Mayor says municipality continues to grow

as the mayor sees it with District of Barriere Mayor Bill Humphreys

I heard that someone said Barriere is “suffering”. It is unclear where this person got their facts from to make such a statement,  but the statement is patently false.

Barriere is slowly growing both in population and in its economic base. All you have to do is look at the number of young children around town and watch the new construction at some of our local businesses, as well as the new residential units being built, to see that we are a healthy and sustainable community.

To ensure that this continues, Barriere must be able to access resources outside of the District boundaries that will allow us to prosper and grow. As healthy and vibrant as we are we must not isolate ourselves. It is essential that a network of contacts be built both in the government and private sectors, that can be called upon to support and bolster our plan for social health and economic prosperity.

A few moments spent giving ill conceived comments about Barriere in public can put at peril many months of building relationships and planning.

Barriere Council has shown a dedicated willingness to work with our neighbouring communities for the betterment of all. The recent successful infrastructure grant that was filed by the TNRD was a result of Barriere, Clearwater, and the surrounding electoral areas recognizing a need, and working together to secure the funds to go ahead with needed improvements to our septage processing facilities.

When our need for support goes beyond the local government level, my experience has been that I have had no problems getting access to our local MLA, Minister Lake, as well as any of the other ministers or their staff. Short notice meetings were accommodated, email inquiries and phone calls returned promptly, and any sort of information was forwarded as quickly as possible.

As an example, last week I had the opportunity to speak with Minister Steve Thomson, the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. I pitched my personal plea for assistance to get at least long term leases on the land within our District boundaries that was not transferred to the District when we incorporated.

Despite being busy and having a number of others waiting to speak with him, Minister Thomson took the time to explain to me who it was I should contact, and asked that I check back with him on the progress of the applications.

The need for facilities that allow our seniors to stay here in the valley near their families and friends will grow dramatically in the next few years. The time to plan for this need was yesterday, but today will have to do.

Barriere has space to allow for a number of such projects to be built. Any private investor group the District works with will want the land to be owned by the District,  or leased on a long term basis from the Province.

That is why I approached Minister Thomson as a first step in the process. The next step is to gain consensus of our First Nations neighbours. By being transparent in these matters and recognizing the need to consult, I hope that the process will go smoothly.  There are a number of private entities that will help with these projects, but in all cases the projects will require properly zoned and serviced land.

Our new wastewater system will provide one of the needed services, and by upgrading other facets of our infrastructure, we will be on track to making such a project happen.

We have a need to improve the safety of all our residents that use Barriere Town Road. Another Town Hall Meeting will be held on Feb. 26, at the Ridge. The time is being worked on as we want the meeting held so that a good number of residents can attend to give their views on the subject. There will be an ad in the newspaper.

The topic will be the design of Barriere Town Road as it relates to increased safety for drivers, pedestrians and mobility devices. I was told that they are not all scooters, but that the term mobility devices worked. No rocks will be harmed during the process.