Board supports UBCM resolution on water funding

RIVERSHORE — A resolution will be going from the TNRD to the annual Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in September supporting access to gas-tax funding for not-for-profit strata councils and not-for-profit private utilities.

After considerable debate, the TNRD approved my motion on the issue by a vote of 14-10 at a board meeting Thursday, June 15, 2017.

For the past two years, I’ve been working with the Rivershore Estates strata council to get clarity on whether stratas qualify for access to federal gas-tax funds. Rivershore’s water system needs upgrades and the strata council asked for support in obtaining federal funding.

Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP Cathy McLeod has also been assisting. The question of whether strata developments qualify is  a new one for the UBCM, which administers the gas-tax program for the federal government in B.C. The UBCM initially indicated Rivershore wouldn’t be eligible because it’s considered private, and there’s a requirement that projects be for public use and benefit.

My view is that stratas obviously differ in structure from TNRD-operated utilities but that their water systems serve a similar purpose in that they provide an essential service to the members of a community and are of public benefit in the same way as regional-district utilities.

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Merritt society plans $5.3-million theatre complex

Artist’s conception of proposed theatre complex in Merritt.

MERRITT — If all goes according to plan, Merritt will get itself a $5.3-million performing arts theatre without the need to go to a referendum.

Rick Hodson, director of the Nicola Valley Community Theatre Society, told the TNRD board Thursday (June 15, 2017) the proposed complex would include three 103-seat movie theatres and a 274-seat performing arts theatre.

The society has raised $267,000 so far in promises and cash, and is hoping for a $3.7-million grant from the Rural Dividend Fund based on special circumstances due to the closure of the Tolko sawmill and loss of 203 direct jobs.

He said if the Rural Dividend Fund comes through, the project is definitely a go. The group will also apply to the Federal Cultural Spaces program for about $633,000 with matching donations from the broader community.

Hodson said the downtown core of Merritt is stagnating and in need of revitalization, and there’s no traffic downtown after stores close.

The society already owns land worth $300,000 that’s suitable for a 14,000 sq. ft. building in the downtown core.

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TNRD’s bill for flood response could hit $400,000

Yates Creek was one of many flooding points in TNRD.

The spring flooding could cost $400,000 when all the bills are in, says TNRD chief administrative officer Sukh Gill.

He told a meeting of the Emergency Management and Protective Services Committee in an interim verbal report Wednesday (June 14, 2017) that costs include such things as sand and riprap, helicopter time and wages. It doesn’t include property damage incurred by residents.

Some wages will be eligible for reimbursement from the provincial government, he said.

Gill said the flooding was the largest and longest natural disaster in the TNRD since the wildfires of 2003. The regional district activated its Emergency Operations Centre on May 5, the day the flooding began after a heavy rainfall.

Twenty to 25 TNRD staffed the EOC throughout the flood period.

“It’s still not over,” he said of the process, though the EOC is now in monitoring mode.

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