The Village of Ashcroft is joining other municipalities calling for a review of the province’s wildfire and forest management practices.
Council agreed to approve a letter to MP Brad Vis (Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon) and MLA Jackie Tegart (Fraser-Nicola) calling on both the provincial and federal governments to provide for “better forest management and wildfire protection,” including an assessment of the current policies and guidelines.
The letter references threats to wildfires experience in Ashcroft in both 2017 and 2021, as well as the impacts of climate change, and notes similar correspondence sent by the District of Lillooet.
“Council implores you to bring this to the attention of the federal government and lobby for change,” the draft letter states.
Ashcroft seeks ESS funding
A collaboration between the Village of Ashcroft and the Ashcroft HUB Society to provide Emergency Support Services in the community is in the works.
Council voted last week in support of the proposed partnership and directed staff to apply for more than $11,000 worth of grant funding through the Union of BC Municipalities. Previously, ESS in Ashcroft has been handled by the Thompson-Nicola Regional District’s Emergency Management Department, but according to a staff report the regional body would not be applying for grant funding this year.
“The TNRD is in support of the Village applying for UBCM grant funding and is committed to training the volunteers,” the report states.
Remuneration committee formed
Council remuneration and travel expenses will be reviewed by a newly formed committee, following a council vote.
Per a Village of Ashcroft Bylaw, which calls for a committee to be formed to review remuneration in January of every municipal election year, council voted to form a committee comprising Couns. Deb Tuohey and Nadine Davenport, as well as CAO Daniela Dyck and CFO Yogi Bhalla.
“We are in the rather odd position of voting ourselves a raise, potentially which can be quite fraught with voters,” Mayor Barbara Roden said. “In order to try to rationalize it… the thought was if we establish a committee in the early part of the year where there’s an election, the increase would only benefit the current council for a number of months before the election. Then it would leave the new council coming in without having to worry about it for four years.”
Village commits to reservoir funding
The Village of Ashcroft is pursuing more than $2 million worth of federal grant funding for the North Ashcroft Reservoir Twinning project.
Council voted in support of the grant application, which will commit the village to paying for its share of the project, estimated at $1 million
Staff described the project, aimed at increasing water storage, as a “proactive approach” following two serious wildfire seasons over the past five years.
The grant funding – under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program – applies to projects starting in 2023 and completed by 2026.
Backyard campfires approved
Ashcroft residents are now allowed to have regulated backyard campfires, following adoption of the outdoor burning bylaw by village council last month.
Council voted unanimously in favour of the bylaw, which allows for backyard campfires – by approved permit – within the village boundaries.
The bylaw outlines several conditions to which residents need to agree in order to be granted a campfire permit, including a fire size of no larger than 0.5-metre in diameter and height, the use of only clean, seasoned firewood and a nearby water supply to extinguish the fire.