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Grass Fire in Hosmer Area Fully Extinguished

April 13, 2022 - 9:05pm

Grass Fire in Hosmer Area Fully Extinguished Local firefighters responded to a grass fire on Dicken Road in the Hosmer area late this afternoon. “A contract crew was cutting and burning slash piles on private property. The fire got away on them and spread quickly into the grass,” explains Elk Valley & South Country Rural Fire & Rescue Chief Michael Hockley.  “This is another example of how quickly things can change, particularly when burning in windy conditions.  We can’t stress enough the importance of being prepared and choosing to burn only when conditions are favourable.”   Firefighters from the Fernie and Hosmer Fire...
Regulation of Short Term Rentals Moves Forward in Rural RDEK

April 11, 2022 - 6:46pm

The RDEK Board of Directors has approved the regulation of Short Term Rentals (STRs) in its six Electoral Areas.  “Over the past year, we have been engaged in a planning process to investigate the benefits and concerns of STRs and options to regulate them. The results of the planning process were presented to the Board April 7 and 8,” explains Planner Michele Bates.  “We brought forward three options that could be considered should the Board wish to proceed with regulations: zoning and Official Community Plan amendments, Temporary Use Permits, or an Order in Council to allow the RDEK to...
Galloway Lands Proposal Expected to be Back Before RDEK Board in May

April 11, 2022 - 6:33pm

A proposal to rezone property for subdivision and development in Electoral Area A adjacent to Fernie Alpine Resort is expected to come back before the RDEK Board next month. Bylaws 3102 and 3103 would amend the Official Community Plan and zoning designation of multiple properties, known as the Galloway Lands, to permit increased residential development.  “In January, the Board asked the applicant to provide additional information in order to better consider the impact of the proposed development,” says RDEK Vice Chair Susan Clovechok. “Additional information was provided to the RDEK at...
Bin Fire in Canal Flats Quickly Dealt With, Public Asked for Cooperation During Emergency Events

April 01, 2022 - 1:28pm

RDEK staff and members of the Canal Flats Fire Department were able to quickly deal with a bin fire at the Canal Flats Transfer Station Thursday. “We’d like to thank the Canal Flats firefighters for their assistance in wetting down the bin and ensuring the fire was fully extinguished,” says RDEK Solid Waste Superintendent Jim Penson. “There was a large load of pine needles in the bin that were smoldering and burning.  Once it was fully wet-down, the load was taken off site by our contractor so we could spread it out and ensure there were no hot spots.”  During the response to the fire,...
Panorama Fire Department Responds to Early Morning Incident

March 27, 2022 - 12:20pm

Panorama Fire Department Responds to Early Morning Incident Members of the Panorama Fire Department responded to a call at a hotel in Panorama this morning. “When we arrived on scene, the alarms were going off and there was an electrical odour and smoke in the building,” says Columbia Valley Rural Fire & Rescue Chief Drew Sinclair.  “With the support of the Resort staff, we evacuated occupants in the affected building and completed a room-to-room search.”   The issue was electrical in nature, the location was quickly identified and contained to the appliance of origin. The building was then ventilated before guests were allowed to return to their...
Grass Fires Prompt Safety Reminder About Dangers of Spring Burning

March 24, 2022 - 6:33pm

Grass Fires Prompt Safety Reminder About Dangers of Spring Burning Members of the Baynes Lake and Jaffray Fire Departments responded to a grass fire in the Jaffray area this afternoon. “A private property owner was burning grass and it got away on him,” says Elk Valley & South Country Rural Fire & Rescue Chief Michael Hockley.  “When we arrived on scene, the fire was moving into longer grass and our firefighters did a good job of containing it quickly and preventing what could have been a much more serious situation.”   A total of seven firefighters and 5 pieces of apparatus responded to the 0.5-hectare fire, which has now been fully...
Regional District of East Kootenay Approves 5-Year Financial Plan

March 15, 2022 - 2:50pm

The Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) Board of Directors has adopted its 2022-2026 Financial Plan. The 2022 operating budget totals $38,429,564, which results in an increase in taxation, on average, of 5%, which works out to $15 increase on an average $462,000 residential assessment.  “Every year, our focus in the budget process is to ensure we have planned appropriately for the provision of services, while being equally mindful of the impact on taxation. It is a complex process, and I’m pleased with the balance we’ve achieved this year,” says RDEK Board Chair Rob Gay. It is...
RDEK Launches Program to Support Heat Pump Retrofits in Electoral Areas

March 15, 2022 - 2:31pm

Rural residents in the East Kootenay looking to introduce more energy efficient heating systems in their homes may be eligible for a rebate through a new program being offered by the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK).  “The RDEK has been working to minimize the local impacts of climate change, to be leaders in energy efficiency in new and existing buildings, and to increase local workforce capacity for a low carbon transition,” explains RDEK Community Energy Manager Megan Lohmann. “To build on this commitment and provide support for existing homes, the RDEK has launched the...
Extensive Damage Following Structure Fire in Tie Lake Area 

March 04, 2022 - 6:08pm

Extensive Damage Following Structure Fire in Tie Lake Area  Members of the South Country Fire Departments responded to a structure fire in a park model RV at Sunshine Bay Resort in the Tie Lake area this afternoon and, while the fire has been extinguished, there was extensive damage to one park model trailer. “The fire broke out in the kitchen and quickly spread in spite of the homeowner’s best efforts to contain it,” explains Elk Valley & South Country Rural Fire and Rescue Service Fire Chief Michael Hockley. “There are numerous homes in close proximity to one another in this privately-owned campground, and our firefighters did an excellent job...
Fire Extinguisher Training This Sunday in Jaffray

February 24, 2022 - 5:36pm

Members of the South Country Fire Departments will be hosting an educational workshop this weekend to help residents learn how to properly use their fire extinguishers. “So many people have fire extinguishers in their homes or vehicles but have never been given the proper steps in how to use them,” explains Elk Valley & South Country Fire Chief Michael Hockley. “This is a fun, interactive session intended to help provide some basic training and give people the confidence to use their extinguishers in an emergency situation.”  The free training session will be held on Sunday, February 27...
Public Consultation Begins on RDEK Five-Year Financial Plan

February 23, 2022 - 4:26pm

After completing its first review of the draft 2022-2026 Financial Plan, the Regional District of East Kootenay Board of Directors is now hoping to gather input from residents. “The public comment period will end prior to our next board meeting and I encourage all residents of the East Kootenay to visit the project page, learn about more about the draft plan and how it will affect you,” says RDEK Board Chair Rob Gay. “The budgeting process begins in September with the RDEK staff, and there have been meetings with directors, stakeholders, commissions and more that have helped inform this...
Firefighter Recruitment Drive Kicks off as RDEK Seeks to Boost Numbers

February 11, 2022 - 4:50pm

A firefighter recruitment drive is underway for the Elk Valley & South Country Rural Fire and Rescue Service and the RDEK is appealing to residents to consider stepping forward to become part of the team. “Our fire departments play a critical role in our rural communities. To keep these departments running and able to answer calls, we need to have a dedicated core of firefighters,” stresses Elk Valley & South Country Fire Chief Michael Hockley. “We are the ones who come to help in times of emergency. We are now on the other side, asking the community for it’s help to keep our departments...
RDEK and Canadian Red Cross Partner for Delivery of Local Emergency Support Services

February 04, 2022 - 5:34pm

JOINT RELEASE BY RDEK / CANADIAN RED CROSS The Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) is partnering with the Canadian Red Cross for the provision of local Emergency Support Services (ESS) in the region, which is a critical component of assisting residents displaced by fire, flood, earthquakes and other emergencies.  The service delivery agreement was signed in late 2021 and the two parties are currently working together on the transition to the new structure that will see the Red Cross oversee the administration of the region’s local ESS. “When floods, fires or other emergencies cause...
Changes in Leadership in RDEK Fire Service as Long Time Chief Retires, New Chiefs Take the Helm

January 28, 2022 - 3:39pm

Changes in Leadership in RDEK Fire Service as Long Time Chief Retires, New Chiefs Take the Helm After nearly 30 years with the RDEK’s Rural Fire Service, Columbia Valley Rural Fire & Rescue Chief Jim Miller is set to retire next month. “Thinking back to when I first walked through the doors of the Windermere Fire Department, I could never have imagined the path my career would take. It has been an incredible ride,” says Miller.  “While I am excited for this next chapter in my life with my wife and family, I will miss the entire fire service team, my colleagues at the RDEK, and the opportunity to serve the public.” Miller started with the Windermere Fire Department as a volunteer...
Nine Projects Approved for Conservation Funding in 2022

January 27, 2022 - 8:46am

The RDEK Board of Directors has approved $133,600 in funding for nine projects in 2022 through the Columbia Valley Local Conservation Fund. “The goal of this fund is to make a difference on the ground. This year we have approved a number of new initiatives in addition to supporting several ongoing projects,” says Columbia Valley Services Committee Chair Clara Reinhardt. “The projects receiving funding illustrate what a positive impact the Conservation Fund is making in our Valley again this year and we are excited to see them get underway.” The projects approved for funding in 2022...
RDEK Seeks Nominations for 2022 Electoral Area Volunteers of the Year

January 21, 2022 - 1:17pm

The Regional District of East Kootenay is currently seeking nominations for the 2022 Electoral Area Volunteers of the Year. “Do you have a neighbour who is always thinking of others first? Is someone close to you making your community a better place, or making positive change for those around them? These are the individuals or couples that the RDEK wants to celebrate,” says RDEK Board Chair Rob Gay. “Please take a moment and nominate an amazing volunteer in your area, as now more than ever, it’s important to honour the people who are making a difference in our region.” Nomination forms...
Reuse Centres Temporarily Closed

January 19, 2022 - 10:05am

The RDEK’s six Reuse Centres have been temporarily closed as the RDEK works to ensure essential service levels are maintained at its staffed transfer station sites. “We have increasingly been dealing with higher numbers of people in the confined space of the Reuse Centres who are not following social distancing and public masking measures,” says Manager of Environmental Services Kevin Paterson. “To provide a layer of protection for our staff and ensure the sites are able to remain fully open, and at the request of our contractor, the decision has been made to temporarily close the Reuse...
Galloway Lands Proposal Referred Back to Staff; Further Information Sought

January 17, 2022 - 11:36am

A proposal to rezone property for subdivision in Electoral Area A adjacent to Fernie Alpine Resort has been referred back to staff. Bylaws 3102 and 3103 would amend the Official Community Plan and zoning designation of multiple properties, known as the Galloway Lands, to permit future subdivision.  “While the applicant has presented a detailed plan and offered a number of covenants to provide further reassurance with regard to the development, the Board felt it was premature to move forward to a public hearing without having additional information in several key areas, including road...
RDEK Board Approves Human Resources Plan

January 17, 2022 - 9:00am

The Regional District of East Kootenay Board of Directors approved the RDEK Human Resources (HR) Plan Friday morning, which will increase the organization’s capacity to allow it to meet increasing service demands. “The last HR Plan was completed in 2013,” explains RDEK Board Chair Rob Gay.  “In the nine years since, we have seen increased legislative obligations, a growing number of services and amenities, a sharp increase in the frequency and magnitude of emergencies, increased service level expectations and much higher development.” To help identify the greatest needs within the...
Tie Lake Transfer Station Re-Opened Following Brief Closure Due to Fire

January 15, 2022 - 4:38pm

Tie Lake Transfer Station Re-Opened Following Brief Closure Due to Fire The Tie Lake Transfer Station was closed for a few hours today due to a series of fires on the site. “When we arrived, the tire pile was on fire and it was later discovered that both waste bins were burning as well,” says Elk Valley & South Country Rural Fire and Rescue Service Fire Chief Michael Hockley. “Our crews and the contractor did an excellent job of getting the fires extinguished and the tires spread out and cooled down.”  Ten firefighters from the Jaffray, Baynes Lake and Elko Fire Departments responded to the call with 6 pieces of apparatus, including 2 engines.  “We would...

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