Thursday, August 14, 2014

Sprinkler program and more

I would like to once again thank Norm Verner, the Area A SLRD alternate for always being ready, willing and able to assist .  He was tee'd up to handle the July board meeting however in the end didn't have to, however he was boning up and we all need to say Thanks Norm!!!  I'd also like to say Thank You to all the special volunteers who have worked so hard this summer at the Summerfest, the Haylmore Heritage Site and the Rock Wall Gallery.  There is a tremendous amount of volunteer effort and community spirit in everything we do.  We are definitely the "little engine that could"!!!!

I also want to encourage everyone to have a look at the new and definitely improved SLRD website.      There are some very cool features and it is much easier to navigate.  One of my favorites is the map which is very useable!

Over the summer I've done a couple of blogs on wildfire issues.  You can read them by continuing to scroll down.  

BC Hydro Payment in Lieu of Taxes – Agreement reached on redistribution

Over the last couple of years I noticed that the BC Hydro Payment in Lieu of taxes went up about 4% each year.  The northern SLRD portion of these payments is approx. $800,000 and it has long been a bone of contention that more of this PILT money is not allocated directly to the impacted areas - ours, Area B and Lillooet.

This spring during budget discussions I proposed that that small yearly increase be allocated each year
to Area A, Area B and Lillooet (40%/40%/20%) until the total PILT amount was redistributed to a new formula which more fairly recognizes the impact of the BC Hydro system on Area A, Area B & Lillooet. 

In the end Area A will directly receive 15% of the total allocation of approx. $800k (today’s dollars) as well as continuing the indirect benefit we receive from the General Government and Planning services.

The municipalities bought into this because it is a gradual, incremental way to do the redistribution that will not cause them to have to increase taxes to make up the difference.  It will take a number of years
To get up to the full 15%, however we will start this year with approx. an extra $7,000 and in the end, some 5 years from now we will be at (give or take) $200,000 per year directly coming into Area A.

The grant-in-aide funding (Select Funds) will continue and the new extra funds will be required to go to actual regional district services, capital projects or special projects.  In this way I would hope to stabilize
the taxes/user fees required for some troubled services such as the Gold Bridge Water and Bralorne Sewer as well as contribute to new or changed needs (potentially such as Fire Services).  

This will support the area while we work at getting our population and economic activity back to a sustainable level for a community.  

This has been a long time coming and I must thank my SLRD colleagues for recognizing the need to do this and buying into this idea that really doesn’t hurt any particular area of the SLRD and will help ours tremendously over the long term.

Roof Sprinkler Program now in Place
The SLRD Roofline Sprinkler Program is now live.  SLRD staff is working on the downloadable instruction guide, but this will be available by the time our first sprinklers are ready for pick up.   Go to :  Information and to order

Gun Lake Community Watershed Application
This application has been shuffled about government for close to 20 years.  With over 70 individual water licences and many more non-registered users of the lake water on Gun Lake, the protection of this watershed is critical.  The long and short of it is that almost everyone that owns property on Gun Lake drinks the water.  There is absolutely no better reason to call this a Community Watershed.  Its pretty clear.  It does not appear that the Provincial Government does seem to see or want to see what is pretty clear (no pun intended) - this lake and its water is a community watershed.

I took the history to the SLRD board and requested that we as a board request meetings with the Minister at UBCM (FLNRO or Environment) to request as the Regional District that this long standing issue be addressed.

Link to History

Asset Preservation Bylaw
At the request of many area residents and community groups the SLRD is moving forward with an asset preservation bylaw.  With the extreme drop in full time population it is becoming more and more difficult for volunteers to maintain or raise funds to maintain many of our community assets.   This new service will (in this order):
*have one bear proof garbage/recycling container per year and related garbage pickup.  This will start in Gold Bridge to take the pressure of costs of garbage disposal off of businesses such as the Valley Hardware and Grocery Store as they requested. Each year we will expand until the Valley is appropriate covered by receptacles and removal.   Most containers will be locked in the winter.
*provide basic yard maintenance on a pooled basis to many community amenities
*provide basic handyman services on a pooled basis to many community amenities
*provide funding for basic trail maintenance
*provide insurance relief for community organizations on an application and as needed basis

A list of amenities to be supported could include (but don't have  to):  Bralorne Pioneer Museum, the Bralorne Fire Hall, the Bralorne Hall, the Bralorne Ball Diamond, Sunshine Mtn Recreational Area, Gold Bridge Community Hall/Golf Course, the Gateway Entry Kiosks, the Gold Bridge Sign Area, the Haylmore Heritage Site, the Bridge River Valley Cemetery, the Community Resource Building, and many more.  Definitely not included are the School, the Post Office Building and the Transfer Station (looked after by other taxation sources).

This approach has been partially tested out and funded through Select Funds for the past two years.  One can see the difference of consistent yard maintenance throughout the community by looking at the Gold Bridge Sign area, the Bralorne Church or the Community Resource Building.  The contractor has sub contracted on some amenities and on others has organized volunteer efforts (Haylmore Heritage Site is a good example).    The funding being raised by this Bylaw is $25,000 and will come from the entire Area A tax base and in this way the overall cost to any one property will be very minimal (.14C/$1000 net taxable value).

Why do this you ask?  In 2010/2011 I drove by the Gold Bridge sign all summer.  The grass was 2-3 ft high.  Noone mowed it, no one raked it, no one cared for it.  That situation is repeated over and over again in our community.  Noone is to blame, we have 224 full time residents and a lot of stuff to do. If we leave it go the economic hubs of this area will appear to be falling apart.  Ask yourself, will someone want to buy an $800,000 second property on Gun Lake or a commercial building in Bralorne when the basic community infrastructure is falling apart and unkempt.  Nope.  Then all of our property values decline as they will be less sought after, less valuable.  None of us want to see that happen.  Time to recognize reality, do things differently and for a small cost have our communities looking the best it can.  It is an investment in our own property values and in our community as a whole. 

All residents can have their say on this via the Alternate Approval Process.    Link to Information

Piles of Decked Wood left at the North end of Gun Lake
As many of you know a number of piles of decked and other wood was left at the north end of Gun Lake following the 2009 Tyaughton Lake Fire.  I have continuously followed up with FLNRO regarding these piles to have them removed.

FLNRO  re-issued a decked wood sale to AFK trucking ( a local contractor) for the old debris piles in the Gunn Lake area. This was to be completed by August 15 and this will enable the protection crews time this fall to plan and burn the remaining debris piles.

Regional Districts are switching who operates 911
This will happen this fall.  Information at the links: