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RDCK board roundup: Local Conservation Fund projects approved, mosquito control costs going up

All the news from the Feb. 16 board meeting
Mosquito control is going to cost more for Meadow Creek residents. Photo: Ned Rozell

by John Boivin

Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice

The Kootenay Lake region will see some work done to protect and enhance the environment, as the Regional District of Central Kootenay board approved six projects through the Local Conservation Fund at its Feb. 16 meeting.

Groups receiving funding include: Lardeau Valley LINKS for the Grizzly Bear Coexistence Solutions program ($11,500); the Friends of Kootenay Lake for Harrop wetland restoration expansion ($14,662); the Ktunaxa Nation Council for an update to the Kootenay Lake Shoreline Guidance Document ($10,000); the Wildlife Conservation Society Canada for the Bat Roost Habitat Monitoring project ($20,441); the BC Conservation Foundation for beaver habitat restoration in the Duncan-Lardeau ($10,000); and Living Lakes Canada for Kootenay Watershed Science ($7,773).

A seventh application from Arrow Lakes Environment Stewardship Society to research ways to restore wildfire-affected areas was not funded.

Property owners in Areas A, C and D contribute to the program currently. Area H will join the program this year after a successful referendum in 2022. Area F is set to undergo an alternate approval process this year that will decide if it joins the program for 2024.

The call for proposals happens in September every year.

RDCK joins rural health group

The RDCK is going to join a group pushing for improvements to rural health.

The BC Rural Health Network says it represents the health and well-being of rural residents throughout British Columbia.

“Our positions are universal to rural residents and reflect the diverse perspectives of rural communities,” wrote BCRHN executive director Paul Adams. “By joining our organization, the Regional District of Central Kootenay would have the opportunity to have a voice in advocacy and support for the unique health and well-being needs of rural residents in the area.”

Recycle BC service interruptions

There have been many service interruptions at recycling depots in the region since the beginning of January, RDCK staff person Travis Barrington reported to the RDCK’s Joint Resource Recovery Committee meeting of Feb. 14.

Depots most affected include the ones in Nakusp, New Denver, Slocan, Kaslo and Balfour. Contractors have had to move staff and equipment from Vancouver Island and Grand Forks to provide relief.

RDCK staff has requested a meeting with Recycle BC to discuss solutions.

Water bills up

Users of three community water systems – Rosebery Highlands, Ymir and Grandview (near Balfour) – will be facing some big hikes to their water bills as a result of planning for the maintenance and replacement of the systems.

For the nine active users of the Rosebery Highlands water system (north of New Denver), that will mean an extra $2,250 more than the $9,000 they paid last year.

Staff suggested that homeowners look into the BC Property Tax Deferment Program as a way of providing some relief on their property taxes.

Mosquito program in Area D

Directors gave approval to sign a five-year (2023-2027) contract for mosquito control in the Meadow Creek and Pine Ridge areas with Morrow Biosciences, who have provided the service in the area since 2000.

There will be no changes to the Pine Ridge program, but there will be a substantially higher cost and a different model of delivery in the Meadow Creek area. The new delivery model involves more ground treatments of Bti, less dependence on helicopter treatments, and more communication with residents.

The company has plans to introduce drones to distribute the larvicide, but is facing federal red tape to get final approval for their plans.

The five-year contract will cost about $587,199 for the Meadow Creek area (compared to $438,425 for 2018-2022) and $52,720 for Pine Ridge.

The new five-year contract includes a review of its effectiveness (and public satisfaction) after the second year.

A virtual town hall will be held in May for local residents to talk about the program.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story stated Area F will join the Local Conservation Fund in 2023. In fact, it will hold an alternate approval process this year that could lead to joining the service in 2024.