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District of Vanderhoof - Council Message

October-November 2012 - Mayor Gerry Thiessen

UBCM Report for 2012

There were a number of meetings held with government agencies and cabinet ministers this year at UBCM annual conference. Some of the meetings were constructive and we saw significant commitments, but others were ones that more informational in nature.

In my mind the meetings we had with the Minister of Advanced Education, John Yap, were really good. We presented the findings of the business case for post-secondary education in Vanderhoof. The Minister listened intently to our need for making sure we are prepared for the new opportunities that are coming our way with the new mines as well as our manufacturing.

We also met with Minister Bill Bennett regarding funding opportunities’ for the building of an aquatic centre for Vanderhoof should the referendum be approved at the vote in February. Minister Bennett was very impressed that we have worked hard on our infrastructure, and our need of recreation if we are going to attract and retain industry to our community.

Minister Terry Lake took a keen interest in Vanderhoof desire to see our community take steps in becoming more environmentally sustainable. We talked a lot about recycling opportunities and about our goals to reduce the waste that goes to our landfill. The sturgeon recovery center is also a concern as it is on the species at risk list.

The sturgeon topic was also our topic with Minister Thompson; we have a commitment to work with us to try to find a solution to the demise of this species if nothing is done. We spent a lot of time talking about the mid-term timber supply and what the recent report would mean to Vanderhoof. We want to make sure that the investment that companies have made in our community, and the jobs that are here don’t become in jeopardy because of changes in government policies.

Lastly, we met with three more ministers; our meeting with Minister Bell, de Jong and Coleman were centered on revenue sharing of the resources that come out of our region. For far too long we have seen our resources leave Vanderhoof, and we are left holding the bag when it comes to all the social issues that come from busy work schedules, and camps, these policies don’t encourage families to live here.

We also met with Northern Health regarding an expansion to our hospital. We hope to hear an announcement soon as our emergency room seems to always run at capacity. At the meeting with CNR we discussed our concerns about some of their properties in Vanderhoof, as well as those annoying late night whistles.

Then realizing that we will have an election this coming year we met with the Leader of the Opposition, Adrian Dix. We spoke to him on all the issues that we covered with the ministers. We were very encouraged with how well he knew Vanderhoof, and the support we felt for our resource based community.

There were 3 resolutions that Vanderhoof brought to the UBCM convention. They covered the need to redevelop brownfields along our Highway 16 corridor, how to attract more professionals to the north and phase three power.

~ Mayor Gerry Thiessen