PORT McNEILL—The Port McNeill and District Chamber of Commerce has handed off organization of the Town’s annual Christmas Tree lighting ceremony to the Gate House Community Association, council learned during its regular meeting Nov. 4.
“We see it as a partnership,” Chamber director David Mitchell told councillors when asked about the change. “This is a member organization taking on this event and making it more of a complete day.”
The tree lighting will be held this year Nov. 30, the same day as the large Christmas Craft Fair held at the Old School and Community Hall. While Gate House members are still working out the details, the evening is expected to include the tree lighting at Pioneer Mall, a public event at the society-run theatre and, of course, a visit from Santa.
“It isn’t a cost issue with us,” said Mitchell. “It’s who’s got the resources to pull together to make it a better day. And it’s going to let the chamber focus on some other initiatives, like a buy local campaign for Christmas shopping.”
Council learned the North Island Community Forest will not be expanding any time soon. The community forest is managed jointly by Port Alice, Port Hardy and Port McNeill. Port Alice Mayor Jan Allen submitted a request in September to the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations for additional tenure to expand the existing community forest.
Allen forwarded to Port McNeill Council her reply from Minister Steve Thomson, who indicated there is no uncommitted volume or operating area available under Bill 28, which provided for establishment of the NICF.
“The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations strongly supports the continued success of NICF, while recognizing the significant constraints on the available timber supply which currently limit the opportunity to expand the tenure at this time,” Thomson wrote to Allen.
Council approved a motion to receive and file the letter.
Council approved the appointment of three new members to the Port McNeill Volunteer Fire Department, at the request of Fire Chief Chris Walker.
The new members are Louis-Philippe Mathieu, Felipe Hirata and Donald Astoveza.
MMBC deal near
Work on an agreement with Multi-Material B.C. on a recycling stewardship program continues, administrator Sue Harvey informed Council.
Harvey has been working with newly hired treasurer Mark Wiber and Regional District of Mount Waddington administrator Greg Fletcher to fine-tune details on a recycling program funded through MMBC.
“We’ve got an agreement,” Harvey said. “Mark and Greg and I are working out the details. It’s quite a document.”
Communities throughout B.C. were originally given a September deadline to either commit to an MMBC contract or opt out, but objections raised during that month’s Union of British Columbia Municipalities conference resulted in a 90-day extension and the formation of a UBCM negotiating committee and a provincial review.
Harvey expected the proposed agreement to be completed at the end of the month, and the finished document would come before council for approval.