REPORTING · 16th December 2011
Councillor Corrine Scott brought forward a report at the Committee of the Whole Meeting on December 12th. The report concerned a Community Impact Dialogue Meeting on December the 6th. The meeting was hosted by Margaret Warcup and the Child Development Centre.
“The meeting was going over the community impact study which was done in 2008 or 2009. They had a facilitator in for that meeting and at that time, it was prior to the Eurocan Closure,” said Scott. “It was to make sure the community was going to be up to date with everything that was required.”
Then Eurocan Closed and there were many announcements for new companies coming into the community.
“Already, the Community Development Service, the Family Support Service are all feeling the pinch. With new people moving into the community because they heard the announcement of all the work being involved in Kitimat, they are coming ready for jobs and there aren’t any jobs available and quite a number of them are unskilled labourers as well so they are all feeling the pressure of providing services to people,” said Scott.
A part of the dialogue was a recommendation for the community to get a handle on the development in regards to the hospital services, education facilities, social services and emergency programs to prepare them and the community for the possible boom situation in the next couple of years.
They discussed the important issues to be dealt with. The discussion will be combined into a report for the near future.
Councillor Mary Murphy stated the Interagency Committee already identified the issues and wanted to know if they had already put plans into place. Scott replied they need to facilitate meetings between hospital, fire department, police services and the incoming industry so they have a heads up on what will happen.
Mayor Joanne Monaghan said they need to bring the industry representatives to this Impact Dialogue Meeting’s so these organizations can prepare for when the workers come, whether they will bring families or not, then the services can plan for the number.
Scott asked if this should be an initiative from the Child Development Centre or from the District of Kitimat. Monaghan said the Development Centre wanted to do this but if the Council could take it on if they wanted.
Councillor Mario Feldhoff expressed he would sooner wait for the report from the Child Development Centre so they know what issues the District will have to respond to, as well as the response the other organizations in the community will have to give. He stated Council should watch how many projects they take on.
Councillor Edwin Empinado wanted to know where he could get a copy of the impact study which was done before Eurocan closed. Scott said he could talk to Margaret Warcup at the Child Development Centre. Monaghan told him it was pretty out dated but does have information.
Empinado also stated they should have demographics and numbers. Monaghan agreed and said this is why the industries need to be at the table. Empinado suggested taking it as an initiative. Monaghan agreed again but also agreed the Council should look at the new report first.
Murphy pointed out there are requirements for new industries to work with the services, for example, Fire fighters would need training relating to the industry.
“It’s not like we would be blindsided, that’s something that is a part of the process whenever there is industry involved. Of course we should be involved with them and have open communication but we don’t want to be stepping on their toes and saying what they are going to use and what they’re not going to use because there is a cost for them to use our facilities,” said Murphy.
Councillor Phil Germuth wanted to know when the report was going to be out. Feldhoff estimated it would not be too long. Scott said they were not given a timeline. Monaghan expected it in a couple of weeks.
Scott told the Council she had suggested the first thing which needed to talk to was talk to the services and have them meet with industry every single month. She related this to when she was working in Fort McMurry when Suncor made their announcements.
Scott suggested that it was important that industry, and community services, such as the hospital, education, emergency services, fire department, ambulance and municipality, should form a committee and meet monthly to plan for needed services in all areas. A committee such as this was formed in Fort McMurray when Syncrude and Suncor made their first announcements for expansion. The municipality participated in the committee but it was industry driven. Even with the advanced planning they found their projections of increased growth were out to lunch within the first year and a half, as the numbers were four times greater than projected. Even with the pre-planning, the municipality struggled to keep up with infrastructure and other needs, and would have been in even greater difficulty if they hadn’t done any pre-planning at all.
The community was in a mess although it had been planning at all and if it had not planned at all, there is no telling how bad the situation could have become.
Feldhoff expressed the Interagency Group was doing a good job. Kitimat had a community of 15000 at one time and the infrastructure is still here. There was some buffering room to accommodate people but these discussions needed to be held.
Councillor Rob Goffinet expressed it was a good meeting and the Council and District of Kitimat were well represented.
A lesson learned?
Comment by Apocalypse Now on 16th December 2011
I hope certain people on council quit perpetuating the myth that good times are here ,trying to entice out of towners to move here in search of the elusive job. There may come a time when people are needed to come here to work,but until that time has come ,wwe definitely dont need unemployed people hanging around town waiting. As a matter of fact we have enough locals with out work,so lets try and get them working before we start advertising that we are in a boom.