Sunday, January 12, 2020

My Bralorne Support as Area A Director 2012-2018

It was my honor and pleasure to support the unique community of Bralorne in surviving and thriving.
In doing so, my belief is and was that Bralorne's success will contribute to the entire valley staying on its feet as a community.

I asked myself how I can demonstrate that support that I provided between 2012-2018 in a factual way.

I decided to look at funding that I played a role in getting for Bralorne or funding that I actually gave through SLRD Select Funds.  So here is a list from 2012-2018, probably not everything but this will give you an idea.  The total of direct funding in this list is $2,120,074.

Please note that unless otherwise indicated the funding is Area A Select Funds – Grants in Aide.

Bralorne Sewer Project - $1,999,530
The Bralorne Sewer was close to 100 years old.  Unfortunately options such as septic are not possible in the two Bralorne town sites because of the lot sizes.  The system, after a study, was shown to have many leaks in the collections system and there was no secondary treatment.  The Ministry of Environment was well aware of the situation and had let the SLRD know that the system had to be addressed sometime within the next few years.  If it had a major break happen or MOE laid down an ultimatum it could have spelled real problems for Bralorne and the ability to live in it.   
There had been 3 applications to infrastructure funding over 20 years (Federal/Provincial) that were turned down.  I decided to read them all and I soon realized that the description of Bralorne and its potential was part of the problem.  Some of the applications actually had in there the town was dying!  Working with the SLRD grant writer we focused on some of the positives and potential of Bralorne and finally the Federal/Provincial infrastructure application was funded…for $1,999,530
Bralorne Sewer Project Financial Support to Alleviate Tax Burden
Just before I finished my term, I sought and received SLRD Board support for up to $60,000 per year from the Northern Payment in Lieu of Taxes funding to offset the tax burden that I knew Bralorne property owners were going to have because of the project.  We knew that the tenders were coming in higher than the funding, and that there woiuld have to be borrowing and the taxpayers would have to pay for that.  The up to $60,000 per year for 2019, 2020, 2021 was meant to help in any way we could to offset the financial burden.  

Bralorne Sewer Service and Bralorne Water Service Top Ups from the Northern PILT Fund
The Bralorne Sewer and Water Services had been running in or close to a deficit for a number of years.  The services had not built nearly enough reserve funds to cover major issues or replacement as everyone knew was needed.
Bralorne Water – In 2016 and 2018, I had a total of $8,500 transferred to the Bralorne Water Service from the Northern Payment-In-Lieu-of-Taxes (PILT) funds to support the Bralorne Water service staying out of deficit and starting to build a more substantive reserve.
Bralorne Sewer – In each year from 2016 on, I had $5,000 transferred to the Bralorne Sewer Service from the Northern PILT funds to support the operations and try to build a bigger and more appropriate reserve fund.
The Northern PILT funds are non-taxation based (BC Hydro) and I also supported the Gold Bridge Water Service in a similar manner.

Expansion of Sunshine Mountain Recreation Tenure (now known as Bralorne Recreation Area)
Feasibility Plan and Tenure Applications (2013)– Southern Interior Beetle Action Coalition $46,000, Area A Select Funds – Grant In Aide $5000
Redo/Revise Feasibility Plan & Tenure Documents (2017)  $2214
Redo the application to reflect a Rec Sites and Trails tenure (2018) $5,000

Bralorne Hall
The condition of the Bralorne Hall was a big concern to people in Bralorne and remains so.  To facilitate moving forward with the necessary studies and so on to apply for funding to fix it I funded the following:
·         Undertook a Historic Heritage Study – $5000

·         Undertook a Hazardous Materials – high level identification study - $2,800

·         Structural Engineers Report - Completed August 2018  - $4200
       And additionally:
·          Emergency repairs to doors, roof, support mechanisms - $3,000
·          Grading around the Hall (2014) $546

Bralorne Ball Diamond

Bleacher and Cookshack Repairs (2018) –- $7569.50
Ball Diamond Fencing Project (2017) – 30% of NDIT project - $1,200
Ball Tournament Coordinator (2017)  $1000
Ball Tournament Coordinator (2015)  $2,200
Ball Tournament General Funding (2014)  $1000
Ball Tournament General Funding (2012)   $ 814

Bralorne Hall, Bralorne Ball Diamond, Sunshine Recreation Area (2016) Insurance Support - $4,000
Bralorne Hall, Bralorne Ball Diamond, Sunshine Recreation Area (2012) Insurance Support - $3,200

Bralorne TV
Dissolution Costs of Society (2016) $400

Bralorne Church
Conservation, Inventory and Operations Plan (2014 )  $5000
Church Repairs (Hot water tank) (2014)  $600

This list does not include
1)the support that has occurred via the Asset Amenity Preservation Tax Requisition (SLRD funding which I initiated and guided through)  which has been in effect for 3 years now (since 2016) – expenditures in the Bralorne area include:
Yearly Insurance Support of Bralorne Hall, Bralorne Ball Tournament, Sunshine Mountain Tenure area – varies
Yearly Groundskeeping Support – Bralorne Ball Diamond, Bralorne Hall, Bralorne Fire Hall
Purchase and repairs of a ride on lawnmower – primarily for use at Bralorne Ball Diamond
Repeated plumbing repairs (mainly fixing pipes/hot water tanks) – Bralorne Church
And there are many more.

2) Wayfinding Signage Program – NDIT/SLRD funded - $42,000 (initiated by me) – to be completed by June 30/2020
- Bralorne Entry Sign – 4x8 Sign and Timber Frame
- Bralorne Museum, Bralorne Church and Bralorne Ball Diamond 2x4 Signs and Timber frame frames
- 4 Interpretive 24/24 double timber frame post interpretive signs in key Bralorne locations
-10 interpretive 8x11 single timber frame post interpretive signs at the Old Museum Park Mining Equipment Walk way

3) Tourism Marketing Projects and Materials.  Bralorne and Bralorne businesses/organizations have been prominently covered in many tourism marketing videos, visitors guide, kiosks, etc.  Funding includes grants in aides, NDIT funding and so on all of which I either was directly or very supportive of.
Specifically some examples where Bralorne, Bralorne business/organizations and life are prominently featured in:
-winter and summer marketing video
-Live Where you Play Video
-Blake Jorgenson marketing photo project
-Gateway Entry Kiosks
-Visitor Guides 2014, 2016 and 2019

4) Bralorne Pioneer Museum
While the Museum is a huge asset and draw and promoter of Bralorne and its heritage, I have not included in the count of funding because it is a “valley-wide” museum.    Its mission statement and collection reflect this but there is no doubt it is important to the sustainability of Bralorne as a community.  Major work and funding has gone into finding, securing and renovating a new location for the Bralorne Pioneer Museum at the Bralorne Pioneer Mines Office building.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Thank You!

This morning - November 28, 2018 - until about 10:30, I will be the Regional District Director for Area A, SLRD.

At 10:30 or just after, our new Area A Director, John Courchesne will be sworn in.

I went into being the Regional District Director following in the shoes of Russ Oakley.  I wish John the very best in serving this community.

Yes, that's an agenda.  Happy reading!
My intention when I got elected was to work very hard to increase communication with ALL the property owners in the area not just full time residents.   In the same vein, I wanted to decrease the rumor mongering and gossip mill and deal with the facts.  Decreases anger and builds credibility!

A second goal of mine was to build relationships and advocate every single day with other elected officials at all levels, ministry officials and so on.  I do believe by the end of the 7 years, the first thing that occurs on MOST (not all lol) days to these folks is they need to consult with someone in the Bridge River Valley before they just land stuff on us.
$9 million repaving funding announced for Rd. 40

My third goal, was to ensure every conceivable dollar available anywhere could come into this area to HELP with community development.  While many of you come to this community to enjoy some relaxation and wilderness, the simple facts are services are based on population, no population no services.  No jobs, no local economy, no amenities, no housing, no cultural amenities and crappy access means no population means no services and decreasing property values.  Something YOU should care about.

My fourth goal was to ensure we moved from the culture of defeat and small-minded insular thinking to thinking we CAN do things but we have to be smart about it people instead of relying on volunteers with such a small population base...use technology and online stuff and finally do everything in my personal power including getting down in the dirt and working very long hours to ensure nothing fails.  We have made progress here but not as much as I'd like and it has been very very hard.

So overall I am satisfied and I know I did my best.

Along the way what I have learned about this area and the people who have come and gone is remarkable. This is an amazing place to live, amazing.  And so much satisfaction and so many thank you's from all of you, it is truly appreciated.

I will be carrying on with many projects I have on the go.  I do hope to be doing them though with about 1/2 as much time devoted.:-) Dock, margueritas, South Chilcotin Mtn Park, my grand children, keeping the old fart oiled and moving, and just enjoying where I live.  I live the dream.

That said, I'm going to switch over to another blog (so it isn't perceived as political) called Living in the Bridge River Valley.  So you'll being hearing from me again.

I really need to say a huge thank you to our staff at the SLRD.  Were there times they pissed me off, did a shitty job, and so on, sure.  But 99.5% of the time THEY made me look good.  They are professionals and they are the ones we should ALL be thanking.  They are smart, experienced and really really caring.  Thank you Lynda Flynn and everyone who works at the SLRD.

Finally I have to thank one guy...Sal.  Noone saw the countless times he cleaned off my snow covered vehicle and warmed it up at 5 am in the morning before one of my 4 hours winter drives to Pemberton for a meeting.  Noone saw the number of times he cooked dinner and the hours he put up listening to me on the phone.  Or the number of times he would bail me out because I couldn't find someone else to do something.  Mind you he can whine pretty good, normal expression is "I gotta do f-ing everything!"  (ha ha)  Its pretty simple, he loves this place too and he knew what I was doing was for the good.  It is part of our "DNA" as a couple...service is uniting, service builds a strong relationship.  Thank you so much Sal, I could not have done this without your support AND your hard work.  Always there.

January 1, Sal in his element, Polar Bear Swim Gun Lake

Signing off for the last time, thank you everyone for blessing me with this opportunity.  My life has been enriched because of it.

Debbie Demare
Area A, Electoral Area Director
Squamish-Lillooet Regional District

Friday, September 28, 2018

All Candidates Meeting, Voting Information, Boralex Rezoning/Tenure Application

All Candidates Meetings

There will be two all candidate's meetings.  Please come out and get the information you need to make a decision on how to vote in the local government , SLRD Regional District Director Election.

IN PERSON - Monday, October 8 - 9 am to 10 am, Gold Bridge Community Club

TELEPHONE - Tuesday, October 9 - 7 pm to 8 pm, Toll Free , RSVP to - 250 238 2534 - get dial in numbers

Please do your civic duty and learn about these candidates and then vote!!!!

Thank you to the Bridge River Valley Community Association for stepping up to the plate to do this.

Voting Information

Here is a link to a 2 pager on where, when and how to vote!  If you have questions call me or call the SLRD office at 1-800-298-7753.

Boralex Rezoning and Tenure Application for Valley end of their Tower System
You will recall that a rezoning was completed by the SLRD for one end of the site for the Boralex Jamie Creek IPP communications system.  A tower and a small building.

Boralex has now applied for the site at this end of that system.  To be able to proceed they need to complete a rezoning (SLRD's job) and receive a tenure from the Provincial Government (Provincial Govt's job to grant).

The rezoning has just gone to first reading and is being referred out to various parties - MoTi etc.- to comment on. It will then come back at some point for 2nd reading after which there will be a public hearing.  Here is the link: to the rezoning documents:

The tenure application (provincial) has been circulated for any input.  It is here.  If you have any comments on this please get back to me right away as the SLRD needs to make comments by October 18.
Tenure Documents:
Application Area:

Detailed Map:

Location Map:

Short Term Rental - SLRD Board Sets Direction

Here is my previous blog that contains results of the survey I did of area residents.

If you are currently operating a short term rental (Air BnB or other) in an area zoned residential or rural residential you are contrary to zoning and therefore illegal. 

The SLRD Board of Directors has been grappling with issues of short term rentals throughout the Regional District and in August set the following direction:

Orange Shirt Day - Every Child Matters

While the SLRD has proclaimed September 30, 2018 as Orange Shirt Day, the Board and staff at the Pemberton office recognized the day at our Board Meeting on September 26 -- by wearing orange shirts. In the spirit of reconciliation, we encourage you to join us, again, on Sunday, September 30, and wear orange to acknowledge this growing movement that honours the healing journey of residential school survivors and their families, commemorates those who did not survive, and affirms our belief that Every Child Matters.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

YOU CAN VOTE!!! Election is coming, Campground Bylaw, Wildlife Attractant Bylaw, etc.

The Election is coming!

As you may have heard by now, Area A of the SLRD will have an election.  This is the first election for many years that isn't being decided by acclamation (1 candidate).   There are three candidates. Their official information is here:    I'm sure you will be hearing from them in short order.

The Bridge River Valley Community Association is planning to hold an All Candidates Forum on Thanksgiving Weekend on Monday morning at the GBCC and will follow up on Tuesday evening (9th) with a TOLL FREE TELECONFERENCE session for those that can't be there in person.  More information to come from them very soon.

YOU will have multiple ways to vote from Election Day, 3 Advance Polls, 3 different locations to vote and the ability to do a mail in ballot.  Here is the official voter information:
If this info confuses you please phone the SLRD at 1-800-298-7753 or email or give me a call or email.

I will remain the Regional District Director right up until the next director is sworn in on November 20.  So I'll be working pretty hard right up to that time and if there is an emergency I will be there!

Campground Bylaw 

The SLRD is considering putting a Campground Bylaw in place to regulate private campgrounds.
See the report and proposed bylaw here:  

Please call me or email me with any questions or concerns.  I need to provide input by September 30, 2018.

New Fuel Mitigation/Fire Smart Program

The provincial government announced a new Fuel Mitigation/Fire Smart Program at UBCM last week.

The Community Resiliency Investment (CRI) Program takes a holistic approach to wildfire risk reduction and fuel management treatments, and will consider fire prevention activities on provincial Crown land and private land, in addition to local government and reserve land.

The SLRD will be working on figuring the new program out and looking at what we apply for.

This link has a bunch of additional information on the program and if you have ideas please contact me right away:

The SLRD applied to do an update on our Community Wildfire Protection Plan for Area A in October 2017 and that updated plan should be completed soon.  The CWPP identifes high risk areas and provides recommendations for wildfire protection for the community.

Noise and other issues - Good Neighbor Guidelines, Wildlife Attractant Bylaw
This summer was much better for issues of partying type noise coming from Gun Lake in the middle of night or very early (5 am) in the morning.  That said I received a number of complaints from other causes re noise and in some cases nuisance from around the Valley.

When I have surveyed residents they generally are not hugely in favor of noise bylaws etc. and so to this point have not brought a noise bylaw in.

The Mayor of Squamish shared with me their Good Neighbor Policy.  Click here:
Obviously designed for a bigger community - however - we could , through the Ratepayer's Assoc., BRVCA etc. develop one that might work for our area.  This is a more positive proactive way to deal with issues that bring conflict between neighbors.  Let me know what you think.

One area that our entire SLRD decided to put in bylaws is around Wildlife Attractants.  The idea here is to do as much proactive education as possible, but where there is an ongoing issues with a property owner, the Wildlife Attractant Bylaw will be used to catch that owner's attention with fines.  Click here to read all about it:

Bradian For Sale Again!
The current owners of Bradian property have put it on the market again.  I am very pleased with how Collier's is marketing it so far.  This is a very interesting and unique opportunity for an owner/developer who learns about the area, understands what is possible and respects the heritage of Bradian.

Here is the link for the listing:

Whats going on with Bralorne Gold Mine?

Here is the latest update from Avino Silver & Gold:

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Air BNB and Cell Phone Survey, Hurley Snow Plowing

Local Government Elections
As almost everyone is aware, I am retiring and not running in this Fall's elections.

A key date span is fast approaching and that is the nomination period, September 4-14 inclusive.  You must submit your forms to the SLRD office in that time frame to appear on the ballot.

The election is on October 20 and you will be sworn in, for 4 years on November 20.

There is a ton of excellent information at this link:
Our Chief Electoral Officer, Kristen Clark, can also help and support you as well.
And, I am always available with past history on issues and so on.

As I have mentioned previously, the base stipend is $25,000 per year.  Many expenses are paid including all travel, some office and computer expenses, phone(s) (Area A gets 50% of a satellite phone paid), etc.

If this has been on your mind, you can and should run!  Every elected official charts their own course with their own priorities and time availability.

An Election, a choice, with several good people running would be very good for our area and the choice would make sure the right person for this time in our history would be elected!

Short Term Rental Survey

Earlier this spring I did a short term rental (Air BNB) type survey.

For your interest here are the results:

Note that participation was 14% Bralorne, 7% Gold Bridge, 56% Gun Lake, 12% Tyaughton Lake and 8 % Marshall Lake with 2 % Other.

As you are aware short term rentals (Air BNB) are illegal in residential zoned locations in Area A.
You can apply for a rezoning to commercial to accommodate short term rentals.  Keep in mind that most of the residential zoning allow Bed & Breakfasts and also long term (month to month) rentals.
Please check with the zoning bylaw or call our planning department at 1-800-298-7753.  They will give you the scoop.    If you have a short term rental nearby and you wish to complain about it you can fill out a bylaw enforcement form,

Cell Phone Service Survey

The results in this survey are very interesting and not what I expected.

Have a look:

I have been in constant contact with Telus (several meetings) and other major organizations in our area.  We will see what develops.

Hurley FSR Snow Plowing Last Winter

I've had many people suggest that keeping the Hurley FSR Open through the winter would really help our area by increasing access and making it more attractive (and less isolating) for people to live here.

Last winter, Interwest had cutblocks in the Hope Creek area and were hauling in both directions.  The Hurley FSR was kept open to January 5.  I asked them about costs to do this and here is the answer:

"From the beginning of November to the end of December we spent $100,000 total, mostly during the last 3 weeks in December.  That was 2 graders and a bulldozer double shifting.  When the snow really hit there in December it was essentially non-stop to keep it open.  "

Based on this information, I have put together a little survey to get your opinion:

Campground Bylaw

The SLRD is considering putting a Campground Bylaw in place to regulate private campgrounds.
See the report and proposed bylaw here:  

Please call me or email me with any questions or concerns.  I need to provide input by September 30, 2018.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Lots of Information!

Please everyone be very careful with fire.  There is currently an open burning ban in place and will remain so till October.  You can take wood waste to the Gold Bridge Transfer Station if needed, they have a large burn pit there.

Regional District Director's Survey
I will be leaving this survey open until Sunday, June 3.  96 responses so far which is really good.  I will be publishing the responses when done.

Click here to do the survey:

Lillooet-Pioneer Road 40 Repaving Update
Ministry of Transportation officials advise that the contractor has been issued a “Resume Work Order” and the contract completion date has been amended to June 28, 2018.

At this time the contractor has not provided a restart date on the road but Contractor personnel are in the pit working on the asphalt plant; getting it ready.

Little Gem Property Looking Good - Blackstone Minerals

Cobalt is a hot commodity as it is used in lithium ion batteries.

Here are two updates on this property located just north of Gun Lake. 



Cannabis Consultation and Survey

Engagement Opportunity for SLRD Electoral Area residents and property owners: Cannabis legalization is coming this summer, and the SLRD is taking steps to prepare. We want to hear your feedback on how cannabis should be regulated in the SLRD Electoral Areas to best meet the desires of the communities, and also to achieve the objectives established by the federal and provincial governments. Learn more on our website, and take the 5 minute online survey to tell us what you think!

Click here to take the survey:

Summer at Gun Lake

Following last summer, I did a survey of Gun Lake Property Owners to determine what their opinion was on some of the issues that occured.

Here is a link to the survey results..  Be sure in comment sections to click on responses to see all of the comments.  Click Here:  .

I have been in touch with the RCMP who have advised they will be patrolling the boat launch area as well as working, in cooperation with the Conservation Service, doing some boat patrols.

Bralorne Water System Condition Assessment
The SLRD has been awarded $7,500 for an infrastructure planning grant to look at the Bralorne Water System and provide a condition assessment.  This will inform planning for the Bralorne Water Service.

BC Flood and Wildfire Review
Below is the link for the Executive Summary for the BC Flood and Wildfire Review, commissioned after last year's floods and fires - unprecedented in scope.    The report was recently released by the Provincial Government.  We are not yet sure what of the recommendations will be implemented. If you are interested in FIRE stuff you should read this report.

Gold Bridge Transfer Station

Do you know all the things you can take and recycle at the Gold Bridge Transfer Station.  This video will show you in spectacular fashion.  If you want to share with friends & family so they know too, here s the YouTube Link:

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

May Long Weekend and more

As we move into May long weekend and all the fun we are going to have, I just want to highlight the danger at our doorsteps.

The Wildfire Branch and their weather folks are forecasting another hot dry difficult fire season....I hope they are wrong, I really do.  The expression goes though - plan for the worst, hope for the best.

What can you do to help?
1. Be alert for smoke and other signs of fire and PHONE THEM IN to 
1 800 663-5555  Don't second guess yourself, just do it!  If you hear thunder and see lightening, keep an eye on that area. Post this number by your phone.  

2. Be Careful with your own fires and go over the top in putting them out.

3. Firesmart your property.  If you haven't done any Fire Smarting, just start. There is a really good website, that can help you.  There is also a very good Firesmart Manual which you can get at the Community Resource Centre in Gold Bridge. As this graphic says, if you wait, you may be too late.

Survey - Road 40, Air BnB, etc.

There are a number of issues out there right now that I'd like to guage your opinions on.  Your replies are confidential but I will produce a report from the survey.  

This is the link to the Survey:

Local Government Elections

As mentioned in previous posts, we need a NEW Regional District Director this fall.  I am retiring!

If you think you "might" be interested please see my previous posts here:

There are big changes in place for how you can vote and when you can vote this time.  
Everyone will be able to participate - full time, part time, etc.

Election is October 20.
Advance poll is in Gold Bridge on October 10
2nd Advance Poll is at the SLRD office in Pemberton October 15
AND there will be a mail in ballot for non-resident property owners, disabled and a couple of other categories.
Please note that non-resident property owners can and have always been able to vote in local government elections.

Many details are forthcoming but the message is everyone can participate.  Now we need two people to step up and run!