After 10 years of fighting for the right to keep Johnston Neighbourhood free from secondary suites, last nights council meeting ended it all. A special thanks to Ron Campbell for being there as the President of the Neighbourhood Association and his concern for our area.
Councillor Ron Paull, my husband and a resident of this neighbourhood we thank you for caring and everything you have done for this neighbourhood and for the City. Thank you for being the only Councillor that cared enough to vote no to the Official Community Plan that dictates what the Zoning Bylaw regarding Secondary Suites could be.
I guess it is time for me to face the fact this world is changing and is not what I want for my grandchildren but have to conceded, the fight is now theirs.
But...I have to undo something I did.
As my last posting was just
after the election in 2014 when I thought Bob Simpson would be the
best thing for Quesnel I have to set the record straight. I
was so wrong! It appears to me this man is a bully and doesn't
want people to see him in action even though the costs of live
streaming is under 10,000. He promised in 2014 he would have
it up and running in February 2015.
As far as I am concerned Bob Simpson is destroying Quesnel by trying to change history, or just rewrite it. So sad, as the pioneers that build this town do not deserve to be discarded. All the pictures of past councils in City Hall have been replace with, what looks to me, like native art.
Taking away our Gold heritage and replacing "Gold Pan City" with "It's in our Nature" says a lot...Simpson wants Quesnel to be another Whistler, a place with no history. The silly million dollar way-finding signs are such a waste of money. Is it wise for money to be spent on trails on Dragon Mountain while neighbourhoods are without sidewalks? Strange priorities! Really do all the changes we see in town have anything to do with nature? Do any of the signs, such as "share the road" protect our "Nature" or just ruin the landscape?
And...the last straw is moving the large gold pan to a location across from the museum where no one will see it when the bypass goes in. I am sure he is hoping the attempt to move it will create problems and ruin it. Hopefully the taxpayers of Quesnel will take action and the Gold Pan will not be moved.
We are not Whistler, and never will be. Whistler has no history...but this seems to be the direction of this Mayor and his councillors are following his lead...except for one councillor that has represented and supported this city for over 40 years as a public servant.
I hope the new councillors learn they are there to represent the people not to rubber stamp everything the mayor wants.
November 20, 2014
My Work With Quesnelnews is now Complete
I apologize for not keeping you updated on the election results but I was in the hospital and was too sick to even care. What a great hospital we have and the Doctors,nurses and other staff were fantastic.
I am very happy the voters put Ron back at the council table. It will be so nice to get him out of the house! Seriously though, he is such an asset to this community. Thanks for all the support!
I must say the outcome with Mayor Mary losing by so much made me feel a lot better though. I feel vindicated! My prediction was Bob would get 75%. He did get 71% so my optimism was not far off.
With Bob Simpson as mayor our City will see major changes. Most importantly is he will make sure this City is open and transparent. I doubt a councillor will ever have to make an FOI request to gain information. I doubt a councillor will be stripped of their committees and have their travel allowance take away to be used by other councillors. Every line item of the budget will be reviewed. I believe it will not be long before we can view each council meeting live on the internet.
All the changes with Bob's ideas, supported by council, will make
all other municipalities envious and they will be following our
Thank you Bob for caring enough to run for Mayor! And thanks to the voters that made this a reality.
November 6, 2014
Forum a Great Success
Ernest Gamache's idea that the public needed to hear from only the new candidates running for municipal office made sense. He stated the current council has had three years to inform the public of their views. The audience was given the opportunity to ask questions of the candidates and I believe no one left disappointed. All the candidates were knowledgeable on all the issues. Shawna Siemens was not present as she has withdrawn from the race.
This forum was unlike the
Chamber of Commerce's All Candidates Forum where the Chamber
screened all written questions before they were asked and no
questions from the floor were allowed.
Other communities like Saanich and Nanaimo offered their new candidates the same opportunity to be heard.
Unlike other elections and after
hearing and speaking personally with the new candidates I would like
to see them all elected so I am posting what I believe would make
the best council for Quesnel.
Bob Simpson for Mayor: Inclusive governance...extensive knowledge of the forest industry and well informed on all issues
Ron Paull: Spending and
Sushil Thapar: Honesty and Transparency
Ernest Gamache: Best Value for the Dollar
Kyle Jones: New Innovative Ideas
All men, yes but it is time again, we started selecting the best people for the job. Please give this list to your friends!
Janice is Back!!!
If you can
still get tickets go see Janice Butler's latest show the "Fantastics"
at the Kersley Hall. Great show and superb acting! We
are so lucky to have such talent in our community.
(the mention of Ron Paull
losing his hat did not go unnoticed).
We asked our grandkids on the way home what the show was about and our 6 year old grandson said "love".
This show is a fund raiser for Bev Pontius who is struggling with a medical condition.
Get your tickets now!
November 3, 2014
New Candidates Forum
Seniors Center 7:00pm
This to give people the opportunity to find out what the new candidates have to say about the issues and to actually ask them questions.
I will post responses to rumors if I feel they need to be addressed...as this one does.
Simpson's response from his facebook page:
Elect Bob Simpson for Mayor of Quesnel
It has come to my attention that there is a rumour being spread that I do not support the Arena Replacement Project and would stop this project if I am elected as Mayor. This is especially disturbing to me because it has caused unnecessary fear and concern among the parents and volunteers who have worked so hard to get this project approved and a new arena built.
So, I want to set the record straight: I actively supported the Multi-centre as your MLA and I unequivocally support the expedited replacement of our current arena.
I voted YES on the referendum (even though I can’t skate and I don’t personally use the arena) because we need a new arena as part of our full complement of sports and recreation facilities. A replacement for the arena is long overdue and, if elected as Mayor, I would do everything in my power to expedite this project — anyone suggesting otherwise is simply fear-mongering for political reasons.
The arena project is not a function of the City of Quesnel, it is a Joint Planning Committee project. This eleven member committee is made up of the Mayor, six City Councillors, and the four Northern Directors of the CRD. All members of this committee have an equal voice and vote, so no one newly elected member of that committee could stall or stop the arena project even if they wanted to. The people suggesting that if I am elected as Mayor I would single-handedly revisit, stall or stop the arena project are not only misrepresenting my position, they are misrepresenting the process. It is nonsensical to suggest that any single member of Joint Planning could interfere with the arena project.
Along with supporting getting a new arena I would also, if elected, immediately begin working with the Theatre and Arts groups to continue working toward getting a community theatre and arts facility — the part of the original Multi-Centre Project that was lost when we failed to secure federal government financial support for that project.
I don’t accept that rumour-mongering and disinformation are "just part of politics.” That is a cynical view of the political process that I reject and have worked hard to change. If we want good, community-minded people to run for political office then each of us must actively reject any claims made about candidates that are not based on fact or that we haven’t validated ourselves. The best way to do this is to simply ask candidates directly if what is being said about them is true.
If you hear things about who I am as a person or what I stand for that you want clarity about please get in touch with me directly, either through Facebook, my website (www.bobsimpsonformayor.ca) or by phone (250-255-1433).
We are a community in transition and we must work together to build a sustainable future, please don’t let the rumour and fear mongers divide us. Please help me spread the word to set the record straight. I appreciate your support and welcome your comments.
October 15, 2014
COLUMN: 5 terrible reasons to run for municipal office
· posted Oct 24, 2013 at 12:00 PM
Ever wonder what motivates a person to run for municipal council?
In many Alberta communities this year, there are high numbers of candidates for council as well as many mayoral hopefuls. But it seems that with every election, I repeatedly hear the same misguided and even mendacious rationales for taking the plunge.
As a former councillor, I’m dismayed and even irritated by people who expect the voter to select them when they haven’t done their homework and they don’t have the right intentions.
Here are my top five bad reasons to run:
• “People are ready for change!”
Newsflash: Every new candidate says that every election. Sometimes it’s true; sometimes it’s just perception.
If the best you can do is “Hey, I’m new!”… I mean, come on. You need to understand taxation, budgets, financial statements, water, sewer, garbage, road construction, residential/commercial/industrial development, the role of governance, inter-municipal relations, bylaws, social and economic development, and more.
Have you done your homework on this stuff? Do you have informed positions? Do you have proven leadership experience? Have you ever even sat on a board?
As a voter, I need to know about what qualifies you for the job and that you get it. Simply representing “change” is woefully inadequate.
• “I’m going to clean house!”
Uh, no you’re not.
If you envision yourself walking into city hall taking over operations, firing a bunch of people and generally sticking your nose into administration’s business, you’re in for a rude awakening.
If you want to manage your town or city, apply for the job. The CAO’s job is management; your role as a councillor is governance. You don’t get to direct the staff. You are not the bylaw officer, the public works foreman or the HR director. In fact, you have only one employee: the CAO.
Get a new guy and you still don’t have the right to manage the municipality. Besides, removal would take a majority vote of council and would cost the ratepayers a whole bunch of money.
You don’t have to like the manager or any of the staff but as a councillor, you are legally bound to do things properly. (Spoiler alert: You’re going to take an oath to that effect if you get elected.)
• “We have to get rid of the current corrupt/secretive/self-serving/incompetent bunch!”
Ah, the ever-popular “anti” campaign. This tactic, sadly, is often successful. It resonates with coffee klatches and angry people.
The problem is that while it may get you elected, it’s a poor foundation for being an effective mayor or member of council.
The day after you “get rid” of the last bunch, you have to actually do something. You will have a bunch of important decisions in front of you, stuff that is already in process, that the previous council you thought was so useless was working hard to consider and that perhaps you should have put some time into understanding.
Anybody can tear down — tell me what you are going to build.
• “I’m going to make fiscal responsibility my No. 1 priority!”
This may well be the most irresponsible statement of all. If all you want to do is find ways to save money, then let’s abolish property taxes right now and we can all go home.
Yes, fiscal accountability and responsible spending are very, very important. And no one likes paying taxes, me included. But the No. 1 responsibility of the councillor is not fiscal responsibility — it is to build community infrastructure for future generations. Shame on you if in five, 10 or 25 years there is no water or sewer capacity, or the roads are falling to pieces, or there are insufficient playgrounds and recreation opportunities because you were busy pinching pennies instead of building a community.
There are good councillors and bad councillors everywhere. Some mayors and councillors who should never be in office get elected, and sometimes people are justifiably upset by actions and decisions. I get that.
But to the voter: Can we agree to make informed decisions at the polls instead of vilifying the entire group without, in many cases, even a basic understanding of the role, the decisions, the full story? How about those critical thinking skills, gang?
Why should you actually run for council?
You should run because you wish to serve your community, to provide good leadership, to plan and build for the future. You should run because you have a contribution to make, ideas to be shared, passion that won’t abate and a commitment to do the right thing no matter what. You should run if you understand that you will have to sacrifice popularity and family time, and that you will have to sometimes make decisions that benefit the community as a whole but don’t benefit you personally. You should run if you want a better future for your grandchildren, and your grandchildren’s grandchildren.
If any of the five terrible reasons I mentioned frame up your election campaign, take heart, it’s not too late. You can withdraw from the race now and free up a seat for qualified people with proper intent. Or you can reflect on your intentions and set a new course with a commitment to serve your community for the all the right reasons.
Danielle Klooster is a Penhold, Alta. town councillor. This column was originally published in the Red Deer Advocate, a sister newspaper of The Tri-City News.
October 11, 2014
The following provides a list of candidates for the upcoming November municipal elections. Interesting to note in the City there are only two people running for mayor so this will make for a very exciting election with, and I look forward to, great debates and major changes.
Candidate List - City of Quesnel
John Wilson Brisco
Laurey Anne Roodenburg
Candidate List - Cariboo Regional District
September 22, 2014
My apologies for not posting the current events of council but...since Bob Simpson declared he is running for council I decided to change my priorities for the summer. I will now try to provide information I find important.
Now is the time to get involved...Run for council and help build this community.
July 3, 2014
Their Own Bylaw
to Impose Secondary Suites
After years of trying to convince residents to accept basement suites throughout Quesnel, some Councillors on Monday night felt the pressure and voted to yield to the overwhelming opposition, by agreeing that the proposed bylaw is not in the best interest of the people of Quesnel.
Sushil Thapar whom we all know was not in favour of this type of dictatorship was joined with Laurey Anne Roodenburg and John Brisco. Apparently Mary Sjostrom stated she was in favour of this bylaw but seeing as Ed Coleman did not attend this meeting her vote was not required as it was 3 against and 2 for.
It appears to me this change of heart had nothing to do with representing the people of Quesnel but their fear of the upcoming election and their previous votes on this unpopular decision.
We need to thank Ron Paull and Susan Maile for all they did in relentlessly keeping residents of Johnston Neighbourhood informed of this important issue. This is a big win for this area as it has always been zoned Single Family and now let's hope it stays that way and council will not allow secondary suites in single family zones by allowing "spot zoning" changes.
If you go back and look at the City's agendas they have been dealing with this issue prior to 2009 and it is time it is put to rest. This has cost residents far more than it should and that money could have been used for a much more needed purpose. Now lets hope staff can get on to other important issues and leave this one alone. May I suggest making our CIty more business friendly with easier access to building permits?
June 20, 2014
Bob Simpson announces he will be running for Mayor of Quesnel
Check out his facebook page!
June 14, 201
The Referendum for the borrowing of
7.5 million for the arena was an overwhelming success today.
2273 YES and 962 NO. It is pretty sad so many eligible to vote
didn't even bother.
Now we hope the work begins to provide an arena that we can all be proud of.
June 1, 2014
When Will They Ever Learn?
Driving downtown today I noticed a vehicle with a "Vote Yes" for the
new arena proposal sign in their back window. So are we
back to this again...a Yes Committee? Is Carol Pitkin being
paid again to promote this plan?
While most agree a new arena is necessary they do not agree with the cost or trust the current politicians with this decision.
Take a look at the plans on the City's website and
see how much parking there will be and how difficult it will be to
get in and out...and how it reduces the parking for the Seniors
Centre. Where will people park while the new arena is being
constructed? Isn't it obvious the architects are from a major
city where walking a few blocks to an event is minor?
After the 100's of thousands to construct the "Civic Plaza" it will be ripped out and replaced and is it necessary?
YES we need a new arena but a well thought out
plan not just a whim of the current council wanting to build a
monument before the November election.
Read the following. Over 8 years ago this was a priority so why has this taken so long? Poor leaders with other priorities?
May 21, 2014
Meeting with Concerned Citizens about Recreational Spending tonight
was very informative. Was a refreshing common sense approach to our new arena.
Power Point Presentation
By Ernest Gamache
We are hearing rumors about the ice surface in Arena 1 being compromised
so I decided to check on the City's website for concerns about "heaves", "rusted pipes" etc and found nothing in the past records.
Some can try and convince the taxpayers we need a
new arena at a different location but the last referendum didn't
prove anything to them so hopefully common sense will prevail in
June and after the elections in November the next JPC will be making
It is time for action and the Joint Planning Committees to date have wasted so much time and money we need elected officials we can trust to do what is best for our community. From what I found on the City's website JPC started discussing a new arena in 2002. Now 12 years later we are getting closer so why the urgency right now? Yes, we need an improved arena but why aren't all options considered?
May 19, 2014
Why Does the City Have Employment Contracts If They Will Not Enforce Them?
Mike Bolch's contract stated he would return a specific portion of the moving expenses he received from the City but...he returned nothing. Bolch was provided with $9990.60 of the maximum $10000.00. How many of the City Councillors would treat their personal money the same way they do public funds?
May 14, 2014
We need a new arena done the right way
Invest in an alternative plan on the existing site
Arena Public Information Meeting
Wednesday May 21 at 7pm
Best WesternTower Inn
presented by CCARS
(Concerned Citizens about Recreational Spending)
Another Buyout at City Hall
Bolch, Director of Public Works and Engineering is
no longer on the City's payroll. He was paid the
following for being there less than a year.
His contract also states he would be given a maximum of 10000.00 for moving expenses but if he did not fulfill his contract he would pay the City back on a pro rated basis. The City has not responded with the amount he paid back.
I requested the reason for his leaving but the city refused to state why, but the rumor about his departure makes one wonder why he was paid anything at all. I understand when employees threaten this city council with court action these politicians decide to pay the employees rather than the lawyers. Doesn't this mean regardless of the behaviour the employee will be given a "bonus"?
April 14, 2014
Finally, a Common Sense idea for the Arena
City council and the CRD directors have decided to go to another $20,000 referendum in June. They want permission to borrow money for a new arena. Perhaps after this referendum is defeated these decision makers will realize this community does want to borrow money for a monument for these politicians.
The City Hall meeting on Wednesday April 16th has been cancelled by the City.
March 27, 2014
New Arena Meeting
An over capacity crowd attended the Legion to learn more
about Joint Planning's proposal for a new arena They
provided several drawings and pictures of other arenas
with their building costs. These will be on
display at the Arena.
I felt everyone in the room was in favour of a new arena but the only stumbling block is can they trust those in Joint Planning when these are the same people that spent far too much money pushing for the Multi-centre and I felt were not honest about the costs.
One thing said last night that really stood out for me was when it was asked about the cost of the Port Alberni arena we were informed that was 2005, and prices have changed. Well, that question was asked about the 30 million for the Multi-Centre and we were told the cost would NOT increase, even five years after the original cost estimate.
Another concern is the "dry" space. There are no real drawings pertaining to this area of the arena. There does not need to be space for conferences and I have no objection to some smaller meeting rooms but I don't want to see a City/CRD project compete with private business.
According to those conducting the meeting the Arena would not start construction until the Spring so a referendum with the election in November makes financial sense.
February 16, 2014
What a contradiction this Report is!
Vision states: “equal opportunity of people of
all ages, cultures, lifestyles and abilities.”
Well, the lifestyle of the residents of Johnston Neighbourhood are being totally ignored. The petitions, the opposition, and the reasons for the opposition of secondary suites in this area are not even considered or mentioned in this report.
Leading Role states: “the City and its partners have jointly developed the Affordable Housing Strategy to address the housing needs in a sustainable way.” Who are their partners? Why weren't neighbourhood Associations invited to be partners?
Page 16 Action: "In close consultation with
residents and stakeholders, a new by-law is drafted that
specifies under what conditions secondary suites are
allowed in residential areas." Doesn't this give one the
impression they listened to the residents? Doesn't
this give one the impression there will be areas that
will remain single family dwellings?
One question I have asked the Provincial government is why someone with an income producing property is allowed the homeowners grant. I will provide their response when I receive it.
February 13, 2014
Repeal of Seatbelt Exemption
When does it go into effect?
Legislated amendments to the Motor Vehicle Act that were passed in 2010 will come into effect February 26, 2014. The amendments repeal the authority for the Superintendent and medical practitioners to exempt seat belt use for medical reasons.
Why change the regulations?
Seat belts are critical safety mechanisms, and allowing drivers to be exempt from wearing one increases their chance of injury and death, something we don’t want to happen.
- Countless studies show seat belts save lives; seat belt use is one of the most proven measures to reduce injury in a collision.
- Doctors of BC (formerly the BC Medical Association) and Canadian Medical Association have confirmed that there are no medical circumstances that justify exemption from wearing a seat belt.
- The change addresses concerns from the medical community, decreases pressure for medical practitioners to provide exemptions for wearing a seat belt, and limits the use of government resources for adjudication requests.
How many exemptions have been issued and how do you qualify for a lifetime exemption?
- There have been approximately 100 seat belt exemptions granted by the Office of the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles (OSMV) since 2002. Temporary exemptions issued directly by medical practitioners are not tracked by OSMV. Existing exemptions issued to drivers prior to the effective date of this change will be grandfathered, until expiry of the exemption.
February 11, 2011
Quesnel Library Closed By Flooding
By 250 News
Tuesday, February 11, 2014 07:52 AM
Quesnel, B.C. – Officials with the Cariboo Regional District are dealing with a flooding problem in Quesnel.
CRD Communications Manager Shelly Burich says the district’s Quesnel Branch Library sustained an as yet unknown amount of damage caused by flooding which occurred sometime over the Family Day long weekend.
The library has been closed as a result while the situation is assessed and repairs are made.
editors note: wonder
who is paying for the repairs?
February 2, 2014
What a mess parking on Reid Street will be with reverse angle parking. Imagine a small car trying to get out from between two trucks. Also what about the overhang onto the sidewalk with pickup trucks? Would Council just ban truck parking on Reid Street?
Will business owners appreciate the exhaust from the vehicles being directed into their stores?
Please take a look at the following sites regarding reverse angle parking. Most of these sites show examples of cars parking this way with very few, if any, pickup trucks, also from what I see the reverse parking they discuss is not on their main streets.
NOW WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN?
the following give a clear picture to Council and the CRD regarding
Recreation in Quesnel and Area?
What was the benefit of asking City residents about using Parkland Recreation areas?
December 18, 2013
Wishing all a very Merry Christmas
and a very prosperous 2014!
November 14, 2013
Minister Coralee Oakes confirmed today Quesnel gets to keep the 4 million for recreation facility purposes.
November 10, 2012
Thank you voters for proving money doesn't buy votes!
EDITORIAL BY PAT MORTON
Now It is time to replace the arena.
The City/CRD or more correctly, us taxpayers, paid Wylie Bysted and Carol Pitkin to sell us on the politicians' vision of a Multi-Centre. I am sure with their contracts and all the staff time, printing and advertising they spent 10's of thousands of our tax dollars to sell what some termed to be a Taj Mahal. In their promotions they were not telling us the whole story by making several unfavourable reports from their consultants virtually impossible to find on their websites. In fact, it appeared to me that it was not until I dug up the reports and posted them here on quesnelnews, the City/CRD made them easy to find on their website. Sometimes the people need to force transparency!
A Coalition was formed which brought out all the earlier reports and these people researched the current demographics of Quesnel and provided information to the public. Taxpayers really have to thank Eloise Dixon Warren for being the lone CRD Director that had the courage to care enough for the people she represent to provide information and she rightly refused to get involved with either the Yes or No campaign. Eloise simply made sure people were informed. Heide Krause, spokesperson for the Coalition also made sure the people were properly informed and even held an Open House at the Legion where anyone could voice their opinion, unlike the intimidating town hall meetings held by the City/CRD, where politicians wore their purple Vote "Yes" shirts. I think it was their obviously bias position that turned many voters against them.
Thanks to the caring individuals that spent their own time and money promoting "be informed". Thanks to those caring individuals that put up their own "Vote No" signs around town just to have them taken down or pasted over with "Yes". This just goes to show, sometimes one can beat City Hall!
After a conversation I had with Carol Pitkin I was a little concerned about the "Yes" committees lack of respect for the electorate. She said it didn't matter what the outcome of the referendum was as they had until December 12th to come up with the money for the Multi-Centre. Now lets see if they do the right thing and listen to the majority and go to a "Plan B". I sure would like to see some new faces on the Multi-Centre task force.
Preliminary results for the Multi-Centre referendum extension:
NO : 2070
Official results next week.
Seeing as the results for NO are much higher than YES in 2008 lets hope there will be changes. They should start planning the new arena now, in time for a referendum at next October's local government election. A final thank you to my husband Ron, for the $100 bet he lost in our bet on the referendum.
On another matter...after all this lets hope for changes with the way this council deals with the electorate. Hopefully they will now listen to the residents of Johnston Neighbourhood and not force secondary suites in our area.