RDEK Briefs: RDEK gives operational funding to Whiteway

The most recent RDEK board of directors meeting touched on a few items of interest to the Upper Columbia Valley.

The most recent Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) board of directors meeting touched on a few items of interest to the Upper Columbia Valley.

During the Friday, November 6th meeting, the directors decided that the Lake Windermere Whiteway will receive $7,500 a year in operational funding starting in 2016, with the money coming from the Columbia Valley Recreation Service Area pool of money.

“All the directors could see the value of sustaining and maintaining the Whiteway, both for local residents and for drawing visitors to town, so the decision was unanimous. It’s fantastic for the club,” said Toby Creek Nordic Ski Club president Lyle Wilson, adding that $7,500 a year from the RDEK combined with the $4,000 a year the club receives from the District of Invermere operating costs covers about 60 to 70 per cent of the annual operating expenses of the Whiteway. “So for us, it’s huge.”

The club will be offering $20 four-use Whiteway ticket booklets this year (in past years, it has simply asked for a $5 donation per use) to help cover the rest of the operating costs associated with the world record-breaking Whiteway. The booklets will be available at Crazy Soles and other local retail outlets. Memberships to the club also include unlimited Whiteway use (visit www.tobycreeknordic.ca).

The ice on Lake Windermere was four inches thick as of press time, and it needs to be at least eight inches for the club to be able to take its grooming equipment out on the ice.

“As soon as it’s thick enough, we’ll be plowing, grooming and getting the Whiteway ready,” said Wilson.

In the meantime, the club will likely be grooming the Nordic ski trail around Lake Lillian sometime within the next two weeks (Lake Lillian,  being a small lake, tends to freeze enough for grooming much sooner than Lake Windermere). The club also plans to groom a Nordic track on the Junior Johnson trail near Lake Lillian.


More upgrades to Windermere reservoir

The RDEK board of directors, at the meeting, also voted to spend $350,000 worth of surplus funding from the Windermere reservoir project (which stems from cost-saving measures during construction) on further upgrades for the new reservoir.

Construction on the new reservoir (which is necessary no matter what long-term solution is finally chosen for Windermere’s water issues) began a few months ago and is expected to wrap up soon.

The additional upgrades that the $350,000 will be spent on include secondary chlorination and press-reducing valve (PRV) remote monitoring instrumentation. Both upgrades are within the project’s scope and can be completed within the project’s time constraints.


Two new regional parks

The RDEK has now officially amended its regional parks plan to include both the Westside Legacy Trail and the proposed Edgewater school path as regional parks. An application has been submitted by the RDEK to the provincial Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to construct and maintain the proposed school path within the road right-of-way along Sinclair Street in Edgewater.


Grant in aid

The board of directors gave a discretionary grant in aid to the Fairmont Hot Springs Lions Club. The grant is for $6,000 and is meant to help fund the club’s recycling operation and garage sale storage building.