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District of Vanderhoof - Message

September-October 2013

Wow! Where has it gone? We have spent a few days down at the river, a great airshow, and a ‘never been better’ fall fair, but after that it’s all gone fairly fast.

Council usually only has two meetings over the summer, one in July, and one in August. As I’ve mentioned in other articles, this is the year of our Official Community Plan otherwise known as the OCP.

Over the past 10 months or so Council has had six meetings entirely devoted to planning where we see our community headed over the next 5 years. Prior to starting our meetings with Council, Vanderhoof’s planner held a number of focus groups that discussed everything from the environment to what seniors want to see in the community.

The OCP is required under the Community Charter to be done every five years and it can take well over a year to work on it. Council has made sure that they give all the input they sense is needed to make sure this is truly a community plan by having four of the planning sessions over the summer and each lasting well over three hours.

We’ve talked everything from recreation to environment, residential to industrial subdivisions, walking trails to roads, and sea cans to attracting industrial buildings. It’s been neat to see each Councillor and senior staff member champion ideas then have them challenged by others. There’s lots of discussion and often lots of laughter, but in the end it has been a great experience.

Now the “Community” part. Starting the end of September we will be coming to the public with a number of town hall meetings to hear your thoughts on the plan. The next five years will be pivotal for Vanderhoof. Most foresters tell us that in 2018 the pine beetle wood will be harvested. Mount Milligan will be operating and New Gold’s Blackwater Mine will have gone through the environmental assessment process, construction, and will be beginning operation. Vanderhoof will be a place with lots of jobs it seems, but will the workers see these jobs as “fly in – fly out” or will they see Vanderhoof as a place to call home?

The answer to that will depend on you as residents of Vanderhoof. We need everyone’s input to make sure this plan gets us to where we want to be.

~ Councillor John Murphy