VOH wants more tourists

The Village of Hazelton council met to discuss how to draw more tourists, new by-laws, solar power options and donations to local projects.

The Village of Hazelton council met on April 16 to discuss how to draw more tourists to the village, two new by-laws, solar power options for the town and donations to local projects.

The meeting kicked-off with a presentation by local business owner and artist, Leah Pipe, about how the town can increase its draw to tourists through design.

Pipe suggested re-branding of Old Hazelton with such things as new signs leading people around town.

“I realized even people who come here  often get lost down here,” Pipe informed Mayor and council.

“One of my friends asked me which direction to go at our first intersection when we were going to grab a coffee.”

Pipe elaborated on how difficult it must be for foreign tourists to navigate around Hazelton.

New signage with ravens as the icon is what Pipe suggests for brochures and signage leading into town.

Council agreed to consider the rebranding.

Council conducted first, second and third readings to adopt two bylaws.

Bylaw 455, 2013 approved a five-year financial plan for the village and bylaw 456, 2013 set tax rates for the current fiscal year.

Copies of the financial plan and tax rates are available at the Village of Hazelton office.

Hazelton residents are invited to the May 7 council meeting (8 p.m.) if they have any questions regarding the new bylaws.

Representatives from the Northern Solar Research and Demonstration Project have also met with council to inquire of any solar energy possibilities in the area and Mayor Maitland reflected on a letter she wrote to her councillors on the subject.

The mayor had one specific NSRDP suggestion in mind.

“I like the idea of using solar power for the lights on the bridge,” Maitland said.

The lights that would be used would be LED technology and interim administrator Tanalee Hesse voiced her support for the idea.

“There’s LED lights where I live and they’re amazing,” Hesse said.

Bud Smith interjected with a concern.

“How they are set up is important,” Smith said.

“We don’t want them vandalized.

“We gotta make sure they’re placed high enough.”

Two requests for donations-in-kind were also discussed.

The first, from Dr. Jane Smith, John Field Elementary teacher, to help fund a residential school memorial, which would be located in the JFE foyer.

“Children need to learn about the history and devastation of Indian Residential schools on the culture of the Gitxsan,” Dr. Smith wrote.

Some councillors voiced their opinion.

“I think it’s a good idea,” Wendy Blackstock said.

Councillor Smith had his reservations.

“It feels a little funny to have something like that in an elementary school.”

Council decided to donate a picture of the town that could be auctioned off in support of the memorial.

Next, Melanie Smoke requested support for a musical benefit concert ‘Rock the North’, to raise money for research into a cure for pancreatic cancer.

Smoke wants the event to become an annual event, but needs help because the event is less than a month away.

Council decided to donate a picture to be auctioned as well.

Mayor Maitland, Councillor Smith and are set to attend the North Central Local Government Association AGM and convention in Quesnel from May 1 to 3.

“One of the things I want to talk to them about is doing what it takes to upgrade the trauma centre in Prince George,” Maitland said.

“Right now it’s a Class three, which is the bottom of the barrel.

“And of course we want to discuss our ice arena.”

“We’ll only be able to get money for our arena for wellness-based activities,” Smith said.