Fort St. James is hosting a Night Market! This local event will take place on Tuesday, August 20th. Starting at 5:00 pm in Spirit Square, locals and visitors may take the opportunity to shop for goods produced by a variety of vendors from Fort St. James, Fraser Lake and Vanderhoof. At 6:00 pm live music will fill the downtown creating the perfect backdrop for a late-summer celebration of community enterprise!
The District of Fort St. James has retained a qualified consultant to prepare a comprehensive Trails Master Plan that supports active modes of transportation. Important goals of the plan are to foster the usage of active transportation while providing for population and industry growth, the development of a high quality of life for residents, and to assist with municipal efforts to reduce community greenhouse gas emissions.
The primary objective of the Trails Master Plan is to provide set municipal development goals and actions for connected active transportation and to support sustainable economic and community development through trails and transportation planning. Included in the Trails Master Plan will be a map (both hard copy and electronic) which will highlight local and regional trails in our area. Some limited trails signage will be implemented as a component of this project.
We anticipate completion of the master plan by late September 2013.
As a result of funding from the federal government, the District of Fort St. James has been able to further protect the safety and health of its citizens during emergencies and disasters. For more information visit https://fortstjames.civicweb.net/Documents/DocumentList.aspx?ID=15816
Every year Fort St. James residents participate in the National Pitch-In Week Campaign, except instead of just one week, Fort St. James promotes events for two weeks! Pitch-In Weeks is a multi-faceted approach to “litter” and overall proper waste management practices. These practices include personal responsibility, community sustainability and beautification. Through the use of education, community participation, and partnerships with the local groups and businesses, Pitch-In Weeks works to maintain a clean, green and beautiful town. This year’s campaign includes the following events and educational opportunities:
Apr 17 – May 1
FREE garbage bags from the District Office and pick-up daily within the District and rural areas!
Apr 17 – May 1
‘Other People’s Trash…‘, an Art Exhibit using salvaged materials presented by the Community Arts Council of Fort St. James in conjunction with Arts & Culture Week/Pitch-In Week
Apr 22, Earth Day, 7:00pm at the National Historic Park
‘Surviving Progress’, a film viewing by the Fort St. James Free the Children Group
Apr 22, Earth Day
Class Tours of the Integris Recycling Centre presented by Greening Up Fort Society
Apr 23, 6:30pm at the Public Library
‘Vermi-Composting Workshop’ – Learn how to build your own worm composting bin and your name will be entered into a draw to take it home!
Northern Health has successfully recruited nearly a dozen Northern Medical Program (NMP) graduates to include in a total of 55 physicians recruited since January 1, 2012 from around the province, country and world.
In addition to those recruited from the Northern Medical Program, Northern Health has also recruited 24 physicians since 2010, all of whom completed their residency in the north but were not from the NMP. Northern Health remains in contact with graduates of the NMP who have not reached the point of selecting a permanent home and expects many of those to establish practices in northern communities in the future.
In 2012 Northern Health was instrumental in the recruitment of Dr. Anton Meyer, Dr. Pieter nan Zyl and Dr. Marile van Zyl to the community of Fort St. James. One more full-time physician, Dr. Hennie Putter is expected to begin working in the community in March of 2013.
“The community of Fort St. James deserves the credit for making the doctors that have been recruited feel welcomed and wanted,” said Michael McMillan, Northern Health chief operating officer for the northern interior health service delivery area. “Northern Health would like to recognize all the members of the community who worked tirelessly to recruit these physicians.”
The District of Fort St. James Mayor & Council recently approved a tax exemption program for commercial and light industrial infrastructure improvements. This program follows close on the heels of the successful “Industrial Tax Exemption” program which saw $30 Million in upgrades completed at a local sawmill.
Under the newly extended program, commercial and light industrial properties which implement property upgrades that result in increased property value assessments, will be exempt from paying increased municipal property taxes for a period of time following the upgrade. Details on the bylaw can be found here.
An additional program offered by Northern Development Initiative Trust can help property owners to leverage the tax exemptions into up-front loans which can be used for the upgrade itself. Proponents interested in taking advantage of this additional opportunity are encouraged to contact Northern Development Initiative Trust at 250-561-2525 and the District’s Economic Development Officer, Emily Colombo at 250-996-8233, firstname.lastname@example.org
MEDIA RELEASE AUGUST 1, 2012
At a Special Council Meeting held on July 31, 2012, Mayor and Council of the District of Fort St. James unanimously voted to adopt a resolution declaring their opposition to the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project. The District of Fort St. James is one of the first municipalities located along the proposed pipeline route to take a formal stance on the project. The decision to oppose the project was based on the results of a public opinion poll, numerous presentations by Enbridge, concerns raised by a local Fort St. James Sustainability Group, conversations with members of the public and the personal opinions of Council members.
At the special meeting, Mayor MacDougall articulated Council’s rationale for speaking against the project: “We feel we have listened objectively to the presentations made by Enbridge, the Fort St. James Sustainability Group and the public. We have taken the time to research the desires of our community, and we believe we have done our due diligence. Our decision is based on our valuing of the land base and our fresh water sources. Of particular concern locally is the crossing of the Stuart River, which accommodates one of the largest sockeye salmon runs in the world, and Pitka Creek which flows into Stuart Lake. If anything should happen to the pipeline and spill into our river and lake, there will be no turning back the clock. There is no economic benefit that could outweigh the impact that would have on people’s lives here and the quality of life we enjoy.”
In June 2012 Council made the decision to hold a public opinion survey and open house for community members to share their thoughts on the project. Council’s objective was to see if there was desire from the public for Council to take a political stance on the project. The anonymous survey was distributed by hard copy and through online media over a period of 12 days. Of the 198 responses to the survey, a significant majority were in favour of Council adopting a stance against the Northern Gateway project. The concerns expressed in the survey responses focused on the potential for negative environmental impacts in the community, region and province.
In response to the news of Council’s announcement of a position on the project, Chief Fred Sam of the nearby Nak’azdli First Nation spoke about the decision. “We believe this is good news. This will strengthen the partnership between ourselves and the District, and we look forward to continuing to build this relationship with Fort St. James.”
In July of 2011, the District of Fort St. James registered as Government Participants in the joint review process. On the original registration Council cited their areas of interest as being environmental, social, economic, consultative, and engagement of First Nations. An Information Request was submitted in August 2011 asking about local employment/contracting, community investment, the relationship between Enbridge and the Nak’azdli First Nation, components of the National Energy Board Act with impacts it may have on nearby landowners, emergency response coordination with the local communities, and potential forest fire impacts should a leak occur. A response was received from the proponent in December 2011.
District of Fort St. James Mayor and Council intend to register to speak at the final Public Hearings of the Joint Review Panel (JRP) in Prince George this fall, as well as submitting a letter of comment regarding their public opposition. Council has been appreciative of Enbridge’s responsiveness as a corporation to the questions raised in the community, and to the open communication processes they have worked to establish with Mayor and Council.
A targeted campaign which began in February to bring much-needed physicians to Fort St.James has garnered results, with the recent signing of 3 physicians to service the community and surrounding area of nearly 5000.
The community would like to extend a huge thank you to Dr. Paul Stent, who has managed as the sole physician for the last five months, as well as the efforts of Northern Health, the Fort St. James Medical Clinic, Stuart Lake Hospital, Nak’azdli Health Centre, visiting locum physicians, and the ever-resilient members of the community who have worked hard to make this happen.
A full copy of the Northern Health press release can be found at the link below.
Regardless of the size of a jurisdiction there may be times when the jurisdiction might require additional resources. A large fire or other emergency can quickly exhaust the resources of any single jurisdiction. Large fires may require additional manpower, equipment and supplies.
On June 6, 2012, the mayors from Vanderhoof, Fraser Lake and Fort St. James signed a mutual aid agreement for Fire and Rescue Services that will help to enable the three municipalities to legally and promptly access on another’s resources, provide each with a better understanding of the development and use of specialized resources that are difficult and costly to provide and will provide some cost recovery to responding departments.
The agreement took effect on April 1, 2012 and will remain in effect for five years.
Emergency response frequently requires a rapid deployment of resources. This agreement is intended to minimize delay in securing additional or specialized resources from each neighbouring municipality.
Mayor Gerry Thiessen, Mayor Rob MacDougall and Mayor Dwayne Lindstrom all agreed that this agreement continues to demonstrate that working together on common issues benefits everyone. The three mayors want to thank Fire Chief Joe Pacheco, Fire Chief Rob Bennett and Fire Chief Dave Balding for their work on the Mutual Aid Agreement.
Mayor Rob MacDougall of the District of Fort St. James and Mayor Stephanie Killam of the District of Mackenzie met on June 8, 2012 in Prince George. Up for discussion were issues concerning Mount Milligan Mine’s environmental assessment amendment, the condition of the Fort St. James-Mackenzie connector road and potential benefits and detriments to our communities with the growth in industrial activity in the region.
Senior staff members also attended. The two mayors intend to meet quarterly to discuss these and other issues in common.