We managed to get away for the worst of the weather this winter. It was our first trip to the town of Osoyoos, and it won’t be our last. Of course the whole province of British Columbia had a very mild winter and we were the beneficiaries of same.

In March we have been completing the 2015 operating and capital budgets. This has proven to be a bit of a challenge as we are awaiting both engineering reports as well as results from grant applications made with senior governments.

As I reported in my December blog there are concerns with both our lagoon and the solid waste facilities. Our capital budget has been set allowing an expenditure of $500,000 on a combination of these two items. The exact split will be determined as the year proceeds. Council completed a full budget review on March 30th. The budget still needs to be approved at the April 20th meeting but for the fourth year in a row there will be no tax increase. When the last reassessment was done in 2012 your council stated that we would try to hold the mill rate for the four year cycle and that has been accomplished.

One of the pillars of our Strategic Plan is “Communications”. The most important communication is with our ratepayers, but it also includes interaction with other organizations, and businesses within the area. We also need to communicate with our neighbouring municipal governments. When I ran for Reeve in 2006, I promised to improve communications. I stated that the only thing I received from the municipality was a tax notice, then a receipt. And that was true.

After the election, council insisted that a website be set up and used as a communication tool. The administrator at the time referred to this website as “the reeve’s website”. With each passing year this website has grown and the staff has taken ownership. There is a general mailout at least once a year plus six newsletters per year emailed to all that sign up on the front page of this website. All ratepayers have received a copy of our policy and procedures manual and new ratepayers are sent a copy as well. Please note, the building and zoning bylaws and forms are available on the website. I am proud of the excellent communications in our municipality, and would like to thank our staff for their efforts in this regard.

Prior to the end of last year, we were informed by the Ministry of Government Relations, that a group of ratepayers had applied for Hamlet Status for the area that includes the Elk Ridge Resort and immediate residential areas. Over the winter, we have met with Ministry officials, Minister Reiter as well as the Hamlet group from Elk Ridge. The approval of Hamlet Status is the responsibility of the ministry and we have not been informed as to their decision.

Please mark your calendar for July 4th, as our annual information meeting will be held that day at 11:00 AM at the Legion Hall in Christopher Lake. Voters in Division 5 which covers Anglin Lake, McPhee Lake and Elk Ridge resort will also have an opportunity to cast a ballot to fill the present vacancy on council. The Polling station for the election will be the District council chambers.