Williams Lake City council is hoping the Cariboo Regional District will agree to go to a mediator to solve the issue around fire protection for rural fringe residents.
Council passed a motion Tuesday evening directing staff to contact the CRD and make the request, after the city received a Notice of Civil Action was filed in B.C. Supreme Court by the CRD on Jan. 15.
“We are trying to focus on how we move forward,” Mayor Kerry Cook said. “We know that mediation is important so that’s why it’s important to take the initiative.
Cook also said council is bound to making comments within legal bounds when it comes to the fire protection agreement.
Council also received a letter late afternoon on Jan. 18 from CRD Area F Director Joan Sorley that included a notice of suspension of Central Cariboo/City of Williams Lake Joint Committee meetings until the fringe fire protection issue can be solved.
Sorley brought a similar motion to the CRD board meeting Friday.
At the CRD meeting, Cook said she knew the joint committee could not go backward but as elected officials they need to decide how to go forward.
“I cannot support the motion,” Cook said. “It is critical that we do the business we were elected to do. At joint committee as future partners we’ve got some great projects ahead of us. We owe it to the people to find a way to get back to the table.”
Sorley in support of her motion said: “We didn’t say that we’re not going to ever meet again, we didn’t say that. We said we need to concentrate on fire protection because there isn’t anything else that is as important right now.”
Most directors at the meeting urged the joint committee to continue meeting, saying they have to move forward to make decisions.
“If you don’t sit at the table it won’t get worked out,” 100 Mile House mayor Mitch Campsall said. “The media is the worst place to fight this. You need to sit down and get a mediator.”
The motion to suspend the joint committee meetings was defeated, however Mayor Kerry Cook said Tuesday evening the city received notice that three directors on the joint committee would not be attending a meeting scheduled for Jan. 23.
“We haven’t received an agenda yet either,” Cook said.