Mayor's Musings for May 2023—By Steve Fairbairn, Mayor for the District of Elkford
Mayor's Musings for May 2023
by Steve Fairbairn, Mayor for the District of Elkford
Hello Elkfordians! Someone special told me to “keep this short.” Sure…😉
Tax season is here! It’s time to give thanks for safe drinking water and good roads. Recreational facilities, sewage disposal, solid waste handling, modern and efficient buildings, preschool, daycare, fire protection… it’s a long list of things we take for granted. I know that some of you don’t use all these things; but together, we all use some of them, and together we are all better off because of that. Just like home maintenance, the District of Elkford (DoE) must put money away to maintain the capital assets and to repair things as they wear out.
That ‘gosh-darned’ road work! Imagine the excitement as we find things that have been buried since the early 1970s! “I wonder where that pipe goes?” A lot of infrastructure that is never accurately recorded on a map, kinks in pipes, holes you can stand in. It’ll be worth it in the end. I know of more than one developer who has been excited to see the activity.
As May becomes June, Elkford faces two seasonal-specific, community-wide potential emergency scenarios: flooding and fire (okay, to nit-pick, most communities—including ours—face a huge list of potential scenarios).
I’ve had a touch-base meeting and refresher on the Emergency Operations Centre model and emergency evacuation alerts and orders. Let me just remind you that now is the time to prepare for a potential emergency. In the event of an emergency, all residents should have home and family evacuation plans already in place.
There are many online resources for your use: the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) website: (https://www.rdek.bc.ca/departments/protectiveservices/emergencyinfo/prepare/) is but one such stop. I also want to promote the DoE’s information source, www.elkford.ca/evacuation_plan, as the place to go first. Bookmark it, read it, put it in your phone. In the event of an evacuation, this will be a key source of accurate and up-to-date information. Outside of the DoE’s Facebook page, I advise that Facebook is not the best source of reliable information. The best sources will be the DoE website and the RDEK website. In the event of an emergency, the DoE will work with the RDEK to run a regional Emergency Operations Centre. Not the Mayor or any other elected official.
A few years ago, Elkford was on an evacuation alert for days and days. Did you know that Lytton had less than 20 minutes to evacuate in 2021? Do not wait until the last minute to organize your banking information, passwords, insurance, credit cards, family photos, medications, pet food, your food, phone chargers, children and possibly a safe destination. Make plans on where to meet up with family members and how to contact them.
You may not realize this, but once an evacuation order is issued and you have exited the evacuation area, you may not be allowed back in for an extended period of time. It is not the time to hook up your RV or boat and head out when you get the evacuation order; these things should have been done well before the order was dropped. Further, as an FYI: the RCMP has the power to address the possibility of traffic issues by any preventive measures they wish to take.
Evacuation orders are about safety: for citizens, animals and emergency response crews. A large part of is about getting people out of the way of the deployment and operations of emergency services and personnel. Don’t take it personally—it’s simply safer for everyone if you and I are out of the way so that emergency crews can work unimpeded.
Advocacy on the healthcare front continues. We have achieved an additional 0.25 full-time equivalent (FTE) physician allotment—up from 1.75 FTE to 2.0 FTE—and we should see two family physicians in Elkford beginning in July. Some additional related positions are possible, too! The future is a big place. Hopefully Elkford will get the pleasure of an open house from Interior Health in the next six or so months to outline what the future of healthcare in Elkford may look like for us.
More Exciting Things Happening Soon
Teaser alert: the RDEK passed financial plans for composting facilities in Sparwood for 2024-25. No mention of curb-side recycling here in Elkford yet, though.
Upcoming things to get excited about: Wildcat Days is being held at the end of June (check out www.elkford.ca/wildcatdays) and it includes fireworks, live music, craft sales, ball tournaments, food trucks, bouncy castles, car shows, THE PARADE, ‘fun, fun, fun until daddy takes your t-bird away.’
Camping, travel, family holidays, graduation (“school’s out for summer, school’s out forever…”), ah, spring and summer are glorious. Keep an eye out for motorcyclists, bicyclists, convertibles, wildlife, pets… play safe, be kind and say ‘hi’ to your neighbours.