Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Proposed Motorized Vehicle Closures - Shulaps (and more).

Proposed Motorized Vehicle Closures - Shulaps

 UPDATE: Public Engagement Websites Now Live:

 Shulaps:


Cayoosh:

http://apps.nrs.gov.bc.ca/pub/ahte/hunting/cayoosh-alpine-motor-vehicle-closure


UPDATE - November 20.  Bridge River Lillooet News Article -Click Here: Ministry Criticized


      UPDATE - November 18.  I have followed up with the Ministry and the public engagement for these proposed closure is not yet ready, although it sounds like it is getting closer.  I have this "bookmarked" folks and will follow up again in a week or so.

UPDATE - October 26.  Thanks to the MLA's office & the Ministry officials, the process here I think a bit clearer.  Apparently there will be a public engagement website up by November 15.
      Which means a November 1 deadline really isn't applicable.   The Ministry had send out notifications to stakeholders (clubs etc) first.  I have provided my suggestions that it might be better to establish the public website first and then send out letters to stakeholders.  I have also suggested going forward, the Ministry may want to use the Regional Districts as a sustainable, up to date way to get in touch with local areas such as ours. By necessity their contacts are generally up to date and at a minimum they can forward to Electoral Area Directors & Municipalities.   I will stay in touch everyone.

UPDATE:  The Ministry has extended the timeframe for comments to November 1.  They are working on a weblink however for now comment may be emailed to Frances.Iredale@gov.bc.ca.

     The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations is seeking input  with respect to proposed Alpine Motor Vehicle Wildlife Act closures within the Cayoosh and Shulaps Mountain Range. These closures will apply to all motorized vehicles. Under the Wildlife Act Motor Vehicle Prohibition Regulation a motor vehicle is defined as:
     motor vehicle" means a device in, on or by which a person or thing is being or may be transported or drawn, and which is designed to be self-propelled, and includes an atv or snowmobile, but does not include
     (a) a device designed to be moved by human, animal or wind power,
     (b) a device designed to be used exclusively on stationary rails or stationary tracks, or
     (c) a boat propelled by motorized power;

     These closures will apply year round at the 1,920 meter elevation (approximately 6,300 feet). These closures are identical to adjacent existing closures under the Wildlife Act such as Nine Mile, Hogback Mountain.

     More information on existing closures under the Wildlife Act Motor Vehicle Prohibition Regulation can be found here: http://www.bclaws.ca/Recon/document/ID/freeside/474756515

     These closures are required to protect and conserve important alpine habitat and regionally important wildlife. Please refer to the table below that outlines wildlife values these closures will conserve and protect.

Species or Habitat
Conservation Status
Value
Wildlife Act Closure
Grizzly Bear
Threatened Population
Spring Habitat, Whitebark pine
Shulaps , Cayoosh
Mountain Goat
Species of concern
Winter and Kidding Habitats
Cayoosh, Shulaps
California Sheep
Species of concern
Alpine Winter Habitat
Shulaps
Whitebark Pine
Threatened species of concern
Important fall food for Grizzly bear
Shulaps, Cayoosh
Mule Deer
Secure not at risk
Summer foraging habitat
Shulaps, Cayoosh
Wolverine
Species of concern
Denning habitat
Shulaps, Cayoosh

      The map below can be used as reference that will assist you with respect to providing any comments that you may have. 

     You have to Friday October 23rd, 2015. For your respective club members you can also comment through the hunting and trapping public advisory website: http://apps.nrs.gov.bc.ca/pub/ahte/  Proposed regulations will be posted here shortly.

     You can also email saldemare@gmail.com comments (he is the BRVCA Trails Committee chair) or myself.






























Interesting Bridge River Valley Statistics

Bridge River Valley Only
     Full-time residents - 224 per 2011 census

     Estimated part-time residents - 1,783 (#of residential folios with a non-BRV mailing address x         average family size in BC per census)

     Ratio of part-time property owners: full-time residents: 8:1

Bridge River Valley vs. Entire SLRD
The BRV has less than 1% of the full-time resident population of the SLRD

But has 36% of the total number of property folios and 28% of all folio value

Expenses allocated to the BRV represent 4.2% of the SLRD budget


2016 Fire Smart Program

The 2016  FireSmart grant program provides funding to local governments and First Nations in BC to support residents to undertake FireSmart planning activities for private lands, as identified by Partners in Protection through the FireSmart Communities Program, and/or to develop or advance local planning efforts to mitigate risk from wildfire on private lands in the wildland urban interface.

The intent of the 2016 FireSmart grant program is to enable First Nations or resident or community groups within a local government to take the required actions in order to achieve and/or maintain FireSmart Community Recognition status from Partners in Protection.

The SLRD has access to a grant of $10,000 total and we are applying for it for 2016.  The four electoral areas have not yet figured out how to divide this up between us.  I am asking you as property owners to put your thinking caps on and let me know how this funding should be used to assist in getting our private properties Fire Smarted.

What is the Fire Smart Program:  https://www.firesmartcanada.ca/what-is-firesmart

What are your ideas for how best to utilize these funds?  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/LS3PLLF














Saturday, October 3, 2015

Roads, Roads, Roads and more!

Our Favorite Topic:  The Hurley

Surfacing!!!  Super happy that FLNRO is planning to do some surfacing after Thanksgiving.  They will putting down additional materials from where the 2014 surfacing ended up towards the summit as budget will allow.    Budget is coming out of money saved this year on grading and snow clearing.

Overall the maintenance of the Hurley FSR this year has improved and has provided a more consistent road quality throughout.  Unfortunately the grade that was scheduled for Sept. 12 didn't happen however it will (and is) be done this week.  FLNRO is also aware of some specific areas where grading can be improved and look for those improvements next year.

Please call me (250)238-2248 or email at demare87@gmail.com if you have any comments re the Hurley.

Our next favorite topic:  Road 40

I am very pleased to report that some improvements are being made to Road 40.

The "dry bridge" just past the nastiest corner on the road (on Antoine Bluffs) has been replaced with a 2 lane , longer bridge.  For those of you that have not seen the video, have a look.  Click the link:
http://tranbc.ca/2015/09/18/gorgeous-view-of-a-safer-road-40-near-lillooet/#sthash.TQ8JqaRz.dpbs

In addition, Area Manager Brad Bushill was able to eek out some additional guard rail that continues right around that corner.  This is the same corner where the Community Health Nurse went over and unfortunately passed away.  

Asst. District Manager, Dan Palesch also advises me that there will be two large warning signs posted at either end of Rd. 40 basically telling travellers that this is a narrow, winding road and caution is necessary. We all believe this will serve as a daily reminder to regular travellers & inform visitor’s to the area so they are not surprised by the road.   There has been some vandalism (painting etc) to signs out here and I promised the MOTi folks that our community would "keep our eyes" on them and whoever might be doing this.


If you are travelling Rd.40 you will also notice improved ditching. MOTi has been working with IRL Operations to establish ditching practices that are more robust, sorely needed on this road.

Progress. I do believe the strong and focused public & political response this winter on the unfortunate deaths on Hwy 99 North have made an impact.

 Little Gun Lake (Lajoie Lake) Culvert

The culvert running between Little Gun Lake through to LaJoie Creek and then into Gun Lake has been a source of concern for years.  It plugs up, the fish have challenges going up and down.    Little Gun Lake has suffered high water levels with resulting environmental and property damage.  Residents have tried many times through the years to ensure an appopriate level of maintenance and attention is paid to cleaning and removing debris around the culvert.

Last week, at my invitation, Asst. District Manager of Highways Dan Palesch and Area Manager Brad Bushill came out for a walk about with local residents.

Dan committed to speak with the Operations Mgr. of Interior Roads and he in fact did and got back to us with the following:
                    IRL will ensure monitoring is increased to weekly inspections at the culvert inlet and outlet to ensure debris is removed as necessary
                    IRL is proposing to remove the existing beaver screen, and install a newer more efficient one. This will significantly decrease the amount of maintenance required, in addition to improving water flow and improved fish passage. *This will require Sec. 9 approvals through the environmental agency and would be subject to approval and installation during the applicable fish windows.
                    IRL will manage all Sec. 9 approvals, purchase and installation of new beaver stop.
                    We will investigate beaver removal at a later date, possibly next year, although it might be worth monitoring the new beaver screen to see how things evolve. This would also involve permitting and environmental approvals.
                    IRL will remove any surplus vegetation/debris in the area around culvert inlet as necessary. 

Gun Lake Ratepayers Assoc. and the Little Gun Lake Property Owners have this information and will, I am sure, mull it over and decide where to go from here.  The photo below, if you look closely has a rock with names etched in it and one of those names is now well below water line.  I am hoping that this increased attention will rectify the situation.

I will also be following up with Ministry of Environment regarding the condition of the spawning platforms in LaJoie Creek and the signage that is dilapidated and brushed in.

Bralorne Sewer funding application....still waiting....still hoping


We are still waiting to hear back about the Strategic Priorities funding application (gas tax) the SLRD submitted for the replacement of the Bralorne Sewer System.

The latest word was:  All SPF [gas tax] applications are currently under technical review and we anticipate decisions to be made by the end of calendar year.

This is a very critical piece of infrastructure urgently needed. 

It CAN be done!

For those of you that despair about the long term future of the Bridge River Valley.
For those of you that rail against "big government" and "big business" taking but not giving back in an area like this..

I encourage you, if you have 45 minutes, to watch this presentation to see how it IS possible to take matters into a community's hands and win!  AND I might add, watch to the end for some GREAT entertainment!  


This presentation was made at a conference I attended this past spring put on by the Southern Interior Beetle Action Coalition.

As many of you know, I am a tireless (although sometimes discouraged) beleiver that the Bridge River Valley can be a sustainable community in the long term.  Stories like the Battle River Railways shows the way!!!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Blog is Back!

After a very long gap, my blog is back!  To say that sometimes life gets ahead of you is an understatement and the same is true for me.  When I saw that my last post was April 27, I went oh my goodness.  I will try to get back to more regular blogs.  As you know I try to share only factual information.  This is not an "official" SLRD blog and I encourage you to bookmark their website or like them on Facebook.  They are doing an awesome job these days of communication using modern tools - www.slrd.bc.ca - and you can find a lot of information there.  What I try to do is interpret for you as the Regional District Director for Area A.  Here goes..............

Our Favorite Topic:  The Hurley River Road

The road has been graded 3 times over the summer (May, July and August).  The July grade was challenged by the Boulder Fire and the weather.  The road will have a complete end to end grade starting Sept.12.  The hope is that there will be some budget left to do some surfacing.  I will stay in touch on this or you can keep an eye on isurvivedthehurley.com for updates.



If you have any comments please feel free to call or email me.

Also if you have been by the corner of Pemberton Meadows Rd. at the turn onto the Lillooet River FSR(which leads to the Hurley) you will see  it's a "dogs breakfast" of signs. A number of people have called me because their guests miss the turn, it is so poorly marked now.  I , with support of Area C director Russell Mack have followed up with FLNRO and will stay on it to see if we can get some improvements in signage.


Lillooet Recreation Centre
The District of Lillooet has found itself in severe difficulties budget wise and are looking for ways/means to be able to keep it open.  The St'at'imc and the Dist. of  Lillooet have formed a working group to explore how to fund the facility going forward.  They are giving through to inviting Area A to join this group.  If we do join, it MAY indicate we are willing to assist in funding this facility.

At this link you will find a very short survey to guage the community's thoughts on this:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/X7VRWFR

I will let you know what develops here.


Bralorne TV Service and Society

The Bralorne TV Society runs an antenna based service in Bralorne.  The SLRD funds this service through taxation of Bralorne residents.  The Society has been challenged to operate in good standing.

This spring I did a survey to assist in understanding who watches it, etc.

Here are the results:

https://www.surveymonkey.net/results/SM-ZVXML592/

There will be more information coming on this service from the Bralorne TV Society.

Fire Services Review & Public Consultation
Click Here:  My Previous Posts on this Topic (scroll down abit)
Click Here:    To read the Fire Services Review

As you know, the SLRD conducted a Fire Services Review in 2013, a document that indicated there were a number of changes necessary in how fire services were being handled region-wide. However, given the importance of fire protection services, it is the hope that we will see all established services continue into the future. We are currently looking at a different service delivery model that clarifies relationships between the SLRD and all fire protection services, and supports local chiefs in delivering the service levels intended by their service establishment and other related bylaws.

The SLRD does not intend to make rapid or sweeping changes to fire services in the Upper BRV, especially without public consultation and input from existing Societies. To that end, between now and 2016, the SLRD will be engaging residents in consultative process to help determine the future direction of fire protection. Once a timeline and framed the engagement our SLRD staff will be reaching out to local chiefs to assist in this process, and to accurately represent the views and goals of their services.

Please pay attention and give your considered opinion once you have all the information. Fire service delivery has changed alot since our services in Bralorne and Gun Lake were put in place.  There is quite a bit for you the public to learn and understand.    This is an opportunity to shape and mold the fire services we receive in our area for a decade or more to come.  

Air BNB Syndrome

In our area, we are seeing property owners renting their homes and cabins using Air BNB.  This is, of course, completely contrary to zoning bylaws.  However, the Air BNB phenomenon is affecting many places rural and urban.  Generally all is well until legal accomodation businesses start to suffer or the nightly rentals impact on neighbors with noise, traffic, etc.

Here is a great article, that gives some information and starts to pose some questions about Air BNB.

http://www.whistlercentre.ca/2015/04/airbnb-syndrome-a-new-opportunity-to-get-residential-nightly-rentals-right/

Monday, April 27, 2015

Updates for Gun Lake folks


Gun Lake Ratepayer's Association





Gun Lake Logging

For those of you interested in seeing what your fellow Gun Laker's said about the logging in the Gun Lake Watershed:    Click here for survey results.  Make sure you click on comments and have a read as they are the best part of the survey!
Photo courtesy southchilcotin.ca Facebook page.

Links to Information:
Updated weekly information on logging:  Click Here

Gun Lake Communications - Maps, Site Plans, Meeting Notes

GLRAForestryMeetingMarch18

GLRALettertoAspenPlaners March29

Aspen Planers Commitments made at April 10 meeting

Many questions regarding logging trucks.  Logging will be continuing in the upper Bridge River Valley for some time to come.  Following the start of the current round of hauling, several complaints were made with the RCMP.  They followed up with the supervisors.  Since then (mid-March) all travellers on Lillooet-Pioneer Rd. 40 say that the drivers have been cautious and courteous.  That said if you do run into a problem I recommend reporting the details of the incident/situation to the RCMP.

SLRD Building Bylaws
That time of year is here when lots of building and planning for building happens.

The SLRD has had building bylaws in this area for a long time - over 40 years.

Last year, the Building Department put together a really easy to read brochure on Building Bylaws,
Click here to read it.

The newly revamped website is really easy to navigate as well.  The Building Department can be found at http://www.slrd.bc.ca/planning-building/building-inspection.   It has a ton of very easily found information.  The SLRD Building Staff are awesome too, please don't hesitate to give them a call.

Litter around Gun Lake
Lakeview Rd. Beer tin at the bottom, spectacular Mt Penrose at top.

You have probably seen the two weeks of Pitch-In in the Bridge River Valley.  The events are designed, at their core, to have litter picked up.

We have an increasing problem with beer tins in particular thrown out of vehicles around Gun Lake.  Volunteers...Michelle Nortje, The James Gang, Lesley O'Keefe and Merle Hoch have done the entire west side of the lake, down to Little Gun and around to Hess Road and along Hess Road.


photo taken just metres from the one above







The entire east and north end of the lake has not been done.  If you want to help out I can get you yellow bags so you don't pay tipping fees and you can do a section of road ANYTIME!!!  Just drop me a line or the Community Resource Building (they have the yellow bags), bridgerivervalley@gmail.com.

This beautiful place will thank you!!!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Paradise City, Gun Lake Logging, Gold Bridge Water, How to have your say

HEADLINE:  "Ghost Town Will Be Transformed To Paradise City (Tian-Fu City)"
Click here for my previous posts on this topic.  Much more to come of course.
Some of you may have seen Social Media posts of this newspaper front page. Here is an accurate translation, thanks to new local Bralorne property owner, Margaret Zheng for doing this for us.  




Journalist Yijing Ni / Burnaby

"Before and after August 2014 this newspaper (World Journal) has reported, BC ‘Ghost Town’ Bradian on the market for sale.  Ultimately, it is purchased by a Chinese company for under a million dollars.  According to news this company has given ‘Paradise City’ as the name to the development project which is launching its planning stage – build a comprehensive business, sports, resort and recreational facilities in the premise of retaining the little town’s historic characters.



"Bradian was first listed for sale in 2010, but has attracted minimal attention from investors.  The Listing real estate brokerage even produced a YouTube video marketing the property; unfortunately it obtained very little interest until a Chinese buyer purchased it for $945,000 before the end of 2014.

            Executive Vice President Ms. Huizhen Wang of Royal Pacific Realty who assisted China Zhong Ya Group Hebei Canada-China Co. in this real estate transaction revealed during an interview on January 12, 2015:  Bradian was difficult to sell not only because of the financial impact of the entire economy, also due to potential buyers’ consideration for future investment.  Because it involves construction of roads, water, electricity, sewer and other large infrastructure as well as commercial and residential project development, future capital investment is huge.  Buyers require courage in addition to financial strength.

            Bradian is located in the Bridge River Valley north of Whistler Ski Resort.  Gold mining started in the area in the mid-1800s.  When gold rush receded, the mines closed down, miners gradually moved away.  Originally a noisy gold mining town slowly became a deserted ‘ghost town’, now with 22 houses of barely acceptable condition.

Replication of Whistler
           
            According to Zhong Ya Group’s current planning of the Bradian development project named ‘Paradise City (Tian-Fu City)’, the historic features of the town will be retained while using Whistler’s successful model creating an one-stop smart resort for gold panning, jade picking, skiing, rafting, mountain sports, sight-seeing, vacationing and other recreational activities.

            The total project development area of 53 acres will include residential, commercial and green belt areas.  The first phase of the project will focus on infrastructure such as making applications to the government for land rezoning to build hotels, shopping malls and other commercial development; phase two and three will focus on retaining Bradian’s historic sites with its mountainous geographical advantages while integrating elements of Chinese customs of countryside development for leisure and recreation.

            The company is currently working to organize land surveyors, urban planners and related engineering and technical consultants to make further improvements on the government land use development program, and actively seeking for potential business partners.  The specific amount of capital investment and the time to start construction are still unknown.

            Michael Mills, a local developer responsible for the project said that after the completion of the real estate transaction, Bradian’s future attracted enormous attention.  The local government’s numerous questions about related development plans; the lingering nostalgia of some gold prospectors’ descendants of this little town; and the most ideal geographical location of being only 2 hours driving distance away from Whistler are all contributing factors for the development project’s optimistic outlook.  The immediate main task is to build infrastructure, to restore the vitality of the little town.  If the construction is smooth, trust British Columbia’s employment and economic development will be enhanced. "

LOGGING AT GUN LAKE

So...what do you think about Logging at Gun Lake.  Take the survey here   (Gun Lake property owners please)

This is the latest image of where they will be logging next week. They will have two contractors working as the one contractor has finished what they can do at the Plateau ponds area for now. The logs from CB G17 will go up around to Slim Creek FSR and the rest down Vandenburg hill. They have completed the harvesting on CB G4 and G12 and will be doing the clean up in the area and hauling logs from there starting Monday. The site plan for G17 can be seen at this link below. To see site plans for the other 2 blocks see the previous post below this one: http://www.brvca.ca/GunLakeLoggingCommunication/2015.03.14.AspenSitePlan713Blk17.pdf

All the meeting notes from the beginning of planning  and site plans can be viewed here: 
http://www.brvca.ca/GunLakeLoggingCommunication/ 

On Monday the log hauling will begin, with approximately 200 loads from the first cutblock. The committee of citizens from Gun Lake has been working with Aspen Planers and has developed a road safety plan.

Click Here: Road Safety Plan

Aspen's contractors and each driver has gone through this plan.  If you see a problem with a logging truck you need to report it to the RCMP in Lillooet.  I have had many discussions with the detachment and they along with Commercial Vehicle Inspector are aware that Road Safety, particularly on Rd. 40 and particularly as it relates to commercial vehicles is a large concern of this area.  If you don't report it they will have no idea there are issues.  



GOLD BRIDGE WATER SERVICE

This is a local service area service for Gold Bridge property owners.  It has been a troubled service with many issues including some caused by the Regional District.  Last year this service ran a deficit of about $225 and a very small capital reserve about $3,500.  So the financial health of this service is not good.  

In order to make this service sustainable (revenue in equal expenses plus build a reserve) the user fees were increased over the last couple of years and all of the tax revenue came from parcel tax.   We heard from many that they felt this parcel tax was an unfair way to generate revenue as it unfairly put the bulk of the revenue generation equally no matter what your property was assessed for.

So this year we are collecting basically the same revenue, except $18,799 will come from a tax requisition based on assessment, $5,000 based on parcel tax and $7890 based on user fees. 

Additionally I have contributed $5,000 from the new BC Hydro Payment In Lieu of taxes arrangement of funds coming directly to Area A to this service.  That will help build a reserve without having to increase user fees or tax requisition.  You can see it come in on line 43000 and transfer into reserve on line 5300.

Here is a link to the budget.   Link:  GoldBridge Water Service 2015 Budget

Please Gold Bridge property owners if you have input please let me know.


How to have your say with the Regional District?
From time to time you may want to have your say with the Regional District?  This could be a question, something you disagree with, something you don't understand etc.  This is normal and it is even normal to feel a little upset or mad sometimes.  So, how to have your say?

1. Regional District Director (me)
I am pretty used to people being concerned and upset, it sort of goes with the territory.
You can phone me (250)238-2248 or you can email me demare87@gmail.com. I know many of you have done this on various issues and I have tried to help even on things that are Provincial Government responsibilities (not Regional District).  I always take your point of view into consideration along everyone else that talks to me. I will follow up with you and with the Regional District to see what can be done.  Because it is sometimes difficult to judge what the majority wants, I will do a survey to see if others of you agree or not (did this on the dog issue recently and we did a big one on the Hurley, currently doing one on Bralorne TV).  

2. SLRD Board or Electoral Area Meetings
Citizens can appear as a delegation at Board and Electoral Area Meetings.  You get 10 minutes.  You can arrange to do this by phoning the office 1-800-298-7753.

In the past you actually had to appear in person.  I found this to be really impractical given so many of our property owners live elsewhere or live here, its tough to make a daytime meeting in Pemberton.  So I advocated for, and our board has recently changed the policy, so you can now appear by telephone as a delegation.  This provides increased accessibility for citizens to have a voice directly with their local government.

This year, also as a result of a policy I suggested and the board went along with, in June the SLRD Board will have their meeting here in Gold Bridge on June 24 (Wed.).  This is an opportunity to request delegation status and also to come and watch your local government in action.  The plan is also for the board to be doing a tour of Area B, Lillooet and our area and I will see if there can be any informal opportunity to meet and talk to the Board members.  Each year of the four year term, the Board will meet in June in a different Electoral Area, we are first up!

3. Correspond with the Regional District
Letters can always be sent to the Regional District Board of Directors.

4. Public Community Meetings or Townhalls
In the last three years we have had several different types of meetings that anyone can come to, the last one being last spring.  That meeting was an ask anything , put forward anything type of meeting with SLRD staff and myself to answer questions.   The hot issue that day was the Gold Bridge Water service.    We will do this again this year probably in the fall given the Board is here in June.

How NOT to have your say with the Regional District and their elected officials?



When individuals attempt to influence, threaten or force an elected official(s) by using any of the these bullying methods, the focus will be on the inappropriate and unacceptable bullying tactic rather than the often valid concerns and questions and issues laying underneath their anger. Let's encourage and support our friends and neighbors to choose the methods listed above on "how to have your say" rather than non productive bullying tactics.



Friday, March 6, 2015

Budgets, Dogs and Mines!!!



I'd like to welcome a new business to the community, Bralorne Adventure Lodge.


Check them out at:    http://bralorneadventurelodge.com/.   
  All the best to Blake, Chris and Darren in this new venture.

Taxes and Budgets 
Sorry for all the words below, however it is the only way to give you all this info.
The major revenue sources for regional district services include property taxes, parcel taxes and fees and charges.  In electoral areas, such as ours, regional district taxes are collected by the BC Ministry of Small Business and Revenue.  Each year, the regional district submits tax requisitions for each service to the Ministry through the Inspector of Municipalities.  The Ministry applies a rate against assessed property values within each relevant service area to raise the revenue required.  Once collected, the revenues are paid to the regional district.

Your property tax notice will list a tax rate beside each of the listed services.  The amount owing is determined by multiplying the tax rate by the property's assessed value. The challenge comes in, I have found, in that they lump a whole bunch of the services in this area together on one line, and other services they show on a single line, so you really can't see exactly what you are paying for what.  This year, the SLRD is hoping to produce a newsletter that explains Area A's Tax breakdown in more detail.   I support this as it provides more transparency and accountability to the community. If you are left to try and understand the Regional District portion of your taxes from the Tax Bill, good luck.

When you do get your tax notice you will see that the vast majority of your taxes each year go to school taxes and then smaller portions to the provincial government for general services and an even smaller portion goes to the regional district. If you have any questions about your tax notice please call me and I'll walk you through the part of your taxes that relate to the Regional District.

We have a number of services in Area A.  Some of them tax everyone in the Valley for Area A services, such as the Transfer Station, Library, Museum, Economic Development, Cemetary, Haylmore Site, Amenity Preservation.  Some of them tax specific taxpayers in certain areas, Bralorne Sewer, Bralorne Water, Gold Bridge Water, Bralorne Street Lights, Gold Bridge Street Lights, Gun Lake Fire Protection, Bralorne Fire Department.  There are also some services that everyone in the Regional District (Britannia Beach to Pavilion Lake and everywhere in between) pay into such as General Government and Planning.  We also have some services that our area, Lillooet and Area B share such as the Lillooet Rescue Service and the Lillooet Landfill.

Each of these services are taxed and MUST be managed within their own little silo.  The regional district cannot by law, move money between services.  So each is like its own little business, and also by law, none of these services can run a deficit for any length of time.  So we must tax for what it costs to run them.  Additionally, the way and process that tax requisitions can be increased is strictly controlled by the Provincial Government by the Inspector of Municipalities.  The rules around how to increase tax requisitions would blow your mind and regional district's pretty much need one staff member who is an expert on all this stuff to navigate them.  However, the long and short of it is, the rules are for your protection as a taxpayer so that you can be assured that there is a process that goes along with each and every budget increase.

This year the total assessment for Area A is up by about 7.8%.  While many of the individual residential type property assessments have decreased the addition of a couple of large taxpayers such as the Boralex Run of the River project has made for the increase.  This is very unusual in BC this year as many many place have a decline in their total assessment base. (not good).

Some highlights of this year's budgeting are (if I don't mention something its because the tax requisition, parcel taxes or user fees are staying the same).

General Government and Planning - tax requisition will remain flat to last years.

Asset Amenity Preservation - is a new service, this will bring an increase

Gold Bridge Water - we have reversed the way we tax on this and are now generating most of the revenue via a tax requisition (based on assessment) and the user fee portion of the total revenue will drop.  I am going to provide more specific info on this in a future blog.

Bralorne Water - this service will see an increase in user rates this year.

Gold Bridge Transfer Station, Bralorne TV, 911 Service all have decreases in the tax requistion for that service.

Museum, Haylmore and Economic Development will see increases in the tax requisition.

Additionally with the new BC Hydro Payment In Lieu of taxes policy I negotiated and the board approved last year, I am committing $5,000 of those funds each to the Bralorne Sewer Service, the Bralorne Water Service and the Gold Bridge Water Service.  We are WAY BEHIND in accumulating reserves in these services to help pay for the big capital expenditures that will be required in the future.  This new allocation of PILT funds will help build reserves without taxing you!!!!  Bonus, I love it!!!     Information on this new arrangement can be found at:  Previous Post: New arrangement BC Hydro Payment In Lieu of Taxes.  This previous post also contains a link to all my other posts on this topic.  This fiscal year this arrangement will bring approximately an additional $33,000 under our direct control, this amount will increase over the next number of years to an additional yearly amount of approximately $200,000.  It will be used to apply to services, such as I am doing here, or for special projects, such as the Museum Move and Collection Management this year, or to other types of infrastructure needs.  It will not be used for the tradiitonal grant-in-aide type requests, as this is what the Area A Select Funds is primarily used for.

OK, that's way too much on this topic for now, hope your eyes didn't cross reading it:-)  I will post more information in the next few months.

Dogs
Previous Post on Dog Issues Scroll down to the bottom of the post.

We love our dogs, and our dogs are lucky to have a place like this to play and romp and trail run and and and.  The problem is that we are allowing our dogs to roam off our properties while not in our control, we are allowing our dogs to bark alot, we are allowing our dogs to attack other dogs.  I am very sorry to say I am continuing to receive complaints even in the Winter for pete's sakes.  I have received complaints from Gun Lake area and Bralorne area.

The vast majority of us, including me, do NOT want to bring in a dog bylaw.  PLEASE take the extra steps to keep your dog in your control at all times and as quiet as possible.  We struggle as many of you do to keep our dog on our property so we are not perfect either.  It is something to be aware of as the frequency of complaints on this issue is not decreasing!


Invasives Survey
The Lillooet and Regional Invasives Species Society is doing a very good job of serving our area.  Please see more about them at:    http://www.lriss.ca/   

Please take a minute to do this survey for them to better be able to serve us:   Survey


Bralorne Gold Mines on Care & Maintenance

The Bralorne Gold Mine has been on Care & Maintenance since before Christmas.  This link provides an update (bottom of the page) on why and what else is going on up there.

Bralorne Mine Update


The Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM) and the Ministry of Environment (MOE)
have implemented a plan to ensure Bralorne Gold Mine (BGM) near Lillooet, B.C. is in
compliance with its permit conditions after another heavy rainfall in the first week of February.

Following a winter of repeated Pineapple Express type rainfall events where at times the water in the Bralorne Gold Mines tailing pond was gaining 4cm a day, the Ministry of Energy and Mines ordered a shut down of Bralorne Gold Mines near the end of 2014 until issues with the tailings pond could be addressed.  The Ministry tells me they have had a high presence at the mine site and have been monitoring the situation with the tailings pond closely. 
 Dam Safety inspection documents can be found at :  http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/topic.page?id=C8776E3707F34B8DA73A4AC703DF77F6.

The concern is of course, that an overflow could erode the dam and cause a complete collapse.

The chief inspector of mines ordered on February 13, 2015,  BGM to complete the following
actions:
Procure additional pumps as required to reduce the amount of water in its tailings
storage facility (TSF) and provide back-up pumping capacity.
Conduct a review of water balance and water-management procedures, including a
schematic of the mine’s pumps, applicable pipelines and flow volumes.
Provide daily reporting to MEM until the mine site is in full compliance. This reporting
shall include current freeboard, daily precipitation received on site, weather forecast,
pumping discharge rates and volumes as well as a predicted date when the required
freeboard will be restored.

MOE has approved BGM’s request for a by-pass authorization from Feb. 11 – March 31, 2015 to allow the mine to pump untreated water into Cadwallader Creek. Under the authorization, BGM must:
Notify the Interior Health Authority (IHA) regarding the discharge.
Keep a daily discharge record and provide a weekly report to Environmental Protection.
Submit a sampling plan prepared by a qualified professional by Feb. 16, 2015.
Immediately implement an interim sampling plan.
Undertake a human health and ecological risk assessment if water quality guidelines for
metal elements, including arsenic, are exceeded in Lower Cadwallader Creek.
IHA has determined, based on the dilution effect of the creek into Carpenter Lake, that these
elements pose no known health risks at this time. IHA will continue to monitor conditions and provide an update if required.

I have spoken to the Chief Mines Inspector who indicates the flow into the underground tunnels of water had increased exponentially to 20l/sec causing increased flow into the tailings pond.

The order, which requires continued pumping until March 31, 2015 and that a 1 metre freeboard must be maintained in the tailing pond.   The Bralorne Gold Mine has temporarily ceased operations And according to the Mines Inspector it is unlikely to reopen, at a minimum, until after this pumping period.

I am currently following up on the Environmental side of things related to the release into
Cadwallder Creek and will advise any findings on that side of things.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Our Favorite Topic:Roads...& a couple of other things

Highway 99 North, Highway 19 and Road 40 (Carpenter Lake Rd.).

Many of you will have seen the coverage of the tragic accident that happened on Hwy. 99 which killed a young mother and son.   Their vehicle, in a heavy snowstorm, swerved, sideswiped an oncoming vehicle and went off the road, down the huge embankment and landed very close to the Fraser River.  The father and two other children survived.  We are no stranger to these tragic losses.  We are no strangers either to understanding that a small mistake on Rd. 40 could land us in Carpenter Reservoir or the Bridge River after tumbling down many many metres of bank.

Deanne Zeidler, a local resident, started a petition to call for more concrete road barriers on all three of these highways and roads.  If you haven't had a chance to sign it, I encourage you to do so.  And while you are there, read the comments.  The comments are for the most part sincere and compelling.

Click here to sign petition

I have also put together a group a set of links that includes some of the stories on this unfortunate accident on January 2, 2015 as well as some links to other similar type accidents that I could find in a very brief and limited search.  If you  Click Here you will open to the set of links.

The following requests for additional information have been made through MLA Tegart's office:
This set by Deanne:
1. Based on the info provided by Todd Hubner, safety review happens every 3 years on numbered routes in the province.  Were there any recommendations that were made in the last review ( 2012 for Hwy 12 and 99) that were not implemented due to cost/budgets? 

2 Was the area of Dan McGowan's death (January 2012 approx 400 m from the site of the latest fatalities) flagged as an area for possible location of CRB or barrier in the previous safety review? If not, why?

3 I understand that the formula for CRB includes shoulder width, steepness of slope, what is below and  other factors such as posted speed.  Is vertical distance (i.e. number of meters from the top of the roadway to the area a vehicle would land) also part of these calculations and how is that weighted?

4 If  budget is not available for installation of CRB or other safety barriers, is there an existing process that allows for public fundraising?  Adopt a road?  Perhaps it is possible to explore the public's 'willingness to pay' - beyond taxation- for further safety measures.  

This set sent by myself last week:
  1.MOTi budget for the area specifically broken out from District budget
2     2.Any assessment work done as a result of this accident – will it come out of the Area Budget or other source of funds.  The point being that any assessment budget come from additional funds not current funds budgeted for other items in the area
3       3. Traffic Volume Data – what traffic volume data exists for the area and the date of completion of that data, plans for update of traffic volume data
4       4.Road fatalities in the area (broken out from Southern Inteior region). Not sure who can do this.
5       5.Convening of the Gold Trail Road Safety Committee (stakeholder group)  SLRD previously requested from ICBC this occur.
6     6.When was the last roadside barrier calculations on Hwy 99 north, Hwy 99 south, Hwy 12 to Lytton and Rd. 40
7      Report out and sharing of historic collision trends (related to 4 re fatalities).  On this point transparency with the public is a challenge, I have tried to access specific information (i.e. such as the coroner`s report on Janice Buller`s death) and it is not available, or readily available.  It is hard for the public to understand what is really going on here without analysis.
        7. Plan to address the reputation of this road`s area to assist with visitor travel.  This is an ongoing and serious issue as this stuff damages our economy, makes it challenging to recruit population etc.


This would be a very good time for you to write your MLA, Jackie Tegart and the Minister of Transportation, Todd Stone.

-Share your thoughts around concrete barriers and if, in your opinion they would make a difference.

-Share your thoughts around the  safety of Rd. 40.

-Share your personal, and I know in some cases, tragic stories of experiences of "going off the edge".  I am so appreciative that this family has shared in such a public way their pain and suffering at their loss while at the same time advocating for change.

I think at this point in time, your communication may serve to provide additional impetus to ensuring an increased budget and accelerated plan is put in place for cement road barriers and other safety measures.  Please be respectful but assertive. 
MLA Jackie Tegart:       Jackie.Tegart.MLA@leg.bc.ca
Minister Todd Stone, Ministry of Transportation:  Minister.Transportation@gov.bc.ca

I welcome your thoughts and comments on this issue.  I will continue to share information as it becomes available.

Bradian Sold

As many have seen the news coverage, the sale of Bradian completed.  Here is the text of the press release provide by John Lovelace (realtor) on January 2.

It's Official: Bradian Ghost Town has a New Owner
For Immediate Release: 12:40 Pacific Time, January 2, 2015, Richmond, B.C.
John Lovelace Team, Sutton Seafair Realty

John Lovelace of Sutton Seafair Realty announced today that the ghost town of Bradian located in the Bridge River Valley north of Whistler has a new owner. He said that title to the town, complete with streets, fire hydrants, vacant lots, and all of its 22 homes, transferred December 29, 2014 to China Zhong Ya Group Hebei Canada-China Co. "We had an unbelievable response from potential buyers all over the world," said Lovelace, "but at the end of the day we feel that the China Zhong Yung Group will be a good fit. The company told us they plan to rehabilitate the town but I think they are prepared to take the time to plan everything out first," he said. "That planning process will undoubtedly take considerable time," he added. Lovelace says that buyer interest was evenly split between domestic and foreign investors but he sees a changing trend in Asian buyers. "The first wave of investors who came to Vancouver were mainly interested in buying single family homes and condos. This new wave of buyers are getting more sophisticated, and they are looking at investing outside of places like Richmond and West Vancouver. Now they are looking at properties all over BC like farms, ranches, and businesses, and in this case an entire town!" Lovelace, who specializes in Real Estate investments outside of the Lower Mainland, says he is working with several other foreign investors who are looking at properties all the way up to the Yukon border. He says its exciting to see fresh money come into the rural areas of BC because he thinks that initiatives such as the Bradian purchase might kick start northern economies. Michael Mills is the spokesperson for the Bradian town project on behalf of China Zhong Ya Group, Hebei Canada-China company. Michael's title is Director of Bradian Project, BC, Canada


I have spoken at length with Mr. Mills who is aware of the Marmot Land Use Contract which is still in effect.    There is much more to come here and Mr. Mills did not have any pre-defined ideas, at least that he expressed to me on exactly what they are going to do.  He did say though that there will be meetings with the community and most certainly they will need to work with the SLRD.  As I become aware of things that the community needs to know or be consulted on I will advise all of you.  If you own property in and around Bralorne, I would encourage you to become involved or hooked into the Bralorne Community Advisory Committee as they are going to be a very important "voice" for Bralorne & area going forward.

For your knowledge:
Marmot Land Use Contract (it has an interesting map) :  (slow loading)
http://www.slrd.bc.ca/sites/default/files/land-contracts/Marmot%20Enterprises%20Ltd.%20LUC%20143%20%28March%202011%29.pdf

Upper Bridge River Valley OCP (has interesting maps & section on Bralorne area):
http://www.slrd.bc.ca/inside-slrd/bylaws/upper-bridge-river-valley-official-community-plan-bylaw


Carpenter Reservoir Re-Vegetation Project

This survey is for possible re-vegetation works that have been planned for Carpenter Reservoir, from the Tyaughton Lake turnoff to the Gun Creek fan.    




If you did the "print" survey last summer, no need to do this one. 



They are looking for information on how people use or enjoy the Carpenter Reservoir.


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