Public Notice: Property Tax Exemption Application Process
Applications are now being accepted from Not-For-Profit Organizations, Charitable Organizations, Athletic or Service Clubs/Associations for permissive property tax exemptions for the 2022, 2023 and 2024 tax years, in accordance with the Town of Smithers “Permissive Taxation Exemption Policy” and under the Provisions of Section 224 of the Community Charter.
New Regional Mass Notification System launches June 1st, 2020
Residents in the Bulkley-Nechako Region now have new avenues of notifications in an emergency event and for other local government public notices.
The Bulkley-Nechako Emergency and Public Alerts system provides emergency and public alerts over a wide variety of communication channels including mobile apps, text/SMS alerting, email and landline.
The municipalities of Smithers, Telkwa, Houston, Granisle, Burns Lake, Fraser Lake, Fort St. James, Vanderhoof and the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako have partnered to provide residents with a regional mass notification system.
Registration for the service is FREE, simple, and totally anonymous.
Take steps towards your personal preparedness. Sign up today by clicking on the link:
If you previously registered to receive alerts from the Town of Smithers Emergency Notification System, your information has been automatically transferred to the Bulkley Nechako Emergency & Public Alerts System so you can continue to get the information you need, when you need it!
If you would like to update your contact information, add addresses that matter to you (work, school, etc.) or additional communities you would like to receive alerts for, log into your account at: https://login.voyent-alert.com
Simply enter the phone number or email you receive alerts on, and follow the instructions on the screen.
If you wish to Unsubscribe from the system: login to your account, then select the "My Profile" option from the menu selector at the top of the page and click on the "Unsubscribe" button.
The Town of Smithers is committed to ensuring citizens are kept informed of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We are taking direction from the Federal Government, Provincial Government, Northern Health, and the BC Centre for Disease Control in order to do our part to help minimize the spread of this virus. This includes recommendations for social distancing, a tactic to minimize close contact with others in the community by avoiding crowding and cancelling public gatherings, among other measures.
The public is advised to report any complaints of social distancing and self-isolation to the Ministry of Health at 1-888-COVID19 (1-888-268-4319).
The Provincial Health Officer is the senior public health official for British Columbia, and is responsible for monitoring the health of the population of British Columbia and providing independent advice to the ministers and public officials on public health issues.
Toll-free non-health phone line at: 1 888 268-4319 (1-888-COVID19), is open between 7:30 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. seven days a week for non-medical information about the emergency (including latest information on travel recommendations and social distancing, as well as access to support and services from the provincial and federal governments).
For more information and Northern Health Authority Updates, please click here. *Updated July 2, 2021.
Northern Health is actively monitoring COVID-19 in Smithers and the Bulkley Valley. To receive up to date information please follow the following link to Northern Health, which links to the BC Centre for Disease Control, COVID-19 on HealthLinkBC and Handwashing on HealthLink BC.
News Release #2021-09 Public Notice: Open Fire Ban
Effective as of 12:00 p.m., Wednesday June 30th campfires, Category 2 and Category 3 open fires are prohibited throughout the province of British Columbia and the Town of Smithers.
This prohibition will remain in effect until noon on October 15, 2021 or until the order is rescinded.
The use of the following are also prohibited:
Burn barrels or burn cages (of any size or description)
Binary exploding targets
Tiki and similar kinds of torches
Outdoor stoves or other portable campfire apparatus (without a CSA or ULC rating)
Air curtain burners
Human-caused wildfires are completely preventable and divert critical resources from lightning caused fires.
You can help by:
Abiding by all fire bans
Disposing of cigarettes in appropriate containers
Properly storing aerosol cans & other flammable products
Taking caution to identify fire hazards in the workplace
Anyone found in contravention of an open-burning prohibition may be issued a violation ticket for $1,150, may be required to pay an administrative penalty of up to $10,000 or, if convicted in court, may be fined up to $100,000 and/or sentenced to one year in jail. If the contravention causes or contributes to a wildfire, the person responsible may be ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs.
WATER CONSERVATION PROGRAM
WATERING RESTRICTIONS AS PER BYLAW NO. 1811
The Town of Smithers wishes to remind all residents that water restrictions are in force from April 15 until October 31 for residents on Town water supply only.
Water sprinkling is permitted on:
ODD numbered addresses – on ODD numbered days
EVEN numbered addresses – on EVEN numbered days
These restrictions are required to ensure that adequate water supply is available for fire fighting purposes, and to keep the costs of delivering water to a minimum. Further restrictions may be imposed if required.
Hand sprinkling of flowers and shrubs with a controlled nozzle is allowed at any time.
The Town of Smithers thanks you for your assistance in the sensible and moderate use of water.
News Release #2021-08 Building Permit Processing Time
For Immediate Release
June 7, 2021
SMITHERS – Due to the increased volume of building permit applications, as well as the increased pressure of legislative requirements, the Town of Smithers is lengthening the turn-around time for the issuance of building permits.
Most permits can be issued within twenty working days depending upon the complexity of the project, the completeness of the documents submitted and the number of current applications.
SMITHERS – The Town of Smithers’ flags will be flown at half mast until further notice to honour the 215 children whose lives were taken at the former Kamloops residential school and all Indigenous children who never made it home, the survivors, and their families.
Mayor Gladys Atrill is issuing the following statement:
“The Town of Smithers has lowered our flags to half mast in to honour the 215 children who died at the Kamloops Residential School and whose bodies were recently discovered in an unmarked grave.
We acknowledge the horror of this discovery and the trauma it brings to the families of these children, and to the survivors of residential schools across Canada. To the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation we offer our deepest condolences for the grief you are feeling at this discovery, and we are grieving with you.
The history of residential schools in Canada, including in Northwestern BC, has left a wound that will take generations to recover from. The forceful removal of Indigenous children from their families and communities coupled with the treatment many of those children received at residential schools is shameful. While it is sometimes said we must look at history through the lens of the time in which incidents occurred, I cannot fathom it was ever the right time to separate children from families or to place their bodies in mass graves where their loved ones would not find them.
This discovery and the memory of children lost, and families separated, should not be forgotten, but rather guide our conversations about how we do better into the future."
Effective January 1, 2021, all Home Owner Grant applications are to be submitted directly to the Province of British Columbia.
Residents in municipalities no longer apply through their municipal office. Everyone now applies directly to the Province using a new online system that’s easy to use and will process applications faster. The system will be available in early 2021.
The Northern Development Initiative Trust (NDIT) provides funding support to northern communities in various spheres of community economic development and capacity building. With the objective to encourage the creation of new market-based multi-family housing units in communities and thereby to create additional business and local employment opportunities, NDIT launched the Northern Housing Incentive Program in April 2019. The program provides grant funding to local governments to establish a ‘Dollars to the Door’ program, by incentivizing multi-family housing developments undertaken by private sector developers.
The program will benefit new multi-family residential developments in Smithers – both rental and for sale – providing up to $10,000 per newly created dwelling unit, to a maximum contribution of $200,000 to a project/community, at a given time.
As per the Town’s Multi-Family Housing Incentive Program Policy, which established the program requirements and processing procedures for the ‘Dollars to the Door’ Program, eligible projects shall meet the following criteria:
i. Create a minimum of four market-based multi-family self-contained dwelling units in a new development or by converting an existing non-residential building;
ii. Location outside the ‘Downtown Revitalization Tax Exemption Area’ identified in “Attachment 1” of this policy;
iii. Developments must address one or more specific housing needs:
(a) market rental housing; (b) entry-level home ownership; (c) senior housing; (d) small-family housing; and (e) housing for families;
iv. Compliance of the proposed development with all the relevant Official Community Plan and zoning bylaw requirements and should be ‘shovel ready’ upon funding approval;
v. Aim to complete the proposed project within two years from the data of Building Permit issuance unless otherwise extended by the maximum of one year by the General Manager, Integrated Growth and Infrastructure;
vi. The Applicant must be the registered owner of the property; and
vii. All the newly created units must meet the BC Energy STEP Code 2 or above as per BC Building Code.
On May 6th, 2021, the Town submitted its first Northern Housing Incentive (NHI) Program application to NDIT, for the Spring 2021 Quarterly intake. The Town is anticipating receiving a final decision on the application by the end of July 2021.
NDIT invites applications to the Northern Housing Incentive program on a quarterly basis. Contingent on the program’s funding availability and NDIT’s funding requirements, the Town will accept applications for the Summer 2021 Quarterly intake, starting from June 1st, 2021.
Please note that the maximum funding available under this program to all the eligible projects in the Town at a given time is $200,000. The Town will receive applications on a first-come-first-serve basis. An application that was not considered for a given intake -- either due to time constraints or NDIT’s funding requirements -- will be considered for the subsequent intake.
Interested applicants are advised to contact the Planner, Deepa Chandran, at email@example.com or 250-847-1600.
Town of Smithers 2021 Budget and 2021-2025 Financial Plan
Section 165 of the Community Charter requires the Town to adopt an annual Five-Year Financial Plan. Section 165(5) requires that “the total of the proposed expenditures and transfers to other funds for a year must not exceed the total of the proposed funding sources and transfers from other funds for the year”.
Home > News & Notices > News Release: #2021-04 Economic Development Program Business Retention and Expansion (BRE)
News Release: #2021-04 Economic Development Program Business Retention and Expansion (BRE)
For Immediate Release
March 30, 2021
SMITHERS – The Town of Smithers is launching a new Economic Development Program, Business Retention and Expansion (BRE).
The Business Retention and Expansion Program will be an active ongoing program to engage with our businesses on a regular basis. The Program’s primary focus is Business Retention and Business Expansion.
The goals of the Program are to address local issues that detract from a healthy business climate and demonstrate that local businesses are valued and appreciated for investing in our community.
The Business Retention and Expansion Program is an Economic Development activity designed to support and engage with local businesses so they can grow, contribute to community stability, job creation and retention.
The Business Retention and Expansion Program will:
Identify business and community challenges and provide support (immediate and ongoing).
Learn trends of development, impacts from COVID-19, work through action items and follow up with businesses.
Work to find solutions to challenges and to support opportunities, to create positive connections with local businesses.
Collect business and market data to support economic development planning.
Economic Development successes in our community will be based on robust Business Retention and Expansion activities.
This program provides grants to property and business owners to renovate, restore, or redesign retail and commercial building facades and storefronts in Downtown Smithers.
The goal of this program is to encourage owners or commercial tenants to invest in building façade upgrades that create a more interesting and appealing streetscape, attracting locals and visitors to the commercial downtown core.
This initiative will contribute towards:
Making Smithers ever more inviting as a place to walk, bike, shop, and play;
Promoting the marketability of retail, commercial businesses and non-profit organizations;
Helping building owners to create value and attract and retain tenants;
Enhancing the quality of life for residents, workers, and visitors in the downtown core;
Building civic pride among the business community and Smithers’ citizens;
Maintaining downtown Smithers’ Alpine Theme and its reputation of having the best downtown of any northern BC community.
The program is available to certain communities along the Coastal GasLink route and near the LNG Canada construction site. It is designed to provide communities with grant dollars for capital and capacity building projects to help them adjust to significant growth in their areas due to these projects.
The fund will hold quarterly intakes. The first intake deadline is February 26th. The next intake deadline is May 14th. The fund is expected to be disbursed over a five-year period.
Northern Health launches HealtheLife patient portal
Northern Health has launched the HealtheLife patient portal, where Northern BC residents who received care at a Northern Health hospital or urgent and primary care centre can view hospital-based health information, including COVID-19 results, online.
SMITHERS – The Town of Smithers requires Event organizers to complete a Special Event Application Form for a public event held on any Town of Smithers’ owned land, streets, sidewalks, parks, and/or buildings. This form must be completed in full and submitted to the Town of Smithers for approval prior to the event proceeding in accordance with the Town of Smithers Events Bylaw No. 1342.
As a Special Event Application – COVID-19 Requirement, Event Organizers MUST ensure Safety Protocols:
A sanctioned public event held on any Town of Smithers’ owned land, streets, sidewalks, parks, and/or buildings MUST have fewer than 50 people to align with the public heath officer’s prohibition on mass gatherings.
To ensure the safety of those participating Event Organizers MUST include a COVID-19 Safety Protocol Plan for the event (PPE, Physical Distancing, Sanitization etc.).
Organizers of approved Gathering and Events are required to collect the contact information of all persons attending their event. The Organizer must provide the event attendee information to the Town of Smithers to be retained for thirty days in case there is a need for contact tracing, in which case the information will be provided to the regional medical health officer.
SMITHERS – BC Transit and the Town of Smithers are announcing a return to full service effective July 1, 2020 in the Smithers Regional Transit System.
Regular weekly transit service will be implemented on all routes starting on Wednesday, July 1. Routes will no longer be operating on reduced Saturday service levels. However, please be advised that there is no service on statutory holidays in the Smithers Regional Transit System. Service will resume the following day on July 2, 2020.
BC Transit and the Town of Smithers made adjustments to transit services as part of our response to COVID-19 on April 6, 2020.
Following the guidance of the Provincial Health Officer and WorkSafeBC, and drawing on the best practices of the transit industry worldwide, BC Transit is continuing with many of the safety measures put in place to respond to COVID-19, and is implementing additional practices and procedures to align with BC’s Restart Plan. Details are available at //bctransit.com/covid19.
BC Transit would like to thank our customers for their patience and ongoing support during these challenging times. For more information on schedules and fares please visit BCTransit.com.
Coastal GasLink Construction Notification - Permitted Blasting
What: Controlled blasting activities will begin in Sections 6 and 7 along the Project right-of-way, roads, and ancillary sites. All blasting activities will be done in accordance with provincial and federal regulations.
When: Beginning on June 11, 2020, blasting will be conducted daily between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. and will continue until the end of 2021 in some areas.
Where: Blasting activities will occur between KP 419+459 to 583+179 along the project construction footprint and various ancillary sites with the nearest communities being Burns Lake and Houston. Please see the map included as part of this notification.
Expected Duration: From June 11, 2020 through to the end of December 2021. Depending on the location, blasting activities in any particular location may occur for one or more days during this timeframe.
Potential Impact: While there are no anticipated permanent road closures required as part of this activity, public access to this segment of the project right-of-way and a surrounding safety zone will be restricted during this period. There are no permanent residences located within one kilometer of the area. The Project right-of-way intersects with Highway 35, but no impacts to its normal operation have been identified at this time. However, some restrictions to local and forestry roads may be required during blasting depending on the scope and location of work. It is not expected that these activities will result in any detectable sound or vibration beyond the immediate work area.
BC211 is a Vancouver-based nonprofit organization that specializes in providing information and referral regarding community, government and social services in BC. Our help line services include 211, the Alcohol and Drug Information and Referral Service (ADIRS), the Gambling Support Line BC, the Shelter and Street Help Line, VictimLink BC, and the Youth Against Violence Line.
BC Transit's new strategic plan positions public transportation as part of the solution
Feb 13, 2020
BC Transit is releasing a new strategic plan with a focus on being part of the solution for the challenges impacting communities across the province.
Public transportation has been operating in British Columbia for 130 years, and our role as a sustainable transportation solution will not change. We will strive to deliver exceptional customer service to the more than 57 million people who use our services each year to get to their destinations. However, public transportation also plays a key role in addressing the challenges facing communities today, including climate change, affordability, traffic congestion, social isolation, and the urban rural divide.
Our bold new vision statement, “Your best transportation solution” speaks to the many customers that we serve and positions us as a leader in addressing the many complex challenges that exist across the province.
Our mission statement, “Delivering transportation services you can rely on” describes how BC Transit is going to accomplish the goals set by the vision statement, especially within the context of a rapidly changing transportation landscape.
The plan has five objectives that will provide a roadmap for the organization and help it meet its goals for both customers and communities:
The strategic plan is intended to drive ridership increases, reduce greenhouse gases, make life more affordable, create better social connections, and reduce congestion. The implementation of the plan will be monitored and measured on a regular basis. BC Transit is looking forward to working with our partners to improve services across the province and demonstrate why we are the best transportation solution.
The full plan is available at bctransit.com/stratplan
“I congratulate BC Transit for providing high quality public transport for the people of B.C. It continues to meet rising demand, to attract new users and to make public transit central to a sustainable future.”
-Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure
“The new strategic plan facilitates the continued evolution of BC Transit and the services it provides by refreshing the focus of the organization and setting performance objectives for the next five years. The future is bright for transit, and the Board, employees and partners of BC Transit look forward to ensuring that it is your best transportation solution.”
-Catherine Holt, BC Transit Board Chair
“Public transportation has an important role in supporting communities across British Columbia. Being able to provide an affordable, convenient, and reliable transportation option will help to ensure people can get to work, school, medical appointments, and other activities in their communities and region. I look forward to continuing to work with our partners to make public transportation the best transportation solution for British Columbians.”
-Erinn Pinkerton, BC Transit President and Chief Executive Officer
BC Transit gives back to the community
Feb 28, 2020
Thanks to the fundraising efforts throughout 2019, BC Transit presented the United Way of Victoria and Help Fill a Dream with cheques to support these important organizations. These included donations through the holiday fundraising campaign, and regular payroll deductions.
The United Way of Victoria works to support people in Greater Victoria with employment and support services.
Help Fill A Dream Foundation often comes into the life of a family when things are at their worst. When a child is diagnosed with a life-threatening condition a family’s focus becomes their child, their medical appointments and treatment; there’s no time for anything else. Since 1986 Help Fill a Dream Foundation has been supporting those families from Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands whose lives have suddenly changed due to their child’s diagnosis with a medical condition or severe health challenge.The organization was started by Victoria transit driver, Rick Thomas, who had a goal of helping a seven year old bus passenger suffering from a terminal illness. Since that time, 2,100 dreams have come true.
Thank you to BC Transit staff who contributed to these fantastic organizations.
Keeping on schedule
Feb 28, 2020
As we become busier and busier in our own work, the old adage ‘walk a mile in their shoes’ becomes more difficult to relate to every day. It is important to realize that it takes many people to ensure BC Transit, as an organization, can run efficiently throughout the province.
From mechanics, operators, planners and schedulers to our Local Government partners, many different individuals from departments all across the province help us connect people to communities.
Day in the Life is a monthly Q & A highlighting of one of these individuals that makes what we do possible. This month we are highlighting Central Fraser Valley’s handyDART Administrator and Dispatcher Jennifer Penner, on her day-to-day tasks and her motivations.
Tell us a little about yourself and how you ended up in your current role?
I am a 40-year-old single mother of three amazing boys (only two still at home), I enjoy spending most of my free time with my family and friends. I also enjoy going to movies and concerts, reading, cooking, travelling and when weather permits, I also enjoy spending time outdoors, camping, hiking/walking local trails and parks and going to the local rivers and lakes. I ended up being hired in early 2007 as a temporary position to cover a maternity leave in the Chilliwack location, which ended up turning into a permanent position with me coming to work out in the Abbotsford location.
Tell us a little about your role? What do your day-to-day tasks look like?
My role at BC Transit is handyDART Admin and Dispatch and I work mainly in the Central Fraser Valley handyDART office but also periodically work in the handyDART office in Chilliwack.
My tasks include:
Answering phone calls from handyDART clients to book and cancel trips and help with providing any information
Monitoring all the two-way radio and the handyDART buses/driver schedules throughout the day for any problems and make any adjustments as required
Preparing handyDART schedules
Counting and depositing the driver/bus revenue and entering stats in the database
Selling taxisavers to clients and preparing deposits
Helping customers in office with information, applications and Ticket & Taxisaver sales
Receiving and processing new handyDART applications
Compiling monthly reporting stats for both the Central Valley and Chilliwack handyDART systems
What is the most interesting aspect in your role? What excites you to come in and start your day?
The most interesting aspect of my role is doing the driver schedules, it is like working on a big puzzle and trying to make all the pieces fit and work together. I am excited each day to come to work as I work with an amazing group of people and have developed lots of lasting friendships with them. I also enjoy talking to the clients and developing relationships with them and knowing how much they appreciate the services we provide.
What is the most challenging aspect in your role? How do you overcome these challenges?
The most challenging aspect is trying to find enough time when it gets busy to get everything done in a day. However, with hard work, prioritizing and lots of multitasking, everything gets done.
What is a common misconception about your role? What is it in actuality?
One misconception of my role is that I don’t just answer the phone and talk on the two-way radio all day. There are many other things I do daily that keep me busy at work. handyDART Admin and Dispatching is a combination of many tasks, can sometimes be very fast-paced and busy, and requires a lot of multi-tasking and an attention to detail.
What was something that surprised you when you first started working in your role?
Finding out how everything worked and how much was involved with all aspects of transit was very surprising. It was not like anything I had imagined.
Lastly, what gives you a sense of accomplishment on a regular basis in your role?
It gives me a sense of accomplishment knowing that I am helping our handyDART clients daily with their transportation needs when they don’t have other options.
BC Transit trainers have serious cred Jan 30, 2020
Imagine yourself behind the wheel of a 24-tonne double-decker going 80-km an hour on the highway, while carrying 70 passengers anxiously waiting to get to work, and having to deal with constant traffic hazards. Luckily as a BC Transit operator, you were trained by some of the best!
Driving a bus is not as easy as getting behind the wheel of your car and heading off to pick up your friends. In order to be a safe and confident driver out on the road, operators require extensive and quality training. That’s where the Transit Operator training program at BC Transit comes in.
The program aims to produce operators who can provide safe transportation for our customers on a daily basis. BC Transit’s operator training program is very comprehensive and covers a wide variety of topics such as, commercial vehicle defensive driving, air brakes, customer service, workplace violence prevention, mobility aid securement, emergency procedures and more. The program has a success rate of 90 per cent.
“The goal is to give the trainees the tools to be successful as a BC Transit Operator, in all aspects of their role and this training program goes a long way to provide that to them,” said Andrew White, Safety and Training Officer. “Having the ability to grant a Class 2 Commercial Driver’s License, not only streamlines the program, it enhances our industry leading defensive driving program, customer service training and allows trainees to spend more time with the different bus types.”
Part of the program, a nine-week long training process, requires operators to pass a Class 2 ICBC road test, which is administered by our very own Safety and Training officers, who are certified ICBC assessment officers. Safety and Training Officers are required to have 100 hours of air brake instruction and 500 hours of Class 2 training under their belt to qualify to become an assessor.
This certification means that training officers are fully recognized by ICBC and meet the sufficient requirements to administer licensing in-house at BC Transit on behalf of ICBC. Prior to this, new operators were trained by the officers and the testing was handled by ICBC.
“With the amount of trainees that our department were tasked with training, it was decided that our department would inquire about becoming an ICBC accredited assessment facility,” said White. “This would give us the ability to train our candidates to obtain a Class 2 license, which we have done for years; however, now, we would be able to issue the candidate a Class 2 or 4 license without the need to take them to ICBC to have the road examination.”
The nationally accredited program, which BC Transit earned in September of 2017, is one of the first of its kind in Canada. John Palmer, Director of Safety and Emergency Management, explains the process to receive the accreditation was not an easy one.
“The process to receive accreditation was strenuous and rigid,” he said. “It involved an ICBC rep shadowing our trainers on buses and in class, as well as testing their driving abilities and passing a written knowledge test. Overall, the process took two months.”
The program also undergoes a review intermittently by ICBC to ensure BC Transit is maintaining and meeting the accreditation standards.
So why go through this process? Palmer explained the overall benefits of the program and streamlining of the training process — a great benefit to new operators.
“Foremost we don’t have to book appointments at ICBC,” said Palmer. “They are so busy for road tests in Victoria that we would have to book tests one month out. It also provides consistency for our students. They are being tested by a subject matter expert on buses that represents ICBC, so they get the best of both worlds.”
As the success of the program continues to grow, the plan is to expand it across the province. The program will be especially beneficial to other communities.
“Eventually, we will be offering this service to our regional partners,” said Palmer. “Road test appointments in smaller communities are even more scarce than in Victoria. Some locations don’t offer commercial licenses. This program will allow our partners to hire people with customer service and not just a commercial license.”
As we become busier and busier in our own work, the old adage ‘walk a mile in their shoes’ becomes more difficult to relate to every day. It is important to realize that it takes many people to ensure BC Transit, as an organization, can run efficiently.
From mechanics, operators, planners and schedulers to our Local Government partners, many different individuals from departments all across the province help us connect people to communities.
Day in the Life is a monthly Q & A highlighting of one of these individuals that makes what we do possible here at BC Transit. This month we are highlighting Senior Transit Planner – Work Lead Levi Megenbir, on his day-to-day tasks and his motivations.
Tell us a little about yourself and how you ended up in your current role at BC Transit?
I first became passionate about planning because I saw a lack of alignment in the way our cities were developing and how they were being served from a transportation perspective. To this day, I still feel that one of the best ways to improve the sustainability of our society is to better integrate our land use and transportation systems.
This passion led me to complete my Master’s of Planning degree on the East Coast where I specialized in sustainable transportation planning, and the rest is history!
Tell us a little about your role here at BC Transit? What do your day-to-day tasks look like?
As planners, our work includes both technical and creative elements, so every project is different and interesting. Although there is a significant amount of deskwork, meetings across both departments and organizations are a regular and important part of our role. We also get the opportunity to travel for work in order to lead public engagement processes and to present transit plans to local governments throughout B.C.
What is the most interesting aspect in your role? What excites you to come in and start your day?
I can literally say that I am never bored at work, and every day presents a new challenge. One of my favourite aspects of transit planning is the process of restructuring transit networks, as it is an extremely complex process, involving both a technical and creative skillset. Presenting to municipal councils and regional districts for approvals of transit plans can be exhilarating, and is an opportunity to participate in an arena where real social change happens.
What is the most challenging aspect in your role? How do you overcome these challenges?
Although there are general transit planning best practices, transit planning can also be very political. Managing transit planning projects with a complex diversity of stakeholders can be both a very challenging but also rewarding process.
What is a common misconception about your role? What is it in actuality?
Beyond planning, I think there is often significant confusion about the complexity, challenge, and time required to make changes to a transit system. A transit network is a complex web of interactions, and making changes to one element can create ripple effects throughout other aspects of the transit system.
Specific to planning, the role of planner and scheduler is often not understood outside the transit industry. Planners are responsible for shaping service and infrastructure priorities for a transit system, and then for developing the routing (where the bus goes), service spans (when service starts and ends on any given day), and service frequencies (how regularly the bus comes) for the transit network in order to implement those service priorities.
Once these planning-level details are confirmed, schedulers have the equally challenging job of turning our planning fantasies into an actual transit schedule, by linking individual transit trips together with actual buses and then assigning drivers to those buses.
What was something that surprised you when you first started working in your role at BC Transit?
The passion and commitment of the staff here at BC Transit across the organization. BC Transit has a dedicated and diligent group of individuals working together to make things better for communities across BC.
Lastly, what gives you a sense of accomplishment on a regular basis in your role?
I feel that the work I do actually makes a positive difference in communities and individual lives across our province. Particularly when we implement service expansions, we often receive positive and thankful feedback from communities across B.C.
Although it was a weird experience, I was once hugged by an ecstatic passenger when they realized I was the one responsible for planning a new route that saved them an hour of walking in their commute every day.
Did you know, there are now four Transportation Options for travelling along Highway 16 & 97:
Community Vehicles Program – Designed for rural and remote communities along Highway 16 from Prince Rupert to Prince George. Each community has its own vehicle and sets its own schedule and routes.
BC Transit – For travel between communities along Highway 16, such as Terrace, Kitimat, the Hazeltons, Smithers, Burns Lake and Prince George. (This augments BC Transit’s services within cities, such as in Kitimat, Prince Rupert and Prince George).
Northern Health Connections – For all northern residents travelling outside their community to non-emergency health care facilities in the north, Kamloops and Vancouver. This service is also available for seniors (over 60) and people with mobility challenges.
BC Bus North – For anyone wanting to travel between communities along Highway 16 from Prince Rupert to Valemount. This service is also available along Highway 97, from Prince George to Dawson Creek and up to Fort Nelson.
More information on Highway 16 & 97 Transportation Options:
The Resource Benefits Alliance was formed to seek a share of revenues that will flow to government from future development. This revenue would enable communitiies to address current impacts arising from major resource development, service and infrastructure deficits in communities and to leave a legacy in Northwest British Columbia.
Charge North - EV Travel for Central and Northern BC
Charge North is a community-led initiative to develop an electric vehicle (EV) charging network to facilitate travel to and within central and northern BC. This collaborative project is directed by six regional governments and engages 43 local governments from south of Kamloops to Haida Gwaii, connecting over 2,780 kms of highway for rural EV travel. Charge North is facilitated by the Community Energy Association on behalf of an Advisory Committee made up of representatives from each regional district and the Northern BC Tourism Association.
The project builds upon lessons learned from both Accelerate Kootenays and Peaks to Prairies EV projects, both community-driven approaches to electrifying rural areas, but takes into account the unique context of central and northern BC to ensure maximum benefits for drivers, residents and communities.
Charge North also complements the Province of BC’s CleanBC Plan, launched in December 2018, which will require 100% of vehicles sold in BC to be zero-emission by 2040.
For more information, please click on the following PDF documents:
Climate Action Revenue Incentive Program (CARIP) Report 2018
The following Report meets the Climate Action Revenue Incentive Program (CARIP) requirements to publicly report the work the local government is undertaking to reduce both corporate and community-wide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the current year and intended actions for the following year.
Smithers Age Friendly Assessment & Action Plan 2016
In early 2016 the Town of Smithers applied for and received funding through UBCM’s BC Healthy Communities’ Seniors Housing and Support Initiative Age Friendly Planning grant program to carry out an Age Friendly Assessment and Action Plan.
In the summer and fall of 2016 Access Smithers and four independent contractors carried out an assessment and drafted this action plan. The Town of Smithers requested the assessment and action plan, focus on outdoor spaces, sidewalks, trails, public buildings and municipal recreation infrastructure as well as current town policy and plans.
This age friendly assessment and action plan will be helpful in developing implementation strategies, prioritizing municipal projects, budgeting for improvements and allocating staff for the identified and recommended improvements. Engaging the local community through surveys, direct outreach and meetings helped to identify priority areas and tested our assumptions about accessibility in Smithers.
Smithers' Age Friendly Assessment & Action Plan 2016 is the result of community engagement, surveys, meetings and discussions with seniors and stakeholder groups in the community.
The plan is divided into the following sections:
The Background - introduces the age friendly community concept and the role of local government.
The Assessment - reviews the current status of Smithers based on public statistics, survey results, detailed assessments and public feedback on the municipality’s outdoor spaces, sidewalks, trails, public buildings, recreation infrastructure and policies/plans. This section includes top recommendations for each location and general recommendations for the Town.
The Action Plan - takes the recommendations from the above focused assessment, identifies priority areas and suggests action steps as well as indicators for success.
New Library & Art Gallery Concept Design & Business Case Project
The Town of Smithers is currently completing a “Library & Art Gallery Concept Design & Business Case”. The project includes stakeholder/community consultation, program refinement, concept design (both for a new building & Veteran’s Peace Park redesign) and a business case analysis. The facility is to meet Passive House Building Standards or BC Energy Step Code Level 5 and be a maximum of 12,000 ft2.
There were two public Open House events, held July 25, 2018, and August 20, 2018, for the community to brainstorm, discuss & provide ideas for a new shared facility and park redesign. Open House Poster
Smithers Council identified the development of a new Cultural Centre as one of its Strategic Priorities for 2015-2018. In 2017 the Town engaged the services of Public Architecture + Communication to complete a Bulkley Valley Arts & Culture Centre Pre-feasibility Study. The study identified potential tenants, uses and produced high level conceptual design options for a new multi-purpose facility. In consultation with the community, Smithers Council endorsed a phased approach to a preferred concept, which envisions a new shared Library/Art Gallery facility in Veteran’s Peace Park being the first phase.
The black bear is a long-time resident of Smithers and one of our most prevalent forms of wildlife. As Smithers continues to develop and encroach on wildlife habitat, the need for people and bears to coexist safely increases. Whether you're hiking the Perimeter Trail or strolling through the neighbourhood, you may encounter a black bear.
Black bears are most active from mid-March to November, but may remain active during the winter months if non-natural foods are available. Their constant search for new food sources may draw them into Smithers’ urban areas and into your backyard. The residents of Smithers have chosen to live in harmony with their bears. We strive for our community to be porous to bear activity, so that bears can pass through, but are not tempted to stop and get into trouble with people and their non-natural attractants.
Bears live to eat, consuming up to 25,000 calories a day (10 times more than the average person). While they prefer natural vegetation, they will eat almost anything and will do almost anything to obtain food. Smithers is located in the midst of prime bear country. Therefore, we all have to be extra careful with what we leave accessible to bears.
Bears have a keen sense of smell. They are attracted by scents as diverse as vinyl and citronella. Bears learn quickly and will repeat behaviours that lead to food rewards. Carelessly stored garbage, birdfeeders, or an unclean barbeque are open invitations to bears. Bears in pursuit of an easy meal may damage property or, in rare cases, cause injury to people. Paying attention to common household activities will reduce encounters and contribute to creating a more Bear Friendly community. Encourage your friends and neighbours to participate as well.
You can keep your neighbourhood safe and prevent the unnecessary destruction of bears by following these simple guidelines:
Bear safety at home
Respect bears! If you see a bear in a residential area, act responsibly!
Remain calm - Often the bear is just passing through, and if it finds no food, will simply move on.
Keep well away - Do not crowd the bear – give it plenty of space. Warn others to be respectful; bring small children and untrained pets inside.
Let the bear know it is not welcome - Do not allow the bear to feel comfortable in your backyard. After, ensuring the bear has a safe avenue of escape, make lots of noise to encourage the bear to leave. After it has left the area, remove any non-natural foods that attracted the bear.
When to call for help
Call the R.A.P.P. Line (1-877-952-7277 or text to #7277) to report:
(1) A bear sighting in any human-developed area; (2) A human-bear conflict; (3) Property damage caused by a bear; or (4) Wildlife attractants such as garbage.
You have an important role to play in preventing conflict. Be aware that your behaviour does have an impact.
What can you do to help reduce human/wildlife confrontations?
Keep garbage securely stored prior to disposal – minimizing odours.
Dispose of household garbage in Town of Smithers supplied garbage containers. Ensure garbage is fully contained within container and only placed on street the morning of scheduled garbage collection.
Do not store food of any kind outside, even if it is inside a locked refrigerator or freezer.
Don’t leave trash, groceries, pet food, coolers or any odorous items in your vehicle. Bears can easily pry open car/truck windows and doors to access the food inside.
Ensure birdfeeders are inaccessible to bears. Fallen seed should be removed daily before nightfall.
It’s best not to have any fruit-bearing trees/bushes or gardens on your property. If you do, harvest fruits and vegetables as they ripen. Remove fallen fruit from the ground below the tree. Keep your lawn mowed and free of weeds, especially dandelions and clover.
Burn your barbeque clean immediately after use, wash and store it covered out of the wind – preferably indoors (without the propane tank). At minimum, remove the grease can and store it securely indoors.
Feed your pets indoors and store their food inside. Don’t leave dog bones lying around your yard.
Keep your compost clean and odour free.
If you raise chickens on your property, ensure enclosure is secure and that chicken feed is not accessible to wildlife.
A few useful resources...
WARP is the Wildlife Activity Reporting Program. When a wildlife sighting/confrontation occurs, residents can report it using the R.A.P.P. number (1-877-952-7277 or text to #7277) Once a report has been filed, it will appear on the WARP Provincial map. You can log on to WARP using the link below and see what types of animals have been reported in your geographic area. By clicking on the individual animal, you can see additional information such as; Type of contact, sighting, injured, distressed, aggressive, as well as, what follow-up actions were taken by conservation.
Follow the link below marked “getting started with warp” and follow directions to register with WARP. Registered users can then subscribe to location alerts in their geographic area which can be sent to an electronic device.
Wildsafe BC is an excellent resource for information and education regarding all types of wildlife that live in our area. Check out the “brochures” tab for useful information on each individual species.
You can help to create a safer community for people and bears.
For detailed information about preventing conflicts and staying safe around bears, cougars and other wildlife visit
2017 Saw a marked increase in the number of wildlife sighting/confrontations in and around the Town of Smithers. In an effort to try and reduce any negative impact this may have on wildlife and our citizens, the Town of Smithers is taking an enhanced role in educating the public.
The Prevention and Community Safety Officer (PCSO) and volunteers of the Smithers Community Policing Office will be distributing notices outlining “best practices” to homes that openly exhibit wildlife attractants on the property.
Reasons for issuing a notice may include;
Garbage that is not completely contained within the Town supplied bins, garbage that is put out to the road prior to your specified garbage collection day, un-harvested fruit trees with ripened fruit, accumulation of fruit on the ground, easily accessible pet or animal food (including bird and chicken feed), accumulation of odorous compost or other vegetative material, any food stored outside.
The BC Wildlife Act specifically prohibits the feeding of bears and many other predatory animals. Residents can receive a fine issued by BC Conservation Officers for feeding or providing attractants to animals.
The Town of Smithers does not currently regulate providing animal attractants in it’s bylaws. There are a number of Bylaws that regulate activities that may result in wildlife conflicts. Repeat offenders may be penalized for failing to comply with these regulations. Please review the following bylaws for more specific information;
Home > News & Notices > “Climate Change: Effects and Predictions for Smithers and Area” presentation by Dr. Mel Reasoner
“Climate Change: Effects and Predictions for Smithers and Area” presentation by Dr. Mel Reasoner
On October 7, 2016, Dr. Mel Reasoner delivered the presentation "Climate Change: Effects and Predictions for Smithers and Area" in Smithers.
Dr. Reasoner holds a PhD in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences from the University of Alberta.
Dr. Reasoner's research focused on past climate change and vegetation history in western North America and he taught courses in weather and climate, climate change, paleoclimatology and geology.
He directed an international initiative (sponsored by the Swiss Academy of Science) that focuses on global change issues in mountain regions worldwide and became involved in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment as a lead author of a chapter that examines atmospheric conditions and trends in mountain systems.
Over the last 7 years, Mel contributed to the Columbia Basin Trust’s 'Communities Adapting to Climate Change Initiative' as a member of the technical support team and delivered many climate science presentations for this initiative.
He is currently working as a climate consultant in the Nelson area for Climate Resilience Consultants (CRC) and has delivered workshops like this one in about 30 communities.
The first thing you need to do when water conservation is suggested is to assess your property and make decisions about lawns, plantings and water use.
Re-think your lawn. Perhaps your priorities have changed and you can do with less lawn. Irrigated lawns require five times more water than other landscape plants and although it is the least expensive planting initially, in the long run it takes far more in maintenance time and cost than other plantings and is the largest drain on outdoor water.
If reducing or eliminating your lawn is not an option, make sure your grass is growing where it will thrive. Many homeowners try to maintain grass where it simply does not grow well. Even in the best of watering conditions, grass is not the best choice under trees, on steep slopes, along paved or cemented areas or where there is heavy foot traffic. There are alternatives to grass: plants; ground covers like kinnikinick (dried leaves and bark of various plants); and hardscaping with bricks and pebbles.
You may need to prioritize which of your plants will receive the most water. If your garden is small enough, watering by hand or with a hose equipped with a shut-off device should not be difficult. However, if your gardens are extensive, you may not be able to adequately care for all vegetation with hand watering and may wish to consider a micro/drip irrigation system. If you already have an in-ground irrigation system, you can convert it to micro system. To make outdoor watering work, you should determine which plants are most susceptible to stress or are most valuable in terms of replacement cost, prominence in the landscape and enjoyment.
Examine all garden areas to make sure that plantings are grouped according to water requirements. You may need to move or adjust plantings to make their water needs match; placing water guzzlers next to water sippers is inefficient. Place plants with high water requirements in areas that receive water naturally, like drainage ways, depressions or at the bottom of hills.
Lawns normally go into a summer dormancy when regular rainfall decreases and temperatures increase. They stop growing and often turn brown. This is a normal process and does not mean the lawn will die. In dry weather, keep off the lawn as much as possible. Grass blades become brittle without water and are more easily damaged.
How much water?
Lawns need only 25 mm (1 inch) of water per week, including rain. Longer, infrequent watering will help to develop deeper, healthier roots. Keep your grass two to two and half inches high and you will help the soil retain moisture and reduce evaporation from sunlight and wind.
Aerate your lawn
Aerating promotes grass roots to absorb all the natural moisture that is available. Aerating also lets air flow into the soil and provides the grass roots with oxygen. You can aerate simply by stabbing the lawn with a gardening fork or by renting a powered aerator.
De-thatch you lawn.
Thatch is the layer of organic matter that forms between the blades of grass and the soil. A thin layer of thatch can be beneficial, preventing evaporation of water from the topsoil. Too much thatch can be harmful and can rob the roots of the oxygen and water needed for healthy growth. Remove the thatch from your lawn at least once a year, using a rake, a thatching attachment on your mower or a thatching machine.
A well-balanced soil that is properly watered should not need fertilizer. Don’t give your lawn too much fertilizer, as it might outgrow its soil limitations and watering regime. Avoid applying fertilizer, herbicides or pesticides during the dormant period.
Consider replacing some areas of the lawn with low-growing ground covers or herbs. Another alternative is to cover parts of your garden with hardscape made from natural or synthetic materials, such as flat rocks, flagstones, concrete, asphalt or compact gravel.
Keep mower blades sharp to avoid tearing the grass.
Don’t cut wet grass
Set mower height to leave 50 to 65 mm (two to two and half inches)
Leave grass clippings to decompose; they act as mini-mulch to reduce evaporation.
Flower and Vegetable Gardens
About 70 to 80 per cent of all plant problems are directly related to incorrect watering.
Water around the base of plants slowly and deeply — moistening the top 4 to 6 inches of soil — at least once a week. Light, frequent watering is harmful because it encourages shallow root growth and enhances germination of weed seeds. You can check the soil wetting depth with a screwdriver or stake.
Water plants early in the morning to avoid evaporation from the sun and wind.
Watering in the middle of the day increases the amount of water lost to evaporation by as much as 40 percent.
Consider installing drought-tolerant native plantings. A drought-tolerant plant can survive with very little, if any, artificial watering or irrigation once it is established. Natural rainfall is usually enough for these plants, if they’re growing in the right habitat (i.e. one similar to their natural habitat), and they can usually survive weeks of dry weather.
Plants with gray, fuzzy, waxy or finely divided leaves are also considered drought- tolerant. Perennials like daylilies, flax, pinks, bellflowers and peonies thrive under dry conditions. Annuals like cosmos, sage, mallow and California poppies are also drought-tolerant and provide season-long colour in your garden. Check with your garden centre for further suggestions.
Mulching around plants reduces the number of weeds (which compete for water) and conserves soil moisture and moderates soil temperatures. The recommended depth for mulches is 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 cm). Good mulches are straw, bark, gravel or wood chips.
Trees and Shrubs
When watering trees and large shrubs, water around the drip-line of the tree (area below the branches where water drips from the leaves) — not at the trunk. A great way to water trees is to use milk or water jugs. Fill with water and poke small holes about 8 in the bottom of each. Place these around the drip line of each tree. The water seeps out slowly into soil near the roots, where the tree needs water the most.
Avoid heavy direct watering by hose, which can wash away soil, exposing the roots to pests and disease, and making shrubs and small trees more susceptible to blow down.
Keep turf at least two feet from the trunks of young or newly planted trees as it will compete with the trees for water. Consider applying mulch in this area.
Weed regularly. Weeds will compete with your plantings for moisture.
Consider installing a micro/drip irrigation system. These systems can be tailored effectively to individual plant and garden needs. During even the most stringent water conservation measure, micro and drip irrigation systems can be used to water flowers, trees, shrubs and vegetables.
Make sure hoses are in perfect condition. A hose delivers about 27 litres of water per minute so a leaking hose or coupling can add up to significant water waste.
Use nonporous containers like glazed pots, as they are more efficient at retaining water. Also, use larger containers (pots 10 inches (25 cm) in diameter and larger) as the larger the volume of soil, the slower it dries. Nest smaller pots inside larger ones and insulate the space between the pots with potting soil. This will keep the roots cool and will slow down evaporation.
Consider collecting and recycling water by installing rain barrels outside of your home. Installing rain barrels at the downspouts of your eaves troughs is a great way to collect rainwater to use on your planters or in the garden during our dry summer months. Make sure each barrel has a secured lid to prevent children gaining access; this also will discourage breeding mosquitoes, prevent contamination and keep out wildlife. You will also need an overflow attachment and hose attachment for watering.
The Town of Smithers has been working with Alpine Village Estates to re-establish the closed section of the Town’s perimeter trail that was on Alpine Village Estates property adjacent to Chicken Creek.
In the spring of 2014, this portion of the trail was closed to the public due to creek bank erosion and land slippage undermining the trail. It was determined that the Alpine Village Estates storm sewer caused the bank erosion and slippage. As a result the Town of Smithers discharged the Right of Way that permitted the Town’s trail to cross the Alpine Village Estates property and closed this portion of the trail.
The Town has offered to pay the legal costs to re-establish the Right of Way and re-build the failed portion of the Town’s perimeter trail at an estimated cost of $40,000 for fencing, legal fees, engineering and construction. This would allow that section of the Perimeter Trail to be re-opened to the public and to be maintained by the Town.
Unfortunately the Town of Smithers has been unable to come to an agreement with Alpine Village Estates on the offer to re-instate the closed portion of the trail. The Town acknowledges that this section of the Perimeter Trail is very important public infrastructure and will seek to assess alternate options.
Home > News & Notices > SAGA Releases “Smithers 2014 Homelessness Council Findings Report”
SAGA Releases “Smithers 2014 Homelessness Council Findings Report”
The “Smithers 2014 Homelessness Council Findings Report” report represents the findings of a mixed-methods research project commissioned by the Smithers Action Group Association (SAGA) to identify the number of homeless individuals in Smithers, the issues facing them and their service housing needs. An additional component of this report is a small survey conducted with individuals potentially facing housing affordability issues or at risk of homelessness who were accessing meal programs in Smithers. The Smithers Homeless Count was conducted on November 28, 2014. The Count provides an estimate of the Smithers homeless population on one day – November 28, 2014. It also provides results of key informant interviews, and the results of a survey of two meal programs hosted on November 28 and 29th, 2014.
Now available, Smithers' Community Profile, for access to a wealth of information on the community's labour market, employers, land availability, taxation, and infrastructure. Click here to view the 2012 Smithers Community Profile.