Director's Corner - Aimee Watson

Director’s Corner – Winter 2022 Report


All of Area D has 17 services with an additional 7 that are community specific such as mosquito control or fire. The budget process begins in November and goes until March of each year. Our review goes through several committees, separating core, resource, and sub regional services.

The board will hold two region wide special budgets meetings to review general admin, rural, building, planning, emergency, and GIS. Kaslo and Area D will convene at North Kootenay Lake Services Committee to review fire, library, economic development, Kaslo and Area Recreation and Parks, Search and Rescue. Finally, and definitely not the cheapest, resource is reviewed at Central Resource Recovery Committee.

TO attend and/or see the agenda for these meetings, please go to the RDCK calendar here:…/rdck-board-budget-meeting.html

This post is the first in a series that will aim to keep residents appraised of what services are doing and at what cost for 2022. In this update I will provide the draft budgets for the following sub-regional services; Recreation and Parks, Search and Rescue, Economic Development, Kaslo Fire and the Library.

North Kootenay Lake Services:

S221 Kaslo and Area D Recreation and Parks

This service provides operational grants to seven community halls and five parks across North Kootenay Lake area Ainsworth to Meadow Creek including Kaslo. The Glacier Creek, Lardeau Park and Ainsowrth Wharf are all RDCK operated parks. The Arena, Curling Club, Ainsworth , Johnson Landing, Argenta and Lardeau Valley Community halls and museum are operated by societies, the RDCK taxation is provided as operational and capital grants. Service as a whole:

2021: $252,256.23

2022: $257,061

Community halls, the arena and the curling club will see a small increase in grants. The arena has higher costs for staff and all halls are seeing increased utility costs. Complimentary to the operations, most of the halls have been very successful in 2021 with grants for emergency equipment, upgrades to the kitchens with a culinary tool library in two halls, new AED’s and several community outdoor revitalization projects. During the pandemic, all halls have seen an increased participation from the community with the compounded need to adjust varying public health orders. I salute all of the community leaders who have been opening the doors, answering the phone and connecting people to resources- Thank you!

As for parks, Glacier Creek campground is one of the most popular RDCK parks. Upgrades to the south camping area and an emergency route as designed in a fuel prescription for wildfire mitigation. To reduce capital costs through taxation, Area D will provide a $32,000 community works grant.

Lardeau Park saw a lot of action in 2021 with phase one of the Lardeau Park Plan started. There was displeasure with the layout mid-summer, some oversight that community members on site were able to redirect the design. How many trees remained versus the space needed to turn a boat trailer around were hot debates. These capital works were supported with a community works grant of $20,000 from Area D.

S150 Search and Rescue

2021: $24,541

2022: $25,459

Kaslo Search and Rescue has a much larger budget that includes extensive equipment, infrastructure, training, and goals for a new building that will house the whole teams needs. The taxation is about a ¼ of their total operations. With 60 calls in 2021 and members trained in swift water, rope, mountain, avalanche, and dog search, Kaslo and Area is well cared for. Thank you to the whole team for your hours of dedication and life saving skills.

S194 Library

2021: $112,260

2022: $112,910

Funds from taxation are for operations. Area D has provided a $50,000 community works grant for the new building. The village of kaslo has provided the property and holds the ownership of the building.

S109 Economic Development

2021: $20,581

2022: $20,581

This shared service has been very active, with projects forth coming. In 2022, LINKs in the Lardeau Valley will be working on shared farm storage, North Kootenay Lake Community Services will be looking at commercial kitchen needs and a review of options for an improved supply chain through localization efforts will be lead by the Chamber and EDC support. For monthly reports, you can see the economic development agenda on the RDCK calendar- noted above.

Area D WORKPLAN 2022

Director Appointments: It is the time of year when the calendar is set with all the years committee commitments. For 2022, these are my appointments to external committees and boards:

Columbia Basin Trust board; Housing committee; Finance; Columbia Basin Broadband Corporation; Columbia River Treaty, local government committee; Governance sub-committee, Cannabis Economic Development Council, West Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital District


Community planning will go into the 2nd phase of community engagement. Look forward to one on one community discussions in Allen Subdivision, Kaslo Corridor, Schroeder Creek, Woodbury, Argenta and Johnson Landing. Power feasibility will also go to phase 2 with funds from Area D to LINKs to conduct an asset/gap survey of back up power resources for residents and businesses in the Lardeau Valley. Farmer Innovation program is under review, LINKs will assist by assessing available agriculture programs and determine gaps. Area D will look to support where it is needed.

FUNDING: As part of my work, January to May of every year I plan out grants from both Community Development and Community Works.Community Initiatives and Affected Areas annual intake is open:…/columbia-basin-trust-cip-aap.html

Area D has two funds it can use to support community services. Community Development is what the RDCK receives in lieu of taxation from BC Hydro for dams. Community Works is Federal Gax tax funds the province provides to the RDCK. As I go through the budget process, I identify what capital projects are eligible and then work through community operated society needs, such as independent water systems, trail groups, KIN and others. This process takes me a few months and is generally finalized shortly after budget season with some set aside for the unknowns. Here is what has been committed for 2022 so far:

Community Works:KiN – telecommunications support: $100,000

Kaslo Search and Rescue – new building for equipment and training- $50,000

Kaslo and Area Library- $50,000

Schroeder Creek Water Society: $20,000

Community Development:

Kaslo Outdoor Recreation Society: $5000

Lardeau Valley Power needs: $25,000

Seniors Association: $4000

Cannabis Council: $3500

Lardeau; water bladder: $5000

Kaslo Fire Hall; Tyberius Gutierrez bursary: $3500

Fire Smart Recognition grants for 7 communities; $1350×7= $9450

Howser Water Society; generator: $10,000

I will provide the final list in May, post the Affected Areas and Community Initiatives process.

That is all for now, contact me with any questions-

May we be less burden with rules and lighter in joy for 2022!