Clearwater meets with ministers at UBCM

Town council member Ken Kjenstad reports on a productive conference

By Keith McNeill

Members of Clearwater town council and staff had a productive time at the Union of BC Municipalities convention, according to councillor Ken Kjenstad.

Reporting during a town council meeting held Oct. 3, Kjenstad said they met with Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, to get support for more seniors housing at Evergreen Acres.

The minister later sent them a letter saying the district had been approved to receive $7,500 to investigate water meters.

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They met with RCMP deputy commissioner Brenda Butterworth-Carr to discuss staffing at the Clearwater detachment.

They also discussed the enhanced enforcement that will be needed to deal with social problems such as new people coming into the area during Kinder Morgan’s pipeline twinning project.

Rural education was the main topic with Education Minister Rob Fleming.

This included new funding for online courses, the discrepancy in capital spending between rural and urban, rural connectivity, and reinstating adult education and other courses formerly offered here by Thompson Rivers University.

Input from councillor Merlin Blackwell was useful when they spoke with Lisa Beare, the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Kjenstad reported.

Wells Gray Park needs more rangers, more trails, and a better strategy for dealing with wildfires, he said.

They weren’t able to meet with the Minister of the Environment, who has direct control of what happens in the park.

The District would like to meet with those responsible in the provincial government to make sure that Wells Gray Park is kept safe and that the product that was advertised will be available when people come to visit, Kjenstad said.

The possibility of making a connecting route from Wells Gray Park to the Cariboo was discussed with transport ministry staff.

Also discussed was Dunn Lake Road – no grants are available at this time but there are other possibilities.

Doug Donaldson, the Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, was told that more benefits should come back to the communities that produce the resources.

The minister assured them that the BC Wildfire Service office in Clearwater will not close and that two people will remain here year-round.

Initial Attack crew training will also continue locally.

Councillor Shelley Sim, who is the 2017/18 president of the Southern Interior Local Government Association, noted that SILGA sent three young people to UBCM this year.

This development was a direct result of the youth council that Clearwater pioneered, she felt.

Sim noted that Kamloops is also doing a similar project.

The 2017 UBCM convention was held at the Vancouver Convention Centre from Sept. 25 to 29.


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