There was another Community 2 Community Forum (C2C) on January 23. The last C2C meeting was in February of 2012 and was held in Clearwater. This time it was held here in Barriere. There were elected representatives and staff from the District of Clearwater, Simpcw First Nation and the Thompson Nicola Regional District. We gathered to discuss matters of mutual concern and to hear presentations from various groups that involve all communities.
Randy Murray, Chair of the TNRD, gave a presentation that outlined the strategic priorities of the TNRD for 2013. Once again one of those priorities was solid waste management. Peter Hughes, TNRD Director of Environmental Services, then gave an update on the plans for the various landfill and transfer stations in our area.
Ted Richardson, Susan Garland and Elizabeth Elston, from the North Thompson Food Action group, gave a presentation on improving food security and sustainability in the North Thompson. They hope to build a frame work here in the valley to insure there are adequate local food sources.
Jenny Turco and Alexis Blueschke, from the Interior Health Authority, gave a presentation based on the Snakes and Ladders Life Game, that explained ways to balance life setbacks and turn those setbacks into opportunities. To a certain extent, we all experience setbacks and low points in our lives, and the Interior Health team is there to help should anyone need them.
Alison Coyne, Regional Corridor Economic Development liaison from the Ministry of Jobs Tourism and Skills Training, gave a presentation to help gain some direction and focus on our request for a Labour Market Analysis here in the North Thompson. What we are hoping to do is to identify possible labour needs and concerns, to prepare action plans to fill any skills based shortages and gaps that may occur as the various projects planned here in the North Thompson Valley unfold.
Chief Rita Matthew gave a report on how Simpcw Council views the recent actions of the “Idle No More” group, and also reported that the Simpcw Council had been rated number two in Canada for their accounting procedures. Considering the number of different First Nations Bands and Councils in Canada, that accomplishment is indeed noteworthy. Councillors Tom Eustache, Tina Donald and Shelly Loring gave a report on various projects that are underway through the Simpcw Council. One project was the recent purchase of land on the Raft River that was the site of traditional fishing and Band gatherings. There are plans to develop the land to showcase traditional Simpcw heritage and activities.
The meeting was filled with a number of different topics and reports. Despite the cramped timeframe much was said, and by most accounts was well received by those attending. My thanks to all those that took time out of your routines to attend. It is important to discuss certain matters face to face with as many community representatives in attendance as possible, so that we can have the benefit of the cross-pollination of innovative ideas.
Speaking of gathering ideas, District staff was out asking residents questions on the condition of our roads. Currently the District does not handle the maintenance of the roadways as it is still controlled by the province. We need to know what is working well, and what needs to be improved, so that we can formulate a future roads plan that suits the needs of the residents of Barriere. Thanks to those that have given input.
On Saturday, January 26, our MP Cathy McLeod was at the Clearwater ski hill to announce “The Thompson-Nicola Regional District (TNRD) will receive $1.4 million dollars from the Government of Canada through the Gas Tax Fund to construct two septage management facilities in partnership with the districts of Barriere and Clearwater. The project will serve over 7,300 residents located in the North Thompson Valley.”
It is important to note that this is a joint application involving all of the communities in the valley. By working together we all benefit from the grant monies. Thanks to the TNRD Board members and staff for making this happen. Grant applications can be difficult. Thanks also to MP Cathy McLeod for her continuing support of all the residents here in the valley.