Area “G” director comments on water, smoke issues

Director discusses issues concerning Area"G" of the RDOS

  • Sep. 7, 2011 7:00 p.m.

Olalla Water

There  seems to be a few residents in Olalla that are confused about the water rate, and why the tax requisition has stayed the same and less this year for water. Also, the water toll has been the same during my term and next years’ water toll will be reduced by $10 for everyone that is hooked up to Olalla water system. The reason for that is because I was able to secure a grant last fall. First for leak detection and next for maintenance and replacing some lines. When that work is to be done is up to public works, who have informed me they will be starting soon. I am at the moment seeking more funding for the water works; that could help reduce the water cost for Olalla.

Smoke And Burning Bylaw

The regional district is trying to get a smoke-burning bylaw established, in areas where  the fire department is operated by the RDOS. In 2005, the administration was directed to create a regional venting and burning bylaw. However, at that time staff were informed that there were liability issues with the Wild Fire Act if areas outside fire department boundaries were included. The section of the act of concern was intended to prevent regional governments from writing bylaws that direct forestry on how to fight fires. Clarification has not yet been obtained. Therefore, this bylaw will only apply to those areas inside fire department service area boundaries.

I am very well aware that smoke affects health and there should be some control, however Area “G” is large (second largest area in the RDOS) and only a small part is inside Keremeos Fire Department service area boundary, a large part of which is covered by provincial bylaws. Farms and growers that have the right to burn “responsibly” and no one seems to enforce those bylaws – or by the time a bylaw person arrives it is too late. Hedley has its own fire department. Then we also have the Indian reserve. Last survey we did clearly showed that residents of Area “G” didn’t want a smoke and burning bylaw, especially if it could not be enforced, so why spend tax money on that. I tentatively said no and would not sign the bylaw. I believe a couple of other directors were holding back, waiting to see if there is a benefit to all and not part of an area. I will be seeking advice from my APC and it could go to public hearing, in Olalla, rural Keremeos, Red Bridge area and Hedley.

I wouldn’t like to see that in one part of area “G” you can burn and smoke and in another area you can’t as you have a bylaw, smoke travels for miles. Should there be a bylaw, let it be one that covers all of RDOS, not part of it.

– Elef Christensen




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