Loni Parker thought she would step down as director for rural Revelstoke two years ago. Instead, she decided to keep going to work on the Official Community Plan for Area B of the Columbia-Shuswap Regional District.
Now, she has chosen to stand for a seventh term in order to deal with some outstanding issues and since no one ran against her, she will be sitting on the CSRD’s board of directors for another three years – 21 in total.
“I’m really into it,” she told the Times Review last week after being officially acclaimed. “There’s so much to learn all the time. It’s something I feel comfortable with, I enjoy it and I try to make things better for people.”
The issues Parker said she wants to deal with are water problems caused by development at Revelstoke Mountain Resort, continued lowering of taxes and completion of the parks plan and first zoning bylaw for the region.
The water issue is her primary concern. It recently came to the forefront after a dozen residences in the area had their water supply contaminated by work at the resort. In response she asked the city to extend its water supply to the affected homes; city council passed the matter to staff to analyse.
She pointed out that the Master Development Agreement signed by the resort and the province puts the onus on the resort to fix the problem.
“I was a bit confused by the way council dealt with that question by saying it needed to be analysed because clearly it’s up to the resort to figure out what the options are, along with the residents,” she said. “There has to be some discussion with all the parties to see what the best options are.”
The second issue she said she wanted to work on was to lower taxes for Area B residents. This year she was able to secure more BC Hydro payments for the district that was used to offset taxes on parks and fire protection.
Lastly, she spoke of the zoning bylaw the regional district is working on that will establish zoning regulations for the area – something that doesn’t exist right now. The bylaw is an extension of the OCP and work on it was started last year but delayed due to a backlog of work at the district office.
She said staff was writing up regulations to go with the existing land uses and the proposed bylaw would go to public hearing this winter.
“Once the regulations are written we’ll be going back to the public again,” she said.
There are other issues Parker will have to deal with as well. Notably, there’s two major developments in the works at Shelter Bay and Eagle Bay, near the ferry dock.
Starting with Shelter Bay, she said developer Ender Ilkay was working with CSRD staff and he was expected to bring a plan to the Advisory Planning Commission.
She wondered about Ilkay’s commitment to the development following the rejection of his development proposal along the Juan de Fuca trail on Vancouver Island.
The Eagle Bay development has been met with skepticism as well, with questions raised about the proponent’s clear-cut logging actions on the property. While Parker noted they were allowed to log on their property, she wondered why they continued to do it.
“He came forward with a plan to have some sort of sustainable forest on that land and why he’s continuing to cut trees, I have no idea,” she said. “He hasn’t communicated to us about any other plans that he has aside from that one meeting, we haven’t heard from him.
“It’s really frustrating because there’s not a whole lot that you can do.”
She added that the adoption of the OCP and creation of a zoning bylaw will give the regional district more control over what developments emerge.
Amongst the other issues she will have to address are the parks plan and new building permit bylaw.
When asked, Parker said she was neither surprised nor disappointed that no one ran against her. “I think the public is happy. If there was somebody disgruntled they would run against me.”
As for how much longer she’ll keep going in her role: “You can’t predict the future. I didn’t think I’d be doing it this long.”