RDCK board, September 22: Curbside recycling survey for rural residents

Rural residents are going to be asked if they support paying for curbside pickup of their organic waste.

“With the successful start of the Town of Creston curbside collection organics program, the board directed staff to proceed with Phase 2 of the consultation for the proposed rural curbside collection services of garbage and organic waste,” says a release from the regional government.

Residents of Electoral Areas A, B, C, E, F, G, H, I and J will be asked about their level of support for the program, which may cost between $180 and $240 per household annually. Residents of the Villages of Salmo and Slocan will also be asked about participating in the program. Grant funding is in place to cover the cost of the consultation.

More than 15,000 households may be eligible for coverage under the organics collection program. Both the Province and regional officials say establishing curbside organics collection will divert waste from landfills, extending the life of the facilities. It will also help cut a major source of greenhouse gas production by local governments – rotting food waste in landfills.

The second phase of consultation will take place in the first quarter of 2023. If there’s enough support for the program, the board could vote to establish the service as soon as next April. Operations could begin as early as May 2024, a staff report says.

Dog control

The RDCK’s dog control service is expanding to the southern part of the regional district.

“In order to address dangerous dog issues in the region, the board authorizes staff to prepare a service establishment bylaw for dog control services within Electoral Areas A, B and C,” says an RDCk release. “The bylaw would provide statutory authority to act and be responsive to dog complaints from the community.”

A study by staff estimated it would cost taxpayers in the three districts – which surround the southern Kootenay Lake and rural Creston-- about $40,000 in total to fund the service for the next five years. Currently, the RDCK provides dog control services in Electoral Areas E, F, I, J and K, and the director for Area H told the board he was looking into the service expanding into the Slocan Valley as well.

Bus blues studied

Residents throughout the RDCK have dealt with cancelled BC Transit routes over the last two years due to a number of issues, including staff shortage. Some of the worst-hit areas were the Arrow Lakes region, Nakusp and the Slocan Valley. There, problems with hiring saw hundreds of cancelled bus runs during the height of the pandemic, disrupting schedules for weeks at a time.

A few months ago, the head of transit provider NextGen told RDCK directors the worst of the problem had been solved. But at the last board meeting, the board directed staff to prepare a report about the cancelled routes in 2021 and 2022 “in order to determine how to better service RDCK communities,” says a release from the RDCK.

The goal is to share this report with BC Transit and NextGen Transit to help find a solution to the service disruptions and ensure residents are able to get where they need to go, whether it is work, the grocery store or visiting friends and family.

Grants

Community development grants aren’t generally let out by the RDCK during an election period, so as to keep the process as free of politics as possible. But an exception is made for the Areas that won’t have a vote because their director was acclaimed.

-- That’s the case for Area H and K, whose directors gave a total of $6,000 to help NACFOR (Nakusp and Area Community Forest) host this year’s BC Community Forest Association Conference AGM.

“The conference is an important event for community forests to connect and network, as well as a great opportunity to showcase the Kootenays to others from across the province,” says the grant application. “Over 150 forest managers and directors, local, regional and provincial government representatives and forest industry professionals and experts will gather in Nakusp for this three-day event.”

Outgoing Area K director Paul Peterson provided $4,000 for the event, and Area H Director Walter Popoff provided $2,000. The conference is being held October 19-21.

A second grant was a bit unusual: the RDCK granted itself $2,461 from the Community Development Fund (really, an internal transfer) to cover the cost of a mail-out being sent to residents of Area H. The mail-out has information regarding the upcoming vote on whether the area should join the Local Conservation Fund.

Not facing an election in his area either, Area I Director Andy Davidoff gave $5,000 in Community Development Funds towards the purchase of land for the proposed new regional park in Krestova.

John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice