NEWS RELEASE · 5th November 2011
I have been bringing the Terrace family together by telling it like it is since 2006.
Unlike the classic movie line delivered by Jack Nicholson in “A Few Good Men”, I believe you can handle the truth!
And I have no problems with delivering this truth, in all things, at all times. Good decisions come from good information.
I consider my role, as Mayor of Terrace, having two areas of focus or points, which I believe will bring enormous financial activity to Terrace.
1) Unifying the infrastructure and management of all things within the City boundaries for the benefit of Terrace residents and
2) The unification and promotion of the entire Northwest corner of BC, as Terrace is and needs to remain, the service center.
On point number one;
a) I will work to make Terrace a City people want to walk and bike around in. A place both residents and visitors will enjoy. This will require ensuring the streets and ditches are clean and cut at all times. Walking and biking trails are not just created, they are designed so efficiently and attractive people will want to leave their cars at home.
Case in Point 1. Walking from George Little Park to the Terrace Arena/Sportsplex. These two City properties are across the street from one another. Each has a diagonal path running through the property but they do not join or have access across Kalum Street from one to the other. The new trail across George Little Park begins appropriately at the South west corner near the new entertainment podium. As users of the Park trail get to the other end at Kalum and Davis they find they have to walk a full block north to the pedestrian crosswalk near the Willows apartments or back to the southeast corner to cross at the lights at Park Avenue.
Both properties are heavily used and at times are used in conjunction. A thoughtful City would design a crossing to help the residents cross safely, legally and without impediments. This is a glaring example of how the City has failed to consider the residents. The paths are beautiful but the utility was missing from the plan.
Case in Point 2. Recently, April 2010, the City signed away property and closed lanes frequently used by pedestrians. The pathway between Munroe and Eby Street was heavily used by foot traffic as was the Hall Street lane on the south end of the City. The Councillors and City stated it wasn’t far to walk an extra block or two around. This is the opposite mindset required for the residents. It should be, “What can we do to save steps.” At ever possible chance we should work to hold onto property we can design to make the City easier to walk and bike through. It is simply natural to take the shortest route and we should be assisting this not hindering it.
Case in Point 3. Attempting to get to Thornhill from Terrace as a cyclist or pedestrian. First there is nothing but danger in all these directions. Getting to the Old Skeena River Bridge from downtown is rife with hazards and potholes. A continuous safe, secure and wide route from Legion Avenue to the bridge is of paramount importance. On the South side, along Highway 16 and Keith Avenue, the bridge approaches and walking lanes are completely unacceptable. It almost appears as if the City and Highways department have specifically designed this route to be a frightening obstacle course.
Case in Point 4. Walking from the north side to the south side, as a cyclist or pedestrian. There is a beautiful walking trail called the Millennium Trail on the south side of Greig and Hwy 16 but getting onto it from downtown is difficult unless you happen to be at the Emerson Street corner. Traffic would not be terribly interrupted if a controlled crosswalk was put in place on the east side of Sparks Street at the Safeway corner. Downtown bound traffic would still be able to turn left onto Sparks and pedestrians would not have to walk up to the Sande overpass intersection and wait in the blowing cold for the walk signal to finally change.
These are only a few glaring examples. There are many more to demonstrate how the previous City officials have not first considered the people who live here. I have addressed the poor intersection design in earlier writings. This is a longer conversation, however, jaywalking is the name of the game in Terrace due more to a lack of consideration for the residents than a residents disregard for traffic.
b) I will bring all the sports, recreation and youth groups together to ensure the City is doing everything it can to help coordinate and facilitate the involvement of all the young people in Terrace. “No child left behind” is more than just words. KidSport, the Minor Hockey Association, Bluebacks swimmers, the soccer clubs, martial arts, badminton, gymnastics, figure skaters, triathlon events and much more, all need to be included in a comprehensive promotional program. We need to coordinate a calendar and an activity center where the leaders and trainers can each have direct and welcoming input into how the City can promote their, mostly volunteer, efforts. We need to take this individual pride and commitment by our community, for the children, and give it a turbo boost. I no longer want to hear someone say, “What, they held that this past weekend? I wish I knew about it?” or “I wish I could get my kid into a sports program, but there’s nothing I can afford.” The children are my priority in all things.
c) Currently Terrace occupies three major structures where senior management officials have their offices. The City Hall on Eby Street, of course is the most notable. The second is the City Works department on Graham Avenue and the third is the Leisure Services offices at the Arena/Sportsplex. Although it will take sometime to fully appreciate the intricate duties all the managers engage in; on the surface I suspect it might be far more beneficial to have all the management working in concert in one building. It has always been a curiosity as to why, after arriving at City hall to purchase a business licence, I would need to drive to the other side of Terrace, to a different City office. This is not just a waste of my resources it seems to be a waste of City resources too. It is my intention to have the City staff and employees refocus their attention to make every activity of every citizen of the City as easy and as achievable as possible. The task of every employee and Council member of the City of Terrace is to make life in Terrace the very best one could find anywhere.
d) During the last municipal election residents of North Terrace, Brauns Island and Dutch Valley, all areas outside the Terrace City Boundaries managed by the Regional District Kitimat Stikine (RDKS), voted to pay to have Terrace City water piped into their districts. I will work to encourage these areas not just use the Terrace water system, but all of Terrace City services and extend the boundaries of Terrace to include these areas. Logic would have a reasonable person believe Brauns island, the area across the small bridge next to the Terrace water treatment plant, as already being a part of Terrace. As there is only one access and it is Terrace, we must provide an environment which would encourage these regions to join us in providing a better life for all.
In summary this is a part of my “Unity” and “Vision” package for the residents of Terrace; to be open and inclusive, offering a community of features and attractions all would want to be a part of.
On point number two;
Terrace is the central service and shopping hub for the entire Northwest region of BC. Residents arrive here from Telegraph Creek, the Hazeltons, Prince Rupert, Kitimat and Stewart to access the vast array of services we have. The Northwest Regional Airport is a central piece of this package. I support their desire to re-acquire the Customs clearance service for international traffic. This is a very important part of my Vision.
I will work non-stop to unite the entire region under a new identity. The identity I envision is the stunning and remarkable image created by the major rivers; the profile of a human face looking east. I have been promoting this image after discovering it in 2009, under the name “The Sacred Circle”. Many people including outlying First Nations communities have come to see this as an exciting way to promote our region and protect the culture.
I originally used the Sacred Circle name due to various environmental groups calling the location at the source of the waters for all these rivers, (the Klappan Coal fields next to the Spatzizi Wilderness Plateau), “The Sacred Headwaters”. Originally it was tongue in cheek but soon I came to understand the reality and the significance of this find and the proper use of the word ‘Sacred’. Almost all water filters use coal or charcoal. Even BC MLA Bill Bennett acknowledged to me in mid July last year during a visit to the Skeena Valley Golf and Country Club his countertop home Brita water filter employs coal to filter the water. And it is the eye socket of this profile image that contains the coal filtering for the water of every major river of the region.
The author of Moby Dick and many other works, Herman Melville, is attributed to have originally stated, “The eyes are the gateway to the soul”. And it is this region, the Klappan, which contains a small lake glimmering and sparkling from the corner of the eye. The northern end of this lake flows into the Stikine via the Klappan River and the Southern end flows into the Nass River. The Skeena River also starts from the eye, above the bridge of the nose. A small lake, once again, feeds both the Nass and Skeena Rivers near the Klappan Groundhog coal field. The Skeena outlines the full facial features; the nose, lips, chin including the adams apple. The Klappan and the Stikine Rivers detail the top of the head with a headdress or mask while the channels and inlets of Alaska to Haida Gwaii form the back of the head resembling flowing hair. The Nass River defines the side of the face, ear and hairline. Is the Klappan the gateway to the soul of Mother Nature, Turtle Island or Mother Earth? It could be marketed with this in mind.
It is this remarkable image I wish to use to identify our region as the most unique and wondrous place on the planet. This image and all the associated cultures and unique treasures, the Kermodei Bear included, are marketing miracles. Most communities have to dream up an attractions to attract visitors. We have them in spades. We just need the “Vision” to promote it. With the new and growing numbers of visitors will be corporate executives who will then discover; the available industrial lands, the great people, the sea ports, the great environment, the rail line, the competent and cooperative political scene, the burgeoning infrastructure and truly the best place on earth. Who wouldn’t want to consider setting up their next industrial or manufacturing plant here?
Uniting all the peoples and their communities around this one central theme and combining our resources to feature this image will have the entire globe turning their attention away from disturbing and distracting world affairs to look at something spectacular. Much like landing on the Moon, seeing this image from above, smiling east towards the “Old World” and at the rising sun, we could have the media and public transfixed. The pure fresh and clean waters bubbling through to the surface from this unique habitat to feed all the life in and along the rivers banks, from the Klappan to Haida Gwaii; from eggs hatched of spawning salmon to the trees nourished from their rotting carcasses, the Sacred Circle is a marvel of Nature. Featuring this nature and the original inhabitants, the Tsimshian, Haisla, Haida, Tlingit, Gitxsan, Wet’suwet’en, Nisga’a and the Tahltan who protect this source, with all of us in unity, we will thrive in a remarkable fashion. This isn’t just for us today but it is for the children of tomorrow, for untold generations until the end of time.
We have the opportunity and the obligation, as stewards of our children’s future and as an example for the world, to demonstrate how we can all be one people and work together in harmony for the benefit of all.
So, if you were waiting for someone to present a plan, a vision, something clearly spelled out, that you could hang your hat on, I offer my “Vision” free of charge with no reservations.
Since 2006 I have been attending and writing about all the affairs of the northwest and Terrace. Since 2007 I have offered the entire region a free service in which to share and communicate with each other. Since 2009 I have been promoting the profile image in the major rivers and the Sacred Circle.
Today I offer even more. Vote Merv for Mayor and get ready for the future. It is a prosperous one.
The Map from Geology.com which in 2009 made the image a reality
A close up of the profile
at www.sacredcircle.ca thanks to Dale Robinson
Top, Merv with Nathan Cullen at the Airport after an agreement was signed with the Kitsela's. The same thing Dave just announced only 4 years earlier. Below at the Arena after winning Hockeyville.
Comment by les watmough on 12th November 2011
Here is another 'vision ' to take on. The Telkwas pass is the air corridor from Terrace to a points east. There is, at present no way to determine what weather is in thapass. There are a multitude of Weather Cams, Highway cams etc ,.. the technology is proven. Put one of these cameras on the west end of the pass, send the vidieo to the weather stations, Terrace and Smithers. for the pilots of VFR flights for thier flight pplands ,and save lives. There have been 5 accidents because of weather in the Pass, including one Caribou search and rescue aircraft. There is one vidieo station on Eggg iland( no where ville) but none in this dofficult pass. Les (call me.)
Comment by les watmough on 9th November 2011
The areas you outline in your vision are in the Regional District of Kitimat Stikene, and I know them well. Most propple in authority know them, but no one has any respect for or any desire to work with the rd. The RD proposed the power line to Dease Lake 8 years before any Government or news media gave a damn, The RD was never supported in thier drive for this important infastructure . The Standard gave all credits to Elmer from HAzelton for the line that will never cross thier turf. GET TO KNOW the RD. WORK with them. Terrace is just a village within the RD boundaries. Your obediant servant Les.
WHITE IS BEAUTIFUL
Comment by James Wold on 7th November 2011
A beard to die for, I'm jealous keep your DNA
Comment by Merv Ritchie on 6th November 2011
If there was a secret ballot and our representatives were able to investigate this issue on their own, they would invariably vote against poisoning our water system.
The floride issue is a non starter. It is simply a foolish action and an entire waste of money.
There is nothing, not a shred of evidence suggesting this is a good practice.
See the man, not the image he portrays
Comment by Merv Ritchie on 6th November 2011
I have posted another picture, if you must see how I look without a beard. I am hoping to lead Terrace into an inclusive future, not one bent on conformity and intolerance. I have, during numerous periods of my life, attempted to be how others want me to be. This is a losing game. What you see today is exactly who I am, my complete and unaltered DNA. Nothing about me or my character is designed or sculpted to conform, impress or mollify.
The last picture is one of my proudest moments in Terrace. Many people contributed to the success of the Hockeyville bid and most of them did not get the recognition. Take the 3 CFTK staffers, CK printers and the cab company owner who set up the Mall call center as only 3 examples. Many more also spent money and an extrodinary amount of time without profiting. Just like a shaved face, not everything is as it appears.
Thank you for taking the time to write this on Truth v Unity
Comment by Merv Ritchie on 6th November 2011
As a reporter and a writer it was my duty to uncover and expose the truth. You are quite correct to state people don't listen to "grumpy cynicism" and I believe I have been much more "blunt, brutal and honest" than that of a cynic.
In regards to "burning bridges"; only after being attacked for exposing the under belly of Terrace did I get accused of such. I was immediately attacked by Chamber representatives in 2006 as not knowing what I was talking about when those who did the attacking never attending any of the meetings, at City Council the RDKS or the various AGM's. I was accused of only repeating what I was told when they did not even make an appearance to the gatherings. It was an absurd accusation which I defended. This further offended the City and the Chamber reps. They have held a grudge ever since.
Of my character it has been said, "Merv doesn't suffer fools gladly” and this has been true for most of my life. It ruined my relationship with my ex-inlaws. They lived on intimidation and power but lacked compassion and the ability to reason. I didn't suffer them well.
Lately I have come to understand how educating and informing with humour and having compassion for those who have little integrity is a much more enjoyable and rewarding lifestyle.
Although I interject much more humour into my writings as of late, I am still a very serious person.
I will never sacrifice truth. Not for unity or economic benefit. Truth is morality and integrity. It has always been this issue which has provoked the most flashback; from the drug dealers and criminals to the police and the "upper crust". No one wants their nefarious deeds exposed but this is the role of the media and I hope I have done this job well.
There is a common phrase that is worth mentioning here, "Hell hath no fury like a women scorned". In Terrace, this applies not to women, but to some members of the City and Chamber. Their hold on the media and all things in Terrace has been a bit upset by the Terrace Daily.
Do you remember, last election, when confronting a power broker in Terrace, we were accused of being irresponsible publishing a partial picture of Sharon Smith. When I clearly asked why, as it was CTV who published it, which is where we got it, he angrily fired back, "We can't control them!"
This was a very revealing Freudian slip.
The Terrace Daily cannot be controlled either and it is this fact that has those who wish to continue to hold the full economic reigns of Terrace in their hands, spreading hateful, malicious and insidious venom. I confess, at times of have reacted in the heat of the moment. However if you read some of the emails I receive from these individuals you too would be horrified. It is this single issue that has outsiders timid to invest here. A “real” investor does their homework. They will pay a firm (one firm told me they paid over $25,000) to report on the political and administrative make up of the community. Looking at our town from the outside, how do you think that report would come out today?
My sole intention is to make these reports come out with rave reviews, a welcoming, inclusive community with prospects of a fantastic future. I want the reports to rate Terrace as the most likely place to succeed in. I want Money magazine to rate us in the top ten, not the bottom ten. We can not get there with the old guard. Kaddafi didn’t like dissent either, he also wanted to control everything. Look where that got him!
You and many others are new to Terrace and bring worldly insight, fresh perspectives. We need to have this and more. The first step however is to get the City independent from those who have "controlled" the city and the media for decades.
Comment by mbweston on 6th November 2011
Ya, Merv, the beard has got to go. We want to be able to SEE the man behind it.
Can you give me your position of fluride in city water?
Comment by balthazar on 6th November 2011
you are a complicated man. I think you have a lot to give and offer and your heart is in the right place. You make the right conclusions most of the times, and although I don't always agree with your opinions or your drift, I always value what you have to say. Doing the right things, working towards more sustainability and a better tomorrow for our children makes it necessary that we listen to all aspects of societal living - the Jobs world , the educational world, the environmental world , the traditional world and the social world. Sustainability is the result of a life in balance and we only achieve this by creating an environment of trust where every opinion can be heard, valued , measured and taken into account. This brings unity and most importantly it then sets the base for consensus decisions that can be understood and accepted by all, as this dreaded chemistry of bias, greed, secret agendas or misinformation stops us from making decisions and moving things along. Standing still is falling behind and it makes more sense to sometimes make the wrong decision and fix it later, than no decision at all.
I have studied change management for many years and the very first thing any company, or person or community has to do if it wants to change its results, outcomes, future prospects etc. is assuring an inventory of the now. Blunt, brutal and honest analysis of the current state is the absolute necessity to lay the right road into tomorrow. You do that, but I also think that you sometimes burn bridges, where they should be built as you also need to sense who is ready to listen and who will block you out when you present the mirror. Leading change is a difficult matter and it takes a long time to built trust and assure that ones voice is heard - research suggests it takes anything from 3-5 years to just build the foundation for openness to change, in a complex societal body like a community. Also, people will not listen to people proposing change if the later are presenting it with grumpy cynicism. The best leaders for change are happy people that don't take themselves too seriously and have found their own life balance - this chemistry is contagious and you will initiate change where it is not even recognized as such ;) Then you win. It is sort of a quick bypass around mistrust and bias.
I have high respect for everyone who is running in this election. I hope the outcome will be diverse under aforementioned aspects and that the future councilors and the mayor find a common ground to cooperatively work together - I do think your idea about secret voting is good until unity is reached. It might make sense for the new 'Team' to have a Change Management / Team Binding Session at the very start.
If you do get elected, please have your facial hair trimmed - it would be a great symbol for the change ;)
Comment by Karen on 6th November 2011
I have long envisioned a community that focused on the people and on the abundant natural and historical resources at our disposal.
As a college student in Red Deer, AB I spent many hours biking and walking on the many kilometers of both groomed and natural trails that abound in that city. I feel every municipality has the responsibility to ensure that a healthy lifestyle and the ability to enjoy our surroundings is an option for residents and visitors. Expanding and forming circular routes of a trail system should be a big priority as they would not only encourage locals to get out but they would add tremendously to the beauty of our surroundings and show Terrace as a welcoming place for all.
The fact that Terrace is the center of a large number of smaller communities, historical landmarks, fantastic natural resources, great outdoor sports possibilities, respected educational facilities and easily accessible to the outside tells me that we need to be looking at far more than industrial investment for the city. Ever since arriving in town in 1993 I have felt that the Northwest absolutely under-utilizes its' assets. Efforts have been made to spruce up the town but looking at it from a visitors perspective there is nothing that differentiates Terrrace from any other non-descript town in B.C..
There are so many things that could be done to work towards a community that stands out, with minimal cost to start. We could encourage owners of stagnant properties to put in grass and keep it manicured and ensure homeowners maintain their property in an attractive manner. Put out a campaign to everyone, including our schools, to have pride in the town and pick up garbage when they see it. We need to ensure that if a recycle depot comes to fruition that it is planned as an asset and not an eyesore undermining the good intentions ment by the proponents. Ask businesses to stop constructing square, concrete block retail outlets that lack imagination... we need to encourage creativity and beauty in our local architecture.
Terrace is badly lacking a vision and I think Merv is on the right track towards giving our town the recognition and opportunities it deserves.
Vote for Mr.Merv Ritchie
Comment by M S Craven on 5th November 2011
We live surrounded by beauty, we live in an area of rich tradition and diverse people. We must protect and revitalize the beauty, history, and proud traditions we hold.
Mr. Ritchie’s vision for Terrace is one we all should embrace.
It is time to change how our Terrace is run. We cannot stand by as the budget of the city grows while our citizens cut. Our businesses and citizens struggle under the weight of the current Mayor. Mr. Ritchie can give us a new positive direction.
It is time we stand up and say Terrace should no longer be hamstrung by expanding debts on unneeded projects but must be a town that follows the example of so many of its citizens and operates on a balanced budget. We cannot continue to mortgage the future of Terrace and its residents by having a mayor who lacks vision for our future.
I realize this will not be an easy job nor will it happens overnight but I ask you to join Mr. Merv Ritchie in his endeavor to effect these changes. Only with the help and support of the citizens of Terrace will we all be able to say we truly live in the "Most Beautiful Town In BC."