PORT HARDY—Coun. Rick Marcotte brought up gas prices in the region at last week’s council meeting, but his request that council look deeper at the price difference between here and down-Island was rejected after discussion.
“I’d like to request of staff that we invite the Chevron and Imperial Oil/Esso sales reps to council to explain the vast difference in gas prices between Campbell River and Port Hardy,” said coun. Marcotte during Council Reports.
“We don’t like interfering on personal businesses,” he continued, “it’s not our place or our job, but this is a big issue for a lot of local people.”
“I agree that the prices are much higher,” said coun. Janet Dorward. “However, I don’t believe it’s council’s place to meddle in private business so I will be voting against the motion.”
The motion was defeated.
Also in Council Reports, coun. Dorward said that she was “given the really disappointing news” that Western Forest Products would be closing its Port Hardy office Jan. 1 as part of a centralization effort. “Of little consolation was that they feel there’s going to be a few employees purchasing homes in Port Hardy,” she added.
The councillor did have some good news to share however: “Yesterday with the finance budget, that was exciting to learn how much – $357,000 – savings in the past 12 months from offering the water and sewer utilities ourselves. That was huge; some very good news.”
Deputy Mayor Debbie Huddlestan raised the possibility of renaming a section of Thunderbird Way in honour of the late Mayor Bev Parnham during the New Business portion of the meeting.
A request had been sent to Island Health to name the new Primary Healthcare facility in the town after the Mayor, but the health authority preferred to offer a different memorial.
“They are going to put up a plaque and they do recognize the work she did to get that facility built for our community,” explained the Deputy Mayor. “Someone suggested to me that if they won’t do that (name the facility after Mayor Parnham), can we change the road?” The portion in question runs alongside the hospital on the south side of Granville Street.
Director of Corporate Services Jeff Long examined the possibility and informed council that the change would affect four properties, with three requiring an address change. He suggested council pen a letter to the property owners that would be affected, stating the desire of council and asking for input.
Council approved a motion to accept the suggestion.
Port Hardy RCMP Staff Sergeant Gord Brownridge appeared before council last week to present the detachment’s quarterly report.
In the report the officer noted particular success in disrupting the local drug trade after “months of investigation” led to the execution of four search warrants and multiple charges laid against eight individuals along with the seizure of over $35,000, drugs and firearms.
The officer also highlighted the success of student outreach programs, including the student of the month initiative. “We’re very happy this year, this new school year, that we have all three (band) schools on board with what we call SotMo, the Student of the Month program,” he explained. “It has been going quite well, I’m very pleased with that and the students love it and I believe the administrators and so on do too.”
Fire Chief Schell Nickerson also presented to council, reporting 35 calls in the quarter as well as the successful completion of several training programs by members and participation in several community events.
Nickerson also noted the purchase of a Sparky the Dog costume by the Port Hardy Volunteer Firefighters Association. “I think it’s a great tool for fire prevention,” said the Fire Chief. “All the kids just go crazy over it. Actually the guys that are putting the costume on are having a hoot with it too.”