Minutes and Notes from September 6th2018

3pm Brambles Bakery & Café

In attendance: Lou Cooke, Marilyn Cooke, John Anderson, Wayne Schindler, Kate Anderson, Judy Guichon, Liis Jeffries, Terance Grams, Al MacKay-Smith, Libby Petrie, Sarah Derosie 

Reviewed notes and recollections from July 25thmeeting at Liis’s. 

Jill has booked the Civic Centre for two dates to hold a public forum. First date booked is 

Thursday, October 25th, if we decide to have the second one, the Civic Centre is booked for November 28th. It is booked from 5-9. Forums to be scheduled from 6-8:30 

Going over notes from Jill and Al (and our collective remembrance) much discussion followed about how best to proceed with the forum. 

Notes are as follows:

The topic of Water Hydrology is a big one, encompassing Floods, Beetles and Fires and how this is all connected and affecting us all in the Nicola Watershed. We decided to stick to this one overall theme, possibly getting two presenters. 

John read the bio of Rita Winkler, several people have heard her speak and she would be an excellent choice if available. The second speaker possibility is Georg Jost, a hydrologist who works for BC Hydro. 

There are a couple of other recommendations from Sarah of people to contact and requests will be made immediately. Sarah is reaching out to Georg and John to Rita. 

It was agreed by consensus that Education is the focus, and the importance of laying a foundation of Knowledge first. It was also strongly agreed upon the focus would be on 

Understanding verses Blame. The first forum will focus on understanding, 

The idea for the forum is that everyone who comes will get a number at the door. They will then go to their table and introduce themselves and listen to the presenters. At each table there will be a round table person to help facilitate table discussion following the presentation. Each table will collectively come up with their question (or questions?) to present to the speakers to answer as best they can.  The timing of all this is very important. We will need to have another fine tuning meeting in the coming weeks. 

The participation and outcome of this first meeting will determine if a second community forum will follow November 28th

Wayne will hand deliver letters for sponsorship, or find addresses etc and get them circulated. We anticipate that each forum will cost approximately $1000. Suggested support Gold Sponsor $500, Silver $250 and Bronze $100. Logos and recognition of sponsors will be made throughout advertising and at the meetings. 

Advertising is essential…. 

Posters need to be made…. Judy will get her grandkids to work on these as soon as speakers are secured. 

Website once up and going will be loaded…. And the word will spread!!! 

Ideas and discussion for November 28thForum: 

 

Judy shared some interesting community initiatives that have been underway and implemented in Delta BC around GSI (Green Storm water Infrastructure) in their area. While clearly their issues are vastly different than ours, the discussion followed was more to the fact that they thought outside the box… the community,  from government, to school kids got on board, and they have done some interesting projects that are working for their specific issues. It was discussed that someone from Delta could possibly come to speak to their project and how they got “buy in” and support from the ground up. Discussion followed about finding solutions  for Merritt’s flooding issues, Kelowna also has been successful in creating some policy development, so someone from that area maybe a good fit for an inspiring presentation. Judy will investigate this. 

Terrance filled us in on the Merritt River Riparian Rehabilitation Committee (MRRRC) that was formed by concerned Merritt citizens after the last flood. They have some ideas on ways to move forward, and have been very active creating momentum and discussing possible solutions. Terrance will approach the committee and see if a spokesperson would be willing to present at the second Forum, where more solutions based approaches could be explored. 

Inclusiveness and communication about these upcoming meetings needs to be discussed with First Nations. Lou will contact Tracy Thomas at The Fraser Basin Council and John will go see Tracy Winbush at NWSFA.  We would like to give both of these organizations an opportunity to present at the second forum and encouragement to participate throughout made. 

We all agreed that we will need to hire or find a strong recording secretary to make clear notes for the public forums. 

AND if the will is there… we could host a third meeting in January with the focus being implementation, creating local solutions and projects. Recommendations for the City to move forward. 

Al reported the new website is almost up and running. There are some details still to work out, but basically it is now an interactive site, that we can upload minutes, communicate with the public and keep current. Al has worked with local web designer Mike Fairfield on creating this new website. Thanks Al!!!

The concern will be keeping it current, for now, Al will look after this, and spur the rest of us on. The new website is www.nwcrt.ca

Meeting wrapped up by 4:20pm 

Notes taken by Kate. . 

The NWCRT has initiated and been involved in a number of projects.

Laurie Guichon Memorial Grasslands Interpretive Site

The site was opened in 2001. It is located on Highway 5A/97C, 11 kilometres southeast of Merritt. The idea of an interpretive site grew out of the goals of the organization and that education had a key role to play in accomplishing the vision.

The Site is a memorial to Laurie Guichon, a founding member of the Nicola Watershed Community Round Table, a fourth generation rancher, community leader and visionary. He was a man of integrity and social responsibility, who cared deeply about the world and the people around him.

The purpose of the Laurie Guichon Memorial Grasslands Interpretive Site is to educate residents of the watershed and visitors about the significance of the interior grasslands. The interpretive site shows the importance of the ecosystem and how it is an integral part of the economic fabric of the Nicola watershed. 

Coldwater River Recovery Plan

The Coldwater River Recovery Plan was a project of the Pacific Salmon Foundation in partnership with the Nicola Watershed Community Round Table and the Nicola Watershed Stewardship and Fisheries Authority.

The Round Table raised awareness about the Plan and acted as a coordinator of local information dissemination about the projects initiated under the Plan. Between 2001 and 2006, nearly 30 projects were completed in the following categories: habitat assessment, instream habitat restoration, streambank restoration management, off-channel habitat enhancement. The initiative ended in 2006.

Nicola Water Use Management Plan

This project began in 2004 and was completed in 2010 with the production of a water use management plan for the Nicola watershed. The Round Table provided administrative support to this community-initiated project and facilitated the meetings of the Multi-Stakeholder and Steering Committees over the term of the project.

For further information about this project and to download a copy of the plan, click here.

 

Communication Plan for Low Flows in the Nicola Watershed

In 2010, the Nicola Watershed Community Round Table (NWCRT) received funding from the Fraser Salmon and Watersheds Program to develop a communication plan for periods of drought to address and mitigate drought/low flow impacts to the environment, economy and communities. In consultation with government representatives, water purveyors and water users, a Communication Plan was developed to provide coordination for a drought response and to build awareness and understanding of the roles of government agencies (federal, provincial and local), local stewardship groups and others in responding to drought.

The three communication objectives of the Plan are:

  • To promote water conservation and wise water use (best practices)
  • To provide a conduit for provincial and federal agencies to provide technical information about the water supply to the local community and information on local conditions back to senior agencies
  • To communicate the water conservation requirements necessary to meet drought conditions and the potential consequences of not meeting these targets.


Drought Level Sign

Nicola Watershed, BC, Drought Level Sign. As part of its commitment to provide ongoing information about drought to the residents of the Nicola watershed, the Round Table, in a partnership with the Province of BC and the City of Merritt, installed a drought level sign. The drought level for the watershed will be set by the Province and communicated to the Round Table. A member of the Round Table will then place a marker on the sign to indicate the drought level. This information will be updated as necessary and the marker will remain on the sign between May and October. The sign is located on Voght Street in Merritt. The Round Table hopes to construct two more signs and place them on Highway 8 and Highway 5A.

 

Over the years, the NWCRT has been a means to bring forward community issues and concerns. As issues arose or topics were brought forward by individuals, the Nicola Watershed Community Round Table sponsored and facilitated community meetings.

Among the topics and issues which the community discussed and learned about were the following:

  • Nicola Lake Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Project
  • Climate Change
  • Coalbed Methane
  • Changing Health Care Delivery
  • Co-generation
  • Water Resources in the Watershed
  • Merritt’s Official Community Plan
  • Lakes, Land and Resource Use Plan
  • Recreation Considerations in the Nicola Valley
  • Wildlife Species and Their Habitat
  • Landfills, Recycling and Waste
  • Water Issues in the Nicola Valley
  • Riparian Zone Management
  • Water Temperature Sensitive Streams
  • Nicola Dam
  • School Board Amalgamation