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Investigation into threat to Ymir drinking water overturned by IHA

In a letter to RDCK Board, a consultant said there is currently no evidence of deteriorating source water quality in Ymir. — The Nelson Daily photo

A request for an investigation into a potential threat to the community of Ymir’s drinking water supply has been denied by an Interior Health environmental health officer.

Chris Russell of Small Water Systems has informed the Regional District of Central Kootenay board of directors that he has decided not to undertake further investigation into the water system after the board made the request in a May 7 letter.

In his letter Russell said he reviewed the information brought forward by the RDCK and determined that there was not enough evidence to support an investigation.

“There is no evidence to indicate an imminent health risk to users as the forest harvest activities are still in the planning phase, and there is currently no evidence of deteriorating source water quality,” he wrote.

BC Timber Sales (BCTS) had informed Interior Health that there will be a public consultation process prior to the permitting of the harvesting. Detailed information on the cut plan and road construction is expected to be shared with people during that review period.

As well, BCTS is planning on conducting “comprehensive” hydro-geological and hydro-geomorphic assessments to consider how harvesting may affect water quality, quantity and the timing of flow at the intake, and “the potential for acid rock drainage to impact Quart Creek from road building activities.”

Russell advised the board to attend and to contact the Forest Practices Review Board if their concerns were not met.

“Likewise, any new evidence of a drinking water health hazard should be brought to our attention for further consideration,” Russell said in his letter.

Data for the project will be collected over the next two years.

The regional district had concerns over potential road building and logging activities in the Quartz Creek watershed, and that the proposed forest development by BCTS could produce acid rock drainage (during road construction).

In addition, the board felt there might be a potential reduction in water quality and the water available during the “critical late-summer and early fall period when water supply is low and demand is high.”

The logging could also increase the potential for flood frequency, the board stated.

Turning community halls and centres into childcare facilities

The scores of under-utilized community halls and centres across the regional district could be converted to capital-cost-effective childcare centres at the behest of the regional district’s urging.

The board of directors of the Regional District of Central Kootenay have asked the Ministry of Children and Family Development to turn the expected increase in funding — announced in July through the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund — to create more childcare centres in the rural regions.

Under the New Spaces Fund, the provincial ministry has claimed they will triple the money available for childcare projects in “recognition that many communities face high capital costs as a barrier to creating new childcare spaces,” noted minister of Children and Family Development, Katrine Conroy, in a press release.

The increased funding maximum in several categories is intended to help more communities apply for funding, and will help more families access licensed childcare, Conroy iterated.

The province is allowing up to $3 million per facility for up to 100 per cent of the project costs for public sector organizations and indigenous governments and $1.5 million per facility for up to 90 per cent of project costs for non-profit societies and Child Development Centres.

Money in the bank for fire departments

A question had arisen regarding the eligibility of society-run fire departments in applying for provincial funding consideration for equipment and training for volunteer and composite fire departments.

But an answer has come on the Community Emergency Preparedness Fund, a program administered by the Union of BC Municipalities (with provincial funding), with BC’s Office of the Fire Commissioner determining that society-run fire departments and improvement district fire departments are eligible to apply directly for funding consideration.

The regional district board of directors had received a letter clarifying the eligibility of local organizations in accessing funding.

“The funding aims to level the playing field for smaller fire departments that have limited sources of funding and that provide an invaluable service to under-served areas of the province,” said minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth in a press release.

The intent of the funding will be to enhance volunteer and composite fire departments with the purchase of new or replacement equipment and to facilitate delivery of training.

However, ongoing costs and the purchase of major fire equipment are not eligible.