PORT HARDY—Council responded to the latest in a series of correspondence between Port Alice Council and the Hon. Terry Lake, Minister of Environment, on the impact of the reduction in Conservation Officer positions on the North Island.
Lake had penned a letter addressing concerns from the village, assuring the council that the decision was not taken lightly and was open to re-evaluation should the move degrade service levels.
Port Alice Mayor Jan Allen replied to the minister, pointing out that human/wildlife interactions are common in the region. Therefore, when local residents contact the service it is usually because there is an urgent public safety situation.
She re-emphasised the importance of locally stationed Conservation Officers to deal with urgent issues on the North Island.
Port Hardy Mayor Bev Parnham noted that the issues echoed Port Hardy’s own concerns. “We’re pursuing the same thing here, and, as well, the Regional District is looking into the situation,” she remarked.
The council heard that a group of local artists have formed a co-operative with plans to create a downtown venue for artists to work, display and sell their work.
An agreement had been made to lease a property rent-free for six months to help launch the project, and Gladys Latty, representing the group, sought a donation to help renovate the property to make the space suitable for the artists’ purpose.
Councillors felt that the request fell outside their remit however.
“Because this is a business, it would be something outside our area to contribute financially,” said Mayor Parnham.
Coun. Jessie Hemphill asked that the council include a letter of support with their decision to show that the council is in favour of the arts project, a sentiment quickly echoed around the table.
“It’s a great project, we wish them every success,” said the Mayor.
Better at Home
The councillors were unanimous in praise of United Way’s Better at Home program after a meeting held two weeks ago in Port Hardy.
The program aims to assist seniors to live at home by enlisting volunteers to provide non-medical assistance — cutting grass, helping with laundry and groceries and so on.
Coun. John Tidbury told council the North Island Crisis and Counseling Centre was interested in becoming the local proponent of the program and was seeking council’s support in taking the lead.
Mayor Parnham agreed that the Crisis Centre was a very suitable fit for the role as it would expand on its existing program, which provides assistance to seniors in filling out government forms.
“The Crisis Centre would be an excellent place to take this on,” said Mayor Parnham. “They do a marvelous job.”
Following a recommendation from the Sustainability Committee, council adopted the Port Hardy Human Bear Conflict Management Plan 2010.
Coun. Hemphill explained that the committee had been operating “under the impression that it had been adopted,” and were working towards implementation of the plan.
She emphasized there were no financial obligations triggered by adopting the plan, with many of the implementations, such as bear-proof bins, already in place.
Mayor Parnham clarified that there had been some uncertainty as to whether adopting the plan would lead to necessary spending by the council.