SVPS deals with tourism plan, water study

Members of the Similkameen Valley Planning Society met Mar. 21 to discuss tourism and watershed study issues.

  • Mar. 27, 2012 4:00 p.m.
Members of the Similkameen Valley Planning Society met last Wednesday at the Lower Similkameen Indian Band offices. Topics of discussion centred on a tourism initiative and moving forward on the upcoming Similkameen Valley Watershed Study.

Members of the Similkameen Valley Planning Society met last Wednesday at the Lower Similkameen Indian Band offices. Topics of discussion centred on a tourism initiative and moving forward on the upcoming Similkameen Valley Watershed Study.

 

Members of the Similkameen Valley Planning Society met at the Lower Similkameen Indian Band offices on Mar. 21 to discuss tourism and watershed study issues.

Local MLA John Slater was also in attendance to lend his expertise to discussions surrounding the planned watershed study.

The recently held Tourism Advisory Council’s tourism workshop, held on Mar.14 in Hedley was the biggest in the province, said TAC Chair Joan McMurray, who also  spoke to the group about the current status of TAC’s tourism strategy. The council made a request to SVPS for $16,000. The money is funding known as “leveraging” in that the TAC must find partnered funds to match the sum.

The council also sought funding for a paid project manager that will be hired on a contract basis. The manager’s initial role will be to coordinate the stakeholders / features / products inventory that will be used as a master database for the regional tourist strategy being developed.

The SVPS approved the request, which will provide the Tourist Advisory Council with a short term, leveraged budget (12 – 18 months) of  $50,000, utilizing a maximum of $23,000 in matching funds from Community Tourism Opportunity (CTO). The TAC presently has $29,300 in confirmed funding available.

During the budget request discussions, fears were raised with respect to “volunteer burnout” due to the scope of the project. Hiring a manager under contract was deemed necessary to prevent a loss of volunteer enthusiasm and to maintain the project’s momentum.

Community Futures’ representatives Mary Ellen Heidt and Sue Baker gave a short presentation to the board on their “Economic Gardening” program. Community Futures was requesting $7,500 from the SVPS as part of a total budget of $217,000 needed to continue the project. SVPS members expressed interest  in the program’s ability to target markets, but made no immediate decision to support Community Futures’ funding request.

RDOS Public Works Department Manager Doug French was on hand to discuss intial steps in the SVPS directed Similkameen Watershed Study. The group, anxious to proceed, discussed prospective facilitators before agreeing with French that Janice Johnson, a former RDOS employee who worked as the Air Quality Coordinator prior to the elimination of that position after the regional district’s core services review, would be the most appropriate candidate for the job.

 

Initial steps to be undertaken include forming a stakeholders and technical group. MLA Slater cautioned the group that “you guys are organizing this – make sure your consultants know what you want.”