Busiest year for local search and rescue team; upcoming open-house to celebrate 25th anniversary
As part of the district’s annual support to the Nechako Valley Search and Rescue, the District of Vanderhoof donated $5,000 to the team on Jan.11.
At the council meeting, NVSAR’s president Chris Mushumanski presented an annual review of the team’s operation.
With eight call-outs in the summer — a historically high number — including six incidents that involved multi-day operations, 2015 was a busy year, Mushumanski said.
In fact, including both ground and water operations, the last four years’ call-out volume were above average, in comparison to annual data from 2007.
The team currently has 14 new members in training, and has recently completed renovations of its new building on Burrard Ave.
To celebrate the NVSAR’s 25th anniversary — the team first started in the spring of 1991 — a ribbon-cutting ceremony along with an open-house and tour event will take place on Feb. 24.
This fall, the BC Search and Rescue Association has presented to the provincial government an alternative support model to provide sustainable funding for B.C.’s 89 SAR groups.
The association currently awaits the government’s promised response in March, said Mushumanski, the association’s Bulkley Nechako regional director.
New bylaw considered to improve air quality
The District of Vanderhoof’s environment committee is considering a new bylaw to address the district’s recent multi-day air quality advisories.
To lower the area’s high particulate levels, the new bylaw may include:
– prohibiting the installation of indoor or outdoor solid fuel burning domestic appliances (SFBDA) that don’t meet Canadian or American standards
– prohibiting the use of all SFBDAs when an air quality advisory is issued, except for households where the appliance is the sole source of heat
– requiring existing non-standard SFBDAs to be replaced
– banning all yard waste and grass burning.
In addition to a new bylaw, the committee is also considering the addition of $30,000 to the district’s budget in the next two years, to help with replacing non-standard SFBDAs.
A bi-annual yard waste collection scheme is also proposed, as well as an education program to accompany the bylaw’s implementation.
Still in discussion, the prospective new bylaw will be drafted and will undergo community consultation, before potential implementation in the fall, said the district’s CAO Tom Clement.
The B.C. government is currently revising its SFBDA regulations to help reduce air pollution from domestic wood heating, as part of the province’s air action plan.
Federal funding applied for recreation centre
The District of Vanderhoof has applied to the Canada Culture Spaces Fund for $290,000, about 37 per cent of the Integris Community Centre’s total renovation costs.
The grant normally provides up to 50 per cent of a project’s cost, and the federal government’s decision will arrive in three months or more.
Kwik Save Building
The district council continues to look for more information before deciding on the future of the former Kwik Save building located on Highway 16 by Kenney Dam Road.
The district currently owns the front portion of the building.
As discussed during a special council meeting on Jan. 13, though the district would like to take advantage of the building’s prime location, it is hesitant to invest money for going forward without access to the entire site.
District councillors agreed that Vanderhoof’s top priorities for 2016 are the aquatic centre, community forest, and the recreation centre.
With a new financial planning schedule as well as community engagement on hot topics, the district council is currently one to two months ahead of last year in planning, and has more time to discuss priorities for this year, Clement said.
– with files from the District of Vanderhoof