New Fire Chief honoured with 'Passing of the Helmet'
The City of Williams Lake's new Director of Protective Services and Fire Chief, Evan Dean, was recognized during a special presentation - 'The Passing of the Helmet' - during the Tuesday, December 6 Regular Council Meeting.
Dean, a dedicated City employee for the past 11 years and a firefighter for the past nine years, received words of encouragement from Acting Fire Chief Randy Isfeld in front of colleagues from the Williams Lake Fire Department filling a large section of the gallery.
Dean said it's truly an honour and humbling to be able to serve the community.
"The [WLFD] members are an incredible asset to our community," Dean said. "I'm truly honoured just to work with this group. Thank you for the opportunity and I love you guys."
Mayor Surinderpal Rathor added the City was pleased to be able to promote from within in order to fill the position.
Council rescinds mandatory vaccination policy
Council voted to rescind the COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccination Council Policy put into effect in January of 2022. Should circumstances surrounding the virus change, a framework is in place to revisit the policy in the future.
Wheels in motion on Active Transportation Committee
Council directed City staff to revisit the creation of an Active Transportation Committee following a presentation from Streets for All Williams Lake and Go By Bike Williams Lake.
Paul Smith and Ruth Lloyd told Council they are advocating for more infrastructure to accommodate active transportation and safer streets in Williams Lake while also striving to become a more sustainable community.
Council told the delegation they are on board with the creation of the committee, which aims to include representatives from stakeholders outside the municipality and local cycling groups, as well.
City to examine opening of overdose prevention site to help combat toxic drug crisis
Following several questions from Council directed at a delegation of Interior Health and First Nations Health Authority representatives about what a mobile overdose prevention site in Williams Lake would look like, Council directed staff to prepare a report prior to moving forward.
Appearing by Zoom, Interior Health representatives, along with First Nations Health Authority members appearing in person inside Council Chambers, asked the City to consider opening a mobile overdose prevention site in collaboration with Interior Health and First Nations Health Authority in order to combat the toxic drug crisis.
Chief Administrative Officer Gary Muraca noted any path forward would be subject to a public consultation process.
Council, meanwhile, asked local wellness organizations for as much factual information as possible to help them make an informed decision.
Council continues discussion on repeat violent offenders
Council agreed to send a letter to Hon. Murray Rankin, Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing, thanking him for his directive to identify and implement amendments to the BC Prosecution Service's Bail - Adults policy, and to also encourage the BC Prosecution Service to utilize electronic monitoring on prolific offenders that are released into the community on bail conditions.
Handy-Dart renewal agreement approved
Council approved a three-year renewal agreement with the Cariboo Regional District for Handy-Dart service for specified areas within the regional district.
The City and CRD have been a part of a community transit partnership for the past 11 years, with the Handy-Dart service agreement coming up for renewal every three years.
The CRD pays approximately $11,000 per year for the service.
The agreement's services include the regional district communities of 150 Mile, Wildwood, Mountview, Esler and South Lakeside.
Emergency Support Social Services agreement renewed
Council endorsed the renewal of a a Memorandum of Understanding between the CRD and City to provide Emergency Support Services to residents within the region.
Scout Island washroom replacement project contract awarded
Council awarded a contract for the washroom replacement project at Scout Island to Spruce Lee Construction for the price of $298,225, plus taxes, and agreed to a cost overrun of $26,829.02 be covered from other projects coming in under budget. Seventy-five per cent of the cost to rebuild the washroom is being covered through the Canadian Community Revitalization Fund.
Cemetery bylaw amendment, service renewal endorsed by City Council
Council approved a three-year renewal agreement with the Cariboo Regional District for cemetery services for community members living within Electoral Areas D, E and F of the CRD.
The agreement allows residents of those areas to receive the same consideration as residents within the City for costs to be interred in the Williams Lake Cemetery.
Council also gave first three readings to the Cemetery Bylaw Amendment to approve the cemetery fee schedule increases and to address minor housekeeping and wording adjustments to the current bylaw.
Coun. Scott Nelson noted, per a report from the Municipal Services Coordinator, the Williams Lake Cemetery will be nearing its full capacity within the next 12 to 15 years and asked members of Council to consider identifying this in the Official Community Plan moving forward.
Airport upgrades, master plan, target of upcoming grant applications
Council cleared the runway for several grant applications to proceed and the creation of a Utility Master Plan to guide future development at the Williams Lake Regional Airport.
First, Council approved an application request to BC Air Access Program for airport upgrades for the replacement of two existing security gates at a cost of $60,000.
The gates were identified in a 2019 report as needing repair or replacement in the near future. The grant would cover 60 per cent of the project cost.
Next, Council approved an application request to BC Air Access Program Airside Project Stream for Airport Airside upgrades of new LED Apron Lighting for $55,900, which was identified for replacement in the same report released in 2019. Funding for this project would cover 75 per cent of the cost.
Council also supported an application to the provincial Rural Economic Diversification and Infrastructure Program for a Utility Master Plan to be created for the Williams Lake Regional Airport. The purpose of the master plan would be to guide future development at the airport, as well as help the Cariboo Regional District as it undertakes planning for future upgrades to the Pine Valley sewer system.
The plan would provide a short-term vision for expansion, as well as a more comprehensive long-term view based on the conceptual land use plan identified in the 2019 study.
The estimated cost for the study is roughly $100,000.
2023-25 Fee for Service Agreements considered at meeting
Council approved entering into Fee for Service Agreements for three-year terms, effective January 1, 2023 through to December 31, 2025, as follows:
Fee for Service Agreements deferred to future budget discussions included Scout Island Nature Centre, Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society 'Waste Wise' Program, Williams Lake Stampede Parade, Williams Lake Hospice Society, Potato House Sustainable Community Society and Williams Lake and District Chamber of Commerce.
Performances in the Park agreement renewed
Council approved a Central Cariboo Joint Committee recommendation to renew the Performances in the Park services agreement between the Central Cariboo Arts and Culture Society, the City of Williams Lake and the Cariboo Regional District for a three-year term at a cost of $22,000 annually paid to the Society for coordinating the event.