Paul Peterson, Director for Area K, presented the RDCK budget in Nakusp at a public meeting the first week of March. Unfortunately, no one showed up, something that isn’t all that unusual.
“There were two people who used to come, but they moved out of town,” Paul Peterson told the Arrow Lakes News, half-joking.
In summary, Peterson said “taxes aren’t going to change a whole lot” for Area K. There were a couple notable changes, however.
Significant amounts in grants were handed out this past year, with $10,000 going to the Nakusp Public Library.
“I don’t like to give out $10,000 grants, but they really needed $10,000,” Peterson noted.
The Burton, Fauquier and Edgewood reading centres each received $500 from the RDCK, who picked up the slack once the $800 in funding they used to receive from the province was cut.
Edgewood also got $10,000 this year to put a commercial kitchen in their community hall.
“It’s a very nice experiment for economic development,” Peterson said, who sees farmers being able to take advantage of the kitchen to get more of their products to market.
“I gave out $30,000 this month; it’s very unusual,” the Director told the Arrow Lakes News. The money being handed out comes from BC Hydro grants-in-lieu, and is dispensed by directors to the areas most affected.
Gas tax grants were given to Edgewood to upgrade heating in the school and to Nakusp for repairs to the Arena. The grants are given for improvements to existing infrastructure that will make them save energy or water.
At the RDCK offices, a consultant is being hired to examine how operations can be streamlined in terms of staffing, and will help formulate a new business plan for the Regional District.
“We’ll be hiring a new CEO because the current one is retiring,” Peterson said. The RDCK wants to have the new business plan in place for the hiring process.
Dishing out the Affected Areas funding takes up a lot of the Area K Director’s time.
“I find that keeps me pretty busy,” said Peterson, who sees part of his job to be a cheerleader and keep people working to get their applications for grants in on time. If they don’t put in enough applications, he said, the money doesn’t stay in the community, and will be given to applicants in other areas.
Peterson is a very big fan of the community vote on which community project gets funded.
“That’s a great thing about Nakusp. In every other community, there’s a committee that’s appointed, but in Nakusp the community votes on it. For a community, that’s pretty cool.”