This last week seemed to be one for meetings out of town. I attended a meeting in Blue River organized by Chief Rita Matthew and her Council. TNRD Area Director Macdonald, Mayor Harwood, Mayor McCracken, Chief Matthew, Councillors Donald and Eustache and myself talked about common concerns in the North Thompson valley. We also explored ways to partner on possible business and social ventures to the benefit of all the residents of the valley. We all agreed that sharing local resources as well as improving the flow of information between groups would be first priority going forward.
Each community in the valley has its own unique lifestyles and culture. Working as a group to support the growth of each area will allow progress to happen much quicker than if we all focused inwardly. This is not to say that each of us put the interests of our own communities behind the wishes of others. In all cases my focus is what will benefit Barriere.
After a quick visit with Minister Bennett up at the Agriplex, I travelled to Kamloops to meet with the new Minister of State for Seniors, Dr. Ralph Sultan. After a tour of the Ponderosa Lodge given to us by Sue Rolph the Residential Care Manager of the facility, we went off to Thompson Rivers University for a look behind the scenes of the new law facility being constructed. Minister Sultan and I spoke about how his ministry can help seniors here in the valley. As a result we are planning for Minister Sultan to visit Barriere in the near future to hear local concerns and ideas.
I want to thank June Phillips, Assistant to MLA Kevin Kruger for all her assistance in organizing the meeting with Minister Sultan. Ms. Phillips worked with Minister Sultan’s assistant Barb Ewens to make everything happen on time and at the right place. I feel we are on the right track to get better facilities and programs for seniors here in the valley. Each meeting, email and letter helps to keep our needs known and cared for.
There was a working group meeting for the zoning bylaw review for the District. As I have said previously, we currently use the bylaw we inherited from the TNRD. It is time to make bylaws more suited to the needs of Barriere. The review is progressing quite well. We will be holding another roundtable to check that the changes being made are along the lines of what residents feel is important.
There has been some activity around investors wanting to relocate to Barriere as well as families wanting to move here. The investors for the most part have been referred through the OpportunitiesBC group which is a portion of the Jobs Tourism and Skills Training ministry. By having the ministry involved a lot of the work around checking to see who it is that is making inquires is done. The investors that then come to Barriere know in advance what we have to offer and we in turn know that they have a true interest in our area. Many hours can be spent with an investor only to find that their needs cannot be met or that they do not have the required capital to undertake the projects proposed. With our limited resources we can ill afford to spend time chasing projects that have no hope of actually happening.
Another project that is coming to Barriere is the New Years Eve Bullarama to be held in the Agriplex. I met with Steven Phullalo, Jill Hayward, Deanna and Ed Lebourdais to see what they had in store for us. The event turns out to be a fundraiser for the Farm Kids Scholarship program. I encourage everyone to get out and watch this event; it promises to be as entertaining as it is beneficial to the farm kids that will receive the scholarships.
Barriere is a premier example of a rural community. We are well positioned to become the destination of choice for those seeking to experience what a rural lifestyle has to offer. We all need to work to support the various events that are now coming to our area. We all know that our community can succeed and grow as long as we pull together to make that happen.