RURAL REPORT: Water, re-zoning, forestry on Area B agenda

Re-zoning applications, water issues and land management key issues for Area B Rural Revelstoke in 2015, writes director Loni Parker.

By Loni Parker, director for Area B Rural Revelstoke

The start to 2015 has been very busy so far in the CSRD.

Following the election we have new representatives from Golden, Area A, Sicamous, Salmon Arm and Revelstoke. These include councillor Caleb Moss representing the Town of Golden, Karen Cathcart for Area A Rural Golden, councillor Chad Eliason for Salmon Arm, Mayor Terry Rysz of Sicamous and Mayor Mark McKee. Continuing are the Mayor of Salmon Arm, Nancy Cooper, and Electoral Directors Paul Demenok (Area C), Rene Talbot (Area D), Chair, Rhona Martin (Area E), and Larry Morgan (Area F)

I am pleased with the new makeup of the board and look forward to a very productive term.

Board appointments have been made and as well as being appointed to various CSRD committees I am the appointee to the BC Hydro Mica 6 and Revelestoke 6 Consultative Committee and all committees associated with the Columbia Basin including the Columbia River Treaty Local Government Committee and the Columbia Basin Regional Advisory Committee. I was also appointed to the Board of Directors of the Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) and remain as a Board Member of the Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust (SIDIT).

As well as our regular board meetings so far, we have had two orientation sessions in Salmon Arm that have been especially helpful for our new members. Electoral Directors also attended a workshop in Richmond that is held for all provincial rural directors. This is a very important workshop which deals with issues province wide and allows directors an opportunity to network and discuss mutual topics of concern.

Closer to home I expect a busy year as there are a number of applications to be dealt with ranging from crown referrals to re-zoning applications.

A re-zoning request of interest is the application by Basecamp Developments Ltd (Eagle Pass Heliskiing) to rezone a parcel of land located on the west side of Highway 23S on the Begbie Bench from Rural Resource to Resort Commercial in order to construct a 12 bedroom lodge and operate their heli-ski operation from the site. Their current operation is situated at Echo Point Lodge, on Airport Way, eight kilometres south of Revelstoke. The applicants have already presented their plans to the Area B Advisory Planning Commission (APC) however due to the fact that our new Zoning Bylaw No. 851 was adopted before the application process was complete, it is necessary to repeat the process.

Following the information received from the public at the first APC meeting the applicants have substantially changed their application to deal with concerns raised by residents in the area. These changes will be presented at the next APC meeting which will be held in the near future. Please check the CSRD website (www.csrd.bc.ca) for the date if you are interested in attending.  A public hearing on the application will follow at a later date.

A top priority in Area B right now is to resolve the issue of water supply to residents in the Upper Airport bench who are currently getting their water from the Thomas Brook water system. Over the past few years residents have experienced serious issues when their water was compromised and it is imperative that a solution be found.

This system either needs a complete upgrade or water needs to be supplied from another source. Since the onset of disruption to their water supply, discussions held with the Provincial Resort Development Branch, Interior Health, Revelstoke Mountain Resort, the City and the CSRD led to the conclusion that providing City water was the best solution. However, the past Mayor and council refused to change their policy to provide city water outside their boundaries (at no cost to the municipal taxpayers) and Thomas Brook residents have not elected to join the city.  I am hoping that a fresh perspective will lead to a resolution of this issue as soon as possible.

Another top priority is to find a way to have meaningful public involvement as it relates to harvesting in the Revelstoke Area. Forestry is very important to the fabric of our community however we do need to have a balance of activity on crown land that includes non-forestry related activities including recreation.

I attended the public presentation that was held January 13 by Stella- Jones and BC Timber Supply and I was pleased to see a large turnout. Basically the presentation was very well done and I’m sure people appreciated a Forestry 101 lesson.

However I was disappointed about the lack of information provided regarding the actual harvesting plans and the lack of meaningful engagement with the public, especially not allowing questions from those in attendance. I have received numerous emails and phone calls regarding this issue and I am working on your behalf to find a better way to include other perspectives as it relates to land use planning in our area.

If you have any questions or comments please call me at 250-837-5804 or email at lparker@csrd.bc.ca.

 

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