Mayor Gerry Thiessen and city councillors for the District of Vanderhoof had a relatively busy night on May 14.
A bylaw concerning animal control dominated the majority of the council meeting, so for a comprehensive look at the bylaw that was adopted Monday evening and what it means for the citizens of Vanderhoof, please refer to that story in this issue of the Omineca Express.
Both Ian Leslie, the District of Vanderhoof Fire Chief and Andrew Czornolohan, the Operations Director for Rio Tinto delivered presentations regarding the water levels of the Nechako River and an update on the potential flood risks. Their thoughts are also extensively covered in another story in this issue of the Express.
That being said, there were some interesting delegations that emerged during throughout the meeting.
Veronica Zwick, the youth coordinator for the Vanderhoof Youth Centre was on hand to deliver a presentation detailing the goals and achievements that the centre has reached since they began youth drop-in operations on October 17, 2017.
The youth centre operates under the Carrier Sekani Family Services banner, who’s mission is to empower and support youth through culture, education and wellness promotion.
“We are dedicated to promoting and investing the health and well being of its citizens and communities in a dignified, respectful and culturally appropriate manner”, said Zwick during the council meeting.
Zwick reported that the centre, which runs the youth drop-in program every Tuesday to Thursday from 3:00-6:00 PM for ages 12-19, has had 55 unique individuals coming through their doors since the program’s inception, with 532 total youth signed into the centre over the past seven months. Zwick also noted that there is an average of about seven youth a day.
“We create a safe and inclusive environment where youth can come and hang out with their friends and make new ones. During our drop-in hours, we have a variety of activities and games that are all youth directed. There are no scheduled activities during this time, so any youth can come in and have fun and do whatever they want, within reason obviously,” said Zwick.
Some of the future program goals for the centre include sponsored driving lessons, cooking classes and music lessons. Coming up, the centre is funding nine spots so that a group of youth can complete their First Aid Level 1 course.
As funding allocated to the youth centre has already been approved within the District of Vanderhoof’s budget, Thiessen and council had no problem allowing them to obtain funds for music equipment, sports equipment, arts and crafts supplies and new furniture.
“I think the community as a whole understands the value that the Vanderhoof Youth Centre brings,” said Thiessen.
The Vanderhoof Airport Development Society were also present at the council meeting, asking to start work on a small grass landing strip where airplanes equipped with tail wheels, skis and float will be able to land safely.
This grass landing pad has been apart of an airport plan that was previously approved by council in 2016 and 2017.
They stated that with this landing strip in place, a larger amount of planes would be able to land safely at the Vanderhoof Airport, drumming a further business.
“We’re already attracting quite a lot of aircraft to the airport for maintenance and we’re very fortunate that we have a shop there that really likes to do this stuff, because it’s getting more and more difficult to find aviation repair facilities that are actually doing this stuff,” said Paul Collard, President of the Vanderhoof Airport Development Society.
Collard also mentioned that establishment, upkeep and maintenance costs would be minimal.
Otto Koldyk, a representative from Bell Media out of Terrace, B.C. came in hopes of securing funding and logistic support for a tourism advertisement campaign for Vanderhoof
“The big plan that I have, if this were to come together, is to put together a five week campaign in which we would showcase two, one minute advertisements at the five o’clock and six o’clock newscasts, as well as a 30 second ad to complete the newscast to promote Vanderhoof,” said Koldyk.
Koldyk noted that he wanted to assure that the ad campaign would be cost effective.
“To do that, the strategy would be best served by incorporating many businesses or organizations and cost sharing,” said Koldyk.
According to Koldyk, if the budget to run a five week campaign was set at $6000 and 14 to 20 local businesses split the cost to be featured, each business would be looking at $400 to $500 dollars each.
“My main goal is just to provide something to you guys to brand Vanderhoof,” said Koldyk. “Just on a personal note … this community became quite dear to me. I was pleasantly surprised at what your community had to offer once I just checked it out. I thought that this place was worth telling people about.”
Koldyk wrapped up his presentation by stating that the advertisement campaign was a unique opportunity to make the residents of B.C. who are potentially driving through this area more aware of what the community is all about. He also made a note to mention that several local businesses have already committed to be apart of the potential campaign.
Thiessen and council were more than willing to accommodate Koldyk’s request, issuing a meeting where Koldyk and new Chief Administrative Officer Adam Davey would be able to discuss further logistical issues to ensure the advertisement campaign runs smoothly.