Regional Rundown: Celebrating the success of regional governance

The working relationship and partnerships between political jurisdictions in the Columbia Valley has been very positive.

Things are very busy at the District of Invermere. A number of capital projects are about to begin, including the construction of the Splash & Spray Park at Kinsmen Beach (spearheaded by the Rotary Club of Invermere) and re-development of the Cenotaph Park may proceed. The district is also investigating options for repaving and improving storm water management for a portion of Panorama Drive near the Petro Canada bulk station. Invermere is also going to begin work on an ultraviolet-disinfection treatment for our Paddy Ryan Reservoirs water supply system, which will bring our surface water up to full compliance with new regulations.

Work is continuing on the design of the new valley-wide multi-use centre. Currently, our architect is analyzing options of siting the building on the old high school site and the feasibility of retaining or demolishing the “bus garage” building. In early May, a decision by the Columbia Valley Directors of the Regional District of East Kootenay is expected around sharing approximately 25 per cent of the capital and operational funding for the new facility, which would total $125,000 a year for five years (to be re-negotiated each five years). A commitment has been made by Invermere that the regional district will appoint 25 per cent of a future Design and Operation Committee and be involved in all further discussions and considerations around the facility.  We are hoping that asbestos abatement and demolition will be able to proceed this summer or fall.

Over what has almost been six years, I have had the pleasure of working with fellow Columbia Valley Directors. The working relationship and partnerships between political jurisdictions in the Columbia Valley, including regional district Areas F and G, the Village of Radium Hot Springs, and the Village of Canal Flats, has been very positive. We may have different opinions on certain topics, but we are able to respect different opinions and continue to move forward. This fall, we will likely see a few of the “fearless five” (I just made this name up) change as one or two people choose not to run again. Of course, those who are planning to run again (hint: yes, I’m planning to run again) are never guaranteed to return. Some of the names and faces involved in regional governance in the Columbia

Valley may change this fall, but here’s hoping the positive energy and strong successes over the last six years does not change!

Gerry Taft is mayor of the District of Invermere and a Regional District of East Kootenay director for the Columbia Valley. He can be reached at .