District of Vanderhoof - Council Message

January 2011

All Hands on Deck

We have made it through the Christmas season, and now it is time to get on with the challenges of the coming year.

In the last Updater I spoke of some of the projects Council worked on in 2010 as well as looking forward to 2011. In this issue, I would like to speak about how Council makes decisions and the role that the community can have. Council is faced with many issues during the course of a year; many are fairly complicated requiring a fair amount of research and discussion. It is our job and obligation as Council members to make decisions on behalf of the citizens of Vanderhoof taking into account the needs and wants of the community at large. We do this while trying to be fiscally and socially responsible. We as members of Council enter each Council meeting ready to have an open discussion and make an informed decision. Our personal agendas remain at the door and our minds are open to making decisions that are in the best interest of the community.

While we get a lot of information from a variety of sources, there is real value in listening to the public's concerns on the issues we face at the Council table. Not everything we do is a repeat of the past; today's Council faces issues that Councils twenty or even ten years ago did not face. The Provincial Government is looking for more input from local government than ever before on a wider variety of issues. We are making decisions about economic development, recycling, health care, forest recovery and a myriad of other issues.

This past year provided several good examples of Council responding to valuable feedback and input from residents of our community. When we introduced changes to the Hunting and Firearms Bylaw, a number of people attended a Council meeting and provided their concerns. Council listened to these concerns and as a result, through consultation with the public we now have a better Hunting and Firearms Bylaw. In another instance we received about seventy e-mails when we were considering what type of activities/facilities should be at Riverside Park. Once again Council listened and a better decision was made.

We particularly appreciate and value when a member or members of the community offer their time and expertise to make our community better. On a larger scale the BMX Bike Park is a good example, and the new picnic tables on the north bank of the Nechako River is an example of one man's dedication.

This next year we will be seeking your input on issues which will help determine our future. They include but are not limited to: diversifying our economy through college education; establishing new local services; building an aquatic centre; taking advantage of the mining industry boom; the future of court services in Vanderhoof; and the development of the local airport.

I encourage you to get involved. When open houses or public meetings on specific issues are held please take the time to attend, Council values your input. You may not want to come to every Council meeting but I would recommend that you take the opportunity sometime this year to attend a Council meeting and see how local government works. If you have a topic that is important to you and you think it should come to the attention of Council, please write or email us, we welcome your opinions.
Municipal Council is the closest level of government to you the citizen. At no other level are you able to have your concerns heard as easily and directly as at the municipal level.

Mayor Gerry Thiessen