Two Quesnel RCMP members stand sentry at the Quesnel Cenotaph Wednesday, Nov. 11. Due to COVID-19 and restrictions on public gatherings, there was no public ceremony or parade this year, but some residents did still go pay their respects at the Cenotaph. Legion executive members laid wreaths at the Cenotaph earlier in the morning and then held a small, closed service inside the Legion. (Karen Powell Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)

Two Quesnel RCMP members stand sentry at the Quesnel Cenotaph Wednesday, Nov. 11. Due to COVID-19 and restrictions on public gatherings, there was no public ceremony or parade this year, but some residents did still go pay their respects at the Cenotaph. Legion executive members laid wreaths at the Cenotaph earlier in the morning and then held a small, closed service inside the Legion. (Karen Powell Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)

Year in Review: November

The Observer looks back at November 2020

• The City of Quesnel received a big boost to its riverfront plans on Thursday, Nov. 5.

The City’s grant application for more than $850,000 was approved by Northern Development Initiative Trust.

The grant is for three components of the City’s riverfront plan: renewal of the Fraser River Footbridge landing, Indigenous interpretive elements along the riverfront, and improved lighting between the footbridge and G.R. Baker Memorial Hospital.

This grant — $855, 559 in total — is the largest single investment Northern Development has made through its Strategic Initiatives Fund program.

• After the final votes in the 2020 B.C. provincial election were counted, B.C. Liberal incumbent Coralee Oakes officially retained her seat as Cariboo North MLA.

Going into the final count, incumbent B.C. Liberal Coralee Oakes had a 1,531-vote lead in the Cariboo North riding. Oakes actually expanded her vote lead after all the ballots were counted, narrowly beating Elliott by 27 votes in the absentee and mail-in ballot count to earn a third term as MLA.

Oakes was sworn in on Nov. 27, and she was named the opposition critic for advanced education, skills, training and sport.

READ MORE: Coralee Oakes retains seat in Cariboo North after final count completed

• The City of Quesnel took the next steps to move the process for a new Quesnel-area community forest along.

At its Nov. 3 meeting, council authorized the City of Quesnel to enter into a Participation Agreement for the Community Forest Agreement.

• The Quesnel chapter of Special Olympics was the only one to compete in two programs and the only one to run two separate track programs during the summer, according to Rick Prosk, program co-ordinator and head coach for track and field at the club.

Quesnel track athletes made up nearly half of all provincial participants at a virtual track meet that capped off the season. They also ran a golf program. The club’s athletes were honoured at a virtual wrap up for what Prosk called a “summer-fall” season by Special Olympics B.C.

• Chiefs of the Southern Dakelh Nation Alliance, which includes Lhoosk’uz Dené (Kluskus), Lhtako Dené (Red Bluff), Nazko and Ulkatcho (Anahim), want RCMP to work with their communities to end what they call a cycle of injustice, humiliation and discrimination faced by their members. The call is also being supported by ?Esdilagh First Nation (Alexandria).

It comes after RCMP said they were investigating the actions of a security guard who detained a woman, who is from the Ulkatcho First Nation, as well as multiple thefts and fraudulent purchases that led up to the Oct. 29 incident.

In the wake of the incident, the Quesnel Women’s Resource Centre (QWRC) called on the West Park Mall to review and improve its security practices. The QWRC is calling for the mall to ensure security guards have diversity, inclusion and anti-racism training.

Later in the month, the City of Quesnel addressed the issue as well.

At its Nov. 17 meeting, council unanimously approved a motion to consider signing onto the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Persons and the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission; develop and adopt an anti-racism strategy for the City of Quesnel; and conduct anti-racism sensitivity training and improve the knowledge of staff and council regarding local Indigenous culture and history.

READ MORE: First Nation Chiefs demand an end to racism in Quesnel

• The Quesnel Rodeo Club was given the go-ahead to name the outdoor arena at Alex Fraser Park in honour of Gus Cameron. Cameron died Aug. 29, 2020.

Cameron and his wife Nita were instrumental in bringing and sustaining rodeo to the area. The couple has been involved in the local event since the 1960s, even helping to move the event from Bouchie Lake to Quesnel.

• Updated public health orders came into effect on Nov. 20, mandating masks be worn indoors.

The health orders also ban spectators at sporting events, and teams are not allowed to travel to play games.

• The City of Quesnel found out it was receiving $2.5 million in provincial funding through the COVID-19 Safe Restart Grant for Local Governments, and council approved using about $1.3 million of that funding to replace lost revenue and offset a potential tax increase next year.

At its Nov. 17 meeting, council approved spending up to $905,000 of this grant money to replace lost casino funds in 2020-21, to be used for general capital projects. If the Billy Barker Casino re-opens, the city would not need that full amount, noted Kari Bolton, the city’s director of corporate and financial services.

Council also approved using up to $30,000 to cover the anticipated airport deficit in 2020 and $82,000 to cover the airport capital allocations that would have been made in 2020 if revenue was sufficient.

Council approved spending up to $200,000 to cover the anticipated general operating deficit in 2020 and approved spending $80,000 to upgrade the technology in the council chambers to enable video conferencing. During the meeting, council also approved up to $200,000 to be used from the grant to offset the reduced revenue in the North Cariboo Recreation and Services budget and prevent service reductions and layoffs.

• Seven homes were put on evacuation alert by the Cariboo Regional District (CRD) after a portion of Kersley Dale Landing Road south of Quesnel was closed by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI). The road was closed after landslides caused slopes along the road to become unstable.

• Tony Goulet was elected chair of the Quesnel School District’s board of education for the 2020-21 term. Gloria Jackson will serve as vice-chair.

• The Quesnel Kangaroos learned they will remain defending Central Interior Hockey League champions for another year after executives from around the league met and decided to cancel the 2020-21 season.

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