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RDCK board roundup: Reps hope to join emergency act committee

All the news from the May 16 meeting
The Regional District of Central Kootenay board office in Nelson. File photo

by Rachel Lesosky

Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice

Area D Director and RDCK Chair Aimee Watson, along with staff, will submit expressions of interest to be considered for the Local Government Advisory Committee on the Emergency and Disaster Management Act (EDMA) Regulations.

Only 10 local government representatives province-wide will be appointed to the committee, with a term ending Dec. 31, 2025.

The committee was established by the Union of BC Municipalities and the Ministry of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness (EMCR).

The RDCK and many other local governments have expressed concerns to the Province about the downloading of responsibilities to local governments in the new Act.

Parkland dedication

The board adopted a new Parkland Dedication Policy, effective Jan. 1, 2025.

Parkland dedication at the time of subdivision is a mandatory requirement of the province.

Under the policy, when a subdivision creates three or more new lots smaller than two hectares each, part of the land must be dedicated to the RDCK for park purposes. Generally, this is about five per cent of the land proposed for the subdivision.

As lands become more expensive, the policy ensures the RDCK is proactive in supporting a community’s need for parkland.

In a few cases, dedicating parkland may be impractical: the community already has sufficient parkland; the lands being subdivided are not suitable for a park; or the RDCK doesn’t have the resources needed to maintain a park.

As an alternative, property owners can make a payment of cash-in-lieu of parkland. The property owner will pay five per cent of the land’s assessed value to the RDCK, which goes into a parkland dedication reserve account for the electoral area where the subdivision is located.

The board rescinded the old policy from 2010 before adopting the revised one. The amendments align the new policy with the Local Government Act, reduce the tax burden for residents who pay into the park services, reduce staff time, and increase revenue for park services.

911 service agreement

The Regional District of Fraser-Fort George (RDFFG) will continue fire/rescue dispatching services for the RDCK after the board directed staff to renew the 911 service agreement. The agreement costs $95,735.57 annually and ends Dec. 31, 2028.

“I truly believe they’re the model of the province,” said chief administrative officer Stuart Horn.

911 calls are forwarded by E-Comm (Emergency Communications for British Columbia) to the RDFFG, which then provides dispatch services for RDCK fire departments.

“The dispatching services provided by RDFFG are an integral component of every emergency response made by RDCK Regional Fire Services, while also enhancing safety through precise and effective communications,” reads the April 23 staff report from Regional Fire Chief David Zayonce.

SCBA for Crescent Valley Fire Department

Crescent Valley Fire Department will be getting a new Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) and a compressor upgrade.

The RDCK will borrow $150,000 from the Municipal Finance Authority equipment financing program to fund the upgrades. The loan must be repaid within five years.

Grants approved

Six community groups will receive funding from the Community Development Grant program.

Kaslo Jazz Etc. Society will receive $5,000 to contract BC Transit to provide free, accessible shuttle services for the Kaslo Jazz Etc. Summer Music Festival. The shuttle will run throughout the village during the festival.

Argenta Community Association will use its $4,000 grant to cover special expenses for the Argenta Community Hall, such as replacing old couches, installing outdoor safety lighting, refinishing the hall flooring, an annual Zoom subscription, and an emergency phone using Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP).

Jewett Elementary School’s Parent Advisory Council will receive $1,200 for its weekly hot lunch program, which serves 14 students and two teachers. The PAC outsources cooking to local caterers due to a lack of parent volunteers, so costs are higher.

Sandon Historical Society will receive $1,700 to hire an experienced heritage planner. The planner will create a set of documents – including a statement of significance and scale drawings – to guide the rehabilitation of the historic laundry building in Sandon.

Lower Arrow Lakes Conservation Association will put its $500 grant towards the annual Whatshan Lake Kid’s Fishing Derby.

Burton Community Association will receive $6,789.08 to get a compound to securely store a recently purchased wildfire response trailer for the Burton Volunteer Fire Department. The 6-by-10 foot enclosed storage trailer holds wildfire equipment to allow for quick, organized responses from the department.