District signs mutual aid agreement for services

Covers water, sewer and waste disposal

Mutual Aid Agreement Signed

The District of Houston is signing onto a mutual aid agreement covering essential services with the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako and the district’s other member municipalities.

It builds on an existing mutual aid agreement for emergency response services such as firefighting equipment, emergency rescue equipment and personnel as needed.

“The new agreement is intended to cover all emergency resourcing, including the provision of essential services such as drinking water, sewage management and solid waste management,” a briefing note to council states.

It’s arranged so that a requesting local government is responsible for the costs of a local government to provide the emergency resources.

But there is also no obligation for a local government to provide resources if they are either unavailable or required by that local government for its own purposes.

Water, sewage disposal project

The District continues to make progress on a project to provide water and take in sewage from work camps connected to the Coastal GasLink pipeline project.

To date, $29,137 has been spent on engineering design and other costs, mostly financed by pipeline contractors, reports District of Houston chief administrative officer Gerald Pinchbeck.

“The District remains in discussions with pipeline contractors for the financing of the septage receiving facility, installation and site development costs,” he said.

One of the larger of the pipeline project’s camps is located south of Houston.

Gaming grant support wanted

Council was asked by the Village of Hazelton for its support in pursuing a change in how profits from gambling are distributed by the province.

At the moment, local governments of less than 10,000 population can’t apply for grants and that’s something the Village of Hazelton wants changed.

“We understand that smaller communities do not all have gaming facilities, but this does not mean that members in our communities do not travel and spend money in communities that do have gaming facilities,” wrote Village of Hazelton mayor Dennis Sterritt.

The Village of Hazelton position takes the form of a resolution to the Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) and it’s this resolution it wants Houston to endorse.

The practice in Houston is to make a final determination on supporting any motion at a UBCM convention following deliberation by the UBCM, indicated Pinchbeck.

That practice also follows resolutions presented to the North Central Local Government Association.

Busy fire department

Several larger fires for the first quarter of this year boosted the number of hours personnel were called out.

As of the end of March, firefighters were on scene for 429.5 hours compared to 157 hours for the first three months of 20199.

There were 18 fire related calls from January to March this year compared to 11 for the same period in 2019 and 10 for the same period in 2018.

Leisure revenue down

Closure of leisure facility operations do to the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a marked decline of visits and revenues for the first three months of this year.

Revenue from admissions, memberships, locker rentals, merchandise sales and program registrations fell to $41,990 compared to $64,356 for the same period in 2019 and $64,356 for the same period in 2018.

There were 9,375 admissions and member visits for the first three months of this year compared to 12,690 for the same period in 2019.

But bookings at the community were up substantially at 723 hours of use resulting in revenue of $9,308. That compares to 130 hours of rentals and $871 in revenue for the first three months of 2019.

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