Thornhill Kitimat-Stikine regional district director Ted Ramsey says he’s not happy the Terrace and District Chamber of Commerce has entered the debate on how the rural community might be governed some day.
Ramsey, who is spearheading a move that could result in a referendum of Thornhill residents to decide if they wish to incorporate as a municipality, says the chamber shouldn’t be involved.
“The thing they seem to miss is the democratic process that Thornhill is entitled to do and I do not want the merchants to get in the way,” said Ramsey of the chamber during discussion at the Jan. 23 regional district meeting.
The chamber’s letter, sent Jan. 12 to Coralee Oakes, the provincial minister responsible for local and regional governments, urges the province to consider all alternatives, including boundary extensions and amalgamation involving Terrace.
“I see this as between the province, the community of Thornhill and the board and I’d like to keep it there. I find this insulting,” said Ramsey of the letter which was also sent to the regional district.
“We’re (Thornhill) quite capable and I do not want the chamber to be involved.”
Ramsey added that he understands that the chamber looks at all economic development, which is one of the reasons Thornhill wants incorporation so it can find its own destiny and that the chamber’s involvement isn’t appropriate.
Regional district chair Stacey Tyers, who is also a Terrace city councillor, asked if Ramsey wanted to respond to the chamber letter and he said no response was maybe best.
“It is our show and we do not want [the chamber] involved, we truly don’t,” said Ramsey.
Regional district administrator Bob Marcellin reminded Ramsey that the chamber was not just the city but included businesses in Thornhill and the rural areas around Terrace too.
Ramsey said later last week that the province hadn’t responded to the regional district’s request for possible incorporation of Thornhill.
But he did add that Oakes has told him a response would be coming early this year.
When Thornhill hears back from the ministry, then it will move forward, said Ramsey.
“My read on it is [the chamber] is making monetary decisions on Thornhill which they have no right to do,” he said.
“One idea behind incorporation is that Thornhill will make its own decisions. It’s astonishing that they keep missing that,” said Ramsey.
The chamber’s letter also said “The combined populations of Terrace, Thornhill and surrounding communities make up what is now referred to as the Greater Terrace Area.”
Ramsey said that’s part of what makes the chamber comments inappropriate.
“The citizens of Thornhill will decide on whether they want to incorporate. It has nothing to do with the Greater Terrace Area,” he said.
Political issues aside, Ramsey has now embarked upon a series of public meetings to provide information around his idea for incorporation.
Billing them as “townhall meetings,” Ramsey hosted the first one Jan. 29 at the Skeena Landing.
Approximately 80 people attending the meeting, said Ramsey, which featured Calgary consultant Adrian Bohach.
“He has a lot of experience in getting communities to work together,” said Ramsey.