Jen Comer appointed RDCK director for Creston

Jen Comer

The RDCK Board met November 19 and acclaimed Area D Director Aimee Watson as the Chair of the Board of Directors for 2021, while Area H Director Walter Popoff was acclaimed as the Vice-Chair. The Board was pleased to welcome Jen Comer as the newly appointed RDCK Director for the Town of Creston. Director Comer replaces Ron Toyota. Town of Creston Councillor Jim Elford has been appointed as the alternate RDCK Board Director.

Watson, who has served as RDCK Area D Director since 2014, enters her third term as Chair. Director Popoff has served as Area H Director since 2008. This marks his second term as Vice-Chair.

The Board Chair and Vice-Chair are elected annually by the Board of Directors and serve a one-year term.

Other highlights o f the meeting include:

COVID-19 Safe Restart Grants for Local Governments

The RDCK has received $760,000 from the Province of BC as part of the COVID-19 Safe Restart Grants for Local Governments. The funding is intended to support local governments as they deal with increased operating costs and lower revenues due to COVID-19. Eligible costs include addressing COVID – related revenue shortfalls, facility reopening and operating costs, emergency planning and response costs, and services for vulnerable persons.

The Board will decide where the funds will go based on recommendations by RDCK staff. All funds must be allocated by December 31, 2021.

RDCK Adopts Anti-Racial Discrimination and Anti-Racism Policy

The Board adopted the Anti-Racial Discrimination and Anti-Racism Policy. The policy demonstrates the RDCK’s commitment to conducting the day to day operations and governance in an anti-discriminatory and anti-racist manner and environment. The policy is a public commitment that the RDCK will make best efforts to ensure that all who work and interact with the RDCK are able to do so in an environment and manner free of racism and racial discrimination.

RDCK Board Adopts Step Code 1 of the BC Energy Step Code

The Board adopted Step Code 1 of the BC Energy Step Code effective December 31, 2020, which applies to new builds not renovations. The BC Energy Step Code is a performance based standard developed as a multi-year collaboration between BC local government representatives, industry, utilities, and the province to achieve local and provincial goals of reaching a zero carbon economy. It focuses on the performance of the building with an envelope first approach. The idea is to build an efficient building and further supplement its efficiencies with internal systems.

There are five steps as part of the BC Energy Step Code which represents continual monitoring and improvement of new homes built within the region. With each home built to a higher energy performance, lifetime energy use of the home is reduced from between 10% (Step 2) to 80% (Step 5) compared to a home built to the current standard BC Building code, thus reducing greenhouse gases. By adopting Step 1 now, this will help builders and building officials in the RDCK prepare to jump to Step 3 when it is mandated by the Province of BC in 2022.

Click here for more information on the BC Energy Step Code.

Park Ambassador Program Well Received

Established in 2020, the Park Ambassador Program was well received by the public throughout the RDCK. The goal of the program is to create public engagement to better understand specific user demands for each of our parks. Through ongoing engagement with the public, Park Ambassadors are able to evaluate the RDCK’s current services, including asset management strategy, development, repair and improvement of parks, and future park planning and funding. The board was presented with the results of the program and will consider including it in the 2021 budget.

Water Safety Ambassador Program Under Consideration for 2021

The Board has asked for budget and staffing recommendations be presented in January 2021 to determine the viability of continuing and expanding the Water Safety Ambassador Program. This program was implemented in the summer of 2020 to provide water safety and drowning prevention education at beaches and waterways across the RDCK.

Erickson Water System Upgrade

The Board authorizes up to $225,000 to be borrowed from the Municipal Finance Authority for the purpose of funding the Erickson Water System Distribution Upgrade – Tooze Road project. The loan will be repaid within five years, with no rights of renewal.

RDCK Establishes Linear Infrastructure Construction Crew

The Board approved funding for the formation of a linear infrastructure (water pipe in the ground) construction crew that will be used to maintain all 20 RDCK water systems and take on new projects over the next three years. The funding includes $537,441 for equipment, one full time supervisor and two full time seasonal operators. The establishment of the work crew will reduce capital costs, ensure better asset management and a secure water supply.

Water System Governance

The Board has directed staff to draft a terms of reference for a new Water Services Committee to provide governance and oversight of RDCK water systems. The RDCK operates twenty local water systems, ten of which are currently governed by local Water Commissions. The draft terms of reference, expected to be considered by the Board in 2021, will propose duties and the function of the Water Services Committee and will be accompanied by a description of requirements and work plan necessary for implementation.

Regional FireSmart Program

The Board endorsed the application to the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) Community Resiliency Investment Program in order to operate a Regional FireSmart Program in 2021. The program, which originally began in 2017, has been a success for the RDCK focusing on mitigating the impacts of wildfire on our communities through outreach, education and property assessments using the FireSmart Home Partners Program. As well the FireSmart program aims to provide better training for the RDCK wildfire mitigation staff, increase the resilience of our critical infrastructure, and champion landscape level fuel mitigation.

To read more, click here.