RDEK allots funding for Ambassadors

The Lake Windermere Ambassadors will receive an annual grant of $10,000 from the Columbia Valley economic development service

The Lake Windermere Ambassadors will receive an annual grant of $10,000 from the Columbia Valley economic development service for their operational costs.

“It’s been approved for operational costs each year, so there isn’t going to be a requirement for them to come back each year to propose specific projects,” said Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) chief financial officer Shawn Tomlin. “The board felt it would be a valuable contribution (to fund) the Ambassadors, considering the work that they do for the health of the lake in general.”

“The Lake Windermere Ambassadors are grateful for the decision made by the Columbia Valley Services Committee and RDEK to support their recent request for funding,”said Mr. Tomlin. “Ongoing funding through the tax service will help the Ambassadors leverage annual project-specific funding from  donors, by supporting the operational costs of water monitoring, stewardship and outreach programs.”

RDEK staff are working with the Ambassadors to negotiate a contribution agreement over the next two months.

Backyard agriculture in the valley

The RDEK has begun the consultation process with residents from Electoral Areas F and G regarding possible zoning bylaw amendments to permit backyard agricultural opportunities on parcels that have been zoned for single family residential development.

“The RDEK wants to undertake more consultation with Columbia Valley residents with respect to people’s appetite for allowing more opportunities for backyard agriculture on small residential parcels,” explained Andrew McLeod, RDEK planning and development services manager. “Specifically, we are thinking about things like small scale beekeeping and the ability to keep a few egg laying hens. We would like to hear from residents on this issue, whether they like the idea, if they think the RDEK should be permitting even more, or alternatively not allowing anything at all.”

While the RDEK has been responsible for hosting two community conversations in 2015 as well as conducting an online survey, the board has opted to provide further opportunities to share information with area residents due to the potential significance of the proposed regulatory changes.


Grants to aid

The Invermere District Curling Centre will receive $2,500 from the Electoral Area F Discretionary Grants in Aid (DIGA) account to replace ice maintenance equipment.

Columbia Valley Conservation Fund

Seven projects have been approved for $75,000 in funding from the Columbia Valley Local Conservation Fund for 2016 including $11,000 for the Neighbourhood Invasive Plant Program; $29,000 for the Northern Leopard Frog Reintroduction; $10,000 for the Kootenay Community Bat Project; $5,000 for the Strategic Invasive Plant Control’s Leafy Splurge project; $8,500 for Water Quality and Quantity Monitoring at Lake Windermere; $8,700 for Groundswell’s Climate and Water Conservation Action Initiative; and $2,800 for the Columbia Lake Water Monitoring.


Child Care Needs Assessment and SIBAC

The general administration at the RDEK has approved two grants. The East Kootenay Child Care Needs Assessment Advisory Committee will be receiving $1,500 in 2016 upon adoption of the five-year financial plan and the Southern Interior Beetle Coalition will receive $5,000 annually for three years starting in 2016.