Burns Lake council has approved funding to the Nechako Watershed Roundtable to help improve the health of the Nechako Watershed.
Theresa Fresco, the Roundtable’s coordinator, appeared as a delegation at a council meeting on Oct. 25, 2017, requesting a contribution of $1700 in 2017/18 and a possible further $1700 in 2018/19.
Council has approved both requests.
Burns Lake is one of six communities within the watershed region that have agreed to contribute to this initiative so far. Other communities include Prince George, Vanderhoof, Fort St. James, as well as Regional District of Fraser-Fort George Electoral Areas A (Salmon River-Lakes) and C (Chilako-Nechako).
These funds will help support the implementation of the priority actions in the Nechako Watershed Strategy. Launched in 2016, the strategy provides an overview of watershed issues and concerns, as well as 33 proposed actions to advance watershed health.
“These contributions from the municipalities are critical to help the Nechako Watershed Roundtable continue its work,” Fresco told Lakes District News.
“We are still awaiting approval from Fraser Lake and Electoral Areas B, C, D, E and F in the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako (RDBN),” she continued. “We will be delegating to the RDBN board on Jan. 25 to discuss our grant-in-aid proposal and the Roundtable’s funding needs.”
The Roundtable has also secured $35,000 annually for three years from the Real Estate Foundation of B.C., contingent on matching funds, and $12,550 from the Fraser Basin Council. In addition, the group plans to request funding from the provincial government, federal grants and programs and the private sector.
According to Fresco, the approximate cost of running the Roundtable is $200,000 per year.
“We weren’t able to get together funds this year, so we had to scale back for the 2017/18 year,” she explained. “We kept the core operations the same, but we focused on three key areas for the implementation of the strategy.”
These key areas include engaging with decision makers of all jurisdictions to explore what their priorities are, as well as building a communications plan and coming up with public education tools and processes.
Created in 2015 to improve the health of the Nechako Watershed, the Roundtable includes representation from First Nations, provincial government, local governments and other agencies and organizations with interest in the watershed.
Burns Lake’s official community plan has some areas of alignment with the Roundtable’s strategies. These include maintaining high water quality, access to waterfront and outdoor tourism.