• Work that began 14 years ago recently culminated in the adoption of an official community plan for Electoral Area E – Rural Sicamous, Malakwa and Swansea Point. At its Feb. 17 meeting, Electoral Area E Director Rhona Martin was pleased to see the project completed after many years, and was grateful to citizens who shared their opinions and suggestions, and to staff for their work in developing the final version of the bylaws. “It’s been a long, long process and not everyone is going to agree with this, but I think it is the right thing to do,” she said.
• Sicamous joined the CSRD in calling for a moratorium on logging in areas impacted by the Two Mile Road wildfire in 2021. At its Feb. 23 meeting, council supported a recommendation to the B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development that a moratorium on logging be put in place for the Sicamous Creek/Wiseman Creek watershed due to a high geohazard risk created by the wildfire, which reached 2,455 hectares before it was finally held in late August.
• Sicamous council gave unanimous support to a zoning amendment to accommodate construction of a six-storey residential facility on the Best Western property along Highway 1. Development services manager Scott Beeching explained the district would have a housing agreement with the owner for 10 of the residential units.
• The District of Sicamous was looking to mitigate the negative impacts of short-term rentals through regulation. The district anticipates adopting a new zoning bylaw by June 2022, as well as amendments to its business licensing bylaw to regulate short-term rentals. “In recent years, online services such as Vacation Rental by Owner or Airbnb have become popular in residential neighbourhoods as an alternative to traditional tourist accommodation like hotels or motels,” reads an introduction to a section on short-term rentals on the district website. “However, short-term rentals can have a negative impact on local hotel businesses, the availability of housing, and the residential character of neighborhoods.”
• Sicamous residents faced a 3.67 per cent property tax increase for 2022. District of Sicamous chief financial officer Kelly Bennett explained there was no single driver behind the proposed property tax increase; it was the result of a combination of things, including inflation.
• Garbage along the highway near their home prompted a Sicamous family to do their own community clean up. On Tuesday, March 8, Jeanine Goode and her kids Savannah Magee, 11, and Serge Magee, 6, grabbed gloves and garbage bags left their home for the nearby Kerr Road/Highway 1 intersection to pick up trash that had accumulated in the ditches. “We saw all the garbage on the side there so we decided we were going to go pick it all up because it looked really terrible,” said Goode. She and the kids, who wore Canadian flags on their backs, picked up a lot of vehicle fluid containers (oil, windshield cleaner), fast food cups and containers and more. “The grossest things we saw were quite a few baby diapers,” said Goode.
• March 4 and 5 were action-packed days at the Sicamous Curling Club. Eight teams competed in the second annual two-person Funspiel. Action ended Friday night with only a two-point differential between the teams. Saturday’s finals ended in close games with Chris DeWitt/Marie Gray claiming first, Deborah and Bruce Ritchie, second, and Rob Sutherland/Rigmor Short, third.
• Requests to the province for moratorium on logging in a wildfire-ravaged area of the Shuswap were met with assurances that salvaging plans would proceed with consideration of community safety. In letters to the CSRD and the District of Sicamous, Grace Chomitz, a planning forester with BC Timber Sales, acknowledged “the importance of protecting the safety of those in your community,” adding BCTS values input from the CSRD to ensure management of the watersheds “is done with the best interest of the community safety and forest ecosystem in mind.”
• The province agreed to fund a $30,000 early warning system to alert residents in the Two Mile area of potential landslides. The warning system was one of the options recommended by BGC Engineering following its assessment on the impact the 2,500 hectare Two Mile Road wildfire in 2021 had in the area of Sicamous and Wiseman creeks.
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