The RDKB is sending a letter to the province requesting it fund the infrastructure to install cell towers along the Paulson Pass on Hwy 3 as well as Hwy 33. Photo: Sheri Regnier

The RDKB is sending a letter to the province requesting it fund the infrastructure to install cell towers along the Paulson Pass on Hwy 3 as well as Hwy 33. Photo: Sheri Regnier

Board advocates for cell service on Paulson, Highway 33

Traffic expected to exponentially increase on Hwys 3 and 33 due to closure of Highways 1 and 5

News from the regional district will likely be welcome to the ears of commuters to and from Christina Lake and further toward the Okanagan by-way-of Highway 33 at Rock Creek.

At the Nov. 25 board meeting, held via Zoom, directors agreed to advocate for cell coverage to be installed in highway stretches along the Paulson Pass and no-service sections from the Boundary to Big White (Kelowna).

The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) will send a letter to the province requesting money for the respective infrastructure on Highway 3, the Paulson, as well as Highway 33.

“Given the provincial state of emergency and the closure of Highways 1 and 5, up to 525 per cent more traffic is expected to travel this stretch of road, thereby increasing the chances of more accidents,” the RDKB notes.

“Cell service would benefit stranded and injured motorists, emergency responders, highways crews and other workers.”

Board highlights

*The board will request the provincial and federal governments to extend Gas Tax Funding, now called the Canada Community-Building Fund, beyond 2024. The program provides local governments with funding to support 19 different infrastructure categories. The program allocates over $2 billion to projects across the country annually.

*Representatives from the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation and Forest Enhancement Society of BC spoke to the board, clarifying their mandates. The trust foundation funds conservation projects and educates the public about B.C.’s freshwater fish and wildlife. The forest enhancement society advances environmental and resource stewardship directives for B.C. forests, and has also helped local communities to reduce wildfire risk and restore ecosystems. The two organizations have partnered since 2016 to leverage funding for local projects such as invasive mussel monitoring, the Fort Shepherd Conservancy Area and the Kootenay Conservation Program.

*The board agreed to allocate $30,000 of its COVID-19 Restart Grant to organizations that assist vulnerable individuals in RDKB communities.

*RDKB managers presented their draft work plans for 2022. Each work plan provides a description of the service, budget details, associated human resources, 2021 accomplishments, issues and trends, and 2022 projects. Once the work plans are reviewed by respective committees, they go back to the board for approval.

*Barb Ihlen, RDKB chief financial officer, presented the first draft of the Five Year Financial Plan, which initiates budget deliberations. A financial plan must include the current fiscal year and the next four fiscal years. It must be adopted by March 31 each year.

*The board took the final step to enable the RDKB to borrow up to $1.285M for the Christina Lake fire service. Bylaw No. 1776 allows the borrowing of $1M to purchase respective vehicles and equipment. If no challenges are brought forward during the 10-day quashing period, the RDKB may proceed with the loan in spring 2022.

*The board adopted Bylaw No. 1781, thereby allowing the RDKB to fund operating expenditures until it receives tax revenue in July 2022.

*RDKB staff reported on assisting emergency personnel in other local governments in their recovery efforts by sharing knowledge and lessons learned from the 2018 Grand Forks flooding.

The next board meeting is Dec. 8 at 1 p.m. via Zoom.

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