Aimee Watson Area D News letter-Fall 2019

Area D Newsletter- Fall 2019

The following is a broad update of my work as your elected official. This update covers the following topics: 

1. Services
a) Kaslo and Area D Economic Development
b) Lardeau Park Draft Management Program
c) Communications in an Emergency, Argenta
d) North Kootenay Lake (Shared) Services Committee Budget Planning
e) Area D Commission Call for participants

2. Advocacy
a) Resolutions from UBCM
b) Lardeau Valley Process
c) Lardeau Valley Power Stabilization
d) Jewett Utilization Formula
e) Gar Creek Water Users Completes project

3. For my report as RDCK Board Chair, please see our November Board agenda here: (pg 101-102)…/Gover…/Documents/2019-11-21-BRD_Agenda.pdf

1.a) Kaslo & Area D Economic Development 

The Kaslo & Area D Economic Development Commission (EDC) has taken steps to develop a Kaslo & Area D Community Marketing Strategy to attract new residents, retain youth and young families. The Strategy will build on sustainable business opportunities in order to generate income for the small business community and the non-profit sector in the region. 

The contract for the work to develop and deliver the program within the next two years has been awarded to Factor 5. The work will be sustained through active engagement with the community to develop core programs that will carry forward the annual needs of business and community marketing supports. 

The Factor 5 Group is an economic development consultant firm that specializes in creating sustainable communities. 

Stay tuned for the Community & Marketing engagement process set to begin early in 2020. For a list of specific deliverables and expected outcomes, please contact me for further information.

Kaslo and Area D EDC budget for 2020: Two requests have come to the EDC for consideration. 

• The Kaslo Housing Society is seeking $5,000 to continue with their coordinator position 
• The Kaslo and Area Chamber is seeking $10,000 to support an administrative position within the organization. 

1.b) Lardeau Park Draft Management Program

We have received a draft management program based on the community feedback process late last spring. Mayor Hewat and I will review the draft and discuss possible action plans at the upcoming North Kootenay Lake Services Committee meeting. We aim to have another public meeting in late January to review the plan proposal and hear further feedback from you on the direction of the park. 

1.c) Communications in an Emergency, Argenta

For a deep dive into what and how RDCK emergency services operates, please see the link:

Regarding the incident in Argenta: there was concern and confusion expressed regarding the availability of information to the public during the recent incident in Argenta. During any criminal incident, the RCMP is the authority. RDCK Emergency Services are not often called on in these situations, although sometimes they may provide assistance. In this instance, RDCK First Responders assisted with a period of “lockdown” in Argenta while RCMP subdued the armed subject. During this period, residents were required to remain in their homes with little explanation. 

Members of the RCMP, Kaslo/D Fire Department, First Responders, myself and BC Ambulance met together to debrief following the incident to address the need for better communication with the public. It was acknowledged there was a gap in communications during the event and discussed strategies. Following the discussion, communication and roles were better defined with a commitment from all officials to facilitate essential communication during any incident. What we learned is that our remote and rural communities do have great assets in that the people are well connected and often have the ability to reach each other instantly and effectively. We will work with the RCMP to ensure that any future incidents have communication with those in the community affected is active, available and pertinent to their safety. 

1.e) North Kootenay Lake (Shared) Services Committee Budget Planning

The North Kootenay Lake Services Committee, which manages multiple services shared between Kaslo & Area D, has received 2020 budget requests from the following services:
• Kaslo Search & Rescue: KSAR has requested the same level of funding for 2020 that they received in 2019, $22,190
• Kaslo and Area Library: The Library has requested a 4.5% increase for 2020 over their 2019 funding level. The 2020 request is $106,046, from $102,218 in 2019. Increase is for increases staff supports and for balancing facility costs. 
• Kaslo and D Fire Department: The Fire Dept is looking to increase funding for salaries and stipend for those on call. In our small communities, recruitment and retention is challenged by the needs of daily work and making ends meet. With a look to a fair balance, we will be entertaining an increase to paying more fairly for the value our firefighters provide to the communities they serve. The 2019 requisition was $305,421, 2020 request is $381,315. As we have not finalized 2019 budgets, we are aware there is a surplus to move forward that will cover some of this increase. Further budget details will be available at our next NKLSC meeting. 
• Kaslo and Area Recreation Service: This service provides operational and capital funding to four parks, six community halls and the funding for the bi-annual recreation grants administered by the Village of Kaslo. The first of the requests for our community halls have been received, and the following will be considered in the 2020 recreation service budget. 
o Lardeau Valley Community Club: $30,200 for 2020; in 2019 we provided an operational grant of $28,000
o Ainsworth Community Hall: $7,000 for 2020, same as 2019 
o Argenta Community Hall: $6,121 plus a capital request of $3,600; 2019 operational grant was $5,800 plus a capital request of $7,041.
o Johnsons Landing Community Hall: $5,500 for operations; same as 2019
o Kaslo Arena: $50,000 for operational needs plus $10,000 for capital reserve; same at 2019
o Kaslo Curling Club: $10,000 for operations 

These requests for funding mark the beginning of the 2020 budgeting process. Requests are approved at the final meeting in March. No funding levels are guaranteed until the final budget plan is approved.  
Our next NKL Service Committee meeting is December 16th at the Kaslo Council Chambers. These meetings are open to the public, so please join us!

1.f) Area D Commission Call for Members

Joining a commission is a good way to provide input on services in the area. The commissions are populated by local residents who advise government on the respective issues.
The following number of appointments are required for the following commissions:
• 1 – Kaslo & Area D Economic Development Commission
• 2 – Kaslo & Area Regional Facilities, Recreation and Parks Service Commission
• 3 – Glacier Creek Regional Park Recreation Commission 
• 2 – Woodbury Water Service Community Advisory Committee

Please contact me directly with your interest, or for more information. 

2.a) Resolutions from UBCM

I am happy to report that all the resolutions I presented at UBCM passed! This includes the request to suspend the use of glyphosate in the province while the province conducts a thorough review of the science and recent changes by the World Health Organization to the carcinogenic classification of the chemical. 

Also, I proposed a resolution that would implement additional protections for watershed and old growth management areas; this was passed by the RDCK, Association Kootenay Boundary Local Governments and then by UBCM. If you would like to read the resolutions in full, please contact me. 

Check the UBCM website for a full list of resolutions debated at the assembly:…/resolutions/resolutions-responses.html
All passed resolutions will now go to the Province for consideration.

2.b) Lardeau Valley Process

We are currently conducting a review process to ascertain what projects, programs or other ideas could help build the resiliency and economic viability of the Lardeau Valley. We are working to develop and facilitate a community engagement that will provide guidance on how to achieve economic viability in the LV. This will include identifying challenges, opportunities, assets, tactics, potential community projects, as well as short- and long-term strategic direction. There will be direct engagement with residents of the Lardeau Valley throughout the project, ensuring the process is guided by local input. The project aims to strengthen the long-term viability of the region and ultimately build a more resilient community, while respecting the wide range of community values.
Wendy Booth, lead coordinator on this project, has met with many of you already. She has put together this survey as part of the community engagement process. Please fill it in and share it with your neighbours!

2.c) Lardeau Valley Power Stabilization

Actions have been taken to follow up on the August community meeting held to hear the concerns of residents regarding the vulnerability of their access to power. Power in the Lardeau Valley is unreliable and there are often very long power outages. This affects local industry, economic activity and community safety. This work aims to identify ways to secure the power supply for the Lardeau Valley. For a detailed report of current activities, please see the LINKS blog post:…/lardeau-valley-power-stabilit…

2.d) Jewett Utilization Formula

As discussed at previous facility update meetings for Jewett, the ability for SD8 to include the full use of the building in their calculations was inhibited by not being able to include the registrations at Strong Start. Given these were significant compared to students registered with the school, I in conjunction with our SD8 trustee Dawn Lang and with support from RDCK staff, was successful in having the ministry update the facility use to adequately reflect the full footprint of programming using space at Jewett. While this does not change the funding SD8 receives for students, it does provide a more accurate picture of the facilities use. 

2e) Gar Creek Water Users Completes project
A good news story that took immense effort from many volunteers. Gar Creek Water Users Society manages and operates the water system in south Johnson Landing. When the catastrophic slide took out their water system, the community was left with no access to water. Eight years later, they are now drinking fresh, clean water from Upper Gar Cr. Kudos to all who worked endless hours on this massive project.

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