The RDEK spent most of 2017 responding to several different emergencies.
Board Chair Rob Gay suggests a lot of unfortunate events highlighted this past year.
Gay explains it started with record breaking snowfall in February which lead to flooding in the spring and significant property damage for many residents.
This was followed by significant mosquito issues in many communities and then, of course, the historic wildfire season.
Several evacuation alerts and notices were issued across the RDEK and at one point the entire backcountry was closed down.
Gay says a lot of resources were simply designated to monitoring fires for roughly two months this summer.
Regional District staff were also heavily relied upon after October’s fatal ammonia leak at the Fernie arena and the subsequent evacuation.
The Board Chair admits all of this resulted in many engineering and development initiatives being delayed.
However the RDEK did make progress on a pair of significant projects.
A major success was the Windermere Water Upgrade referendums being approved in October after the surrounding area has spent more than the past decade being under water quality advisories.
Gay explains with residents’ approval the Regional District is now borrowing roughly seven million dollars to improve quality and extend the service to the east side of Windermere Lake.
The RDEK also made headway on the $16 million West Fernie Servicing project, it’s biggest engineering initiative ever.
Gay also points to the unveiling of the Chief Isadore Trail and suggests it’s not only a major recreational and leisure accomplishment, but it’s also another example of the Regional District bettering their relationship with the Ktunaxa Nation.
Stay tuned for more Year in Reviews from East Kootenay newsmakers throughout the holiday season.
– RDEK Board Chair Rob Gay