The Electoral Area Directors of the SLRD have approved the initiation of a household roofline sprinkler program. Roofline sprinklers have been shown to be very effective during interface wildfires. The suggested approach would allow residents to order sprinklers either in person, from the SLRD office in Pemberton, or online, using the SLRD website and a PayPal overlay. Once a number of orders has been received, the SLRD would then bulk order sprinkler units from a local supplier, at a reduced cost-by-volume, and residents could pick them up from the SLRD office along with simple, step-by-step installation instructions. Local fire halls could also be designated as pick-up locations.
Regional District Services cover specific taxpayers or areas. They may take a number of forms to raise revenue, taxation via an amount/$1000 of assessment, a parcel tax and/or user fees amongst other mechanisms.
When I came on as Regional District Director in 2011, a new water system had been installed. I almost immediately received many phone calls about the degree of chlorine in the water, the smell etc.
As I delved into the history and issues with this service a multitude of challenges started to crop up. I want to say from the outset that this is not casting any shadow on Russ Oakley. He lead the appropriate and needed process to put a proper water system in place.
Last year, the SLRD Board in its application for regionally significant Gas Tax Funds applied for and received about $45,000 to install a larger pump. This has occurRed. This seems to have rectified the chlorine issues and should decrease some operational costs and that has been budgeted for.
The challenge remains the overall financial viability of this service. As you may be aware, Regional Districts can not move money around as municipalities can. Money that is taxed for for a service must remain and be used by that service. So money in has to cover the money out. The problem with this service is that, as of today, where we stand it is barely breaking even and there are no funds going into reserves. We have instituted user fees which will help on the revenue side and I have been successful in getting the Board to agree to set aside the increase each year in BC Hydro PILT funds to a fund for Area A, B & Lilllooet's use. Unfortunately they have been as yet unable to agree on how to divide this fund up between the 3 of us, however it is fully my attention that $5,000 a year of this fund will go to this service for some time to build up the reserve. This will eliminate the necessity to increase either the parcel taxes or the user fees or both. Please stand by on this. In the meantime I am looking at other funding sources to top up the reserves even if it is just this year or for a couple of years. Please bear with me I am working on this.
As always let me know what I or the SLRD staff can do. We are more than willing to explain and listen.
Gold Bridge School Field Completion
As a result of a meeting with the Board of Education last year, I committed $5,000 SLRD Area A funds to partner with a funding application to the School Connections Fund ($15,000). The School District also used some of their maintenance budget. The School Connections fund is primarily intended to link local government and school districts to work on projects that benefit both the public and students. The entire project was funded including removal of trees and installation of an irrigation system.
REZONINGS COMING SOON
Tyax Wilderness Lodge
Some people asked me if it was being left as it is, so I called the School Principal, Patrice Barth who advised that the School District Maintenance department will be reseeding the field this spring.
Tyax has revised and resubmitted their rezoning application. It will come to the SLRD Board Meeting at the end of May. If readings are given, a public hearing date will be set.
I have asked staff and will be asking the Board to support:
1. Signage be required on the site immediately
2. One month's full notice of the Public Hearing be given
As this has not gone to a Board meeting yet I cannot provide any detailed information, other than to say that Tyax has removed the main lodge site from application as well as lot 6/. The new application contains just Lot 5 directly south which will contain a multi-unit staff accomodation. The same types of restrictive convenants as were being required on the previous application are likely going to be, where still appropriate, required.
KIER'S PROPERTY - GUN LAKE
As most of you know Helen Kier passed away last year. The family has brought forward an application to subdivide the property for each child. This will require an OCP amendment as well as a rezoning.
If you have any thoughts/questions let me know.
The last of
the historic wood stave water piping will be replaced in Bralorne this summer.
The replacement program includes replacing up to 330m of pipe along Hawkes
Avenue and installing new service connections and valves to the property
lines. Currently the project is in the design phase, with TRUE Consulting
providing this service. The next phase will be the production of tender documents
and procurement of a contractor. The project should be completed by October 31,
An investigation into the state of
repair of the sewer pipes in Bralorne will happen this summer. We plan to do a
closed circuit television (CCTV) inspection. Results from this inspection
will provide the SLRD with an overall state of health of the system which can
be used to strengthen future grant applications. Approximately $25,000 has been put aside to do this funding. The federal government has announced
that Gas Tax Funding will be available once again; an announcement with details
regarding the next application uptake is expected soon.
RV Sani-Dump Access: Soon there will be RV
access to the septage pits at the Gold Bridge Transfer Station. After
exploring a number of alternatives and engaging the Ministry of Environment,
the SLRD has confirmed that the septage pits can accommodate the expected
volumes from recreational vehicles. Provided the volume remains below
100m3 per year, the transfer station will be operating within its
permit. SLRD Staff will be required to monitor the disposal rates and collect
The Printed Paper &
Packaging (PPP) Stewardship Program starts May 14, 2014: The Lillooet Landfill is
registered as a designated collection facility. This means that the landfill
will receive payment from the program service provider, Multi Materials BC
(MMBC), based on the weight of material collected. The Gold Bridge
Transfer Station will receive a portion of that funding for all properly
sorted and clean PPP materials that are taken from the transfer station to
Lillooet. Watch for pamphlets and signage that will be appearing soon at the
Transfer Station. The more recycling collected means lower costs to
landfill, and more funds flowing back into the operating budget.
A note from Kara Socket provided the following information:
The recycle program
will continue to evolve, the response has been fantastic and although I don't
have hard statistics to offer, I know that the trailer when loaded, holds about
a ton or 2,000 lbs of recycling. In summer I'm hauling at least monthly,
sometimes more and in winter, about every 6 weeks. I'd say that we're
probably recycling up to 25,000 lbs a year! Awesome!
BC Hydro announcements regarding LaJoie Dam and Downton Reservoir
I have talked to BC Hydro officials and we are hoping to have a community meeting to provide more information soon.
BC Hydro is in the process of evaluating what to do about the LaJoie Dam. Once that is decided it will be a medium-long term process to do the operational planning/budget etc.
This year, if approved, there will be some operational modifications.
In addition, planning is under way as per the link to reduce the level of the Downton Reservoir.
Please be cautious in drawing conclusions from the Lillooet News article and I am attempting to get our business owners/operators and others the ability to speak to BC Hydro officials directly at a meeting.
More to come!
GUN LAKE: Mowing Vanderburgh Hill , Lakeview Rd. & W.Gun Lake Rd.
Last year I pursued Interior Roads to mow Lakeview Rd. &
W. Gun Lake Rd. due to the invasion of Canada Thistle (invasive)
we found the previous year. At first told not in their contract, they found the budget to ensure the road was mowed and mowed early. Thank You Interior Roads!
Then later in the year, oh my goodness the weeds along the side of Vanderburgh Hill were really bad and I contacted IRL again. They dealt with it.
I was back at it questioning again this spring and received this response;
"The mowing of Gun Lake West road up to Lake View including Vandenberg
hill and Lakeview road to Saddle road will be done by our mowing contractor.
This is what we eventually did last year and this will be scheduled every year
from now on. I will have Don McMahon watch to make sure they do this
A small bit of progress. Smile.
GUN LAKE: Slim Creek Connector to Rd. 40
The bottom part of that road where it joins Rd. 40 has a slide on it and it covers up that road, makes it somewhat impassable every year.
That part of the road is a Licensee Road - Aspen Planers.
The SLRD Emergency Program Manager and the RPF that did the Fuel Mitigation strategy have both indicated that a 2nd emergency exit from the Gun Lake area would be a good thing. This is because the highest likelihood of a fire comes from the south/south-west right where the road leading into Gun Lake is.
So I talked to the MOF Roads guy who talked to the Aspen Planers roads guy and voila (sort of):
"I have asked Tom
Illidge to run out and clean up the slough along the lower portion of the Slim
creek road and get it open for the long weekend. As you have most likely heard
from Ken, this is a road permit road and Aspen is not obligated to maintain it
to a two wheel drive standard or keep it open for the general public all year
long and if it closes throughout the seasons, we may not want to open it, we
may just post it as closed.
If the Gun Lake
association or SLRD is willing to maintain this road, we could enter into a
Road Maintenance Agreement that would allow a secondary user to complete
maintenance legally. This would mean that Aspen sets the minimum standards
which would include requirements of the maintainer to be covered by worksafe
bc, have general liability and comprehensive insurance including firefighting
coverage of $250,000 minimum and also be approved by aspen for this type of
work. It is important to note that the maintainer does not create any
environmental or safety hazards and is cognizant of the Highway junction
and the hazards associated with this. We cannot have the material pushed
over the bank onto the edge of Highway 40 and expect the MOTi to manage it for
us. And to work on the travelled portion of Highway 40 requires permits and
approvals from the MOTi representative"
This work was done this last week and the bottom part is in good driveable condition.
Big thanks to Aspen Planers for this donation to assist the safety of the Gun Lake community. It is much appreciated! Now to figure out next year......
Marshall Lake Area : Forestry Concerns
I went out last week to support an Area A property owner in his effort to work with Interwest to mitigate his concerns regarding harvesting immediately in and around his property.
. It has been a month's long effort with the property owner repeatedly communicating his concerns to Interwest. Meeting started out very testy with the Interwest rep saying that Interwest had done what they "have to" and thats it.
After some pretty darned direct conversation, the Interwest rep agreed to do a tour and committed to some specific mitigations in the key problem areas. Later on he also said he could have communicated in a more open manner and told the owner long ago that he would come out and work on specific issues/mitigations.. Geesh, so much effort and needing to go cap in hand and beg , something is wrong with our forest policy when it leaves a property owner in this situation. Anyways it turned out well so thats the main thing and I hope this forms a better basis for understanding on Interwest's part going forward. The proof will be in the pudding all around
Marshall Lake: Log Hauling Starts Soon
We have known all winter that log hauling was going to commence this spring on the Marshall Lake Rd.
Property owners are super concerned about that bottom part of the road before it joins Rd. 40.
I and John Parrott, MLRA president and others have been working hard to bring awareness of the safety issues to the MOTi, the road contractor IRL, Interwest and their contractors. We even had a video made (thank you Kenneth Walker) that we circulated to the ministries and so on.
It has been a continuous process of followup. So far property owners are still not completely satisfied, but I can say Interior Roads has done an absolutely stellar job of preparing that road for the hauling. They have found every way to eek out some width. The road itself has been graded and honed into fantastic condition. Well done Interior Roads, well done!
We have asked for signage, any kind of signage warning folks of the danger. And I have sent emails to property owners encouraging them to slow down and take care this summer. We are hoping MOTi can do something and just this past week Interwest has indicated they will put up signage if MOTi doesn't.
I was very pleased and honored after all this to be extended an invitation to attend the Marshall Lake Ratepayers Picnic this summer - thank you so much- and I received this very nice email from one fellow-
"Debbie—on behalf of myself and my family, I would like to thank you for
all your time and attention to the issues brought on by the logging in our
little piece of heaven (Marshall Lake). And I agree that Interior Roads has
done an outstanding job on the road to Marshall Lake.
Our family has been on the lake since 1962, and like you, just love
every minute that we can get at the lake.
We have followed your blogs to date, and want to thank you for your very
professional, concerned efforts to ensure that our voices have been heard with
the logging contractors, elected provincial officials, and public
employees. Thank-you again, and please continue to keep us informed through your
I don't do this for thank you's, I do it for satisfaction that I can help this area. But its nice all the same to get this very nice thought.
You may have recently seen a Petition on Change.org making some requests of me as the Area A Director on a personal matter of an individual who resides in this area. I am not going to go into a lot of details other than to say this involves a period of time about 3 years ago in which I was appointed by the Bridge River Valley Economic Development Society as their executive director (which I removed myself from several months before taking on the Regional District Director role). The matter is therefore, if needed, for comment by that organization and not by me personally as I was acting on their behalf.
I called the RCMP and they advise that the file mentioned was closed in September 2011 after the actions agreed upon with the RCMP were taken by the Bridge River Valley Economic Development Society.