As we wind down 2015 - I thought I would take an opportunity to look back at 2015...
Firstly - let me thank all of you in the various communities that make up Electoral Area 'D' - whether you live in McAlister, McLeese Lake, Tyee Lake, Soda Creek Valley, Deep Creek, Xat'sull, Wildwood, Pine Valley, Commodore Heights, Mile 168 Rd or Fox Mountain - for the great honour/opportunity to serve you as the Cariboo Regional District Area 'D' Director. It is a privilege that I take very seriously as I work in partnership with you to make your rural neighbourhood the desirous place you wish it to be. Thanks also to all of YOU for your warm/encouraging comments as I served you this past year. It's nice to know that I'm doing the right things on your behalf
Also - thank you to ALL of the volunteers in the aforementioned communities, it is thanks to your efforts that these rural communities are such great places to live.
As to initiatives that I have been working on:
1) 2016 Cariboo Regional District Budget (Draft)
I am pleased to report that the overall budget will see a tax requisition increase of just 1.9% region wide, of which 1.1% is for 3 new services in the South Cariboo which leaves just 0.8% for the rest of the region. In Area 'D' - most services that you pay for will see no increase. Exceptions include Wildwood Fire Protection (4%), Central Cariboo Recreation (1%), Central Cariboo Arts/Culture (0.5%). Also, Area 'D' Grants for Assistance is proposed to decrease from $12,500 in 2015 to roughly $10,000 for 2016. Once the 2015 Year End Numbers are in - I project that the final tax requisition number will hit 0% for 2016
Unlike in 2015, the public consultation for this year's budget will consist of placing of our proposed 2016 Budget in our libraries and posted on our website (http://www.cariboord.ca). Like always - if you have concerns about the budget or any concern involving the Cariboo Regional District/Area 'D' - you can reach out to me on Facebook, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone at 250-267-6725
2) New AED for McLeese Lake Community Hall
Earlier this year - I was able to help secure an new AED (Portable Defibrillator) for the Hall from the Public Access to Defibrillator Program from the BC Heart/Stroke Foundation. Given my grandmother's life was saved by an AED - I'm now a firm believer of having one available to our rural facilities. In 2015 - the CRD applied to Northern Development Initiative Trust for funding for two projects in 2016 for the Hall - ceiling painting and a new floor. I remain hopeful that NDIT will grant the funding request and these projects will proceed to make the Hall an even greater place to come together
3) McLeese Lake Volunteer Fire Department (MLVFD)
Much progress was made by the MLVFD Society to get the Department fully operational. The CRD gave the MLVFD Society a $5,000 Grant for Assistance in 2015 and the Society was given preliminary approval for a $3,000 Grant in 2016. Furthermore, the Society was given an $8,000 Community Gaming Grant for their training/equipment needs. Their fundraising efforts still continue, as many Independent Fire Departments do throughout BC. Work progresses on selection of a site for a Fire Hall so I hope this item progresses throughout 2016.
4) McLeese Lake Library
The decision was made this past fall to build a new community library at McLeese Lake, across from the McLeese Lake Resort. CRD Staff are working on the plans now so we should see something concrete by Spring or early Summer of 2016
5) Soda Creek Cemetery
I received a request from the caretakers' of the Soda Creek Cemetery for possible funding to update the fencing at the old/current Soda Creek Cemetery. Staff are working with the caretakers' on possible solutions. I hope to have something to announce in 2016 on this
6) Wildwood Community Centre
Unfortunately - 2015 saw the closure of the former Wildwood Elementary School. However, in collaboration with the Wildwood Community Association, plans are underway to acquire the property to convert it into a community centre. I hope for much progress on this item in 2016
7) Dog Control Service - Commodore Heights/Pine Valley/Wildwood
As a result of two requests for a dog control service in both Wildwood/Pine Valley - I am working with the City of Williams Lake to look at feasibility of this proposed service. Once I have a firm proposal to present - I will be holding a public meeting sometime in 2016 to review the proposal with affected residents' and see if there is a desire to proceed
Other initiatives that I was involved with in 2015:
* Central Cariboo Multi-Agency Forum back on Nov 2nd - many that I have talked with found the Forum a success and hope to see it continue
* Mt Polley/Gibraltar - the CRD Board has passed letters of support to encourage provincial permits to see these mine sites continue. Watch for public meetings in 2016 to permit Mt Polley to return to full operational status.
* Attend Rural Economic Development Conference in Salmon Arm this past May
* Attend LGLA/NCLGA/UBCM Conferences in Prince George (LGLA/NCLGA) and Vancouver (UBCM) - LGLA - Local Government Leadership Academy; NCLGA - North Central Local Government Association; UBCM - Union of BC Municipalities
* Financial Contributions to Fraser River RiverFest, 30th Anniversary of the Wildwood Volunteer Fire Department, Tyee Lake Community Association AGM, Communities that Care project for youth at risk and Xat'sull Save the Salmon event in Horsefly
And much more....
As for 2016 - I plan to report out on what I'm up to often as I can plus my monthly expenses/meeting calendar as - both here and on my Facebook page which you can view at https://www.facebook.com/Steve-Forseth-CRD-Area-D-Director-530711320407846/?ref=hl
On my own behalf - I wish ALL of your families a very Merry Christmas and a happy/healthy 2016
Director - Electoral Area 'D'
Cariboo Regional District