Pensioners want statue money given to non-profits instead

Existing ‘Rivers’ public art at Sandman Centre.

Dear TNRD Directors:

I am writing to you on behalf of the Savona Old Age Pensioners Org. (OAPO) Savona Branch #129 in response to your recent decision to erect another monument to recognize the volunteers of the 2017 forest fire season.

It was voted unanimously at our recent meeting that the $100,000 NOT be spent on another monument. Our members (some of whom are volunteers themselves) voted that they would like to see the monies be dispersed to non-profit organizations that contributed large sums to the fire relief funds (such as the SPCA and the Salvation Army) who did not get any government funding!

Also it was suggested a plaque be added to the existing monument. We hope the Board of Directors will seriously consider the fact that it is taxpayers’ monies and should be spent frugally!

DONNA SCHWEIGER
President
Savona OAPO Branch 129

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Former TNRD director Marg Spina passes away

Marg Spina.

Former TNRD director Marg Spina passed away early this morning (Dec. 15, 2016) with her family at her side. She was 65.

Spina, who represented Kamloops City council on the regional district board, resigned from her seat on council last May several months after she was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer. She had earlier taken a leave of absence.

She was first elected to City council in 2008 after many years of community service, and was re-elected in 2011 and 2014.

As well as being a director on the Thompson Nicola Regional District, she was president of the Southern Interior Local Government Association.

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New $100,000 wildfire statue re-confirmed by board

2003 wildfire statue.

By MEL ROTHENBURGER
Director, Electoral Area P, TNRD

All I wanted was to have separate votes on the $100,000 wildfire monument and the 2018 TNRD provisional budget.

So, at Friday’s (Nov. 24, 2017) board meeting, I moved to “divide the question,” standard Robert’s Rules of Order stuff when a motion includes too many items. My reason was that while the provisional budget is fine overall (including a tax reduction in Area P), I don’t support erecting a wildfire monument with taxpayers’ money.

It’s important to recognize the efforts of volunteers but, in 2003, we raised $91,000 in corporate donations for the statue that now stands in front of the Civic Building, and it could easily be done again.

I would have voted for the 2018 budget, but against funding the statue out of taxes.

Then things got contemplated, with interpretation upon interpretation, talk of process and rescinding motions and wording and rewording, all of which resulted in a heated debate about whether the statue should be erected at all, some alternative chosen, or the whole idea shelved.

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‘Naloxone no cure-all for consequences of fentanyl’

By MEL ROTHENBURGER
Director, Electoral Area P, TNRD

A stark reality about the opioid crisis was brought home to regional politicians Friday (Nov. 24, 2017) — even lives that are saved are often ruined.

Dave Harrhy and Rae Samson of the Interior Heath mental health and substance use department appeared before the board with an update on the battle against overdose deaths.

Electoral area Director Ken Gillis raised a troubling aspect of the opioid problem when he asked Harrhy and Samson whether it’s true that overdose victims who are administered Naloxone often suffer brain damage.

Naloxone is often injected into drug users to reverse the seizures brought on by overdose.

“What percentage of them can we expect to support forever and ever?” he asked.

Samson didn’t have numbers but acknowledged that some do suffer permanent brain injury.

“It’s a very complicated issue in that that’s the tool for saving lives,” she said of Naloxone. “There are definitely complications; it’s not a cure-all by any means.”

Gillis assured her he wasn’t’ suggesting people should be allowed to die “so they’re not a burden on the health system.”

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PlaceSpeak offers new way to provide input on TNRD issues

 

A new Internet tool will give TNRD residents an easy way of providing input into regional issues.

The TNRD announced today (Nov. 21, 2017) it has started using PlaceSpeak, a location-based citizen engagement platform. It’s geo-verification technology ensures that feedback is coming exclusively from residents within the TNRD and also makes it easy for them to stay informed and get involved in the decision-making process.

Residents only have to register once in order to be notified of and participate in all future consultations in the region.

Electoral Area Director Randy Murray suggested PlaceSpeak at a recent board meeting.

Currently, there are two consultations open for public input. One is the draft 2018 Regional Solid Waste Management Plan. TNRD residents can share ideas on how the region can reduce the a mount of waste sent to landfills while keeping the cost of the system financially sustainable.

In the other opportunity, residents can share what they like about the Bookmobile service, and how it can be improved. A new Bookmobile will replace the current aging vehicle next year.

Residents can have their say at the following links:

Bookmobile: http://placespeak.com/TNRDbookmobile

Regional Solid Waste Management Plan: http://placespeak.com/TNRDsolidwasteplan

Communications issues cited during floods, wildfires

Community to Community forum. (Image: Mel Rothenburger)

By MEL ROTHENBURGER
Director, Electoral Area P, TNRD

Based on three emergency situations during the past year, a lot of work needs to be done to be better prepared, a meeting between the Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc and City of Kamloops councils and staff was told today (Nov. 20, 2017).

The Community to Community meeting was held in Moccasin Square Gardens to discuss issues of mutual concern between the City and Band. (I attended representing TNRD Electoral Area P).

Thomas Blank, assistant manager for emergency management at the TteS, reviewed the spring floods, summer wildfires and recent armed standoff at the G&M Trailer Park.

Blank cited instances of confusion and inadequate communication among the agencies involved, especially from the band’s perspective.

He said there was lack of contact from the provincial and federal governments after Paul Creek flooded in May, and that TteS was “very unprepared” for any type of emergency.

During the wildfires, TteS opened the Powwow grounds to more than 1,000 evacuees during a 30-day period. Blank said there was massive support from volunteers and those donating clothing, food and household goods.

Again, his report said, there was no initial assistance or acknowledgement from the provincial or federal governments.

Even after the TNRD and provincial regional emergency operations centre made contact, TteS “seemed to be very much on the outskirts of information channels, assistance or supports,” the report said.

But he said the local PREOC provided the most support and assistance including arranging for some cross training with TNRD EOC and information sharing.

Blank recommended inter-organizational training and greater participation by TteS in regional emergency preparedness training. He said a communications strategy among all regional local authorities needs to be established.

Blank also said the standoff between police and an armed man a few weeks ago involved some lack of clarity on responsibilities.

He emphasized the need for emergency preparedness among all agencies involved before another emergency arises.

Kamloops Mayor Ken Christian assured the Band of the City’s co-operation, saying, “There is no difference from our perspective when people are in crisis.”

Open houses to seek input on new bus link to Band

(Image: BC Transit)

By MEL ROTHENBURGER
Director, Electoral Area P, TNRD

Public input is the next step on the road to new transit service to Tk’emlups te Secwepemc and Sun Rivers.

Sarah Candido, the community services manager for the Band, described the new service during a Community to Community meeting between the Band council and Kamloops City council today, Nov. 20, 2017.

Candido said open houses are planned, one for Monday, Dec. 4 (5-7 p.m.) at Hoodoos at Sun Rivers, and two more on Tuesday, Dec. 5  (12-1 p.m. and 4-6 p.m.) at Moccasin Square Gardens.

The new transit route will connect Sun Rivers, Mount Paul industrial park and the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc residential area north of the industrial park to the Kamloops transit system starting in September, 2018.

The proposed route will begin at the Lansdowne transit exchange.

Candido said several options are still being looked at for the final route. “We’re pretty interested in hearing feedback from people,” she said.

Buses will run every half hour. In response to a question from Coun. Tina Lange, she confirmed that North Shore residents would have to connect through the Lansdowne exchange. She said it’s a matter of cost.

The proposed route doesn’t extend down East Shuswap Road but it’s under consideration for the future, she said. Traffic volume will be a major consideration in finalizing the route or in future expansions.

Cost of the new service will be shared by the TtS and B.C. Transit.

About 30 people were at today’s meeting. I attended on behalf of Electoral Area P.

Manager to assess wildfire impact on businesses

Colin O’Leary.

The TNRD has hired Colin O’Leary as a community recovery manager to assess the impact on businesses in the regional district of this summer’s wildfire season.

In a media release Thursday (Nov. 16, 2017), the TNRD said O’Leary will head up a project with three main components:

  1. Actively engaging the business community affected by the 2017 wildfire season in the TNRD through in-person meetings, community engagement sessions and surveys.
  2. Quantifying the economic loss in the region, identifying existing resources available and highlighting any gaps in support programs for businesses.
  3. Recommending options moving forward to address gaps in support for businesses looking to recover from the 2017 wildfire season.

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Why elections in town are important to us in the region

Kamloops City council.

Two elections have been held recently in the city of Kamloops that are very important to the Thompson-Nicola Regional District and rural residents.

You’re probably aware of the civic by-election that elected Ken Christian as mayor and Kathy Sinclair and Ray Dhaliwal as councillors, all for one-year terms until the next general election.

But there was another election — this one among council members to select three City directors for the TNRD board.

The Community Charter, which sets the rules for B.C.’s municipalities, says councils must choose their representatives on regional district boards via a vote among themselves. The number of City council members each municipality elects to the regional district is determined by population.

Based on that, Kamloops is the only municipality that has more than one director on the TNRD board. It has six. Logan Lake, Barriere, Ashcroft, Cache Creek, Lytton, Merritt, Sun Peaks, Chase, Clearwater, and Clinton each have one.

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Wildfire volunteers to be honoured with $100,000 monument

Statue erected in front of TNRD offices after 2003 wildfires.

By MEL ROTHENBURGER
Director, Electoral Area P, TNRD

A $100,000 monument honoring wildfire volunteers will be erected at the site that served as the evacuation centre in Kamloops last summer.

Thompson-Nicola Regional District board of directors voted Thursday (Nov. 9, 2017) to put the money in next year’s budget. Kamloops taxpayers will foot most of the bill because the City contributes the largest part of tax dollars to the region.

A report from staff reviewed the outstanding contributions of hundreds of volunteers during the wildfires and proposed the Sandman Centre as the location for a piece of public art to pay tribute to them.

“This incredible display of volunteerism cannot go unacknowledged,” CAO Sukh Gill wrote in a report to the board.

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TNRD could slam the door on Ajax, but Province could open it again

By MEL ROTHENBURGER
Director, Electoral Area P, TNRD

The Thompson-Nicola Regional District could slam the door on the Ajax open-pit mine, but the provincial government could open it again.

A report to the TNRD board of directors, written in response to a recent delegation from the Aberdeen Community Association, laid out the authority of the regional district with respect to the mine proposal.

Director of Development Services Regina Sadilkova’s report reviewed various aspects of the permitting process for mines, Ajax in particular.

She said the TNRD has the power to deny an Agricultural Land Reserve exemption to KGHM-Ajax, the mine proponent. However, she explained that KGHM could appeal the decision or go to the province to override it.

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John Ranta, Steven Rice to head up TNRD board

Cache Creek Mayor John Ranta will serve as chair of the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board of directors for another term. It will be his fourth year as the chair, having been elected every year since the 2014 civic elections.

Ranta has also held the position several other times over the years.

Ranta defeated Spences Bridge Electoral Area Director Steve Rice, who was vice chair for the past year, and will be vice chair for the coming year as well.

The chair and vice chair are elected via an internal election among directors.

The election for vice chair created an interesting situation. Rice, Bill Kershaw (Area O), Arjun Singh (Kamloops) and Carole Schaffer (Area A) stood for election in a ranked ballot system in which directors numbered their choices.

However, that resulted in a tie among the two top vote-getting directors, Rice and Kershaw. Under current rules, the winner was chosen through a draw.

That caused some concern among directors, who voted to amend the system for next year to make sure the winner achieves an actual majority.

City changes method for choosing its TNRD directors

By MEL ROTHENBURGER
Director, Electoral Area P, TNRD

Kamloops City council will change the way it decides who will sit on the TNRD board beginning with next year’s civic election.

The council approved a change Tuesday (Oct. 24, 2017) that will see the mayor and the top five vote-getting councillors represent Kamloops on the regional board. That’s a change from the normal system set out in the Community Charter that says members of municipal councils must decide among themselves who will be appointed to regional district boards.

But the change is allowable because all the council has to do is ratify the mayor and top five vote getters as their choice after each election.

It’s a modest change, one that will do no harm, though it’s not a major game-changer, either. Mayor Ken Christian asked for it, saying it will provide more consistency on who the City’s directors are from term to term, and that’s good for the TNRD.

I don’t really see that for two reasons: it won’t actually provide a lot more consistency — at least from term to term — and consistency in City directors hasn’t been an issue anyway.

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City, rural areas need to work together to effectively plan

By MEL ROTHENBURGER
Director, Electoral Area P, TNRD

Kamloops needs to up its game when it comes to consultation with stakeholders — especially rural areas — on its official community plan.

At this week’s TNRD board meeting, City planner Jason Locke attended to tell the board about progress on a KamPlan update and explain how it aligns with the TNRD’s Regional Growth Strategy.

In reading over the draft plan, I saw that there was consultation with stakeholders including  Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc. It also includes a statement of commitment to local and regional First Nations communities to collaborate.

(Image: KamPlan 2017)

That’s entirely appropriate but surrounding rural areas were left out of discussions. Even though the new KamPlan is in its final stages, this week was the first time it’s been discussed with the TNRD board.

Locke said on the one hand that the purpose of his presentation was simply to provide the board with information, but at the same time said it was to ask for input.

I pointed out that four TNRD electoral areas, including Area P, are immediately next door to the city and are affected by city planning. I suggested it would have been easy to include these electoral areas directly in earlier discussions.

KamPlan does include a section on alignment with the Regional Growth Strategy and Locke said the city was doing what it was required to do.

“I was thinking not so much about what you are required to do, but about effective consultation,” I said.

Director Ronaye Elliott, whose Area J is also immediately adjacent to the city, agreed that so-called “fringe” areas need to be consulted.

Kamloops director Arjun Singh, who sits on the City’s KamPlan committee, said he’s willing to offer opportunities in future to discuss it with rural representatives.