The Quesnel City Council held its regular meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 25, with the mayor clarifying the situation around C&C Wood Products.
Mayor Bob Simpson said it was understandable people began calling the city after a group calling themselves the Quesnel Investment Corporation purchased the plant.
Simpson said the city had been looking into investing into the plant themselves, but he confirmed the investment group has nothing to do with the city. It’s lead by Mike Jenks, who Simpson said he talked on the phone with.
“The desire is to get it up on one shift as quickly as possible,” Simpson said. “They’re looking at some pretty significant re-organization… They’re quite excited about the product line.”
Council is also hoping to get a BC Transportation representative to come to a meeting to walk them through the submission for the inter-connector route.
“We’re very pleased with what has been advanced,” Simpson said.
The application went out just a day before an accident backed up traffic four kms across the Quesnel bridge.
“The experience that we had there went well beyond the theoretical scenario they had if there was an incident on that bridge,” Simpson said. “Johnson Bridge is not a solution to Highway 97 problems.”
Council approved applying for two grants during the meeting.
The first was a federal grant for 50 per cent of funding of an all-electric vehicle. The city is applying for a bylaw services SUV which was set to be replaced next year anyway.
“I think we have a very strong opportunity,” Quesnel carbon review coordinator Kyle Aben said. “Number one, we’re a northern city, and number two we’re going to have an SUV the third is to have an electric charger at city hall.”
Nearly 70 per cent of the city’s carbon footprint is transportation-related.
Councillor Martin Runge voted against the grant application, noting council should purchase a hybrid vehicle in Quesnel, which can be easily serviced in the city. Aben said there are no electric SUVs available in Quesnel, and the grant is only available for zero-emissions vehicles.
“I think jumping ahead of the curve isn’t in our best interest,” Ronge said. “I understand the allure of a zero emissions vehicle.”
The rest of council disagreed, with Councillor Scott Elliott wanting to take the opportunity to showcase an electric SUV to the rest of the city.
Council also approved over $800,000 in applications to the Northern Development Initiative Trust Grant for Quesnel’s waterfront plan.
The application was divided into three components. A Fraser River footbridge refresh, planning for Indigenous cultural components and riverfront trail lighting.
The complete project also calls for over $28,000 in funds from the city’s budget and over $180,000 in gas tax funds. The project is expected to cost around $1 million.
Councillor Ron Paull took a turn to vote against the application, requesting each item be voted on separately. He took issue with the planning for Indigenous cultural signs portion of the grant, noting it replicated work already going on at the museum.
He also asked if Lhtako Dene was asked to contribute to the signage.
“I’m not sure why we would ask them to do something that’s in our waterfront development strategy that we’re collecting to do our cultural interpretation for our tourism attraction,” Simpson replied. “They have enough on their plate with other things.”
Simpson noted the waterfront plan was already unanimously supported by Quesnel city council.
The next city council meeting is scheduled for Sept. 1.
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