaghan thanked him for presenting the statistics. Councillor Mario Feldhoff wanted to know what common assault and how they could stop it as well as mischief to property. Sumner stated mischief to property has not picked up yet. He added common assault is a lesser assault.

Councillor Bob Corless wanted to know why there is not much contact between the RCMP and the Newspaper. He suggested there should be updates on what is going on weekly. Councillor Rob Goffinet wanted to know why impaired driving charges were low (at 2). Sumner replied there impaired driving counterattack and seasonal initiatives. He suspected they would increase as summer approached but while they were low, this was a good thing.

Jack Oviett took the stand representing the Snowflake Community Fairgrounds to speak about this year's Bull-O-Rama. He claimed the Bull-O-Rama was successful last year and drew a lot of people to Kitimat. The money from the Bull-O-Rama went to many different groups last year and this year, the money will go to the Animal Shelter Project. They will be putting on a pancake breakfast with money going towards the building project. They have advertised around BC and have already received ticket requests from Kelowna. He asked the Council for the same level of funding as last year to showcase Kitimat to the Sacred Circle.

Rory Brown stepped up next with concerns about the District. He expressed he was concerned about what was going on in Kitimat. He suggested Council thought an animal was more important than a human. He expressed Council should put the money into programs for kids. He did not want to see kids running around destroying the town while the dogs sleep on a heated floor.

He was not impressed with the contracted out work. He told them to “keep our people working.” Grass cutting was another thing being considered. He pointed out by keeping people employed, they are keeping other people in the community employed.

He concluded by comparing Council's behavior has become comparable to a day care. He Googled Kitimat Council and pointed out the bickering was there for the entire world to see. He stated he was not interested in running for Council but the well being of the town was important for him as long as it was not run into town. He asked Gottschling, McLaren and Monaghan to resign to save Kitimat any further embarrassment and the next Council will know better. If they do not, they will petition.

Feldhoff appreciated the feedback and wanted to correct a few things. Feldhoff stated the current animal shelter was funded by Council. Feldhoff stated he tried to represent the interests of the people and what was best for the community. He suggested they have to do a better job of comparing to viewpoints. Brown stated people are not always going to agree with the community. He said the Council is costing jobs from coming here.

He said taking money from the community when others are looking at budget cutbacks. “Animals don’t come before people. They can’t come before people. What about our kids? The wading pools are being closed,” said Brown. “As long as the dogs are warm and comfy,”

Cathy Hague took the stand next to speak about Kitimat as a retirement community. She thought it was a good idea. They were going to approach Council about the ideas they had and Margaret Sanou’s presentation last week was what they were thinking as well. She talked about other things Kitimat has to offer for retirees. “It is a very attractive community,” said Hague. “There are a lot of positives for this town and there is a lot of worry and negativity going around.”

Monaghan agreed and expected this group of retirees to go forward. Feldhoff added he liked this presentation better than the other ones. Margaret Sanou stepped up next and added a few words. She wanted to say she was surprised from the response she received from the community.

After approving the minutes and calling for new business, Council moved on to motions. Councillor Randy Halyk made a motion to send three people to Chamber of Shipping Seminar on April 21st. He suggested Council learn more about shipping and grow the shipping industry from Kitimat. Feldhoff inquired if the Economic Development Officer was attending. Corless suggested a Councillor should be able to attend on their own budget. McLaren suggested Halyk go. Goffinet pointed out if they are already sending two people, a third could go at no extra cost. The motion was carried.

McLaren moved to take $20,000 from deferred revenue to the work of the retire Kitimat campaign. After a speech on why they should do this. Halyk stated he sees the retired Kitimat Group as an asset and they should address their strengths and weaknesses and move towards a sustainable plan. He showed reluctant support towards the campaign. Feldhoff said volunteers can make wonderful things happened. He went back to the animal shelter as an example and suggested upping the budget for them. He suggested it would pay for itself when a few families come to Kitimat.

A second motion was to have a Councillor appointed to the Retire Kitimat Campaign Task Force. It was carried. McLaren volunteered to be appointed. Corless nominated him and it was carried. Halyk offered to be alternate if the Mayor did not want the position. This was carried.

Councillor Halyk then motioned to establish an Economic Development Advisory Board. Halyk explained they have been floundering over the past couple of months. He stated this would be similar to the Recreation and Planning Advisory Board. He added there are concerns from private citizens about the current model not working. Feldhoff stated they already have too many groups including KTIDS, Port Development and Chamber of Commerce. They need a forum where the groups can get together to exchange information and there are items tabled from May 2008. Goffinet then motioned to move this to the strategic retreat of Council. The motion was tabled.

The Council Remuneration Bylaw for 2010 was read three times. The 2010 Flat Tax Amendment and the moving of Council Meetings were carried for final adoption.

A motion was made to give Bull-O-Rama the $1500. Feldhoff motioned to change the amount to $3000, the same amount they gave last year. The motion was carried. They also approved funds for the Multicultural Dinner and a travel grant for Kitimat Minor Hockey. The Kitimat Community Literacy Network made a request for their 2011 Literacy Night. This was deferred to recreation.

A motion was made to grant money to the High School Senior Girls Basketball team for travel and to sponsor the Open Basketball tournament. Both were carried. Corless motioned to sponsor a Gold Award in the Chamber Business Excellence Awards. Councillor Feldhfof wanted to support silver. Halyk wanted to request their sponsorship goes to Business of the Year. Goffinet pointed out this was a doubling of their last years contribution. Goffinet suggested maintaining the level of last year. Halyk wanted to support Kitimat’s businesses. Gold was carried.

A motion was then carried to donate a silent auction item to the Town of Smithers NCLGA. It was suggested they also have a booth at the seminar. The motion was carried. Councillor Halyk made the motion for a booth manned by Dianne Hewlette to promote the community. There was no seconder and the motion was lost.

Feldhoff moved to support the UBCM Seniors Housing Support. It was carried. McLaren motioned to approved Halyk as the DOK Council Representative and the EPIS Marine Cab Representative for the Community. Feldhoff made a motion to approve the Mayor as a Second Council Representative, as she wished to attend as well. Halyk pointed out this was not them agreeing with Enbridge, he wanted people to know they were keeping abreast of it. Monaghan added she wasn’t making up her mind until she saw the environmental studies.

A letter given to Council with concerns from the budget got no attention and was received for information. As for SNCIRE, Councillor Feldhoff moved it was also received for information.

Moving on to new business, Councillor Goffinet invited everyone to the Kitimat Health Advocacy Group Meeting on Saturday, March 20th at 9:30 am at the Chalet.

Halyk wished to bring an item from the FIO package and pointed out an opportunity to attend a fact finding meeting on March 12th. He moved Mayor Monaghan attend because she’s up on this topic. Monaghan said she would look at her agenda. The meeting is in the Vancouver Airport Hotel. Feldhoff suggested finding a different way to participate. Monaghan agreed because they had a commitment to freeze travel. The motion was called and failed.

With no other business, the Council took a 5 minute break before going in camera.
More money to the dogs?!
Comment by FayEllen McFarlane on 12th March 2010
So the proceeds of the bull-o-rama and a pancake breakfast will go to the animal shelter? That's a grand (and possibly fitting) gesture - bulls helping the animal shelter. As I recall from last year, its a lot of money too. In fact I'm wondering how much more of our communitys' money is going to disappear into that black hole? Yes, I believed we needed a new shelter - the old one was crowded, noisy, and it smelled terrible! But I think we've gone far and beyond what was needed. And in paying for it, we are neglecting other important and integral parts of our community: the Radley Park river erosion project, the wading pools for the children, our wonderful walkway system, the security that we have known from our professional fire/ambulance services, the KIR, the extensive availability of our pool and recreation centers; the beautiful gardens that we have all enjoyed for so long and probably never thought to acknowledge and so on and on. True the money put into the shelter would not have paid for all of these things, but could have kept some of them.
But I was surprised that Mr Oviatt didn't zero in on the Radley Park erosion project, because it seemed to me that he was always reminding Council that it should be done. Maybe his support of the animal project will encourage the Council to retract that 2010 budget proposal...I wonder?...but I guess that's not likely. As someone commented on another article, those dogs are going to demand more and more.