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Powell River Community Forest application supported by qRD board

qathet Regional District to write letter in favour of request from Pine Tree Improvement District
UPGRADES NEEDED: qathet Regional District city director Cindy Elliott, in speaking to a request for a letter of support for the Pine Tree Improvement District for a Powell River Community Forest grant application, was opposed because she said the community forest typically does not support infrastructure projects.

qathet Regional District (qRD) directors voted to write a letter of support for Pine Tree Improvement District for a grant application to Powell River Community Forest.

At the March 22 regional board meeting, reviewed correspondence from the improvement district, which indicated it was making a grant application to the community forest to offset costs of upgrading the water distribution system south of Highway 101, which supplies water to 27 properties and is now 60 years old. The correspondence from the improvement district indicated that upgrades are needed, with the cost of materials being $39,500, not including bedding sand, equipment or labour to install water lines.

Electoral Area B director Mark Gisborne said the regional board is well aware of the challenges improvement districts have trying to access grant funding from the government.

“If they are going to be pursuing the community forest grant, maybe that’s an avenue they can get,” said Gisborne.

Electoral Area A director Jason Lennox said improvement districts have limited tools for making improvements and he wholeheartedly supported the application.

City of Powell River director Cindy Elliott said she had concerns about the eligibility of the project, with the community forest putting emphasis on budgets that have partner funding.

“They tend to do things that are in addition to government responsibility,” said Elliott. “They won’t pave roads and they won’t do water systems in the city, for sure. I’m concerned that it doesn’t meet eligibility criteria for that fund. I would ask staff to check on that before we as a board would move on a recommendation.”

Electoral Area C director and board chair Clay Brander said it was his inclination to support the letter and leave it up to the community forest to decide, rather than spending regional district staff time doing the research.

“I question eligibility as well but it all depends on what the community forest is feeling that day,” added Brander. 

City director George Doubt said he had spent time thinking about the correspondence and was not going to be voting on the matter because Powell River city council does have a vote on the community forest. He said he wanted to wait until all the information from the community forest is available to city council members.

Electoral Area D director Sandy McCormick said it is not the regional board’s decision to say whether the improvement district is eligible for community forest funding, but added that whenever improvement districts can be supported, the board needs to do so.

The motion to send a letter of support for Pine Tree Improvement District carried, with Elliott opposed.