Open letter to Mayor and Council City of Quesnel, BC

***Editor's Note: The following Open Letter to the Mayor and Council of Quesnel first appeared on the local FB group Quesnel In Action on July 21st, the same day that Mayor Simpson had the Quesnel Gold Pan City sign removed from its old location at the start of the Barkerville Hwy and Hwy 97 North. The Author of this letter Debra Cann McKelvie administers Quesnel In Action.

Preface to the Letter from Quesnel In Action: Do not comment unless you read the entire report. Yes, It's extensive. It shows that the relocation of the gold pan was kept from the public and not voted on by Council until Oct. of 2019. At that time, a committee of local folks opposed to the relocation was formed to get a petition started which has since been hand delivered in early May to Mayor and Council. The report given by the City Manager on June 23, 2020 is the main focus of the report, however we have taken it several steps further to show you, the public, the actual minutes and relevant reports on the issue of relocating the gold pan. Judge for yourselves. Thank you for taking the time to get through this and PM me if you have any questions as I will not be fielding questions here.
 

July 21, 2020

Open letter to Mayor and Council City of Quesnel

Re: City Manager’s “fact check” on relocation of gold pan - June 23, 2020

By

Debra Cann McKelvie


Video: https://youtu.be/KUhNHAz9Bas?t=4785

Last fall, after it was first made public that the City had voted at a meeting to relocate the gold pan to the rail yard, I requested all the information through FOI regarding the relocation of the gold pan over the past three years. Mainly, in view of Mayor Simpson asserting that the gold pan was simply a marketing “gimmick” from the 80's and the matter of relocating the gold pan had been settled two - three years, or perhaps two years previously by Council, and therefore was a done deal.

I am confused, as will you be, at the report given by our City Manager at the Council meeting on June 23, 2020 unless there are two sets of minutes, one for the City and one for the public.

It is interesting to note that at the Council meeting just prior to June 23, 2020, the City Manager was given license in a policy resolution to oversee and reprimand the Council members. To my knowledge this should not be the mandate of any City Manager as politics and the operations of running the City are to be kept strictly separate.

Quite frankly, I was shocked at the footage I watched of the June 23, 2020 Council meeting as I certainly had NOT discovered the same information as the City Manager. I thought it best to have another serious examination of the materials sent to me and to do some careful research of my own. Not only was our senior member of Council completely shut down by our Mayor because he questions and sometimes opposes the status quo, he was not given anywhere near his 15 minutes to defend the allegations against him. What did Ron Paull want to say?

https://youtu.be/KUhNHAz9Bas?t=4785

From what I have seen and not heard from our Council members through reaching out personally (with respect to the relocation of the gold pan) to all of our Council members via email and hand delivering a 600+ name petition is puzzling. The silence from our elected officials, other than the Mayor, with respect to the matter is doubly puzzling. I can only come to the conclusion that the bullying and intimidation by the Mayor of our Council members is out of hand and must be addressed.

On November 6, 2019, myself, along with other folks concerned with respect to the relocation of our gold pan, attended a heritage forum at City Hall. We were muzzled at that meeting and told that there would be no discussion on the gold pan at that meeting. We were assured that there would be another opportunity to share our concerns. I have letters from other people who attended this meeting to confirm this statement. There were City staff present and several Councillors.

Our gold pan is not, as the Mayor asserts, a marketing gimmick from the 80’s. The Cygnus consulting group who developed the branding plan indicated that the gold pan was indeed a landmark. To relocate our gold pan is to erase the impact our iconic landmark offers to the Cariboo. This important fact was conveniently left out of reports to Council and the public. You can see for yourselves in the information attached. The lack of honesty and transparency with respect to this matter is nothing short of corrupt.
In closing I would like to add that after you, the public, elected officials, and the media peruse the re-examination report of the City Manager’s June 23, 2020 “fact check” you will understand how the public’s trust has been violated. These types of incidents do not engender and cultivate a sense of transparency and honesty among the general public.

Leave our landmark gold pan where it is. The train yard is not a safe nor appealing location for future visitors to our iconic landmark gold pan, which is not a gimmick!

Please see the following re-examination of the City Manager’s fact checking report.

Respectfully submitted on behalf of the public who signed the petition.

Debra McKelvie

-----

At the June 23, 2020 Council Meeting, City Manager, Byron Johnson stated he “fact checked” the time line relating to the removal and moving of the Gold Pan. His sources were dated: January 17, 2017, July 24, 2018, November 27, 2018 and October 19, 2019. Video of meeting.

We very carefully conducted our own fact checking of these same City documents and uncovered much more evidence proving committees, staff, and some councillors apparently avoided mentioning moving the gold pan.

City Manager’s “fact checking” from his report to June 23 Council meeting:

CM Comment: “January 17, 2017, Council endorsed the City of Quesnel Branding strategy, which included the discussion of moving the gold pan. The discussion was reported by the local news media on January 18, 2017.”

IF THIS MEETING WAS SO IMPORTANT AND THE ONLY SO-CALLED PROOF OF COUNCIL DISCUSSING MOVING THE GOLD PAN WAS IN THE MEDIA…CARIBOO RADIO, NOT THE OBSERVER, WHY WAS THE DISCUSSION NOT NOTED IN THE MINUTES?

January 17, 2017 Regular Council Meeting - Page 98 of Stormy Lake Consulting Communications Plan Brand Strategy:
 
“• Install new gateway signage with new identity north and south of the City.

• Repaint the gold pan (remove Gold Pan City text)”

ACCORDING TO OUR RESEARCH, THE CITY MANAGER’S “FACT CHECKING” IS MISLEADING OR IN ERROR AS THERE IS NO MENTION OF MOVING THE GOLD PAN AT THIS POINT.

CM Comment: “Placemaking & Wayfinding Plan included more discussion about the new entrance sign, voted on by the previous Council on July 24, 2018. Because this project is significant to Quesnel, the same presentation was brought to another open Council meeting on November 27, 2018 to the newly elected Council for re-affirmation.”

July 24, 2018 Regular Council Meeting Agenda:

Page 16… “Landmarks….”

CYGNUS DESCRIBES GOLD PAN AS A LANDMARK. ACCORDING TO OUR RESEARCH, THE CITY MANAGER’S “FACT CHECKING” IS MISLEADING OR IN ERROR AS THERE IS NO MENTION OF MOVING THE GOLD PAN AT THIS POINT.

CM Comment: “Because this project is significant to Quesnel, the same presentation was brought to another open Council meeting on November 27, 2018, to the newly elected Council for re-affirmation.”

November 27, 2018 Economic Development City Staff Report:

Wayfinding and Placemaking Community Engagement Workshop

Page 26 - Initial Research – Gold Pan shown as Landmarks and Attractions

ACCORDING TO OUR RESEARCH, THE CITY MANAGER’S “FACT CHECKING” IS MISLEADING OR IN ERROR AS THERE IS NO MENTION OF MOVING THE GOLD PAN AT THIS POINT.

CM Comment: “In 2019, in an open meeting the Executive Committee (“ECOMM”) discussed potential new locations for the gold pan sign. On October 9, 2019 the Executive Committee made the following recommendation to Council:

19-09-22 MOVED Councillor Paull, Seconded Councillor Goulet and resolved:

THAT the Executive Committee recommend that Quesnel City Council approve the relocation of the gold pan from its current site.

Our research and “fact checking” and much more...re: City Manager’s “fact checking”:

January 4, 2017 Stormy Lake Consulting: City of Quesnel Brand Communications Plan “A number of potential symbolic actions representing brand-driven change in Quesnel that could be considered include:

• Install new gateway signage with new identity north and south of the City.

• Repaint the gold pan (remove Gold Pan City text)” PAGE 7.

ACCORDING TO OUR RESEARCH, THE CITY MANAGER’S “FACT CHECKING” IS MISLEADING OR IN ERROR AS THERE IS NO MENTION OF MOVING THE GOLD PAN AT THIS POINT.

January 17, 2017 Regular Council Meeting #2
 
Stormy Lake Consulting Communications Plan - Brand Strategy Page 98

“• Install new gateway signage with new identity north and south of the City.

• Repaint the gold pan (remove Gold Pan City text)” PAGE 7.

ACCORDING TO OUR RESEARCH, THE CITY MANAGER’S “FACT CHECKING” IS MISLEADING OR IN ERROR AS THERE IS NO MENTION OF MOVING THE GOLD PAN AT THIS POINT.

January 17, 2017 “Minutes: Administration Report #11/17 - City of Quesnel Brand Endorsement - Economic Development Officer Reid to Report (30 Minute PowerPoint Presentation) - Please visit www.Quesnel.ca for entire report attachments totalling 257 pages. Various Members of Council thanked City staff, Quesnel's business community, community volunteers, Council members and Will consultants for their hard work regarding this issue.

17-02-43 MOVED Councillor Elliott, Seconded Councillor Roodenburg and resolved: THAT Council endorses: as presented as the official brand and visual identity of the City of Quesnel; AND THAT Council refers the Brand Communications Plan to the Executive Committee for further review and prioritization of actions.”

OPPOSED: Paull

ACCORDING TO OUR RESEARCH, THE CITY MANAGER’S “FACT CHECKING” IS MISLEADING OR IN ERROR AS THERE IS NO MENTION OF MOVING THE GOLD PAN AT THIS POINT.

The report can be found at:

Brand Strategy,
Visual Language,
Brand Communications Plan,

January 18, 2017 My Cariboo. com reported there was a discussion about the Gold Pan at the meeting the previous evening. Last line…”as to exactly where the gold pan will be moved, that is still up in the air.” The news article can be found at:

January 20, 2017 Executive Committee: Administration Report from Economic Development Officer to City Manager

Symbolic actions: Page 1
“Install new gateway signage
Repaint the gold pan:

Page 3
“Install new gateway signage – suggest delay until 2018”
Repaint the gold pan – moving the gold pan has also been discussed”

MOVING THE GOLD PAN DISCUSSED BUT WITH WHOM? NO COUNCIL DECISIONS ON MOVING THE GOLD PAN. NO RECORD OF COUNCIL DISCUSSING THE MOVE.

February 7, 2017 Regular Council Meeting City Staff Report Page 11

Symbolic actions:

Page 11- Install new gateway signage
Repaint the gold pan
Page 33 – Install new gateway signage – suggest delaying until 2018
Repaint the gold pan – moving the gold pan has also been discussed.

MOVING THE GOLD PAN DISCUSSED? SAME REPORT AS JAN 20TH. ACCORDING TO OUR RESEARCH, THE CITY MANAGER’S “FACT CHECKING” IS MISLEADING OR IN ERROR AS THERE IS NO RECORD OF COUNCIL EITHER DISCUSSING NOR DECIDING ON MOVING THE GOLD PAN AT THIS POINT.

March 2017 Quesnel City News… No mention of the Branding and moving the Gold Pan.

ACCORDING TO OUR RESEARCH, THE CITY MANAGER’S “FACT CHECKING” IS MISLEADING AS THERE IS NO MENTION OF MOVING THE GOLD PAN AT THIS POINT.

March 29, 2018 Cygnus Wayfinding & Placemaking Report Audit & Recommendations – Draft – Revision 1

WE RECEIVED A PORTION OF THIS REPORT UNDER A FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST BUT WE CANNOT FIND THE REPORT ON THE CITY WEBSITE.

Page 16
Gateway Sign Review – Traveling South (Hwy 97)

“The North gateway sign is defined by the “Gold Pan”, a large iconic sculpture with the words “Quesnel – Gold Pan City” and inclusive of a large pick and shovel. The rebrand has made clear the new Quesnel is about the future and less about the past. Placement” Location of the new gateway sign would be in the current position of the gold pan.”

ACCORDING TO OUR RESEARCH, THE CITY MANAGER’S “FACT CHECKING” IS MISLEADING OR IN ERROR AS WE CAN FIND NO EVIDENCE THIS DRAFT PAGE WAS EVER PROVIDED TO COUNCIL.

March 29, 2018 Cygnus Wayfinding & Placemaking Report Audit & Recommendations – Draft – Revision 1

Page 35 –“ Gold Pan Observations: As noted in Section 3 (gateway signs), the gold pan is a structure better used as a landmark than a gateway sign….It has uniqueness and does hold some significant inherent value in the storytelling of the gold mining days of Quesnel’s past.”

WE CAN FIND NO EVIDENCE DRAFT PAGES 16 AND 35 WERE EVER PROVIDED TO COUNCIL. MORE IMPORTANTLY TRY TO FIND THIS REPORT ON THE CITY’S WEBSITE.
 
THIS DRAFT REPORT WAS PRESENTED TO THE CITY. IT APPEARS THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE CONSISTING AT THE TIME OF BOB SIMPSON, JOHN BRISCO, AND ED COLEMAN REVIEWED THIS REPORT AND REMOVED THE REFERENCES TO THE GOLD PAN FROM THE REPORT BEFORE CYGNUS PRESENTED THEIR FINAL REPORT TO COUNCIL AND TO THE PUBLIC. THE DECISION DEFINITELY SHOWS THE INTENT OF THIS COMMITTEE AND POSSIBLY SOME OTHER COUNCIL MEMBERS AND STAFF TO HIDE THE FACT FROM THE PUBLIC THEY INTENDED TO MOVE THE GOLD PAN. WHERE IS THIS REPORT? WAYFINDING & PLACEMAKING REPORT AUDIT & RECOMMENDATIONS – DRAFT- REVISION 1”

June 14, 2018 Executive Committee, Bob Simpson, John Brisco, and Ed Coleman

Minutes of May 30, 2018
Page 3: F.5) Placemaking and Wayfinding project budget - Discussion

For information only regarding the sign project. A full budget will be coming to a future FSAC meeting for discussion.

ACCORDING TO OUR RESEARCH, THE CITY MANAGER’S “FACT CHECKING” IS MISLEADING OR IN ERROR AS THERE IS NO MENTION OF MOVING THE GOLD PAN AT THIS POINT.

June 19, 2018 Regular Council Meeting Page 47 - F.5) Placemaking and Wayfinding project budget - Discussion “For information only regarding the sign project. A full budget will be coming to a future FSAC meeting for discussion.”

ACCORDING TO OUR RESEARCH, THE CITY MANAGER’S “FACT CHECKING” IS MISLEADING OR IN ERROR AS THERE IS NO MENTION OF MOVING THE GOLD PAN AT THIS POINT.

June 26, 2018 Regular Council Meeting Page 46 Action:

· Implementing the wayfinding strategy currently in development.
· Relocation and refurbishment of the Gold Pan as recommended in the Brand Communications Plan

JANUARY 4, 2017 Stormy Lake Consulting: City of Quesnel Communications Plan: Repaint the gold pan (remove Gold Pan City text).

ACCORDING TO OUR RESEARCH, THE CITY MANAGER’S “FACT CHECKING” IS MISLEADING OR IN ERROR AS THERE IS NO MENTION OF MOVING THE GOLD PAN AT THIS POINT.

July 24, 2018 Regular Council Meeting Agenda:

Page 16 Landmarks….

NO MENTION OF THE GOLD PAN AS A LANDMARK AS PREVIOUSLY SUGGESTED BY CYGNUS. ACCORDING TO OUR RESEARCH, THE CITY MANAGER’S “FACT CHECKING” IS MISLEADING OR IN ERROR AS THERE IS NO MENTION OF THE GOLD PAN BEING REPLACED BY THE NORTH GATEWAY SIGN.

Regular Council Meeting Minutes:

Andrew Thompstone, Senior Project Manager for The Cygnus Design Group, provided an overview of the City’s Wayfinding Strategy that includes designs of signage, utilizing the City’s new brand, that would assist pedestrians and/or vehicle traffic to locate various destinations/sites in all four major zones (North Quesnel, South Quesnel, West Quesnel and Downtown Quesnel) of the City. The Wayfinding Strategy includes designs for main community gateways, minor community gateways, major and minor parks, neighbourhood entrances, trailheads and trails, that are scaled to be easily read by both vehicular and pedestrian traffic.

WAS RON PAULL AT THIS MEETING OR WASN’T HE? MINUTES STATE HE WAS PRESENT AND ALSO GAVE HIS REGRETS.

July 24, 2018 Wayfinding Program Design Development - R1 Page 22 -Major Gateway Sign (North)

The report can be found at:

WHY NO NOTES REGARDING THE NORTH GATEWAY SIGN REPLACING THE GOLD PAN, WHEN THERE ARE NOTES ABOUT OTHER AREAS?

July 25, 2018 Economic Development City Staff Report

PAGE 22 July 25, 2018 Economic Development City Staff Report:

“Relocation and refurbishment of the Gold Pan as recommended in the Brand Communication Plan.”

THE BRAND COMMUNICATIONS PLAN DID NOT SUGGEST MOVING THE GOLD PAN.

October 2, 2018 Economic Development Transition Strategy Report – FINAL Page 66

Presented to Council on October 2, 2018 Action:

· Implementing the wayfinding strategy currently in development.
· Relocation and refurbishment of the Gold Pan as recommended in the Brand Communication Plan.

ACCORDING TO OUR RESEARCH, THE CITY MANAGER’S “FACT CHECKING” IS MISLEADING OR IN ERROR AS THERE IS NO MENTION OF MOVING THE GOLD PAN AT THIS POINT.

November 27, 2018 Economic Development City Staff Report
Wayfinding and Placemaking Community Engagement Workshop

Page 26 Initial Research – Gold Pan shown as Landmarks and Attractions
ACCORDING TO OUR RESEARCH, THE CITY MANAGER’S “FACT CHECKING” IS MISLEADING OR IN ERROR AS THERE IS NO MENTION OF MOVING THE GOLD PAN AT THIS POINT.

October 9, 2019 Council Standing Committee Executive Meeting:

Members: Laurey-Anne Roodenburg, Ron Paull, Tony Goulet

Gold pan relocation [attached map]

• BC Rail has approved the City request to allow the installation of the gold pan in the parking lot adjacent to the Station House to allow easy access for travellers arriving by vehicle and rail and close proximity to the Quesnel & District Museum and Visitor Information Centre.

• Staff has estimated a relocation cost of approximately $7000.

• The Gold pan should be refurbished prior to re-installation at the new site, bearing in mind City branding requirements.

19-09-22 MOVED Councillor Paull, Seconded Councillor Goulet and resolved: THAT the Executive Committee recommend that Quesnel City Council approve the relocation of the gold pan from its current site.

October 22, 2019 Minutes 19-23-428 Moved Councillor Paull, Seconded Councillor Vik and resolved: THAT Council directs City staff to bring a report to Council outlining all options considered for the relocation of the Gold Pan.

DEFEATED

19-23-429 Moved Councillor Roodenburg, Seconded Councillor Goulet and resolved: THAT Council approves the Executive committee recommendation to relocate the City’s Gold Pan sign from its current site on Highway 97 North to the BC Rail lands adjacent to the stationhouse, located at 710 Legion Drive, Quesnel BC; AND THAT Council approves the funding for relocation and refurbishing of the City’s Gold Pan sign be included in the City of Quesnel’s 2020 budget.

Carried (5-2)

OPPOSED: Paull

November 20, 2019 Request by Debra McKelvie under Freedom of Information Act for all information regarding the relocation of the gold pan.

Response provided below:

City of Quesnel response:

November 28, 2019
Via: debramckelvie@yahoo.ca
Your Request File No. 11-19-2

Dear Debra McKelvie:

Re: Request for Access to Records under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (the “Act”)

As per Section 8 of the Act, we have thoroughly searched the City’s records and found records to your revised/clarification of your request dated November 27, 2019 for records on the following:

“Primarily we are looking for information with respect to Councils decision to relocate the gold pan from three years ago as stated by Mayor Simpson.”

The City has located the following records:

· Repainting the gold pan is mentioned in the Brand Communications Plan: https://www.quesnel.ca/sites/default/files/uploads/reports/quesnel_brand... and this report which I brought to the January 20, 2017 Executive Committee outlining the plan: https://quesnel.civicweb.net/filepro/documents/84686?preview=85791

· January 2017 Executive Committee Agenda: https://quesnel.civicweb.net/filepro/documents/84686?preview=85793&split...

· February 7, 2017 Special Open Council Meeting – New Brand: https://quesnel.civicweb.net/filepro/documents/85537?preview=86285&split...

· February 7, 2017 Special Open Council Meeting – Meeting Minutes: https://quesnel.civicweb.net/filepro/documents/86147?preview=87669

· Implementing the relocation and refurbishment as mentioned in the Brand Communications Plan is reiterated in the Economic Development Transition Strategy: https://www.quesnel.ca/sites/default/files/uploads/reports/92-18-2-quesn... (p. 9). Council adopted this at the October 2, 2018 Regular Council Meeting: https://quesnel.civicweb.net/filepro/documents/98725?preview=106001

· The Brand Steering Committee Reviewed:

Moving and repainting the gold pan was suggested in the Wayfinding and Placemaking Audit and Recommendations (p. 16 and 35, 1st attachment); and Early ideas were presented in the Placemaking Schematic Design (2nd attachment).

Under Section 52 of the Act you may ask the Information and Privacy Commissioner to review any matter related to the City’s response to your request. The Act allows you 30 days from the date you receive this notice to request a review by writing to:

Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner
P.O. Box 9038, Stn. Prov. Govt.
Victoria, B.C. V8W 9A4

Telephone: 250.387.5629 Fax: 250.387.1696

If you request a review, please provide the Commissioner’s office with:

1. The request number assigned to your request (11-19-2).
2. A copy of this letter;
3. A copy of your original request for information;
4. Detailed reasons or grounds on which you are seeking the review.

Please do not hesitate to contact the undersigned at 250.991.7458 should you have any questions or concerns regarding this letter.

Sincerely,

Original Signed by Kari Bolton

Kari Bolton

Head of FOIPPA

Attachments:
1. Copy of Applicant’s Request for Records – Dated November 20, 2019 & Applicant’s Clarification of Original Request – Dated November 27, 2019
2. City of Quesnel Wayfinding & Placemaking Report - Audit & Recommendations
3. City of Quesnel - Placemaking - Schematic Design – R1Yes