The one word Fort St. John’s Mayor uses to sum up 2010 is ‘positive’.
Bruce Lantz says despite some ups and downs for the City – mostly in regards to some extreme weather events – the past year went fairly well.
Lantz even picks a potentially controversial best moment, saying he feels the City really showed its strengths during the July 29 thunderstorm that caused flash flooding and damage to numerous homes and businesses. He says the flooding showed just how residents can band together to help out in a time of need.
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Lantz says he acknowledges there are certain issues that came up this past year that some residents may not be happy about, including how the City handled charging residents of the airport subdivision for their water usage. He says the rural water charges are still proceeding and the City will be working with those residents to address their concerns. However, he adds that water is becoming a chief concern for the future.
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Nonetheless, one of the greatest problems Lantz says the City has encountered is a lack of funding and the downloading of services from more senior levels of government. He says the City already has an infrastructure deficit of approximately $15 million, which does not even take into account increasing deficits if the population of Fort St. John continues to grow.
Although Lantz says he appreciates the Fair Share program and the benefits it brings to the residents of northeast B.C., he adds that the program is only in place through a Memorandum of Understanding and could be terminated easily. He says he wants to work on seeing the program protected through provincial legislation.
Other items Lantz says the City plans to continue with in the coming year are its city-wide environmental initiatives, as well as expanding Fort St. John’s position as the service centre for the oil patch and making it a family friendly place to live.
Lantz added that one final accomplishment of the City’s was the official grand opening of the Pomeroy Sport Centre. After more than four years from when the project was approved, the $40 million building officially opened in October.
As a final note, with 2011 being a municipal election year in British Columbia, Lantz says he probably won’t make the decision whether to seek re-election until August.