Working towards responsible management

As Th Mayor Sees It with District of Barriere Barriere Mayor Bill Humphreys

This last week I attended a dinner put on by the Fraser Basin Council. Some of you may never have heard of the Fraser Basin Council so I thought it may be good to put together some information.

As they say on their website:

The Fraser Basin Council (FBC) is a charitable non-profit organization that brings people together to advance sustainability in the Fraser River Basin and across BC. Established in 1997, FBC is a collaboration of four orders of government (federal, provincial, local and First Nations) along with those from the private sector and civil society.

We work with people in multiple sectors, helping them find collaborative solutions to today’s issues through a commitment to the social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainability. Our focus is on healthy water and watersheds, action on climate change and air quality and strong, resilient communities and regions.

How all this relates to Barriere and the North Thompson Valley is that as we move forward with various projects both in the District and in the surrounding area it is important to reach out to knowledgeable groups that can guide us through and around issues that our actions may create.

It would be a sad day indeed if we blindly went along and put in an industry that ended up causing irreparable harm to our local environment. The FCB has a long history of being able to give independent advice and guidance on such issues. As I keep saying, good planning is the first step to success.

Some of you may have noticed that the regular council meeting scheduled for June 10 was cancelled. You may also have noticed that council had a special in camera closed session meeting on June 6. What happened was that there was no business that needed to be done in open session on June 10. There was an item that had to be decided, and it needed to be done in camera. Council decided to have the meeting as soon as possible so that the concerned parties were not delayed.

There are two points here that are important. A meeting should never be held just because it is scheduled. If there is no business ready to be dealt with, the meeting should not be held. Council and staff’s time is too valuable to do such a thing. The other, is that as a small District we pride ourselves on quick service. If council can accommodate a request for a timely decision they will do their best to do so.

At the BC Economic Development Summit this week there were a number of presentations around how to improve your community’s sustainability, increase investment opportunities and provide a climate suitable to economic development. The formula boils down to having reasonable taxes, the ability to provide services in a timely fashion, and getting your message out to the world.

Here in Barriere we have a reasonably good track record on the first two points. We are working on the last one. It is no easy task to put together a message that is effective, and then market it to suitable groups.  Some communities think that by throwing large sums of money at the problem they will have a good result.  Here in Barriere we don’t have large sums of money to try that procedure. We have to rely on hard work and a consistent and honest message.

It does us no end of harm to try and snow potential investors. We need to be honest with investors, and indeed ourselves as well. By recognizing our shortcomings, and working to find alternative solutions we will eventually have success.

The Provincial government had a presentation at the Summit around their LNG project. They have started to reach out to many communities to find the resources they need.

I encourage any suppliers of services or products that may be needed for the Province’s LNG project to watch closely in the next while for an announcement of how local business can access the LNG projects supply chain. The next local meeting will be held in Kamloops on June 24. Attendance is limited. To register your seat please reply by email to Camp-Kamloops