Updating residents on the ins and outs of Area A

Town Hall meeting explores flood related projects and Hosmer Fire Department updates.

The elected volunteer of the year was commended for her efforts during the Electoral Area A Town Hall meeting in Hosmer on Wednesday, May 20.

Shelby Rawson gained attention in the community after shaving her head and raising $5,000 for Fernie’s Friends for Friends charity during Western Financial’s Shave and Shove fundraiser.

Her volunteering efforts, however, didn’t stop there.

Rawson was also involved in a recent anti-bullying campaign, in addition to volunteering for the Fernie Rod and Gun Club.

“It gives me great pleasure to recognize the Electoral Area A volunteer of the year. Shelby’s an outstanding contributor to both Area A and Fernie,” Electoral Area A Director Mike Sosnowski said prior to presenting her with a gift — a watch for all the time she’s donated.

Rawson added, “It’s pretty overwhelming. I didn’t really expect it.”

Area A community leaders were also on hand during the Town Hall meeting to speak about significant Area A projects including the Elk River Alliance (ERA) Elk River Flood Restructure Project, the Access Guardian Program, West Fernie Servicing & Infrastructure upgrade, the Hosmer fire department update and Area A’s five year financial plan.

Lee-Anne Walker with the ERA noted that they have been working on an Elk River Flood Solutions Strategy since the flood of 2012, a strategy that includes surveying individuals in the community, mapping out the last 100 years of flooding and hiring hydrologists to study the behaviour and nature of the Elk River.

“Our mission is to connect people to the Elk River, keeping it drinkable, fishable and swimmable for future generations,” she said. “I care about my friends and neighbours, their property, their safety as well as watershed function and wildlife in our region.”

The ERA plans to continue with their public engagement in order to work toward developing a design and solution for dealing with floods in the area.

While the ERA works to protect the Elk Valley from flooding, the Elk Valley and South Country Rural Fire Deputy Chief Tammy Clowers has been providing her services to protect the Elk Valley from fires.

Presenting her findings to the public, Clowers said that the fire department has been working to train their volunteers and employees, which include eight hours of wildlife training in addition to extraction training and electrical safety training.

Despite these positive changes, Clowers noted that the fire department is in search of additional volunteers, as there are only about four to five volunteer firefighters showing up to regularly scheduled meetings.

Conservation Officer Patricia Burley was also in attendance to speak about the Access Guardian Program — a program that involves a provincial Conservation Officer educating people on access issues, providing public relations while monitoring traffic, enforcing the access laws and regulations and dealing with other infractions that may be encountered while on patrol.

Burley noted that mud bogging and trespassing were major issues she faced this past year.

In addition to these environmental groups presenting their findings, RDEK Engineering Services Manager Brian Funke was on hand to advise RDEK residents that the West Fernie Servicing & Infrastructure Project will be moving forward as planned. He was also available to answer public inquiries.

Chief Financial Officer Shawn Tomlin concluded the meeting with a presentation of the RDEK’s five year financial plan.