The District of Vanderhoof is looking back on an interesting and occasionally challenging 2015.
Mayor Gerry Thiessen says he is proud of way residents pulled together. “There was a lot more community participation in things and we saw that with new events in the community like our ‘Movie in the Park’ nights that we held in the fall.”
He says he is hoping to maintain that spirit. “This coming year on January 22nd, is the 90th birthday for the town of Vanderhoof. So we expect to be using our stage and projector system more and more as we go through that.”
That civic pride was front and centre when dozens of volunteers banded together to help protect Riverside Park and private residents threatened by the rising Nechako River.
Thiessen says the flooding was un-disputably the biggest challenge of the year. “When you see people lose hope and go through a period like that. I think we had 40 days of flooding… that really brings a lot of anxiety and frustration.”
The Mayor says the District will continue to work with the BC Government and Rio Tinto in an attempt to get a water management plan in place, which would give Vanderhoof some say on how the Nechako is managed.
Looking at the District’s largest industry; forestry, Thiessen says he is looking forwards to hearing from the Minister on the town’s application for a community forest “within a few weeks”.
He says this springs Little Bobtail Lake Fire, which burned west of Vanderhoof, consumed tens of thousands of hectares of timber supply
“It’s kind of one of those silent killers on the community; you don’t see sawmills close immediately but if we don’t find a way to curb that type of fire happening earlier and earlier each year that will eventually take away from the fibre supply.”
Lastly, Thiessen pointed to larges strides made by the Vanderhoof Aquatic Society as something that excites him heading into 2016, The group has already raised $350k.