Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Catching up with Dawson Creek

Last night some members of council met with our Dawson Creek counterparts from just over the border in British Columbia. Not everyone from each council was able to make it. Mayor Ayling, Alderman Eckhardt, Alderman Heath, Alderman Logan and Mazer where there along with our City Manager (Dave Gourlay), Treasurer (Ken Anderson) and Public Works Director (Frank Daskewech) and my self.

We've been doing these kind of meetings with other councils or groups since my first term. Most of the meetings don't have a set agenda and there isn't any press. It gives us a chance to meet other local councils in a relaxed atmosphere where we can both catch up and compare notes on what is going on in our respective communities.

The last time we met like this with Dawson Creek was back in that first term, it has to be at least 4 years ago now. One of the interesting things we found out about through these meetings is the Fair Share program that the B.C. government started up for communities in the North East. I'm going to have to do a whole post about that program but just to give you an idea of what it is - Basically the BC government gives a special grant to put back a little of the revenue from oil and gas in to the communities that support the people and businesses doing the work. That's a real simplification but the point is of course in the $$.

So, how much is it? Dawson Creek, population of about 12 000, will receive a special grant of $6M this year on top of any other money they are getting from the province, it's paid per person in the community. So if a similar thing happened in Alberta, Grande Prairie would see approximately $23M extra from the province every year!

Hmmmm... no wonder the community can build their Multiplex.

Anyways, it was good to catch up with Dawson and meet their new mayor, Calvin Kruk. We heard about, their efforts to land a Junior Hockey team like the GP Storm, how the construction of the Multiplex was going, how the federal census might have under counted, how the planning commissions in BC are protecting farmland from development and a bunch of other odds 'n ends.

It's interesting to think that Dawson Creek used to be the big community in the Peace Country. Sure, times have changed but they have a lot going for them now and you never know what could happen if we don't keep on our toes.

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