Mayor’s Column – December 27, 2017

Hello Chetwynd, here’s wishing you all a happy and prosperous new year that challenges your minds and bodies.

I thought you might like a recap of some of the projects that were undertaken in 2017. More detail is available at the District Centre if you need it but this will give you at least an idea of how your District staff busied themselves during the past months.

I want you to know that Chetwynd has, without doubt, one of the most effective Councils anywhere in British Columbia. When I am privy to comments from other municipalities I always, always come away thankful for the Council with which I work. When I hear talk of the problems that raise their lubricious heads in other municipalities, I always, always come away thankful for the problems that we have in Chetwynd. Give me Chetwynd’s problems any day.

Many things happened in 2017.

Airport paving. Thanks to two very generous grants: BC Air Access program for $1.301 million and Northern Development Initiative Trust (NDIT) for $0.25 million, the ribbon was cut on the $1.735 million airport runway paving project on October 30.

Chetwynd Arena. Another project dependent on the generosity of many who will never skate there: Canada 150 grant for $0.5 million, Area E of the Peace River Regional District (PRRD) for $0.75 million, Northern Development Initiative Trust (NDIT) for $0.25 million with the balance of the $2.5 million cost coming from Arena reserves in the PRRD.

Everything seems to wear out eventually – cars, human bodies, even playgrounds. Thanks to generous donations from Somerville Aecon ($10,000) and Aboriginal Engagement Success by 6 ($1,500), the cost to the taxpayer for the new play equipment installed in Wabi and Crown Sub play parks was reduced by over 10%.

Tennis court repaving. Once again generous donors made it possible by topping up the shortfall. Northern Health ($6,500), and Surerus Murphy ($2,500). Really now, we can expect you to be lining up at sunrise in June decked out in tennis attire.

Many things happened in 2017 but a flood was not one of them and we succeeded in finishing the repair and clean-up from 2016. A remarkable achievement and my thanks go out to all who had a part in limiting the damage. That said, we can’t be complacent. June is coming. In the meantime, and all time is mean, remember, the District of Chetwynd has engaged Urban Systems to complete a Flood Mitigation Study funded by the Provincial Government to the tune of $150 thousand. This study will assess development plans in flood hazard areas, evaluate options for dealing with existing flood risks, identify suitable measures for dealing with flood risks on lands not owned by the District, develop a long-term capital plan for upgrading the performance of the existing drainage system, identify non-structural solutions such as flood-hazard protection bylaws, and identify funding sources for future flood mitigation work.

The Water Treatment Plant upgrade, scheduled to be operational in April, is underway. Once again, grants from the Federal and Provincial Clean Water and Waste Water Fund ($2.6 million) and the Regional District ($0.3million) have taken the pressure from your budgets.

The East Trunk Main (sewer) has been replaced. Chetwynd taxpayers are out of pocket for the $1.2 million tab.

The Highway 97 and Hillside Pressure Reducing Valves are installed and functioning.

The Sewer Outfall, fatally damaged in the flood of 2016 has been replaced. Divers were in the river in early winter to do the work.

My Peace Country Home, the theme of the Chetwynd Arts Council’s contribution of 14 pieces of original art to the District of Chetwynd, will be on permanent display at the District Centre early in January.

Chetwynd attracted 7,739 visitors to the Visitor Information Centre during the last season. And not only that, Chetwynd was declared by Top Value Reviews to be one of 30 most charming communities in Western Canada. Charming! Chetwynd has also been nominated for the “Open For Business” award and will be submitting a brief to the Province.

To promote Chetwynd and share the beauty, the Economic Development Office has been facilitating the sharing of our astonishing inventory of chainsaw sculptures. Pouce Coupe, Dawson Creek, the Dawson Creek Airport, the Grande Prairie Airport, Fort St. John, Tumbler Ridge, and the Peace River Regional District among other sites have received chainsaw sculptures. More are scheduled to be placed in 2018.

And that you may think is that, but it’s not. There’s more but it’s almost Christmas and I am going home.

 

Merlin Nichols, Mayor