Sunday, December 2, 2012

Health Care, BC Hydro Money & Followups

Health Care in the Bridge River Valley

Please take a moment to fill our the survey below.  I am trying to find out how people in or visiting the Bridge River Valley access Health Services.

Click here to take survey

We are part of Interior Health Authority Area and the Thompson Regional Hospital District. Therefore our taxes go to medical services provided in that area - primarily Lillooet and Royal Inland Hospital (Kamloops).  Taxes on an average residential assessment will increase $21 next year.  Please see information on this at the two links below.

Most interested in any and all feedback on this particular issue to inform my positions on Health Care in the BRV (Area A) going forward.

BC Hydro Payment In Lieu of Taxes - Lillooet wants $300,000

BC Hydro pays over $1,000,000 to the SLRD for payment in lieu of taxes.

Other than some generating capacity in Area D (rural Squamish/Whistler), all of the generating capacity and dams/resevoirs related to this payment are in Area A (ours) and Area B (rural Lillooet, Seton/Shalath, Yalakom).

A number of years ago, the SLRD board came up with a way of dividing the benefit of these funds.  Many long time residents in our area do not agree with the amount of benefit we receive which is approx. $50,000 directly and further indirect benefit through general government and planning services.

This fall, Lillooet has submited a letter and a report requesting $300,000 of these PILT funds go to their community, and in their calculations they have also provided for Area A and Area B (see two options p. 32/33 of the report).   Lilloet argues that the original order in council and subsequent provincial government guidelines for allocation of the PILT funds were to be 40% to the Northern SLRD (Area A, Area B, & Lillooet)

Lillooet letter and report requesting $300,000 of PILT funds
(this is a big file give it a few minutes to download)

At the Board meeting in November, the Municipality of Whistler indicated that if such funds went to Lillooet et al, they would not support increasing taxes across the rest of the region to make up for what has been taken out of general government/planning services.    Pemberton's rep to the board, Mayor Jordon Sturdy basicly indicated that Pemberton would not support and would encourage Lillooet to pursue the satellite boundary expansion to take in the dams and the Bridge River generating complex.  The interesting part of this, is that because this a "money/budget" vote, it will be a weighted vote, meaning the municipalities which have more "votes" due to population, will basically be in control of what happens here.

If you are BOTH a resident of Area A and either Squamish, Pemberton ,Whistler, Area C or D, I would most certainly read the report, become informed and express your opinion to  local councillor, Mayor or Area Director.  This will affect you the most financially in both jurisdictions and if something is not done to assist the Northern SLRD, the potential is to eventually impact your property values and resale ability in Area A.  

For my part, my opinion is the the taxpayers of Area A, B and Lillooet have been subsidizing the Sea-Sky corridor taxpayers for many years by the current allocation of the PILT funds and it is time to re-write the equation.  My current thinking is:   1) at least the same financial benefit to Area A must be maintained and possible additional as I feel our area, with 70 sq. kms of resevoirs and two dams is the MOST impacted and should receive a signficant piece of the PILT funds and 2)  the SLRD board MUST take steps either through the reallocation of PILT funds or other strategic initiatives to strengthen the Northern SLRD (Area A,. B & Lillooet)  While increasingly Area A is tied to the Sea-to-Sky corridor, it is still very important for us to have a strong and healthy Lillooet as the main gateway to our area.

This is an evolving issue and so is my thinking on it, so please feel free to let me know what you think.

At the November board meeting, the SLRD staff were requested to bring back a report (in January) that includes information on what the provincial government guidelines for distribution are and also implications financially on various options for distribution of the PILT funds.


1. Crane Creek Engineers Report In
I have placed a link to the report from the engineer on the Crane Creek debris flow.
(again a large file, give it a minute or two)

I would draw your attention to the recommendations in the report.  The SLRD board passed the following resolution:

THAT the Tyaughton Lake Debris Flow - As-Constructed Summary Report be sent to the Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure, along with any other pertinent Ministries, along with a letter encouraging implementation of the recommendations prior to next Spring’s freshet.

2. Spruce Budworm followup
I asked Lorraine MacLaughlin for an update on the Spruce Budworm.

She has kindly supplied a map of the proposed spray area for next spring.
DRAFT map of spraying in our area
She advises:
*map is draft only, boundaries/lines have not been totally confirmed
*consultation is underway with affected First Nations
*ministry has  purchased enough B.t.k. for approximately 62,000 hectares of treatment (to be shared amongst the Cariboo and Thompson Okanagan regions).
*Lorraine's area has  40,000 to 45,000 ha of this allotment.
*Funding for 2013 is still not certain but it is likely we will get enough to treat the 62,000 ha.
*If the area around Gold Bridge-Gun Lake proceeds, we will use the airstrip as our staging site.
*there may be another information session in March 2013 or send out letters to locals.
3.  Our Favorite Topic:  Roads
I have sent the following letter to the General Manager, Interior Roads.  Interior Roads is the maintenance contractor for the section of the Hurley Rd. from the steel bridge to just the other side of the summit.

Area road crew - night shift.  I had some questions about there not being a night shift this winter with our local Interior Roads crews.  I contacted the operations manager and they are currently backfilling the night shift with overtime/Lillooet crews, they have hired for the night shift but are /were having a hard time getting accomodation for them.  Last I heard they had 1 person looked after. 

I also heard yesterday that local residents are currently getting a petition going regarding the ongoing condition/maintenance and paving of Rd. 40.  Go for it!!!  I'd also remind everyone that the single most effective method to complain about Rd. 40 or any public rd for that matter is to go to, click on feedback and fill it in.  Do it lots for things that are not right.  These feedback forms are sent to a number of Interior Roads management as well as the Ministry of Transportation managers.  My experience is that these forms get attenti

I will stay on touch, this is ongoing advocacy on my part and that of the SLRD board.

Change of Alternate
Teri Anderson, who has been my alternate for 2012.  She has decided not to carry on for 2013.  In her own words:

"I would also like to give my resignation as the SLRD Alternate.  As we first discussed, you noted that if this did not work out for me, I could resign in December.  In order for me to be a success at all that I endeavour, I need to focus my time and efforts as mentioned above.  This is hard for me to step back, but necessary.  "

I would like to thank Teri on behalf of the taxpayers and residents of Area A for her willingness to be the alternate.  Her committment to and love of this area is signficant and long standing.

I started out thinking that if I had alternates come and go I'd try and move around the Valley, and so the next alternate will be Norm Verner. 

Norm is a part time Gun Lake resident, and in a past life was a City Councilor, so that will be helpful.  Norm also has some background and experience with the entire PILT discussion above.  Thank You Norm for your willingness to do this, your committment and love of this area is also signficant and long standing.

Interesting News Coverage

Sustainability Plan Sparks Debate
 I am idealistic I guess. I think a regional board should seek ways to enhance, protect and carefully nurture the entire region.  Below is just one example of how that isn't happening at the SLRD. How it got to this point in the process without a committment to true regional alignment is beyond me.
Exploring beyond Sea - to - Sky
I would like to see more regional thinking at the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District board level.  I also think this regional thinking needs to be in balance, of course, with taxpayer load and municipal territorial issues.  Right now I have to say that the tone of this board is very much weighted to territorial and monetary squabbles and issues.
Then along comes Clr. Patricia Heintzman, Squamish councillor and one of two Squamish appointees to the SLRD, with this initiative.   This is the kind of thinking and initiative we need to think regionally. It isn't always about slicing up the can be about working to make the pie bigger!!! Bravo Clr. Heintzman & Squamish Council!!!