Jill Hayward – Barriere Star/Journal
A Community To Community Forum hosted by District of Barriere on Jan. 27 at the Barriere Ridge was attended by 29 community representatives from around the region.
Clearwater Mayor John Harwood gave an update on what has been happening in his community and his thoughts on the future.
“When I moved to the valley many years ago I came for a job. Now we don’t find people moving in for jobs because we don’t have jobs for families anymore,” said Harwood. “The ‘livability index’ is what all of us are having to deal with in our communities. It’s really important that this we develop a synergy kaleidoscope of how to make our communities attractive again. What can we achieve for families to say ‘I want to live there?’”
“We are strong on the pursuit of partnership – 80 per cent of what we do in Clearwater today is based on partnerships.”
As an example Harwood spoke about Dutch Lake Community Centre, where there are currently 564 people participating in healthy living at the centre, and some 56 to 60 seniors participating in lunch get-togethers.
He also stated that the municipality partners on projects with Thompson Nicola Regional District and Yellowhead Community Services to improve the lifestyle of the community.
He noted, “Last year we had a banner year in tourism, and in the off season we are looking at more bike trails. The questions is how do we get more people to come to the valley and do all of what we have?”
“In 1967 I was elected to a board, and one of our projects was to get a doctor for Clearwater – and we are still doing that,” said Harwood. “Don’t think that what we do is going to end – it’s ongoing.”
He also noted that Wells Gray Community Forest Corporation gave $100,000 towards a community biomass project, and there is also new seniors’ housing being planned.
“It’s exciting to see the synergy building,” said Harwood, “I am excited to hear what other people have to say.”
Clearwater councillor Barry Banford stated, “Before incorporation the community said what they wanted was trails connecting the community. We now have some phenomenal trails, thanks to a really dedicated group of people who worked on this.”
Banford, expressed concern regarding the recent decision of the Ministry of Forests to re-allocate staff from Clearwater’s local wildfire office to Kamloops.
TNRD Area “A” director Carole Schaffer reported she is trying to get upgrades to Birch Island and Dunn Lake roads, noting Birch Island has not seen an upgrade for 40 years. Upgrades have taken place at the Vavenby Park, and Blackpool Park is being worked on. Upgrades for the Vavenby water system, and they are also looking at an extension to the Vavenby Firehall.
TNRD Area ‘B’ director Willow MacDonald gave an update on the Blue River area.
She noted, “In 2016, $30,000 was put into trail work in Blue River, with Simpcw First Nation overseeing this and we thank them for doing that. We are planning to put another $30,000 into trails this year.”
MacDonald also stated Blue River will soon have a Subway, and the community now has a new-to-them fire truck.
“This fire truck can assist with fires on the highway from accidents, something the fire department couldn’t do before,” said the director, “The Eleanor Lake kid’s park is almost done, and things are moving along nicely and really happening in Blue River.”