Talking Stick – Kicking into high gear

Steve Rice, TNRD Area I Director, discusses some of the initiatives in his area.

Where does one even start? It has been a while, but that is not too say that we haven’t been busy.

Before we start on what’s happening in Blue Sky Country…we have a few Shout Outs!

First off a huge congratulations to Ashcroft’s very own Jackie Tegart, the new MLA for Fraser Nicola. Rural blood runs through her veins and there is no doubt she will put her considerable passion and energy to work while moving her rural constituency forward.

Also, a thank you to outgoing MLA Harry Lali, who fought many battles as an opposition MLA, winning his fare share.  Thank you for your many years of service for the Fraser Nicola constituency.

A short Shout Out also to MOTI. The Ministry of Transportation and myself do not always agree but they have been incredibly responsive to all my concerns regarding highway issues… Well done!

And a final Shout Out to Interior Roads for their great community service and work above and beyond the call of duty.

Before I start TNRD catch up corner, I would like to mention the efforts by Mayor Anderson in trying to bring economic input to our area in the form of the Inland Port. Many conversations have taken place and to even get a piece of the Delta Port expansion  would be an economic game changer to our area. Consider the attraction of high paying jobs for our younger folk. After graduation most don’t return home as the job market is limited in scope and in pay. The Inland Port would change this.

Time is short…decisions are just around the corner. An economic opportunity like this comes along once in a blue moon for communities the size of Ashcroft. Let your voice be heard. Talk to the powers that be at CN and CP… have railroad connections, maake a call, send an email.  Let your MLA know how you feel. She can take the message to Victoria.

I called Tony Pellet at the Agricultural Land Commission (he has been involved since the beginning) to discuss the removal of nearly 900 acres of prime farm land out of the ALR in Delta  for the port expansion. He is happy to discuss the issues. Give Tony a call. Help save farm land while promoting rural economic development. As Delta Mayor Lois Jackson put it, “I am in total support of the Ashcroft Terminal location. It’s a win…win scenario.”

Projects funded in whole or partially by the TNRD within Blue Sky Country include:

– New Spences Bridge water system. This state of the art deep well system has taken Spences Bridge off a boil alert for the first time in over six years…yeah!!!

– Bonaparte River Habitat Enhancement, and Ashcroft Curling Club; Winding Rivers Art and Performance  Society; Lytton Info Centre; Archie Clemes Community Hall; Spius Creek Habitat Enhancement; Travel thecanyon.com website; Hat Creek Ranch; Nicola Lake Water management; Desert Daze Music Festival; Botanie Valley Forest Protection project; and Spences Bridge Community Club. Been busy…I may have missed one or two.

Projects currently in the works…all at different stages: 16 Mile Recreation development site; Park Status for Spences Bridge school site; Walhachin Museum property improvement project; Train whistling cessation; Walhachin Highway signage project; Fraser Basin Council Thompson River Steelhead Initiative; Spences Bridge school green project; and Food Security and Economic Development Project for the Canyon communities (just started this week. A Shout Out to Marg Durnin and David Durksen who have taken this one by the horns and are working in a very short time frame).

I believe that is about it, in a nutshell. There are a few more things on the back burner. Hopefully you will read about them here soon.

A big thanks to the staff at the TNRD! They are an incredible pool of knowledge and without their help, most of these initiatives would not have happened.

Until next time…

Steve Rice

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