From the Bear Pit
Regional Council Meeting News
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October 25, 2021 Regional Council Meetings
9-1-1 Call Boxes along Highway 97
The NRRM plans the installation of five 9-1-1 Call Boxes along the Alaska Highway with proposed locations of Prophet River, Summit Lake, between Toad River and Muncho Lake, Liard River, and Army Hill (North of Fireside). The blue light tower emergency phones (call boxes) were sourced from Case Emergency Systems. They are solar powered with back up 40 amp backup battery. The call box is available 24/7 365 days per year. Operated by the sumple push of a button, the person is connected directly to the 9-1-1 public safety service provider Grande Prairie Fire Rescue, through a speaker located on the "phone".

Regional Council has pre-approved a capital budget for 2022 at a total of $119,000 conditional on grant funding of which $12,000(10%) NRRM would contribute. This amount is for five call boxes at a cost of $24,000 each, including purchase, installation and signage. Regional Council also approved the required three-year maintenance and operating commitment for a total of $20,000 to be expended over budget years 2022, 2023, and 2024.

Unreliable wireless coverage is a safety concern to the public in the Northern Rockies since residents, travelers and workers cannot access emergency services in areas without cell service. Funding is currently available through a program called Connecting British Columbia which offsets capital costs for areas lacking wireless or broadband coverage. Should this funding be successful, it is anticipated that the project will begin in early 2022, with the installation to take place in Spring.

Community Sustainability Update
An update was provided to Regional Council on the NRRM's current efforts towards public education to raise awareness about the vermicomposting project in demonstrating the importance of green waste diversion. Earlier in the year the NRRM held a contest, put out a waste diversion survey and promotional video. Throughout September staff gave eight presentations about vermicomposting to all grades at R.L. Angus School. On October 12th-13th staff and Council participated in the Northern BC (NBC) Solid Waste Forum speaking to the challenges and possible solutions to solid waste management and sustainability initiatives.

Regional Council directed staff to investigate all options presented in regards to solid waste diversion as outlined below:
  • Establishment of a Environmental Advisory Committee inclusive of a member of Council.
  • Residential and Commercial Waste Diversion efforts in the NRRM by offering incentives, discounted rates of garbage collection, recognition awards, etc.
  • School Waste Diversion options to support schools in green bin rental and dumping fees.

Tourism Advisory Committee
Regional Council appointed Lycrecia Behn-Adin to become a member of the Tourism Advisory Committee (TAC) via email ratification.

The purpose of the Northern Rockies Tourism Advisory Council (TAC) is to assist in the implementation of the tourism-related components of the Regional Economic Strategy (2019), to provide advice and feedback to the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality (NRRM) related to activities and tactics undertaken to achieve the priorities identified in the plans, and provide an industry perspective (challenges, opportunities, etc.) related to future tourism development and planning in the NRRM. The TAC will help increase economic growth and awareness of the natural, cultural and historic assets within the NRRM.
Town Square Renewal Project Budget
Regional Council approved the amendment of the Town Square Renewal Project budget in the amount of $1,054,000 to be funded from Building and Facility Reserves to provide for prime consulting costs, with a construction and contingency budget to be established once detailed design is complete, and taking advantage of all grant opportunities available to offset costs.

Also to note that the construction costs are Class "E" estimates, provided prior to any consultation, design work, or a clearly defined scope of work. It was reported in the 2021 budget process that the projected balance of the Building and Facility Reserve fund is at a total of 9.3M.
Toad River and Nonda Road Tenure Acquisition
Regional Council approved the acquisition of the Toad River Bridge that provides access to the Nonda Creek Corridor, with direction to continue work with the Province to ensure adequate ground access to and beyond the Toad River Bridge as well as exploration of grant funding opportunities to support the maintenance costs associated with the Toad River Bridge and any related portions of the Nonda Creek Road.

The Nonda Creek Road is located approximately 8km west of the community of Toad River and begins at Highway 97. The road is approximately 23 km in length, providing access to former telecommunication tower site operated by NWTel. It includes a 52m long Bailey Bridge, communication tower and base generator site that was constructed in the 1950's by Canadian National Telecommunications (eventually becoming NWTel).

Also of note