CSRD approves tax for water council

CSRD directors approve the establishment of a Shuswap Watershed Council Service at the Nov. 19 board meeting.

Columbia Shuswap Regional District directors unanimously approved the establishment of a Shuswap Watershed Council Service at the Nov. 19 board meeting in Salmon Arm.

Approval was received because fewer than 10 per cent of eligible electors in electoral areas C South Shuswap, D Falkland/ Salmon Valley/Deep Creek, Area E Rural Sicamous, F North Shuswap and District of Sicamous signed and submitted elector response forms protesting the tax prior to the Nov. 17 deadline.

Only 645 of 1,534 responses needed to kill the tax were received, thereby confirming elector approval of the $180,000 to be collected annually for three years through a parcel tax.

The board then gave first, second and third readings to the Shuswap Watershed Council Service Parcel Tax bylaw.

While funding the watershed council has been the subject of debate around the regional district board table, there were very few comments at last week’s meeting other than those that expressed satisfaction.

Area F director Larry Morgan thanked fellow board members for approving a parcel tax in which every property owner will pay the same amount (estimated to be about $11 annually) as opposed to a staff recommendation of a tax based on a property’s assessed value.

The City of Salmon Arm will contribute $40,000 per year for a period of three years to be funded 50 per cent from general revenue  and 50 per cent from the water and sewer funds. Area E director and board chair Rhona Martin said she was looking forward to  sustainable funding for the council that will focus on water quality monitoring and safety on the water.