Recently, the Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce hosted the sixth annual local government update luncheon. This annual event gives the elected local government officials the opportunity to share what we have accomplished in the last year and what is in store for the coming year.
This year the elected chiefs from Shuswap and Akisqnuk were also invited to attend the panel, which was great to see.
When you hear about all the projects that were mentioned (either completed in the past year, in progress or the planning stage for 2016) you can see that your local government works hard on behalf of the residents, property owners and guests that all enjoy the Columbia Valley.
The past year has been busy in Electoral Area F (which covers Fairmont, Windermere, Panorama and the rural areas in between). Some of the projects include:
• Completion of the first phase of the Fairmont Creek flood and debris flow mitigation Project
• Securing broadband funding for the rural areas of Toby Benches and Lytle Lake
• Long term maintenance and liability for the Westside Legacy Trail
• Windermere water reservoir project, which is nearing completion
• Fairmont, Dutch Creek and Ogilvy Wills water systems receiving community works funding to bring all three private water systems into compliance with Interior Health drinking water standards under one system
• Creation of an economic development service area for the Upper Columbia Valley. The service is now in place and we have committed to fund the Lake Windermere Ambassadors. In addition, we could potentially fund Imagine Kootenay, Columbia Valley Arts and valley-wide visitor services pending budget discussions
• Secured funding for Whiteway under the Columbia Valley recreation service area
• The Toby Benches Official Community Plan, which is now in final draft stage
• Fairmont Official Community Plan, which is just starting
• Continuing to work with the Windermere community on options to bring potable water to Windermere.
• Columbia Valley Retention and Attraction Project, which is just gearing up
• The Upper Columbia Valley Branding and Marketing Initiative, which we have been working on for several months. We are now at the stage for the tourism stakeholders to take the lead on this project
Many of these initiatives are valley-wide in scope and one of the keys to their success is how well the elected officials in the Columbia Valley work together. We recognize that we can achieve more when we work collaboratively.
I’m excited to see next year’s list!
Wendy Booth is the Regional District of East Kootenay Director for Area F and the RDEK board’s vice chair. She can be reached at email@example.com or 250-345-6155.