Council shows support for proposed manufacturing plant in Williams Lake
City of Williams Lake Council showed its full support following a presentation from Massive Canada CEO Gaetan Royer, who is proposing to operate a manufacturing plant in Williams Lake on Mackenzie Avenue at the formerJackpine Forest Products site.
Massive Canada operates in mass timber and construction manufacturing to create prefabricated building components in the creation of modular homes.
Royer said the company will use state-of-the-art technology to accelerate the delivery of new housing, as well as create up to 140 new jobs in the community with a focus on hiring locally.
Following the presentation, Council thanked City staff for its work on the project, and the company for its investment in Williams Lake.
Asked when Massive Canada plans to begin operations, Royer said the company plans to begin renovating the building this summer.
"Our first operations would be in early2024, and we would probably start at 25per cent capacity as we learn to use the equipment and train people and by 2025 be hiring a lot more and producing at a higher capacity. Our projections are we'll have 70people (employed) the first year, leading up to the range of 140 by year three."
Council adopts 2022-2026 Strategic Plan
Council approved the City of Williams Lake Council Strategic Plan for2022-2026.
The strategic plan provides an important foundation for setting focus areas for Council's term and planning for growth.
Identified in the plan are several key focus areas including:
Council awards grant-in-aid to Stampeders hockey club
Council approved a late grant-in-aid request from the Williams Lake Stampeders Senior 'AA' Hockey Club for $5,000.
In a letter to the City submitted with its grant-in-aid application, the Stampeders said they suffered losses during the 2022/23 season, including $15,000 in required repairs to the team's bus.
While approving the application, Council noted it has received and approved several late grant-in-aid requests during its term and discussed whether the policy should be revisited. In its approval of the request Council also noted there were still funds available in the grant-in-aid budget.
Council asks for draft bylaw to prohibit drug use in parks
Council requested staff to draft a bylaw amendment to ban drug use in public spaces in response to the Provincial government's pilot program decriminalizing possession of up to 2.5 grams of illicit drugs in public spaces.
While Council agreed the bylaw amendment would not be a long-term solution to solving the overdose and toxic drug crisis in the province, it said the bylaw amendment would allow City bylaw staff and RCMP to heighten safety in the community's parks and beaches.
Council added the bylaw would help to apply pressure on the Provincial government to provide much-needed help to municipalities dealing with the issue of homelessness, mental health and addiction.
Snow Angels Volunteer Program moving forward
Council directed staff to conduct a public expression of interest process for potential snow angel volunteers to assist those in need in the community with shoveling sidewalks during the winter months.
Council unanimously agreed the program would be a positive benefit in the community for those most at risk, or needing help, during the winter.
In drafting a bylaw, staff will consult with RCMP and health agencies, as well as provide research and information on similar bylaws in other communities.
Purchasing policy waived to expedite Well No. 6 Project
Council waived its purchasing policy to approve sole-sourcing of consultant services for the Well No. 6 Project to proceed as follows:
Council noted the urgency of the project in its reasoning for waiving the policy, noting several of the City's wells are currently inefficient in supplying water to the community.
Standards of Maintenance bylaw adopted by Council
Council introduced and gave first three readings to the 'City of Williams Lake Rental Premises Standards of Maintenance Bylaw.'
The bylaw allows the City's building inspection department the legal authority to intervene when occupant health and life safety is at risk, including tenant complaints for issues such as a lack of smoke alarms, emergency egress out of a building or environmental hazards like mold.
Council noted it was thrilled with introduction of the bylaw and said it is a great step in providing City staff the tools to be able to take action on Williams Lake rental premises.
Annual Halloween Fireworks to procced as planned for 2023
The City of Williams Lake's Annual Halloween Fireworks display will proceed as planned after Council reviewed severaloptions for either adjusting, or providing an alternative, to the October 31 community event hosted at the Williams LakeStampede Grounds.
The review came after Council received a letter from the Williams Lake Trail Riders Association expressing concerns aboutthe central location of the fireworks in regards to animal and pet safety and wellbeing, as well as impacts to horses stabled atthe Stampede Grounds.
A motion to adjust the fireworks budget to allow for the same length of show hosted by the City in 2022 paid with the assistance of COVID-19 grant money (a $13,000 show lasting 16-20 minutes), however, was defeated. The 2023 Halloween Fireworks will consist of a six to eight minute show, costing $6,500.
In addition, Council asked staff to seek community feedback on the Halloween fireworks for future years.
Letter from downtown business on crime and safety spurs on 'Clean Team' discussion
A letter from Bob's Footwear & Apparel Inc. dated May 18, 2023 regarding concerns around issues of crime, theft, drug use, littering and safety downtown was received by Council, prompting discussion about the creation of a 'Clean Team' to work in the City to help out in the community picking up garbage, needles or cleaning graffiti, for example.
Sherri Yonkman, Downtown Williams Lake BIA executive director, said their organization is currently researching the feasibility of starting a clean team of its own to focus on the City's downtown core. In response, Council asked staff to explore the possibility of forming a 'Clean Team' in the City, potentially working with the DWLBIA in the future.