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NEWS RELEASE · 12th November 2011
Merv Ritchie
I would construct a brand new Grand Council Chambers and Government Center for the entire Northwest.

Included in this would be the Terrace City Hall and all administrative offices including TEDA, Leisure Services, Public Works and tourism.

In a partnership I would encourage all Northwest First Nations and non First Nations government, NGO`s and the various economic bodies to have offices and board rooms located in the same structure.

This same structure could be designed to incorporate a historical heritage center representing all peoples, First Nations, Settlers, Fishers, Loggers and Miners.

I would unite all the people of the Northwest under one label and common foundation.

Then I would find the consensus to get every First Nations and municipal government to participate in constructing a central meeting place to engage in all the economic and cultural interests of the entire Northwest from Smithers to Haida Gwaii and from Klemtu to Telegraph Creek.

I would gather all these peoples to unite utilizing the profile image of the three great rivers, the Skeena, the Nass and the Stikine and feature this unique treasue in the center.

The building could incorporate many features including recreational opportunities and commercial ventures such as gift shops and eateries. It could be designed in such a way as to represent all the regions interests. In this manner the funding could be assisted by numerous levels of government who would also be represented and potentially have their communities satellite office located within.

Terrace, as now being the central meeting place already, needs to have a convention center properly representing the region with the capacity to entertain the gatherings of the future.

Selling the land now would be a travesty; a wasted opportunity. Today we own it, lock stock and barrel. The money the City might get from selling it would barely rebuild one street. The money it would take to buy such a prime piece of property later, in the center of the City in the Center of the Northwest, is likely to be in the millions, not the measly hundreds of thousands we might get today in the economy we have today.

Selling anything at the bottom of the market is something only a government would consider doing.

One would need to ask themselves, who is encouraging such an unthinking idea. Maybe one could look at who is funding whose campaigns. Who funded the campaign of the promoter of the sale of this prime real estate when they first came to Council?

Call all your friends, everyone you know who is eligible to vote in Terrace, and get them to vote Merv for Mayor. Let us find out just who will be lining up to buy this land and why anyone would sell their property at the very bottom of the real estate market after they just spent $200,000 fixing it up (in this case tearing it down) just before a well known coming boom time? Who is in whose pocket?
Brian Grant
Comment by Stacey Tyers on 14th November 2011
Oh but we are! There are tons of us who want exactly that with a bit more.

I think we just simply stopped posting here because we decided to get busy trying to make it happen.

Please feel free to join the facebook group expanding terrace recreation.

Not only would a large rec centre be great for recreation, it would be great for large, accessible events.
Comment by brian grant on 13th November 2011
Terrace , i can not believe no ones into having a RECREATIONAL centre Civic Center like:...look at Greenvilles new HALL....Its state of the art sure Terrace can take a few pointers....New gym..= Added boost to city & Restaurants, & a plus..More Areas for Events, Conferences,Fairs,Sports,Tournaments...Old CO-OP area would be fitting....but oh well...times have changed...a NEW GYM is needed!!
There are many ways to make something happen - if we want it
Comment by Merv Ritchie on 13th November 2011
The first thing we need to start with is a plan, a goal. Then we need to determine how to get there.

My first suggestion is to not sell the Co-op property at the bottom of the market. We may need to use it for our own purposes or simply hang onto the property. Maybe simply make it into a park like setting until the market price allows us to recover our losses.

But I have a plan to unite all the people of the northwest and I put an idea on the table for discussion, ideas and debate. Not to be put down for having an original thought.

You are likely correct that having markets contained within a government owned building would be a conflict. This is where private public partnerships come in. I would rather have all the various governments participate cooperatively to fund the structure as a grand council chambers without vendors than become a rent payer to a private developer.

And this is what a good exchange of ideas and an open cooperative Council will bring. We make a plan and allow everyone to offer their suggestions and insight. No one person has all the answers but collectively we can come up with something spectacular if we allow the process to happen.

One thing is certain, we need to do things differently. The way things have gone in the past dozen years haven't produced any measurable results, in fact we have regressed.
Get real!
Comment by taxpayer on 13th November 2011
Are you for real? The city has no buisiness being in the real estate buisiness unless for its own infrastructure. There are bylaws and Zoning to dictate what goes where. What company in their right mind would get into bed with the city only to be dictated to on how they must spend their hard earned money. As a property owner I would be in compitiion with the city who would be renting space and not paying taxes, which is one of the largest expenses on commercial property. Conflict???
I heard lots of promises at the candidate forum, just think how many council could follow through on if they had the 2 million already spent on the co-op. Do the math, and get real, leave the pipe dreams to those with the money to do so.
Janice Robinson
Comment by Mr. Peters on 13th November 2011
The best possible thing that could happen to yourself and to all the first nations in the country is if they scraped the Indian Act. It is apartheid in every sense of the word. It does nothing but produce dependence and weakness on one side and resentment on the other, there is no good in it.
Okay - here then is another idea
Comment by Merv Ritchie on 13th November 2011
As a united front we just demand 1 % of the tax the feds already collect from us come straight back to the grand council to administer, no new tax at all.

There is a solution if we look for one, one that everyone can join in on.

Engage and debate and lets find a solution we can all live with. Currently not doing anything different than what we are doing now is not an option.
Regional taxation?
Comment by Janice P. Robinson on 13th November 2011
In the upcoming"mayoral," (band council) elections in our humble village, one of my pledges to the people is to do everything in my power to keep the Indian Act, keep my status number, demand that Tempo Gas cease charging illegal federal taxes to Canadian status Indians, and rev our House of Simoighets up into a money-making maching for us.

If the Tsimshian Nation can maintain our stand against this treaty enforcement (which the Nisga'a managed to look so traditional and civilized), and maintain our "tax-free status" (which isn't that at all, which has been previously pointed out) then maybe we can all avoid further taxation. I didn't think I was going to the polls in Terrace this time to open the door to regional taxation!
I'll say this Mr. Peters, you are the devils advocate
Comment by Merv Ritchie on 13th November 2011
Today, under HST we all send 12% on top of everything we purchase to the Federal government who then sends back a portion to the Provincial Government. Each of these governments care not a wit what happens up here and they do not listen. They tax even more; an extra fuel carbon tax, a extra environmental levy on everything from tires and batteries to now electronics. And these all much greater than 1 %. Every time you buy any used equipment, cars trucks boats etc, the Province again dings you for 12 %. And you can count on this too, neither the NDP, the Liberals or Conservatives will reduce the amount they take. They may take it in different ways, but what their take will never go down, only up.

I am suggesting a small one percent that stays right here, for us, to help us, to make our economy, to make our lives better, by decisions made by us and for us.

Do you really think Victoria cares about our standard of living or the suicide rate and education/literacy rate? I know that all the parents and grandparents that live here do. And I am proposing a very simple realistic solution. Just a penny on every dollar, a measly one percent and all of it kept right here, managed by our best elders.

Even writing about it I get excited of the possibilities.

Another Tax?
Comment by Mr. Peters on 13th November 2011
I currently do not charge any tax of any kind to my clients and I assure this will never change. I am not a tax man nor will I ever work for the tax man. If you think that your idea of a 1% tax on all transactions has a snowballs chance in hell of working you have definitely been participating a little to much in the recreational chemistry of our community. Give your head a shake do you hear anything rattling?
And Rick, as a footnote Re: economic prosperity?
Comment by Merv Ritchie on 13th November 2011
Imagine for a moment this vision came to fruition as I summarized below in the Cranberry Connector comment.

Imagine an industrial development, a mining or exploration company, a prospective of any nature was proposed for the region.

There would be certainty. One place to go and have every nations concerns to the project addressed. No more of this uncertainty where various environmental, local government and first nations are not contacted in time and then a project is suddenly put into question.

And then imagine all the children, native and non native, looking to the future with excitement and pride. No longer seeing their elders and their culture disregarded. Some might even turn from drinking and drugs because the despondency and dependency would disappear.

And then even more industry and tourists would want to arrive.

It is a perpetual motion economic engine.

Am I a dreamer, damn straight!
We will even be able to pave the Cranberry Connector
Comment by Merv Ritchie on 13th November 2011
I attempted to address this in the sixth and seventh paragraphs

The concept is to engage all the northwest communities as a united family working in a common interest for each others benefit. This is the very first step, long before we build a new cultural-government centre. The vision is somewhat grander than I have previously laid out. And I will briefly attempt to describe how it can work and how we might be able to get everyone actively and excitedly involved.

It is clear I plan to involve all First Nations, elected and hereditary chiefs and their matriarchs’ councils and speakers. It is equally clear I plan to use the image of the profile in the rivers to promote our region globally. I intend to use this feature to encourage the travelling baby boomer (Roger Brooks stated they are the ones with all the wealth) to come and spend their money here. We already have numerous stunning attractions to promote.

Then just like the extra 2% accommodation tax currently charged on all rooms in the Terrace area for the specific use of marketing our region, I will attempt to have all these local representative groups, First and non First nations, all government and non government organizations to work cohesively with the business community to encourage the provincial government to reduce this tax levy to one percent. But I would have all these groups agree to have this reduced tax applied on all financial transactions. This would be for the Grand Council (of all the representative groups of the profile in the great rivers) to utilize to enhance all aspects of our region for the perpetual advancement of marketing and developing our unique cultural and environmental economy.

The 2% hotel tax raised close to $100,000 in its first year and this was only charged in Terrace and only charged on rooms. I imagine reducing this tax to 1 percent but charging it on all financial transaction. Gift shops, restaurants, rental agencies, airline flights, travel agencies, etc. Every single aspect of our life here will benefit from this fantastic increase in tourism and the travelling baby boomer.

We won’t just have the die hard fishing and hunting crowd coming from the USA and Germany, we will have the complete diverse population from the globe. Those who just want to see a Kermodei Bear, those who just want to see a real Totem pole, those who want to see the crazy steep and narrow roads of Telegraph Creek the lava beds or museum in the Nass or the end of the world on Haida Gwaii. After travelling they might want to ski on Shames or soak in the mineral waters. We have treasures here. We just need to work as one family.

If all parties contributed and this plan was accepted the revenue generation from the 1% would make the cost of this construction a minor part of the revenue generation. The Grand Council of the region would be able to collectively determine which community, which project, needed the most immediate help. Utilizing the funds to partner with the Provincial Government to rebuild and pave the Cranberry Connector would likely be on the top of that agenda.

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to respond and flush out the vision a bit more for our readers.

Oh, and Terrace could donate the land for this purpose, the Grand Council Chambers, right on the cross roads, the nerve centre of the region.
Merv, We can barely afford to pave our streets
Comment by Rick McDaniel on 13th November 2011
When we can barely afford to pave our streets, pick up our waste, treat our sewage and run our services, including the library, how do you propose to realistically, and I mean realistic, (so don't go on some rant about finding efficiencies in street sweeping), plan to fund the multi million dollar construction cost of this new Grand Council Chambers?
If your going to have a platform at least make it realistic.
the mythical past
Comment by Maureen on 12th November 2011
Sorry Merv but in your list of 'representing all peoples' why do they all have either national affiliation or job designation? What youth, women elderly - the educators? When does the reality of Terrace as a vibrant service based community make its mark rather than the old tired - heritage park mentality of 'founding families.' Time to represent Terrace as it is, not as it was in some mythical past.
No matter who gets elected as Mayor:
Comment by Janice P. Robinson on 12th November 2011
Stop calling it "the co-op lands." It is the property of the City of Terrace, and I think it is worthy of keeping. How would you explain to the young people (when they get older) "You know, the city used to own that prime piece of real estate, but the stupid buggers we voted in sold it to them there folks."

I bet Mr. Hull, et al would love to have it back now that it's all cleaned up. Forget about it! It's worth millions. Do you need more "experts" to complete the transaction to just some other private interests?

Is that what will unfold without an intervention and/or a change in Mayors?