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District of Vanderhoof - Message

October 2015

Fall is here and there is a real sense of eagerness as we anticipate the coming of winter. The leaves have turned color and many have fallen to the ground. The swans and geese are spending evenings and early mornings at the bird sanctuary on the river, before continuing their journey south. In the community we are beginning to make plans for the winter.

Last month Council went to the Union of BC Municipalities’ annual convention in Vancouver. This was an opportunity for Council and me to meet with provincial Cabinet Ministers, attend seminars, and to network with other Mayors and Councillors. The days were very full, typically starting at 7:00 am with some very interesting seminars, followed by UBCM business meetings, then a series of meetings with Cabinet Ministers and usually ended with a meeting with industrial partners in the evening. By 9:00 pm I was ready for some quiet time.

This year we had the opportunity to meet with Premier Clark regarding the flooding issues we’ve been experiencing these past years. We asked and received her commitment to develop a Water Use Plan (WUP) for the Nechako River. The Kemano Power Station is the only hydro generating plant that I’m aware of that doesn’t have a WUP and–as far as I know–it’s the only way to have meaningful input into the flow levels of our river.

We also met Ministers on topics like pool funding, post-secondary education, air quality, recycling, and jobs. Not only did we get the chance to share our concern for retaining and creating jobs in our community with Minister Bond (Minister of Jobs, Tourism & Skills Training & Responsible for Labour), we were very fortunate to have her come to Vanderhoof for an entire day on October 2nd. We toured L & M Lumber Ltd., Vanderhoof Specialty Wood Products, the Nechako White Sturgeon Conservation Centre, CNC, and Riverside Park. The Chamber of Commerce hosted a lunch for the Minister, providing business owners the opportunity to ask questions to one of BC’s most influential individuals. I am very grateful to Minister Bond for taking the time to learn about our community first hand.

Council is spending a fair bit of time making sure there are jobs in our community, we are also making sure that Vanderhoof is a great place to live. The pool has been a major effort of ours, I would like to recognize Director Petersen of the Regional District for committing $500,000 and Director Parker for committing $200,000 of their Gas Tax funds. It is great to see that the rural residents are committed to projects like the pool that will serve the whole region. Recently we brought in Spectrum Design to recommend where a skateboard park would be best suited and what size and design would fit the community’s needs. They held information seminars and skateboard park design meetings in Council Chambers as well as at NVSS, and received some very good feedback. It was encouraging to see so many youth and adults with a desire to provide input into their community.

We each have a role at making Vanderhoof, a place we call home, the best it can be. Hopefully, Vanderhoof can become a place that others would like to call home as well. I was encouraged when Minister Bond told us that we had a small town population, but had the attitude of a much larger town.

Watch for the great coming events such as the Pumpkin Walk and the Parade of Lights. Also, watch for tournaments in the arena. There is always the need for more help, please volunteer.

I appreciate it when you come to council meetings, don’t hesitate to stop by and watch, and don’t hesitate to email me at mayor@district.vanderhoof.ca, I love to hear both the things we are doing right and the things we may need to work on.

~ Mayor Gerry Thiessen