In November, Aimee Watson was acclaimed as the chair for another year at the Regional District of Central Kootenay. File photo

In November, Aimee Watson was acclaimed as the chair for another year at the Regional District of Central Kootenay. File photo

Aimee Watson acclaimed as RDCK chair for third one-year term

Watson outlines eight of the most pressing issues for the RDCK in 2021

Aimee Watson is entering her third one-year term as chair of the Regional District of Central Kootenay after being acclaimed by the 20-person board in November.

Watson is the elected representative for Area D (North Kootenay Lake). Walter Popoff, who represents Area H (Slocan Valley), was acclaimed as vice-chair.

The board chair and vice-chair are elected annually by the board and serve a one-year term. This will be Watson’s third term as chair.

Asked what she is doing right to inspire the confidence of her fellow board members, Watson said she guesses it’s about conflict management and efficient running of meetings.

“I’ve spent a lot of time and really trying to hear and understand when there might be conflicts, or when there’s misunderstandings,” she said. “And I’m pretty forensic with ensuring I understand what we’re doing so that meetings can run smoothly without me being confused.”

She said she is strict when running meetings, and that has been challenging when everyone is at home on Zoom.

“So if I had to guess, that would be my guess.”

The Nelson Star asked Watson to name the biggest issues that will face the board in 2021. She said there are hundreds of those, but agreed to give us a list of the most complex or important ones, not in any particular order. All of these issues are exacerbated by COVID-19.

• Organic waste. The RDCK is continuing its plan to have compostable waste trucked to a central facility, while figuring out how to deal with the waste that is too far away to truck, and how to organize curbside pickup in some areas.

• Water systems governance. There are hundreds of rural water systems in the RDCK, 20 of them owned and operated by the RDCK. But the province wants the RDCK to operate all of them. Governance of water systems has to be worked out with the province.

• Hazard mitigation. It all started with the Johnson’s Landing slide in 2012, with gradually increasing risk elsewhere because of climate change across the region. The RDCK has identified high-risk areas and now the task is to do land-use planning to reduce risk.

• Wildfire mitigation. The province has taken much of the responsibility away from local governments. What is the RDCK’s role now?

• WorkSafe BC regulations. These are changing and they apply to many operations including garbage, recycling and recreational facilities. COVID-19 has added a new layer of regulations and risk.

• The new provincial Fire Safety Act. Some of the proposed regulations are unfeasible in rural settings, Watson says.

• The new provincial Emergency Program Act. Many of its proposals would see local government taking on more responsibility, and this still has to be worked out.

• Building code changes. These are made by the province for cities, and they are challenging to meet in rural areas, Watson says.

One of the common themes is “regulatory download,” she says, in which local governments are expected to take on more responsibility for regulations that were written for urban areas.

“The regional district gets to be the vehicle to try and figure out how to implement those. And oftentimes we don’t have the discretion to say, ‘That doesn’t work, could we amend it this way, could we make it this way?’”



bill.metcalfe@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

File photo
Castlegar sees spike in crime over winter

Local RCMP report increase in calls

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
36 new cases of COVID-19, one death in Interior Health

The number of active cases in the region is at 366

Jesse Teindl (left) is grateful for support in his fundraiser for research of a genetic disease that prematurely claimed the lives of his father Tim (right) and uncle Craig Teindl. Photo: Submitted.
Kootenay community steps up for Skinny Genes fundraiser

Fundraiser auction for rare genetic disease raises more than $10,000 for Skinny Genes Foundation

Kirk Duff is running for mayor in the upcoming Castlegar byelection Photo: Submitted
Third candidate enters Castlegar mayor’s race

Kirk Duff previously served 18 years as a city councillor

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

Kelowna General Hospital (File photo)
Second death reported in Kelowna General Hospital COVID-19 outbreak

A total of seven cases have been identified at the hospital: six patients and one staff

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 4, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals, NDP sing in harmony on local election reforms

Bill regulates paid canvassers, allows people in condo buildings

(National Emergency Management Agency)
No tsunami risk to B.C. from powerful New Zealand earthquake: officials

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the north of New Zealand Thursday morning

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol

Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use

Grand Forks’ Gary Smith stands in front of his Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster float. Photo: Submitted
Grand Forks’ Flying Spaghetti Monster leader still boiling over driver’s licence photo

Gary Smith, head of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster of B.C., said he has since spoken to lawyers

Most Read