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Mayor’s Column – April 9, 2014

Meet the Mayor

April 9, 2014

I’m back with more responses to your questions. Naomi restricts me to 500 words so I couldn’t attend to these last week.

You wanted to know when construction on Site C would commence and how the project will affect Chetwynd. Unless you are vacationing in some exotic resort, you will hear the Site C announcement the day Mayor and Council hear it.

But the potential benefits or otherwise to Chetwynd are themes Mayor and Council with Administration have been working on for several years. I have written on this topic more than once in this column and it is a topic that residents of Chetwynd need to keep in mind.

I will review some of the potential effects that I have addressed here in past months. If the project goes forward, it is my opinion that there will be more workers from Chetwynd drawing their wages from dam construction than Hydro has projected. It’s only an hour’s drive to the work site. We commute like that every long day to forestry jobs, to Dawson Creek, to the mines, to the gas plant. We can do it and Hydro should expect us to be there in numbers. Because of our negotiations with Hydro, Hydro has committed to publicize its contracting and work opportunities in Chetwynd.

There are also monetary effects. Chetwynd and the other Peace-area communities have negotiated a Legacy fund that will pump $110,000 annually into the Chetwynd budget, indexed to inflation, for 70 years following the commissioning of the dam. Smaller monetary and other benefits are also in place.

On the other side, riprap from the Pine Pass will be moved through Chetwynd by rail or by truck during the construction phase. Mayor, Council, and Administration have worked to mitigate potential harmful effects of this traffic. At this time Hydro has not committed to the mode of transportation, leaving that to the decision of the contractor.

That’s it for a brief review of my previous communications on the Site C project. But you asked about how Chetwynd can attract more business to town – and keep it, I might add. I’ve been down this road several times in past months but it deserves a quick review.

I am attracted to a community that turns my head, to a community that almost impels me to stop for a second look, maybe stay another day. I want a community that I can¸ with pride, invite my relatives to visit.

So it’s your responsibility too, as much as it is mine, or Council’s, or the Mayor’s.

And it involves more than flowers and shrubs and clean boulevards. (We have so much here that is attractive and we all know what it is.)

But to attract more business we have to get into the buy-at-home mode and support the businesses that are already struggling to keep afloat in our home town. We have to appreciate the businesses that have taken a risk and stuck by over the years and show them we care.

 

Merlin Nichols, Mayor