Newsletter for January, 2019
Hello all, we’ve had another busy month at the SCRD.
We started out the new year with a bang and had a very enlightening and productive session with Brian Carruthers to create our new Strategic Plan. It really put into perspective all the things facing us over the next four years and the limits we have in terms of being able to action them all. I’m looking forward to when we will be able to unveil our new strategic plan and believe me, it will be a key part to our future actions here at the SCRD. The CAO and staff will take direction from this strategic plan and we will sail into some uncharted waters.
All five rural directors attended a Local Government Leadership Academy conference in Richmond Jan. 16-18, where we met directors from many of the 26 other regional districts across BC and participated in numerous training sessions. We learned about all the different support mechanisms for Regional Districts, like the Municipal Financing Authority and the Union of BC municipalities (UBCM). We also talked about wildfires and climate change.
We finally received our long awaited well testing results from the consultants, and the news are good. Three of the four wells had plenty of production, and we chose to move ahead with the application for a well field (2 wells in fairly close proximity) at Church Rd, close to Grantham’s landing. This well site would replace Grantham’s well, and produce enough water to take care of 50% of the deficit in water supply for summertime. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the well site probably won’t be operational until 2022, and the development will cost around 3 million dollars. It is, in my opinion, still better than the Chapman Creek Drawdown, estimated at $5 million, impacting a provincial park, and not diversifying our water sources. The other well sites need further exploration and investigation, but overall I feel optimistic about wells being a key piece to the water situation. For more information, Donna McMahon, Director for Area E (Elphinstone) put together a great article.
Well this is Garbage!
We also got some news on the solid waste front. The RFP (Request for Proposal) initiated by the previous board was answered by several companies, and Waste Management was chosen to be the contractor for this service. We are looking at bi-weekly garbage collection, weekly organics collection, and bi-weekly recycling collection. The company proposed using semi-automated collection, which would require the purchase of large (134l or larger) bins. Rural directors were not enthused by the idea, as it sends the wrong message (a larger bin so we can throw more things away) and it makes wielding such big bins difficult on our long and sometimes steep driveways. I personally am for an approach where you can buy the size of bin you need and then buy the tag for the number of liters in your bin. That way it provides real incentive to start diverting. This, however, adds a lot of complexity, and was not something that was part of the RFP, so I think it will be a hard sell. The former board also decided that opting out of Organics pickup should not be an option, but it looks like the current board would like to create incentive for at-home composting. That being said, it may still be worth it for all the bones, fish and meat scraps. We will have another big session on solid waste Feb 20th, so nothing is decided yet.
Bruce Searle, our fire inspector and former Chief of 12 years retired at the end of January. A big thank you to Bruce for the long years of dedicated and passionate service to our community. You can still catch him every now and then at the fire department as he’s training his replacement(s), in case you want to go say thank you in person. The SCRD asked for some advice from Dave Mitchell & Associates, a highly respected consulting firm for the fire services industry, and they recommend that our volunteer fire department hire a full-time chief. The number of calls have been steadily increasing over the last number of years (see graphic), and the demands on the level of training of our volunteers in the fire department have also been going up. There will be more news coming regarding our emergency services, stay tuned.
With the kind assistance of our MLA, Nicholas Simons, we convinced the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to come and do a site visit at the new development on Largo Rd. A big thank you to all the dedicated residents, Nicholas Simons, and the representatives from MoTI for making this happen. The plans that MoTI presented were unfortunately insufficient to alleviate the concerns of the local residents, but the meeting was nonetheless informative and there was good dialogue between all parties. We will be talking about the park dedication at the Planning and Community Development Committee on Feb 7th. I believe that staff has come up with a great solution to that problem, and I commend them on the hard work on this case.
In February we will be honing in on our strategic plan, go through our annual budget cycle, receive a report on potential reservoirs and our Chair Lori Pratt will be meeting with the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resources and Rural Development (FLNRORD) to express our desire for a comprehensive land use planning process to put our “war in the woods” to rest.