We have all now been affected by COVID-19 for a number of months. The Province has implemented a slow approach back to some form of normalcy. They have initiated a Restart Plan with a 4 Phase approach. As of this writing we are at Phase 2 and as of June 1st we will be moving forward to Phase 3. All businesses and industries have to have a COVID-19 Safety Plan. These Safety Plans are critical for all businesses and industries to help the employee’s, guests, visitors, and shoppers be safe while the COVID-19 is still infectious. The links provided have many details.
We are all in this together. Remember to stay calm, be kind, and courteous to each other so that we can get through this Pandemic in the most positive way that we can.
BRV COVID-19 Community Support Program
In April a group of us had worked on a COVID-19 BRV Community Support Program. The Lillooet Food Bank and the Valley Hardware and Grocery have come together to facilitate the program. The program is intended to provide groceries to full-time residents of the Bridge River Valley who need assistance during this very difficult time via a weekly coupon system. If you need assistance during these times and want to register for the program or want to donate to this program please contact the Lillooet Food Bank at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to donate, you must use the code word “Gold Bridge” so the funds go to this program. I want to thank everyone that helped to get this program off the ground but especially to the Lillooet Food Bank and the Valley Hardware and Grocery as without their involvement this may have not happened.
The program has been up and running and is working well. The Lillooet Food Bank was at the Gold Bridge Community Resource Building giving out initial food hampers and taking registrations twice during the month of April.
The program has received donations from various individuals and organizations and I want to thank them for their commitment to this program as it is greatly appreciated. The Lillooet Food Bank put in a Grant in Aide request for $2,500 for the program to the SLRD Electoral Area Directors and it was approved at their May meeting. This program will continue as long as there is funding for it. We are all in this together and every donation will help no matter how big or small.
Tree Planting in the Bridge River Valley
I have built very good relationships with our St’at’imc neighbors over the years. I had two separate e-mails sent to me by two different St’at’imc neighbors regarding tree planting contracts that were planned for our area. The SLRD and I are not on any resource based referrals from the government so we never knew about these planned tree planting contracts. I have thanked my St’at’imc neighbors for reaching out to us. Since I found out, I have educated myself on the new WorkSafeBC Forestry Regulations regarding COVID-19 and the Provincial Health Officer Order on Industrial Camps. They are very strict and the companies have a lot of procedures to follow. A SLRD Emergency Operations Center staff and I then had communications with two contractors that have a total of three contracts issued to them. There are a total of just over 1.5 million trees to be planted in our area between them. After reviewing their COVID-19 Safety Plans we felt comfortable that the safety of the workers and our community members was paramount in their plans.
The Ministry after we had already agreed to the contractors plans, held meetings at the request of the Lillooet Tribal Council (LTC) with the forest licensees, contractor and myself representing SLRD Area A as the LTC had concerns. We had a couple of meetings and the LTC asked for a few conditions. They finally presented their findings at the LTC Chiefs Meeting and the tree planting plans were approved. One of conditions was to have weekly meetings with the all that were at the Ministry meetings. The meetings are intended for updates on their plans and if any issues have arisen. So far everything is running smoothly. It is nice to see trees being planted and in a safe manner for all concerned. They are being planted throughout our valley and they should be finished by the end of June. This is BC’s biggest tree planting year ever with a total of 310 million seedlings to be planted!
I have worked with many different organizations in the short while that I have been the Director, regarding projects and funding requests. I had to create a spread sheet so I could keep track of what was anticipated, in progress, waiting for approval, and approved. I had to do this as the SLRD Select funds are limited and I needed to make sure there were funds available for the various organizations requests. I have already started a sheet for 2021.
Link to the Select Fund Spreadsheet for 2020: Select Fund Spreadsheet for 2020
These are some of the projects that I have been engaged in and supporting:
- Bralorne Ball Diamond new dugout, cook shack stoves, and porta potty screening.
- Bralorne Recreation Area Phase 1 contractor “Expression of Interest’s”.
- BRV Rod and Gun Club new shooting range location. Funding of a contractor for a Land Tenure Application.
- Additional and new “No Firearm Discharge” signs for various communities in our valley.
- LaJoie Lake “Environmental Study”. Project will be postponed to 2021.
- Lillooet Food Bank “BRV COVID-19 Community Support Program”.
- Gold Bridge Community Club “Seniors Lunch’s”. Extra Funding if we can get it moving forward this year due to COVID-19.
- Gold Bridge and Marshall Lake Ratepayers becoming legal organization’s with seed funding.
- The Bralorne Church downstairs washroom repairs. This was funded last year but an Expression of Interest was responded to this spring and the work should commence shortly.
I have also worked with the SLRD staff, SLRD Area B Director, the BRVCA and the Grant Writer to implement a process for making applications for funding requests. It was important to standardize on the process so that it was fair and equal for all the various organizations in our valley and that the Directors were kept informed on any applications.
Link to the Draft Form as it still needs approval from the SLRD as they are funded for this position by NDIT: SLRD Grant Writer Form Draft
Other Tasks I am Engaged In
- Proposed logging in the Marshal Lake area.
- Proposed logging just north of Tyaughton Lake.
- I had a request by a constituent regarding the status and rezoning of a land parcel and process.
- I had a request by a constituent for contact info regarding an Environmental concern due to mining activities.
- I am also working with the BRVCA Gun Lake Boat Launch Committee and Ministries on the legal status of the Gun Lake boat launch dock and next steps as it was damaged this winter due to ice movement. More details to come.
Hurley Forest Service Road
I had numerous communications with constituents regarding the opening of the Hurley this spring. Some wanted it not to be plowed but most others wanted it plowed. They had various reasons for their viewpoint. I worked with the Ministry representative in charge and it was decided to try to open it for the May long weekend. The Avalanche Technician finally gave the Ministry the go ahead but that did not give the Contractor enough time to open it before the start of the May long weekend. This was the hardest snow conditions to plow in 20 years due hard packed snow and ice near the summit. As it turned out the contractor had a number of mechanical issues and then had an incident where he had to take time off. We wish him a speedy recovery. Another machine has been brought up to finish the opening of the road. There has been a grader working up the Hurley from the Pemberton side, while the plowing was happening.
I had discussions with the Ministry representative and he has put in an additional funding request for sight line brushing, ditching, and developing any/all gravel sources so that it can be utilized by the grader for the surfacing. The decision should come mid June and hope it is approved. We also discussed an issue with one of the bridges that several people have had close calls on due to the lack of visibility with oncoming traffic. I will be taking pictures and coordinates so we can review the issues associated with it.
Remember to drive slowly and safely where equipment is working, for the safety of the operator and yourself.
Link to I Survived the Hurley website updates: Hurley Road Updates
Bralorne Sewer Project
I have had some questions by some Bralorne constituent’s and the Bralorne Community Advisory Committee (BCAC) Chair on the status of the Bralorne sewer project. The three previous SLRD Director’s were engaged in the project and process and now I am now the fourth Director to be engaged in this project as it still is not complete. It has been hard to come up to speed on it as the SLRD staff have been very busy due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Most of the staff are working from home as are many organizations. I have read what I can on the SLRD Website regarding the project but some of the questions require more detail than is on the website. I have replied to some of the questions once I receive details form the SLRD staff. The SLRD Chair has also responded to the BCAC Chairs request in an e-mail. The SLRD Chair has committed to a community meeting to review the status of the project and to take questions. There will be the SLRD Chair, the new Director of Environmental Services, SLRD staff and myself at the meeting. This meeting will be scheduled once the Chair confirms that the meeting can be held safely due to the COVID-19. If anyone has any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me either by phone or e-mail and I will try to get answers for them.
Link to SLRD Bralorne Sewer Upgrade Project (Note: there is a new “Update” posted on May 15): Bralorne Sewer Upgrade.
Link to a BRVCA post that was requested by the BCAC Chair to have posted regarding the SLRD Chairs response to a request: BCAC Chair and SLRD Chairs Response
Prior to me deciding to seek nomination in the By Election for the SLRD Area A Directors position there was a rumour circulating that I was receiving money for the volunteer work that I was doing for the BRVCA and especially the Trail Committee. I found that rumour to be very disheartening and misinformed. I had put many volunteer hours into the organization and donated my skills in many forms. I helped plan many projects and I worked alongside many contractors and employee’s that were getting paid while I volunteered my time. I am sure the many contractors and employees know who they are. The BRVCA did not have a credit card until recently and I used my credit card for many purchases for the BRVCA and I traveled to purchase some of the items. I put in for reimbursements as per policy. While the Chair of the Trails Committee I volunteered for many individuals, groups and organizations. They wanted to pay me but I declined the offers, but asked them to make a donation to the Trail Committee. In total over the years I helped with donations from my volunteer work to the Trail Committee, a total of well over $3,000. The pig roasts were my favorite for sure! I also donated to the BRVCA a projector and a projector screen for the office. This was to facilitate more effective meetings by the Board and the Committees. I donated my time and my John Deere track loader at the initial stages of the Haylmore Heritage site clean-up and the creation of the parking lot. The list of what I volunteered for and helped is too long to list but I am sure you get the idea.
With all that said in January of this year I decided to get the BRVCA to do up a letter and attach the last few years of the transactions that I was reimbursed for. I intend to be open and transparent and if you hear any rumours to contact me so that I can respond in a transparent and public way.
Link to letter: BRVCA Letter and Transactions
Since I was elected I secured a Conflict of Interest legal opinion in my role as a SLRD Director and I am abiding by the opinion.
This community has many needs as we are an underdog and we need many hands working on addressing those needs. It’s time to stop the rumor and innuendo tactics and start working in a co-operative manner in the best interests of our community.
Everyone stay safe and be well.