Greetings residents of Central Coast,
Your new CCRD board, elected in October of last year, is off to a good start. We’ve got four years ahead of us to accomplish important work together along with our hard-working staff, and I’ll do my best to keep you updated as we move some significant projects forward.
First of all, I am honoured to serve as your Chair, along with Travis Hall as Vice Chair. I intend to bring you excellent leadership over the next four years. In order to better serve our communities, all five CCRD elected representatives attended the Local Government Leadership Academy forum in Richmond last month. Workshops included topics like: running efficient meetings, engaging effectively with constituents, and clarifying the roles of politicians and staff.
On March 2nd, members of the Bella Coola Valley Interagency Emergency Council are invited to join provincial EMBC staff, Jennifer Rice, our Board of Directors, Hereditary Chiefs, elected Chief and Council and Nuxalk Nation members to celebrate a very important and historic event in our province, which is the ceremonial signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between CCRD, Nuxalk Nation, and the Province of BC. This Memorandum of Understanding will provide a solid foundation for collaborative emergency management in our region, and is the first of its kind in BC. The CCRD Board of Directors look forward to initiating similar collaborative relationships with other governments in the central coast.
I am very grateful to the elected officials and staff from all three governments who worked so hard over the past year and a half to make this Memorandum of Understanding a reality. It will enable the hiring of an Emergency Management Coordinator who works for both CCRD and Nuxalk Nation. The need for this shared position became very clear during the wildfires in the summer of 2017. Please watch for announcements about this new job, coming soon.
As you may already know, CCRD was awarded $650,000 in funding for Lidar mapping and flood modeling projects in the Bella Coola Valley.
This project was launched late last year, and will provide our region with a detailed picture of flood risks, enabling us to plan for future high water events in our valley with better accuracy. Flood models will also help inform valley residents, elected officials, Nuxalk Nation and CCRD staff while conducting community planning.
The Bella Coola Valley Official Community Plan, an important part of the foundation of land use in the valley, is overdue for an update. In addition, this modeling and mapping is required in order to apply for structural flood mitigation and other preparedness funding that can help protect our community from future flood damage.
On Denny Island, CCRD has circulated a petition regarding establishment of a new water service. Denny Island residents have been asking for a water service for several years, and CCRD responded by applying for infrastructure funding through the Union of BC Municipalities. We received $1.5 million for this work, however the community of Denny Island needs to approve the project and establishment of a water system via a service establishment petition before it can proceed. Please watch for more information on this petition and its outcome in the near future.
Tree topping and pile burning continues at the Bella Coola Airport. The last of the tree topping should be complete by late spring and the clean up work will continue through to the end of 2019. CCRD is also working to update the Bella Coola Airport Safety Management System and once the external audits have been successfully completed, we will notify Transport Canada that we’re ready for final inspection and return of our certification.
Centennial Pool is slated for major upgrades, including a new pool tank and mechanical system. Public consultation regarding the new pool features wrapped up in mid-December. The procurement process for the project is being developed and tendering is scheduled for this spring. A project schedule will be confirmed once the lead proponent is selected and contracts finalized.
For those of you who follow CCRD online, you may have noticed that our website has been in need of significant updates for quite some time now. CCRD applied for and received $70,000 for website upgrades, and I am happy to announce that a web development firm was selected in December to complete this work. We’re all looking forward to the result. A more modern, user friendly website will make it easier for us to communicate with you, and for you to follow, understand, and communicate with us. CCRD’s Economic Development Officer is also preparing to launch a communications study to assess our emergency communications capacity regionally and our end-of-mile needs for high speed cable as a region.
CCRD’s next public meeting is March 14th. If you’d like something included in the agenda, or if you’d like to appear as a delegation to the board, please provide your information to staff by the agenda deadline of March 7th at 4 pm. This deadline enables staff to provide a complete agenda package to you and your elected officials in advance of the meeting, and is always one week before the meeting date. You can find the calendar of meeting dates for 2019 on the CCRD website.
Some of the work your board will be doing at our March meeting includes finalizing strategic priorities for 2019, reviewing a final budget based on these priorities, and continuing work on a long-term strategic plan for the next four years. The draft budget will be available for public review in late February or early March. Please stay tuned for opportunities to review the budget to learn about potential tax and service fee increases, and to provide feedback to your elected officials before final adoption of the budget at the March 14th public meeting.
In closing, I’d like to thank all our volunteers for their hard work.
The Bella Coola Fire Department, Denny Island Airport Commission, and recreation programs in both the valley and the outer coast, particularly the Centennial Pool, are heavily reliant on volunteers.
CCRD’s small number of paid staff could not keep these services operating smoothly without these people, so when you see them, please thank them for their work.
Chair Samuel Schooner on behalf of the Central Coast Regional District Board of Directors