Barriere attends Leadership Forum

as the mayor sees it with District of Barriere Mayor Bill Humphreys - Barriere attends Leadership Forum

Last week was a busy week for some of council. The local Government Leadership Academy held its 2013 Leadership Forum in Vancouver. I attended along with Director Kershaw. I say Director Kershaw as Bill was there in his role as the TNRD Area ‘O’ Director.

These forums are important in that they present the latest information on dealing with issues relating specifically to local government. The format allows participants to gain insight into a number of topics in a very short space of time. Also, any problems that we might have here in Barriere can be brought forth to gain advice which proves invaluable in most cases. Learn from the mistakes of others and life is easier. Cheaper as well, since consultants do not come in most cases without a rather large price tag.

All local elected government officials and staff were invited and encouraged to attend, so that the pool of experience can grow through the years. Topics such as Long Term Infrastructure Planning, Enhancing Citizen Awareness Through Social Media, and Collaborating in Conflict and Relationships with First Nations were presented by a panel of experts as well as discussed by those attending. This year the forum was particularly well attended. The chance to speak with representatives from all across B.C. and share problems and solutions in such a positive environment is a great experience.

During the Relationships with First Nations segment,  Haisla Chief Councillor Ellis Ross gave an impassioned speech on ‘what has happened in the past, must not be allowed to happen again’. Chief Ross then went on to say that through the efforts of Ron Poole, the CAO of the City of Kitimat, the process was changing and a relationship based on trust was beginning to build. Promises that had been made had been kept, unlike what had happened with others previously.

When it was his turn to speak Mr. Poole went on to explain that in all cases each party had to be heard. All negotiations must be based on equitable sharing and respect.

It struck me that this message could be applied to any of the many negotiations now underway in our province with respect to Rights and Titles issues. Each party must be willing to listen to the others concerns. Everyone must realize that the best way to a resolution is through proper negotiation, not confrontation.

Here in Barriere, our roads are suffering the usual problems of Spring break-up. Pot holes and broken road edges are appearing as if by magic.

Dustin Doherty, our Parks, Bylaw Enforcement and Roads Coordinator/Supervisor has been working on a plan to bring the roads back to a suitable level of repair. The problem is not being ignored. The truth is though, that some problems will need to wait until we excavate for the sewer lines. Then we will be able to fix the problems properly.

I see in the paper that the recent excavation work on Borthwick may have caused some concerns for local residents and businesses. The District will work on refining the process of informing everyone around such activity. It should be noted though that the closure was very short and access to local businesses was still possible. I do apologize though for the apparent lack of notice.

Jill Hayward did a great article on the young bulls being tried-out at the Agriplex. In his usual mode of being efficient, Steven Puhallo had sent me an email letting me know this was happening. As a result I got to watch some really interesting aspects of the art of bull riding. The young riders that were there put on a show that was worth watching. I want to thank Steven and the rest of the folks that are working hard to bring even more agri-events here to Barriere. The New Years Eve Bullarama was a huge success, and I am sure that any future events will be too.

Barriere has a unique opportunity to capture the vast majority of the tourism dollars spent on agri-tourism. The efforts of such people as Jill Hayward and Steven Puhallo account for why this is happening here in Barriere. I hope it continues to grow. Thanks again to everyone involved.