Candidates respond to conservation society

Leading up to the elections, the Cariboo-Chilcotin Conservation Society sent questions to the candidates.
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  • Nov. 6, 2014 8:00 a.m.

Cariboo-Chilcotin Conservation Society poses questions to candidates

Leading up to the elections, the Cariboo-Chilcotin Conservation Society sent questions to the candidates. Here are some of the responses received to date.

From councillor candidate Scott Nelson

Are  you familiar with the long-term Integrated Community Sustainability Plan of 2009, and if so, what is your vision going forward?  Would you re-instate the Sustainability Committee?

Yes  I am  familiar  with  the  long  term  integrated community sustainability  plan of  2009—we  need  to  ensure  that we  have  a  over  arching   and pro-active   guiding plan  that  will  assist  our  community in  developing  long  term  goals  of  sustainability—-creating  the  framework  that  helps   a  community  to make  informed  decisions   while  looking  out  20-30 years  is  critically  important — we  always  need  to  take into  consideration’s   of– social –economic —cultural—community identity and  the  importance  and  the   ability  to  look  after  future  generations of not only our  decision’s  but  the  challenges  they  will  have to  meet  for  there  own  needs.

How would you attract more green entrepreneurs and green jobs to Williams Lake?

Green entrepreneurship is  our  future  in  all  business aspects   its  a  service,a  product, a process   that  i  believe  brings  both short  term  and  long  term  benefits to  business   practices  and  to  providing  environmental  sustainability with  innovative  ways  of  helping  our  environment —  it  needs  to  be  solution friendly—assist  in  meeting  needs — create  an added  value — selling  green we  can  attract  services  like geothermal heating — converting  vehicles  from  gas  to  propane  and  natural  gas — look  to  bring  manufacturers  that  look  for  green  value -added  products, not  only on  the  resale  but  the  process  of  producing  them —-green  standards  are  becoming  critical in todays business  climate.

How can public access to Williams Lake be improved without compromising the nature centre?

The  public  should  have  lots  of  access  to  our lake.  I  support  the re-opening  of  Dutch  Point access and  enhancing  it  to  make  it easier  and  safer  to  move  vehicles in and  out —- the  RC Cotton  site  needs  to  be  developed.   We  need  shoreline  trails  around  the  riparian  zone  around  the  end  of  the  lake —- we  need  to  have  another  lake  access  and  a  big  lake  access  off  of  the  end  of the RC Cotton  site  — we  have  the  nature  centre  that  I believe  is  a  jewel  for Williams Lake so  we  need  to  continue  to  fund  and  assist in  working  with  the  user  groups  to  enhance  the  nature  centre  as a  key tourist  and  education  centre  for Williams Lake.

Do you have any suggestions to improve the water and waste management system in the city of Williams Lake?

I would  suggest  that  Williams Lake  revisit  the grey water system to  see  if  we  can  reuse  this  water  for  the  industrial  area – I support  the  water conservation  and  key  partnerships  that  the  city  and  CRD have  created  that  encourage lower  water  use.

Answers from councillor candidate Sue Zacharias

Are  you familiar with the long-term Integrated Community Sustainability Plan of 2009, and if so, what is your vision going forward?  Would you re-instate the Sustainability Committee?

I am not only familiar with the ICSP, I was part of the Council who promoted and adopted this Plan, that had the support of the community from all walks of life. The ICSP is a long term plan, therefore looks forward to the future. It will help shape the kind of community that Williams Lake wants to become. It is also a living plan and can be amended if the community’s needs or circumstances change dramatically. The vision going forward has already begun and has been stated, written and enshrined for the future generations…many of the strategies and recommendations have been implemented.

Here is the declaration/vision from the City Council, City Staff and the Citizens of Williams Lake that outlines the vision;

CITY OF WILLIAMS LAKE SUSTAINABILITY DECLARATION:

As mayor and councillors of the City of Williams Lake, we acknowledge society’s desire to create a stable, sustainable future. We further acknowledge that such a future is not certain, and that it will take the good will and determined work of many individuals, organizations, and communities around the world to achieve this goal.

We are proud to be part of a community rich in natural amenities, economic opportunities, and social possibilities, and to be working on behalf of a future in which our economy, environment, society, and governance are integrated in ways that foster vibrant communities, strong economies, and healthy ecosystems. To that end, we commit ourselves to creating the conditions necessary for a sustainable future. By seeking innovative and flexible solutions to the challenges that confront us, by sharing our knowledge, and by coordinating our actions, we strive to attain the following sustainability principles:

Reduce our contribution to the progressive build-up of materials (and their associated wastes) that are extracted from the Earth’s crust;

Reduce our contribution to the progressive build-up of synthetic materials produced by society;

Reduce our contribution to the ongoing physical degradation of nature;

and

Reduce our contribution to conditions that undermine people’s ability to meet their basic needs.

And further strive to follow the “principles of smart growth” for our communities planning and development:

Create a range of housing opportunities and choices

Create walk able (human-scale) neighbourhoods

Encourage community and stakeholder collaboration

Foster distinctive, attractive communities with a strong sense of place

Make development decisions predictable, fair, and cost effective and using sustainability guidelines as well as mixed land use.

Preserve open space, farmland, natural beauty and critical environmental areas.

Provide a variety of transportation choices.

Strengthen and direct development toward existing

neighbourhoods.

Take advantage of compact building design

I would only reinstate the Sustainability Committee if the other organizations such as Air Quality, Water Conservation Society and other groups that exist now felt it was necessary.

How would you attract more green entrepreneurs and green jobs to Williams Lake?

Williams Lake has many green businesses such as Amanda Recycling, Central Cariboo Disposal, BeeLine Courier Electronic Depot, United Concrete & Gravel Ltd. Glass Recycling Division, Salvation Army, The Salt Jar, Cool Clear Water, The Water People and many other places to recycle, reuse and buy fair-trade or ecologically produced goods. The development of new business in the industrial areas and any Request for Proposals, received by the City of WL also has a component whereby extra credits and points are given for LEED or greener designs or components used in design and construction. An “Environmental Choice” or Green Award could be given out yearly to a business or new development that has adhered to green principles. Recycling has come a long way in Williams Lake Landfill with the implementation of Recycling carts…the decline in recyclable products, going to the Landfill, has dropped dramatically. The public is now onboard to recycle. Williams Lake is a leader in renew and recycle.

How can public access to Williams Lake be improved without compromising the Nature Centre?

The community would like more access to the Scout Island Beach and Boat Launch area. The Scout Island Nature Center and the Field Naturalists have worked very hard to protect Scout Island. It has become a showcase for wildlife and education, nature trails plus a facility for flora/fauna identification and a daycare facility. I believe people’s attitudes and actions have changed over the last 20 years when it comes to protecting and cherishing Scout Island. I would like to see more public involvement/consultation with the user groups/landholders in opening up the hours of the public boat launch [with some needed alterations/improvements] and a more user friendly beach area with a concentrated cleanup program in the summer. The Dutch Point public access, side areas controlled by CN, can still be used for swimming, kayaking and canoeing while the 1690 S Lakeside location is being eyed for another public boat launch on South Lakeside. The property also has some control issues with CN ownership, however CN is asking for a proposal from the City of WL. I would love to see a collaborative effort between City, CRD, Tourist Assoc. and First Nations local government for a Cultural Center at Scout Island. I believe the community will always take good care of Scout Island and the Nature Center as we have a generation or two of grown ups who went there for summer classes as kids! It’s a different era and a new consciousness in our region.

Do you have any suggestions to improve the water and waste management system in the city of Williams Lake?There has been extensive studies done on the well water situation in Williams Lake. Although we must be prudent and not waste water, constant recording and analysis must be done in order to track water use and its impact on our wells. Other sources of water should be identified and secured for the future. Some aquifer levels are, in my opinion, affected by cyclical weather over hundreds of years. Williams Lake has a very active Water Wise Program which educates children on conservation. We also have a very dedicated group in the Conservation Society and the Water Advisory Committee. The City also enforces Sprinkling Regulations, encourages Xeriscape Gardening and uses thoughtful planning processes in the City’s gardens and Parks. Water quality and a new water system for the Dog Creek Road area and other sectors of the City must have continued lobbying for funding by having shelf ready projects.

Quite a number of industrial businesses uses the treated water supply from the City. Although, the industrial businesses pay monthly for the use of the water by volume used [and this may be a lucrative source of revenue for the City], another source of water, such as water from Williams Lake or the Fraser River, makes more sense. A study would need to be done as to how the untreated lake/river or other “source” water would be piped to businesses for industrial use and then the cost to do it.

I have spent 4 years as a committee member of the Solid Waste Review Committee with the City, CRD, First Nations and Business stakeholders to design a Solid Waste Management Plan for now and in the future. This plan is now in effect as of 2104 and provides direction for the types of garbage, recycling and other waste reduction programs we need to develop over the next 10 years. The goal created a plan, with input from residents and businesses that will meet our needs for managing waste – for the good of our communities, our environment and our wallets. Key options were presented at the open houses for feedback in 2012 and 2013 and they are being enacted as we speak.

– Increase convenient access to recycling, including controlling sites to reduce contamination and clean-up costs.

– Develop “one-stop” Eco-depots for convenient recycling of products such as electronics, paint, waste oil, batteries and household hazardous wastes

– Gauge public interest for yard or food scraps collection and composting

– Improve education and enforcement programs

– Gain input on “user-pay” programs and tipping fees

– Manage wood waste

– Investigate waste-to-energy options.

Improvements are being made all the time to our landfill and the operation of it.

The City has a very healthy budget [reserves] for Sewer and Water [in the millions] to continue to keep up with the best for the taxpayers of Williams Lake.

Eventually, I believe, we will be the envy of other towns when it comes to Waste Management. We strive to be the best.

From mayoral candidate Kerry Cook

Are you familiar with the long term Integrated Sustainability Plan of 2009?

Yes, I am very familiar with this plan. As Mayor during 2009 I was completely supportive of the long term vision approach to an integrated community plan.  This is a community plan based on community values created by the community.

Going forward it is important to keep the goals of each of our 10 sections of the plan in front of us as we develop our strategic priorities for the next term. This should be the guiding, planning document for our community.  Creating community working groups, like the sustainability committee, to ensure this moves forward would be something I would definitely consider.

How do you attract more entrepreneurs and green jobs to the city?

Creating a community that has an integrated, Value based approach to long term planning helps in creating an atmosphere where people, families, investors want to relocate. For far too long we had a short term approach to planning. A great example of this would be our approach to crime reduction. This had to be a key priority for the community to address to ensure that people felt safe but to also start addressing some long outstanding social issues.

The city created a new tax incentive bylaw to attract industry to our industrial park. In that bylaw we gave points towards new jobs, new investment and included a green component. Definitely encouraging people to include this in their development plans.  I would love more green jobs in our community. That is definitely the future!

How can public access to Williams Lake be improved without compromising the nature centre?

There is no doubt that people want to have more public access to our lake. We are so fortunate to have a city with such a beautiful lake. Council has recently requested staff to look for more public access sites on the lake, especially on the south side that we could develop as another public access site. This is long over due. We have also requested staff to bring back a report back looking at improvements to the boat launch, beach and access into scout island.

That being said, I know first hand the importance of the work that the field naturalists have contributed to scout island. I was a employed by scout island as a summer student during my university days. All three of my children experienced the rich education as they went to the scout island preschool. We have a great educational resource in the nature centre and we need to continue  to work together to ensure that this unique centre and trail system is valued.

Do you have any suggestions to improve the water and waste management system in the city of Williams Lake?

Monitoring and maintaining our aquifer and reducing our waste must always be a priority of the city. I would be  in support of continuing our educational programs through the conservation society as one way to inform and educate our community starting with the children. I have been very impressed with the results that I have seen through these programs. This work must continue. We have also see some amazing results with reducing our waste through the new city recycling program that started up a few years ago. Going forward we need to continue to educate and find ways to conserve our water usage. But I believe we need to have a long term management plan, bringing all stakeholders together to address the issues around williams lake. Conservation is one important aspect but management of our resources is the key moving forward.

From mayoral candidate Surinderpal Rathor:

Are  you familiar with the long-term Integrated Community Sustainability Plan of 2009, and if so, what is your vision going forward?  Would you re-instate the Sustainability Committee?

The I.C.S.P. of 2009 was adopted by the city in July 2010.  At the core, this is an on-going process of engaging stakeholders in the community.  I am supportive of initiatives such as this where all the residents have an opportunity to participate in a planning process for a sustainable community.  If I am elected, it is my plan to reinstate the Sustainability Committee with representation from council, the CRD and the public, thereby engaging again in this positive process.

How would you attract more green entrepreneurs and green jobs to Williams Lake?

The city has to be supportive of all business development. The “green sector” must be an integral part of planning for Williams Lake’s sustainability.  We must ensure that our image is positive.  Business people must be received and encouraged at city hall with a “Can Do”/ “How can we help?” perspective.  We must work with the downtown BIA, the Chamber of Commerce and local industry leaders to foster a positive business environment.  As another initial step, the Economic Development Commission/Corporation will be re-instated.  “Perception” is a key.  We have to ensure that our policies reflect the needs of business.  Only by meeting and sitting with entrepreneurs can we engage with their needs and concerns.

How can public access to Williams Lake be improved without compromising the Nature Centre?

Public access to the lake is a critical part in planning for the future sustainability of Williams Lake.  I acknowledge all the positive programs that are delivered to our community from the Nature Centre at Scout Island and am committed to their continuation.  The city must work together with all the stakeholders, including the Nature Centre, the Williams Lake Indian Band, CN Rail, and the Provincial Government in the identification and acquisition of additional lake access locations.

Do you have any suggestions to improve the water and waste management system within the City and Region?

The water and waste management system that the city has contracted with the Conservation Society to direct (Water Wise Program) has borne great results in both areas.  The overall water consumption has been significantly reduced and the group’s efforts have been very educational.  I as Mayor, along with our CRD partners, will be supportive of this group’s efforts (as fiscally able) and look forward to further positive outcomes.

City councillor candidate Laurie Walters:

Are you familiar with the long-term Integrated Community Sustainability Plan of 2009 and if so, what is your vision going forward? Would you reinstate the Sustainability Committee?

As a current city councillor that has served two terms,  I am very familiar with the ICSP and a supporter of long-term sustainable planning.  I would support reinstating the Sustainability Committee. This restructured committee would have improved terms of reference with clear goals and objectives. It would be important for the committee to be structured so that we are not duplicating services that are already being provided by the Cariboo Conservation Society.

How would you attract more green entrepreneurs and green jobs to Williams Lake?

Green businesses can reduce our environmental impact, protect our ecosystems and provide sustainable production of necessary goods and services.  We can continue to support our existing “Green business” to work more cohesively with each other to identify what the Green business gaps are in Williams Lake. The city can do more Policy planning (i.e. around specific land use options) to encourage urban farming and organic gardening.  The city can be proactive in the marketing to green entrepreneurs who are looking to open up shop in a community where their vision through the ICSP is to grow to be more “Green”

How can public access to Williams lake be improved without compromising the Nature Centre?

Scout Island & the nature centre are a gem, however, there are citizens in our community that have identified they would like to have the hours of operation at scout Island increased, the boat launch improved and to have the beach area cleaned up. Council and staff are currently exploring ways that we can effectively do this that will not compromise the Nature Centre. I am in support of working together to meet the needs of the community with a long term vision that will be fair to all concerned.

Do you have any suggestions to improve the water and waste management system within the city and region?

Keeping up with newer technology in both of these areas is vital. The city recently upgraded the water and sewer system’s supervisory and control data acquisition system which allows us to more accurately control and monitor the city’s water and sewer system. Continuing to find innovative and creative ways educate our residents on water conservation and working more collaboratively with our partner; The Cariboo Regional District are other suggestions to improve water and waste management.

From city councillor candidate Bobbie-Jo Macnair:

Are you familiar with the long term Integrated Community Sustainability Plan of 2009 and if so, what is your vision going forward? Would you reinstate the Sustainability Committee?

Yes I am familiar with the long term Integrated Community Sustainability Plan of 2009. My research of the city before making the decision to run in this election included review of this plan. This plan focuses on issues of key importance in any community and involved feedback from the public.

Going forward I see the importance of advocating for a sustainable community. Williams Lake has persevered through tough times and proven itself a long standing community. Going forward we need to make decisions that take a holistic approach and appropriately plan for the future of our city and the health and well being of its citizens. I would reinstate the Sustainability Committee as it is essential for our continued success.

How would you attract more green entrepreneurs and green jobs to Williams Lake?

We can attract more green entrepreneurs and jobs to Williams Lake by setting a strong precedence. Green communities continue to attract green business. Consumers can influence the production of green jobs by demanding green products and we as leaders need to set that example. Green development saves money in the long run, provides family supporting jobs and ensures we are leaving behind functional, beautiful infrastructure for the next generation. As a city we can offer incentive programs that reward green business.

How can public access to Williams Lake be improved without compromising the Nature Centre?

Increased lake access is a big topic of this election. I want to see better lake access and a city that benefits from it. Scout Island Nature Centre is also an important part of our city and something we should be very proud of. To have a Nature Center in our back yard is unique and needs to be protected. I would suggest developing the far end of the lake in partnership with the Williams Lake Indian Band and Sugarcane Reserve. This area could draw in a lot of people travelling through town and has the potential to generate business in the area. If the partnership were to be successful the proposed development would have to be well planned and respectful of the land surrounding it.

Do you have any suggestions to improve the water and waste management system within the City and Region?

The source of potable water in Williams Lake is steadily declining. To improve our water management system we could look towards implementing a plan that provides incentive to conserve water. As noted in the OCP, a metering system that charges people on the amount of water they use instead of a flat rate could help achieve more responsible usage. The continued education of our citizens is essential in ensuring the importance of water conservation becomes recognized.

To improve waste management in the city we could continue to improve our recycling options and encourage the community members to cut down on their solid waste production. More development of green business in our community would result in increased in awareness in our community members. As a mayor and council we need to support initiatives to reduce waste and endorse programs that help achieve this goal.

From CRD Area D Director candidate Steve Forseth

Are you familiar with the long term Integrated Community Sustainability Plan of 2009 and if so, what is your vision going forward? Would you reinstate the Sustainability Committee?

I am very familiar with this plan.  The ICSP Plan was adopted by Williams Lake City Council in July of 2010 and thus this plan does not apply to the Cariboo Regional District.  The Cariboo Regional District does have the Williams Lake Fringe OCP which applies to portions of Electoral Areas D, E, F and will apply the OCP to development and other community development proposals within the applicable parts of Area D and finally, I would be in support of restoration of the Sustainability Committee, as the current Area D Director, Deb Bischoff, has been of the Committee’s activity

How would you attract more green entrepreneurs and green jobs to Williams Lake?

In partnership with the City of Williams Lake and others to pool our resources together in order to diverse our economy to include the traditional sectors (forestry, mining and agriculture) and those of the ‘new and sustainable jobs’ in green jobs…  Nobody can do much alone but together, we can accomplish a lot

How can public access to Williams Lake be improved without compromising the Nature Centre?

As I understand this issue applies to the City of Williams Lake only — I’m not able to comment on this item as a candidate for Electoral Area ‘D’ of the Cariboo Regional District

Do you have any suggestions to improve the water and waste management system within the City and Region?

The Cariboo Regional District has the recently approved Solid Waste Management Plan and the Region is guided by that Plan for the next period of time however I am open to public input to ensure the Plan meets the needs of the public while living up to the goals of the Solid Waste Management Plan which underwent a 2 year public review/input process…

From city councillor candidate Sue LaChance

Are you familiar with the long term Integrated Community Sustainability Plan of 2009 and if so, what is your vision going forward? Would you reinstate the Sustainability Committee?

I am familiar with the ICSP and am very much in favour of reinstating the Sustainability Committee.  This Committee and groups like it are one of the most positive ways to allow the community to participate in the operations of our city and give direct voice to their leaders.  We need a “two-way” partnership, not a one way voice that dictates what happens in our community.  The ICSP is a well thought out document which needs to be made accessible to the general public and the ideas contained within it brought to life by our city leaders.  If the information sits in a “book” that no one reads,  like so many other projects, it will never achieve its full potential and will be lost in the archives of city hall.

How would you attract more green entrepreneurs and green jobs to Williams Lake?

I would attract more green entrepreneurs and green jobs to Williams Lake, be examining the recycling industry and looking for value added products. The potential is there to work with our metal, plastic and electronic recyclers to partner.   In 2008, a group of business people from mainland China visited Williams Lake and I accompanied them on a tour of our transfer station.  They were shocked by the amount of reusable products that they could make use of which we were going to bury.  We can see many new innovative ideas for value added products coming from what some see as “garbage”.  The tire industry alone is exploding with everything from gym floors to household products. With a huge fleet of vehicles in this town, we have more than enough tires to start a value added recycling business of some sort.  Alberta has over 15 companies now making products with used tires.  There are possibilities out there, we just need to be aggressive in our search including speaking with other countries who are leading this movement.  We also have several empty industrial sites which could be re-fitted for this purpose.  In our future, the need for landfills should become a thing of the past.

How can public access to Williams Lake be improved without compromising the Nature Centre?

I would suggest that we “gently” open up the beach area, moving back the encroachment which has occurred during the last 20 to 30 years.  Doing so will allow a more open access to the beach area.  Communities in Bloom suggested that we fund raise to bring in new clean beach sand to cover and expand the beach area.  This area has been allowed to overgrow and pictures show that at one time, our beach was actually a beach that could be used by families. If it is left alone, we will lose the tiny amount we have left in the next ten years. Letting it “go back to nature” is not a good compromise for the citizens of our community and their children.   A twenty foot expansion from the existing beach to the boat launch on the right in one direction and possibly another 10-20 feet on the left.  Considering that the nature sanctuary now occupies 99% of the available land at Scout Island, I firmly believe that this compromise and small sacrifice of overgrown beach area would  be a win-win for families who want to use our lake. It would bring back locals and tourists alike which in turn would help to financial support the Nature Centre via it’s education programs.

Do you have any suggestions to improve the water and waste management system within the City and Region?

I would strongly suggest that we re-look at a possible private public partnership that will allow the removal of industry use of our potable water from our system.  We currently have millions and millions of gallons of perfectly good drinking water being pumped from our aquifer which is going up in steam and down the drain.  We must address this issue. We are not only paying to pump it out, we are paying to treat it and then it is being used in ways that are not sound.   We had a major public relations problems during the last examination of this issue and the politicians of the day had no political will to continue to discuss this important issue due to negative feedback from both unions and  tax payer groups.  We must look at all the ways available to fund our water system and to conserve our drinking water.  I do not agree with metering households.  They are not the main user of our water.  Industry is. The problem of losing our aquifer is real threat. It is not going to get any better by politically avoiding this controversial issue.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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