LETTER: Regional director's report to Christina Lake

By Contributor
September 15th, 2011

Dear Christina Lake; It has been my distinct pleasure to represent Christina Lake as the Area C Regional District Director for the past two terms. The following is an overview of what Director for Area C means and the work load involved in that position. I continue to work on your behalf and intend to run in the November election.  In the past few months the Regional District and Area C has:

  • Shared information by: meeting with small group gatherings, holding more community meetings, adding information on RDKB.com, and working with newly formed Christina Lake Waterfront Property Owners Association;
  • Worked to make our community safer by hiring an RCMP member for Christina Lake for July and August and working with Citizens on Patrol;
  • Worked together to a successful completion with the Triathlon; and
  • Celebrated community past and present at Homecoming. 

In the past few years we: 

  • refinished the tennis courts;
  • upgraded the ball field;
  • Funded improvements to the community hall;
  • Started a park/recreation/trails service;
  • We also built a beautiful Welcome Centre which showcases our community and constructed a solar aquatic which is a prototype of how sewage can be handled through biological means both projects funded from grant dollars;  
  • We added a police officer for July and August to help keep residents and visitors alike safe;
  • We supported the Citizens on Patrol (all volunteers);
  • We have entered into an agreement with the City of Grand Forks, Area D and Greenwood to provide Animal Control because the SPCA was unable to continue service, we have a maintenance person who looks after park and recreation sites, and a dog park down at the end of Swanson Road;
  • We even managed to get through the Aquilini proposal using the proper legislated process thereby keeping the lawyers at bay and still legally turning it down before it went to the Regional District Board;
  • We have worked with the seniors housing group;
  • Completed a cemetery report/study and worked with the volunteer group;
  • Brought Dr. Art Hister to Christina Lake twice to fundraise for the Women’s Auxiliary;
  •  Introduced Hugh Bulmar of Maynards antiques appraisal to our community this fall;
  • We continue to support the Christina Lake Elementary School in the hope of keeping it open;
  • We support the numerous athletic groups including the newly formed soccer league which involves 300 participants across the Boundary;
  • Support, work with, and facilitate for, the Christina Lake Stewardship committee. We also meet with these groups; 
  • More public information meetings have been held at Christina Lake than any area in our Region and the last five years we have held community town hall meetings to talk about the Regional District budget (we have never had this before);  
  • We have started a very successful Homecoming event which also provides support through donation dollars for non-profits to operate. 

Regional accomplishments are also numerous: 

  • The Boundary Economic Development Committee has initiated discussion with all parties including the U.S. discussing the possible loss of the railway;
  • Initiated the Regional Chamber; 
  • Brought in numerous speakers;
  • Hosted a media event in Greenwood;
  • Produced a Regional Brand;
  • Convinced Invest Kootenay to allow us to belong as a Region (the BEDC pays that membership fee for all);
  • Provided information and contacted an email provider to enlarge their area to include the Fife region.

There is a lot more on this list and it can be obtained by contacting Community Futures in Grand Forks.  The committees I sit on or attend for the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary are:

  • The Advisory Planning Committee;
  • Park and Recreation;
  • Regional District Board;
  • Finance;
  • Protective Services;
  • Environmental Services;
  • Electoral Area Services;
  • BEDC; and
  • The Kettle River Water Committee. 

On a larger scale Christina Lake has also had their voice heard: 

  • I have been President of the Association of Kootenay Boundary Local Government currently Past President;
  • Sat on the Union of British Columbia Municipal Government for a year where I was a member on the Rural Resource Roads and Environment committee;
  • I am Vice Chair of the Southern Interior Beetle Action Coalition;
  • I am a board member for Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust;
  • Committee member of the Rural BC Project; 
  • I talk with media often including radio, internet, newspaper and even television and periodically write a column.

****************************************************************** Some of the more memorable questions in my term and their answers:  1.     Why don’t you do something about the old places whose sewage is dumping into the lake?  Sewage is a health and provincial issue those who know someone polluting the lake need to report it to the province. Regional District doesn’t have the right to go on someone’s property and accuse them. A large pipe sewer system is not the wishes of the Official Community Plan small satellite systems are preferred. Many residents who have already purchased separate lots for their system have no desire to pay more money for a community sewer system.  2.     In this gentleman’s words “Why are we still looking at you after five years you have never done an F__ing thing for Christina Lake?”  There is an election this fall this person might want to put their name on the ballot along with mine. Please read the above  3.     The RCMP officer does not patrol the road end lake accesses.  This officer does patrol the road ends. He even has an open file with an incident on the very access. This comment is referring to I have requested documentation or suggested he may want to hit his siren when he is there.  4.     The animal officer is never out here he should be here all the time.  When you share a service the person in question also needs to be patrolling in those other areas if Christina Lake wants this person to be here all the time they can have that but must bear the burden of the full cost. I also requested documentation and know that the animal officer has been out here. I have suggested that he meet with this person. As with most things if he no longer hears from you he assumes that the issue is settled.  5.     The road end accesses are for those off the lake to launch their car toppers.  I am unable to print the Transportation and Subdivision and access to water act here as it is too long however the access points are designed for public access to water (Section 75 1(b),(c),(d) subdivisions also definition of Highway under the Transportation Act.   6.     The Lake flushes itself every seven years (next sentence same person); sewage is polluting our lake.  Although the first statement is correct, the second is not. Various Government Ministries work very closely with the Christina Lake Stewardship to test water quality, clarity and habitat. At the last lake management review which I always attend, and I suggest those who have concerns attend, reports were shared on the lakes water quality.  7.     You don’t deal with a dead racoon on someone’s beach but no one can move a rock anymore.  Although dead racoons are not responsibility of the Regional District I did give this individual a contact name for the province. As far as not being able to move a rock this person too would have better understanding if they attended the lake management meetings.  8.     Bears are an issue.  Yes, bears are an issue and the Bear Aware program is attempting to deal with that and try to help the community stay safe. The Conservation Officer and 911 is doing an excellent job of dealing with this situation.  9.     We need incorporation so Trail doesn’t tell us what to do.  In the past five plus years that I have represented Christina Lake at the Regional District Table there has not been a time that Trail or the RD Board has turned down a Christina Lake request.   10.   You don’t have your parks meeting at the right time  We try our best to have meetings when we can get both the land owners and the presenters together. This year so far we will have had three meetings in the summer then the next comment I got was why hold it in July I am only here in August.  11.    I am from Alberta why can’t I vote?  The rules are the rules through provincial legislation. Does this person vote in the United States but live in Canada? And did they think when they bought property here that they would be able to vote?  12.   You have the park and recreation meeting at the wrong time of the day.  Meetings are held when the volunteer committee members vote to have them. These committee members must have the ability to see the whole picture and not sit on the committee for their own agenda.   13.  Some of us volunteer but we don’t tell everyone about it.  Committee volunteers don’t advertise it they happen to be more visible and we would be in very dire straits without them.  14.   People shouldn’t be allowed to cut down trees on their property.  There is many reasons why a community does not get involved in this situation, for instance it takes a lot of room on a lot to put in your septic system and that forces the removal of trees, also Christina Lake has had very few natural disasters. However, we have had a few brutal wind storms that have come very close to killing people these near disasters frightened many into clearing their treed lot.  15.  Why doesn’t Christina Lake limit the size of boats allowed here? Why are seadoos allowed? We need boaters to respect the distance they operate from the lakeshore (the swimmers, the designated swimming areas, etc.).  The size of boats and what type of water craft is allowed on the lake is governed by the province and the Federal Government. If Christina Lake wants to pursue changes they will need to lobby those governments. I will say that a few years ago a group came together to ban Seadoos there was a very large outcry and that was abandoned. The respect to distance is a very real concern for everyone and I continue to lobby the province and federal government to do their duty here.  16.   Milfoil is a problem.  Yes, milfoil is a problem. We hosted a community meeting on Aug. 17 at the Christina Lake Community Hall to discuss options. We are at the present time compiling the information that was gathered at that working get-together. I thank those who participated and understood why we designed the meeting the way we did as there are always those who grand stand and it is important that we hear from as many people as possible including those who find it difficult to speak publicly.  We will be sending out the compilation of information by email to as many as we can and will provide information through the RDKB website. Decisions will need to be made (with community input) as to the direction the milfoil program needs to take in the coming years to make it as successful as possible. There is also information on the Stewardship website www.lakesteward.ca  17.  The lake is higher than ever because someone down the creek made their own swimming area and you don’t know anything about it because you have never lived on the lake.  This accusation was handled by the Conservation Officer a few years back. It is provincial jurisdiction and when I contacted Dave Webster he assured me that this is not so and the file is now closed. I have lived on the lake.  18.  I don’t know how you got your job.  I understand the only thing you’ve ever done was work at a gas station.  I guess I could have shared my resume:

  • Business degree (honour student);
  • 20 years member of Toastmasters;
  • Taught public speaking and communication both at Selkirk College and Community Futures;
  • Ronald and I owned and operated Cascade Garage Ltd. for some 30 plus years; and
  • Worked in the forest industry where we are trained in bioengineering for unstable slopes, erosion control, and road maintenance;
  • I was elected.

19.    There was a lack of consultation around the placement of a porta-potties at Kingsley Road access and they are not going to make a difference to water quality.  I agree there was a lack of consultation around the placement of the porta-potties. Having said that, the park plan has been in effect for five years and there was a lot of community consultation with that process. As far as water quality goes I believe that the potties do make a difference and those who are downstream also think they make a difference.  20.  We can’t get the information.  Information at one time was by letter snail mail or telephone or fax. We now have Internet, cell phones, Facebook, Web pages, group emails, Skype, Video conferencing etc. The Regional District information is available from the following: 

  • RDKB – 1-800-355-RDKB;
  • RDKB Town Hall Meetings every spring;
  • RDKB – web page www.rdkb.com;
  • Your Director – Grace 250-447-9293   cell 250 442-7118                     email     gem9293@gmail.com;
  • Lake Issues – All of the Above plus www.christinalakewpos.com there is also a Boat Access Committee and a private individual who has an email list of lakeshore owners and summer residents and I ‘m sure he will be happy to add you to the list.

  “What are we working on?”  This community continues to work hard on issues. They come to us from groups, individuals, the province and sometimes the Federal Government; some are a result of the applications the Advisory Planning Committee or the Park and Recreation Committee has dealt with. Currently there are several.

  1. Riparian Act Regulation;
  2. Organics waste recovery;
  3. Cemetery service;
  4. Milfoil;
  5. More parking at boat launch areas.

The Park and Recreation Commission is discussing: 

  1. Outdoor exercise park;
  2. Skate park;
  3. Solutions to lack of facilities at road end lake accesses;
  4. Walking Bridge over Christina Creek;
  5. Speed reader boards.

If it weren’t for all of the hard working volunteers at Christina Lake this position would be very difficult it is because of the sense of community we have here that we were able to have accomplish so much.  Respectfully

Grace McGregor 

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