PORT McNEILL—The Town will offer a local drop-off location for yard waste and brush clippings, following council’s approval last week of a plan by public works that will provide space near the municipal cemetery.
The siting of a drop for organic yard waste was explored in part in response to a letter from resident Mike Blodgett, who noted Port Hardy and Port Alice both have drop sites for the material and wrote, “We need to catch up with our other communities.”
“I thought this was very pro-active,” coun. Shirley Ackland said at council’s regular meeting Aug. 19. “Rather than ask if public works could come around and pick up yard clippings, this person asked if there was a place yard waste could be dumped.”
Coun. Gaby Wickstrom, whose portfolio includes the cemetery, agreed in principal but said some residents had already approached her with concerns over unauthorized dumping in the vicinity of the cemetery, which is accessible via a gravel lane off Campbell Way on the entrance to the town and generally not visible to casual visitors or passers-by.
“That would be my only hesitation; is there a way to block it off so it wouldn’t look like, ‘here’s where we dump our leaves and stuff, and here’s where we bury our citizens.’ Because I have had people tell me they don’t like the way that looks.”
Council agreed to task the public works department with exploring a solution that would create a separate area off the approach to the cemetery, and approved the proposal through consensus.
“I know it will stop people from driving to the end of the ballpark here and dumping,” said coun. Grant Anderson. “Because they do that now, and Western (Forest Products staff) cleans it up every couple of months. Once they see a few trees and limbs there, somebody will throw a couch there, and it just compounds. It’s certainly necessary.”
The site will be monitored by public works staff and is subject to closure if abused.
“We’ll give it a try and see if it works,” Mayor Gerry Furney said. “We’ll keep an eye on it and make sure it doesn’t attract the wrong kind of material.”
More Rotary trail
A popular hiking and biking trail built by the local Rotary Club will be extended, thanks to a $7,000 commitment from council.
Rotary built the initial phase of the trail, which runs alongside Campbell Way from Mine Road to Highway 19, last year. The proposed new phase would follow the recently installed water line north along Hwy. 19 to East Main, which skirts the north edge of the Town.
“It’s a great proposal,” said Anderson. “If they can continue that trail and eventually take it on down East Main, yeah, we should do that.”
The support will likely come primarily from in-kind support, though it could include a level of cash contributions.
“I would suggest there will probably be a portion of dollars we would need to put in,” said Anderson, who holds the portfolio covering the project. “I’m not sure what that figure would be, but in-kind (support) would probably cover over $4-5,000 with a truck and loader and what-not.
“If we need to come back for cash, then we bring it back to the council for a vote.”
Council agreed, and voted unanimously to back the project, which is spearheaded by Rotarian Dave Nelson.
“I’m thrilled they’re taking on another section,” said Ackland. “If there’s in-kind (work) we can do, in principal I’m certainly I’m in support.”
Council formalized a proposal by Mayor Furney, previously agreed upon in discussion, to aid the community of Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, which was devastated by an explosion and fire that followed the crash of a runaway oil tanker train in July.
Furney proposed the town contribute $1 for each resident of the town, and request other municipalities across the province join in the effort with similar contributions. Earlier this month, Port Alice Council voted to contribute $1 for each of the village’s residents, with personal contributions from mayor and council to top off the total at $1,000.
“We need a motion to formalize the activity, which was essentially that we would send a letter to all the other municipalities in the country, which we’ve done with the blessing of UBCM (the Union of B.C. Municipalities) and FCM (Federation of Canadian Municipalities),” said Furney. “I hope it will be a major item in tying together the east and west.”
Pat Horgan appeared as a delegation before council, seeking its support for a provincially funded program to help the North Island’s seniors live independently in their own homes as long as possible.
Horgan said a survey, conducted by seniors themselves, identified a substantial list of service that would prove beneficial. But limitations of the program will dictate services provided will consist primarily of providing friendly home visits and coordinating services, based on means.
“It’s not going to be our intent that the fellow with a truck and a lawnmower and a tractor in the back of it that already earns a living by offering those services, to take that away from him,” said Horgan. “What we will do is sign up the senior to be in the program, will fund the program, whatever he charges, and pay that to him. What the senior will pay, up to $15,000 in income we will pay for everything, if they make up to $45,000, then they will have to pay it all.
“Building community capacity isn’t taking away gainful employment from those already providing those services; it’s finding a better way to offering them up with full confidence to the seniors needing those services, and that’s our intent.”