I want to thank the Star/Journal for its unbiased reporting and timely responses to any typos that happen. It is important that corrections are given when they need to be. These typos are not anyone’s fault and if the proper information is communicated then all should be good.
Speaking of communication, a few have said that information from the district is not communicated very well. They say that it is unreasonable to expect that everyone has a computer. To this point I agree, but for those that do have access to the internet it is a valuable tool to get information out.
It was also pointed out that not everyone buys the newspaper. I find this comment interesting, because the person making this comment did so in a letter to the newspaper editor. If they say they feel putting information in the newspaper does not suit their needs, why are they spending time writing to the editor of the newspaper? If what they say about people not buying the newspaper is true, then who will read what they have written?
The radio is a very effective way to get information out. Advertising on the radio is costly though, and the same people that have negative comments around poor communication methods also worry about money being spent. The folks at Kamloops CBC and Radio NL have been great at giving interviews about important events and time sensitive topics here in Barriere. This has been a big help.
The issue of communicating information to residents is a top priority for the district, and an effective method that satisfies the needs of the majority of residents will have to be found.
Council announced recently that the district has purchased the large ex-grocery store, the small house next to it, and 2.4 acres of land beside the Interior Credit Union on Barriere Town Road. Some may think that this has created a debt for the district. This is not correct, as the district has a reserve fund for the purchase of a municipal office. This fund fully covered the cost of the purchase.
This purchase had been in the works for several years, as it is the land adjacent to the existing fire hall and any expansion of the hall would be difficult without more land. Previous attempted negotiations met with failure for many reasons. Recently the owners of the property, the HY Louie Company, agreed to enter into negotiations with the district at very favourable terms. I want to thank all those involved for their hard work. These are never easy negotiations. The district was very fortunate that a deal could be struck.
At the recent Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference a number of workshops were held that focused on infrastructure such as water mains. One such workshop presented the success stories of small communities that are getting more for their infrastructure dollars through asset management and innovative infrastructure practises. Big words and phrases used to fill in the gaps during the presentations. It boils down to simple concepts like bundling projects together and doing all the needed upgrades. Not just patch things together and think you are saving money.
The federal Government also revealed more details of the Long Term Infrastructure Plan, which has $53 billion including $47 billion in new funding over the next 10 years. The new Building Canada plan includes the already existing Gas Tax Fund, a renewed Building Canada Fund with broader categories and a new incremental Goods and Services Tax Rebate for municipalities. B.C. municipalities will miss out on the GST one.
All the details will be announced later this year. The intake for grant applications will happen sometime after that, if the details can be ironed out. For local residents, and business owners that are in favour of waiting for Barriere to be given grant money from these programs to do needed upgrades, this should indicate the time frame.
New municipalities get grants. These are meant to pay for such costs as the transition of services. The work required now to acquire funding is very different. Success requires a change in focus. Change for some is never easy.