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Posted: January 20, 2019

Columbia River-Revelstoke MLA reflects on 2018

By Doug Clovechok

Wow, where did 2018 go? It was an eventful, interesting, and productive year for Columbia River-Revelstoke.

My goal throughout has been to represent all of my Constituents’ interests and needs both here at home, and in the Legislature in Victoria. Both of our offices and staff have been working hard at my side to accomplish some notable achievements. This has been possible because of the feedback and engagement from you, our constituents and neighbours. Our offices deal daily with health care issues, transportation issues, environmental issues, affordable housing issues and road issues to mention but a few.

All are important and below are some examples of the work that is ongoing.

Wildlife Management

Working alongside my rural MLA colleagues we continue the fight for a comprehensive strategy that will deal with Wildlife Management issues and backcountry closures. Our focus is on the fact that rural B.C. is facing more pressure than ever before. We need backcountry access, healthy and sustainable wildlife populations, and a healthy economy that can support families.

In short, we need balance. To achieve these goals B.C. needs a process that enables public consultation and input.

I am proud to say that I have been a part of the ongoing creation of the Columbia Valley Recreation Access Management Plan. The meetings led by Village of Radium Hot Springs Mayor Clara Reinhardt and Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) Electoral Area G Director Gerry Wilkie around the development of this plan have been collaborative and successful; this process has brought together a large group of stakeholders with different ideas and needs who are working towards the same outcome. This has been truly rewarding for me as your MLA, and I applaud all parties involved for leading the way. I am excited for what will come in the New Year.

BC Wildfires

Last year was also the worst in B.C.’s history for wildfires. I had the opportunity to work closely with the Mayor and Fire Chief in Kimberley on the evacuation alert and evacuation order of the Saint Mary Lake area due to the Meachen Creek fire. I saw first-hand the brevity of the conditions and the hard work that was done by those on the front lines. The work is not complete, and currently, I am working to assist our communities with addressing future fire interface work through the CRIP (Community Resiliency Investment Program) and FireSmart programs. Our communities are surrounded by forests, and we must continue our vigilance when it comes to planning for the future by finding the most effective ways to manage and prevent these wildfires.

Louis Riel Day in Golden with the Town & the Metis Nation Columbia River Society.

Columbia River Treaty

2018 marked the beginning of the
negotiations between Canada, B.C., and the United States
 regarding the Columbia River Treaty. This historical
renegotiation will modernize the treaty. I was able to bring the
Treaty Team to our headwater communities so that your voices
could be heard and documented. As Her Majesty’s Official
Opposition Critic for all things Columbia River, I will continue to keep all of our communities informed on the progress of the negotiations as they continue.

Trans Canada Highway

2018 continued to present highway safety issues.

Working closely with the citizens of Revelstoke and surrounding communities we took on the Three Valley Gap issue. I personally implored the Premier to do something with this treacherous stretch of the highway. Armed with a stack of letters (we have about 1,000 letters) and pictures of a constituent’s car that was completely wrecked by a TVG boulder, the Premier was shocked and agreed that the area needed to be addressed. I am happy to report that our efforts did not go unrewarded.

The pilot project ‘Rock Wall Attenuator System’ resulted, and today is now 90% complete, as well as the rock block wall being 100% complete at TVG. Credit goes to the citizens who spearheaded and participated in taking action, and together we moved the dial.

Improvements are still on track for Kicking Horse Canyon in 2019. This is the most expensive highway project in Canadian history. With a cost of $450 million for 4.8km, you can bet this will be quite the construction marvel. Tender bids should be completed by the latter half of 2019, and if everything runs smoothly, construction could start by the early winter/late fall.

Medical & Passenger Transportation

After the demise of Greyhound, our offices have seen an increase in calls and emails from constituents concerned with the lack of options for themselves and their loved ones. We have had meetings around passenger and medical transportation in the CRR with various groups, businesses, and individuals. Together with my staff, I am actively working with those affected communities to explore local solutions. I am putting pressure on this government and the Minister of Transportation to address our rural transportation needs. Greyhound was an easy, safe, affordable solution. It will not be an easy feat for companies to bring the same level of transportation to our riding and province, but I continue to provide support in any way I can.

Proportional Representation

Saying farewell to the W.I.S.E students from India at David Thompson Secondary.

The people of B.C. spoke loud and clear; our current First-Past-The-Post (FPTP) electoral system will remain. Here in CRR, over 57% voted to keep FPTP. Although I am thrilled with the outcome, I also recognize that over 40% in CRR voted for some kind of change. I have already reached out to and met with some PR advocates in our riding to explore ways we can address their concerns.

As your MLA it is my duty to represent all voices, which I have worked hard to do. As I said from the beginning, I was never opposed to looking at electoral reform. I did, however, object to the rigged, underhanded, and confusing way the BCNDP presented it to British Columbians, in hopes of appeasing the Green Party to maintain power. The $15 million that was spent on this referendum is shameful, given the many needs in rural ridings like affordable housing, medical transportation for seniors, wildlife management, and the lack of qualified staff for our region’s daycares. Together we move forward.

It has been a true honour to represent the hard-working people from Columbia River – Revelstoke. We have not always agreed on some of the issues, but we have found a way to work together to accomplish some significant achievements.

If you are not following my Facebook account, please do! I take great pride in keeping constituents up-to-date on what I am doing for you.

I try my best to produce an MLA report once every quarter; my next one will be in early Spring 2019. If you’d like a copy emailed to you, please call the offices.

May you and your family be happy, healthy and prosperous in 2019. We are so fortunate to live in this part of the world and I am working hard on your behalf to preserve the lifestyle that we enjoy.

Lead image: My recommendations for Bill 52 (ALC) Amendment Act. Our CRR ranchers & farmers should be allowed to give a piece of their land to their children. Photos submitted

Doug Clovechok is Columbia River-Revelstoke MLA

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