Village council briefs

Funk elected to health board

Burns Lake mayor Dolores Funk was elected to the board of the Northern Medical Programs Trust (NMPT) at the North Central Local Government Association (NCLGA) AGM in Williams Lake on May 6-10. “I’m hoping that my participation on the Trust will provide me with opportunities to advocate for more support for medical students from Burns Lake and increase internships at our hospital,” Funk told the council meeting on May 14. “I think once people experience Burns Lake, they are more likely to choose to relocate here.” The NMPT helps to link students up with communities and supports the retention of health professionals in rural areas.

Improve health access, Village tells Northern Health

The mayor, along with Chief Administrative Officer Sheryl Worthing and Councilor Charlie Rensby spoke with representatives of Northern Health at the NCLGA meeting. Though Northern Health has made improvements in the north such as providing MRT and CT scanning equipment in Prince George and Smithers, more attention should be paid to Burns Lake, as the village officials expressed to Northern Health. “At this time, they are working to attract an ultrasound technician, of which, British Columbia is in short supply. Access to ultrasounds would particularly improve our ability to provide prenatal services in Burns Lake. Northern Health is also working on improved maternity care training for nurses,” Funk said.

Village panel to assess housing needs

The council has agreed to form a short-term, select committee to examine specific needs for housing in Burns Lake, what funding is available and how to secure that funding for the community. “We already know we need rental housing, we need new housing stock,” Funk said. The new committee would also seek to work with non-profit organizations to get a clear picture of housing needs. Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing wrote in a letter to local governments on May 7 outlining the BC Building funding opportunities. They’re part of a $7 billion, 10-year investment in housing pledged by the government.

Staff to report on land for transition housing scheme

Village staff are working on a report for council that would identify parcels of land in the Burns Lake area for transition housing. The scheme from the Six Nations Housing Committee aims to provide housing for people transitioning away from living on the street, Councillor Darrell Hill said. The report would include information on the project’s funding partners and identity who would manage the new housing units. The committee consists of the Nee Tahi-Buhn, Skin Tyee, Cheslatta, Burns Lake, Lake Babine and Wet’suwet’en First Nations and was formed to address the issue of homelessness among local Indigenous people.

More dialogue needed on Anglican Church windows

A new committee will be formed to decide on how to proceed with restoring the stained glass windows in the old Anglican Church on First Avenue. Dale Ross, Director of Public Works said he had spoken with Diana’s Glass Creations in Smithers about the windows and was told it would cost $20,000-$24,000 to restore them. The council acknowledged that many members of the Burns Lake community have strong opinions on restoring the windows and church. It was agreed that more consultation is needed and the new committee would gauge public opinion before the next move on the church proceeds.

Village seeks marketing proposals on branding bid

Economic Development Officer (EDO) Lorie Watson explained in a detailed PowerPoint presentation how Burns Lake can develop its brand. “More work needs to be done to make Burns Lake into a destination and not just a nice place to drive through,” she told council. It is imperative that communities get their branding strategy right because the branding failure rate is at 86 per cent, she said. The village is seeking proposals through BC Bid from marketing companies for project coordination services to build the branding initiative and carry out community engagement. The project will be entirely funded by grants. The Request For Proposal period ends on June 14.

Burns Lake to host Painting the Town event

Council has backed EDO Watson’s plans to organize a Plein Air, or Painting the Town event on May 31-June 1. A group of 10-15 artists would come to Burns Lake, set up at different locations and paint landscape or outdoor portraits. The work would be showcased on June 1 in the one of the parks. “They seem to be really successful in Banff and Jasper. People are really liking to go to the smaller communities,” Watson said. It is hoped the event could draw tourists and increase business at local hotels and restaurants. Artists would be invited to donate their paintings to the Highway of Hope Foundation at an auction after the event.

Blair McBride
Multimedia reporter
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