RDCK Director Watson update, Aug. 6th

Summer Update 2020- Director for Area D

While it is summer and most meetings have been remote, not in person, things have not slowed down. I am in full swing with the usual mixed bag of issues. This newsletter is a quick summary of what is at the top of the list. There are many more and as always, should you have questions or concerns, send me a note and we will connect.

In this newsletter:·

Cooper Creek Cedar in Argenta/Johnson Landing
Accretions·
Zincton·
Woodbury Water System·
Power stability in Lardeau Valley·
UBCM·
Mosquito Program·
Meat Inspection Regulations·
Recycling

1. Cooper Creek Cedar cutting permit review: CCC is submitting their cutting permit for Salisbury and is seeking community input by August 1st. You can find all the documents here: https://coopercreekcedar.com/ As the Area Director, I have been communicating with the community committees formed by residents of Argenta and Johnson Landing. The Ad-Hoc committee has been engaging with CCC regarding wildfire mitigation and the liaison committee has been the primary vehicle for discussions between community interests and CCC. It is not lost on anyone that there is no unified voice of support or opposition, and as diverse as a healthy forest is, the community input is just as diverse. There has been a petition submitted to the Province requesting a full moratorium and the inclusion of the area in the Purcell Conservancy, however work to harvest the crown land is commencing. These committees have been working diligently to represent community interests while knowing that there is still some opposition to logging the hillside. I want to commend and thank everyone who has done the work to read, be informed and take the time to engage in all aspects related to the landscape that surrounds the remote region. Further, residents are actively engaged in landscape level planning, working with students to map and identify key interests on the AJL Face. I continue to provide support where requested and will be providing input to CCC, Ministry of Forests and the Ministry of Transportation based on these discussions.
2. Accretion in Twin Bays: An accretion is land which has gradually appeared due to lower lake levels which landowners can apply to the crown to acquire within their private property. On Kootenay Lake, where the lake is technically a reservoir controlled by Duncan Dam in the North and Libby Dam in the South, the lake is consistently lower then pre-dam levels and thus the natural boundary, where crown and private are generally separated, is now lower on the foreshore and residents can apply to acquire the land to the newly defined natural boundary. While in some areas, there is no issue with doing this, there are other high value areas with public access that is being cut off. One application in Twin Bays has the community very concerned about their public beach. I have received over a 100 items of correspondence on this file and can assure residents that while the RDCK is not the approving authority, accretions are approved through the province, I did oppose this application due to the highly valued public access that supports the residents of Fletcher Falls.
3. Zincton: Also an application with approval through the province, the recent mountain resort application for the Kaslo-New Denver corridor known as “Zincton” has stirred quite the controversy. The emails and correspondence I receive are consistently opposed due to the cumulative effects of adventure tourism in this area. While I am in favor of shifting our economy, especially to sectors that can assist with a major hit to our rural and remote, generally resource based region, this corridor is seeing continuous applications with little to no oversight from a cumulative perspective. I observed several proposals in the past two years that have overlapped while knowing that these are also high use public areas for local back country enthusiast clubs and becoming even more of a destination point. While it is possible to have human activity in the back country remote wilds without damage to sensitive and essential eco systems, to know what and how that happens requires assessment before approving activities. My input on all adventure tourism applications for this corridor has been that they are denied until the province does a thorough review of the actual carrying capacity. Once that is known, current public use and current approved commercial uses can be assessed to determine if there is still space and capacity without damage to the varied and again, essential ecosystems.
4. Woodbury funding for water system: Now for good news! Very excited to share that the RDCK was successful in funding for Woodbury. These funds will update the Woodbury Village Water System including construction of a new treatment building, replacement of UV and chlorination systems, installation of control systems, upgrades to booster station, reservoir control, integration of SCADA into regional district system, and relocation of water intake. Thanks to all of the volunteers and the community committee that oversees the water system- amazing teamwork!https://rdck.ca/EN/main/services/water/rdck-water-systems/woodbury-water-system.html
5. Lardeau Valley Power Stability feasibility: Discussion with community members across the Lardeau Valley regarding the increasing and lengthy power outages has resulted in funding being acquired to assess options to stabilize the grid. Lardeau Valley Opportunity Society (LINKs) with funding support from CBT and Area D is hiring Rocky Point engineering to complete the following:Deliverables:- Engage with local community members- Identify local impacts of power outages through direct resident and other stakeholder engagement, and compile data of same.- Identify specific community coordination and collaborative actions to ensure essential supplies and services are available in event of a power outage- Identify what proactive actions could be taken at an individual resident level, by businesses and community organizations and what actions could be taken at a community-wide level.- Identify alternative energy opportunities that may address impacts of local power outages.- Prepare analysis of potential levels of success for each of the above opportunities, including a high-level cost estimate, return on investment, estimated timeline to implement, any key barriers, and any available funding sources.- Support research to identify root cause of outages.
6. UBCM: Priorities and resolutionsIt is the time of year when local government prepares for the annual Union of BC Municipalities convention. This conference is where local government engages directly with the province, which includes meetings with Ministers, resolutions, and various workshops to increase our knowledge and engage across the local government sector. This year the convention will be virtual throughout two weeks of late September.As Board Chair, we will be requesting meetings to discuss natural asset planning in watersheds, our continued efforts to see improved and comprehensive recycling services from Recycle BC inclusive of services for the institutional, commercial and industrial sector (ICI) and food security including expanding the meat inspection regulation that enables viable on farm processing and a provincial proposal to address food security from the community out.Our resolutions this year address issues with the building code, accretions, and private land logging. Details on all these efforts are in previous board meeting minutes or contact me and I will forward them.
7. Mosquito Program in Lardeau Valley: It is a bad year for mosquitoes across the entire province! Area D has two mosquito service areas, Lardeau Valley and Pineridge. For information on what, where and who is doing it, see here: https://rdck.ca/EN/main/services/environmental-initiatives/mosquito-control-program.htmlThis is one of the most expensive services due to the small service area and number residents who pay taxes to support it. Every year, community grants are used to cover the full cost of the service in Meadow Creek. I can assure residents that all treatments are only applied when sampling indicates the larvae count is high enough to warrant treatment, all samples and treatments are tracked so tracking between years can be consistent, regardless of staff changes. Aerials are only applied when access to high levels of larvae counts are not accessible via ground, with the increasing costs of aerial applications, they are never applied without careful consideration. The service area and thus areas of application does not include Argenta or Johnson Landing, see the link above for full service details including what is used and who the contractor is.
8. Meat Inspection Regulations have changed! After about a decade of lobbying, I was successful in enabling access to the class D, Rural and Remote designation for farmers in Area D. What this means is that farmers who raise animals can now apply for a processing license that allows for on farm slaughter up to 25 animal units. Previous limits, through a class E, was for up to 10 animal units. An animal unit is roughly 1000lbs. For farmers interested in applying for a class D, go here:https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/agriculture-seafood/food-safety/meat-inspection-licensing/class-d-e-licences
9. Recycling: As many would now have seen, our recycling program has transitioned to Recycle BC (RBC). The transition has been a little less than smooth and I want to thank you all for your astounding patience and cooperation to learn the new system. While we have transitioned and most depots are up and running, our remote sites that are still fully funded and operated by the RDCK and local taxation, are yet to be opened. Marblehead is a satellite depot while Kaslo Transfer Station is a core (RBC) depot. Further, RBC considers recycling from the institutional, commercial, and industrial (ICI) sector contamination as they only manage residential recycling. Due to this prohibition, the RDCK has established a separate service to assist with ICI cardboard but in few locations. Kaslo TS will have an ICI bin but Marblehead will not. For those who are now without service for recycling of ICI materials, please contact a local recycling hauler.The RDCK will continue to lobby for inclusion of ICI into the RBC program but in the meantime, we hope our compromise of providing ICI bins for Old Corrugated Cardboard in select locations will assist our ICI residents. Due to expense to do so, we were not comfortable with establishing a comprehensive program for all materials at all depots.For funding and letters of supports I am providing, see the monthly board agendas. I try to post them here but if I miss it, you can always check the RDCK website, here: https://rdck.ca/EN/main/government/meetings-agendas-minutes.html

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