ALR exclusion process defined
Property owners hoping to take their land out of the Agricultural Land Reserve will face brand new procedures to get their plans approved.
The changes come after the Province decided the Agricultural Land Commission will no longer take individual requests for land exclusion, as of the end of this month. The ALC will only consider applications that come from local governments.
The RDCK’s board of directors has approved a new procedure to deal with requests.
That new procedure says the RDCK won’t accept individual, one-off requests for land exclusion; any application will only be considered as part of a wider Official Community Plan review, or if it’s part of a block of five or more requests in a ‘cohesive area,’ or if the land is question is greater than five hectares (12 acres) and there is strong public interest for considering the application.
If this first hurdle can be met, the landowner will work with staff on the application. If staff agree the request has merit, it will go to the Rural Affairs Committee for approval. If it passes that committee, it will then go to the RDCK’s board of directors. If they approve it, the exclusion request will then finally go to the ALC for deliberation. The request can be stopped dead in its tracks by a rejection at any of those levels.
Of course, there are a dozen hoops to jump through within that process – studies, evaluations, public hearings, etc.
One big question remaining is how much the whole procedure will cost, and who will bear what costs. Staff are to come up with a report on fees and charges for directors’ consideration later this fall.
In the past, the RDCK has had to deal with just one or two requests for exclusions a year.
Noise bylaw for Areas H and K
Directors voted in favour of adding Areas H and K to the Noise Service Establishment Bylaw by passing first, second and third readings. But that doesn’t mean it is now in effect. The bylaw has to go to the Province for approval. When the Regional District receives approval from the Province, it can adopt the bylaw and amend the Noise Regulatory Bylaw by adding Area H and Area K.
Provincial approval will likely come in the next month or so.
Long lost Rosebery trail?
If you look at a century-old map of the area north of New Denver, you’ll see indications of an historic path called the New Denver-Rosebery Road. The right-of-way is long gone – you’ll not even see it on land title documents today – and its legal and physical status is unknown. But if it can be found, and everyone can be brought on board, there could potentially be a new trail heading north from New Denver’s Bigelow Bay.
“I would think of it as a connector from the village onto the Galena Trail,” says Richard Allin, the chair of the Rosebery Parklands and Trail Commission. “Right now there’s no official walking or biking connection from the village to get onto the trail heading north to Rosebery.”
The commission asked the RDCK board to approve some very preliminary exploration of the concept – to talk to the Province, user groups, residents whose land the road may run through, and explore the legal status of the old path. Stay tuned for further developments.
Meanwhile, there’s some good news and some bad news about the Galena Trail. Staff did an assessment of the hand-pulled cable car and found the foundation was not as damaged in the spring freshet as first thought. And, a bridge has been installed over the slough at Three Forks, allowing the trail from Three Forks to the cable car to be re-opened. However, crews are now cleaning up a new slide, from a gravel bench above the trail near the YRB yard, which deposited a two-metre deep pile of gravel about five metres long on the trail. The slide can be navigated on foot, but you’ll have to dismount from a bike if you’re riding.
Watson to sit on cannabis committee
A new task force is being established by Community Futures’ Cannabis Business Transition Initiative to help develop the cannabis industry in the West Kootenay – and the RDCK will have a voice at the table.
The Cannabis Economic Development Task Force, which will begin work this fall, plans to “bring together diverse perspectives to collectively identify and seek to resolve barriers to a thriving regional cannabis sector,” a letter to the RDCK states.
The task force, which will meet six times a year, will look for opportunities for policy change that would lower the barriers for those who wish to obtain a federal licence to produce or process cannabis; explore the creation of a regional branding strategy; have input on standards and certification of local dope; and build networks of government, industry, growers and processors to further expand opportunities.
Board Chair Aimee Watson will be the RDCK’s rep on the task force; Leah Main will be her alternate.
Everybody uses GIS these days – from when you open Google Maps to find the best route to a destination, to construction companies digging trenches. For the RDCK, the huge increase in demand for what they call their Geospatial Service is putting pressure on its budgets.
The RDCK’s public websites alone access the GIS service more than 10 times an hour every every working day – 45,000 times annually. And that’s just one of many demands.
The service is funded by direct taxes set by bylaw – about $289,000 this year– and it’s spending right to that limit.
“And the service is growing, we’re finding more demand, higher demand for the service, both from the public and internally,” says CAO Stuart Horn. “So there needs to be something done for the sustainability of the service.”
Further, the report to the board warns that the funding model “creates undue budgetary and administrative complexity and impedes the overall provision of service.”
So the administration wants to come up with a new funding model for the service. How that will play out – with new charges and fees, a change in the bylaw limits, or a new place in the corporate structure – remains to be seen. The administration will come back to the board with a service case analysis in the months to come.
“There’s no pre-supposition about where this is going to end up,” says Horn.
Kaslo Cemetery service
The RDCK is going to have to dig up old bylaws to review the cemetery service it provides to Area D.
The bylaw covering the service is quite old, says Area D Director Aimee Watson.
“The request was from the Village of Kaslo, who Area D is partnered with on many services, to look how we might be able contribute to their cemetery,” says Watson. “But Area D has several other cemeteries, so at this point it’s an investigation into where the current bylaw might be, and what that looks like, or if we need to re-establish the service.”
There are several societies that manage cemeteries in Area D, and Watson says she’s not aware of any real problems that have cropped up. But it’s been a long time since they looked at the issue, so staff will see if the service agreement needs an overhaul.
John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice