DOH

District of Houston budget of $800,000 this year for paving

District of Houston officials will now meet with the representatives of the only paving company to say it was interested in this year’s paving program in order to work out a final quote.

Terus Construction, also known as LB Paving, was the only company to submit an expression of interest when the closing date of May 6 had passed.

“Terus Construction have proposed a timeline starting July 1 to July 30,” said District of Houston operations director Mike Cooper in a memo before council at its May 10 meeting.

“Next steps are to schedule a meeting with the contractor to review the paving request, measure out the areas identified and provide a final quote for the work,” he said.

The District has set a budget of $800,000 this year for paving, a figure that is $200,000 higher than what was originally intended by taking $100,000 from general reserves and another $100,000 through a 5.026 per cent tax increase for the Class 4 rate paid by major industry.

Goold Road, Nadina Ave. North and Butler Ave. from 11th to 14th are on the list to see substantial asphalt work with Tweedie to 14th St. West and Middleton Road next in line.

There’s also to be patching on Hungerford Drive, Bellicini Place, the intersection of Mountainview and Hagman and the intersection of Olson and Nadina.

Depending upon the location, the asphalt work might consist of an overlay of an existing surface, grinding up an existing layer and replacing it or more extensive work such as adding a subsurface followed by paving.

Of the District’s original $600,000 roadworks planned spending, $250,000 is coming from gas taxes collected by the federal government and then provided to local governments and $350,000 represents a portion of a major grant received from the provincial government in 2019 and 2020.

The state of the District’s roads has proven a consistent point raised when the District solicits opinions from residents about what its priorities should be.

Business course still possible

Coast Mountain College may have been turned down by the province in providing the money needed to run a business skills course in Houston but it now has suggested an alternative way the course could still be offered.

And that’s to have the District of Houston act as the program’s sponsor, suggested Lorrie Gowen, the college’s workforce training and contract services dean.

“The District would be the holder of the contract and we’d be the training provider,” she indicated in a query letter sent to the District of Houston.

The idea of a business skills course being offered in Houston grew out of the formation last year of a multi-party committee whose job is to look at ways to expand post secondary educational offerings in Houston.

Having local people trained in running a business office was identified as a local skills need, prompting the college to design a program and submit it to the provincial government’s advanced education ministry for financial support.

“Council resolved for us to apply for funding to be the contract holder for this training opportunity which, if successful, would be contracted to Coast Mountain College for program delivery,” said District of Houston chief administrative office Michael Dewar.

The college closed its campus here in 2017, citing low enrollment and rising costs but encouraging it to return as been on the District of Houston council’s ‘to do’ list since then.

The college has, however, joined in with other agencies such as the school district of offer specific courses and programs.

Council to meet with health authority

A resolution proposed by the District of Houston and completely accepted by other local governments when the North Central Local Government Association met for its annual convention in Fort St. John May 4-5 seems to have struck a chord.

The resolution keys off the COVID-19 pandemic, noting that it “exposed the lack of health care resources in rural British Columbia and resulted in many individuals being forced to leave their community for further evaluation and treatment.”

It adds that “accessible, reliable and effective local medical services should be available to all British Columbians, especially during significant illness events that impact the majority of residents.”

Northern Health has now asked to meet with local governments with the meeting with the District of Houston set for May 25.

“Several matters may be discussed, but specific topics include improved integration between B.C. Ambulance and health clinic services and seniors’ housing,” said District of Houston chief administrative officer Michael Dewar.

Northern Health communications official Eryn Collins said its chief executive officer and board members typically meet with local governments at sessions such as the North Central Local Government Association ond in Fort St. John.

“They weren’t able to attend in Fort St. John, and so have invited local governments to meetings with Northern Health over the coming weeks,” she said.

The District’s resolution will now be one of those debated by local governments when the Union of BC Municipalities meets for its annual convention in Whistler this fall.

Should the resolution meet with acceptance, it will be added to a list of issues and requests on the part of the Union of BC Municipalities when it meets with provincial health officials.