The City of Nelson was the lone holdout from the Regional District of Central Kootenay's sustainability service, established four years ago. Now six other areas want out.

The City of Nelson was the lone holdout from the Regional District of Central Kootenay's sustainability service, established four years ago. Now six other areas want out.

RDCK sustainability service: ‘revamp, change, or punt’

An environmental service some Regional District of Central Kootenay members want to withdraw from will survive for at least another year.

An environmental service that some Regional District of Central Kootenay members want to withdraw from will survive intact for at least another year.

Following a staff presentation last week, chair John Kettle said the consensus was that the sustainability service be left alone for now.

However, he plans to name a four-member select committee to review it and recommend by September whether to “revamp, change, or punt.”

The committee hasn’t officially been established, but Kettle said he plans to ask  directors from two municipalities that want out — New Denver’s Ann Bunka and Nakusp’s Karen Hamling — to sit on it with two directors who want to stay in — rural Castlegar’s Andy Davidoff and rural Nelson’s Ron Mickel.

While the committee mulls the issue, the service will draw no new taxation and its existing projects will be paid for out of reserves.

The service, established four years ago, was meant to deal with things like energy conservation and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. However, Nelson refused to join, and now several areas suggest the scope has grown beyond what was originally intended yet they receive little benefit.

In all six areas, including Salmo, Castlegar, and rural Creston, have served formal notice of withdrawal and Kettle said three or four others “are on the fence.”

“That’s why it’s critical to look at this. If you add four more to the nay column, that probably kills the service. We might as well take one last chance at fixing it. If not, it will be what it will be.”

Municipalities and electoral areas are required to give two years written notice to withdraw from a service, which also requires provincial approval. However, the service could also be effectively killed during budget discussions.

Nelson Star