October 11, 2017
From time to time the firm plans we make to rationalize our days go blowing in the winds of change and we are compelled to modify, nullify, or otherwise …. our intent. So it happened to me as I was attending the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) convention in Vancouver. My good intention was to write a column from that great city to apprise you of significant or game-changing happenings or events in our province. This was not to be. No matter the corrective measures I tried and were tried by semi-experts on site, I could not connect with the WIFI in the hotel – not to receive or to send. So, being thoroughly frustrated in this attempt, I abandoned any effort to communicate. That’s life in the city.
But we’re not in the city (thankfully), and my computer works at home as it was built to work. And when it doesn’t work, I know where to take it for the remedy.
I can report briefly on a few of the meetings in which I and members of your Council participated with various Ministries of the new government. On Monday afternoon we engaged with the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations, and Rural Development with Councillor Bassendowski taking the lead role regarding annual allowable cut and the massive stands of beetle-killed forest in the North Peace, and Councillor Deck taking the lead role regarding the pending ban of the trophy grizzly bear hunt. On Tuesday we met with the Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources to acquaint the Ministry with Chetwynd, its strengths and challenges (I took the lead role in this meeting).
On Wednesday I attended a Ministerial Panel dealing with Infrastructure and Economic Development where I took the opportunity to impress the six attending Ministers with the crucial importance of the Pine Pass Corridor to the economy of the entire province. British Columbia neglects the annual maintenance of the Pine Pass Corridor at great cost.
I also participated in the Peace River Regional District-led session (attended by Mayors and Councillors from across the North) with Minister of Transportation Trevena at which we stressed the importance of maintaining public passenger transportation across the North.
On Thursday I participated in a two-hour workshop organized by the Fraser Basin Council to discuss ways of mitigating flood damage. For my presentation staff prepared a slide show of 60 pictures, many taken by local photographer Travis Stewart, depicting Chetwynd in all its glory, beauty, and misery. The show highlighted the great things of Chetwynd, our place in the transportation corridor, and slides from the four floods from 1964 to 2016. The picture presentation ran quietly behind me as I spoke to the importance of Chetwynd in its strategic location at the entrance to the Pine Pass. I emphasized how the economy of British Columbia is intimately linked to the North East through the Pine Pass Corridor and that British Columbia pays big time every time commerce is interrupted by flooding.
I pointed out how a practical solution to most flooding can be achieved at minimal cost if we have the cooperation and support of all levels of government. Of course, achieving that level of cooperation and support is the looming challenge which I hope to address through a resolution to UBCM in 2018.
And that’s not all. Our days were full from 6:30 to late evening. Friday was the wrap up day. We were addressed by the Premier at 10, the last item of the agenda, were checked out and on the road by 11 pointed North. Home sweet Home.
Oh, by the way, “if it turns out that climate change is a hoax, we will have built a better world for nothing” (Terry Milewski, retired senior CBC correspondent, in his keynote address).
Merlin Nichols, Mayor