Sunday, December 1, 2013

BC Hydro Payment in Lieu of Taxes - Everyone Wants their Piece of the Pie!

My goodness time goes by so quickly....this is a pretty extensive update and it has been a while since I wrote a blog.   I have probably forgotten things I wanted to tell you.  If you think of something you want information or an update on please email me and I will add a post or two.  

BC Hydro Payment in Lieu of Taxes - Everyone wants some of it!

The District of Lillooet has submitted a letter to the SLRD board saying that they have initiated boundary expansion to take over the Bridge River Generating Station.   Following the normal provincial government guidelines, this could, if the province approves it, net Lillooet approximately $330,000 in revenue.  In addition, they have requested that in the interim that the SLRD Board allocate $100,000 to capital upgrades and operational costs of the Lillooet Recreation Centre and Pool from the BC Hydro Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT). 

So if they are granted the boundary expansion, the SLRD would lose this $330,000 as a revenue source.  Currently this money is allocated in a formula, negotiated by our former Regional District director, Russ Oakley.  Most of this money goes to services that look after the entire SLRD such as General Government and Planning.  The current budget is around $830,000, so you can see that a $300,000 hit would be very very significant and would most certainly impact the SLRD’s ability to use those to services to provide specific services to the Electoral Areas such as ours.    Area A also receives direct support through two different Select Funds which is BC Hydro PILT funds and this would most likely also suffer a hit in this scenario.

I have submitted a  Director's Report requesting that an additional $100,000 of the PILT funds be allocated to assist our area in two services, the Gold Bridge Water Service (operational) and the Bralorne Sewer (replacement).  This report has been referred to budget discussions.

It is unlikely I will support the $100,000 allocation from the BC Hydro PILT to Lillooet for their pool, while I sympathize, I believe they are not due such a huge proportion of the BC Hydro PILT funds.  There may be other ways they could be assisted.  When it comes to the satellite expansion they are initiating, I am also not, on your behalf supporting this until I am assured that Area A’s financial interests and service delivery are protected. Time to correct this fairness issue for a generation to come!    Let me know what you think.

Bralorne Items:
Bralorne Sewer System Replacement
Link to updated engineering study.  This study includes some of the history of how we got to this place.   http://www.scribd.com/doc/95506532/Bralorne-Community-Sewer-System-Assesment-Study-Update2    In 2012 Gas Tax Funding was applied for and was not successful.

Thanks to the SLRD Utilities Staff we are starting to develop a manageable approach.  To start with it is proposed that an infiltration study will be done.  This is where they put the cameras in the pipes and see exactly what is going on.  The results of this could allow for prioritizing certain areas for replacement.  Then replacement of collection system could be done in phases.  This would be more affordable for the Bralorne property owners.   There is also another intake of Gas Tax funding coming and our proposal will be current and ready to go - shovel ready as they put it.   More on this to come.

Boultbee Memorial Church
This year the Bralorne Bridge River Valley Community Church Society decided to dissolve.  This Society, its members and volunteers are responsible for the Church we have today through a major restoration that was done some years ago.   Many community members sacrificed a great deal of time and effort, and many many community members past and present donated to the fundraising to make the church we have today possible.   Our community must remember their effort and  be eternally grateful for the job they did in restoring the Church.

It also came to light this year that the ownership status of the property and Church is an interesting one.  The parcel is untitled; it does not have a PID or ROLL number or title registered at the Land Titles office.  It is Crown land, owned by the Crown, but was dedicated as PARK via subdivision Plan 25011.

The SLRD was granted possession and control of the parcel for the purpose of a park.  “Possession and Control” means that the SLRD cannot dispose of the land (the SLRD does not own it), but does have the ability to use it for park purposes only.  The SLRD is further investigating this to determine exactly what this means.  The SLRD, through Area A Select Funds is taking some immediate steps to determine current condition of Church and is funding a Heritage Consultant (Susan Medville) to:
1)Inventory and Conservation  of Documents and Photographs
Inventory and conserve historic documents and photographs within the Church including numerous photograph albums, photographs currently displayed on the walls of the church, correspondence, and relevant Church records.
2)Inventory of Historic Items
Create a database inventory of historic items within the Church. Including but not limited to, furniture, instruments and fixtures.
3) Develop an Operations Management Plan for the Church that addresses operations, as the building is currently equipped

Some immediate physical concerns are being addressed including getting rid of a cluster fly infestation and replacing the hot water tank along with some other plumbing.   It has also been determined that the filler pipe to the oil tank is loose and some investigation will need to occur next spring.  For now, there is some oil in the tank and we are hoping events in the Church over the winter can be heated with this oil.    In addition, the Church has for the interim been added to the SLRD Insurance Policy.

Also at its meeting on October 28, the SLRD Board decided to sign a one year management agreement with the BRVCA to ensure there is a local caretaker organization which the ownership issue is figured out.  The BRVCA hopes that the fledgling Heritage Committee will be able to give advice and oversee the management of the Church going forward, for now though, the BRVCA Board of Directors will ensure the matters related to the care of the Church are looked after.  Funding for operations is a concern and the BRVCA has a restricted set of accounts for the Church so that all money raised and all money spent will come directly out of these accounts.  Any users of the Church for events and so on will be asked to do what they can through donations etc to assist in the operations of the Church.  If you wish to use the Church please contact the Community Resource Building at (250)238-2534 or bridgerivervalley@gmail.com  for information on policies and procedures regarding the Church’s use. 

This Church is a priceless treasure and we hope the community will continue to support it as it always has.  The BRVCA has put the original Church website back online live.  This website will need to be updated, however it is interesting to look at.  The website is www.bralornechurch.ca and there is a way to donate right there and then.  Keep in mind there is no service established to tax to support the Church, so no matter who owns it,  funds will be needed to operate it and keep it in good condition.  Please consider making a donation.


Gun Lake items:

South End Boat Launch Update
As you know the south end Boat Launch at Gun Lake was damaged by ice last winter.  It is very difficult to use.   A small group of Gun Lake people met in late August to discuss its short term and longer term maintenance.  

The area of the launch and the dock that was put there is actually governed by the Water Act.  Any replacement will need to go through the steps to obtain a tenure/notification under the water act.

The property around the boat launch is crown land.  It was formerly a Recreation Site (Min. of Forests), however that site has been deactivated by the MInistry of Forests, Trails & Recreation.

This leaves the whole thing in a bit of a no-man's land.  Options include:
1)Lobby the Recreation & Trails (MOF) to reinstate the Rec Site & maintain the boat launch
2)Set up an SLRD service & tax GL property owners to maintain
3)Local organization takes over, however will still need to do fundraising to maintain & put in proper tenure/management plan documents
4)"Someone" fixes it, however care must be taken because individuals known to have worked on it may find themselves liable for any accidents etc there

One of the action items out of our meeting this fall with lake property owners and boat launch users was to conduct a survey to see what users of the boat launch think should be done.  SO HAVE YOUR SAY!! 

SURVEY RE GUN LAKE BOAT LAUNCH SOUTH END

Motorboat Noise Bylaw
While I was at the boat launch for the meeting I noticed a sign listing this bylaw:  Motorboat Noise Bylaw # 396.  I wan't aware this bylaw existed and am sharing it for information purposes.


Update:  Run of the River Projects
At UBCM this year, I ran into the representative of Innergex and asked him for an update on their water investigative licences in Area A.   The company has been holding water license applications for several years on:

- Cadwallader Creek and Noel Creek
- Tyaughton Creek
- Gun Greek
- Hurley River

(applications for two other streams in Area A, Bridge River and Nichols Creek, have been recently taken off this list)

You can find information about all active water license applications in BC through this database http://a100.gov.bc.ca/pub/wtrwhse/water_licences.input .

Innergex has installed water gauges in these streams, and may occasionally conduct non-intrusive environmental research activities (such as fish searches or other field
work), as is allowed and required under the conditions of application. A certain level of research is necessary to keep the applications active. A Water License Application does not allow for any permanent construction, clearing of alterations. Neither does the possession of a Water License Application imply that a project will automatically follow and will actually be developed. In fact most applications will not evolve into a run-of-river project. This all depends on technical-environmental –financial-social & First Nation-political factors.

The Innergex representative subsequently provided this information and I quote:  "Going to the development stage would imply starting the BC environmental assessment process with much more intense field work and environmental studies, as well as public and First Nations consultations. There are currently no plans for the 5 streams mentioned to move to the development stage and start the official BC environmental
assessment."(underline his emphasis).

You can find information about all development projects in BC that are in environmental assessment through this database:


MLA Jackie Tegart Visits
On October 18 and 19, the Bridge River Valley, its residents including Sal and I had the pleasure and privilege of hosting our MLA Jackie Tegart and her Constituency Assistant, Lori Pilon.  

MLA Tegart earned my respect by choosing to drive over the Duffy Lake Rd. from Ashcroft, and then travel over the Hurley (I met them and did it with them) to Bralorne.  She definately got "the feel" of the situation:-)  I think she also clearly understands the linkage of the condition of the Hurley River Rd. with our economic and community viability.


When we arrived in Bralorne, we took THE most amazing heli tour with Kokanee Helicopters (sponsored by community fundraising).  The  opportunities for back country recreation are undeniable and this heli trip (aside from knocking my socks off) really cemented that understanding for me.

We also had dinner with members of the Bralorne community, toured the Bralorne Gold Mine operation, had a public meeting, shared the experience of living on Gun Lake and toured her around the Lake - on the Lake. It was chilly but worth it so that she could see the extent and type of residential buildings on Gun Lake.  

MLA Tegart made a report to the Mountain Telegraph.  Here is the link.




By the way I encourage you to support the Mountain Telegraph - it can be mailed to your home and costs $66/year.  Contact mountaintelegaph.editor@gmail.com.


Our favorite topic:  Roads - Hurley River Rd.

I have been in regular contact with MLA Tegart and her office.  They advise they have been working with MLA Jordan Sturdy and MOTI staff to implement some improvements.  In particular, MLA Sturdy is going to be taking the lead on both short term (this winter) and longer term (1 to 3 years) maintenance, repair and upgrading of the Hurley Road from Pemberton Meadow Road to Gold Bridge. 

This temporary and informal realignment of responsibilities will address one of the administrative issues that has been raised by constituents which is that the Hurley Road spans two provincial ridings.  The other administrative issue that has been raised by myself and other constituents is that the Hurley Road falls under two different Ministries (Transportation and Forestry), and two different forestry districts (Cascade and Sea to Sky) in two different forestry regions (South Coast and Thompson/Okanagan) making coordination, setting priorities, and budgeting for repairs and maintenance difficult. MLA Sturdy is working to have the road put under one jurisdiction.

Also, for your information, the maintenance and priority issues that have been brought to the MLA’s attention over the summer by residents and by myself include:

  • Dust control in appropriate locations in the summer months
  • Road to be opened by the long weekend in May
  • Km 13 to km 18 (Pemberton side) needs more material and some kind of surface stabilization
  • The switchback section needs more frequent gradings than it has received this year
  • The middle (MOT/public section) requires at least two gradings per year
  • The north end section is generally good with one grading per year except the hill coming into Gold Bridge

These maintenance and priority issues have been discussed with MOTI and efforts to work them into budgets and work plans will be made.  MLA Sturdy will oversee this planning process over the winter with MLA Tegart’s support as required. 

I am hopeful, but like you, will wait and see what happens.  I want to say Thank You to the two MLA's for their thoughtfulness and their responsiveness.  I do believe we have been understood for the first time in a long time!

As you know, I have been running a Have Your Say Survey regarding this road and here are the responses thus far (I have removed one that was inappropriate).

Less bumpy, but remain a wilderness trail. DO NOT PAVE the Hurley River Forestry Road.
4/9/2013 11:18 AMView Responses
Consistent from one end to the other, top coated so the sub grade is not exposed, and maintained regularly by one jurisdiction.
2/9/2013 1:18 PMView Responses
a reasonably graded gravel road with regular maintenance ( 4-6 gradings) through out the summer months. When and as needed it should be redressed with suitable gravel material. It should be open to traffic from the May long weekend until closed by natural snowfall.
31/8/2013 1:06 PMView Responses
paved up the switchbacks on the Pemberton side to Railway Pass then back to dirt road again. In the winter it would be plowed that far with a parking lot at the end that you have to buy a season's pass for, limited parking of maybe 60 with a reserved spot for me ...... and groomed the whole way to Gold Bridge and Bralorne. No big deal, right? :)
29/8/2013 6:37 PMView Responses
addressed with a new top lift of compressed gravel. Grading is no longer addressing the exposed boulders on various sections of the road surface. Potholes are becoming large and posing a hazard for vehicles. The road sees increased use and is a main access for many residents and visitors.
28/8/2013 7:15 AMView Responses
...Maintained by one authority instead of three. Having three bodies manage the road seems like a set up to allow only 1/3rd of the road to be worked on per year. If only 1/3 is worked on, they can say something has been done and the other two authorities can save the funds that would otherwise be spent on the actual road. Having only a part of the road in usable shape is of little use to those who would drive this road and come to the area and spend some $, be that home owners or visitors. Having the Hurley in such rough shape also discourages future home owners from buying in the area, as the other option (highway 40) is a lot longer (from the lower mainland) and unpaved for significant sections. Put the entire road under one jurisdiction, make it the goal to have the snow cleared for the May long weekend (when its safe to do so) and grade it in June and again in the fall at least. Also think about bringing the east Hurley up to the same standard as the rest of the Hurley. Also while we're at it, pave the entire length of highway 40 between Lillooet and Gold Bridge. We should have at least one decent way into the valley!
26/8/2013 9:13 PMView Responses
1) Not necessarily paved, but graded and maintained in good condition and kept clear/accessible all year long. 2) Have one entity responsible for the entire stretch of road
26/8/2013 1:15 PMView Responses
graded more frequently
25/8/2013 6:15 AMView Responses
Paved! Of course we know that will not happen but if it was at least kept like Road 40 that would at least make it tolerable. As it is presently it is a nightmare for at least 50 percent of the distance.
24/8/2013 7:16 PMView Responses
1. The entire road would be consolidated under a single mgmt. umbrella. 2. Maintained and repaired because in numerous areas of the road, the gravel surface is completely gone so that the sub-grade is exposed and the sub-grade is not a satisfactory driving surface! 3. Acknowledged that this Road is not only a forestry service road, but is a multi-use road of importance to our community and should be treated as such! If there is not presently a suitable designation which recognizes this reality, then a suitable designation must be created!
23/8/2013 5:46 PMView Responses
3 times per year completely graded from Railway Bridge on the Pemberton side to the bottom of the hill on the Goldbridge side. Timing would be when the road is reopened in Spring, prior to Aug. long weekend and prior to Sept. or Thanksgiving weekend. If 3 times per year are not possible a minimum of 2 complete gradings Pemberton side to Goldbridge side per year; each prior to July and Sept. weekends. The switchback Pemberton side, I believe 13 to 18 KM, is virtually impossible to grade properly because of exposed rock. This section and others sections with exposed rock need to be torn up or reworked so that proper grading is possible. Scheduled grading and some improvement to the Hurley would significantly reduce what is now a high rate of vehicle breakdowns and high vehicle maintenance costs to those travelling this route.
23/8/2013 12:54 AMView Responses
a good gravel road , open June 1- until Oct 31 or first measureable snowfall
23/8/2013 12:19 AMView Responses
Gravel of 2" minus on South end to a minimum depth of 6" (15 cm). First 7 km of North end to have dust control to help prevent washboard. I do not support paving as the grades are too steep & it would become very dangerous.
23/8/2013 11:12 AMView Responses
Graded after every long weekend in the summer and never paved!
23/8/2013 9:41 AMView Responses
Maintained to the same level for its entire length. This would include the section known as the east Hurley, which needs to be brushed/widened and graded most of its length to get up to the standard of the main Hurley. In addition to that, I would make the down hill section to Gold Bridge as one way, which would be down hill only. I would encourage out going traffic from the valley to take the paved road up to Bralorne and then out the east Hurley. This would not only be easier on vehicles climbing up and out of the valley on a paved road, but also the main Hurley, as you wouldn't have vehicles tearing up the road as it they try and climb up and out the valley. Coming down a rough road is much easier than climbing one. I know it's a pipe dream, but dreaming is free right!
6/5/2013 8:21 AMView Responses
a well maintained gravel road that receives regular grading. The large rocks in certain areas make travel in anything but a 4x4 truck very difficult, hard on the vehicle and dangerous. It does not warrant pavement, but a good quality gravel road would be appreciated.
2/5/2013 10:37 AMView Responses
Paved one lane on the hills, graded regularly across the top (and maybe sealed? not sure what that is called, but the road was better the year of the fire when they sprayed it for dust).
1/5/2013 8:22 PMView Responses
Paved and open year round.
30/4/2013 7:56 PMView Responses
open all year long (you did say perfect world) and maintained to a reasonable standard. I'm not suggesting paving it by any means but at least grade it so that potholes and rocks are not so dangerous as to potentially wreck your vehicle.
30/4/2013 4:58 PMView Responses
open year round, maintained for speeds of xx km per hour by 4wd vehicle, gravel acceptable
30/4/2013 10:27 AMView Responses
A seasonal, reasonably maintained road administered under a single jurisdiction.
30/4/2013 10:20 AMView Responses
...a rustic road; summer driving only is fine by me, snowmobile access in winter (legally) so Pembies can day-trip to the Mineshaft Pub; grading/ditching done once the snow has melted...once a year might be good? (I'm generally ignorant of the specifics.) In past years, the annual reopening of the Hurley was a bit of a celebration, that summer had finally arrived. I like that the Hurley is a bit of an adventure. I don't really like that my vehicle is never quite the same again after traveling it, but that does make me pause, think, respect the road, the weather, the land, and the journey--to appreciate these as true influences on our lives. The Hurley road used to feature in my dreams when I held property here but lived in the city; as did bears, or apprehension of them. Both were symbolically gates and gatekeepers in my dreams, challenging me whether I had it in me to make the passage to the valley...not just for vacations, but apparently, permanently. (I guess I had it in me!)  PS: You will notice that I'm not on the turn-the-Hurley-into-a-four-lane-freeway committee. I realize that the seasonality of the road cramps the style of others who have a long detour to make when it's not passable to rubber tire traffic, but I am sure they will speak up for themselves. This is my own personal view, obviously.
30/4/2013 8:38 AMView Responses
properly developed and maintained as a gravel road only with no posts on corners.
30/4/2013 7:48 AMView Responses
Left exactly as it currently is.
30/4/2013 3:49 AMView Responses
Graded more often.With the East Hurley, widened in dangerous spots, and where the river is undermining the road, a new culvert and bridge put in.
29/4/2013 10:10 PMView Responses
re-gravelled on the pemberton side with dust control to "hold it together". Balance graded on a bi-weekly basis during the summer. Opened for the May long weekend. We need to have one government agency overseeing the complete road. MOTI is in the road business so one would think they would have more resources than the MOF???
29/4/2013 9:09 PMView Responses
A maintained (graded every 2 weeks) gravel surface (not cobble stone) road with single lane pavement on each hill. This would allow drivers to use the pavement when there is no oncoming traffic and shift one wheel onto the gravel when encountering another vehicle, thus eliminating the sever wear on the steep hills out of Pemberton and Goldbridge. If paving is deemed unrealistic, then salt sealing the hills for the summer would reduce dust and minimize wear on the gravel surface.
29/4/2013 8:48 PMView Responses
paved
29/4/2013 7:55 PMView Responses
graded to an acceptable standard. The unpaved portions of hwy #40 would be a good example. I
29/4/2013 4:59 PMView Responses


You can still have your say:   Click here to answer.   

I also encourage you  any time you see a road maintenance issue on public roads (not FSR's), such as the middle portion of the Hurley River Rd.,  to fill in a Public Communication Record. This form goes to Interior Roads, local and management and a whole variety of ministry officials.  Excellent tool to advise them what is not right on roads!    http://www.interiorroads.com/pcr.php

BC Regional Climate Summaries
A set of regional climate summaries for the 8 resource regions of British Columbia was recently launched at http://www.pacificclimate.org/resources/regional-climate-summaries


These summaries discuss future climate projections and potential impacts, in the context of the historical climate for each region and province-wide climate change.

Click to read the LATEST OFFICIAL SLRD AREA A UPDATE  

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