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Northern SLRD reps vote against Hydro payment arrangement

Area wants $300,000 from PILT fund for infrastructure investment



The three northern directors for the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (SLRD) aren't backing down on their push for more money from BC Hydro.

"Lillooet is going ahead with their plans into having a more equitable share of (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) payments," said Marg Lampman of the District of Lillooet. "The north has been marginalized for many, many years.... The north has contributed over many years in many ways and is looking for fairness."

The SLRD receives just over $1 million per annum from BC Hydro, with two-thirds of that funding generated by the two Bridge River generation stations and the La Joie generation station located just outside Lillooet in SLRD Areas A and B. From this, the town, which is the service centre for the northern part of the regional district, received just under $25,000 in 2012.

At a meeting Feb. 25, Lampman , Mickey Macri of Area B, and Debbie Demare of Area A voted against the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) arrangement for the 2013 SLRD budget, which kept to the same dollar amounts shared as 2012.

They said the PILT payments unfairly favoured the larger communities in the southern two-thirds of the region. Despite the protestation, the vote passed six to three.

The District of Lillooet requested $300,000 from the fund paid to it annually, citing financial hardship and the need for infrastructure investment.

It was feared that in order to maintain SLRD services this could lead to a loss of revenue for each community, including Whistler, Squamish and Pemberton, should this be passed. To meet this, every community and area in the SLRD would have needed to find the equivalent of a one per cent increase in taxation.

A decision was reached at a Committee of the Whole meeting in January to maintain the 2012 PILT payment status quo for this year with changes for 2014 to be discussed over the course of this year, but when it was put forward to the board the three northern directors most impacted by the decision voted against it.

The motion was part of numerous budgetary votes that took place at the board meeting. Among other things passed, SLRD director salaries will remain on hold for 2013.

Park name recommended

The Fulton Farm wetlands, the 26-hectare property located along the Lillooet River near Pemberton in SLRD Area C, has a new name. Purchase by the SLRD, Ducks Unlimited Canada and The Nature Trust of British Columbia from the Fulton family in July 2012, staff recommended it be called Riverside Wetlands Community Park.

This was unanimously approved. Final confirmation of the name will come at a later date.

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