There are a number of areas that I feel are priorities. Things that need either started or finished. This list is not complete and items will be added as we go through this election process and into the next few years.
I’m pro-development, but not at all costs and not all at once. We need to bring business and families to our communities and the only way to do that is through jobs, decent jobs, year round. The only way to provide new jobs is through development. Development doesn’t just mean new construction or new neighbourhoods, but business development and infrastructure development as well. Business development includes new services, but also forestry, agriculture, tourism and new opportunities as they arise. A Scotch Creek water system will unlock a variety of possibilities. Also needed is an expanded menu of accommodation options. There are no full-time, affordable, rental options in the North Shuswap. We need to create areas for tiny homes/small homes with good design and amenities. This will allow young people to start their life, and not get stuck in unaffordable rentals or depressing old mobile homes. This will also provide options for employees of local business to live in their communities.
Health and Better Living
Health care is a pillar of any community and we must strive to continue to provide and expand all health services for our population. Areas that I’d like to prioritize are seniors services and young family options. Certainly a local physician is critical and a priority for myself and the North Shuswap Health Centre Society. But there are also other options to bring health opportunities to our communities.
Closer Senior School – possibly Sorrento
Another issue is the distance to senior high school for our kids. Some children have to travel almost 2 hours each way to get into Salmon Arm for grades 9 thru 12. This places a terrible burden on the kids who spend 10 or 11 hours, each day, 200 days a year either to, from or at school. They can’t attend extra-curricular activities, unless their parents drive that distance, and so many do not get those opportunities that their ‘municipal’ peers receive.
Covid, war in Ukraine and supply line fractures show us that we live in a very interconnected world, and that disruption in one area can affect life in places on the other side of the world. We are very lucky in the North Shuswap to have lots of great water, land suitable for agriculture, and people that love to work the land. We should have an inventory of the assets we have, what could be built out or expanded, and determine what can be done to make us more self sufficient in food.
Incorporation, in Scotch Creek and/or beyond
In 2018 I decided to run as Area F director, with one of my goals as moving towards Incorporation of some area of the North Shuswap, initially probably Scotch Creek. The benefits will be that we get to make decisions here in the NS, and also there are many more grant opportunities for community enhancement and services as an incorporated municipality. I thought at that time it might take 4 or 5 years to get to a point where the province would allow an Incorporation Study. Well, Covid basically shut down all studies for the better part of 2 1/2 years, and with back and forth discussions regarding how close to an Incorporation Study the province would let us get, a study in that direction has yet to happen. We do have a Community Issues Assessment study set up for early in the new year, which is the first step.
In the meantime both Scotch Creek, and the whole North Shuswap needs a new relationship with the CSRD. Every area of the North Shuswap is suffering from the rules, regulations and restrictions that are currently in place. Scotch Creek incorporation is important and it will be pursued, but we also have to find a model that works for the whole North Shuswap. This will require a review of our Official Community Plan and all the bylaws that regulate life on the North Shuswap.
Enhance and Complete Ongoing Projects
- Tourism – local hiking paths and lake accesses
- Community Progress – parallel paths, local park upgrades
- Government Interactions – reduce red tape, time required and expense of dealings with the CSRD
- Transportation – road maintenance, both winter clearing and surface repairs
Everybody on the Same Page
Whether it be economic development, tourism development, community development, we, as a community need to know where we’re going and plan how to get there. After the Issues Assessment study we will work on a Community Strategic Plan, then an update to our Official Community Plan and associated zonings. This will take some work from ALL of the community. There will be committees in place to direct the work, but input from all will be needed. We need to work together – agriculture, Scotch Creek commercial, tourism, non-profits, forestry. We won’t all agree all the time but if we all know the goal we will eventually get there.
There are many more plans, ideas and possibilities that can be addressed. I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts before this election, and for years afterwards.