After lengthy and sometimes heated debate at previous board meetings, Columbia Shuswap Regional District directors approved funding allocation for the Shuswap Lake Integrated Planning Process water monitoring project at their recent board meeting without much comment.
Over the next three years, four electoral areas will contribute to the plan from their respective Area Community Works Fund (gas tax).
Area C South Shuswap will contribute the lion’s share at $416,866, Area D Falkland-Ranchero-Silver Creek $75,000, Area E Rural Sicamous $60,000 and Area F North Shuswap $269,834.
An additional amount to a maximum of $1,000 will be allocated to each of the areas gas tax funding in 2011 to cover committee meeting expenses such as per diem and mileage.
Contributions will also include $20,000 for one year from the City of Salmon Arm, $2,500 from the District of Sicamous, and $20,000 in each of three years from Area E Rural Sicamous gas tax money.
First onboard with funding approval for SLIPP, the Thompson Nicola Regional District will cough up $160,800 over three years.
In his report to the board chief administrative officer Charles Hamilton said it is expected that funding will be forwarded to the Fraser Basin Council in equal amounts in the spring and fall to administer the SLIPP program. “I believe this is a very important project,” said Area D director René Talbot, who noted his intention to approve the funding allocation. “It protects residents around the lake.”
Area C director Ted Bacigalupo expressed his satisfaction with the funding allocation approval.
“It has taken us three years to get this far,” he said. “All the communities within the watershed will benefit. We’re on our way.”
Meanwhile, North Okanagan politicians plan to have a presence in SLIPP, but will not be coughing up any funding.
Directors Herman Halvorson and Dee Wejr will represent the North Okanagan Regional District in SLIPP. However, the board wants to ensure that funding does not go towards the initiative.
“We want to make sure there is no funding that goes along with it. They are just liaisons,” said director Wayne Lippert of Wejr and Halvorson.
That means they will also not be paid for attending meetings.
Last year, NORD was asked to contribute $67,000 a year over three years towards SLIPP. However, directors refused to participate because the district has launched its own watershed sustainability plan at an initial cost of $250,000.
“We’re not involved and I don’t care to be involved,” said director Kevin Acton of SLIPP.
Halvorson, who represents rural Enderby, believes it is important for NORD to have representatives at SLIPP.
“It will be a link between our Shuswap River sustainability plan ad SLIPP. It’s dealing with water quality,” he said.
That is also the view of Wejr, who represents the City of Enderby.
“It’s a case of trying to get everyone to work together so everyone knows what is going on,” she said.
While NORD has not funded SLIPP, Halvorson has provided some money towards the process based on the number of properties in Mara.
Above includes files from Richard Rolke/ Vernon Morning Star