The District of Fort St. James had a snowy start to 2018 with lots of snow clearing from January right through to April.
The Economic Development department has been applying for grants and participating in training. With summer in sight the District is looking forwards to another season operating the Visitor Centre in Fort St. James. The Visitor Centre will be open seven days a week, 9am to 5pm, May through August. Pick up local brochures for your staycation or find exciting new places to explore this summer. Forestry maps and local souvenirs are also available at the Visitor Centre.
The Business Façade program has grant funding available for local businesses in need of a new sign or a fresh coat of paint. Application are due at the end of April. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Economic Development Officer Kelley Williams at the District Office.
Public Works have been very busy this first quarter with snow clearing and keeping municipal streets safe. Employees caught up on annual training and the Public Works Superintendent participated in Asset Management training. The Fort Forum had a busy season and played host to a diverse range of tournaments. The Arena received new lighting that has significantly brightened the ice surface. Renovations took place in the foyer this spring, and further upgrades are expected to the ice plant later in 2018.
The Fort St. James Fire Department had 20 calls this quarter. This is down from the same time last year. Firefighters and Officers have started the NFPA 1001 Firefighter 1 and Firefighter 2 training program. This is professional training that equips firefighter with hands on skills for both external and internal attack. The fire department is looking for engaged community members to join the team; pick up an application at the District Office or at the Fire Department.
The District of Fort St. James helped coordinate and promote a diverse array of events for Winterfest. The Caledonia Classic was another great success with many mushers participating. The Community Arts Council and Murray Ridge arranged a food and ski tour that was a great success. Over 25 community members came out and braved the cold to ski between three food and drink stations.
Council held a number of extra meetings to plan and review the 2018-2022 budget and Financial Plan. Two members of Council attended the Local Government Leadership Academy training in Richmond in February. Council continues to engage with the community, industry and with government regarding the proposed designation change of the North Road from a Highway to a Forest Service Road.
Council has adopted a few new bylaws so far in 2018. These include:
- Bylaw 984, Amendment to the Anti-Idling Bylaw
- Bylaw 985, Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy
- Bylaw 986, Water Rates
- Bylaw 987, Sewer Rates
- Bylaw 988, Garbage Rates
Residents will have noticed an increase to their utility bills. This increase is to ensure that funding is available to put towards reserve funds, for future improvements and ongoing projects. The District is continuing with the installation of a SCADA system which is an automated water & sewer monitoring system.
In February Council put forward a proposed amendment to the Zoning bylaw. This amendment would add a definition for Cannabis to the Bylaw and prohibits the commercial production and retail of recreational cannabis within the District. This amendment is ahead of Federal legalization in July and Provincial sales of Cannabis and is not meant to be a permanent ban, but will allow Council and Administration time to decide what commercial cannabis production and retail will look like in Fort St. James once it becomes legal.
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 (facebook.com/fortstjames). Twice a year, look for the Fort Flyer included with your utility 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