The District of Fort St. James had a busy year in 2017 with lots of projects and programs taking place.
Council was able to support the community with $12,000 in Grants in Aid. These grants went to diverse community groups and individuals pursuing a diverse number of opportunities. Grants ranged from $100 to $5,000. Council is always excited to sponsor community projects and individual achievements. If you would like to apply for a grant in aid, please visit the District website or contact the Office for more information.
There were over $7,000 worth of building permits sold in 2017, representing over 1 million in construction value. The amount of these permits is positive and shows that our community is growing.
The Business Façade program awarded $5,800 to local businesses for Façade improvements. Business Façade grants provide 50% of a project cost up to $5,000. Applications for 2018 are available starting February 1st, 2018. If you have any questions regarding the Business Façade program contact the Economic Development Officer, Kelley Williams.
The District of Fort St. James supported a diversity of events throughout the year. Each event was a success and showed what a great place Fort St. James is to be. Events included: Winter Fest, Earth Day, Pitch in Week, Bike to Work Week, Day of Mourning, Canada Day celebration, 5th Annual Night Market, the Pumpkin Walk, and Remembrance Day.
Public Works completed many projects that benefited the community in 2017. During the 2017 winter there was extensive work completed to the District of Fort St. James Marina. The District had support from the Regional District, KDL and many other community partners. During the summer Public Works installed a columbarium at the Cemetery. The columbarium allows loved ones to inter urns in the columbarium with memorial plaques. Public Work’s final big project at the end of August was the installation of public washrooms in Spirit Square. These washrooms will be open daily from May to September. Winter came early and as always Public Work was hard at work keeping roads safe in Fort St. James. A big thank you to Public Works for their help at community events including Canada Day, the Night Market and Music on the Mountain.
The Fort St. James Fire Department had a busy year with 150 call outs. The Department gained 3 new members through 2 recruit classes. Members participated in air brakes, ice rescue, defensive driving and a strategy and tactics courses. There was also regular driver training, hose testing and pump operator training. The Fort St. James Fire Department is always looking for new members and recruit courses take place every spring and fall. Stop by the Fire Department to pick up an application. In August of 2017 the Department welcomed Steven DeRousie as Fire Chief as well as a new to the department ladder truck. Thank you to Conifex Timber, Apollo Forest Products and the Regional District of Bulkley Nechako for their generous contributions that went towards equipping Ladder 12.
Council had a productive year in 2017
- January and February saw Council endorse the Right to a Healthy Environment which was an initiative by the David Suzuki Foundation to have communities join the Blue Dot initiative. Council adopted a new bylaw to regulate signs in Fort St. James. All new signs must receive a permit from the District. It is the hope of Council that this new signage will help create a cohesive look to the community. In February Council hosted a Community Forum. This was an opportunity for Community members to interact with council and departments regarding upcoming projects.
- March, April and May saw the opening of the visitor information centre. Council is excited to be more involved in tourism operations. Council adopted a communication policy for staff and council. Ten-year service awards were awarded to three employees in May. Congratulations to Katie Cooper, Nancy Shlamp and Mike Hassman. Council adopted the Financial Plan for 2017 as well as the 2016 Annual report. Fort St. James hosted the Nortern Emergency Services Training conference at the end of April. There were 80 delegates from across the north that came to Fort St. James to participate in training.
- June, July and August are considered slower months in Local Government. This didn’t prevent Council from hosting meetings with numerous forest industry proponents. In September, Council participated in the annual Union of British Columbia Municipalities convention in Vancouver. This was an occasion for Council to participate in seminars and workshops related to diverse fields in Local Government, and to have meetings with key members of the Provincial Government. Council took this time to lobby the government for a new hospital. Staff and Council preformed a downtown core business walk. This was an opportunity to hear directly from local businesses about challenges and success over the past year.
- October, November and December saw Council host a second community forum. Council will continue to host these types of events to provide the community with information regarding budget, operations and projects. Council formed two new committees this fall. These were the Hospital Replacement Committee which is continuing the work that the Primary Care Committee had been doing. This committee will focus solely on the replacement of the Stuart Lake Hospital. The other committee is a Bylaw Review Committee which is analyzing the Districts bylaws and providing comments on areas that could use improvements.
Want to know more about what is happening in Fort St. James? Council meetings take place twice a month, updates can be found on the District of Fort St. James website (fortstjames.ca) as well as the Facebook page (facebool.com/fortstjames). Twice a year look for the Fort Flyer included with your utility tax notice. Council wants to make sure all residents are aware of what is going on in their community so check the Caledonia Courier quarterly for “Council’s Corner”.
Mayor and Council for the District of Fort St. James