This page will contain messages from the chair as well as any other communications or reports related to the current interests of the CCA. Minutes and other reference material will be on the "information" page.

Spring 2015

The future is looking good. I just got confirmation from the Stout family that they are going to donate both pieces of property along the KVR to the Coalmont Community. A four block long section. This level of community spirit and generosity is rarely seen and it becomes us to be grateful for such a gift. The family wishes the land to be preserved, and not used for development as would otherwise be inevitable. Because of this, we will always have a nice green space along that side of town and so will our grandchildren.

Still pending is our original request for crown land tenure at the corner of Campbell and Main. It will likely not be easy going with the Provincial Government and of course, everyone here has different ideas. We can still forge ahead, and we'll just see what happens and how Coalmontans want it to go. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Regarding that piece of property however, one thing is clear: it is our only open space big enough for helicopter use. If the crown were ever to sell it to anyone, we would lose our ability to have an air ambulance land here. That is probably the most compelling reason why we should secure that property.

~ Ole Juul

2015 - Moving on

Our Annual General Meeting brought us a couple of surprises. One is that Kate Withers came on at the last minute to volunteer as Secretary, thus relieving Penny Goodfellow who had been wanting to only do the Treasurer's job. The other unexpected turn was a puzzling exchange with our new Area 'H' representative, Bob Coyne.

Times change, and we need to forge a new relationship with a new Director. Bob is still getting up to speed on what the communities have been doing, and the Regional District Board participation is a more demanding job to learn than it was some years ago. He is still gathering information on the Community Forest. Coalmont's history with the previous director is also new to him. I mention these last two specifically because that is where people at this meeting were surprised.

It seems like our perspective on eligibility for Forest Corp. money is no longer what we had expected. However, I would caution people to not jump to conclusions regarding the longer term outcome. Bob Coyne promises meetings with the communities regarding this after he has met with the Forest Corporation. Coalmont residents have also had some assumptions about other actionable Regional District agreements and it became clear at this meeting that we still have a very long way to go, and that we have a lot of work to do. We'll just have to accept that times change - and that it's time to move on.

~ Ole Juul

Changing of the Guard

It is election time and we need to vote for an Area 'H' representative. As our current director, Brad Hope, will not run again, there will indeed be a change. The next Community Association meeting will be our last chance to meet with Brad and tie up loose ends.

Each area (A to H) in the regional district, as well as each municipality, gets one representative to represent them. It is important that we each chose well as this will be our only voice at the regional level. I urge you all to give this some thought and to turn up and vote on the 15th of November.

After the election we will be dealing with one of the three who have been nominated. They are: Charles Weber, Jamie Frandsen, and Bob Coyne. You will be able to learn more about these people at the All Candidates meeting in Princeton as well as the meeting being organized by the Coalmont Hotel here in town. The dates for these are to be announced, but it will be in about two weeks. I recommend you come and listen to what each candidate has to say.

~ Ole Juul

The January Meeting

Although we had a quorum, our January meeting was less well attended than some previous ones, but it still never ceases to amaze me how attendees vary. A lot of people have now been at CCA meetings and there is good support for having an all inclusive community.

The need to be informed and united became particularly clear at this meeting. The approach of years past has been to ignore regional influences. That has resulted in an uncontested inequity in taxes. We have been paying far more than we should have, and it is because no one paid attention or stood up. Some of the damage cannot be undone. I'm not blaming Coalmontians, other communities have had the same problem. We can do better.

In addition to being a vehicle for working together, the Community Association is set up for the purpose of making sure that the wool doesn't get pulled over our eyes again. It is a way for all of us to interface with the government - find out what is coming down, and tell them what we want. It is up to us to form the kind of community that can make itself heard. This is a responsibility we have to each other.

~ Ole Juul

January 2014

We have generally had a good turnout for our meetings. It is also nice to see that we are not a stagnant group. Not only are there some regulars, but quite a large percentage of our residents have shown up at one time or another.

Of course not every meeting is the same. At the last one there was little accomplished or discussed. Our regional representative was unable to attend the meeting and a number of regulars were absent as well. That's how it goes. The important thing is that people got together.

I would like to address the question of decorum. It is important that everyone gets recognized as a person and a part of this community, regardless of their behaviour or ability to contribute. However, there is more to consider. A hallmark of our meetings has been a sense of community and concern for other people. This starts to break down when there is raising of voices and personal attacks. I believe that we can do much better. In fact we must.

At the next meeting we will be discussing the Tulameen Recreation Tax. This is something that Coalmontians agreed to pay before the CCA was set up, however, it is possible that we can get it removed. It does look like we will be paying more to the Fire Department, though I suspect that most people will be in favour of that. Brad Hope will be giving us an update on the Tidy Premises Bylaw and answering your questions. Being only a small part of Area-H, it is unlikely that we can avoid this Bylaw. There will also be smaller things on the agenda, such as the apparent theft of the Smart Road and other signs.

As usual, if anyone has something which they feel the community should discuss or be aware of, please let me know or bring it up at the next meeting. I know it's going to be a good one. Because we're going to make it so.

~ Ole Juul

AGM 2013

Thank you all who participated at the last meeting and gave your votes of confidence. It was also nice to see some new faces. What is particularly encouraging is the sense of community and trust which is developing. We're a team!

This was our first election. In order to make it legitimate we needed someone who was not a current officer, nor running for a position, to conduct the proceedings. Ed Staples volunteered, and was most skilled at doing it in an efficient manner. Thank you Ed.

This last meeting was held at John and Cindy Moss' house. Not only is it very kind of them to open their home to the community, but the iced tea along with cheese and crackers was a particularly nice touch.

Thanks also to Ann Jones for offering to do the minutes. The group decided to split the position of secretary-treasurer into two jobs. It's just easier to get both done that way. Nobody seemed to have any worries about "executive powers" - there aren't any. Meaningful issues are decided at the public meeting level.

Brad Hope tells us that it looks like we will be able to get the two lots for our future community facility, and that it will probably take less than a year to go through the process. We all voted to accept a "Nominal Rent Tenure" arrangement with the RDOS taking responsibility for the property. Money from the forestry fund will be available to us so that we can build something. Nevertheless, it may be necessary for the community to do some fund raising and find additional monies so that we can show that we are doing our part as well.

Area 'H' now has a heritage registry. The first, and so far only thing on it is Granite Creek. Most people have an interest in preserving this important piece of our history, but it was felt that the Community Association could not take on such an intensive project. We will however support those who will. To that end, I will try to bring together some interested parties and encourage them to form a group for the preservation of Granite.

The illegal dump at the end of Main Street has still not been dealt with. It continues to grow, and RDOS does not have the resources to clean it up at this time. However, we can do it ourselves and there appears to be a strong interest from some people to get involved. Jody Woodford (our Tulameen Fire Chief) said she would ask the fire department volunteers to help out by coming to do a burn. This is something that they could possibly do, but it is important for us to remember that these people would be doing it on their own time, and that such a large fire in that area carries some serious risk. They would be doing us a very big favour. In any case, before a burn could happen the community would have to get together to pull out toxic and unburnable items. Likely an excavator or loader would be needed to prepare the pile. If it all works out well, we can do this in the fall around the time of our next meeting and, with luck, the "free dump day" will be available. You will hear from me about this when it comes closer to the time.

Thank you all,

~ Ole Juul

Summer 2013

We started the Coalmont Community Association in 2011 and it has been a great success. Thank you all for making it so.

Mostly our accomplishments have been small and non-intrusive. That seems to be the way most people like it. Things like signs for the KVR, and keeping up on issues that affect us, particularly with regard to the regional district, are both unifying and helpful to the community. In fact, probably the most useful aspect of the CCA is bringing our people together.

There is one large item on our agenda however, and that is to get a community meeting place in our town. We have asked the RDOS for land and the process is well under way. Brad Hope will be at the next meeting to give us an update on where we stand with that.

Our next meeting will be our Annual General Meeting where we can vote on who we want for our executive. Currently we have me as Chairman, Ernie Rice as vice-chairman, and Penny Goodfellow as secretary-treasure. Penny informs us that she doesn't mind continuing as treasurer, but would not like to stand for secretary again. This means that we will need to split the job of secretary and treasurer and thus create a new position, or simply nominate a new secretary-treasurer. This we will discuss at the meeting, and then I will turn over the chair to someone who is not running for office so that we can conduct our election in a proper fashion.

~ Ole Juul

2012 in review

This has been a good year, and the Coalmont Community Association has served it's purpose well. Considering the motley crew that we are, it is a major accomplishment that we actually can work so well together.

Perhaps the high point was the Coalmont Hotel centennial party which brought people from far and wide, but especially our own people, together. The other major activity was the ramping up of the coal mine development and the influx of workers associated with that. Locals got work, and the Hotel stayed busy. The coming year will no doubt see more jobs and more coal mining activity.

In case anybody has been away and missed the details of the coal mine development, I should mention that so far it has been mostly the work of Arthon and their road building crews. They have built a new road from the mine to the Coquihalla so we will not be seeing the trucks coming through town like we did with Compliance. The actual coal mining company is, however, Coalmont Energy Corp. which is a subsidiary of Arthon. They have been very supportive of our community, and locals are encouraged to apply for work as the mine ramps up production in the new year.

~ Ole Juul

July 2012

Perhaps the most important thing to happen was the decision to not become a Society - at least at this time. The main reason for this was in order for us to be able to represent the community better. As a society, we would only represent the registered members, and it would be a requirement to keep a formal list with detailed information about that member. By necessity this would be somewhat exclusive, and everyone wanted to include all Coalmontians. We would not be able to become a charitable organization in any case.

Although it was not read in detail at the meeting, the relevant part of the Societies's Act states:

Register of members
(1) A society must keep a register of its members.
(2) A society must enter in the register the names of the
    applicants for incorporation and the name of every other
    person admitted as a member of the society, together
    with the following particulars of each member:
  (a) the full name and resident address;
  (b) the date on which the person is admitted as a member;
  (c) the date on which the person ceases to be a member;
  (d) the class of membership, if provision is made for classes.
(3) A society that fails to comply with this section commits an offence.

You can see that the grand vision of inclusive community membership that we envisioned in our founding statements (see: " about the cca") cannot be realized as a registered society. We are still an association and a society, just not one that is registered in Victoria. What we are is a most egalitarian, democratic, and inclusive community. This is something we can be proud of.

~ Ole Juul

April 2012

The April meeting of the CCA was another great success. We're on a roll and the community is coming together.

The main discussion of this meeting was centered around the currently topical KVR trail usage. It seems that many locals are effected - one way or the other. The main issue seems to be the use of motorized vehicles, mostly quads. Although not unanimous, it is clear that many in this community use quads on the trail for both recreational and non-recreational use, and would like to continue doing so.

Everyone is effected by disrespectful users, noise, and dust. In fact it is important to note that not only the few people who would like to see all motorized use (besides cars and trucks) disappear from the area are complaining about this. Also the regular users, and even the ATVBC and clubs, are concerned about this. Since motorized vehicle use is the backbone of tourism in this particular area there is also a confusion of interests there.

In Osprey Lake they have attempted to tackle this issue head on by both welcoming quads and discussing the problems and how people can help solve them. Nevertheless, the people who came to our meeting were overwhelmingly in favour of dealing with the issues and requesting that the KVR remain multi use. In light of all this, it was also decided to discuss solutions for our area at the next meeting.

I personally think that it is important to note that although there is historical precedent, we should all be interested in moving forward. We have to. As we come to conclusions about how we can do this, it is also good to keep in mind that no community statement can represent everyone, nor should a minority be ignored. The majority is not always right any more than the minority is always wrong. Only insight and understanding can help us sort that out.

Other meeting topics were much less controversial. A motion to encourage RDOS to apply the name Smart Road to Smart Road was passed. That may seem obvious, but the official address of the Smart residence is Coalmont Road. This could, and has, caused ambulance drivers to end up on the wrong side of the river. That is why we request that the real name be applied officially. It is also fitting that Walt Smart and his wife, who are so important in the history of this area, be honoured in this way.

It was also decided to ask the district to remove the ever growing mound of garbage at the end of Main street. No doubt Nicole, the owner of the house over there, would be glad for a change of view out her front window. This being the 100th anniversary of the Coalmont Hotel we also decided to have a party in July to honour that milestone. The only other thing that arose out of the meeting was the appointment of Chris Goodfellow as our representative on the Similkameen Watershed Committee. He will report back to us on this important subject at the next meeting.

~ Ole Juul

January 2012

Our second meeting was a great success! It was wonderful to see so many Coalmontians in agreement. In fact we all agreed on the same name and can now call ourselves the Coalmont Community Association. Long live the CCA!

For those that weren't there, you can read the attached minutes of the meeting, or peruse the new "about" page on the website which now reflects the agreed upon situation. Moving forward, it was agreed to become a Society, and I promised to bring the information on how we do that to the next meeting. It should be pretty simple and will certainly raise us to the next level.

We were supposed to have our bank account set up, but it appears that neither the Credit Union nor CIBC will allow us to do that without being a registered society. The CIBC also requires a payment of $4.95 per month, or about $60 per year. We will need to discuss this at the next meeting.

The regional district is giving us $250 to start off with, and what we do with that can be discussed. The types of expenses that we can expect will be small things like coffee, printing, mailing - whatever the group decides. I think that many things will just be donated, but it would be legitimate to save some for a community barbecue. The first thing, however, is to pay for the registration of the Society.

One of the subjects which came up at the meeting was our tax contributions towards Princeton facilities. This is something which the RDOS is looking into and I think we can expect surprises. With some people reporting extraordinary and seemingly discretionary charges at the dump, it's looking like we might have something to complain about. In fact, if the CCA gets together with other community associations in Area 'H', then we actually have some ability to sway decisions.

The next meeting will be 7 pm Tuesday April 17 at the Coalmont Hotel but we will be sending out a confirmation e-mail some time before that. For those without internet who would like paper notices, the Sternes have donated a metal mail box which is located by the town bulletin board. So far, Diane has been kind enough to print out some pages from the web site, but perhaps we can firm up the format for future newsletters. In addition, any updates will be posted on this web site which now reflects our new name.

~ Ole Juul

PS: Thanks to Michelle at the Coalmont Hotel for hosting our meeting there.

November 2011

Message from the Chair

At the next meeting we will be deciding on a number of things. The first will be a name. I have used Coalmont Ratepayers Association on this web site because I feel it is a good one, but please know that I can easily change it here if there is disagreement. I believe that CRA is a good name because it has a serious tone and one of the main intents of a community organization is to be taken seriously. Property ownership is both a serious and uniting issue, but as you can see I have also taken great pains to have the statement on membership include all Coalmontians. We can continue this discussion at the next meeting.

Other issues are the Mission Statement and Constitution. I have researched this thoroughly and have come up with the suggestions which you see on this site. My feeling is that we need both, and that both need to be simple and broad. We can spend a long time discussing details which will not actually help us move forward at this time. I think we need simplicity and flexibility in order to stay together and be effective without creating friction within the community. To my mind what I have put together here serves that purpose, but again, it needs to have the blessing of the whole group. It is important that we have aggreement and that it comes from all of us. Only then can we succeed.

Regarding this web site. I have put the mission statement on the front page because it is the "news" which I wish to present right now. In the future I will restructure the site and keep the most pressing news on the front page. I will also make sure we have important documents, such as RDOS property tax Bylaws, readily available.

There are other issues to discuss at the next meeting, but in the meanwhile I hope that what I have done here is something that people want. If not, I'm ready to hear about it and will make the appropriate changes.

~ Ole Juul

We Can Do It!

I believe that the best way to ensure that both the present and future of Coalmont is agreeable to everyone is for us all to know what is going on and what is coming down. In other words, communication is the key. If we focus on sharing what we know about new laws, taxes, and area developments, then we can avoid having the wool pulled over our eyes.

Since I've come to Coalmont, there is one thing that stands out the most in terms of the wishes of people here. Almost everyone wants exactly nothing to happen! The consensus seems to be that the more it stays the same, the better it is. Well, if that is what we want, then we have to be in the know about what is going on, or the world will walk over us.

If we do want something done, then we have to keep our eyes peeled for an opportunity. Even if we wish to avoid change we will still have to watch out for changes that can creep up on us. To me the recent Aquatic Centre Referendum is an excellent example of our area getting what we wanted (as proven by the votes) by simply having everyone educated on what the issues were. There's a real safety in keeping awake.

All this is a very good reason to have a community association. I believe that if we focus on the communication and stay away from contentious community projects, then we can succeed. Perhaps if we can build a larger and stronger organization then we can build a full community consensus on some things. That would be good, for many reasons. What I do know is that if we want everyone to be happy, then we need everyone in on this. Until then, we can still work wonders by simply being a platform for distributing information which will warn of potential problems and inform about opportunity. Community organizations have failed here before. I know it will work this time.

~ Ole Juul