During a Thompson-Nicola Regional District board of directors meeting held Thursday, Feb. 8, staff was authorized to commence the formal process of establishing TNRD-administered fire protection services in Little Fort, Loon Lake, South Green Lake and Tobiano.
The four are among six within the TNRD that are operated by their own societies. The other two are McLure and 70 Mile House.
A recent fire services review by Dave Mitchell and Associates recommended the regional district take over all six.
The process will begin with public information meetings to determine if there is general support for service establishment.
Since the implementation by the provincial government of the fire department Playbook, some of these independent fire departments are concerned with the liability of fire department operations and maintenance, as well as increased workload.
The departments have requested that the TNRD take them over and operate them in a manner similar to the three TNRD-administered fire departments (Blackpool, Pritchard and Vavenby).
Playbook is the retrofit for the Fire Services Act via the Fire Safety Act and a more pointed overhaul of legislation related to fire departments through Workman’s Compensation Act.
As well, and also related to the implementation of Playbook, annual tax requisitions for financial contribution fire departments (meaning those run by societies) will be discontinued effective Dec. 31, 2022.
Discretionary funding for fire brigades that have not been established through a public assent process will be discontinued immediately.
Policy changes in China could impact recycling
The TNRD board heard from director Bill Kershaw, chair of the solid waste management committee, about recent policy changes in China, which has recently announced new extremely stringent limits on the quality of recyclable material they will accept.
China, which has historically received two-thirds of North America’s recyclables, is now banning the import of all but the cleanest, most tidily separated and organized bales of recyclable material, and is completely banning some types altogether.
The impact is being felt across North America as local governments and the private companies that process recycled materials seek ways to address the near unachievable low limits of contaminants permitted in separated recycle material such as plastics and paper.
As a result, the recycling chain is experiencing major challenges and many processors are being forced to stockpile material because they cannot separate or market the product to meet China’s stringent requirements.
Additionally, the rate the TNRD pays per tonne to deliver recycle material to a processor has increased 130 per cent in the past eight months.
In the wake of these policy changes, the TNRD is currently examining possible options and changes to its recycling programs. Director Kershaw said a report to the board will be forthcoming.
Gas tax funds approved for Blackpool park
The board approved an amendment to the Federal Gas Tax – Community Works Fund revenues allocated for the installation of a concrete vault toilet at Ferry Road Park in Blackpool to reflect a maximum contribution of $22,000.