The Port McNeill Council meeting of June 17 had a packed agenda which included donation requests, departmental reports, tourism marketing update, harbour committee announcement and the first presentation of a draft wildfire response policy. But it was a letter from a local resident and businessman, Don Orr that generated considerable interest.
Orr, of the Black Bear Resort, described in the letter how on a recent walk around downtown, he and his wife noticed that most of the town owned trash containers were not bear proof.
However, Orr was not complaining and in his letter wrote, “In the interest of improving our community image and making the town safer, we wish to offer $10,000 (to the town) for the purchase and installation of Bear Proof Trash Bins.”
The $10,000 gift came with 3 conditions, including a requirement for the town to match his donation.
In addition, Orr would like to see every effort be made to have the bins manufactured locally. And the last request asked that the council work with and encourage other local businesses to join the initiative and contribute to the program.
Coun. Ryan Mitchell made a motion to match the $10,000.
In the discussions that followed, Mayor Gaby Wickstrom supported the funding motion recommending the town request an assessment of the community from Bear Smart, who would in turn provide specific recommendations for the new bins. Wickstrom felt this would provide a good basis for insuring the money is spent on the right locations and in the right way.
After further discussion, the motion to commit $10,000 in matching funding was passed, along with a companion motion to strike a Bear Aware Committee. The latter will be tasked with working the project through the budgeting process, engaging others in the community and designing an implementation plan.
In other business, a draft policy on wildfire response for the Port McNeill Volunteer Fire Department was presented. The policy specifies the details of when and how the fire department would respond and cooperate with the province on interface wildfires that involve structures in or around the community.
On the advice of Coun. Ann-Marie Baron, acceptance of the report was delayed until the next council meeting, allowing her time to consult with and seek the advice of the fire department.
– Bill McQuarrie article