Area D Directors Page

This page contains information and updates from RDCK Area D Director Aimee Watson.

Contact IAimee-Watsonnfo

Area D Director Aimee Watson: Hours to contact her:

 

As a general rule, I do prioritise time with my son in the evenings with the exception of Mondays.

To contact : awatson@rdck.bc.ca  or  #250 304 5842

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Updates from Director: October 2017

Click on link to open:

Topics include BC ambulance staffing, Interior Health updates, cannibis, BCHydro proposal, meat inspection, FLNRO fish and wildlife, and tax exemptions.

https://lardeauvalley.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/601a-d-flnro-fish_wildlife-sent.pdf

https://lardeauvalley.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/600-dsil-moa-incubation-meat_inspection-sent.pdf

https://lardeauvalley.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/591-d-mem-bc_hydro_proposal-sent.pdf

https://lardeauvalley.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/458-brd-sg-cannabis-sent.pdf

https://lardeauvalley.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/601b-d-momah-tax_exception-sent.pdf

https://lardeauvalley.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/ih-wkbrhd-topics-sent.pdf

https://lardeauvalley.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/bcehs-wkbrhd-topics-sent.pdf

***********************************************************************June 2017

Hello Area D! I note to let you know I am heading out of the area for a month and will not be available, unless there is an emergency.
I am off to the annual Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference with colleagues to discuss everything from innovative economic development for rural communities to cell service for rural mountain regions.
My alternate John Cathro will be attending our monthly rural affiars, board and a meeting with Fish and Wildlife Compensation program to continue the communities request for a Lardeau Valley advisory committee.
Attached are two pics of recent Lardeau Valley tours. First is the lovely Brenda Herbison who established and maintains the painted turtle habitiat along the Argenta road. The second was a tour at the spawning channel to hear about the decade long work of improving human-bear co-existence. Both presentations were by locals involved in essential restoration and conservation work.
Everyday I am more and more proud of representing such a diverse, entrepeneurial, caring and outspoken (in a great way!) region. You are a gem North Kootenay Lake! Stay safe out there.
AND PLEASE, note all emergency numbers and if you have a dwelling below the 1750 mark on the lake- get sandbags asap!

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Directors Report

Spring 2017

I am so happy that spring is here! Here is a summary of what I have been doing over the winter:

 

  1. Annual Budget

The RDCK has passed our annual budget. New initiatives are:

  • Fire Smart and wildfire mitigation: Fire Smart Technician (Full time) and 3 Fire Smart Ambassadors (Summer Positions)
  • Increased transit routes. For North Kootenay, there is a new route from Kaslo on Wednesday which links up with a new North Shore bus route to connect with all hospitals.
  • Parks and trail inventory, inclusive of Federal, Provincial or RDCK owned/operated parks and trails that will lead to region wide planning for connections, tourism, and future infrastructure upgrades.
  • Tri Regional District agricultural liaison extension services in collaboration with the RDEK and RDKB

For an area specific summary, do contact me.

  1. West Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital District (WKBRHD)

My colleagues elected me as chair of the WKBRHD in January. This board’s mandate is to assist in funding capital and equipment requests from IHA that covers the West Kootenay/Boundary region.

We successfully adopted the budget for 2017 with no increase in taxation. The board approved all but two IHA requests and will be contributing $975,000 to the reserve fund. Given our mandate is infrastructure and the WKB regional facilities are in dire need of upgrades, the board has been preparing for future upgrades through reserve contributions. On April 6th, we saw the announcement of one of those upgrades, phase 1 of the Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital Sustainability project in Trail. Total cost on this project is $16.6 million, WKBRHD portion will be $6 million.

  1. Victorian Community Health Center (VCHC)

We are happy to report that the pilot project of 7 days a week health care services for VCHC was deemed successful and will now be implemented on a permanent basis. Also new to the facility:

  • two telehealth portals for those who are able to meet with specialist remotely, speak to your doctor about these services
  • Paramedicine program which will do outreach for patients in their homes for prevention of emergencies, stay tuned for details and introduction of the program
  • Meeting with BC Ambulance to assess gaps in service outside of VCHC hours
  1. Kootenay Lake Conservation Fund

Projects funded for 2017 are:

  • Fish/Bear Lake Western Toad Ecology and Hwy 31A Mortality Mitigation Study
  • Grizzly Bear Co-existence Solutions
  • Kootenay Community Bat Project: Bat Conservation on Private Land
  • Kootenay Lake Osprey Nest Monitoring Phase II
  • Kootenay Lake Shorelines Guidance Document Outreach
  • North Kootenay Lake Water Monitoring Project
  1. Affected Areas and Community Initiatives Annual funding

For Community Initiatives, total request for funds was $129,000 with available funds of $57,000. For Affected Areas, total request for funds was $121,000 with available funds of $90,000. We held our public meeting in Kaslo on April 10th and Argenta on April 11th. Final amounts will go to the May RDCK board meeting for approval.

  1. Central Kootenay Food Policy Council

Also a new role for me, I am one of two directors appointed by the RDCK to the newly created 25 member Central Kootenay Food Policy Council. For details, see: http://ckfoodpolicy.ca/.

Our main objectives are to: “The Food Policy Council is a vehicle to unite the many and disparate actors in sustainable food systems in our region, from those engaged in hunger and access issues, to those working on conservation of water, and others seeking to enhance regional food production. It will support the growth of the food and agriculture sector and the work to ensure that all Central Kootenay residents are well-nourished.”

North Kootenay Lake Farm Innovation Project

The RDCK board supported an area D application to the provincial Rural Dividend program that would have seen 4 programs to support innovation in this sector. Unfortunately, the grant was not successful. I am choosing to move forward with 2 of the 4 programs using Community Development funds from Area D, CBT and SIDIT. We do hope to see the roll out of a farm wage subsidy and infrastructure supports for Area D farmers by June 1, 2017. This program will be administered by LINKS and operated locally.

  1. Broadband

Good progress on this important file. I coordinated a meeting with KiN, Ministry of Transportation (MOTi), Network BC, Columbia Basin Broadband Corporation (CBBC) and RDCK staff to find solutions to provincial roadway regulations that are a barrier to burying fibre in rural areas.

Short term, MOTi and KiN are working on site specific exemptions that will allow for the fibre to be buried in Area D. Long term, I will lead a discussion with other local government organizations and eventually Ministry of Transportation with a proposal for amending regulations to be fibre friendly.

  1. Water Systems

Small water systems face an onerous task in navigating regulations as well as the costs of implementation. In a municipality, water services are a required service, where as in a Regional District, they are not given the vast geography and the fact that people are not clustered for ease of delivery or cost efficiency. With that, Area D has numerous water systems seeking support to enable their community to meet current regulations. To assist, I have asked for a system and regulatory consultant to be supplied through a partnership of MoH, IHA and the RDCK to small water systems that will provide services to guide these small water systems through the regulations of the Drinking Water Protection Act, the Water Sustainability Act and system design that is affordable. Beyond those consulting services I hope to see enacted, I have committed funds to the following water societies for 2017:

  • Mirror Lake $20, 000
  • Backroad water society $20,000
  • Schroeder Creek water society $20,000
  1. BC Hydro Proposal

I have made a request to BC Hydro to cover costs when dam discharges directly affect the Lardeau Valley mosquito abatement program. This request was denied, although well substantiated by their own studies. I followed up with Minister of Energy and Mines, Bill Bennett and unfortunately was not able to get a response before the provincial writ was in place due to the election. Post-election, I will continue with this request.

  1. Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program (FWCP)

A community led committee has been requesting for several years that the Lardeau Valley have an advisory committee directly linked to the FWCP reinstated to best represent public engagement and consultation. This request was furthered with my support but has not yet been accepted by the FWCP board. I will continue making this request on behalf of the community to ensure those in the region are consulted. As well, as the Kootenay Lake Local Conservation Program provides funding and local government is predominantly focused on land use planning; we need a better process for integrating our activities that will see capacity improve for all conservation efforts in the Duncan-Lardeau region.

  1. Lardeau Park

Public consultation last spring resulted in the majority indicating there was not sufficient support for a wharf to move forward. While this left our plans in limbo, we determined that simply returning the land to the crown would leave the area vulnerable to an unknown future. Public consultation was clear that a park is of high value, thus we went back to the drawing board to re-evaluate how we may be able to do that. We are now in conversation with BC Recreation Sites and Trails of the Ministry of Forests to assess a possible partnership on land management. Staff will prepare a draft plan for public consultation in late summer.

  1. Cooper Creek Cedar Forest Stewardship Plan (CCC-FSP)

This Plan is currently out on referral to seek public input until June 13th

For a copy of the FSP- contact Bill Kestell at bkestell@shaw.ca

For questions about the planning process and further details related to the process, contact FLNRO District Manager George Edney at George.Edney@gov.bc.ca

The Area D APC provided input and this will be collated with mine as formal response from Area D. My input requests that we be consulted on the next level planning- site specific roads, cut blocks and other details found in the operational plans. As these are not required to be put through community consultation and much of the information I hear residents seeking would be found in those documents, it is imperative that we request them in the next stage of development. As well, I included the area in Johnson’s Landing under a hazard restriction that should not be a part of their harvest area.

  1. Zwicky Road landslide

For the full geotechnical report and subsequent investigations, please see the RDCK website at:www.rdck.bc.ca

As we move forward, it is good news that no infrastructure, land or homes were damaged in the landslide. I am impressed by the vast improvements in Emergency Management over the last few years. From Provincial action, geotech’s onsite within 12 hours and our own staff within 30min to negotiating an infinite list of variables. We have support from EMBC to conduct Lidar for all of Buchannan that will provide a clear picture of the landscape activities. Once the assessment with Lidar is complete and information processed into recommendations, we can look for mitigating actions, if necessary.

  1. Economic Development Commission

Kaslo and Area D have a new Economic Development Commission. Our first meeting was April 19th which focused on a review of the history from the previous committee (SEDS; a select committee of the Village of Kaslo), projects we are active on and organizational options going forward. I was elected chair for 2017.

Projects we are currently interested in are renewable energy, community investment program, agriculture, broadband and affordable housing.

We meet every third Monday at 10am at the Village of Kaslo council chambers. All meetings are open to the public.

  1. Community Wildfire Protection Plan

Area D is in the midst of updating its CWPP plan which will rank highest priority areas for wildfire mitigation. Community meetings will be upcoming.

  1. Call for commissioners:

I have vacancies on two commissions. If you are interested in Recreation, I have two vacancies and should you be interested in economic development, I have one vacancy. Contact me for details around roles and time committments.

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Area D Directors update….

Good news, then some bad news and a report on more to come.

Good News: Johnsons Landing is FINALLY getting support to deal with the on-going hazard that affects their ability to access water. This is a four year process that is a huge relief to see results on!! The Upper Gar Creek project has a total cost of $320,000 of which $107,000 will come from local sources, and the rest is split between the Provincial and Federal governments.

Bad news: Area D’s exciting Rural Dividend project that was to be a new job incubator was not successful. While our provincial counterparts are eager to see us apply again in April, we are waiting to hear what they want changed. In the meantime, I am hoping to still assist our farmers with the 2017 season. I cannot plan for this until I hear back from the Rural Dividend program. I have been adamant that the season will not wait, so fingers crossed I have some information to share soon.

There is a lot more to report, including on-going negotiations to see broadband successfully installed in Area D thanks to the very hard work of KiN. We have hit a road block with provincial regulations, but conversations continue.

 

 

 

                                                                                 Hwy 31 paving north is currently out to tender.

 

 

 

Working on biofuels/renewable energy opportuntiies.

And the annual RDCK budget was approved yesterday.

I am working on a newsletter with all of the details and will post out to you next week.

Aimee Watson.

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August 4th 2016: Directors Update.

Area D Directors Report- August 2016

Despite our relatively quiet lifestyles, the issues to navigate, negotiate and assist with are endless!

Here is a brief summary of the main issues I am working on. For more details, please contact me.

  1. Jewett School

As many are aware, School District 8 had proposed that Jewett School be closed and sold and that a portable be installed at the Lardeau Valley Hall for k-3 students. At the public meeting in Meadow Creek on June 20th it was obvious this was completely unacceptable to the residents. I offered to work with residents and our trustee Dawn Lang to find a suitable solution.

We received good news on June 30th– SD8 application to the Rural Education Enhancement Fund for Jewett was successful. Jewett will receive a grant of $46,000 for 2017/2018.

On July 5th, SD8 moved to defer closure of Jewett with the intention of exploring options to “transfer of title or financial burden that would maintain stable and sustainable educational programming in the community.” This means the discussion to transfer the building to a community partner will continue but the school is not facing closure at this time.

  1. Victorian Community Health Center

Number one lesson in politics, as easy and simple as an issue appears and the harder you try, the more complex the issue gets. We, the Health Select Committee, have been persevering on the push to have the VCHC open 7 days a week with primary and urgent care services available. We have been close to achieving this several times but have yet to see the agreement finalized. We continue with these efforts with the goal in clear sight.

  1. Sub-Regional Services (services shared between Kaslo and Area D)

As the chair of this committee, Mayor Hewat and I address the services that the Village of Kaslo and Area D share: Library, Parks and Recreation, Economic Development, Fire, Search and Rescue, and Emergency. At our June meeting, we discussed three of our shared services:

  1. Library Service

The library service is currently what is termed a ‘defined service’ area- not all land owners in D pay into it. Those that live outside the service area pay an annual fee to the Kaslo Library of $40. When reviewing the requisition rates verses annual membership fee for those not in the service area, it is more cost effective for the library user to be taxed for the library rather than pay the ‘out of area’ membership fee. As such, we will be going to an alternative approval process (AAP) in partnership with the Library Society for those communities to join the service. Look for more details in the near future.

  1. Parks and Recreation

Several years ago, residents in the community of Lardeau approached then Director Andy Shadrack to present their interest in having a wharf built. Grant money was awarded through Columbia Basin Trust’s affected areas fund. However, the community group was not able to get liability insurance. The RDCK, as directed by the Kaslo and Area D Recreation Commission, then applied for a license of occupation (LoO) on the crown land where the wharf would be built. This project came to our attention following the 2014 election. Kaslo, as an equal participant for the tax base to pay for the proposed wharf and park, had no information on the proposal. Mayor Hewat and I agreed at the time that there needed to be broader community input from all those that would be paying for it- all residents of Kaslo and Area D.

This public input process took place early in the spring of 2016. It included an overview of the proposed project implementation plan (PIP). The conclusion was that the park with a wharf does not have enough local support to move forward at this time. Over 75% of those who provided input were not in favour of a wharf. However, the majority are in favour of a day use park.

At this time, given the original interest in a wharf, the RDCK will not move forward on any actions with the land for which we have the LoO. Instead, we have asked the community group that began this process to re-evaluate where they would like to go. The money awarded via CBT to them for building the wharf remains available while they reassess next steps. Should they still want to build a wharf somewhere, they can pursue this directly with the Province. If not, the RDCK will come back to the constituents of Area D and Kaslo to assess the development of a day use park, an idea that did have broad support.

  1. Economic Development Service

The Sustainable Economic Development Select Committee (SEDS), a select committee of Kaslo Council, has been reviewing studies in order to determine what our region needs to build a more robust, sustainable economy. We will be having a one day strategic planning session that will inform the creation of a commission and partnership that will govern this service into the future. Our most recent action is moving forward on a renewable energy scan for Area D and the Village of Kaslo. This will lead to feasibility and business planning for renewable energy project(s) in the area. For SEDS meeting minutes and priorities to date, see the Village of Kaslo website (http://www.kaslo.ca/content/sustainable-economic-development-select-committee-seds)

  1. Funds

As Area Director, I have two funds for providing grants: Community Development (CD) and Community Works (CW).

CD funds are ‘payments in lieu of taxation’ (PILTs) which BC Hydro and Columbia Power provide to the RDCK. Area D’s annual allocation is around $89,000. The criteria for application is very broad and largely up to my discretion to direct. RDCK Board approval is required for each application.

CW is gas tax funds that are allocated based on population and received directly from the Federal Government under a provincial agreement. Applications require my support as Area D Director and the applications must meet the terms of that provincial agreement, RDCK Board approval is also required.

For a complete list of funds approved and committed in 2016, do contact me.

  1. New owners of MCC license

Porcupine Wood Products (PWP) of Salmo BC are the new owners of the Meadow Creek Cedar license. They have begun the work of catching up on silviculture obligations with the goal of being complete by 2017. As for logging, they came to the community of Argenta on June 28th to discuss the tenure surrounding the community. The conversation was heated, with some residents stating clearly that the Argenta Face should not be logged at all. Several residents would like to see the area brought into the Purcell Wilderness Conservancy. Other ideas such as maintaining the forest as key for carbon sequestration, slope stability and community values were highlighted. Other residents were willing to entertain the discussion with sustainable practices and wildfire mitigation as the foundation. When the tenure was part of BCTS, a working group was convened to outline the values that were essential to any logging plans in the community. PWP indicated they would be willing to meet these values and likely surpass them. Trust and relationship building were key to the discussion; residents indicating they need time to build both of these before entertaining any discussion about logging. PWP has yet to explore the tenure for any planning, they wanted to first engage the community.

  1. Conferences

I have attended several conference since January.

  1. Union of BC Municipalities Electoral Areas Forum (UBCM-EA) and Local Government Leadership Academy (LGLA) in Richmond early February. The UBCM EA was effective for information gathering and providing input on the new Water Sustainability Act, Fire Interface programs and funds, Product Stewardship (provincial recycling), Rural and remote Health, and the Rural Dividend. As a result, Area D has applied for funds to do a full area Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) and will be applying to the Rural Dividend in October for an Agricultural Incentive Program. The other forum session I was active in providing input and made several connections that have assisted both our recycling file and the issues we have faced with rural access to essential health care services.

The LGLA was focused on respect while being in an elected position. I am an honest person so I will state this was not an effective use of my time. I would assume if I was not aware of the value of respect; you would not have elected me. I won’t likely attend this conference again.

  1. Association Kootenay Boundary Local Government (AKBLG). This is the regional organization for local government. I attended the annual general meeting and conference in Kimberley late April. Great sessions on local government act, municipal and rural relations, medical marijuana regulations, economic development and the annual resolutions. Resolutions this body puts forward moves to the Provincial body- UBCM and Federal- FCM to affect policy change.
  2. Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) is always the first week of June, but moves across the country every year. This year we were in Winnipeg. This was my fourth FCM as I attended the first two as the alternate for Area D. It is a large conference that is mostly effective for its networking opportunities. My first conference was overwhelming urban centric with little relevant for rural communities. I am happy to report that with one of our RDCK directors- Leah Main from Silverton- now being on the national board has brought a very articulate rural voice. It was evident this year with a whole section of the conference geared towards rural representatives. One of the most effective sessions was policy speed dating where we sat with staff for the various funds FCM administers from the Federal Government. I provided much context to the limits that exist for our rural communities in accessing the funds as well as the criteria that is either irrelevant or lacking to be effective for us.
  3. Coming up in late September is UBCM, where we get to meet directly with ministers. I have requested meetings with the following Ministries:
  • Ministry of Transportation to ensure their commitment to paving Hwy 31 in 2017 is still scheduled.
  • Ministry of Agriculture to request, for the 4th time, that the Meat Inspection Regulation that applies to Area D be changed from an E to D or designated status for rural and remote communities.
  • Ministry of Forest Land and Natural Operations to discuss the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Board and our communities request to have a more integrated, effective consultation for projects they are carrying out.
  • I will partner with the Village of Kaslo to meet with the Ministry of Health to continue our efforts to lobby for effective emergency services in the area.
  1. Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust (SIDT)

I am the RDCK appointed representative on the board of the Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust (SIDIT). SIDIT was granted $50 million from the Province in the late 2000’s with the focus of invigorating economic development. SIDIT has been able to distribute $50 million yet still retains $50 million. This has been possible by the unique way they have been managing the funds. By investing a portion and loaning a portion, the original balance has been maintained. Both non- and for profits organizations can apply for grants or loans that meet the criteria. I attended the AGM and board meeting late June in Cranbrook where we discussed our investment strategies, a new business advisory service, review the audited financial statements for 2015 and elected our annual committees. I am happy to report that I was elected to the management committee and look forward to being more involved.

For more information about SIDIT please see: www.sidit-bc.ca

  1. Area D Advisory Planning Commission (APC)

The APC met on July 12th where they elected a new chair, Chris Carroll of Shutty Bench. The APC also discussed welcoming First Nations to the table, as per my request.

Former chair Richard Brenton has been guiding the APC since I was elected. Richard has been a wealth of knowledge that provided historical context essential to maintaining an even and fair approach to input on the land use decision that come through the APC. We will continue to enjoy his articulate and entertaining input on referrals as a member of the APC.

  1. Rural Dividend project

In partnership with North Kootenay Lake Community Services Society and LINKS, I have been creating an Agriculture Incentive Program for the North Kootenay Lake region. I plan to submit our application for funding to the Rural Dividend program late October. Primary deliverables will be:

  1. Farm Labour Subsidy Program
  2. Book keeping, financial analysis for farmers
  3. Season extension infrastructure subsidy
  4. Marketing Program- specific to North Kootenay Lake that includes distribution

This will be a 2-3 year program with the intention that succession planning in the services will enable sustainability.

  1. Mosquito Abatement- BC Hydro

The mosquito abatement program in the Lardeau Valley is closely tied to the operations of Duncan Dam. When the post freshet release exceeds the amount set out in the Water Use Plan (WUP), increased costs are incurred by the mosquito abatement program. The abatement program is paid for in part by taxation and in part by RDCK grants. During the original consultations on the WUP then Director Larry Greenlaw noted that the post freshet releases would likely result in increased costs to the program. These increased costs were not included in the WUP and, as a result, the program has been incurring extra costs since it began when post freshet releases exceed a certain amount. The RDCK, with the help of LINKS, submitted a proposal to BC Hydro to review and enable a criteria based program that would require BC Hydro to pay for the costs that are incurred if the post freshet release exceeds the amount set out in the WUP.

The mosquito abatement programs for both Pineridge and the Lardeau Valley now have a toll free number to call for concerns, questions or treatment areas. Please call 844-313-1913 should you need to contact the program.

  1. Food Policy Council

The RDCK in partnership with Community Futures Central Kootenay was successful with two grant applications. The Real Estate Foundation and Community Food Action Initiative will support a regional food policy council. Please see details here: http://www.rdck.ca/EN/meta/news/news-archives/2016-news-archive/thought-for-food-food-policy-council.html

 

 

 

July 22: BC Utilities survey:

2016-07-07-bc-utilities-comm

 

 

 

July 5: Regarding Jewett Elementary not closing.

…. It is good news, for now and yes I am optimisitic. The intent, as far as I can intertpret from the motion that was passed, is that they will move forward with the conversation regarding other options and do still plan to “transfer title and financial burden to community partners”. Same thing they are doing in Creston but it is at least 6 years into the development of the partnership with a large tax base- Creston, Areas A and B- I believe. The motion tonight is a delay and an opportunity for something better but I am still very cautious in accepting a financial burden that is supposed to be managed through already paid for provincial taxation. The deal will have to be sweet and not diminish already at capacity resources= your money. It is not about less for more. If you as the local community are going to bare the direct costs; you must be able to gain from it and not simply by maintaining what you already have- a public school. If the debate remains that it is due to underfunding, we do not solve it by picking up the tab, we lobby for a better system. All that being said, there are many possibilites on the table to explore. The options of a better scenario than status quo is not that unrealistic. I am grateful we can at least have time to explore what could work before the community is faced with no school at all. Pressue is off. And most importantly, its thanks to all of you. The passion, dedication, community collaboration, rallying and stories. What a beautiful night to be at that public meeting and hear so many stories, hear how it is all connected. This was reflected tongiht and did as you all intended: You saved the school. Good on you. Be proud Lardeau Valley.

 

June 13, 2016

Also this week, our Rural Affairs Committee. Agenda here:
http://www.rdck.ca/assets/Government/Documents/2016-06-RAC-Agenda-lr.pdf

June 13, 2016

It is a week packed full of meetings. I will share the details for those you may be interested in.
Tuesday June 14th, 6pm is the BC Hydro annual open house for updates on the Duncan Dam operations. am pleased to invite you to attend our operations update meeting and open house on Tuesday, June 14 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Lardeau Valley Community Club, located at 13429 Highway 31. Here are the details from BC Hydro:

At this meeting, BC Hydro will provide information regarding the operation of Duncan Dam and expected Duncan Reservoir summer levels, Duncan Water Use Plan programs, and other BC Hydro programs and initiatives.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Mary Anne Coules at 250-365-4565 or by email at maryanne.coules@bchydro.com.

 

June 13, 2016

Our monthly board meeting is Thursday June 16th. Feel free to read through and send me any comments, concerns or questions before the meeting.
Agenda(s) -two this week because we have so much to cover!- can be found here:
http://www.rdck.ca/…/2016-06-16-BRD_Agenda.compressed_Part1…
http://www.rdck.ca/…/2016-06-16-BRD_Agenda.compressed_Part2…

 

June 13, 2016

Central Resource Recovery Committee (CRRC) is where we discuss all of our resource recovery services. We meet quarterly as central (there are also the east side and west side committees) and then several times a year as joint resource (all of us across the Regional District)
Our CRRC meeting is this Wednesday the 15th at 9am. Here is that agenda:
http://www.rdck.ca/…/Wa…/Documents/2016-06-15_CRR_Agenda.pdf

 

June 12, 2016

The Columbia River Treaty is a big discussion. What is it? Where is it going? tWhat are the impacts to our vast landscapes? A discussion I am trying to stay well informed of.

The Columbia Basin Regional Advisory Committee (CBRAC) is where local government has had a direct connection to this process. Alhough I requested to sit on the committee; as the representative for Duncan Dam, I was unsuccesful in my attempts. The Regional District has appointed two representatives whom I consult with when notes are available from meetings, but I am not a committee member. I will continue to request a seat when appointees are made and have requested a meeting with Kathy Eichenberger- Executive Director for the Columbia River Treaty.

A great read that is concise yet full of details is the recently released “The Columbia River Treaty- A Primer”. It is fascinating to learn the immensity of what this treaty enabled in both positive and negative impacts. The landscape alone, is forever changed.
http://www.rmbooks.com/book_details.php…

One of the primary impacts of this treaty was the affect it had on the salmon of the lake. In honour of the history, a ” initiative of the Upper Columbia United Tribes based in Spokane will result in the first trans-boundary trip by water from the Arrow Lakes to Kettle Falls, Washington in over a century.” The attached story shares more on this historic treaty.

 

http://rosslandtelegraph.com/news/river-talks-%E2%80%94-stirring-waters-columbia-river-treaty-41777#.V17Qoq7qLcF

 

 

February 9, 2016

There has been so much going on that finding the time to sit down and report out has been challenging. None the less, I will now share a few posts about what has been going on.
Most recently, I attended my first board meeting as a director representing the Kootenays for the Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust (SIDIT). A non profit that started in 2006 with a one time grant of $50 million specifically for economic development in the Southern Interior. The North and the Island were also given funds; known as the Islands Trust and the Northern Development Initiative Trust (NDIT).
For the Southern Interior; the funds have been very well managed by investing, doing loans as well as grants and now embarking on a business advisory pilot project. SIDIT provides funding of both grants and loans meeting specific target areas that overall must generate economic development for the South.
If you are a business, entrepreneur or non profit working in any field related to job creation and/or building the prosperity of the area and need some assistance, please do check them out. I would very much love to see some innovative enterprises being supported in North Kootenay Lake.

http://www.sidit-bc.ca/

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February 2016

My recent article to the Valley Voice regarding our (Kaslo and Area D’s) Economic Development Service was cut and did miss some pertinent points. Hard to narrow the details down into a short story. For the full story, here it is:
Kaslo and Area D’ Economic Development Service
Recently reported in both the Valley Voice and through my quarterly newsletter was that the shared economic development service between Kaslo and Area D has been amended to include a rate limit of .50/$1000 of net taxable land and improvements. I would like to ensure that you, as the taxpayer in this service, fully understand what this means and what it may do.
Firstly, this service, which has been in place since the 1980’s, previously had NO taxation limit in the bylaw; this meant that the elected officials could have taxed for this service at any rate they desired- $1/$1000, $5/$1000 and so on. Mayor Hewat and I agreed that we needed to amend the bylaw so that there was a limit to what could be taxed. This does not mean this IS what you will be taxed for in 2016, it simply means that we cannot tax any higher than that for this service. It is quite rare that a service would not have a mill rate limit, so when we discovered this service was unlimited, we knew we needed to put a limit in.
What Does this mean for 2016?
All services must be looked at, from my perspective, as an accumulative whole. Meaning, what you see as your total tax rate is what I consider in the decision making process. As all of our services are in a position where an increase in taxation looks possible, , there is a chance that Mayor Hewat and I will determine that this service will not be active in 2016, and as a result will have no taxation. However, we will not know exactly what overall taxation is going to be for another few weeks as the budgets are currently being prepared. Once we see those, as a shared service, the Mayor and I will discuss what, if anything, this service should be set at for 2016.
What Does an Economic Development Service Do?
Economic development is a broad term and the service structure could take many forms. Three years ago, at the request of the people of the day, Village of Kaslo council established the Sustainable Economic Development Select Committee (SEDS) to review, assess and direct council on ways to encourage economic development in Kaslo and Area D. I have been a member of this committee since late 2013 and became chair in 2015. The focus, for some time, was quite ad-hoc, an on-going list of projects that would get tossed around meeting after meeting with some taking actions to further them and others more focused on trying to grasp our economic state in North Kootenay Lake.
In late 2014 North Kootenay Lake Community Services (NKLCSS) had just completed their Project Comeback program which surveyed and assessed youth retention in our communities. Some of the major highlights were employment, agriculture and affordable housing. NKLCSS was then asked if they would coordinate a business, retention and expansion (BR&E) project to assess the current business climate. Working with the SEDS committee to guide the process, the BR&E project completed surveys and then presented the findings at a public forum called ‘Kickstart Kaslo’ late last fall. The purpose of the forum was to provide the results and seek input from the community about what and how we, as local government, could assist economic development for the area. The short story on the results was that many of the services businesses and non-profits would benefit from are already available through a variety of organizations, but they need assistance in networking to connect with them. The remainder of the results indicated that the public is interested in seeing local government play a role in economic development. As the service mentioned above has been in place since the 1980’s, there is no requirement for local government to seek permission to activate the service (ie: a referendum), however, as elected representatives and the SEDS committee is not comfortable with that, this forum was used as a launching pad to engage you, the taxpayer, for your guidance and input. Throughout the process, SEDS has also established a list of priority areas to focus on. While enabling jobs and stimulating the market is far from the reach of local government, ensuring we have an affordable place to live with sustainable services is within our realm. What we should all acknowledge, and quickly, is that the global economy is in a dire situation. Innovative ways to create sustainable living is an area we need to be focusing on. You will see that these are the areas that SEDS has indicated are top priorities:
– Broadband and overall connectivity
– Affordable housing
– Renewable energy project(s)
– Tourism
All of these priority areas are already moving forward with clear direction. Broadband is on its way to the majority of Area D through KiN with significant funding from Area D grants (gas tax), Columbia Broadband Corporation and the Federal Government. I have asked LINKS in the Lardeau Valley to research connectivity options, including cell phone coverage, in our remote areas. We are staying tuned to how the affordable housing society is moving forward with their plans. Both Kaslo and Area D will be engaged in Community Energy Plans that will provide essential baseline research to guide what and how renewable energy projects could be created. We have provided supports through our Chamber of Commerce for a variety of tourism initiatives. All of this has occurred without taxation thus far, but the intent is that once we have solid plans in place, we would activate the ED service so that we can use the funds to leverage significant funds from other sources.
All of the work and intentions for further development in this service are available online on the Village of Kaslo website under the SEDS link. Our primary interest is, if and when we activate this service, to ensure that taxation would be use to a) leverage other funds for significant projects and b) focus on projects that will demonstrate a return on investment to the taxpayer.
To hear and provide input on the overall 2016 budget, I encourage, in fact request you all to attend the Kaslo and Area D budget meeting on February 29th at 6pm in Kaslo- look for advertisements soon. As well the SEDS committee meets every 2nd Monday of the month at 2pm in Village Chambers- these meetings are always open to the public.
And of course, you can always contact me directly. awatson@rdck.bc.ca or 250-353-7113
Sincerely,
Aimee Watson
Director, Area D
RDCK

 

 

 

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January 2016 Quarterly Directors Update: Area D, RDCK.

Aimee Watson, Director.

January 2016

I am currently addressing the following topics on behalf of residents of Area D:

  1. Healthcare:

After 3 years of trying to secure doctors to work at the Kaslo Primary Health Centre, Interior Health has signed contracts and we now have two FTE’s (full time equivalent) positions shared between 3 doctors. This has led to further agreements amongst the doctors to adjust their schedules so that there will be doctors available to see patients seven days a week in the Primary Health Centre. The issue of Emergency department coverage has not been dropped – the liaisons between the Health Select Committee and I.H. continue to meet and discuss options in order to eventually regain emergency department services for Kaslo and area.

To read the Health Select Committee minutes, or access other documents the committee has created please go to the Village of Kaslo website: http://www.kaslo.ca/

  1. Recycling: Recycling, as a whole, is in a state of fluctuation as the province has attempted to take over delivery of the service by having the producers of the products be responsible for the costs of recycling. Multi Materials BC (MMBC) is responsible for managing this service (for more information visit http://www.multimaterialbc.ca). In 2013, the RDCK reviewed the requirements to join the program and determined that it was not yet conducive to the needs of our rural sites, thus we declined at the time and continue to offer the service of recycling until the provincial program will enable a viable recycling service for all residents of BC. However, for various municipalities, including the Village of Kaslo, the program was viable. The Village chose to join the program and to encourage its residents to use the curbside option, requested that the RDCK move its recycling infrastructure outside of village limits. As tenants on their land, we complied with their request despite the impact it would have to residents.

The new recycling infrastructure was approved in the 2011 Waste Recovery Plan adopted by the RDCK board at that time. The purpose of changing infrastructure is to meet our goals of zero waste while reducing inefficiencies. The new infrastructure will be saving the Regional District an estimated $200,000 a year as items are better compacted at the point of pickup, which reduces the number of trips our contractor is required to make.

Mayor Hewat and I continue to work with our ICI (commercial sector) to identify the best solutions for them.

  1. Recreation Commission: The Kaslo and Area D recreation and parks commission met in December and made recommendations to Mayor Hewat and myself, who jointly work on the budget for this service. The Commission covers facilities and parks in Kaslo and Area D. The recommendations are reviewed at budget time in conjunction with all of other service requests for the 2016 budget year. We consider the overall impact to Kaslo and Area D taxation as well as the priorities of the region when determining service and grant levels. . The newest amenity on the list is the Lardeau Park.

3a. I am currently working with LINKS on investigations into insurance costs for groups who manage and/or own community halls or other publicly used buildings, in order to find and hopefully ameliorate any financial inefficiencies for the groups and for the benefit of effective use of requisition in order to make the available funds go further.

  1. Food Policy: The Regional District has applied to Interior Health for funding in order to determine what the most conducive structure would be for creating a Regional Food Policy Council. The intent of a regional Food Policy Council will be to enable capacity building for all of our bioregional efforts and to be a network that will bring together the various actions that can benefit the region as a whole.
  1. 2015 Grant Funds dispersed for Area D:

I have three different sources of funds to disperse in Area D and Kaslo:

  1. Community Development (PILTs) (+/- $75,000) are given out over the course of the year and there are usually requests for up to $200,000 from this fund. I have carried over the funding advisory committee that previous Director Shadrack initiated. This committee reviews projects for both Community Development as well as the Affected Areas and Community Initiatives funding.

In 2015 I dispersed a total of $98,244 in grants for 25 projects. For a full list of which organizations were funded for how much, please contact me.

  1. Community Works (Gas Tax) ( +/- $60,000) is used for infrastructure needs including broadband and water systems.
  1. Community Initiatives/Affected Areas Funding:       This is funding from the Columbia Basin Trust

that the Regional District administers and is for use by communities in the Regional District. The application forms are now available for downloading from the following link; either printable, or fillable on line.

         (http://www.rdck.ca/EN/main/administration/grants/columbia-basin-trust-cip-aap.htm     This link also gives a summary of all funds allocated in each area of the Regional District in previous years.

     The application period is January 11 to February 29, 2016.

There is an advisory committee in place which vets each application for Kaslo and Area D to make sure all applications are eligible; they are also reviewed by RDCK staff prior to being added to the slate for presentation at the public meeting held each year. The Affected Areas meeting will be held at the LV hall in Meadow Creek this year. A date in April will be identified and advertised soon. Community Initiatives meeting will be held in Kaslo at that time.

  1. Economic Development Service:

For the past 7 years there has been a shared (but dormant), economic development service for Kaslo

and Area D. The Sustainable Economic Development Select Committee (SEDS) have created a

framework for how the service would operate. The focus for this service will be based on the

Business Retention and Expansion project results and priorities identified by SEDS using this information will be supported. The projects supported through this service will be those which can show a strong return on investment over the long term.

  1. Meat Inspection Regulation appeal:

I now have put an appeal forward 4 times at the Province of BC. I have always received the same reply, but my request has never been clearly acknowledged. The request is that:   Area D which is considered “rural and remote”, be allowed to have a Class D designation: this would allow for farmers to keep and process up to 25 animal units, which would make it more economically viable for small producers in the area. Currently, farmers in Area D can apply for a Class E designation, however, this only allows for up to 10 animal units per property, and this is not (discovered through research done previously) economically viable here. I will continue to pursue this and put the appeal forward again at the Ministry of Agriculture.

  1. Broadband and Connectivity:

I am happy to be supporting the broadband project which will be funded from both the Community Works and Community Development funds of Area D for $40,000. The project is supported by the Columbia Broadband Corporation, an arm of CBT and will be implemented

locally through K.I.N, Residents can expect an increase in   internet services over the coming year.

  1. Ainsworth: The comprehensive land use bylaw- 2nd public hearing will be on January 25th at

   6pm. Notices will be in the January 12th and 19th editions of the Pennywise. Residents who cannot make the meeting and would like to make a formal submission can do so via email or phone by 4pm January 25th. For more details please contact the RDCK planning department: 250 352 6665.

  1. License, CanFor: Mayor Hewat and I will be meeting with Canfor management in January to see how they will be supporting the local economy (Area D)
  1. Highways and Roads: I have remained in touch with the Ministry of Transportation regarding improvements to Hwy 31 north of Kaslo. At present, upgrades are scheduled (from Kaslo to Meadow Creek) for 2017.
  1. Committees and Boards: I am on the following committees and boards. Information from these groups can be accessed via the RDCK website and/or the Village of Kaslo website.

Parcel Tax Review Committee

Southern Interior Development Initiatives Trust (SIDIT)

Seniors Advisory Committee, NKLCSS

Lake Advisory Committee for the Friends of Kootenay Lake Society (FOKL)

Chair: Sustainable Economic Development Select Committee (VoK)

Executive Liaison to Interior Health, Health Select Committee (VoK)

Executive Emergency Committee, RDCK

Rural Affairs Committee, RDCK

Central Resource Recovery Committee CRRC- RDCK

West Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital District Board WKBRHD

Chair: Sub-regional Committee for Kaslo and Area D

Chief: Mom to Fynnigan….

  1. Conference attendance in 2016 (to date):

– Electoral Area Forum and Local Government Leadership Academy:

February (Richmond)

– Association of Kootenay Boundary Local Government

April (Kimberley)

– Federation of Canadian Municipalities

June (Winnipeg)

– Union of BC Municipalities

September (Vancouver)

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August 12: Official announcement by IHA re: new Docs signing on.

Here is the PR from IHA regarding the new Dr’s at VCHC:
Interior Health is pleased to announce two new physicians for Kaslo.

Dr. Fen Smit and Dr. Shelina Musaji, who have both provided locum coverage in Kaslo, will be sharing a full-time position at Victorian Community Health Centre starting on Sept. 1.

The new physicians join Dr. Isabelle-Anne Fontaine in supporting primary care and emergency department services for Kaslo and area.

Health centre staff will begin booking appointments with the new physicians starting next week. To book an appointment with a physician, call 250-353-2291 extension 5.

IH would like to recognize the contributions of the Kaslo and Area D Healthcare Select Committee, the Village of Kaslo Mayor and Council, and Regional District of Central Kootenay Area D Director Aimee Watson for their work with the Province, HealthMatch BC, and Interior Health in supporting recruitment of these new physicians.

 

August 11: comments re: healthcare situation in Kaslo and area D and clarifying points:

So much to share. I will start with fee for service. The council committee did research with a doctor a few years back, after the intimal announcement of closure, the fee for service model. IHA unlike in New Denver, will not grant access to our VCHC facility to fee for service doctors meaning they would have to cover all of their own overheard. From building to secretaries, equipment etc. That is direct information from IHA. THIS IS THE PROBLEM> not that one committee is going for a different model then another. Once the dr’s in New Denver are gone, they will be facing the same issues. And although New Denver is smaller, they serve the full Slocan area, so in fact have a larger population they are serving. The viability of fee for service under the IHA management would not be affordable thus the dr’s that looked at it were not interested. It is a management and bureaucratic issue that yes, is dividing our community and IHA is most likely laughing at as we all squabble. Throwing IHA out is not as simple as it sounds- I have looked at the legal ability to both sue IHA and reclaim the VCHC facility. There is little to stand on in either situation. The council committee was created to find a solution in the bureaucratic nightmare- that alone is extremely time consuming. What became the focus of the committee was being involved in doctor recruitment as that is the foundation to anything working. We are not responsible for the dr’s who chose to leave nor the dr’s who chose to apply. We are merely trying to ensure they are a fit for our community, would be open to hours outside of 9-5 and are going to stick around. Given this is not OUR process- to hire and recruit, but we were able to be involved, reporting out is difficult when its not our information to share. There was a report released recently that summarized everything that has occurred thus far, coles notes version and before folks jump to conclusion, I would recommend reading that. Re-instating 24/7 ER is our focus, but it is not our jurisdiction (its provincial) and it is very complicated. We have asked the new society to meet with the council committee to share all facts to ensure we are all a) on the same page about what is possible and what is not based on the facts at hand and b) to work together. Once that invitation is accepted, I hope to see a more unified and productive approach to re-instating our essential services come to fruition. Last but not least, I have asked IHA reps to come to the community and share the facts directly with all of us. As one of the elected officials providing the information as it comes to me, I feel as though I have been put in the awkward position of speaking for them and that is not my role, nor should it be the others on council. I honestly feel IHA needs to come back to a public meeting and we can all hash this out and ask them directly, not the elected folks who are merely those trying to make something work and being the messenger all at the same time. They did not accept my invitation. Wonder why?

 

Update from Aimee:

Hello Area D! There has been so much going on that finding the time to sit down and report out has been challenging. None the less, I will now share a few posts about what has been going on.
Most recently, I attended my first board meeting as a director representing the Kootenays for the Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust (SIDIT). A non profit that started in 2006 with a one time grant of $50 million specifically for economic development in the Southern Interior. The North and the Island were also given funds; known as the Islands Trust and the Northern Development Initiative Trust (NDIT).


For the Southern Interior; the funds have been very well managed by investing, doing loans as well as grants and now embarking on a business advisory pilot project. SIDIT provides funding of both grants and loans meeting specific target areas that overall must generate economic development for the South.


If you are a business, entrepreneur or non profit working in any field related to job creation and/or building the prosperity of the area and need some assistance, please do check them out. I would very much love to see some innovative enterprises being supported in North Kootenay Lake.
http://www.sidit-bc.ca/

 

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July 13:

 

High Speed Internet Services:

From Director Watson:

A Federal grant that we (Area D) applied for in conjunction with other rural areas in both RDCK and RDEK has been approved for broadband internet to come to rural communities. I committed $40,000 in partnering funds for Area D’s infrastructure and should see some vastly improved internet services in the next year or so. The project will be administered through KiN.

PR:

MP David Wilks and Minister James Moore announce major investment that will bring fast, reliable Internet services to 11,000 homes

Everyday tasks that were once done in person, such as shopping, communicating, learning and banking, are now done online. To help Canadians have better access to these and many other online opportunities, the Honourable James Moore, Minister of Industry and Minister Responsible for British Columbia, and David Wilks, Member of Parliament for Kootenay-Columbia, announced that the Government of Canada will provide $3.34 million to Columbia Basin Trust to bring high-speed Internet services to approximately 11,000 households in British Columbia.
“Columbia Basin Trust is committed to bringing better broadband to the Columbia Basin-Boundary region, and this funding is an important step forward in giving over 11,000 households the ability to participate fully in the digital world,” said Neil Muth, President and CEO, Columbia Basin Trust. “Thank you to the Minister, the Government of Canada, our local government partners and Internet service providers for their efforts in bringing affordable high-speed Internet services to our communities.”
Under the Connecting Canadians program, the Columbia Basin Trust will receive $3.34 million to connect approximately 11,000 households in the Kootenay region, including in Ainsworth Hot Springs, Baynes Lake, Beaver Valley, Blewett, Boswell, Boundary (Bridesville to Christina Lake), Bountiful, Brisco, Canal Flats, Canyon, Crawford Bay, Deer Park, Edgewater, Edgewood, Elk Valley, Elko, Fairmont Hot Springs, Ferguson,Field, Fruitvale, Genelle, Glade, Grasmere, Gray Creek, Harrogate, Harrop, Jaffray, Kingsgate, Kitchener, Lister, Moyie Lake,     Northern Kootenay Lake communities,      Parson, Renata, Riondel, Ross Spur, rural Rossland, Salmo, Sirdar, Slocan Valley, Spillimacheen, South Slocan,Tarrys, Thrums, Wasa, West Creston, Whatshan Lake and surrounding area, Wilmer, Windermere, Wynndel, Yahk and Ymir.
The Trust’s subsidiary, Columbia Basin Broadband Corporation, will be coordinating this project and working with the following 12 Internet service providers:

*         China Creek Internet Services Ltd.

*         Columbia Wireless Inc.

*         East Shore Internet Society

*         Edgewood Community Internet Society dba: Inonoaklin Edgewood Broadband

*         FlexiNET Broadband Inc.

*         Kaslo InfoNet Society

*         Peak Broadband Solutions

*         0764016 B.C. Ltd dba: SWIFT Internet

*         Tough Country Communication Ltd.

*         Trout Lake BC Internet Society

*         Warner E. Einer dba: WINK Wireless

*         Yahk Area Communications Society
Read the full news release. http://news.gc.ca/web/article-en.do?nid=997839

MEDIA CONTACT
Rachel Lucas
Columbia Basin Trust
1.800.505.8998
1.250.426.1103
rlucas@cbt.org<mailto:rlucas@cbt.org>

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July 13, 2015

I would like to share a press release written by the community of Johnsons Landing; it outlines the dire situation they are still in three years after the horrific landslide that devastated the community. My heart aches that in 2015, water and health care are my primary fights for our communities’. What are we doing Canada?

“Three years after the landslide destroyed homes and lives, the residents of Johnson’s Landing still do not have a permanent water system.

On July 12 and 13, 2012, a disastrous landslide and mudslide wreaked havoc in the tiny remote Kootenay community of Johnson’s Landing. Those of us who remain have had our lives irrevocably changed. We’ve lost friends, neighbours, land, forest, homes, a way of life and, that most precious of basic needs; water.

Gar Creek, our water source, is in a”very high hazard zone” and active slide path prohibiting our ability to access water for drinking, irrigation and fire protection. The evacuation order was lifted on July 31, 2014 but the on-going hazard rating was assessed as “very high hazard” in the Geotechnical report issued July 25, 2014 that includes warnings such as ” Even temporary or seasonal uses are subject to significant risk to the safety of your property and person, including life, by debris flows in the area”. With a significant scarp of 800,000 sq.m of material that remains at the top of Gar Creek, the area remains a hazard zone as prescribed by the Province and administered by the RDCK.

Much has been done by the residents to recover but a stable, permanent water system remains elusive. Working with the Interior Health Authority, a system has been designed to source water from an acceptable location 1600 meters above the hazard zone but projected expenses and government inertia hinder further progress. Engineered plans were completed by Urban Systems Ltd. IHA granted a construction permit (Jan. 8, 2015) based on those plans plus a commitment to install approved point-of-entry water treatment systems at each dwelling. Those systems have been installed and are up and running. A detailed budget/cost estimate has been developed by the project manager.

The RDCK, the Ministry of Community, Sports and Cultural Development, Disaster Fund Assistance, The Columbia Basin Trust and private donations have provided significant funding that enabled us to get this far. The project is “shovel-ready”, however with a $192,000 short fall necessary to complete it, another construction season has gone by while the community’s water remains very vulnerable.

Fifteen non-government based funding entities have been approached for help. With a one-off exception, all have responded by saying that funding water systems is a governmental function and they cannot participate.

RDCK Area D Director Aimee Watson and Chair Karen Hamling have requested to meet with Ministers to present our case and specifically request the short fall. So far, these efforts have met with rejection or postponement. We have been told that the Province cannot find a suitable ministry or other governmental function empowered with a mandate to help people in an emergency such as ours. Gar Creek water society does not fit into any of the boxes and are consequently left with a basic need, water, unattainable.

Provincial MLAs and Federal MP Candidates are being invited during this 3rd anniversary period to be updated on the status and refreshed as to the realities of this event and its consequences. We hope they will explore with us solutions to help make the plan a reality.”

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Notes from June 15th meeting:

Meadow Creek Cedar: What does the future look like?

Lardeau Valley Community Club

Monday June 15, 2015. 6:30 to 8:30 pm

Meeting Objectives:

  1. Update the current state of affairs with the MCC mill and tenure;
  2. Discuss and understand the level of local support for keeping the MCC mill open and acquiring the MCC tenure; and
  3. Provide local residents opportunities to discuss the MCC mill and tenure and related economic development opportunities.

Panel of Speakers:

Deb Borsos: LINKS
Dwight Smith: Hamill Creek Timberwrights
John Aitken: Local resident perspective
Aimee Watson:  RDCK Area D Director
Rod Arnold: Meadow Creek Cedar
Garth Wiggle: Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations

Meeting Notes:

Following introductions of panel members there was a moderated discussion:

Status of the MCC license

  • The License has been suspended
  • The Ministry will not issue a cut permit to the current owner
  • 391 km of roads under permit.
  • 96,000 cubic meters per year. This is the equivalent of 370 hectares of harvest per year
  • Cancellation of the MCC License will be effective August 7th if the liabilities are not met — Debt to the Ministry, silviculture, past poor performance
  • MCC has not appealed the cancellation. They have, however, requested a hearing to review the current state and most likely request an extension to the cancellation notice in order to find a qualified buyer
  • A qualified buyer, if brought forward by current owner, could then request postponing the cancellation
  • The Ministry is working with a lawyer to clarify what is meant by a ‘qualified buyer’; overall they must have: resources, capacity, ability to deliver, assessment of liabilities
  • Debt to the Ministry would need to be fulfilled by a sale before lifting a cancellation notice.
  • Ensuring contractors are paid is tricky, but the Ministry is looking into a legal opinion on how they may be able to intervene to ensure payments are made to all outstanding bills.

Undercut:

  • Because of past poor performance there is now a large undercut. This is wood that has not been harvested for much of the past 5 years.
  • MCC can only sell one third of undercut
  • BCTS has applied for 80,000 cubic meters of undercut.
  • Money from this sale would go straight to the Ministry to cover outstanding liabilities.
  • The undercut, if unused or unsold, will disappear at the end of 2015.
  • If the license goes to full cancellation then the Ministry will regain it and can reallocate the volume or decide not to.
  • If the license is returned to the Ministry it could be direct awarded to a First Nations or a Community Forest.

How are liabilities realistically assessed?

  • Crown has a role to provide the current status on the liabilities;
  • How a business may quantify them for value will range based on that businesses intentions and operations
  • Once a qualified buyer comes forward and is accepted by the Ministry, ‘subject to’ clauses can be made upon the sale to ensure liabilities are met. The buyer would work with MFLNRO to give time to assess.

MCC Trust:

  • The current owner has a trust where all cash received is placed and cannot be accessed by the owner.
  • Any revenues to the trust will go to revenue Canada first, then the crown then to other liabilities such as outstanding contractor invoices.
  • The current owner would not get any money from any sale until the government debts are covered (Revenue Canada and the Ministry)
  • However, there is no legislation to ensure the liabilities to other private businesses are paid out before the owner takes a profit.
  • A lawyer manages this trust.

Bids on the table:

  • Currently 7 on the table of which only 3 are interested in the mill
  • If the owner accepts an offer before August 7th, the sale is negotiated between the buyer and the seller
  • If a deal is made, the license details would be negotiated with MFLNRO
  • the Ministry has nothing to say or do with the mill, just the license
  • The owner has said that he is willing to help finance a buyer
  • Appurtenancy that ties a license to a specific mill and delivers local employment was eliminated from the legislation 10 years ago. Therefore the Ministry has no backing to favor a bid that would include the mill over one that does not.

Options looking forward

  • Using wood waste at the mill to create bio-energy
  • Transportation and distance to market are biggest barriers
  • Volume of license is not viable for dimensional products; must produce value added products
  • Local bid would look at a lower level of cut to account for past poor management and the fact that the Argenta / Johnsons Landing area is included in the MCC license area
  • A realistic annual harvest is 50,000 cubic meters
  • One option is to cut hemlock and stain it to look like teak; high value
  • Selkirk Specialty Wood uses a high utilization model by clustering enterprises just as Valemont has done
  • Could do wood waste energy 5 months of the year from mill with a complement of 7 months of the year energy from Duncan Dam power generation

Conclusions:

  • Waiting game to see if the current owner chooses a bid
  • Local bid working hard to make a viable business with options to build onto down the road;
  • The goal is job creation and re-localization of resources into the North Kootenay Lake area
  • All agree the current owner has to go
  • District Manager Wiggle will keep Director Watson appraised of what Is happening
  • Residents should contact Director Watson for further information

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June 15:

Meadow Creek Cedar: Current state and discussion of potential opportunities to move forward. A lively and moderated discussion to discuss how the MCC tenure and mill- or other enterprises- could be harnessed as opportunities to create jobs and re-localization of resources for North Kootenay Lake.
6:30pm, Lardeau Valley Community Club

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Area D Director Report April 28

mcroad
Johnsons Landing
Three years later, the community of Johnsons Landing is still working on re-building the community water system (for those south of Gar Creek) that was taken out by the devastating landslide in July of 2012. Rebuilding this system is onerous and has required much exploration into other options as well as Gar Creek itself; the primary source of water remains in a high hazard zone with a very large scarp still resting at the top of the creek. A well was drilled but is not viable due to water capacity and safety; pumping from lake was explored but would require much infrastructure as well as rely on power which is not a constant in the remote community. The only option for water remains to be Gar Creek, but above the hazard zone. The total cost for the water system is approximately $280,000. Area D has committed a total of $120,000, home owners have provided $30,000 + infinite hours of volunteer time. The project has a $125,000 short fall. We have had several meetings with Interior Health and the members of Gar Creek Water Users (GCWUA). The ability to amend the requirements was explored, but GCWUA indicated mitigated costs now would only increase risks that could end up costing the community down the road with a possible slide again in the future. The good news from IHA, mostly due to previous director Shadrack efforts, the first Point of Entry units for a small water system were approved for GCWUA.
Our next steps are going back to the province to request funds so this community can complete the infrastructure that will secure the basic need for drinking water.

Meadow Creek Cedar
The date of March 31st has come and gone. The Ministry of Forest Lands and Natural Resources is currently assessing if all issues were amended by the deadline. If not, the license for MCC will be cancelled. There is active interest to purchase both the license and mill from a variety of parties. I am hoping that a group that enables the mill to re-open and localizes operations so resources can build the economy within North Kootenay Lake is successful in their bid.

Mosquito Abatement Program- Lardeau Valley
The abatement programs for both Lardeau Valley and Pine Ridge are fully funded and ready for operations in 2015. The Lardeau Valley program has faced some challenges with one of the largest being some land owners in the area indicating they would not allow abatement on their lands. Through work of former director Shadrack, this season’s applications for 2015 are secure and able to move forward. However, I will be needing to work on the long term ability to allow abatement on Nature Trust Lands. I have offered to work with the NT to assess and research both the potential impacts of abatement on the food chain for other species as well as the impact of increased wetlands being created in the area; I am hopeful we can find an opportunity to put some facts to the fears and find a mutually agreeable compromise that will both support the environment while also enabling the residents in the Lardeau Valley to be safe, healthy and enjoy their beautiful backyards.

Advisory Planning Commission
We have a new Advisory Planning Commission. I am grateful to all those who have volunteered to provide input into land use planning in Area D.
Affected Areas/Community Initiatives Funding Program
There are two funds that are administered through the RDCK from CBT. Affected Areas are for those within the catchment of the dams build in the Columbia River Treaty. Community Initiatives are for all basin residents. In Area D, we access both Affected Areas Funds and Community Initiatives. As Area D has over 16 communities, of which only 7 are eligible as within the catchment area for AAF, we choose to pool our Community Initiatives with Kaslo. The pooled funds then include both Kaslo related applications as well as the other 9 communities in Area D.
This year, we saw applications for AAF request a total of $137,128. Available funds is: $73,941
For CI, a total request of $96,365 with available funds of $53,922.
Both public input meetings have been held, projects and allotments approved will be forwarded to the May RDCK board meeting for final approval.

Kaslo Transfer Station Closure
The Kaslo dump closure has been postponed due to all tenders coming in at a significant increase to the budge set. The RFP will go out again with a shift in the scope of the project to meet available budgetary needs. Once we have a successful bid and set closure dates, I hope to be working on a zero waste challenge to highlight the efforts of reducing our waste overall. Keep posted.

As for the renovations to both Kaslo and Balfour; the purpose is to install transtor’s that reduce trucking expenses by compacting more waste on site previous to shipping to the landfill at Oostenchinia. As waste is service spread across the Central Kootenays, it is challenging to itemize the savings specifc to the Kaslo Transfer station. We are part of a much larger service that all residents in the Central region pay into. However, there are estimates as to what the current hauling costs are and what they will be reduced to once transtor’s are installed.
Waste transfer costs are estimated at $4,926,846 (again, across the service area- this is not the cost attributed to Kaslo alone)
With the new transtor system at transfer station, transfer costs are estimated to be $2,106,900.

Association Kootenay Boundary Local Government (AKBLG)
I have just returned from my first AKBLG conference held in Nakusp this year. This organization is the amalgamation of local governments across the Kootenay Boundary region with a primary mandate to work together on resolutions and policies that are then forwarded to the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) for consideration and hopefully, implementation.
My success story with this conference includes the opportunity to re-submit a resolution concerning Disaster Financial Assistance (DFA) that former director Shadrack presented at last year’s UBCM that unfortunately was not supported. The resolution reflects the intent that this program needs to be re-evaluated and more conducive to those that disasters affect , such as witnessed by residents of Johnsons Landing. My ability to have it voted in as part of the resolutions to move forward to UBCM means we will once again open the discussion about the fund and how compensation is determined.

Meetings
As part of my duties, I attend several meetings a month to conduct the RDCK business. The board itself meets the third Thursday of the month, then Rural Affairs the third Wednesday of the month. I am also a director on the West Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital District and Central Resource Recovery. Through the board itself, I have been appointed to both the Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust (SIDIT) and Parcel Tax Roll Review committee. I have also committed to sit on the Friends of Kootenay Lake Advisory Committee and recently attended a food systems planning session for the area of Central Kootenays.
For details on our meetings; agenda’s and minutes, please see this link:
http://www.rdck.ca/…/governme…/meetings-agendas-minutes.html
There is much more, but will leave it at that for now.
Happy Spring!

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Area D Director update April 6.

One of the many monthly meetings I attend is the Sustainable Economic Development Select Committee (SEDS) in Kaslo. This year I was voted in as Chair for this committee. I will be focusing on assessing with the committee a dormant ED (economic development) service Kaslo and Area D share to A) see what we could best do if we activated it and          B) how would we best be able to use the funds to help as a financial incubator for our regional economy?

Today I got to spend the afternoon with the Chair of the Slocan Valley Economic Development Commission- Miss Leah Main. We had a very informative meeting and I learned a lot, including how the Slocan Valley runs their commission, the opportunities and challenges as well as having a hearty conversation about the economy in our most rural settings. For details about SEDS, see here:

http://www.kaslo.ca/search/node/SEDS

 

 

April  2    2015:

Affected Areas funding meeting: April 13 at 7pm at the Argenta Hall.

Community Initiatives funding meeting: April 16th at 7pm, Kaslo Legion.

**See blogpage for specifics on amounts of asks, and amounts available.

 

 

Newsletter from the West Kootenay-Boundary Regional Hospital  District Board

http://www.rdck.ca/assets/WKBR~Hospital~District/Documents/2015-03-Spotlight.pdf

 

March 19 2015 Updates:

Meadow Creek Cedar: We are requesting support from our MLA to advocate for a tenure sale which favours a localization of resources; which means the mill is up and operational as a mill, not a sorting yard and that the tenure is managed sustainably for a longer term than the current 30 year level of forestry stock thus creating sustainable employment.

Johnsons Landing Water: We are exploring all possible avenues to come up with the remaining money needed to support a safe and secure water system for Gar Creek Water Users. Total cost due to having to build an intake 1600 meters up the mountain is approximately $280K. The good news is that the Gar Creek Water Users Association is one of the fist small water systems in the province to use approved Point of Entry systems as opposed to a community Water System.

Mosquito Abatement: the program for 2015 is fully funded and ready to begin

 

 

 

Report from Area D Director.

Directors Report: Area D, Regional District Central Kootenay

January 2015

This is the first in what will be many reports out to the residents of Area D. My intention is to provide you with updates on what is occurring in your region, what I am working on and ask for input where necessary. This first one will provide an overview of the list of activities for the beginning of 2015. (The ones I am aware of J)

  1. Broadband for Kaslo and Area D

Monday, January 5th the rural directors for the RDCK (not municipalities) were asked to join a conference call regarding broadband internet services. The call introduced a project that included both the Central Kootenays and Kootenay Boundary with the Columbia Broadband Corporation (an arm of the CBT) and our local ISP’s (internet service providers). This project is a group application for Federal funds to provide infrastructure for broadband in rural areas. The call was to seek support and funds from local area directors. While I fully support the application, the request for funds for our area was extremely high and I was not able to contribute the amount requested. I was able to contribute a significant amount, but not the full amount. It was later determined that about half of the households that the project would affect were Kaslo residents. I have requested that Kaslo be informed and invited to participate. We will know in March if Industry Canada have approved the project.

 

  1. Meadow Creek Forest Products (mill and tree license)

I am organizing a meeting to explore the potential of local ownership for the Meadow Creek Forest Products mill and license. Although there are many unknowns at this time, I have arranged for a representative from the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Economic Development and a representative from the Columbia Basin Trust to come to the area either late January or early February to host a public meeting addressing the reality of what local ownership would require. The cost, various ownership models and what would need to happen to pursue such an endeavour will be discussed. The meeting will be held at the Kaslo Golf Course and open to anyone in the forestry industry who has an interest in seeing jobs and industry having local ownership. More information to come soon.

As for the workers that lost their jobs when the mill burnt down; you the community have donated over $3500 in support. Trevor Funk has been managing disbursement with $100 gift cards for local grocery outlets, gas cards and other items of need. We will continue this campaign with an update to come soon.

 

  1. Lardeau Valley Hydro Maintenance

It has come to my attention that a portion of the reason for extended power outages in the Lardeau Valley is related to a contract for maintenance that has lapsed between Fortis BC and BC Hydro. BC Hydro, in the past, has contracted out to Fortis for maintenance north of Kaslo. This contract was not renewed and thus the long outages in December were due to maintenance workers not being readily available. I have inquired with both Fortis and BC Hydro. They are meeting this week and will get back to me. I will report back to you and continue to work towards ensuring there is at minimum, a maintenance crew that can assist with outages in the Lardeau Valley when required and on a timelier basis.

  1. Ainsworth Town site Review

Ainsworth is in the midst of a review of its town site zoning. RDCK staff have collected surveys and we have had one public session so far to go over the boundaries and current zoning. With input and survey results ready; we will host the second community meeting to review recommendations on February 2nd at the Ainsworth Hall. Drop in 5-7pm to see the proposed amendments and provide further input.

 

  1. Rural Affairs, Board Meeting and Hospital District

These three groups are monthly meetings (the hospital district is 6 months out of the year). This is where the majority of Regional District business is conducted.

Rural Affairs (RAC) is a committee of the board which is specifically for rural directors.

Board is the general meeting for the RDCK board.

Hospital District (full name West Kootenay Boundary Hospital District Board WKBRHD) is made up of municipal and area directors for both the West Kootenays and Boundary region. Hospital districts provide up to 40% of funds (taxation) for capital costs within our health care facilities. Interior Health presents costs to the board in January and we evaluate and determine our budget with the final in March. Consequently, this board has no say on operational activities within our health care facilities.

This month, RAC and the Board are January 14th and 15th (always in Nelson) WKBRHD is on January 28th in Castlegar.

February dates are: the 10th for budget, 11th for RAC and 12th for Board. The 15th will be our WKBRHD meeting with a tour of the Nelson hospital.

Agenda’s for all of these meetings can be found on the RDCK website: http://www.rdck.ca/

 

  1. Board Appointments

As an RDCK board member, I can be appointed to a variety of committees or other boards. I have volunteered to sit on the following committee’s as part of my director duties:

  • Parcel Tax Roll Review Panel
  • Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust (SIDIT) Regional Advisory Committee (this committee will choose a member to sit on the board of SIDIT of which I have put my name forward)
  1. Board Resolutions

We have the ability to put forward resolutions that can be approved by the board and then sent forward to larger bodies for support and advocacy. I recently put forward a resolution to our board with the request that we forward to the Association of Kootenay Boundary Local Government (AKBLG), if approved it would then go forward to Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM). The resolution I put forward was a carryover from former director Andy Shadrack regarding the Disaster Financial Assistance (DFA) fund. DFA funds tend to have many restrictions that became apparent post the Johnsons Landing slide. These restrictions have left many with losses and no support. The resolution is an attempt to request an expansion to the DFA program to be more accessible to those who face losses but do not meet the current requirements. Here is the resolution as approved by the RDCK board on January 15th and to go forward to the AKBLG in April:

WHERE AS sections 20(1) and (2) of the Emergency Program Act specifically state that:

The Lieutenant Governor in Council may, by regulation, establish criteria by which the eligibility of a person to receive disaster financial assistance is to be determined;

The Lieutenant Governor in Council or the minister may provide disaster financial assistance in accordance with the regulations to persons who suffer loss as a result of a disaster;

THEREFOR BE IT RESOLVED that UBCM ask the Lieutenant Governor in Council to expand the disaster relief fund making it available to all property owners when such disaster is a result of natural and/or non-human causes.

 

  1. Sustainable Economic Development (SEDS)

SEDS is currently a sub-committee of Kaslo Village Council of which I have been a member for the past three years as the alternate director and will now attend as the director for Area D. SEDS was established to explore ways to support sustainable economic development in Kaslo and Area D. A fair amount of time has been spent exploring what all that this may encompass, and we now have a good mission and terms of reference that are clear and that will be used as a guideline to move forward with. Also, it came to our attention late 2014 that Kaslo and Area D share a joint service (taxation) for economic development that has been dormant for about 6 years. The committee has explored if we should discontinue it or put it to good use. With so many requests to support business, development and innovations that make Kaslo and Area D a home that young families, seniors, and folks of all colours and creeds can affordably call home; the committee will be fine tuning what funds could be used for and looking at turning on the service in 2016 IF we have a clear set of guidelines that ensure funds are used in a way that a) provide a healthy return on investment for residents and b) is in alignment with sustainable growth measures, the integrated sustainable community plan (Kaslo) and both Official Community Plans (Kaslo and Area D).

Some of our top project interests are:

  • Choose Local (Chamber action committee)
  • KiN Broadband
  • Business Retention and Expansion research by NKLCSS
  • And my personal project focus: solar/micro hydro power

As of our January 19th meeting, I have been elected chair of this committee. Thank you to outgoing chair Jim Holland for his services.

Next meeting is scheduled for 16th.

To read more about SEDS: http://www.kaslo.ca/content/sustainable-economic-development-select-committee-seds

 

  1. Select Health Care Committee

This is a select committee of Kaslo and Area D. I am new to this committee and attended the first meeting for 2015 on the 13th of January. This committee was created when Interior Health informed our region that they were reducing the hours of our emergency department. The committee was successful in securing a few extra months while they also got involved in physician recruitment.

My interest on this committee will be to bring 24/7 emergency room services back to the table for discussion and possibilities.

As of our January 13th meeting; Andy Shadrack has been re-elected as chair of the committee.

For past minutes of this committee: https://kaslo.civicweb.net/Documents/DocumentList.aspx?Id=4467

 

  1. Water Systems in Area D

There are variety of water systems that can be installed for health authority approval; however, most have criteria that is beyond the needs of rural systems as well as being costly. Two primary types of systems are Central Water System (CWS) or Point of Entry (POE). Former Director Shadrack worked tirelessly on a UBCM appointed committee to review small water systems. Thanks to his and others efforts, there are now recommendations to amend the regulations and accept POE as acceptable forms of water treatment. POE enables the household to manage their water as opposed to a central system that has much more infrastructure and thus expenses. POE systems have less infrastructure, however, they can have high costs for ongoing testing.

Although it sounds simple, there remain many questions about the water systems. To help dispel these questions and assist in local water users associations moving forward, I will be planning a workshop with several experts to answer questions and outline options. The date is yet to be confirmed, however those who will be present to provide information are:

  • Renee Ansel of Interior Health
  • Andy Shadrack; former director and member of the UBCM small water systems working group
  • Uli Wolf; General Manager of Environmental Services at RDCK

 

  1. Budget (taxes)

One of the primary interests in this position for me is understanding what our taxes are doing and how we can make them work better for us. It is also one of the most tedious and mind boggling processes to go through- and tis the time of year! The RDCK has begun the annual budget process and will be going through the numbers until March when we will approve the details for 2015. To see the list of items your taxes go to please email Director Watson at the address listed at the bottom of this report.

 

  1. Grants

There are several funding sources available via the RDCK in our region.

CD: Community Development

CW: Community Works (% of gas tax)

CI/AAF: Community Initiatives and Affected Areas Funding (CBT grants)

Former director Shadrack had a local committee that assisted with advising on grant requests. I have asked that committee to continue and added one new member. This committee will work with me to assess and determine which applications qualify and what they should be granted. The requests for the region are always much higher than what the funds are available. With the conservation service coming into effect, we will be able to divert some applications and alleviate the pressure on these three funding streams.

Most immediate is the CI and AAF. Applications can be found on both the RDCK and CBT websites. Locally, we will host public meetings to have you; the residents, vote for where you feel the money should go. This committee is working on a one page outline of how the public process works that all applicants should request from me. Since each region does their community process differently, our one-pager cannot be online with the applications. Please do request it.

CW funds are kept fairly restricted to infrastructure/capital costs and is mostly held in reserve to assist with water systems in our area. However, they did expand the allowable use for the funds and I was able to use some of them to support the broadband initiative that was mentioned earlier. These funds have an on-going intake.

CD are fairly open; not a lot of restrictions and have an on-going intake.

 

 

  1. Meat Inspection Appeal

As former food security coordinator for North Kootenay Lake, I had appealed our meat inspections regulations three times. I continuously appealed because first, the ministry responsible changed so I re-appealed when the file went from the Ministry of Health to the Ministry of Agriculture. I also continued to appeal as each response indicated they had not read the briefing I researched and wrote to substantiate the appeal.

At this year’s Union on BC Municipalities Annual meeting, former director Shadrack arranged to meet with the Ministry of Agriculture staff to bring this appeal directly to their attention. In the meeting, Director Shadrack was given a very positive response that indicated it was possible we would see a change in our status for meat regulations. (The appeal indicates that our region should be designated as rural and remote which would allow a larger amount of on-farm slaughter and sales within the area without having to travel too far away to Federal facilities)

Mr. Shadrack received a letter from the Ministry summarizing the meeting with Agriculture staff that indicated that has once again, the briefing was not even read. I will continue this appeal, now going on for the fourth time.

  1. Office hours and contact

As director, I mostly work from home other than when attending the various board meetings in Nelson or the assortment of community meetings. My office hours are Monday to Thursday 9-4pm. Constituents can contact me via phone or email anytime.

Phone: 250-353-7113

Email: awatson@rdck.bc.ca

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