District staff report to Barriere Council

District of Barriere Utilities Manager, Ian Crosson, reported during the May 19, 2020, online Council meeting regarding the status of Barriere wells.

“The Louis Creek Industrial Park reservoir rehab has been completed by Newport Structures on May 11, 2020,” reported Crosson, “Currently staff are manually filling the reservoir for fire protection and to test the integrity of the structural repairs.

“Staff have been working tirelessly since our last Council meeting to prepare the water distribution system with a lengthy flushing program. Based on past information provided from our contracted experts, it was advised and agreed upon that this effort would prove beneficial. Currently we are seeing this benefit with numerous dead-end lines. For example, the hydrant north of Barriere town bridge produced extremely discolored water for 15-20 minutes and then became clear again.”

He also noted that the rehab and repair work were scheduled to begin on PW3 in Bradford Park starting on May 19, based on the scope of work previously provided to Council.

At the May 4, 2020, Council Meeting, Council approved Interfor’s request to construct a pull-off on Agate Bay Road for use by log hauling trucks between Highway 5 and Old Sawmill Court. Council requested that an agreement be made with Interfor that the pull-off would be created to a standard acceptable to the District of Barriere,

District staff were slated to report back to Council at the May 19, 2020, online Council meeting.

“It may be easier to ensure that work is carried out in the manner to the District’s satisfaction, that the Roads Department should manage this project,” Parks and Roads Manager Dustin Doherty reported, “In addition, since the proposed work is to be done on District property, the District’s current contractor would be required to conduct much of this work. Upon this suggestion to Interfor, they have agreed to consider an agreement that will require them to pay in full, up front, the projected cost of the work prior to any work commencing.”

He also noted that a realistic budget including a five per cent contingency be incorporated into the agreement.

Doherty noted that the estimated cost of construction for the pull-off which if agreed upon would be paid by Interfor is estimated at approximately $27,000. If the project is completed under budget, the District will reimburse the difference to Interfor. The District of Barriere will be responsible for any project cost overruns, and any additional costs for garbage cans, signage, etc.

His report also noted the pull-off/chain-up area would be open and usable year-round and all maintenance of the site will be the responsibility of the District.

District of Barriere Legislative Services Manager, Tasha Buchanan presented an administration update during the meeting.

She noted the upcoming change to recycling collection by tote instead of the current blue bag system now required by Recycle BC regulations. This requirement takes effect July 1, 2020, and notices have been circulated as well as media press releases to advise residents of the change.

The totes should be delivered during the first week of June, and information will be placed inside the delivered tote in regards to the current program changes.

Buchanan also reported that over the past few years, Ms. Kathy Matthews’ grade 3 class has taken on the planting of marigolds in the community park planter across from the elementary school.

“Ms. Matthews wanted to ensure the District that even with the COVID-19 situation, her class is still committed to continuing with this tradition,” said Buchanan.

Buchanan also reported attending an EOC Management Meeting via Zoom with Simpcw First Nation on April 6, with area First Responders including the Barriere Fire Chief.a She noted that the Simpcw Band is continuing to monitor the number of vehicles traveling in and out of the Chu Chua community. RCMP reported there have been some increase in cases that they responded to related to custody disputes citing COVID-19 concerns. Barriere First Responders stated they are finding it hard to fundraise during the pandemic.

“The Province has recently announced a phased B.C. Restart Plan with accompanying orders allowing certain businesses to re-open as long as measures are put in place to protect staff and the public,” said Buchanan during her report to Council, “While most local government offices were not ordered to close, most did in order to best protect their staff and residents, with Barriere being no exception. As we know, orders can change from day to day but depending on the Public Health Orders expected this week (May 19), staff are recommending that the District Office change from a “closed to the public with appointment for payments only” operation, to allowing a maximum of one (1) person in the office at a time for the purpose of utility and tax payment transactions.”

She noted that signage will be placed in the Ridge hallway outside of the District Office and on the main entrance doors explaining this rule. In addition, physical distance stickers will be installed on the floor in the office, the hallway and outside of the entrance to the Ridge as a guide for residents to ensure that they maintain the physical distance requirement of two meters (six feet) that remains in force. Hand sanitizer will be available and a plexi-glass barrier has been installed at the District’s front desk. All surfaces and pens will continue to be sanitized after each use.

“The Province and WorkSafe BC are still recommending that staff that are able to work from home, continue to do so and that any employees that do not need to come into the office, avoid doing so when possible,” said Buchanan, “Other preventative measures are currently in place and have been discussed with staff in accordance to WorkSafe BC legislation. Of course, anyone displaying any cold or flu like symptoms must stay home and should contact their physician to be tested.

Staff have also recommended that District Council continue to meet via audio-conference.

“To date, staff have not received any complaints or heard any frustrations from the public with this current arrangement,” said Buchanan, “Therefore, as some restrictions are lifted under this phased, “getting back to a new normal” plan and people begin to interact with more people, in more locations, we can continue to protect our staff, Council and residents as we watch for any resulting impact this new plan may have.”

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