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This day in history: Dec. 15, 1994

Industrial tax a done deal Communities in the Peace stood to be millions richer with the signing of a new industrial tax deal with the province, the Alaska Highway News reported on this day in history.
Kevin Paschal looks for room to try and deflect a point shot during a Huskies' power play against the Trail Smoke Eaters on Dec. 14, 1994. Paschal netted the game winner 36 seconds into overtime, capping off a third-period rally and giving the Huskies an 8-7 win.

Industrial tax a done deal

Communities in the Peace stood to be millions richer with the signing of a new industrial tax deal with the province, the Alaska Highway News reported on this day in history.

The deal would eventually become known as Fair Share and come into effect in 1995, providing communities in the Peace with a slice of taxes from industry operating outside municipal borders.

Under the agreement, first obtained by the Alaska Highway News, the deal would provide municipalities at least $4 million annually, half coming from industrial taxes, and the remainder from matching provincial grants.

Fort St. John was the biggest winner, seeing $1.8 million of the pie. Dawson Creek was to receive $1.4 million; Chetwynd $347,263; Pouce Couple $124,351; and Hudson's Hope $36,719.

While no sources were quoted in the front page report, then-provincial municipal affairs minister Darlene Marzari was expected to be in town on this day in history to announce the deal.

The agreement acknowledged the "inadequate and deteriorating" state of municipal infrastructure in the region.

The funds were being doled out to be spent on water and sewer works, roads and sidewalks, and supplying gas, electricity, and telephone services to rural areas.

The agreement was three years in the making, the newspaper reported.

The latest deal, called the Peace River Agreement, provides local communities with about $50 million annually. Fort St. John continues to receive the lion's share of the funds at 49 cent, while Dawson Creek receives about 30 per cent of the yearly pot.


Local man slain

Police were seeking the public's help solving a late-night killing of a 50-year-old man on this day in history.

Police said the body of Gordon Henry Neufeld was found at 8 a.m. on Dec. 14 in the Edgewood trailer park south of the city.

Officers had responded to reports of gunshots at the park around midnight, but found nothing, the Alaska Highway News reported. Police received a call early in the morning that a body was lying near a home in the park.

Neufeld was a long-time resident of the park and police were continuing their investigation.


Vandalism costs school district

Vandals took a $2,065 bite out of School District 59's wallet over October and November 1994, it was reported on this day in history.

"Vandalism is a minor problem," chairman Patrick Michiel told the board.

District operations manager Sam Barber said vandalism repairs cost the district between $25,000 to $35,000 a year.

"That's primarily broken windows and graffiti," he said. "For some reason, we get hit worse in August and September."

Trustee Marilyn Croutch wanted the district to follow a pilot program out of Tumbler Ridge Secondary to reduce vandalism by involving students and giving them a sense of ownership of the school.


Bookworms want Sunday hours

Fort St. John Library patrons wanted to see the library reopen on Sundays, according to an in-house survey carried out by the library.

Library administrator Angela Mehmel said the preliminary results were strong indicators of llibrary's popularity.

The library was closed Sundays and Mondays at the time. It closed on Sundays in 1993 due to budget constraints.

"Before the board decided to close Sundays, it did as many cutbacks internally as it could," Mehmel said.

"We were the only library (in the area) open Sundays and now with us being closed, there is nowhere for students to go to study — and Sunday is also a popular family day," she added.

Library usage was up despite the cut in hours, it was reported.

Mehmel estimated a "quick and unofficial calculation" of operating the library for four hours on Sunday afternoons would cost about $5,000.