Mayor Humphreys “new guy” at recent Fall Fair meeting

As the Mayor sees it with District of Barriere Mayor Bill Humphreys

Recently I attended my first North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo Association meeting. I contacted the chairperson of the association, Jill Hayward to ask when the meeting was and if anyone was allowed to attend. I admit I had no idea of the rules of the NTFFA. The last thing I wanted to have happen was to arrive only to find out I needed to know the secret handshake before I could attend.

In the end the experience was really pleasant. Everyone there was friendly and welcoming, which always makes going to meetings of a long standing association as “the new guy” easier.

Business got done, reports were given and new tasks taken on with light hearted ribbing to make things flow. I can see why so much has been accomplished by this group over the years. The annual Fall Fair and Rodeo is coming up. There are a number of small but time consuming tasks to be completed at the fairgrounds. If anyone has a bit of time to give, I urge you to please volunteer.

Speaking of things getting completed, the Community park concession has been worked on for the past few days. The siding is being installed, the cement block walls painted along with upgrades to the kitchen and inside areas.

There are a number of dry areas around the parks and in the cemetery as well as the off flood due to large leaks. The problem is with the irrigation system. I have been told that the irrigation system woes are due to everything from sub-standard or faulty installation with no warranty to fall back on, the use of pipe and products that did not work well together, all the way to global warming  causing the timers to not work and the pipes and valves to leak. There is lots of information from a great variety of people.

Everyone has an opinion, which is good. People should say what they want as long as what they say is true, is not driven by retaliation to a perceived criticism, and most importantly leads to a solution to correct the problem at hand. In this case the grass and plants just need some water. District staff is working to find solutions to the issues as they arise no matter what caused them. From what I can tell, they are being successful in their efforts.

I was asked what I meant by having to define what the District won’t do. There is and never was, for whatever reason, no warrantee on the parks irrigation system to fall back on should problems arise. This is a perfect example of what the District won’t do in the future. One of the standards for choosing contractors needs to be that the company doing the work stands behind their work. There is a large group of qualified people in the local area, all of them capable of guaranteeing their efforts. In my opinion, when it is possible the District needs to “shop local” and use the best available.

There was a recent press release around Barriere joining the bylaw adjudication system. As Barriere’s bylaws are revamped and the list is increased, it makes sense that the District joins this innovative method of dispute resolution. Now that Barriere has been added to the list of more than 50 other local governments already using the system, Ms. Hannigan and staff are working hard to draft the paperwork needed to put the process in place.

Speaking of working hard Council and staff has been busy so far this year. Some of the recent changes are:

1) Joining the bylaw adjudication system 2) Creation of a board of variance 3) Starting a full scale bylaw review 4) Creation of a Development standing committee which includes members of the public at large 5) Beginning the institution of progressive tax breaks to attract businesses and promote the revitalization of the downtown core

These are some of the recent additions to the processes needed for the District to function properly. Long hours spent drafting bylaws, changing maps, giving public presentations and so forth.

This work is definitely not as much fun as building things perhaps but it all needed to be done.