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Newsletter from MLA/Minister Katrine Conroy

Katrine Conroy
By Katrine Conroy
September 20th, 2023

Arrow Lake levels & Columbia River Treaty

I have lived in Castlegar most of my life – moving here when my dad got a job at the pulp mill in the early 1960s and I was a young child. One of my earliest memories as a child was watching houses being moved and floated down the lake as they were preparing to build the Dam. The Columbia River and the Arrow Lake have been a part of my life here. My husband worked on the tugboats, my family have camped, swum and lived next to the lake, we have fished and boated on the Arrow. This area and the water we have around us are a part of who I am. The low water levels presently on the Arrow Lake causes me great concern and I feel for all the residents in this area who have a special connection to the water. It is upsetting to see water levels this low, to see fish struggling and lack of access to get to the water. While it is upsetting it is also a very complicated problem and the solutions are not easy. There are two major parts to this problem – a severe drought and an International Treaty that regulates the water and needs to be modernized to reflect different priorities then when it was first signed in 1964.  We are all very concerned about the impact on recreation, tourism, the local economy, drinking water, and fish & wildlife habitats. Although the drought has created very worrisome conditions, it has put the Columbia River Treaty on the forefront of everyone’s minds. It’s incredible to see the renewed interest on this issue, and to see people coming together to make themselves heard. In response to the many inquiries from constituents, my office has just launched a new information web page which we hope will help people gain a better understanding of this complex issue, including how to make your concerns a part of the negotiations.

Please visit and bookmark the Arrow Lake levels & Columbia River Treaty Info Page to learn more.

New Regional Composting Facility Opens Near Salmo

The $2.5-million facility will divert 8,000 tons of food and yard waste from landfills.

The first week of City of Castlegar’s compost pick up!

Trash is sifted out, contents remaining are then put into this large industrial mixer. The resulting compost is then piled over long, aerated windrows — tubes with holes that have a fan at one end to provide oxygen and temperature control.

Provincial Tuition Waiver Program expanded to former youth in care of all ages
People looking to enroll in post-secondary education, who are former youth in care, will benefit from an expansion of the Provincial Tuition Waiver Program, which has launched for the fall semester. This program has made a massive and positive impact on so many peoples’ lives to shape their future without barriers, financial burden or worry. Expanding this program to all former youth in care will provide significant support to British Columbians to seize the opportunities in this changing economy while providing them with the skills and talent needed to build the lives they deserve.

Province caps annual rent increase well below inflation
For the second consecutive year, B.C.’s maximum allowable rent increase is being set below the inflation rate. The maximum increase for 2024 will be 3.5%. Across the country, costs have been increasing — especially for housing — at a rate that’s unsustainable for many people. We know that’s the case for both landlords and renters, and that’s why we’ve found a balance to protect renters while helping to keep rental units on the market.

B.C. strengthens food supply for people in rural communities
A new fund will help improve the availability and affordability of food in B.C.’s remote, rural and Indigenous communities by strengthening the food supply chain and streamlining logistics, storage and transportation options. British Columbians rely on strong, local food systems and it is imperative that we look at ways to help strengthen our supply chains with new and innovative ideas. By supporting this sector, we are helping increase food security and affordability, and strengthening local economies throughout B.C.

B.C. secures measures to ensure families feel safe accessing public spaces
To help ensure kids and families feel safe in their communities, the Province has received approval from the federal government to prohibit the possession of illegal drugs at playgrounds, spray pools, wading pools and skate parks. Our government is committed to breaking down barriers and connecting people to the supports they need. We requested this amendment from Health Canada to ensure that families feel safe in their community while continuing to use every tool available to fight the toxic-drug crisis and save lives. Effective Monday, Sept. 18, 2023, possession of illicit drugs within 15 metres of any play structure in a playground, a spray or wading pool, or a skate park will be prohibited.

Premier’s statement on launch of expert task force on emergencies
With the profound effects of climate change, this year’s unprecedented wildfire season has had a devastating impact on people in British Columbia. Hundreds have lost their homes, tens of thousands were forced to evacuate and two heroic young B.C. firefighters tragically lost their lives. Our immediate focus remains on fighting wildfires as well as helping people and communities contend with the impacts of drought. Additionally, we must continually update and enhance our prevention and response measures to the near-constant series of emergencies we are facing as a result of climate change. That’s why our government will be launching the expert task force on emergencies to determine how we can simultaneously better support those on the front lines and help apply the lessons we have learned in preparation for the next emergency.

My community office is open Monday to Thursday 10-3pm during the summer months. Please call or email in advance to let Angelika or Sarah know when you are planning to come in so they can be ready in advance to assist you. If you have any questions or concerns about any provincial issue, or need assistance with a provincial body, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re here to help. My office can be reached at 250-304-2783 or Katrine.Conroy.MLA@leg.bc.ca.

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