Castlegar mayor Lawrence Chernoff will chair a five-member committee appointed to look at whether the Regional District of Central Kootenay’s sustainability service should survive.
Seven areas have now asked to withdraw from the contentious program, established four years ago to deal with a variety of environmental initiatives, from climate change adaptation to agricultural plans.
Directors who want out argue they get little benefit from the service or that its scope has increased beyond what was originally intended. The latest to formally request withdrawal is Arrow Lakes director Paul Peterson, who joins Nakusp, Castlegar, Salmo, New Denver, and two rural areas around Creston.
Nelson is the lone member of the regional district that never joined.
In addition to Chernoff, who will have no voting rights, the committee will be made up of two directors from areas that want out — New Denver’s Ann Bunka and Nakusp’s Karen Hamling — plus two who want to stay in — rural Castlegar’s Andy Davidoff and rural Nelson’s Ron Mickel.
They have been instructed to meet up to four times and submit a final report in time for October’s board meeting. In the meantime, the service will collect no taxation and ongoing projects will be paid for out of reserves.