Archive for ◊ December, 2008 ◊

• Saturday, December 13th, 2008

The Mayor’s Food drive started out just like every other year…with fire trucks, sirens and a horse drawn wagon.  Although it seemed colder than normal, the fire trucks drove around with sirens announcing the food drive had commenced.  This lasted for less than half an hour, when due to an unforeseen event, the fire trucks all disappeared and we were left with four “Mayor Food Drive” signs and some very dedicated and cold individuals.

While Harry, the horses and their group were doing the upper bench, we put the signs on a couple of trucks,  and proceeded to finish off the lower and middle bench. Because of the weather, the lack of sirens and the missing fire trucks, the food drive didn’t collect as much as previous years so I just want to encourage everyone to bring their non perishable food items in so that we have enough for everyone who needs a food hamper.

Thanks to all of the very dedicated individuals who braved the cold and snow to collect the food items and to all of the very generous Tumbler Ridge residents who donated items and money to ensure that all Tumbler Ridge residents will have enough this Christmas.

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• Saturday, December 13th, 2008

Here’s my take on the meeting…..

The meeting was Chaired by Mayor White.  The first presentation was given by Dave Price and Charles Helm on the Seniors’ Needs Strategic Plan.  I won’t go into a lot of detail on this document but it is well worth the read.  The strategic plan covers very diverse issues looking at meeting Seniors’ needs…from housing to medical and from sidewalks to employment.

“An age-friendly city adapts its structures and services to be accessible to, and inclusive of, older people with varying needs and capacities.”  This is a quote by the World Health Organisation that forms part of this document.

On December 2nd, Standing Committees were approved by Council.  These include Government, Protective, Transportation, Environmental, Recreational and Culture,  and Public Health Services.  At this meeting we discussed establishing strategic goals and terms of reference for these committees.

Several Councillors have expressed an interest in having Council held on Monday rather than Tuesday.  This was discussed and the majority of Council was in favor of this.

A quote is coming for upgrading the sound system in Council Chambers.

Lakeview Inns are going to be invited to a future P and P meeting to discuss progress on their hotel.

Councillor McPherson was appointed Deputy Mayor.

Don’t forget about the Mayor’s Food Drive that takes place Saturday afternoon.

Have a great weekend and as always, be good to each other.

• Saturday, December 13th, 2008

“Oh, the weather outside was frightful but the films were so delightful, la la la la la la la la….let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.  It was snowy and cold but people came from as far away as Grande Prairie, Fort St. John and Hudsons Hope to view these world class films.

Every year the District of Tumbler Ridge teams up with the Tumbler Ridge Arts Council and Wolverine Nordic and Mountain Society to bring these films to town for the enjoyment of our residents and those in the region.  I have had the privileged of being involved in this event eleven of the twelve years that it has come to town and every year there are films that move, inspire and amaze.

Last night it was a great showing considering conflicting events.  The films tended to be a little more cultural this year but there were still several extreme sports films and even a cartoon or two.

Next year organizers are looking at changing the Tumbler Ridge date to sometime in January…..this hasn’t been possible before because when the tours are developed they tie Tumbler Ridge in with other BC communities and the December date is what we have been given.

I want to thank those that work tirelessly to bring these films to Tumbler Ridge. It is a lot of work and I really appreciate it.

As Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has”

We are fortunate to have volunteers in our town that change our world.

Sherri-Marie, your mom and dad are doing fine.  Your dad is doing a great job and really moving things ahead.

With less than two weeks till Christmas I hope everyone finds some time to relax and enjoy the sights and sounds of the season.

Have a great week and as always….be good to each other.

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• Thursday, December 04th, 2008

So, at the risk of sounding all sappy and sentimental, I want to talk a little bit about Community.  Tonight is December 4th, 2008, the night of the Christmas Tree light up and Community Christmas Song Fest.

I walked into the Community Centre tonight at 5:30. It was filled with parents watching their children playing games that were being tended to by the teens…I saw all of the smiling faces; families, youth, and children and my heart went “awwwww”.

Next I went outside for the lighting of the tree.  You could feel the excitement.  Mayor White counted down with the help of the crowd and just like that Community Christmas Tree was lit up and again my heart went “awwwww” as people cheered and clapped the lights coming on.

Then from down the street we heard “ho ho ho” and there was Harry Prosser and his team pulling a wagon with Santa in it.  The horses pulled up to the sidewalk, Santa got down and the children gathered excitedly around old St. Nick.  Then it was announced that Harry and his team would be giving wagon rides and this is where I actually shed a tear…as the children climbed excitedly into the wagon and began singing Jingle Bells, the horse clip clopped down the street and my heart swelled asI thought “this is community”.  This is what it means to live in Tumbler Ridge.

As parents stood chatting on the sidewalk while their children were enjoying a good old horse and wagon ride three weeks before Christmas, I knew that there is no place in the world I would rather be. Thank you Harry for bringing such joy to so many people tonight and for being part of this community.

Next was the song fest.  What talent we have in Tumbler Ridge!  I won’t mention everyone by name but I do want to point out a few individuals.  Year after year, the Tumbler Ridge Community Choir performs at this Christmas event and every year I listen to them and realize how fortunate we are to have Dawn Wagner in our community.  She has stood in front of the choir, directing them, teaching them new songs and being a big part of the Arts in Tumbler Ridge for many, many years.  As I listened to the choir tonight, I thought, “this is community”.

Brian Bray has been a constant in organizing many of these events. Erin Hannah works tirelessly with the drama group, writing and directing.  Crys White who brings music into the lives of our youth through piano. The musicians who share their gift of music with us, all of these people build community.  And the list goes on…all of those who volunteer, all of those who offer to help when someone is in need, all of those who give of themselves are what community is about.

So, as we move towards Christmas; a time of caring and giving, remember the importance of community.  Of being a part of something bigger and stronger than each of us individually because community is the common thread that holds us together.

Thanks for stopping by and as always, be good to each other.

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• Wednesday, December 03rd, 2008

An historic event took place in Council Chambers last night; the swearing in of the new Mayor and Council.  The gallery was packed as Sgt. Render stood guard and Judge R. Blaskovits swore in the Mayor and Council. As each new Councilor was sworn in, they took their seat.

Mayor Larry White began the brief Council meeting with some open remarks focusing on the direction he hopes to see the new Council go.  Mayor White spoke about his desire to see more community involvement and good communication between Council, Staff and the community.

A the new direction that Council will be embarking on is one of Standing Committees.  These are committees chaired by various Councilors with community members sitting on the committee as well.  My S.C. is Protective Services.  Thanks to those who have already expressed an interest in being involved.  Following the brief Council meeting, there was a time of mingling.

Two things I noticed last night:

-there were a lot of smiles

-and I’m the only blonde on Council

Oh well, here we go on a new path for the next three years.

Have a great week and as always….be good to each other.

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• Wednesday, December 03rd, 2008

I had the priveledge of attending the Emergency Preparedness Conference in Vancouver this past week.  I am passionate about being prepared in the event of a disaster and we have seen the importance of this first hand with the forest fire that threatened Tumbler Ridge in  2006.

I will just comment on some of the highlights of this conference.  The opening plenary speaker was Bruce Blythe who spoke about Strategic Crisis Leadership.

Bruce began by saying that crisis magnifies the significance of small weaknesses…I have seen this first hand and agree completely, A leader’s weaknesses are magnified when crisis hits. He used several examples including many world leaders, Rudi Giuliani and Martha Stewart.

He went on to say that the most important quality a leader possesses is not what they know, but who they are.  They must be caring, have vision and be able to communicate.  If you have an uncaring leader during a crisis situation, public outrage escalates.

This session was well presented and very pertinent in today’s world climate.

The first break out session I attended was called Infrastructure Becomes a Disaster.  This session dealt with building resilience within your infrastructure so that it remains intact in the event of a disaster. Even more important was the planning tool that has been developed “Consequence of Loss Rating Table” .  I brought a copy of this tool back and it can be used by the District to identify critical infrastructure strengths and weaknesses.

Other workshops I attended were The Challenge of Emergency Planning for a Remote Community.  This was very interesting and although the problems faced by small Island communities are very different than the problems we face, it was very informative and good to see the measures other small communities are taking.

I then co-facilitated a workshop called World Cafe which was a discussion forum which focused on Hazmat, Leadership and Psychosocial Issues in the event of a disaster.  The information gathered at this workshop will be made public in the near future.

Much of the conference focused on the 2010 Olympic Emergency Planning.  This is fascinating and a huge undertaking by the province.

As always the conference was closed by the Director of the Provincial Emergency Program, Cam Filmer along with the deputy Solicitor General.  The spoke about disaster events that have occurred in the province during the last year and lessons learned.

Other Plenaries included Faith Based NGO’s in Disaster Relief and From Civil Defense to Resilience.

Overall this was a great conference.  I was able to bring back lots of information which I will give to the people who would benefit from it.

Have a great week and be good to each other.