PORT McNEILL—Efforts to return a one-of-a-kind Hornsby Crawler tractor to the North Island picked up steam last week.
The Mount Waddington Regional District Board of Directors approved first reading of a bylaw to establish a Heritage Registry Bylaw for Area D, and promptly opened the bylaw up to amendment by offering other North Island communities a chance to join in a region-wide heritage registry.
A heritage registry would provide an opportunity for communities to access grant money to restore and preserve historic artifacts and sites, while also providing provincial and federal recognition.
"The long and short of it is, to help our communities protect their heritage assets, we need a registry," said Neil Smith, manager of economic development and parks. "If communities want to be eligible for grants and to be recognize provincially and federally, this is the first step."
The hamlet of Woss, part of Electoral Area D, applied for its heritage bylaw as a way to secure possession of, and funding to refurbish, steam Locomotive 113, which sits on track adjacent to the Western Forest Products office.
As it took up the bylaw for consideration, the board was informed by Regional District administrator Greg Fletcher that it could create a region-wide heritage bylaw allowing all North Island Communities to take advantage of the benefits under the umbrella of a single bylaw.
The formation of such a registry could conceivably lead to return of the steam-driven Hornsby Crawler that resided on display at Seven Hills golf course for nearly 20 years before being loaned to a heavy equipment exhibition in Alberta in 2005. After the expo, the crawler returned only as far as Surrey, where it remains while the North Island Historical Society and other groups lobby for its return.
The crawler, built in 1910 and originally put to work in the Yukon gold fields, arrived on Vancouver Island in the 1920s and was placed in service in Apple Bay before falling into disrepair.
Still, historical artifacts like Loci 113 and the Hornsby are of local cultural significance, and directors were receptive to taking steps to ensure they are maintained on the North Island.
"I would like to see the entire region put together a heritage society, rather than have it done piece by piece," said Heidi Soltau of Sointula, director for Area A. "I'm not interested in Malcolm Island setting up its own registry."
Directors accepted a motion from Port Hardy Mayor Bev Parnham to send out an inquiry of interest to the North Island's municipalities and local community councils to see if residents are interested in creating the region-wide registry.
Even if not all communities initially agree to take part, Fletcher said, the formation of the region-wide registry would allow them to be brought into the bylaw later.
"You can amend your bylaw easily, if it's for the entire area," he said.
Emergency coordinator named
The board voted to approve Corriane Neilson of Port McNeill to a one-year term as Regional Emergency Coordinator. The position comes with a service contract for $25 per hour, to an amount not to exceed $16,000.
Nielson replaces outgoing emergency coordinator Chuck Lok.
"Ms. Neilson has been involved as a volunteer with our program for approximately five years and brings significant skills and training acquired during this time," Fletcher wrote in his nomination letter to the board.
Wind farm variance OK
The board approved a pair of variance applications from developers of Cape Scott Wind Farm.
The first would replace the Mount Waddington Zoning Bylaw requirement of a minimum ground clearance of 7.5 metres from overhead transmission lines to the Canadian Standards Association's requirements for overhead systems.
The second would allow white gloss paint to be applied to the exterior of the wind turbines. That varies from the existing bylaw, which requires non-reflective matte paint in "a colour that minimizes the obtrusive impact" of any wind energy generating system.
The variances will lapse if construction has not started within two years. A lapsed variance permit is not renewable.
Service agreement inked
The board approved a five-year contract to maintain breathing air compressors in rural firehalls in Sointula, Woss, Coal Harbour, Alert Bay and the WFP camp at Holberg.
Manager of operations Patrick Donaghy recommended a contract extension for Steelhead, Inc., to provide scheduled service on the equipment. The cost is $412 per on-site visit and includes travel, Donaghy said.
The board also approved a withdrawal of $1,800 from Hyde Creek's reserves to replace aging turnout gear. Donaghy noted that some of the gear is more than 10 years old and may no longer comply with Worksafe BC regulations.