The next South Hazelton Community Association meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 4 and the committee is hoping to have representatives from the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine, the New Hazelton and South Hazelton Fire Department and the Ministry of Transportation in attendance.
The meeting will be held at the church in South Hazelton at 6:30 p.m. with the hopes that many of the South Hazelton residents will be able to attend to voice any concerns or issues they have such as those recently raised by the notice from the Regional District in regards to the water.
However, RDKS administrator Robert Marcellin said there is chance Manager of Works and Services Roger Tooms may not make so he wanted to try and address some of the concerns ahead of time.
One of the particular concerns raised by residents was the mention of metering houses for water usage which Marcellin said is nothing new.
“Right now all we are doing is making provisions for new houses that come on stream to be metered,” he explained. “The long term objective is to meter the bigger volume users. We are only immediately concerned with new buildings and the exsisiting bylaw already allows for metering. The current bylaw also allows for meters to be put in where there is a suspected high volume of waste.”
He also stated that in order to secure the grants to do the upgrades to the old system, they were required to have a conservation component.
“Many areas have passed metering bylaws in areas for conservation reasons and our grants that we were successful securing had a conservation component,” he said. “We addressed this component by including the metering bylaw.”
Other concerns stemming from the recent RDKS notice were the change in billing and the rise in rates.
“The billing is going semi-annually instead of monthly and we did raise the monthly rates because the previous Water Board did not put them up as far as they needed to go when they raised them from $10 to $15 per month,” Marcellin said. “In June 2009 we said the parcel tax would be between $300 and $500 and the annual user fee would be around $360. We haven’t changed what we said.”
As for the current state of the water improvements, Marcellin said things are expected to be complete in the next few months.
“They are working on the reservoir and treatment plant but are seasonally shut down and getting ready to start up again,” he said. “They had completed a lot of work but we expect them to be finished early summer, late spring. Then the fire reservoir and the pumps will be finished in the fall as there were some delays on the pumping station.”
In addition to the water related issues, there is the problem with the almost depleted South Hazelton Fire Department.
With the loss of trained volunteer firemen and aging equipment, Marcellin said he thinks trying to save the department is the wrong objective.
“It’s redundant and it’s a waste of money,” he said. “It always comes down to the man power and this is a great opportunity to merge things. It’s not so much the fire department as it is keeping and maintaining the service. Two things are happening, one we are providing better fire protection from a water supply and being able to merge things with New Hazelton jointly providing South Hazelton fire fighters. Right now it is so incredibly below the requirements we had to make sure the fire dispatch out of Prince George could handle the 911 calls from South Hazelton because we had to make sure there was no delays as it had to be a simultaneous call out.”
With this said Marcellin said he would let RDKS Fire Chief Wes Patterson know about the concerns and upcoming meeting with the hopes that he would be able to attend.
In addition to RDKS issues, the Ministry of Transportation manager for the area, Mike Lorimer, has been invited to attend to discuss ongoing road issues such as the resurfacing of Aldous Street last year and the much debated West Avenue concerns. However, he too is out of town but is willing to hold a meeting on another date with residents that are interested as well as answer any questions or concerns that the SHCA can send him this week.
If anyone would like an issue addressed or question answered, they are asked to email the SHCA at email@example.com or call 250-842-7077.