RDEK adopts new financial plan

Regional directors adopt 2017 to 2021 financial plan at most recent meeting

The Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) board recently adopted their latest five-year financial plan at their Friday,March 3rd meeting.

The plan outlines an operating budge of $28.1 million for this year (2017), a shade lower ($1,300, which is statisticallyinsignificant) than it was in 2016, although in a press release the RDEK pointed out that discounting the grant-funded itemsspecific to certain service areas in the 2017 operating budget would show it as 1.8 per cent lower than the 2016 operatingbudget.

“Our board and staff recognize the importance of balancing the provision of services with keeping taxes in line. We haveworked hard to adopt a budget that achieves a good balance,” said RDEK chair Rob Gay in the press release.

On average, residential properties in the RDEK will see an approximate 0.5 per cent overall decrease in their tax levy as aresult of the new budget, but the release emphasized that RDEK residents will be affected differently depending on wherethey live notably in the Columbia Valley subregion where residential properties will see an average increase of 9.8 percent due largely to increased costs stemming from with the Columbia Valley Economic Development Service and ColumbiaValley Solid Waste Service. Exact tax calculations are expected to be complete by early April when 2017 revised assessedproperty values are available.

“Unlike a municipality that has one boundary and one set of taxpayers, different areas of the RDEK require different servicesand these are paid for only by the taxpayers of each specific service area,” said Gay. “In addition, even though there may beincreases in the requisition amount, new development in parts of the region can offset some of that impact on RDEKtaxpayers.”

Completion of the Fairmont debris flow mitigation project is one of the major projects included in 2017 budget. To see thecomplete plan, visit www.rdek.bc.ca.

Lake Windermere OCP update

RDEK directors also gave the go ahead for regional district staff to start public consultation for an update of the LakeWindermere Official Community Plan (OCP).

Staff will now starting looking for local landowners and members of the public to form an advisory committee to inform theplanning process, RDEK planning and development service manager Andrew McLeod told The Echo.

“That will likely happen early this spring,” said McLeod. “Then we anticipate public consultation beginning in May.”

The Lake Windermere OCP covers homes and communities on both the east and west side of Lake Windermere, extendingsouth from the Toby Benches area (in the west) and Shuswap Indian Band land (in the east), encompassing both sides of thelake, up to (but not including) the Fairmont Hot Springs area.

The current Lake Windermere OCP was put in place in 2008. The update process will likely take about a year and a half totwo years to complete.

The Lake Windermere OCP is one of at least eight OCPs in the Upper Columbia Valley. Each of the valley’s threeincorporated municipalities are responsible for their own community planning and OCPs. The RDEK is responsible for theSteamboat-Jubilee OCP (which corresponds with RDEK Area G and includes communities such as Wilmer, Edgewater andBrisco), the Toby Benches OCP, the Panorama OCP, the Lake Windermere OCP, and the Fairmont Hot Springs OCP (whichincludes Fairmont and nearby communities such as Dutch Creek, stretching west to the Nature Conservancy of Canada’sHoodoos property and extending south along both side of Columbia Lake up to, but not including, Canal Flats).