Area E Directorship Election: Balfour Forum

Oct 15, 2018 17:34 · 4912 words · 24 minute read politics Area E

These are my notes from the Area E Forum held at Balfour Hall on October 14th 2018. They are not “complete” nor should they be considered exact words, there is lots of paraphrasing. If you see an error or would like to add more information, please contact me.

Randy Zelonka moderator, Balfour & District - Business & Historic Association (BDBHA)

Candidates: Ramona Faust (incumbent RF), Reggie Goldsbury (RG)

Introductions

Ramona

[initially elected in 2008]

  • Usually ad-libs, didn’t this time due to time constraints
  • Been director for last 10 years, this doesn’t mean she’s out of idea,
  • Would like t continue supporting Area E
  • We’ve accomplished much and should be happy and proud
  • Would be happy to tell or show what these things were
  • Communicates in as many ways as possible over last 10 years
  • She can lean on RDCK staff for more technical issues
  • Used all kinds of social media and paid in the past, but abandoned them in exchange for places where people already are
  • Depends on us to communicate how we want to grow
  • Sometimes she has to agree with decisions she doesn’t agree with, but promotes them none the same
  • Informs residents about the available grants available to communities
  • Not always perfect, but has missed perhaps only 3 meetings in the last 10 years.
  • In closing has significant skills and resources she’s brought to her directorship to this phenomenal community.
  • Many buildings that are not taxation supported in our community
  • It’s amazing the list of community organisations in Area E
  • She can’t do what she does, without us

Regie

  • Thanks everyone, thanks Ramona for her service and says “she is a beautiful woman”
  • Together all of us we make an exceptional community, I love my heritage and my community
  • Talks with community regularly at dock and duck
  • He hears our concerns, our pride, wants to work for our interests as our district director
  • Why let a millennial in? RDCK wants age diversity. the board recognizes we need a fresh perspective
  • New ideas from new technology and sustainable practices.
  • 21st century energy, knocked on 100s of doors.
  • Plan and seeing him lots, face to face.
  • Curious, fast learner, gets details and sees the big picture.
  • “motivated to act for you”
  • We need smart, accountable government.
  • Innovation is fundamental but we need to be practical.
  • His job is to bring people together.
  • Inclusions means voices heard throughout full processes
  • Brings a win-win approach that is confident and creative
  • Politics creates winners and losers, but I will strengthen common ground
  • We need a people centred RDCK
  • Will foster a client centred services at the regional district
  • Work to cut red tape and barriers, re-evaluate policy with more local input
  • Make a user friendly website with people at the centre
  • Brings a current perspective, communicate with everyone even the disenfranchised.
  • Believes in positive politics and facing the issues
  • “I’ve got energy and enthusiasm”
  • His family motivates him, he wants his children to have the same opportunities as him
  • Working towards strategic goals.
  • Now it’s time for change, he will proudly take the reigns and have results driven action.
  • Development that enriches our rural life style and accountability for your tax dollars.
  • Willing to ask the hard questions and stand boldly all in Area E, including the forgotten cottonwood.
  • I will work energetically and diligently, “you are my agenda”
  • Vote for me.

What do you see as the #1 issue or challenge in area “E” and what actions would you undertake to try and resolve it?

Ramona

  • Very good question, after serving for 10 years, every community has different challenges.
  • Every community views them different and what will resolve them.
  • The over arching challenge at this point is climate change
  • Looking at extreme weather as being the over ridding issue that takes time at the regional district and taking money
  • We don’t know when we’ll feel its effects
  • Multiple incidents form April - Sept have taken away from regular work
  • From a leadership perspective how do we engage with folks to deal with emergency
  • Here we manage our own septic and many their own water, near forests and creeks,
  • It’s about raising awareness and helping people adapt
  • Conducted survey: water smart and fire smart in progress
  • Centralization of services and senior government downloading onto local regions
  • We never used to have to coordinate emergency services, but now that’s our responsibility
  • This means we have to find a way to odd it without affecting your bottom line
  • Downloads onto property taxes and the high prices of real estates makes this hard
  • Bring rural services here is the answer
  • Tele-health and seamless transportation
  • We need to keep our rural identity
  • We need to work to keep our services here, they will erode if we’re not careful
  • We work hard to maintain who we are and what we have, this is one of our challenges

Regie

  • Biggest local challenge, protecting our rural vitality
  • Urban migration and loss of our young to urban centres
  • People under 50 are leaving (Redfish had to change)
  • Loss of good paying jobs that haven’t been replace
  • Difficulty finding good employees and poor access to technology
  • Poor succession
  • Retiring businesses shutting off services (we just had one at the beginning of the month?)
  • A regional district that puts up barriers
  • Lack of available affordable housing
  • Poor access to services
  • Lack of rural services
  • Vacancy rate near 0, families can’t find basics like a roof over their head
  • Our biggest opportunity is our chance to enhance our rural life
  • Many ways the RDCK can help, foster a people centred RDCK with less red tape and barriers
  • We need to clear the same roads as nelson at the regional level (housing wise)
  • Re-evaluate existing rules to address the issues we face
  • Develop policies to support people and their projects
  • Home rental incentives
  • Staff accommodations to have staff businesses
  • Make the RDCK fit the plan, not the other way around
  • We need to ensure easy access to affordable services
  • Public library!
  • Strong economic development that moves forward and respects the environment and shows results
  • Look at rural businesses that have shut down we need to support these people.
  • We need to focus on a dynamic Area E

Where do we go from here? What is your vision for a future area “E”?

Ramona

  • When thinking of the future, I see an electric ferry, better bus service, shuttle in Procter, healthy well fed kids, locally grown food, clean water, thriving business community
  • Finally convinced communications companies to install broadband
  • First nations neighbours playing a larger roll
  • Recreation, nature and the environment
  • Knows how much effort goes into doing this at the regional level, patience is required with everyone else at the table.
  • No director can “fix” the RDCK
  • We have a young staff, they have young families,
  • We have tech experts
  • Our CAO is 38
  • Platforms in Balfour have been developed to accept your registration when going to the regional district rec centre
  • We redid our financial platform
  • There’s a limit of money, time with our staff
  • I’ve had to learn patience
  • “stuck in mud” – Not sure what this meant?
  • Many hands make light work, we must do this ourselves or we must pay for it.
  • We’re conscious always of taxation and the bottom line
  • Made a fire chief angry by skimping on 10k.
  • You’re all always invited.
  • The combination of working together, building blocks to get to it today, creating relationships, talking it out, not always agreeing, but not being vitriolic when we dont agree, is the most important thing we can do to build community
  • THe idea of becoming a district municipality is thwarted by maintaining all non-numbered roadways.
  • If Area E wants to define it’s future, it needs to not talk to 19 others when it wants to get something done.

Regie

  • Four fold vision: rural vitality, accountability, 21st century practices, communications
  • Vital and dynamic Area E
  • We need to catch up with new vitality, put our vitality front and centre
  • A more accountable RDCK, greater inclusion, greater transparency
  • Balancing spending with austerity
  • Best bang for our tax dollars
  • Sensible innovation that is sustainable
  • We must be accountable to mother nation, championing green innovation
  • Broad community benefit.
  • Solve today’s problems with actions on up to date communication technology and shifting trends
  • New interactive platforms, more than community platforms
  • Web conferencing, phoning into commission meetings
  • Final vision for better communication; access, connecting, interacting
  • His job is to represent us
  • “Reggie Hotline”
  • Talk to you in person, not hide behind leading questions in a bias filled survey.
  • 2993500 people responded to Ramona’s survey

Open Questions

Bev Clement, Harrop-Procter, 25years; for reggie:

  • BC: I’ve seen your enthusiasm and energy, when I was 28 I didn’t know what I didn’t know, I’m a grey hair and I know you’ve remarked about that, when I have something I’m concerned about I really appreciate the knowledge at that table, I know their conversant with what has gone before; my question for you is, having seen how huge a job it is, how much energy it takes, how mnuch time it takesa, how many meetings, how much travel, how you have to make yourself constantly avilable, and you with a very young family with it’s own demands, and a business with it’s own demands, and the huge amount of learning that you’re going to have to do to aqquire the amount of knowledge you have to gain to move into this roll, my concern is how on earth are you going to do that? People who have moved beyond child rearing can do this, how can you? How can you catch up?
  • RG: I do have a bunch of this knowledge, I was going to run 4 years ago, I took 4 more years to better understand what I’ll need to know. You want the knowledge on the table, the scope o fthat knowledge is limited to what they have. I want everyone in this room to teach me what I don’t know. I can learn. If you want something done, you talk toa busybody. I can have staff manage my restraunt, I will find the time.
  • We need new ideas and this doesn’t come to having the same demographic on the RDCK board. I respect everyone on the board, and their sacrifice to the district.
  • We need to support the next guard. You need to teach me more on top of what I already know. The directors no longer involved should be teaching the future guard.
  • I’m curious, I’m a quick learner, I’ll make sure to get the right information to you.
  • One person to the Area E board is not good enough, we can do better.
  • I want to be the best regional director where you have the right information.
  • New ideas from a new demographic

  • BC: Concerns for the exodus out of Balfour, other concerns, local watershed -> no one seems to be saying much. Logging trucks to the top? Who gave them permission, it’s an epidemic

  • Ramona knew who it was, BC didn’t say her name.

  • The exodus of youth is an epidemic in all areas. we worry about it, then they come back.

  • At the fire open house, fire chief kept introducing folks who were new.

  • People have to go, we must make them want to come back

  • That’s why we’ve replaced play grounds etc.

  • Collectively we’re on it, but it doesn’t seem like it.

  • Ecological development partnership from Selkirk

  • Re: watersheds: cottonwood; met with private land logging association and ministry of forests, [RG under-breath interruption: how about the people]; met with some groups with infrastructure in cotton wood (good family friend). hard to get a handle on

  • We have 70 watersheds in crisis, I help bridge the gap between the MoF and logging proponents.

  • RG: Kind of on it, isn’t good enough. There’s a protest by our transfer station right now standing up for what theyy believe in.

  • RG: They should be included in these conversations. been taking wood and coffee to them regularly.

Terry Swan, Grandview drive -> RG

  • Read the mailer, numerous claims: tell us a significant problem you’ve had to deal with and what was the outcome
  • A significant problem has recently come through our family; SNC Lavalin for Balfour to queens bay.
  • Has a pretty cover, but it wasn’t good information; lots of costs were ignored
  • Local businesses were significantly impacted
  • Local governments were quite mum on the issue.
  • I engaged with a team over 7000 people, brought it to the provincial government
  • I preserved a pristine bay with the team.
  • I worked with the team, I worked to solve problems all the time.

  • TS: What part of the committee were you?

  • RG: was chair with multiple people, worked with the people to maintain. Coordinated between many associations.

  • RF: I wasn’t at the ferry landing, and I really applaud the people. I would love to have been in that position. My position was to work with both sides, to press upon th government and see Michell Mungall with residents to amek the case for this communty.

    • Situation business was dependant on the ferry
    • Unless you are going to provide us with funds to replace the ferry landing as a draw.
    • These were the conversations I was having in the background. WOrking with director Jackman to bridge the folk on the east side.
    • It wasn’t a populist goal, I couldn’t believe it when they actually turned it around.
    • I was not silent, I would never be silent. I met with them and believe me “I’m a force to be contended with”.

Pat B– North of Balfour

What does each candidate think of a value per dollar audit?

  • RF: I would welcome that. It would take staff time and energy, and that isn’t something we have a lot of. There is a provincial auditor for municipalities, it’s possible that question could be posed through that body. I wouldn’t fear it, I would embrace it. I think we can always find new and better ways to do things. WHen I came the RDCK was growing,we had parks with no park super, we had transit with no real supervisor. We have added, have we added incorrectly? I think it’s worth knowing. I can bring that idea forward. we try the best that we can, there are times when we make mistakes. but we learn from them and try not to do them again.
  • RG: A dollar per dollar audit? YES, yesterday. WHy haven’t we been having these conversations for the last 10 years. people want accountability for their tax dollars. Did you know in Blewett I still haven’t found someone that supports the 850k project in the last 3 weeks? I would make the time so this community can be accounted for.

Gerry Mckinnon - Issue with tolls and ferries, was defeated.

  • Survey about running a train from Procter to nelson; why are we not looking at a train service from Cranbrook to trail? Help residents, seniors, tourists. Etc.
  • RG: Great questions, great suggestion. I’ve been talking to the community and these are the ideas worth exploring. ideas like this need to be looked further into -> start small, see if we can expand it from Cranbrook to trail. Phenomenal idea.

    • It’s amazing what we can do as individuals (ferry tolls)
    • lets build on other peoples ideas, I’d like to spearhead this idea and others I’ve heard of on the campaign trail
  • RF: There was very committed group that did take this as far as it went. In speaking with CPR what they feel is the liability of the track is more than they’re willing to take on. It’s unfortunate that that’s their perspective as we need mass transit etc. BC Transit is not the entity that would take that over, I’ve asked that question as well. We must just keep on asking, we don’t go away. That committee spent a lot of time and needed to move on to other things, it’s worth to take on again. Are we willing to pay for it? THats the question. What are the changes that you see that you would like to pay for? The library was defeated, Balfour defeated it handily. We need some common understanding. I grew up as a latchkey kid and spent my time in the library as a kid.

Unknown Questioner

How many regional district meetings have you been to?

RG: I’ve been 4 four board meetings. Regional commission meetings, over a dozen; was involved in the recreation tenure committee for years; worked up to being the secretary[? not sure if I was accurate here] - I’ve re-evaluated my foundation to build a solid structure on top of it. - I want to be more involved, I have this foundation and now I want to build more on it.

RF: 10 years, missed 3; were the meetings you went to before I started? I missed the last one as I was at a meeting in vancouver on behalve of the regional district. Had an alternate, who was taking my place at hospital board meetings for a while. [She was the best person for it]

RG: before you became the regional district director how many did you go to?

Unknown Questioner

  • Speaking to ferry issue, current regional district director provided the funding that funded the social economic analysis; the day after it arrived is when that decision came out. SHe was active in making that happen.
  • You take a little too much credit RG;
  • Where do you stand on continuing shoreline development on Kootenay lake, specifically with implementation of the Kootenay shoreline guidance document and private shoreline infrastructure?

  • RG: I know the lakeshore group is angry with the RDCK, many have expressed outrage on this issue. Continuing the shoreline we need to talk to the people who are most affected. The RD has lots of information on this to talk to the community. We need more than 10% of the pop to give input on this. We do not have enough info to direct this. THis is an issue we should develop

  • RF: That document is a compilation of all the existing regulations, it’s not an RDCK generated set of policies, it’s brough together to streamline the permitting process for people who want to do things on the lakeshore. it codes in colours the lakeshore where things are sensitive where there’s FN concerns, it’s not a document that has a degree of subjectivity. The RD has only one, or two lakeshore protection tools: a development permit for operating within 15ft of the shoreline, the other is a floodplain bylaw. We looked at the freshet last year, and it was 149 structures that would be affected. It does inhibit people, when you go for dock permits, thats the province, the regional district is only the flow through. We look at it, we make an analysis and the province usually make the decision. When I was asked to comment on things as a new director there was no signs.

Tracey

In this Area E, very diverse community, we don’t always agree on things, my question is on zoning. There’s folks who want and don’t want it, how will each of you address those difference in dealing with problem solving and bringing them forward.

  • RF: I had the fortune to come on the RD board when the priority of the board was to implement a community plan in Area E. So I set about that, and immediately; had 7 planners, lasted over 4 years. Very strong feelings. THis side of Area E has a community plan; there are pockets that will request zoning. Define an area that you want it, 51% of folks need to sign up for it to go to a test. I am not opposed to zoning, but I’m also not a proponent. I believe that our rural area is going to expand because nelson is constrained. Stopping creativity is difficult. There are also places where people liev so close together that the activities of one is bleeding on to the other neighbours. Those neighbours would be interested.

  • RG: I knock on doors, I got the answers: cottonwood wants zoning, Redfish wants zoning, downtown procter wants zoning. Blewett does not want zoning. Knocking on doors is what does it, going to the people is what matters. City bylaws don’t necc. belong in the country; we need to grow the knowledge that the RD has. I want to build these documents so that we can have as much input as possible. The director should be going to the people, not waiting.

  • ??: you didn’t answer the question RG.

  • RG: Making sure we have the right information. policies have winners and losers. not everyone is going to be happy. when you have enough input, this is how we target accurate results and policy.

Robin

How can we justify an $860k boat launch in Blewett? We need to spend money, but, it just seems like such an astronomical amount of money for aboat launch.

  • RF: the issue is the land is own by Teck. No crown shoreline in blewet. when Teck cut it off, they said the RD was responsible. The board granted Area E and f the funds to do a feasibility study, $20k. Looked at what was needed, at any rate they also did very peripheral estimations of a boat launch. TecK will not allow a simple boat launch that they’re not liable for that is safe and meets modern standards. Some of the community want a washroom and a boat dock beside it for disabled folks. There’s a lot of conversation about what it should look like. 800k is astronomical, there would need to be grant funding. there would have to be an assessment of money we would need to go to taxation for it. WHich area needs to be identified, one area Teck would do a lot of the ground work, the other we would be starting from scratch.

  • RG: Blewett needs this desperately, there’s nowhere for fire trucks to fill up their trucks. It is essential we get this built. Yes there are barriers, I wonder how much lobbying went to Teck to find out if they could help. We want the cadillac, the sedan and the —. We need options, we need this built now. We’re doing feasibilities studies, we should be getting it done now. We can look into the advancements later on, we need to get the basics built now. We should be able to get this down to 250k. Knocking on doors I found no one that agrees with the costs of this project

Unknown Questioner

Fortis powerline through property, firesmart on and off for years. How do we bring fortis on side with the fire smart program?

  • RG: When you have different groups it’s hard to get buy-in. The squeaky wheel gets the grease, I’d go talk to fortis to find out what synergies we can build with the regional district. THis should be interactive, classes happening where you can go to the RD website and watch webinars. Lobbying from the RD we can make it where these companies can provide more informations for something as great as firesmart.
  • RF: I understand that problem, there’s been a lot of advocacy on part of the community. I am dogged, and I’ve spoken to the interface fuel manager to get a handle on that. I’ve called fortis, I’ve talked to blair, the magnitude of what they’d have to do in the province on their lines is somehting they’re concerned about doing in one place. So we do need to work on it, there’s no question about it. It is a liabliity that has presented itself twice. Fortis does need to be taken

Unknown Questioner

Liability is such an issue, how do the candidates see cutting through liability

  • RF: there needs to be a will in the corporate office. It would be a different business for them. Red tape can always be cut through, you need to go and cut through it with the people who need to listen.
  • There is just no flexibility and it is just more and more cutting of our independence of duplicating measures. So I go and talk to people in Victoria, and when you do that, they start to see it from a rural perspective. DOes it get lost, do we go back again? yes we do.
  • The issue with the transfer station, you just have to keep working it.

  • RG: Liability is huge, wee should broaden the RDs perspective. We should find better ways to utilise RD assets. We need to make it easier for the public to use RD assets. We need to find a different perspective to look at liability.

  • Liability needs full review in regional district

Dorothy English

Address HB Dam Closure below Slamo landfill? We’re in for it for 2mil, RD wants to borrow another 6mil, I worked there for almost 30years, the pond you want to drain, the wildlife is significant. Using plants to remove heavy metals, I don’t understand why we’re not doing this?

  • RF: If there’s a breach it’ll be a huge liability and an international incident. We rely on international expertise, we were provided with 3 senarios, high-medium-low; we’re not choosing the highest cost option. We now have an advisory committee that oversees the consulting engineers we’ve hired.

There was too much detail in this conversation for me to follow it accurately.

  • RF: I’ll take this forward to talk with folks at the RD and Selkirk.
  • RG: Who knew about this? I would like to bring this forward sooner.

Unknown Questioner

Climate change and forest fire;

  • RF: Cooper creek has been asked to consider interface. There is no requirement or anything to compel them to do this. They’re trying to comply as much as they see fit. We had a resolution at UBCM to ask the government of BC to start working on water sustainability plans. The regional director for this area has met with us twice. I have asked for a zone of interface fuel around communities, we’ve been working on this a long time, government needs to change the regulations. There’s noting to compel companies to make this change. Harrop-Proctor got money from CBT for a pilot project.

  • RG: I think Ramona is working on this as hard as she can. When it comes to fire interface we need to have more conversations about this. this work needs to be done now.

Terry Swan - Grandview Drive - Retired regional fire chief for RDCK

There was a misconception that the boat launch would have anything to do with fire protection. Each fire department there has a 247 designated all weather spot. There are better ways for accessing fire protection water for accessing water.

  • RG: Talking with assistant fire chief, they say they need more.

Tanya

Moral question: If your opinion is opposite to the community’s do you think you can put your opinion aside for the better of the community.

  • RG: I can easily set aside my personal beliefs. I wont follow through with low community input.
  • RF: I have had to do that, as you may know I do appreciate children’s access to libraries, but my community doesn’t want to do it. So I’ve had to represent that point of view. I’ve also had to represent this view that many people don’t want to pay into the recreation centre. The other areas feel we’re being unfair, but my community says no. This is very difficult for me, but I’m perfectly capable of doing it.
  • I have done surveys, I have don’t meetings, I know how upset people are about boat launches. I know there’s a whole group of people upset about not having access to the library. I have taught courses and won awards for public consultation. A lot of initiatives that you’re talking about would not have been funded or delivered through the regional district. There are 19 other communities, we’re 380038000. I would represent your view even when it is opposite to me, unless it has something to do with something illegal or threatening.

Unknown Questioner

I’ve lived here a long time, endless meetings where there’s 4 people, or 10 people. I’ve filled out the surveys, how are you going to get more engagement?

  • RG: we have very low community engagement. we can do better. talking at the door I’ve gotten so much information. it’s neat how much input I’ve gotten just by giving people face to face time. I want to talk to everyone in the last 10-20 years who have volunteered locally. I want to ask these people who they left, what they saw. More engagement.
  • RF: People come when they can and when they want. People get the information, I believe there are 3800 people in the Area E that also includes children and youth. The survey didn’t go out to everyone in paper form, and would have gone to willow point and areas no in Area E. the RD can move more towards technology in budget meetings. We have public time, or if we finish earlier. CBT is one of the only entities that has this system, so once finished implementing our current system to take registrations, our tech folks at the district may be interested in taking this on. If this is a priority of our people, we can have this discussion.

Unfortunately at this point I had to leave, it was 8:45

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