RDCK, Jan. 2020 Agenda, thanks to Aimee Watson

Here are this months agenda’s.

Rural Affairs:

Joint Resource Recovery:
Items 6 and 7 review our transition to Recycle BC and where we are at with the Organics Waste Diversion project.

Board Highlights:
6.3 A new report on economic development in rural back country exploring how resource extraction, recreational use and ecological needs can be best managed. Not an RDCK report but an interesting read. 
7.2 minutes from the recently formed Kootenay Timber Supply coalition, the RDCK has three members on this committee
7.9 Response from Minister Heyman regarding a joint letter from several Regional Districts seeking inclusion of commercial recycling in rural areas into the Recycle BC program- these changes are coming!

Find all the exciting details on our business at the RDCK this month here:

To late, but necessary to expose the BC Government’s removal of conservation efforts for critical caribou habitat. Jan. 9th


The BC Government is proposing to expand the predator kill program to the Central Selkirk caribou herd.

We only learned about this yesterday.  Again we have been given hardly any time to encourage engagement in an ecologically detrimental decision. The DEADLINE to comment is THURSDAY, JANUARY 9TH.

While predator species are targeted for removal in a supposed “conservation effort”, motorized recreation groups are still allowed to play in most of the herd’s critical habitat! Only 3.3% of the Central Selkirk herd’s critical Ungulate Winter Range habitat has been set aside from motorized winter recreation, even though the science says that these activities cause detrimental stress, prime habitat abandonment and reproductive failure.

The caribou are an indicator for a systematic issue that threatens our own survival. But government continues to cater to groups that want to play in critical habitat by choosing the band-aid solution of predator killing instead of habitat protection or recreation closures.

Killing apex predators so that people can continue to decimate sensitive ecosystems and drive our threatened species to the brink of extinction is not a plan rooted in solving the ecological crisis.

Please email: caribou.recovery@gov.bc.ca AND c.c. flnr@minister@gov.bc.ca to let the BC Government know if you oppose a predator kill program for the Central Selkirk Mountain Caribou herd.   

Please consider these points when writing your letter:  

– Habitat loss is the true cause of the caribou decline. The Mountain Caribou Ungulate Winter Range (UWR) is insufficient. It left out prime habitat areas including critical low elevation habitat that is necessary for the survival of the Central Selkirk herd. The issue of ongoing habitat destruction should be addressed before resorting to a predator cull.                

– The BC government has announced that no further habitat protection is warranted for the entire Southern Group of Southern Mountain Caribou, also known as the Deep-Snow Mountain Caribou. These caribou are genetically and ecologically distinct caribou found nowhere but in BC’s interior Wetbelt. 

– The caribou are an indicator of a general ecosystem collapse that also threatens human life. The old growth forests that the caribou need are also crucial to the future of humanity. 

– Only 3.3% of the Central Selkirk herd’s critical habitat UWR is permanently closed to motorized winter recreation. Extensive motorized recreation in prime habitat creates displacement and reproductive stress. 

– Government is implementing a “moving closure” that would buffer the few caribou in the Central Selkirk herd that have telemetry collars, but this plan does not take into account the majority of the herd that is uncollared, or the fact that motorized recreation surrounding the caribou can corral them into unfavorable areas and increase predator access by compacting snow into “predator highways”.

– Instead of a predator cull, the Central Selkirk caribou need an expansion of permanent motorized winter recreation closure zones that they can rely on for refuge.   

Thank you for being a voice for our life-giving ecosystems.
We need to speak up now more than ever.

Together for change, 

Amber Peters
BIT, Campaigner
Valhalla Wilderness Society

Highlights of the 23rd LV Christmas Bird Count, Jan 9, 2020

Highlights of the 23rd Lardeau Christmas Bird Count (CBC)

How fortunate that the bird count occurred before these latest snow storm adventures!  On December 27th, 30 participants counted 41 bird species in the 23rd annual Lardeau CBC and an additional 5 species during the count week. The CBC tradition began 120 years ago and Gail Spitler of Johnsons Landing started the local Christmas bird count centred on Lardeau in 1997. The CBC is coordinated by Bird Studies Canada and the count data is used to assess the population trends and distribution of birds.

The highlights of count day included a Marsh Wren for the first time, 3 Great Blue Herons, 5 woodpecker species (Downy, Hairy, Pileated, American Three Toed and Northern Flicker), Gray (now called Canada) Jay, Evening Grosbeaks, Pine Grosbeaks and Red-winged blackbirds. Compared to the past couple years we did not have any crossbills, waxwings or redpolls on count day. Although there were a lot of ravens and wild turkeys, the highest species number was the Black-capped Chickadee.  The Lardeau CBC average is around 37 species and has been increasing over the years. Species seen during count week but not on the 27th include 6 swans, barred owl, bohemian waxwings and a lone dark-eyed junco. To see the count data for Lardeau (in a few days) and other CBCs, go to https://www.birdscanada.org/volunteer/cbc/index.jsp?targetpg=index

A huge thank you to the feeder watchers and field participants!

marlene at lardeau

Play-based learning workshop, Thurs. Jan. 16th

Play Based Learning-The Joy and Power of Play, with Heather Broad and Kathleen Brown

Play-Based Learning — The Joy & Power of Play
Thursday, January 16 at the Kaslo Family Centre. 9:30-11:30am

A workshop for parents of young children, led by Heather Broad and Kathleen Brown from West Kootenay Child Care Resource and Referral.

This workshop is FREE, with childminding and snacks provided, but REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED. Call or email Melyssa Sieber: 250-353-7691 ext. 306 or melyssasieber@nklcss.org or register at Strong Start.

Proudly Sponsored by Columbia Basin Trust, North Kootenay Lake Community Services Society,and West Kootenay Child Care Resource and Referral

NCKLCSS Film Series: Community conversations that matter. Tues. Jan. 28th, 2020

Series: Community Conversations that Matter.  

Because We Are Girls (ages 14+)
Tuesday January 28, The Langham, Doors open 6pm for 6.30pm
Catered snacks and panel discussion including Jeeti Pooni (sister from the film)

Trailer: https://www.nfb.ca/film/because-we-are-girls/

Due to the sensitive content of the film and discussion we recommend ages 14+.
This event will showcase our Safe Home program, Stop the Violence Counselling, Victim Services and the Safe Kids and Youth Coordinated Response. 

Update from Aimee Watson, on power instability in the LV, attached minutes and BC Hydro’s response. Jan 9th, 2020

Dear LV Residents,

I started a conversation in the summer with various residents regarding the power instability in the LV- please see that attached minutes and BC Hydro’s initial response to our questions. Obviously, as you have all experienced, the issues are not resolved and we need to continue the discussion. I will be coordinating another meeting for community members to explore the options highlighted from the first meeting, most notably community survey and assessing options to improve services from lobbying to potential for off grid supports. 

I will post to LINKS and Facebook when we have set a date. Stay tuned

Lardeau Valley Power Stability

Purpose: to hear residents concerns regarding utility grid vulnerability

Opening remarks:

–       Unreliable power in north Kootenay Lake Valley and very long power outages: affects local industry & economic activity.  Telephone service is lost after as little as 12 hours.  Water service and refrigeration is lost. Elderly residents placed at risk. Many forced to use backup generators; there is a safety risk if they are not properly isolated from the Hydro meter. This is due to the community being on a dead-end line with no redundant power source.  It is compounded by the long delay time for BC Hydro crews to arrive on site from Nakusp or Vernon to repair line damage due to tree falls & rock and snow slides.

–       There is a need to document the power outage statistics.

–       We should set up a research team to study solutions.

–       This is not seen as a priority issue by the Provincial Government; moreover, the Government is not interested in promoting local renewable energy.

  • This should be regarded as a compensation issue going back to the Columbia River Treaty
  • Need stats on power outages and duration over the last 10-20 years; compare to on the ground knowledge
  • Trees down very often the cause; can BC Hydro cut them down- do a better job of line maintenance?
  • What about having redundant lines that are in place as back up?
  • Need a better understanding of how the grid works; specific to how it works in the LV
  • Distribution is the barrier; currently comes up from the East shore and thus has many areas of vulnerability
  • Gap from Marblehead to Howser
  • No lineman since 2013; would that make a big difference in response time for restoring power
  • Possible for BCUC support; clean energy section 2- Andy Shadrack to follow up
  • Its getting worse
  • More power failures in Howser than Johnson Landing; how does that work?
  • Historical level of service; 26 years ago it took only a day to replace polls and lines, now it can take up to 72 + hours


Document collection

  • BC Hydro: **Aimee is seeking this information**
    •  Stats on power outages and duration
    • There are BC Hydro employees here to operate Duncan Dam; why not a local lineman
    • BC Hydro policy/ management of danger trees? Are they accounting for or working towards a wildfire mitigation plan that could support more stable system?
    • Why are the outages more frequent? Due to longer response or more frequent weather event? 
  • Independent Power options: **Don Scarlett, Andy Shadrack, Joel Hutton, Bob Watters working together**
    • Hugh Elliot/Argenta Power; what agreements, if any, do they have as an utility?
    • Options for utility structure(s); in terms of governance
    • Columbia Power Duncan Dam power feasibility study (Aimee has a copy but it is considered proprietary, hoping to gain permission to share it)

o   Would a substation at the north end of the Lake improve power reliability?

o   Terms of Reference for an economic development study aren’t the first priority; first address the power unreliability issue, do the study, etc.

  • Misc.
    • Renewable Energy Scan for Kaslo/D- **Aimee to circulate**

Community Engagement:

Premise of this action is to glean ground evidence and concerns from the residents while also soliciting locally based solutions. Actions and those who volunteered are listed below:

o   Andy Shadrackcould write up standardized questions for collecting community concerns.

o   Larry Leonardis willing to print out questionnaires to be dropped off at a central location.

o   Greg Underwoodis willing to put the information into a database; his business can help set up public polling questions/forms and manage the data.

o   Responses could be mailed in to the Lardeau Valley Community Hall.

o   Opportunity Links needs to be notified about this initiative.

o   At this stage funding could be available for materials needed to collect the data.

o   Bring LINKS into the loop, ask for a section on the website to host information and documents ** Aimee will share these notes with Nichol Ward and ask that they be posted, once the group approves them**

o   Responses could be mailed in to the Lardeau Valley Community Hall