Sicamous lobbies for forestry, campground

Sicamous council pursuing projects at this year’s Union of B.C. Municipalities Convention

Sicamous council will have its hands full at this year’s Union of B.C. Municipalities Convention, pursuing projects to benefit the community.

The annual meeting of B.C. politicians takes place Sept. 26 to 30 in Victoria. District of Sicamous council will be using the opportunity to meet with representatives from several ministries to highlight local concerns.

With the Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation, council will be discussing the protocol agreement it has with the neighbouring Splatsin First Nation, and a community forest memorandum of understanding the two share with the City of Enderby. The three are exploring a partnership in community forest initiatives and related opportunities.

Council will meet with the Ministry of Agriculture to discuss property with “unlimited economic potential” for the district currently locked in the Agriculture Land Reserve. Mayor Terry Rysz said this includes property that could be used for a municipal campground.

The community forest initiative will also be raised with the Ministry of Forests, Land and Natural Resource Operations.

Also on council’s dance card is a meeting with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. This will be to discuss the ministry’s four-laning effort along the Trans-Canada Highway and the impact this corridor will have on the community. Council is seeking to establish a corridor access management plan for the community.

Finally, council will be meeting with Premier Christy Clark to discuss all of these things and more.

“I think the key point here is there’s always question marks when it comes to us attending UBCM, when it comes to council expenses and whatever else,” said Rysz. “But this gives us an opportunity to send our whole team in to talk to the powers that be with the provincial government… We’re not just sitting on our hands when we go to these conventions. We try to get the best bang for our buck and a lot of it has to do with these different initiatives.”

With this being an election year, Rysz is confident Sicamous will have the province’s ear.

Also working in the district’s favour is its growing partnership with the Splatsin, who will have representatives sitting with Sicamous council at a number of those ministry meetings.

“This is the first year that I know of since I’ve been involved… that First Nations are onboard… in support of what we’re trying to do,” said Rysz. “Our community campground initiative, our community forest initiative and so forth. This is relationship building, our relationship with Splatsin. That relationship has a huge impact with us maybe moving forward with some initiatives Sicamous needs when it comes to the province.”