By Lyonel Doherty
Area C director Rick Knodel is seeking government support for several important issues he plans to raise at the Union of BC Municipalities convention this fall.
One is funding for a feasibility study on flood response in the Park Rill Road area. Knodel said a report on flood mitigation (following last year’s major event) pegs the cost at $11 million.
“These amounts are beyond the ability of the residents of the local area to carry,” he said.
Another issue that Knodel will be bringing forward is making sure regional directors for areas A (Mark Pendergraft), B (George Bush), C (Knodel) and G (Tim Roberts) are included in future negotiations on the national park reserve.
Knodel said during the past 17 years of talks, Parks Canada has not included any regional directors in discussions, even though the park boundary is within some of their territories.
The third item he wants to address is using community gas taxes to fund rural volunteer fire departments. He noted this funding can be used to replace or upgrade equipment, and to provide training where needed.
Knodel said it is becoming impossible for small fire departments to be totally funded by their communities.
“The burden of funding for these fire departments is carried solely by the small number of residents of the department’s catchment (area).”
Another request that Knodel plans to make is removing the burdening permit system for creek and stream maintenance. This would be replaced by a “reasonable” regulation system that would also include the replacement or upgrade of culverts.
Knodel said the existing permitting system that allows property owners to clean out creek beds and replace culverts is very costly and “deeply flawed.”
The last issue he plans to discuss with provincial ministers is the safety of cyclists and farm operators in Area C.
He wants to see signage warning cyclists of the hazards of travelling through agricultural areas.
“These roads are often narrow, and the addition of another lane of slow-moving traffic is becoming problematic.”
Knodel said it may be wise to restrict bicycle travel on especially hazardous roads during peak agricultural periods.
“It has been very fortunate that we have not had a multiple fatality incident yet.”