This past year has been a full one. As a board and staff management team, one of our big tasks has been developing our strategic plan for the next three years. I feel this has been a beneficial process and look forward to considering all we have achieved by the end of 2022.
We have also been focused on relationship building. Throughout the year, we have heard from a steady stream of delegations from local organizations, provincial ministries and First Nations leadership to learn about their goals and priorities and to identify ways to work together well and partner on projects.
We were also fortunate to have a Community to Community Forum with the Williams Lake Indian Band and City of Williams Lake in March. I look forward to continuing to build these relationships in the new year.
This year, in addition to attending the Electoral Area Directors and Local Government Leadership Academy Forums, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities Conference and the Union of BC Municipalities convention, our board had the pleasure of co-hosting the North Central Local Government Association conference with the City of Williams Lake in May.
What a great opportunity to show off our beautiful region, support our local businesses and network with our colleagues.
Thankfully this year brought a reprieve from wildfires, but the CRD’s Emergency Operations Centre supported our residents through spring flooding and the significant flooding in the Chilcotin this summer.
We will continue to advocate for those impacted by the flooding, especially the ranching community.
Along those lines, this year has also brought tremendous change and upheaval to the forest industry. I want to acknowledge the hardship this has brought to many of our residents and businesses.
Thank you to the various transition teams in the North and South Cariboo who we are working with on ideas, supports and programs to help our communities in this time of transition.
In positive news for our communities, we were very pleased at the Province’s announcements this year for the Cariboo Memorial Hospital and GR Baker Hospital upgrades.
These are vital investments in our region and help support our economic growth.
There have also been numerous successes and growth in our CRD services in 2019, such as:
Introducing a policy to reduce our use of single use plastics at the CRD;
Constructing a new Emergency Operations Centre;
Facilitating a regional labour market study and supporting the North Cariboo housing study;
Installing recycling depots in McLeese Lake and Tatla Lake;
Finalizing our policies and bylaws for cannabis sales and production in the CRD;
Finalizing the South Cariboo Official Community Plan; and
Purchasing new fire trucks for the Lone Butte, Kersley and Forest Grove Volunteer Fire Departments.
Some other highlights from 2019 have been: assisting numerous non-profit groups and supporting funding requests for community initiatives through our grant writing program for a total of $18.9 million in grant funding applications; receiving approximately $3.5 million from the Community Works Fund to support green initiatives and energy efficiency projects; and applying to several different funding programs or organizations such as the Canadian Red Cross and Union of BC Municipalities and receiving about $1.85 million in grant funding.
Some of the projects we have been able to support through that $1.85 million in grant funding include: our free FireSmart wood waste disposal program, new equipment for Central Cariboo Search and Rescue, our Community Liaison program, our website redesign, a CRD Community Wildfire Protection Plan, a flood plain mapping project, Emergency Operations equipment and updates to legal resource materials in the Cariboo Regional District Library network.
So often we forget how far we have come and the challenges and issues we have overcome or resolved along the way.
Part of the reason for this report is to remind you of our accomplishments, and to compliment you on your successes.
Creating new partnerships, enhancing services, undertaking capital projects, informing the public and responding to residents’ needs is what building this region is all about.
Our organization will continue to respond to community and residents’ needs thereby achieving our goal of Building Communities Together.
CaribooRegional Distric Chair Margo Wagner is also the Area H (Canim Lake Forest Grove) director.