CTV Interview about the Gold River Fire Departmnet
To see the full interview, click the link https://www.facebook.com/gord.kurbis/videos/10159391525796807
A Message From Gold River Fire & Rescue
The crew of the Gold River Fire Department met tonight with fire chief Lisa Illes in the hopes of making progress towards a satisfactory resolution to the current situation, and with the idea that Mayor and council would be present to field questions. Not only were Mayor and council not present but we found instead that the police received a 9/11 call, presumably due to the imminent threat posed by the fire chief being at the firehall.
The crew stands united in their conviction that a grave injustice has been done to Chief Illes and are still, individually and collectively, processing shock and sadness at her sudden termination, which was to their eyes carried out in an altogether undignified and underhanded manner. Adding further confusion to the situation is that the crew has still not received anything resembling an explanation from the office of the Mayor regarding the reason for her termination or the nature of the process leading up to it.
Given the strong emotions this situation has aroused, and as indicated and implied through various social media posts over the weekend, much of the crew was prepared to resign from the hall in the wake of the termination of its chief. In light of this, in their meeting tonight, Chief Illes implored the membership of the hall to stay on and continue to serve and protect the community as they have trained to do. A number of members, out of respect for their chief and a desire to not leave the community at needless risk and expense, have agreed to stay on in spite of their present misgivings, though they will continue to pursue their goal of having their chief reinstated via other means.
Collectively we came to the realization that we can do far more good for the hall, and for the community as a whole, if we stay united as a team under the banner of the hall we all love and cherish, in no small part due to the devotion, care and tireless work of Chief Lisa Illes. The membership of the hall also wishes to emphasize our desire for total transparency with the community we serve, something we regard as a basic right and fundamental prerequisite to a healthy community. #westandwithLisa
The New Pool Schedule Is Now Available.
To see the new schedule please click the link, just scroll up.
Statement from Mayor and Council regarding the Village of Gold River Fire Department
On January 7th, after considerable discussion and debate, Mayor and Council passed a motion to conclude the appointment of the Fire Chief under the Fire Protection Bylaw No. 719, 2019.
Immediately after the implementation of the motion, Council and staff reached out to the BC Fire Commissioner for support. The BC Fire Commissioner arranged to attend the Village on January 9th to support the process of transition. The Village Council, Village staff, Gold River volunteer fire fighters, and the BC Fire Commissioner have been engaged in meaningful conversations over the weekend and will continue to do so until all outstanding matters are resolved. The BC Fire Commissioner has committed to engage the Gold River Volunteer Fire Department and the Village of Gold River to assist in working towards a collaborative resolution.
On behalf of Council, we thank the community for their patience and understanding as we address this matter. The Council of Gold River and the Village of Gold River Fire Department are committed to the safety of all residents and their property.
Covid Paving The Way For A Brighter Future in Gold River?
TAHSIS, B.C. -- First it was high real estate prices, now COVID-19 could be another factor that's causing people to move from big cities into more remote communities.
That's a belief held by Tahsis Mayor Martin Davis, who says he's getting more inquiries from people considering relocation.
"They can sell their house in a larger community, come here, buy a place and then have a whole bunch of money left over to renovate their house or do whatever. So, there's a lot of benefit to coming to places like this," says Davis.
Davis moved to the community in 1999 and says in the days when a mill was operating there, the village's population was around 2,500. When the mill shut down in 2001, the population fell to 300, but people are beginning to return, he says.
"Sometimes it can be cheap housing, sometimes lifestyle. People trying to get out of the big city to get a more comfortable living that's closer to a more natural environment," Davis says.
One thing that puzzles the mayor, though, is why his community's property assessments rose so much more than other small North Island communities. While others rose anywhere from 10 to 18 per cent, Tahsis' escalated by 36 per cent.
"It's a bit of a mystery to me," Davis says. "I know houses have been selling faster here and that must be the driver for it, but to see that it had gone up 36% was a shock for a lot of people."
Local realtor Harmony Nielsen says things need to be kept in perspective, though.
"Yes, the values have gone up, which is a good thing, but we're probably the cheapest place on the island, I would think, for real estate right now" Nielsen says.
She believes the average price for a home in Tahsis is around $150,000.
"You're going to get a house for probably about the fraction of the cost of a condo somewhere else and you get to live in a great community," she says.
Island Health expands COVID-19 vaccination clinics to Campbell River
The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has arrived in Campbell River and Nanaimo.
Starting today, Island Health is immunizing health care workers in long-term care in the central and north Vancouver Island regions.
This week, Island Health received an additional 3,900 doses of the vaccine, allowing it to expand its immunization clinics outside of the greater Victoria area.
Clinics will be held in Nanaimo and Campbell River, with care, support, and medical staff who work or volunteer in long-term care being eligible to get the vaccine.
Those eligible will receive direct communication from Island Health on how to book an appointment.
“Our number one goal throughout this pandemic has been to protect our residents,” said Sharron Traub, manager of Dufferin Place long-term care home in Nanaimo.
“Providing the vaccine to frontline health care workers in long-term care is a critical line of defence to keep this virus out, and an important show of support for those caring for and protecting some of the most vulnerable members of our community.”
“Receiving the COVID-19 vaccine gives all of us working in long-term care renewed hope and a sense of relief after many months of vigilance,” said Jae Yon Jones, Manager of Yucalta Lodge long-term care home in Campbell River.
“While our entire team is weary, they are resilient and heartened by the added layer of protection the vaccine will provide for both themselves and the residents they care for.”
Island Health is following B.C.’s Vaccination Plan, which prioritizes residents and staff in long-term care and assisted living, people in hospital or community awaiting placement in long-term care, essential visitors to long-term care and assisted living, hospital health care workers, paramedics, public health, and remote and isolated First Nation communities.
“Health authorities in B.C. are not booking COVID-19 immunization appointments for the general public at this time and we ask that people remain patient,” Island Health said in a release.
A detailed approach for a mass vaccination strategy is being developed and more details are expected in the weeks ahead.
MP Blaney to meet with fisheries minister about ‘transition plan’ for fish farm workers
North Island-Powell River NDP MP Rachel Blaney has a meeting set up with federal fisheries minister Bernadette Jordan, to talk about a transition plan for fish farm workers in the region.
It’s scheduled for Monday.
On Dec. 17th, Jordan announced salmon farms in the Discover Islands would be closed within 18-months.
Blaney says the announcement has sparked “fears and uncertainty about economic prospects of many communities in the region.”
“Workers and small business owners are understandably afraid for their future and how they will provide for their families,” Blaney said. “These are hardworking people and creative and resilient businesses, but they need the support of our federal government.”
In response to the announcement, NDP fisheries critic Gord Johns called for “a strong transition plan for the affected workers and impacted communities.”
Blaney echoed the statement in her letter to Jordan, “stressing the need for a plan to ensure that North Island workers and communities were supported in the wake of the government’s decision.”
“We’re still in the middle of the pandemic and this is another blow to many families in our region. The federal government needs to develop a plan to help our community get through these changes and thrive,” Blaney said.
“I will be telling the Minister about the concerns and stories our communities, workers and businesses have shared with our office and looking for commitments for the support they need at this time.”
Island Health’s daily COVID-19 case count reaches record high
Island Health reached a bleak landmark Wednesday with a record high number of new COVID-19 cases reported in one day.
On Jan. 6, B.C. public health officials announced 28 new cases in the Island Health region – a three-case jump from the previous record of 25 new cases reported near the end of November. At least nine people within the health authority are hospitalized with the virus and two are in critical care.
The health region has seen 1,029 cases and 12 deaths since the pandemic began. Some of the first vaccine doses in Island Health were administered in December to Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and long-term care workers.
Current public health orders – which limit gatherings, travel and group activities of all kinds – are set to expire at midnight on Jan. 8. Provincial health officials are expected to address this at a press conference Thursday afternoon.
Wednesday’s COVID-19 update recorded a total of 625 new cases across the province and eight more deaths.
Gold River Businesses: Time To Renew Your Business License and while your at it, renew your dog tags too.
This is a reminder that all individuals operating a business in Gold River require a business license, this includes those operating a business out of their home.
t is that time of year, your dog tags are due for renewal and the 2021 licences are available at the Village Office. If this is the first time to register your Dog, please bring your certificate of spay/neuter.
Neutered dogs are no charge, as long as the dog tag is picked up by January 31st. After January 31st, there is a $10 fee for the dog tag.
Vaccines for general public on Vancouver Island not expected anytime soon
Island Health has received 1,950 doses of COVID-19 vaccine as of Dec. 30, but members of the general public on the Island should not expect to get vaccinated anytime soon.
A statement from Island Health said the vaccines it has received so far began to be distributed to health care workers in Greater Victoria on Dec. 22.
“We are still in the process of distributing our initial shipment of vaccine,” the statement said. “Immunization clinics for staff and physicians, long-term care residents, and rural and remote First Nations communities will expand across Island Health in the coming weeks, as we receive more vaccine.”
Council Meeting Cancelled
NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN pursuant to Section 127 of the Community Charter, and Council Procedure Bylaw No. 639, 2004, that Regular Meeting of the Council of the Village of Gold River has been cancelled for the meeting scheduled on: January 4th is cancelled.
Province hopes to assist, support communities with transition amid Discovery Island salmon farm phase-out
North Island-Powell River MP Rachel Blaney says she has been working through the holidays in an effort to help Discovery Island communities transition after the government announced it would be phasing out salmon farms in the area.
Earlier this month, the federal government revealed that active fish farms in the Discovery Islands – near Campbell River – will be phased out over the next 18 months due to environmental concerns.
The government said that the area will only be licensed for the next 18 months and no new fish of any size may be introduced into Discovery Islands facilities during this period.
“The announcement came just a week before Christmas and it has shaken people in our communities who work in aquaculture and rely on the industry to keep food on their families’ tables and a roof over their heads,” said Blaney. “As Member of Parliament for North Island-Powell River, my priority is to support the many workers, families, and communities that are facing deep concerns and uncertainty over the holidays and heading into the new year.”
Blaney states she has been reaching out to mayors, major salmon farm operators, workers, and the Minister of Fisheries over the last few weeks in order “to bring more certainty and good jobs to our communities.”
The federal Department of Fisheries’ decision was announced on December 17 and follows work done by the Cohen Commission, as well as the Broughton agreement between First Nations, the province, and industry.
The government notes that the decision was made following consultations with First Nations that helped determine the phase-out was the right fit for the area.
BC Salmon Farmers say phasing out fish farms in Discovery Islands ‘comes at a bad time’
The BC Salmon Farmers Association is reacting to the federal government’s decision to phase out fish farms in the Discovery Islands, near Campbell River.
In a statement, the association said the decision “has significant implications and puts salmon farming in B.C. and across Canada at risk.”
“This comes at a bad time, during a pandemic when local food supply and good local jobs have never been more important,” the statement said.
“We have just received this decision, and will be taking some time to consider it and speak with the numerous companies and communities involved in salmon farming in the province before commenting further.”
The BCSFA noted that
BC farmed salmon is BC’s #1 seafood and agri-food export with a total economic output of $1.6 billion.
Salmon farming currently supports nearly 6,500 full time jobs that pay 30 percent higher than BC’s median income.
Many of these jobs are in rural coastal Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities on North Vancouver Island.
Salmon farmers produce 87,000 tonnes of farmed salmon annually, this creates 353 million healthy, locally produced, carbon friendly meals.
Since the pandemic salmon donations to local and regional food banks alone have exceeded 112,000 pounds (equal to over 500,000 meals).
On Thursday, fisheries minister Bernadette Jordan announced a plan to eliminate existing salmon farming operations in the area within 18 months.
As well, the government says it will:
stipulate that no new fish of any size may be introduced into Discovery Islands facilities during this time; and
mandate that all farms be free of fish by June 30th, 2022, but that existing fish at the sites can complete their growth-cycle and be harvested.
CDC warning of COVID-19 exposure on a Dec. 22 flight to Campbell River
Travellers on a Pacific Coastal flight to Campbell River may have been exposed to COVID-19, the B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) is reporting.
Passengers on Pacific Coastal Airlines flight number 8P715 from Vancouver to Campbell River on Dec. 22 should self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days, the BCCDC website says.
While you are self-isolating, you will be required to monitor for new symptoms or signs of COVID-19 such as fever, cough, sore throat, etc. Visit the BCCDC site for advice on self-isolation and monitoring.
First case of COVID-19 variant from the U.K. discovered on Vancouver Island
The first case of the COVID-19 UK variant has been reported in an individual from the Island Health region.
The individual, who resides on Vancouver Island, returned to BC from the United Kingdom on flight AC855 on December 15th.
They then developed symptoms while in quarantine, and were immediately tested.
Testing confirmed the positive diagnosis on December 19th; a small number of close contacts have been isolated, and public health is following up with them daily, according to a statement from the province.
In a joint statement on Sunday, Dr. Bonnie Henry and Adrian Dix confirmed the first case of a person in British Columbia infected with the COVID-19 variant originally identified in the UK.
“The variant strain was detected by the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) Public Health Laboratory in its review of all isolates from people who had recently returned from travel to the U.K.,” read the statement.
”Whole genome sequencing at the BCCDC identified this as the same as the variant seen in the U.K. Ongoing review may identify additional cases in the coming days.”
A Canada-wide travel ban on all flights arriving from the U.K. remains in place until January 6th, 2021.
British Columbians are urged to continue to avoid all non-essential travel to keep people and communities safe.
At this point, there is no evidence that the new COVID-19 variant is more likely to cause severe illness, nor is there evidence to suggest the Health Canada-approved vaccines will be any less effective against the new variant.
However, early studies indicate the COVID-19 variant first identified in the U.K. can spread more quickly and easily.
Federal decision to phase out 19 Discovery Island fish farms has sent shivers across northern Vancouver Island
Canada’s decision to phase out 19 Discovery Island fish farms sent “shock waves” throughout north Vancouver Island, say some associated with the aquaculture industry.
While the Dec. 17, announcement by Federal Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan was hailed as “groundbreaking” and “historic” by environmental groups, shocked aquaculture workers are calling it a decision that “stole Christmas,” anticipating job loss and a ripple effect to related businesses across the North Island and Discovery Islands communities. For the full story click here.
Grieg Seafood donates gear to help contain active oil leak in Nootka Sound
To help the Canadian Coast Guard and spill response teams contain oil leaking from the MV Schiedyk shipwreck in Nootka Sound, Grieg Seafood has donated mooring gear to anchor a heavy 10,000-foot-long boom in place.
A concerning oil slick was spotted from the shipwreck earlier this month near Bligh Island. The 150-metre ship sank in 1968 while carrying wood pulp and barley after it hit an underwater ledge. The crew survived but the ship sank with oil on board.
Grieg Seafood, which operates in the area, was contacted on Saturday, Dec. 12 by Diversified Marine (a company contracted to help stem the oil leak) to see if they could assist with containing the active oil leak.
“It was a no brainer to get involved,” said Mike Crivea, Operations Manager for Grieg Seafood BC. “The surrounding environment, ecosystem and communities around Nootka Sound mean a lot to us at Grieg, and if we can be a part of containing the spill, we will.”
Diversified Marine, which also contracts for Grieg, already had mooring equipment onboard their barge from a recent system upgrade to a Grieg site. The rest of Grieg’s gear needed for the spill was being stored nearby at the Gold River dock. Some of the equipment donated were anchor blocks, buoys, rope, chains, shackles and thimbles.
Multiple anchors were dropped at the spill site on Dec. 16, 17 and 21 as the Coast Guard and Western Canada Marine Response Corporation (WCMRC) test how the boom reacts to the mooring placements.
“This boom is very heavy,” Crivea said. “One-hundred feet of it weighs probably around 6,000 lbs, so to secure a 10,000-foot boom in Nootka’s currents and tides takes a lot of planning and heavy-duty mooring equipment.”
“We hope the mooring of the oil boom is a success, so we can get the leak contained as quickly as possible.”
The Coast Guard and WCMRC are working around the clock to contain the spill, which is already impacting wildlife. A heron and sea otter were both found covered in oil and sent to the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre to recover.
Highway 28 Webcam Updates
Village of Gold River staff have worked with MOTI to improve the reliability of the Hwy 28 web camera. MOTI has implemented several upgrades over the summer of 2020 to improve system power. Satellite communication continues to be an issue resulting in camera downtime. MOTI are aware of this issue and the importance of the camera and are working with the satellite company to resolve the issue.
Vancouver Island Logging- 1938-44
We found a great 25 minute video on how logging was done nearlyi 100 years ago. Amazing stuff!
Fish farms near Campbell River to be phased out over next 18 months
The Government of Canada has announced that controversial fish farms in the Discovery Islands – near Campbell River – will be phased out over the next 18 months due to environmental concerns.
In a release issued on Thursday, the federal government noted that the decision was made following consultations with First Nations to ensure the phase-out is the right fit for the area.
The government said that the area will only be licensed for the next 18 months and no new fish of any size may be introduced into Discovery Islands facilities during this period.
Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard, Bernadette Jordan, said on Thursday that all farms are required to be free of fish by June 30th, 2022, but existing fish at the sites can complete their growth-cycle and be harvested.
CHEK News did a big story on local fish farms, you can watch the full story here
Get Your Covid Benefit Money
You can apply for your $1,000 benefit at this link, you might want to give it a day or two as the system is crashing.
Monday December 21st @ 6 PM we are bringing the parade to you!!! Stay in your bubble and watch the parade of lights come by your home. If you want to join in, you and members of your household can also drive in the parade. Muster at 5:50 PM in front of the Firehall. Make sure your Christmas lights are on so the Candy Cane Lane Judges can see your Christmas Spirit! We will be coming through Gold River and Tsaxana.
Anne Fiddick Aquatic Centre – Modified Resumption of Service
The Village of Gold River appreciate the community’s patience as we work to navigate the Provincial Health Order. The Village is going to be opening the Anne Fiddick Aquatic Centre to bookings only. A schedule of time slots has been prepared for users to be able to book a time to use the facility. But due to the Public Health Orders, there will be no drop-in opportunities for using the facility at this time.
You can call the Aquatic Centre at 250-283-2216, or email to reserve a time slot. All bookings must be done 48 hours in advance.
Book now to secure your opportunity to use the Aquatic Centre.
Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens
Chickens are permitted in residential zones provided that the lot is a minimum of 0.81 hectares (2 acres) in area. A structure for the chickens must be placed at a distance greater than 6.1 metres (20 feet) from the side and rear lot lines and 7.6 metres (20 feet) from the main house. No structure with chickens is permitted in the front yard.
Check the Village of Gold River Zoning Bylaw No. 706, 2018 for more information on livestock within municipal boundaries. The bylaw can be found on our website at goldriver.ca or call the village office at 250-283-2202.
Active marine oil slick near Nootka Sound tied to historic 1968 Bligh Island shipwreck
An environmental response team has traced a marine oil spill in Nootka Sound to a freighter that sank off the West Coast of Vancouver Island in 1968.
The Canadian Coast Guard began investigations mid-September after local residents began reporting about sheen on the water. What was initially thought to be created by bilge discharge from vessels transiting through the area later turned out to be originating from shipwrecked vessel MV Schiedyk – the 483 feet cargo ship that sank upside down in Zuciarte Channel near the east end of Bligh Island, on Jan. 3, 1968 shortly after departing from Gold River. For the full story click here
From The Desk Of The Mayor
On behalf of Council, I would like to share an update on what both Council and staff have been working on since Council was elected in October 2018.
Following the 2018 Gold River municipal election, your new Council got to work. One of our core responsibilities was developing our Strategic Plan, a document that guides staff as to what is to be accomplished over our term. The categories identified were:
While Council has moved many other matters forward during this time, some of the highlights are provided below to ensure Council continues to strive for both public engagement and transparency.
“Support strong, positive and open relationship with the public and community partners.”
Develop efficient, legally compliant, manageable records management systems
Staff were directed to complete a full review on Village administrative provisions to ensure compliance with legislation
Develop a Bylaw Review Advisory Committee
A committee was established. Council and selected staff began reviewing bylaws for deletion, modification, or addition.
Structural review and organizational changes.
The organizational structure was reviewed and updated with two positions filled as identified in the review. A Deputy Corporate Officer(DCO) was hired which filled a position that had been vacant since 2018. Additionally, following multiple staffing reports from consultants spanning over a decade, a Deputy Director of Finance was hired, bringing our total staff at the Village office to five. Council also supported the promotion change of our former Deputy of Finance to Deputy Chief Administrative Officer and Director of Finance. With the Village office being understaffed it was very difficult for Council to bring forward any new strategic priorities. This capacity places the Village in a position to complete Council’s strategic initiatives, comply with ever increasing Provincial legislation, and administer/complete projects that have been dormant for some time.
“To ensure the smart and progressive management of the Village finances to ensure sustainability”
Consider new sources of revenue to aid in maintaining infrastructure
Village staff were directed to make attempts to negotiate long term, sustainable Agreements with tenants at the Village Wharf (Grieg Seafoods/ Nootka Sound Services). Staff negotiated a 10-year Agreement with Grieg Seafoods, and renegotiated a new 5-year Agreement with Nootka Sound Services. These agreements not only bring in revenue to the Village, but also provides necessary support for the Economic Development Committee in acquiring grants.
Direct Stumpage Fee revenues
Council recently had discussions with the Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development regarding the Village receiving a portion of the stumpage fees that they collect from the Forest industry in our area.
Development of asset management strategies
Council and staff identified the need for further investigation on asset management as it impacts grant approvals, and overall management of current assets. This will be a significant portion of staffs focus for 2021 with the development of maintenance management plans and overall asset management planning.
Fire Department review
Council requested a review on purchasing practices and new strategies for high dollar apparatus. Staff, through this direction, have identified purchasing practices that will lead to significant savings on apparatus while providing the same level of protection to the community.
BDO Financial Sustainability Report implementation
Council has continued to review and address how to implement recommendations set forth in the 2018 BDO Financial Sustainability Report. Staff has been directed to provide a public education session surrounding this substantial document, however this direction has been postponed due to COVID-19 gathering restrictions.
“Develop more robust methods for the Village to communicate and access information from the Village”
Implement a communications strategy by using a multi-platform approach
Village staff developed, populated, and maintained social media platforms, such as a Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. The Village website was redeveloped from the ground up, providing much cleaner access to both municipal contact information, current events, and documents. In addition, staff supported the Economic Development Committee to develop social media communications as well as provide traditional mailouts. During this time, a municipal social media policy was developed to ensure conduct was adhered to by both Council and staff.
“To support the overall betterment of the Village residents and our neighbors”
Support the Economic Development Committee.
The Economic Development has applied and recently received grant funding for several projects including “shop local”, branding, Village Square kiosk project, and community wayfinding.
Development of a Village Park Master Plan.
This has been completed and Council continue to discuss implementation and funding of projects.
Resurrection and completion of the Bio-solids project
Staff have brought the project to 65% completion, with scheduled commissioning in late December, early January 2021. This project is scheduled to come in significantly under the previously reported costs of $1.4 million. A substantial amount of funding was received through grants.
Achieve Cell service.
As we all know this was realized in December 2019. As the service only reaches within town and approximately 2 km on the highway, it is a start. Both the Provincial and Federal governments acknowledge the need for cellular service on all highways across Canada. Council continues to push for a higher level of coverage with the goal to be connected from Gold River to Campbell River.
Support the provision of high-speed internet access.
This is an ongoing initiative of the Strathcona Regional District which, should it be successful, will provide fibre optic high-speed internet access to the entire community. Council continue to review this process and explore its potential.
“To support a diverse and inclusive economic action plan”
Regular review of grant projects put forward by the Economic Development Committee.
There will be continued support of the committees grant applications, Requests for Proposals and further project development, supported by staff. This is done in an effort to foster a supportive economic climate.
The Strathcona Regional District (SRD) and project partners
are undertaking aTsunami Flood Risk Assessment
Why is it Important?
Through sharing of experiences and knowledge we hope to help reduce tsunami risk in communities
Have a better understanding of what communities need for evacuation if necessary
Help to build community response and resiliency in extreme situations
Help the community understand where they can access emergency programs
How Can You Help?
Please help us by completing the survey and sharing your knowledge with our research team. Please take a short survey and click here.