Animal control, increased costs, and carbon neutrality top the agenda at town hall meeting
Grand Forks rural area residents had a chance to hold their regional representative accountable at a town hall meeting Monday night. Key questions launched from the crowd were focused on animal control, increasing costs, the push for a bylaw officer, and an extensive presentation on a proposed organic waste diversion program (see Organics diversion proposed). Increases to this year’s RDKB budgets that will be impacting the region are from three main areas: costs for the renovations at the administrative building in Trail; planning and development (P & D) department services; and the purchase of a building for animal control operations. “There was no real increase in expenses (for planning and development),” said MacLean, “but for many years the service had been using savings from past years. Last year they still had surplus but only half of what it used to be. In order to maintain service levels there needs to be an increase.” Renovations to the administrative building were to accommodate technology changes, but more importantly, to make the building environmentally-friendly and provide carbon credits for the region. Confusion surrounded the animal control services ranging from questions about lack of response from the service operator to the scope of the program. Chief Administrative Officer for the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB), John MacLean, explained that the service is contracted with Craig Caruso and is limited in scope to domestic animals but does not include cats. MacLean advised residents that if they have any questions or concerns over the service to notify either Elaine Kumar or himself at the RDKB offices in Trail. “This was the first full year for this contracted service,” explained MacLean. “So we are seeing the full costs as well as the purchase of the building and maintenance costs on this budget.” MacLean also said that the contract price remains at about the same level as it was with the previous contractor. Another RDKB project that MacLean touched on was the carbon neutral program being done jointly with the Regional District of Central Kootenay and the Columbia Basin Trust. Under this program, the region has done a carbon inventory and is now tracking carbon impacts over 2011. Provincial regulations require every local government to be carbon neutral by 2012. MacLean said they are developing programs to offset carbon impacts and welcome feedback or ideas through their website: www.rdkb.com.
The annual Area D service and budget review was attended by over 32 people along with politicians. Director Irene Perepolkin also reviewed some of the projects she is involved in through the region including: the creation of an agriculture development plan, assistance for the Boundary Musuem Society in their building renovations, discussions with Christina Lake and Grand Forks to hire a bylaw enforcement officer, and the beginning of the Kettle River Watershed management plan.