2011 Year in review

Looking back over what happen in Burns Lake during 2011.

Year in review

Year in review

June 2011

After a long and emotional journey, Cheslatta Carrier Nation’s Chief Corrina Leween decided not to re-run for chief in last week’s election. Leween said not running in the election this year is not out of her lack of desire to represent the nation, but rather that the position of chief can be stressful and has takes its toll on those in the position. “I will continue to live in the community and keep involved with the Cheslatta band and its members,” said Leween. Richard Peters who had previously held the position of councillor for two years with former Chief Leween,  received a total of 50 votes and was named chief. New councillors are Michael Charlie who received a total of 80 votes and Hazel Burt who received a total of 67.


Local Canada Post employees turned up for work to find they had been locked out by the company. Not only were the outlet’s doors locked but the red post boxes had been screwed shut. Employees Bonnie Heagy, Angela Lacey and Marleen Hiebert formed a picket line outside the post office on Wednesday morning and answered a multitude of questions from confused locals who arrived to pick up or post their mail.

July 2011

It has been decided by Northern Health and local doctors that a U.S. doctor who applied to work at the Lakes District Hospital is no longer suitable. Earlier this year, Dr. Alan Hill, chief of staff in Burns Lake had said that the doctor was in the process of immigration and would hopefully be in Burns Lake working this summer, however Michael McMillan, Northern Health’s chief operating officer said the position is no longer being offered to the U.S. doctor. “This doctor does not have recent emergency experience and is therefore unsuitable,” McMillan said.

August 2011

Village of Burns Lake’s mayor and council could soon make a decision about the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline project. Councillors have not yet officially discussed the project and it was recommended that a committee of the whole meeting be held in council chambers to begin the discussions. Mayor Bernice Magee said she felt a committee of the whole meeting would be the best format to discuss the issue and possibly come to a decision about the twin pipeline project. She added that council should hold off on any discussions until more information is available from the Enbridge Northern Gateway Joint Review Process and suggested September 2011 would be a good time to start.


Lake Babine Nation (LBN) and the Village of Granisle officially sealed the deal in a collaborative community forest venture. LBN Chief Wilf Adam and Village of Granisle mayor Frederick Clarke met with Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Steve Thomson and Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad in Burns Lake for a  signing ceremony. The collaborative community forest venture is only the second one of its kind in B.C., with McLeod Lake being the first. The Babine Lake Community Forest will be managed by the not for profit Babine Lake Community Forest Society, which has representation from both LBN and the Village of Granisle. The partnership will benefit both communities by providing access to new jobs and diversify the local economy.

September 2011

The Burns Lake Volunteer Fire Fighters Association are hoping to construct a training facility in Burns Lake.  Reg Leith, fire crew captain made a presentation to the Comfor Management Services Ltd. board of directors, requesting that block B of the disused Endako River Timber Ltd. site on Babine Lake Rd. be leased to the association for training purposes. They suggested a lease of up to 99 years on the property, for one dollar per year.

October 2011

According to a recently published World Health Organization (WHO) study, Burns Lake has some of the best air in the world. WHO reports that B.C. cities and towns have some of the cleanest air on earth.  B.C. had the cleanest air in six of the top 10 cities in the world, including Kitimat, Burns Lake, Houston, Terrace, Nanaimo and Nelson.

According to the study, the worst air quality in the world exists in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.


Cheslatta Forest Products Ltd. has officially wound up operations. The mill, which started full time production in 2001, has been shut down for an extended period of time. Sawmill operations wound up in October 2008. Cheslatta Carrier Nation, Ootsa Resources, comprising of local community investors and Carrier Forest Products, issued a joint statement. “After a prolonged shut down period, the parties have agreed to wind down the Cheslatta joint venture sawmill and planer mill.” During it’s operational period, the mill provided employment for 140 people in harvesting, milling, administration and trucking and contributed nearly $1.5 million per month in contracts, payroll and operations to the regional economy. The mill’s closure is attributed to a number of factors including; a lack of modern three phase power, skyrocketing fuel prices beginning in 2008, the impending expiration of the mill’s non renewable beehive burning permit and diminishing recovery of lumber from beetle killed logs.

November 2011

Dr. Patrick Moore, ex Greenpeace cofounder arrived in Burns Lake last week at the invitation of the Burns Lake and District Chamber of Commerce. Accompanied by Colin Kinsley, former mayor of Prince George and current chair of the Northern Gateway Alliance, Moore gave a presentation on sustainability, discussing the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline project. Moore said competition from China for Canada’s oil will force prices up. Rather than just relying on the U.S. as a buyer, China will create more demand for the product. “This is good for Canada. I just don’t see the pipeline as something sinister,” he said, adding that most of the problems associated with pipelines come from 30 or 40 year old pipelines.


‘Our health in our hands’ is the slogan the Burns Lake Medical Clinic Society has adopted. The group officially became a society on Aug. 23, 2011.  The non profit society, comprised of local community members, has written and submitted a proposal to a number of funders in the hopes of setting up a not for profit medical clinic that will be staffed by at least four to six physicians. The physicians would be paid based on a fee for service model. Donna Brochez said the projected set up cost of the clinic will be about $150,000 to $200,000 and a detailed plan has been drawn up.


At just 21 years old, Burns Lake’s newly elected mayor Luke Strimbold is the youngest mayor in B.C.’s history and the second youngest in Canadian history, surpassed only by Clayton Smith, previous mayor of New Norway, Alberta. Strimbold said he feels his age is a benefit to the role. He also said council will be working towards addressing the infrastructure deficit in Burns Lake. Strimbold said his first port of call as mayor of Burns Lake will be appointing councillors to committees.

December 2011

Lake Babine Nation Chief, Wilf Adam expressed his anger over a deal struck between the Gitxsan Treaty Office and Enbridge Northern Gateway pipelines. Lake Babine Nation say the deal, that would see the Gitxsan receive more than $7 million in net profits, infringes on their traditional territory.