Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Been a Long Time.....Updates!

Hi everyone, here finally is an update from me.  It has been a very busy time since the New Year with much time spent assisting the Bralorne community on the forestry issues along with all the normal SLRD budget stuff at this time of year. 

I hope everyone has had a great winter. Winter has been terrific weatherwise in the Bridge River Valley and we have hosted two amazing events in the Valley - Winterfest and the Sennheiser Backcountry Picnic.  Special thanks to all the volunteers and businesses for doing a great job. 

Also special thanks to Norm Verner, my alternate for attending a meeting for me last month.  Sal had to have minor surgery, so Norm "pitch-hit" a committee of the whole meeting.  Thank You Norm!

Our favorite topic, Roads: 
Highline Rd. declared "Public"
Judge's ruling declaring Highline Rd. a public road
The book is still "out" on whether this ruling will actually help or hurt the ongoing maintenance of the Highline Rd.  The article (link below) by Lillooet News does a pretty good job of explaining why:
Lillooet News article on Highline Rd

Hurley Rd. Advocacy
The SLRD Board Chair, Patricia Heintzman and the SLRD Board Chair met with Min. Steven Thompson, MFLNRO and other officials today in Victoria.  They are there for a conference.  One topic:  Hurley River Rd.   Chair Heintzman's report:
"The Hurley discussion was also quite positive. They have said they will look at making the maintenance of the entire road [Squamish FSR, Lillooet FSR and MOTI portions] more streamlined for quality and consistency of maintenance. Avalanche analysis permitting, they will try to see what they can do to get the road open by May long weekend."
Thank you to Chair Heintzman and I really hope our continued SLRD advocacy can and will make a difference!


Bralorne
Forestry
The community members in Bralorne have been dealing with both Interwest and Aspen Planers (forestry companies) since early January with regards to cutting permits granted or planned immediately adjacent to Bralorne.  The cutting permits impact on specific areas of key interest to Bralorne: E. Hurley Rd., Sunshine Mtn & various viewscapes.
Link to action items report:     https://docs.google.com/file/d/0Bz8bmBXIlkCOSjA0ZEhNWEFab28/edit?usp=sharing

Two policy items were identified by Bralorne residents and the SLRD supported these issues and have forwarded copies of the following resolutions to all Regional Districts and Local Government Associations.
https://docs.google.com/file/d/0Bz8bmBXIlkCOMGxCRkx3OWppNFk/edit?usp=sharing

There has been a positive constructive response by the community and they are to be congratulated for their approach.  There has been one vandalism incident on the Family Day long weekend. 

Sewer System Replacement
The sewer system upgrade application for Gas Tax funding was not successful.  The program was over-subscribed 6 to 1.  Six times more application $'s than available in BC.
I do plan to continue to work through a Plan B along with our capable SLRD staff.   I am very hopeful that changes to Gas Tax and other infrastructure programs by the Federal Government will assist all areas in BC, including ours, in addressing the very serious infrastructure problems that exist.


Spruce Budworm Spraying Update

I recently asked Lorraine Maclauchlan Forest Entomologist, Thompson Okanagan Region for an update on any plans for spraying for the Spruce Budworm in our area.      The   “Pest Management Plan” (PMP) is in the review phase meaning it is open to comment and question for 45 days. After this time , the  MOE  is informed of the PMP and any comments or concerns how they will be addressed.  The District Manager of the Cascades District supports the spray program , as yet no input from the First nations in the area.  So, at this point MFLNRO’s is planning on spraying numerous blocks in and around Goldbridge/Gun Lake in late June 2013.

Map of draft spraying area:   https://docs.google.com/file/d/0Bz8bmBXIlkCOd0sxYzM5WWRBY28/edit?pli=1


Invasives: Watch out for flowering rush
Link below for some info we have been asked to spread around regarding an up and coming wetland invasive Flowering Rush (Butomus umbellatus).  We are hoping people could put this all be it pretty, nasty on their radar for the spring.  If spotted please let us know, this is a high ranking provincial EDRR (Early Detection Rapid Response) species that is pressing up against the BC border and poses a significant threat to wetlands https://docs.google.com/file/d/0Bz8bmBXIlkCOQmpxMk40bnFFVWc/edit?usp=sharing

Funding Awarded for Fuel Mitigation Prescriptions

$39,930.00 has been awarded to develop fuel mitigation prescriptions for the Gun Lake area.. As the applicant is required to contribute 25% of the total project cost, the working group has approved a grant in the amount of $ 29,947.50, or 75% of the actual eligible project costs, whichever is less. Through Area A Select Funds (2012) I committed $10,000 which will take care of the 25%.

The interface areas of Gun Lake and Tyaughton Lake (within 2 km of structures) and scattered structures between, adjacent to, and enroute to these communities. Structures within the area range from summer cabins to year round homes. There is also a year-round, log structure resort on Tyaughton Lake.  This area contains homes surrounding Gun Lake, Tyaughton Lake and within the Gun Creek drainage.  There are year round outdoor, commercial activities that occur within, or are based out of, the area.

As recommended in the SLRD Community Wildfire Protection Plan and Fuel Management Strategy (November 2006), this application is for a strategic landscape level prescription. The Lillooet Fire Zone has, in consultation with the SLRD, developed a project outline that would allow assets at Gun Lake to be protected at a landscape level while improving conditions for Wildfire Management Branch in fighting fires that may be moving through the area (See Appendix B).

The suggested approach has the added benefit of increasing the defensibility of neighbouring Goldbridge and Bralorne.

I would like to acknowledge Ryan Wainwright, the SLRD Emergency Program Manager for his excellent work on this application for funding.  The project areas applied for: A1 and A2 are found in the Fuel Management Strategy for Gun Lake - Page 11 of Appendix A and Pages 6 and 7 of the following report give a very good quick look at the situation.  Keep in mind this first application is for the prescription (figuring out what to do) and a further application will be required the actual treatment work.


Legislation Takes Aim at Problem Properties
The Government of British Columbia has introduced legislation that would see the creation of a provincial unit to investigate and work with property owners to curb threatening and dangerous activities.  The Community Safety Act comes in response to a resolution endorsed by UBCM's membership (2009-B66, "Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods") calling for legislative improvements to address public safety issues resulting from problem addresses such as drug houses.
Full article:
http://www.ubcm.ca/EN/meta/news/news-archive/2013-archive/legislation-takes-aim-at-problem-properties.html

I am not sure yet how this will play out for rural/remote areas like ours.  I am hopeful though!

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