Luck Bay Fire Protection Update

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PRESS RELEASE

May 26, 2016

The Fire Underwriters Survey (FUS) reduced the Luck Bay Fire Protection Area’s status to “unprotected” as of December 15, 2015.  While this may have an impact on home insurance rates for residents in the Luck Bay area, it does not change the Fort St. James Fire Department’s commitment to responding to all incidents within its fire protection areas.

The District of Fort St. James and the Regional District of Bulkley Nechako have taken several actions towards finding solutions to meet the minimum Fire Underwriter Service requirements for protected status.  We would like to inform the public of the progress made to date.

  • Fort St. James Fire Department (FSJFD) undertook an emergency intake of new recruits and a recruit course specifically for the Luck Bay area. This recruit course ended April 16th with two new recruits from the Luck Bay area completing the training.  A returning member was granted a shortened probationary period to more quickly increase the number of Fire Fighters.
  • In addition to the emergency intake, there has been a regularly scheduled FSJFD recruit course that began April 18th with one recruit from the Luck Bay area.
  • FSJFD has been working with the FUS to better understand their rating system in order to set realistic goals toward meeting their requirements for “protected” status. This is an ongoing conversation.  The Fire Underwriters’ Survey system is complex, with points given based on several criteria including; firefighter distance from home to the fire hall, distance from work to the fire hall, whether the person lives here year-round, level of training etc.
  • The Fire Chief has implemented improved communication within the department, and has kept the Chief Administrative Officer, Mayor and Council and the Regional District informed of all developments.

We have not yet been able to meet the Fire Underwriters’ Survey requirements for an improved rating. While several new members have been recruited, there have also been some resignations. At present the FSJFD has 37 active members with 7 living in the Luck Bay area. Recruitment and retention of fire fighters is a continual struggle throughout British Columbia.

We encourage Luck Bay Residents to consider joining the FSJFD.  We are particularly in need of fire fighters who are able to respond to calls in Luck Bay during daytime hours. Applications are always available at the Fort St. James District office for pick-up/drop-off.  The deadline for the next recruit intake is noon on September 2nd.

For more information please contact:

Kevin Crook, Chief Administrative Officer
District of Fort St. James
Phone: 250-996-8233
Fax: 250-996-2248
Email: cao@fortstjames.ca

Or

Deborah Jones-Middleton
Regional District of Bulkley Nechako
Phone: 1-800-320-3339
Fax: 250-692-3305
Email: deborahjm@rdbn.bc.ca

Luck Bay Fire Hall Remains Open

Media Release – 29 January 2016

A rumour that the Sowchea/Luck Bay Fire Hall may be closing is not true. The District of Fort St. James and the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako would like to publicly state that there is no plan to close the Sowchea/Luck Bay Fire Hall or to discontinue fire protection services in the Sowchea/Luck Bay Rural Fire Protection Services Areas.

The Fire Underwriters Survey (FUS) have downgraded the Luck Bay Rural Fire Protection Service Area, which is the area west of Colony Point consisting of approximately 78 residences, from a 3B to a 5 rating which is termed ‘Unprotected’. The reason the FUS downgraded the rating is due to the fire department not having enough fire fighters able to meet the FUS’s requirement for responses to incidents in the Luck Bay Rural Fire Protection Service Area.

The 5 Rating may result in the residences in the Luck Bay Rural Fire Protection Area experiencing an increase in property insurance rates.
The District of Fort St. James Fire Department will continue to respond to all calls in the Luck Bay Rural Fire Protection Area to the best of its ability with available resources.

At a meeting held on January 28th, District of Fort St. James Mayor and Council members and the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako Electoral Area ‘C’ Director met with fire fighters and local government staff to talk about solutions to meet the minimum FUS requirements for protected status in a timely manner.

These actions will include:
– An immediate intake of new recruits, in addition to the scheduled Spring intake
– Enhancement of training opportunities
– Working with the FUS to better understand their rating system in order to set realistic goals toward meeting their requirements for protected status
– Development of a plan to improve communications both inter-departmentally and with the public.

District of Fort St. James Mayor and Council and the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako Electoral Area ‘C’ Director will hold a public meeting, the date to be announced, once the details of these actions have been determined.

For more information please contact:
Kevin Crook, Chief Administrative Officer
District of Fort St. James
Phone: 250-996-8233
Fax: 250-996-2248

Gail Chapman, Chief Administrative Officer
Regional District of Bulkley Nechako
Phone: 1-800-320-3339
Fax: 250-692-3305
Email: district@fortstjames.ca Email: inquiries@rdbn.bc.ca

District of Fort St. James to hold an Alternative Approval Process on BC Hydro Land Exchange

Our Proposal:

The District of Fort St. James is looking at entering into an agreement with BC Hydro to sell .0188ha of park land to the East of the BC Hydro sub station (Murray Rd) in exchange for 0.188ha of land to be designated as park land North of the BC Hydro sub station (Douglas Ave).  This exchange has been requested by BC Hydro to facilitate upgrades to the BC Hydro sub station which are required to tie in power which will be generated by the Fort Green Energy Project.   A map of the land to be exchanged has been included on this web post.

Our Process:

In order for the municipality to sell park land it is required by the Community Charter to consult the public.  There are two types of public consultation available to the municipality: an Alternative Approval Process and Assent Voting.  Mayor and Council have determined to enact an Alternative Approval Process (AAP) as their primary consultation, given it is less costly to the tax payer and can be executed in a shorter time frame.

In an AAP, 10% of the community must make their opposition to the project known, in writing, to the municipality, similar to a petition.  If 10% or greater (121 people) are opposed to the sale going forward, Assent Voting may be enacted. A table has been included on the back page of this informational booklet outlining the differences between Alternative Approval Processes and Assent Voting.

Timeline:

All written responses must be received by 4:30p.m. on Friday August 31, 2015.  Written responses can be given in person, delivered by a 3rd party, or received by mail no later than the deadline.  The response can be signed on the appropriate Elector Response Form attached to this post, or written separately, making clear the elector’s position and including the full name of the elector, signature, mailing address and date.  If the elector is a non-resident property owner this should also be included in the statement.  In addition to being included here, the Elector Response Form can be picked up at the Municipal Office.    The “Land Disposal and Exchange Bylaw No. 951, 2015” was given first, second and third reading at Council Meeting July 12, 2015.  It is scheduled to be adopted at the Regular Council Meeting of September 9, 2015 unless an Assent Vote is held.

Costs to the Municipality:

Costs to the municipality for this AAP process and transaction are minimal.  Some administration time is necessary for the execution of the AAP, as well as some printing and postage costs.

Who May Vote:

Only Resident Electors and Non-Resident Property Electors may vote.  More detail on Resident Electors and Non-Resident Property Elector eligibility can be found below.  A person must not sign more than one elector response form in relation to this Alternative Approval Process.

Elector Eligibility:

A Resident Elector is an individual who is entitled to sign an Elector Response Form during an AAP by virtue of living within that jurisdiction. When signing an elector response form, a resident elector must:

  • be 18 years of age or older;
  • be a Canadian citizen;
  • have lived in British Columbia for at least six months;
  • have lived in the municipal boundaries for at least 30 days; and
  • not be disqualified under the Local Government Act, or any other enactment from voting in a local election, or be otherwise disqualified by law.

A NonResident Property Elector is an individual that does not live in a jurisdiction and who is entitled to sign an elector response form during an AAP by virtue of owning property in that jurisdiction. When signing an Elector Response Form, a Non-Resident Property Elector must:

  • be at least 18 years of age;
  • be a Canadian citizen;
  • have lived in British Columbia for at least six months;
  • have owned property in the Municipality for at least 30 days; and,
  • not be disqualified under the Local Government Act, or any other enactment from voting in a local election, or be otherwise disqualified by law.

A Note About Non-Resident Property Elector Consent:

Only one non-resident property elector may sign an elector response form per property, regardless of how many people own the property; and that owner must have the written consent of a majority of the other property owner(s) to sign the response form on their behalf. Property owned in whole or in part by a corporation does not qualify under the non-resident property elector provisions.

More Information:

Attached to this electronic post the public can download our Elector Response Form as well as a map outlining the property to be exchanged.

More details on this process and the Bylaw it relates to can be requested through the District Office at 477 Stuart Dr. W. Mon – Fri, 8:30a.m. – 4:30p.m., by emailing edo@fortstjames.ca or calling 250-996-8233.

Elector Response Form and Information Sheet_Page_1Satellite Image Map

 

Business Walk

The District of Fort St James is excited to be participating in our first ever Business Walk! Business Walks are a business retention program that aims to survey as many businesses in the community as possible. The Walk will take place July 6th from 9:30 to 12:30 and will be coordinated through the District, the Chamber of Commerce and the Province of British Columbia Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training. If you would like more information or would like to book an appointment for an interview please contact Emily Colombo, Economic Development Officer at edo@fortstjames.ca.

All information collected will go into a final report that will be available for all business owners and online. If follow up interviews are requested the District and Chamber will do their best to provide additional information and support.

We look forwards to chatting with as many businesses as we can and making this an annual event!

Fort St James Flyer Final

Community Foundation Growing The Community

The District of Fort St. James is happy to announce that the Fort St. James Community Foundation has recently reached a balance of $243,000. The District is excited to partner with the Foundation by having provided $25,000 in matching grants since 2013.

The community groups that have benefited from Community Foundation funding this year were:

  • Tl’azt’en Nation
  • Stuart Lake Golf Club,
  • Healthy Minds Peer Support
  • Fort St. James Music Makers
  • Stuart Lake Seniors
  • Stuart Lake Outreach Society

A total of $8,000 was granted to these organizations, funding an exciting boat building project, a community garden located behind the Fort St James District Office, supporting the food bank lunch program, purchasing new audio equipment for community use, providing medical transportation to seniors, and purchasing new equipment for the Golf Course Club House. Granting by the Community Foundation will continue to grow as more donations are made, contributing to their goal of $1,000,000 in investments by 2020.

Interest earned from the Foundation’s investments is then distributed to the community in the form of grants and scholarships, providing long-term, sustainable funding for Fort St. James.

Congratulations Fort St James Community Foundation! Please visit the Fort St James Community Foundation website for more information or to donate.

 

Community FOundation Board Directors 2014

(Photo of 2014 Community Foundation Board Directors, courtesy of Ruth Lloyd Photo and Writing)

Mayor and Council Tour Fort Green Energy Construction

On Friday May 22, Mayor Rob MacDougall and Councillors from the District of Fort St. James has the opportunity to tour the Fort Green Energy construction site.  At the site they were greeted by members of the Construction Team: Jon E. Lidwall (Iberdrola Construction Manager), Sherry Earles (Iberdrola Safety Officer), Antonia Salinas (Iberdrola Safety Manager), Muhammad Yahya (Dalkia Electrial Engineering Manager) and Derrick Statt (DWB Consulting, Environmental Manager).  Joining Fort St. James representatives were Mayor Gerry Thiessen from Vanderhoof and Partner Sheilke of Yekooche First Nation.

The visiting party were given the opportunity to learn about how the plant will operate, see current construction in progress, take photos and have various questions about construction answered.  As a result of the visit, a community notice board is being set-up on site which will contain information about community events, rental units, and opportunities that may be of interest to construction workers.

At present, there are 168 people working on site, with the potential for this number to increase to 225 – 250.  The project is an estimated 60% constructed.  At this point the project has a safety indicator rating of 2.1 and has only had 1 lost time incident during the course of construction thus far.  From 2015 to present the construction effort has provided over 95,000 man hours of employment.

Operations of the Fort Green Energy Project will commence in 2016, with some positions being posted for staffing in 2015.  Operational job postings will be searchable on the Careers page of Veolia’s North American website by searching All Jobs for British Columbia.

The project has signed to deliver energy to BC Hydro for 30 years.

Participants of the tour are identified in the photo below.

(From left): Councillor Kris Nielsen, Antonia Slainas, Councillor Dave Birdi, Derrick Statt, Mayor Rob MacDougall, Councillor Brenda Gouglas, Partner Sheilke, Emily Colombo, Mayor Gerry Thiessen, Kevin Crook

(From left): Councillor Kris Nielsen, Antonia Slainas, Councillor Dave Birdi, Derrick Statt, Mayor Rob MacDougall, Councillor Brenda Gouglas, Partner Sheilke, Emily Colombo, Mayor Gerry Thiessen, Kevin Crook

Fort St. James – Carbon Neutral Since 2013

CAC-logo2014-CN-CMYK-printCarbon Neutral_company_4CAs a Charter signatory to the Climate Action Charter, the District of Fort St. James has demonstrated its commitment to work with the Province and the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) to take action on climate change and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in its corporate operations and the broader community.

We have met the goal of corporate carbon neutrality for the 2014 reporting year and have been awarded Level 3 recognition – ‘Achievement of Carbon Neutrality’ –  by the Green Communities Committee (a joint provincial/UBCM committee).  Click to view the District’s Climate Action Revenue Incentive Program report for 2014.

We’re proud to take action against climate change and be a carbon neutral local government for a second year. We have measured our total greenhouse gas emissions, reduced them as much as possible and offset the difference with Offsetters, a BC-based carbon management company.

We have chosen to invest in two different initiatives this year:

  • The Great Bear Forest Carbon Project, an Improved Forest Management project, which generates emission reductions by protecting forest areas that were previously designated, sanctioned or approved for commercial logging.
  • Selkirk Mountain/Darkwoods Project, a conservation and connectivity project.  The project area connects to existing parks and wildlife management areas to form a contiguous wilderness area of 255,000 acres (103,000 hectares). This connectivity is important for large ranging species such as Grizzly Bear and Mountain Caribou. The immense size of the project is also a perfect example of “landscape scale” conservation, which allows a network of interconnected habitats to continue as a complete, functioning landscape. This is not only good for the health of the ecosystem as a whole, it provides room for the plants and animals in the area to expand as needed to alleviate the affects of climate change or other natural events such as forest fires or drought.

Fort St. James Signs Historic Protocol With Nak’azdli First Nation

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On Sept. 15, 2014 Mayor and Council signed a Protocol Agreement with the Nak’azdli First Nation, outlining mutual respect between communities, acknowledgement of Nak’azdli Traditional Territory, and a quarterly meeting schedule between the two local governments.  To celebrate the historic agreement, a Block Party event was held on Kwah Rd, a road which outlines the jurisdictional boundary between the municipality and First Nation.  The event included many local food tables, traditional games, music by Nak’azdli and Fort St. James performers, speeches from Chief Fred Sam and Mayor MacDougall, and 100 ‘wish lanterns’ sent off at 8p.m. to signify the positive hopes and desires residents have for the two communities.  As a whimsical addition to the event, magic show passing through town joined the block and brought with them some interesting lizards for the public to check out.  An estimated 300 – 400 attendees were present from the two communities.

 

IMG_2118

Find a full copy of the Protocol Agreement here.

(Exerted from the Agreement)

Whereas the Parties:

a. acknowledge that both communities are situated on Nak’azdli traditional territory and that with this acknowledgement comes respect for the land, people and unique histories of that territory; and

b. recognize that each council has unique responsibilities and authorities for their respective communities, within their respective areas of jurisdiction; and
c. recognize the need to collaborate on matters that impact the other, and that a collaborative relationship with each other must be founded on the fundamental principles of trust, honesty and mutual respect; and

d. wish to develop a shared vision that celebrates diversity, promotes healthy communities and supports the principles of sustainable development; and

e. wish to establish a strong government-to-government relationship for the purpose of sharing information, improving communications, and working together on joint initiatives.

NOW THEREFORE the Parties agree to:

a. Engage in co-operative action and invest in building the intergovernmental relationship at all levels (elected officials, administration, staff and citizens); and

b. Develop joint service agreements that are mutually beneficial; and

c. Recognize this Protocol as a living document that will be renewed regularly to reflect emerging priorities of the intergovernmental relationship; and

d. Implement this Protocol in the best efforts of each council and staff member of the respective Parties; and

e. Appoint representatives to participate on the Partnership Steering Committee—to meet quarterly; and

f. Engage in annual Council to Council meetings to develop the intergovernmental relationship and move forward on joint priorities. The first of such meetings will be held no later than June 30, 2014.

 

Water System Annual Report

The Water System Annual Report is now available to be viewed by the public.

If you have any questions or concerns about our Public Water System feel free to contact
the Public Works Superintendent at (250) 996-7161 or (250)996-8233.

WinterFest & Caledonia Classic

Publication3February 28 – March 9, 2014

Inspired by the inclusivity of the Dog Mushing world, this year’s Caledonia Classic Sled Dog Races will fall into the dates of a larger winter festival featuring a week of events and activities throughout the town of Fort St. James that support arts, culture, tradition and recreation.

The District of Fort St. James has initiated an expansion of this existing recreational heritage event by collaborating with community groups to co-host WINTERFEST!

We are so fortunate to have National Snow & Ice Competitive Carver, and owner of ‘Cool As Ice’ sculpting business in Nanaimo, visiting Fort St. James March 1-3 to demonstrate his skills!  Grant will be completing one large 128 cubic foot block in addition to guiding local participants on the carving of two more smaller blocks on Saturday March 1st during the races.  The pieces will be representational of the communities of Fort St. James and Nak’azdli.  This date will also feature sleigh rides and a ‘Sugar Shack’ with local birch syrup snow sticks sponsored by Integris Credit Union; hot mulled wine and apple cider by Music on the Mountain Society and Ice Fishing by The KEY!

A whopping 60 to 80 volunteers come out each year for the Caledonia Classic Races, including students from the neighbouring UNBC tourism department. The weekend includes:  150 mile race; 4, 6 and 10 dog race; Junior Musher and Kid ‘n’ Mutt race; Politicians Race; 50 mile 7-dog race with overnight at whitefish bay; and this year for the first time ever they are going to have a 200 mile race the following weekend.

WINTERFEST doesn’t end there though.  Community groups will be hosting various activities throughout the week including family dance, theatre, film, live music, skating, skiing and games!  All events are supporting local non-profit organizations including Nak’azdli Youth, Health & Recreation Groups, Murray Ridge Ski Area, Fort St. James Nordic Ski Group, Music on the Mountain Society, Senior Girls Basketball, Fort St. James Speed Skating, Music Makers Theatre Group, Sled Dog Association, and Volunteer FSJ.

Please visit https://fortstjames.civicweb.net/Documents/DocumentList.aspx?ID=19400 for the Schedule of Events and call 996-8233 today to get involved or sponsor the festival!