Custom Search
Top Stories
Go to Site Index See "Top Stories" main page
NEWS RELEASE · 7th November 2011
Merv Ritchie
Here are a set of various questions posed by residents of the area and by Walter McFarlane from the Kitimat Daily (on the Terrace daily’s behalf). I have compiled all the questions into this one writing with my short answers. For more depth and details I would ask the reader to click on my ad on the right of these pages. Listed there are extensive and historical writings on most of these issues.

We are asking each of the Candidates in the upcoming election 5 questions. The questions are reprinted below.
Question One:
What is the most significant reason you are running for Council?


To provide a real and significant change to the flavour of the City of Terrace. Since the good old days of the booming lumber industry ended, Terrace has remained unable to find a new compass, a strong unified direction. I am running to bring every community group from inside and outside the Terrace boundaries together to solidify a passionate vision, one absolutely everyone will benefit from. My plan will see people come to the region from across the globe to participate.

Question Two:
What issue in our community do you see as the largest hurdle for the success in Terrace?


The answer to the first question is similar, it is the lack of a unified purpose, a vision, a goal. No organization ever succeeds unless it has a goal. As of, and up to today, no person or entity has proposed an actual goal or even a direction to travel. There are many ideas but it is almost like we are shooting a shotgun at the future, not really aiming just hoping we hit something. We must have unity and we must have a goal.

Question Three:
What is your stance on Enbridge, In Favour of, Opposed too or Neutral? Why?


I am absolutely opposed to the proposed raw bitumen export pipeline currently being studied by the National Energy Boards (NEB’s) Joint Review Panel (JRP). I am not against exporting the product but the transportation must be done differently. We must take our status as the primary City of the region and use it to encourage a safer way to transport this type of product, not just over our lands but also across the oceans. I have detailed this to the JRP and more can be read on the Terrace Daily. The primary message is to ship the product from the source to the destination in sealed containers much like Costco cargo containers. Refining to product in Alberta near the source would make this even more cost effective.

Question Four:
The Co-op building is being demolished. What is your vision for the use of this land?


To construct a community center focused on the activities of the youth, sports and as a Grand Council center for the eight First Nations of the Northwest. The entire property should be kept as one parcel for the use of the people of the region. It was the Terrace and District Chamber of Commerce that encouraged the City to buy the property for the City to have control over the development. Now they are encouraging we sell it. The revenue from the sale is not nearly as valuable to the City as the use of it is to the future of the City and the people in the City.

Question Five:
Potpourri


I take this as, “Throw in whatever you want to say” Terrace has been consistently ranked by Money Magazine as one of the bottom ten City’s and the Fraser Institute has rated our regions education in the same manner. This is a disgrace. We have the most pristine environment with resources and features almost second to none. If our children are not learning the way they are taught then they should be taught the way they can learn. I didn’t make this up but it is a simple truth. We need to provide everything we can to make every opportunity possible for not just an educated youth but a youth so involved and so excited none will ever want to leave to live in the “Big Cities”. We need to make Terrace the most attractive place on the globe to live. Sure it will take time and money but first we need the commitment and the direction. I am running to provide that.

Any of you been reading the newly publicized RCMP daily reports?
Any comments in that regard?


Yes, these reports demonstrate what I have known since arriving in Terrace. Alcohol is the number one cause of social degradation. It is the single issue that consumes most of the time of the RCMP and it is the single issue that causes fetal alcohol syndrome many of our children suffer from. We must address this issue, drugs such as pot are not near the problem alcohol is. AA is a great program but we need much more. An alcohol treatment center is a great idea but again we need much more. We need an environment where people don’t want to get drunk to avoid their reality and pain. We need to provide a future resplendent in hope and prosperity. An environment where one nieghbour will meet with another and help them to engage in the future, that it is worth it, that there is hope and excitement, a reason to put the bottle down. We can party without getting gooned and have the police haul our sorry ass to the can for the night. It is our absolute duty to provide every opportunity for this to happen.

What is your economic plan for the next years of your term.

I will be discovering ways to consolidate City services to reduce the expenditures. I will then look to what the City funds and what benefits we derive from these monies. I will look to redirect funds to services and systems which provide lifestyle advantages for all residents, beginning with the children and youth. Without an increased tax base primarily from industrial activity we will need to develop a different plan along with considering how we are spending our money today. We need two things as a start. To encourage the coming resource enterprises to set up offices in Terrace and to develop our attractions for the wealthy, retiring, traveling baby boomers.

Shames Mountain?

The Shames Mountain Ski hill is a jewel as is the hot springs at Lakelse Lake, the Lava beds in the Nass Valley, the ancient totems and petroglyphs, the Great bear rainforest and all the unique features. To make Shames a success we need to look at it as a part of a bigger package of attractions. Today it needs to be supported so it does not decay and fall into a state where it would cost too much to recover. It was a curiosity to see our current Mayor travel to encourage Prince Rupert and Kitimat to invest $200,000 and then vote against it in his own community. There was obviously no real plan or commitment. I will work to build a Northwest Ski school and encourage all First Nations to participate by highlighting their culture and skills at the mountain. Currently the Ski Hill is being promoted by skiers. It needs promotion in a much bigger way, an international flavour. Those local families and businesses who built this marvel, those who had the vision for the community, need to be respected by having this ski hill continue and succeed. What is required is an inclusive unified vision.


Infrastructure, what needed to be addressed now and what will wait

The City Works department will have a list of priorities; things that are ready to break right now that need addressing. Infrastructure includes the water and sewer systems, roads, buildings, parks and services. I will focus on everything visible first after the imperative issues are addressed; everything possible to make a visitor arriving stand back in awe. I want someone who simply drives through Terrace along Highway 16 via Keith and Greig or across the Old Skeena Bridge via Lakelse Avenue to facebook, text and tweet their family and friends about the beautiful little town they just drove through, how they are coming back or are going to stay an extra few days.

Taxation, reduction?

Absolutely. We may need to do with less but this message has to get out. I want to see it as a front page story in the Globe and Mail, the Vancouver Sun and Province and yes, even Money Magazine, how this small town in Northwest BC has not just stopped raising taxes but is reducing the taxes by percentages every year. I want to see people going to chiropractors from Victoria to St Johns to correct the kinks in their necks from snapping so quickly to look at Terrace.

Multiculturalism

We have many cultures of the world living here. Asian, Indian, European, South and Latin American, the list is endless. But the most important one we have is the First Nations culture. We need to highlight, respect and assist in “culturing” this culture. Terrace needs to shine as an example of how open and inclusive we are. We need to shed the unevolved image of a remote cold northern logging community. We are a long ways from that but we still have quite a way to go.

I would like to know the candidates' positions on Smart Meters

I find it offensive how this was forced on everyone in BC by an American corporation. There was not a debate process simply a system forced imposed. I find this undemocratic intrusion into BC by corporate oligarchs of the highest order of distaste.


What would each candidate do to bring our communities together? All I have seen so far is photo opportunities, with no real substance, for newspapers. What would you do to include first nations in the decision making, consulting or inclusion on how our city represents itself? We all live, work, shop and conduct business in the same community. It would be nice to show the world that we work together and respect each others views and opinions on issues affecting all of us. It would also benefit where tourism is concerned.

It is almost as if this question was written for me. My single most focused intention is to unite all the peoples of northwest BC The First Nations families are the original peoples and the majority. There is nothing that rates higher on my agenda than bringing all our families together. To work, play and build together. Like as happens in the RDKS board room when decisions are made, a caveat is often added that the decision is subject to comment or approval from the appropriate First Nation. I would ensure the same is done in Terrace. Many of our decisions affect this identifiable majority of our population and their Nations need to be consulted on how our decisions might affect their families. I would invite, and have seats set aside, for the surrounding First Nations village representatives.

And this list of questions from the Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition

We ask that you provide a short answer (maximum 100 words) to the following questions:

1) What do you perceive as the single greatest human-caused threat to Skeena wild salmon?

The lack of unity of the people of the region along with the numerous disparate groups, including environmental groups, to stand as one entity to protect the region is the greatest threat.

Currently no activity is ongoing except the spillage of nuclear waste from Japan into the migration habitat of all salmon stocks. The potential threats include; placement of fish farms on migration routes, proposed coal mining along with coalbed methane drilling in the Klappan region and the potential of a tanker breaking up loaded with raw bitumen releasing hundreds of thousands of litres of carcinogens into the environment.


2) If elected, what will you do to ensure sustainability of our Skeena wild salmon?

The Skeena River runs through Terrace. The fishing industry provides a significant part of the economic foundation for Terrace. Therefore, any activity, from the headwaters at the Spatzizi Plateau to the waters the migrating salmon pass through, becomes a serious issue of concern. As Mayor I will ensure these habitats are protected to the highest standards such that the waters of the Skeena River will allow the salmon to flourish. This includes monitoring the catch allowances for sport and commercial fishing to provide our council an opportunity to make informed inquires to, and of, the Federal and Provincial governing authorities.

3) Do you support or oppose the Enbridge pipeline?

I oppose Enbridge building a pipeline to carry the proposed bitumen product from the Tar Sands of Alberta to Douglas Channel at Kitimat for transport in VLCC and ULCC tankers. I would support, if the shipment of petroleum is necessary, the containerized transport by cargo carriers and rail. I would never support the present day method of bulk carriers with the raw petroleum product uncontained. Nor would I support the proposed tank farms on the shores of Douglas Channel, or anywhere. All transport of this product should be in double skinned, vacuum sealed containers, from the origin to the destination.

4) What do you think is the single greatest opportunity for non-industrialized community economic development?

Without any doubt it is the First Nations Culture. This has been virtually ignored and has the potential to bring ten times the travelling tourist and revenue to the region than the salmon fishing ever will. With very little investment, simply the nurturing of the elders and the youth of the eight Nations of the region; the Nisga’a, Haisla, Haida, Tsimshian, Tlingit, Gitxsan, Wet'suwet'en and Tahltan, we might be able to become an attraction of international notoriety. The immense revenues derived from this activity could fund infrastructure projects to further enhance the culture working as a perpetual economic engine.

5) Do you support protection of the Sacred Headwaters?

Yes. What is referred to as the Sacred headwaters is the Klappan region. This area borders the Spatzizi Wilderness Plateau and has been identified as holding a massive quantity of Coal called the Groundhog deposit, which Fortune Minerals plans to mine. This deposit acts as a water filter for three major rivers of the northwest; the Stikine, the Skeena and the Nass. These rivers provide the lifeblood and nourishment for everything living in the northwest. There is no location in British Columbia that has more significance to such a wide array of habitat. The Sacred Headwaters is just that, sacred.
What would I do about the Hot Springs?
Comment by Merv Ritchie on 7th November 2011
Hi Louise,

To be really blunt, the reason the current Mayor and Council have not been able to deal with this issue is; It is not their jurisdiction. It would be like asking President Barack Obama and the USA Congress why they haven’t dealt with their energy crisis by taking over Canada’s energy resources.

On the second part of your question I can answer completely. I have spent hours with Mr. Orleans getting to know him and the history. I have entertained the issue on this web forum to get to know and understand the concerns and the issues such as you and other citizens express. I have attended all the RDKS meetings to understand their perspective. I have also studied the history from the First Nations perspective and the fresh water muscles they used to harvest from the lake, another Northwest treasure. This is the first step; to get to know everyone’s perspective. So, what will I do? I will discuss this issue, much like any good mediator, and discover what can be done to make every participant in the process feel included. I will work for a resolution where everyone’s desires and goals are met. What I won’t do is encourage arbitration or expropriation.

Imagine the Provincial government expropriates it and gives it to the City of Terrace, lock stock and barrel. So, where do we get the money to do anything, raise your taxes? Expropriate the entire region from Thornhill to the area surrounding the Lake? None of this is even reasonable. What many seem to be suggesting is taking it away from the current owner and giving it to another. So if they do not perform as we wish, should we take it from them too?

No, my solution is to be more than a “Good Ambassador” for Terrace. I want to be a lightening rod for change and unity. Everyone is part of this family. When we bark at anyone we alienate them and set back unity further. Look at my own history with the Chamber of Commerce. Barking can sometimes be worse than the bite.

I intend to work with Bert, not against him. He has a dream too, and a vision. We need to get the “officials” and “regulators” off his back and ours. We need to do a lot of healing and if we keep barking at each other nothing will change.
Hotsprings
Comment by Louise M on 7th November 2011
Under the Heading Shames Mountain, you have mentioned that Shames Mountain Ski Hill is a jewel that needs to be supported so it does not decay and fall into a state where it could cost too much to recover. You also stated that the Lakelse Hotsprings is another jewel but obviously this has already fallen into decay to the dismay of the PEOPLE residing in the local communities. Why hasn't the current Mayor and council stepped in to deal with this issue? NO WONDER THE MONEY MAGAZINE HAS CONSISTENLY RANKED TERRACE AS ONE OF THE BOTTOM 10 CITIES. What would you do to turn the Hotsprings disaster around?