Telkwa sign. (Josh Casey photo)

Telkwa talks about trees, upcoming events and enforcing bylaws

Council has directed village staff to enforce a bylaw against a noisy dog owner

Two groups in the village are planning ahead for future events and asked the village for a helping hand at the Oct. 8 council meeting.

The Telkwa and District Seniors Society will once again host the Remembrance Day Service. The group has offered to organize the service and provide lunch as they usually do. They have asked for a council member to give a brief message and place a wreath on behalf of the village. Council agreed and will decide soon which member will speak.

The Faith Alive Christian Fellowship is currently planning a New Year’s Eve party at the Telkwa Hall. It will be a family friendly, drug- and alcohol-free event. There will be activities, games and entertainment for all ages.

The group asked council for a reduction in the cost for the hall rental. Council didn’t say no to the request at their meeting but discussed waiving the rental fee and just charging a clean-up fee. All of council agreed this is a community hall and should be used by the community, but felt these requests for in-kind donations for the hall use should be streamlined. Council directed staff to come up with a form that clearly outlines deposits and certain fees that must be paid.

Wilderness Committee Letter

A letter from the Wilderness Committee regarding the protection of old growth forests was sent to Telkwa Council. The letter called on municipal governments to influence public opinion and champion to save old growth forests and ancient rainforests, stating they are critical to Indigenous cultures, provide habitat to iconic endangered wildlife and anchor B.C.’s tourism industry.

Mayor Brad Layton said he personally didn’t support this.

“My concern, more than protecting ancient forests because we do have a lot tied up with The Great Bear Rainforest, TweedsMuir, and other national and provincial parks, there is a continual erosion on our working force. We are getting to the point where pretty soon we won’t have any of that left because we are turning everything into protection.”

Councillor Rick Fuerst echoed his remarks.

“We are seeing these groups rear their heads again, like they did in the 90s. Forestry was the old bug-a-boo, they moved on to a few others but it seems like they are going back to it again,” he said. “It’s true, we have a significant amount of our old growth in protected areas now, it won’t be touched. I’m not willing to support this either.”

Council moved to receive the letter for information.

Dog Barking Complaints

Council has directed the village’s bylaw officer to start enforcing fines on a dog owner

Jason Fennema wrote to council he has had complaints from one resident on Highway 16 that his neighbour’s dogs were barking throughout the night. He has encouraged the resident to be a good neighbour and speak to the dog owner to resolve the issue. Fennema even tried to facilitate a meeting but the complainant did not want to do that.

The complainant also submitted a petition to the village with other neighbours signing it saying the dogs were disturbing the general peace of the neighbourhood.

“Bylaws need to be actively enforced so we don’t have multiple residents having the same issue of unnecessary noise. Persistent barking, howling is prohibited. It is not comfortable to anyone,” said Councillor Annette Morgan. “When we talk about the good neighbour guide, it isn’t about who is a good neighbour and who isn’t, the message we are trying to send is ‘let’s talk about it first’ and to me it seems like that can’t be done.”

“It is a shame things have to come to this,” said Coun. Rick Fuerst. “You hope for a good outcome but when that doesn’t come the bylaws need to be enforced.”

Chief Administrative Officer Debbie Joujan explained why this has dragged on for so long.

“There was a period of time that the RCMP was involved because one of the dog owner’s dogs was poisoned and died and so that took a period of time,” she said. “As things progressed, the owner came and spoke to me personally and said he doesn’t want to anything like this to happen again.

“He now has a heightened level or degree of interest in working it out directly with members of the public. But yes, it has been going on for a long period of time, the bylaw officer has spent a lot of time, many hours camped out waiting for the dogs to bark, which didn’t happen. Obviously, there is problem that the neighbours are finding with the dogs barking in the middle of the night.”

After much discussion, council moved to direct the bylaw officer to start enforcing fines to the dog owner.

The complainant said he was happy with the outcome and hopeful things will finally get resolved.

Smithers Interior News

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