We've compiled a few of the questions that we hear regularly below. You don't see your question here? Reach out to us at JustAsk@NorthernRockies.ca and we'll find the answer!

What is the Northern Rockies Regional Hospital District (NRRHD)?

Regional Hospital Districts1

Regional Hospital Districts (RHDs) were created under the 1967 Hospital District Act at the same time and with the same boundaries as regional districts. The boundaries of the Northern Rockies Regional Hospital District (NRRHD)are the same as the boundaries of the NRRM.The NRRHD contributes a local share of capital funding for hospital planning and construction and generates a reserve fund for future capital projects.

Funds are raised through local property taxation to service debt, to generate reserve funds for future capital projects, or to fund capital projects. Regional Health Authorities are mandated by the Province to operate hospitals and because they are embedded in hospital operations, much of the responsibility for capital planning falls on them even though both the Regional Health Authority and the NRRHD co-fund hospital capital improvements. The Regional Hospital District acts as an agent for the receiving and disbursing of money paid to or for the hospital.

Northern Health

Northern Health is the regional health authority responsible for operations and planning for capital improvements for the Fort Nelson General Hospital and the Fort Nelson Health Unit and approximately 75 other facilities in Northern BC, with the NRRHD providing up to 40 percent of the capital cost of a project. Other capital funding comes from the health ministry, own-source funding from Northern Health and from the Fort Nelson Hospital and Healthcare Foundation.

NRRM Hospital District Board

The board of the Northern Rockies Regional Hospital District consists of the members of the Council of the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality.2

Provisional and Annual Budget

The board must prepare and adopt, before a prescribed date in each year, a provisional budget for the following year. On or before March 31 in each year, the board must adopt, by bylaw, the final annual budget and the board must thereafter transmit the budget to Northern Health. The tax levy (amount to be requisitioned) is included on the annual tax bill issued by the Regional Municipality.

 

1 Bish, R.; Clemens, E., Local Government in British Columbia, 4th Edition, 2008, Union of BC Municipalities, Richmond, BC

2 Hospital District Act, Section 17.1 Northern Rockies Regional Hospital District

 What is an in camera meeting?

You may have heard the term “in camera” or "closed" meeting referenced in conversations about Regional Council discussions or municipal documents. This FAQ aims to provide more information about what in camera meetings are, why they are used, and the legality of their use.

As a general rule,discussions and decisions of Regional Council must be open and available to the public, and recorded in the official minutes of their meetings (which are also publicly available). For example, there are rules specifying that Council’s cannot vote on the reading or adoption of a bylaw when the meeting is closed to the public.Council’s Procedure Bylaw also contains ‘rules’ about how NRRM Council meetings are structured and conducted.

However, there are circumstances where this general rule can/must be bypassed where the public is excluded from meetings to ensure functional governance. These closed meetings are called in camera meetings. The ability for Council to hold these closed meetings is established by provincial legislation, specifically the Community Charter.

When and why in camera meetings are held

Regional Council cannot close a meeting to the public whenever they want to. Section 90 of the Community Charter sets out explicit instances where meetings may or must be closed. Common reasons for going in camera include:

  • protecting privacy on personnel matters,
  • receiving and discussing legal advice,
  • discussions involving confidential negotiations with senior governments, and
  • consideration of information that, if made public, may harm private business or industry’s interests.

When in doubt, Council refers to the Corporate Officer as to whether or not a matter may be discussed in camera.

Legal requirements and public information

All in camera meetings are authorized by Council by a resolution in a public meeting that clearly closes the meeting and references the relevant section of the Community Charter authorizing the closure. Even if a special in camera meeting is scheduled,a short public meeting will be held prior to ensure that this resolution can be made and recorded in the minutes. Notice for meetings, including the meeting agendas, are posted online and in the Municipal Offices front entrance. You can even subscribe to be notified by email when agendas and minutes are posted at the Northern Rockies Public Information Portal.The confidentiality of in camera information is very important, and it is a serious offence to break this confidentiality. The process of making in camera information public requires a special resolution of Council called rise and report. Individual Council members, without a resolution to rise and report, are not legally able to share in camera information.

Often after discussing a matter in camera, Regional Council will rise and report their decision or even their entire discussion to the public meeting. This information is then included in the public meeting minutes. For more information about in camera meetings, the below resources provide some good additional details:

Is there a system for snow clearing?

Did you know that one slip and fall claim could potentially cost the equivalent of the entire annual snow clearing budget? Our winter roads and sidewalk maintenance policy outlines Public Works maintenance for our streets, roads and sidewalks during the winter. All vehicular and pedestrian traffic areas in town are broken down into one of three priorities: 

Priority 1

First priority areas include the very busy areas where children, people in need of emergency assistance and heavy flows of people/traffic will be. This includes schools, emergency access areas, the hospital and downtown areas.

Priority 2

Second priority areas include busier residential areas in town that typically feed into the Priority 1 areas.

Priority 3

Third priority areas include residential areas that are not as busy, and are typically removed from high traffic/need areas.

Once Priority 1 areas are free of snow, Priority 2 areas can be cleared, followed by Priority 3. In the event it starts snowing heavily before Priority 2 or Priority 3 are cleared of snow, resources commence targeting our Priority 1 areas without completing lower priorities. If it does not snow for a while, Public Works will finish clearing snow from all priority areas, and start again with Priority 1 areas, by cleaning up any loose snow, applying sand in slippery sections and widening sidewalks and roads where applicable.

Some winters are more challenging than others when we experience heavy snowfalls or sudden warming/melting trends followed by cold temperatures. This can cause additional hazards in high traffic areas or on sloped landscaped areas, especially when a large amount of snow falls in a short period of time. Our crews then focus on clearing roads and sidewalks. After heavy snowfalls cease, we divert our attention to removing accumulations of high snow banks using a loader and hauling the snow away. Where possible, and while waiting for the dump truck to return from dumping the snow, the loader operator will push snow accumulations further back from roads and sidewalks to alleviate liability from additional ice build-up on sidewalks and roads when spring is upon us. Mild temperatures create a perfect storm of icy and slippery areas on both roads and sidewalks and we want to mitigate hazardous situations for our citizens.

In addition to our own daily infrastructure inspections out and about in the community, we appreciate your feedback on our road and sidewalk conditions. If you notice a particularly icy section of road or sidewalk or a hazardous situation please don’t hesitate to call our office at 250.774.2541 or email us at JustAsk@NorthernRockies.ca.

Street Plowing Priority MapSidewalk Plowing Priority Map

 What items are safe to flush?

What Should Be Flushed?

Just toilet paper and human waste.

Toilet paper is designed to decompose and quickly breaks down in water. Just because an item can be flushed down a toilet does not mean it should be flushed. If you didn’t digest it, don’t flush it!

Many people take it for granted that they can flush anything down the toilet.This is not the case –a toilet is not a garbage can! Very few items should be flushed down the toilet. Many items marketed as disposable and/or flushable do not degrade like toilet paper, and they wind up clogging pipes, tangling pumps and causing messy sewer backups into streets, businesses and homes. Our sanitary sewer system is designed to collect and treat wastewater from residential and commercial properties. Wastewater that comes from flushing the toilet should only contain human waste and toilet paper. Other items may say they are flushable but in reality they do not decompose in the sanitary sewer system, may plug piping and cost more money to process at the wastewater treatment plant.

What Not To Flush

Items you should not flush down the toilet include:

  • Wipes (all types)
  • Diapers–cloth, disposable, “flushable”
  • Facial tissues and wipes
  • Dental floss
  • Cotton swabs
  • Toilet bowl scrub pads, Swiffers
  • Plastic of any kindNapkins –paper or cloth, paper towels
  • Eggshells, nutshells and coffee grounds
  • Tampons/Sanitary Napkins/Condoms
  • Cigarette butts
  • Old medicines
  • Food grease/fats and oils

“Flushable” Wipes

Dispose of "wet wipe" products in the garbage, not down the toilet.While packaging on some "flushable wipes" says the product will disintegrate like toilet paper, that generally is not accurate and these items can cause messy sewage backups into your home or neighbours' homes, local businesses or the street. They are also impacting the ability of the municipality’s sewage lagoons to properly treat wastewater by clogging municipal sewage lift stations. In an effort to reduce costly expenses for residents, businesses and the municipal water & sewer utility, the wipes should be disposed of in the garbage.

What About The Sink/Tub?

It is equally important to pay attention to what you are disposing of in your kitchen/bathroom sink and tub.Even a dishwasher or washing machine can be a source of costly sewer back-ups. Follow the manufacturer’s directions and do not exceed the recommended amount of soap. Fats, oils and grease are a major source of problems in sewer lines. Never pour grease or fat down your drain; no matter how hot it is when you pour it in, it quickly cools and solidifies, creating a mess that could cost you money. Wipe the oil/fat/grease from cooking pots, plates and utensils with a paper towel (that goes into the garbage) before washing. Other items that should not be poured down the drain include:

  • Chemicals (solvents, petroleum, etc.)
  • Food scraps
  • Hair
  • Dirt (don’t rinse your flower pots in the bathtub or laundry tub)
  • Left-over paint

Prescriptions/Expired Medication

The active ingredients in prescription and over the counter medications may pose a threat to ecosystems when discharged into the environment after wastewater treatment.These items should not be flushed down the toilet. Most pharmacies will accept these expired products and properly dispose of them for you.

The “Flushability”Test

Take two bowls of water. Place toilet paper in one, and place the item in question in the other. Swish both items in the water.Wait an hour, then swish again.The toilet paper should have significantly disintegrated by then, while the other item (for example, facial tissue, wipes, napkins, etc.) will likely remain intact. Unless the item disintegrates at the rate of toilet paper, it should be placed in the garbage and not down the toilet. Otherwise, you risk a blockage in your own pipes as well as clogging a pump station and causing a sewage backup for other homes and businesses.

Why do some municipal staff have uniforms?

Municipalities provide their employees with appropriate municipal identification vests, shirts or uniforms where distinct identification will support the effective performance of employees’ duties. Additionally, there are health and safety reasons for identifying staff. The Employment Standards Act indicates that if an employer requires staff to wear identification uniforms, then they must fund those.

Public sector employees, working in large facilities or for example;police officers, enforcement officers,and fire rescue workers are employed in positions requiring public accountability, confidence and trust. These employees undergo employment screening and criminal record verification prior to commencing their duties.

Municipal employees are responsible for the protection and maintenance of municipal buildings and the health and safety of citizens in those facilities. Employee identification provides peace of mind for everyone enjoying municipal facilities, programs and services. Our trained staff ensures your family’s wellness and safety while you are using community facilities.

We want you to know who the NRRM employees are so you can approach them with any concerns you might have. You and your family members should know who to look to for leadership and direction during a medical emergency, when an alarm is sounding, when a clean-up is required, during an evacuation or when a child is hurt or being bullied.

We are proud of our employees and they are proud to serve the community. They have your families’ best interests at heart and they have your back!