I recently met with MLA Roly Russell. This was our first in person meeting and was in my opinion productive. I will admit that I brought a lot to the table.
We agreed on most things but the couple of issues that we have differences of opinion on we seem to be
able to come to working consensus on. For the most part what differences we have tend to be on the
process or conditions needed on reaching a goal, not on what the end result should look like.
Here is the short form in no particular order:
1. Fire issue.
2. Curb mowing
3. Creek and stream flood mitigation issues.
4. Extended Nonagricultural farm usage and bistros.
5. The Back Yard Farm restaurant.
6. Agricultural road signage.
7. Seacrest Hill signage
8. Transit bus stops
9. Trench and air curtain agricultural burning
10. The national park and current local area discussions.
11. Food security
Now for the long form,
No. 1 and 2 go together as part of the overall discussion on fire issues and there will be much longer
discussions as part of the post fire season talks. Opinions on fire management will be front and center.
No. 3 is a flood mitigation red tape issue and more will come of this with upcoming fire mitigation
No. 4 and 5 is an ALC policy issue that needs to be altered to allow small properties, fruit and vegetable farms the same economic opportunities as wineries. Not just limited to restaurants and bistros but to any opportunity for small farms to increase income without lessening farmable land.
No. 6, 7, and 8 are ongoing concerns and have been brought to the table with MOTI before.
No. 9 agricultural burning is a necessity but there is a need for a province wide smoke reduction
program to replace the chipping program.
No. 10 the adjoining regional areas are now in discussions with parks Canada but we are told that many
of the issues will not be considered until a park is formed. As this type of close proximity park is new I
hope to have many of the issues and policies that will affect the adjoining land owners agreed in writing
should this park come into being. Examples, fire response, wildlife encroachment, invasive species
management, existing mineral claims and range allotments.
N0. 11 I believe the immediate need for local food processing is going to become a major issue in the
years to come. We currently have many packing houses that ship food out of the valley but little in the
way of processing that promoted added value and storage of food like a cannery of process freezing.
Like me MLA Russell is learning his new job but I was encouraged by my meeting with him and
believe we will be able to accomplish much in the future.