Wednesday, June 25, 2014

PUBLIC HEARING - July 3

There will be a public hearing on July 3 at 4 pm at the Gold Bridge Community Club to deal with the Tyax Wilderness Resort rezoning (info at the link just below).  The public hearing will also be dealing with some housekeeping changes as a result of splitting the Area A and Area B bylaw.  Please feel free to call or email me up to the end of the Public Hearing on July 3 after which I cannot receive any new information.  Also note that Norm Verner, my alternate will be attending this hearing as well.

Additionally we will be dealing with the Medical Marijuana zoning.  For those of you that haven't been following this issue, the Federal Government has changed the way medical marijuana can be grown and distributed.  The Federal Government now issues licences to specific operators and those operators are building facilities of various size, shapes and descriptions.  Naturally this concerns the public a great deal and therefore local governments have been trying to figure out how to deal with it.  In the case of the SLRD we are recommending that we "zone" for them, i.e. say where they can go, rather than not zone (which would allow them basically to go anywhere).    The 4 Electoral Areas of the SLRD are pretty consistent on their recommendations, for Area A the proposal is that medical marijuana facilities be allowed in industrial and resource zones with minimum sizes of .5 ha and 10 ha respectively.  Please remember this is just a proposal, that is what Public Hearings are for - to hear from you!  There has been a fair amount of information circulated (two people provided feedback) and a public information meeting (noone attended).

Medical Marijuana Regulations History
Tyax Wilderness Resort & other Zoning Amendment changes

Our Favorite Topic - the Hurley River Rd.
As most of you know, as a result of much letter writing from property owners and businesses in the area the provincial government has returned the Hurley River Rd. to MOFLNRO as a Forest Service Road.  This excludes the East Hurley. This is a positive step and one that I hopes returns us to the adequate maintenance of the road we used to enjoy before the middle part went to MOTi.   In fitting into MOTi's classification system, that middle part of the road only received one grade per year compared the often two it received in previous years under MOFLNRO.

The challenge, as we all saw, is that in attempting to fit this change into their static budget, they chose to remove the spring opening.

We finally were able to have a teleconference with the two MLAs and I do appreciate that MLA Sturdy apologized for the lack of two way communication on this issue that resulted in some general misunderstandings.  For me, MLA Tegart and MLA Sturdy have taken an active interest and made a concerted effort to improve the situation and I do think that over time the return of the road to FSR status will assist.  And I thank them greatly, the Hurley River Rd. is a CRITICAL piece of infrastructure for this area. Critical.

So what was the misunderstanding?  The MLAs seem to think they are getting mixed messages from this community. Now that I have taken some time to reflect and think on this..... I do not agree.   What was being asked for was a return to previous levels of overall maintenance (and that includes and has included for years the spring opening).  This community is pretty clear on what they want, they want a reasonably maintained road that is opened at the earliest possible date (and most have expressed the need for reasonableness cost wise in that).  That could mean a somewhat increased budget as the costs of doing this rise but the total budget has remained the same and herein lies the rub.  For the MLAs and government they were attempting to undertake this within the set out budget and that is pretty darned difficult to grade the entire road twice, the hills one or two more times AND do the spring opening (avg. is about $30k per year, this year lower, low snow pack) all with a budget of around $67k total.  I'd also like to say that the total historical actual expenditures for  the entire road maintenance (including spring opening) is quite difficult to get clarified.  I suspect when we boil it down to hard facts and budget numbers we will see that overall we have received a cut in total real $ cut in budget through the years.

So...we have a dilemna.  I volunteered in our teleconference meeting with the MLAS, because they think they are getting mixed messages from the community, to develop a survey to lay out options within the budget as it currently exists and to have the community and the MLAs agree to the contents & to abide by the results.    However, I also think that we are being forced to accept a cut in maintenance by choosing either/or within a budget amount.  More maintenance/less or no spring opening or spring opening and less maintenance.

The MOFLNRO roads people tell me they plan to grade the entire road twice & the hills perhaps once/twice more.  The figures put in the press release and bandied about are for the middle section that was MOTi and there is approximately $80 k in there that is intended for road bed improvements this year.  Another very positive aspect that go lost in the foo fer ah over the spring opening.

Next steps:
1. I am going to form a small advisory committee of various types of users/points of view
2. I am going to stay in touch with MOFLNRO roads person and get exact budgetary figures for this years maintenance (will get this in the fall) for the ENTIRE road one end to the other
3. I will be speaking with both MLAs about the dilemna as I see it and reminding them of the history of maintenance on this road.

In the meantime, the Hurley FSR for the Hurley FSR is in pretty good shape.  MOFLNRO hired a grader that is appropriate and experienced and I think he did the best job he can with what he has to work with.  Enjoy!!!

Thank you to everyone who wrote and phoned and wrote and phoned, with a bunch of blogging, Facebooking and Twittering thrown in there.  This issue is one that resonantes with many property owners and it showed and you know what, it made a difference!!!!  Way to go!!!

Road 40 Carpenter Lake Rd.
Background/Previous Blog on Erosion Issues
NEW!!   MOTi received approval this spring from the Water Stewardship Division of FLNRO to place, surplus material generated by ditching, at four locations alongside Carpenter lake this year, to address some longstanding erosion concerns. These works have been taking place recently so that  the environmental windows that have been identified can be adhered to.

With regards to the condition of Rd. 40 , MOTi  will be expending close to $800,000 on resurfacing 4 km of Road 40 west of the Bridge River bridge combined with some minor widening of a rock cut near Apple springs. The work at Apple springs is still in the engineering phase, however it remains MOTi Area Managers intent to address this location during this construction season. 

I wrote the following letter that summarizes quite a number of concerns related to Rd. 40.
The Assistant District Manager and Area Manager came out to meet with me with regard to these issues.  I am awaiting their written response to the discussion and will update everyone soon.  The link to the letter is here:  Road40LetterMay282014


Bralorne Sewer - CCTV Study
Spoke briefly to staff and this CCTV study has been completed.  Generally it turned out some areas of the system that are better than thought and some areas that need immediate attention.  I will let everyone know once I have the specifics and the staff recommendations what the next steps will be.

Bralorne Water
As an FYI, staff advises that the project to replace the remainder of the wood stave water pipe in Bralorne is in the tendering phase and they plan to have a recommendation report to the SLRD Board in late July.
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