RDEK continues to support WildSafeBC program

The RDEK determined during that their last board meeting that they will be once again supporting the WildSafeBC program.

The Regional District of East Kootenay decided during their latest board meeting that an application from the RDEK is going to be submitted to the 2017 WildSafeBC Program to provide a part time Community Coordinator in Electoral Areas F and G from May to November in 2017.

The program has been running in electoral areas F and G for two years now despite having originally started in the Valley in Invermere and Radium in the past.

“Director [Wendy] Booth and I both picked up on it, as an important educational opportunity and to just continue helping people understand the concerns of living in wildlife areas which we do, especially in area G where it’s more rural,” Area G director Gerry Wilkie told the Echo. “It’s mainly public education and it may be that it won’t be required in the long-term but we felt that this will be the third year and we feel that it’s important that the work be done just because it’s not just the communities, the WildSafe officers are going into the schools as well.”

Despite the youth of the program, Wilkie said he’s seen the program’s success throughout the area.

“Oh I think so, I don’t think I would support it if it hadn’t,” he said. “There are a lot of people especially up in Area G who are not second home owners who are used to living with wildlife and are responsible and understand some of the things they have to be careful about.”

Each year, the program has the ability to adapt to different wildlife circumstances in the area, which, Wilkie says, could include the wild turkeys that have become a nuisance in the local area.

“It’s important to have someone sort of analyzing and making sure people understand that wildlife are wildlife and one of the big things is for people not to feed wildlife,” he said.

In Support of Continued Hotel Room Tax

The RDEK board also voted to request the province for a continuation to levy a 2 per cent tax under the Municipal and Regional District Tax program on accommodation purchased within the Village of Radium Hot Springs and a portion of Electoral Area G for another five-year term.

The tax was originally created in 2007 and is supported by local accommodators as a way to generate revenue that can be later used for marketing purposes within the region, chief financial officer for the Village of Radium Hot Springs Karen Sharp said. According to her, 77 per cent of accommodators in Radium were in agreement with the tax, which will extend to 2021 if approved by the provincial government.

Truck Donated to Search and Rescue

The Columbia Valley Search and Rescue will be receiving a new truck this year thanks to the Columbia Valley Rural Fire and Rescue. The fire and rescue team is donating its 2003 Chevy Silverado truck, which will be used by the Search and Rescue team as an extra utility vehicle to pull equipment in the future. The Fire Department recently replaced the Silverado in 2016, making it obsolete to their operations.

Voicing concern over winter road Maintenance

The board determined that letters will be sent to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and Mainroad Contracting with copies to MLA Bill Bennett and MLA Norm Macdonald, expressing the concern with the lack of adequate winter maintenance of roads and highways in the East Kootenays. The letters will also be requesting increased public education on the process for reporting changing road conditions and emergency situations moving forward.