Update & RDCK weekly agenda, from Aimee Watson, Feb. 2020

Happy Belated Family Day! We had a great weekend with family and friends gathering for food, stories and snow fun, grateful for all those close to me <3

This week at the RDCK we have our monthly meeting marathon, 9 in total over 4 days. We start with our Resource Recovery Plan committee, sustainability and our executive emergency committee today. Wednesday is Rural Affairs, Joint and Central Resource, Board on Thursday and budget and housing on Friday. All agenda’s are posted below including a monthly report from me.

Two updates, first is my schedule. I have not had an office day for several weeks and will not until early March. With budget season and too many meetings, my cup is over filled. With that, I am doing my best to keep up with emails and the ever growing list of items to attend to. I am hoping to gain some administrative support in the future but do note that this job is a one woman job, I am doing my best but the demands are more than the time available. Any requests I get that involve an RDCK service where I do have staff available, I am forwarding to them for support. I sincerely apologize if you have an issue I have yet to attend to, you are on the list!

Second, Lardeau Park. With a note of warning, I am an honest person and this update may be a little hard to hear.

I never would have guessed that a public consultation regarding what amenities should or should not be at a rural waterfront park would instigate such hateful, misleading and disrespectful input. I am horrified to read some of the emails and accompanying accusations simply because Mayor Hewat and I wanted to engage residents, who pay for this park, what their views and visions were. 

A few facts:

– there has been no decision made at this time on the future of the park

– public consultation only closed yesterday, staff are preparing a summary of all input that will then be sent to Mayor Hewat and I to review early March

– the proposed plan, depending on which one Mayor Hewat and I support; which depends on the cumulative public input, will go to the RDCK board at our March meeting including all of the public input received. 

– sending repeated emails indicating you are not being heard when there has been no decision made is misinformed of the process and ignorant to the fact that there are over 2500 voices in this conversation

– no matter what side you are on, forgive me for hoping communities could work together and not grow to be more divisive then ever, there are no ill intentions to either destroy the community by allowing a wharf nor are their ill intentions to discriminate against seniors if we do not allow a wharf

– the wharf being included in the draft plan is because that is what this park was originally acquired by the RDCK to provide as an amenity, when Mayor Hewat and I were elected and learned that there was opposition and no clear record of all taxpayers being consulted, we requested community consultation before any projects move forward. 

– the last community consultation did indicate only 23% wanted that wharf and many assumed it was done, however the other figure not included in that fact is that the 23% response came from less than 20 residents who responded out of 2500; not enough to draw a conclusion so we went back to you

– all of your emails on this consultation have been received, staff confirms with each submission, re sending them only adds to the 2000+ I need to sort through, it does not increase the value of your voice

– Mayor Hewat is equally a partner in this decision and on this service, if you are a Kaslo resident, please submit your input to her at mayor@kaslo.ca

One final note, I am trying hard to still love the work of working for the people. When the discourse becomes disrespectful, accusatory of ill intentions and I cannot run errands with my son without being bombarded by hateful words for suggesting a rural park- I lose faith and inspiration in why I am doing this work. There is no power, there is no personal gain other then less and less time with my family and friends, there is only the sheer belief and commitment that rural communities are a rare gem and working for you is my hope in a stark future, please do not erode that. I do this work for each and every voice, but with 1380 of you, you must accept I cannot please you all but I am trying very hard to find that common ground.

Here are this weeks agenda’s:

https://rdck.ca/EN/meta/events/events-list/meetings.html

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
  •  

ACTIONS

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

Lardeau Valley Power Stability- minutes from Aug. 2019 meeting. Updated Oct. 29th

Lardeau Valley Power Stability

Community meeting- August 2019

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

ACTIONS

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.

    • 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

Summary of meeting with Cooper Creek Cedar, FLNRO, RDCK, ADHOC Aug. 13th 2019

finalized Wednesday August 21, 2019 by ADHOCS*.

SUMMARY of CCC/FLNRO/RDCK/ADHOCs Tuesday August 13 2019.

 

Attending:

Bill Kestell Woodlands Manager, Cooper Creek Cedar (CCC)
Mike Kit  Logging Supervisor, CCC 

Joel Hamilton Wildfire Mitigation Supervisor RDCK
Grant Walton Forest Resource Manager South East Fire Centre
Rik Valentine* Dave Putt*, Marlene Johnston*, Mary Davidson*
Absent: Greg Utzig*

 

After close to a year with no meetings, Cooper Creek Cedar and the ad hoc group have met twice this month. The first meeting, August 1st, 2019 was a frank discussion about fuel treatments, not logging. Funding was discussed as the group tried to get a handle on how logging at Bulmers/Salisbury (B/S) could be designed to augment fire mitigation and forest adaptation to climate change. We asked CCC to post Lynn Betts’ summary of the June CCC/Public meeting online. The second meeting, August 13, 2019, was a discussion followed by a walk-through of the hillside. Wildlife habitat was a theme throughout. The following is a summary of the discussion.

The group met on the beach at Lost Ledge camp-ground to look at the Argenta to Salisbury face. Some clearly visible natural features lend themselves to a peak-to-lake fuel break. The most obvious is the patch of deciduous trees on the north side of Bulmers Creek. We discussed how it might be possible to provide a fuel treatment leading from the Johnson’s Landing road up to the bottom of this deciduous patch. Doing so would provide the bottom half of a lake to peak fuel break, and if roads are ever built in the A/B section the shaded fuel break could be continued above the deciduous patch.

A second idea was also explored, and that was to use the existing cut-blocks on Bulmers/Salisbury (B/S) to develop another fuel break on the south side of Bulmers Creek. These two ideas should be seen as parts of one proposed plan. One purpose of the walk-about was to discover whether it is viable to thin the two higher and most recent blocks (logged about 2001) to create a better fuel break.

We explored ways of connecting these blocks to the older blocks nearer the base of the mountain via fuel treatments creating shaded fuel breaks to connect the older cut- blocks. Some of this area is within CCC’s proposed cutblocks. We also considered thinning the older cutblocks near the bottom of the slope, subject to funding. Habitat and forest health are considerations – the CCC wildlife assessment and forest health reports may change what fuel breaks are possible .

Discussion at the beach clarified that supplemental funding is required for the licensee to be able to provide the ‘extras’ that constitute long term reduction of fire hazards. They are willing to help with it if supplemental funding can be found. Competition for

 

funding is intense and funding sources are limited at the moment but the province may soon allot new money for work in Wildfire Urban Interface zones. The ad hoc talked of the need for a comprehensive landscape level risk reduction plan (Hamill to Fry) rather than planning ‘one at a time’, or ‘between drainages’. CCC prefers to focus on Bulmers/Salisbury in the short term. Access is a key component of being able to quickly action a fire and some options used elsewhere, like strategic helipads and paths to water sources, were mentioned.

In addition to funding, we discussed: old growth management areas (OGMAs), forest health, wildlife and habitat, various shaded fuel treatment types, community safety, current guidelines for fire mitigation and climate adaptation, and using proposed cutblocks to demonstrate different types of shaded fuel breaks.

The group drove up B/S road and walked down through the two large cutblocks that lie on the north-west brow of the hillside, visible from Lardeau. These are the most recently cable and heli-logged blocks, completed 2000-2002. They are nicely restocked and fairly open with some deciduous. No thinning is needed yet. They are partial fuel breaks right now, but over the next 15-20 years this function will disappear as the trees grow (adding fuel load) and the canopies close in. The lower cutblocks were logged in the mid nineties by horse and with a small skidder. They are thick stands with a good mix of drought resistant conifers and deciduous species. Thinning now would improve stand health and prolong their effectiveness as partial fire breaks. However, the young trees in the new stands are not yet large enough to make a commercial cut viable.

Cooper Creek Cedar is still collecting data on forest health, wildlife management and cruise data. Cruise data is necessary to plan shaded fuel breaks if these are going to happen. Until all outstanding reports are complete ‘planning’ consists of talking in general terms about what is both feasible and effective. The reports will be made public once they are completed. Cooper Creek Cedar indicated that they plan to submit a cutting permit application before the end of 2019 and begin logging at B/S in 2020.

Initial conversations, while speculative, are familiarizing the ad hoc group with the licensee’s goals and vice versa. There is a sense that the licensee is open to the possibilities of logging and doing post logging treatment in a way that reduces fire hazards but as a business they can only go so far. The best result in terms of fire mitigation depends on funding from outside sources. In general, prescriptions that lend themselves to fire mitigation and climate adaptation are being sought. The ad hoc group intends to explore funding sources.

The ad hoc group will be posting links with information on fuel treatments, shaded fuel breaks and current guidelines on the Argenta file share. Please

look for them there.

finalized Wednesday August 21, 2019 by ADHOCS*.

 

Independent power production discussion/input link from Aimee Watson Area D Director Aug. 1 2019

For all those keen on discussing independent power production and/or those aware of the various barriers to producing power and selling it to the grid, the BC Government is currently seeking input on the Standing Offer Program.

SOP Is what, mostly, regulates how one can sell into the grid. This is a major barrier for many including our regional municipalities who are eager to see watersheds that provide our drinking water also become how we power our communities.

For details on the SOP and where you can provide your input:
https://engage.gov.bc.ca/…/consulta…/standing-offer-program/

 

Interior Forest Renewal

I just came from a workshop with the province, community forests, industry leaders from mills to tenure holders, non profits and local government that outlined five key areas of interest the BC Government is seeking input on.

The riveting policy paper and input forms can be found here:
https://engage.gov.bc.ca/…/interior-forest-renewal-forest-…/