SLRD wary of funding Whistler animal shelter 

If the regional district starts funding Whistler’s animal shelter they could be opening a can of worms for more funding requests.

Board Chair John Turner said if Squamish-Lillooet Regional District supports Whistler Animals Galore, the requests to support the Squamish animal shelter and others in the region won't be far behind.

"The SLRD board could wind up supporting a bunch of animal shelters," he added.

At Monday's meeting the SLRD board considered a request from WAG to contribute more than $63,000 to Whistler’s new shelter. That number represents 43 per cent of WAG’s operating budget for 2005, or the percentage of animals that arrive in the shelter from places in the regional district other than Whistler and Mount Currie.

In a letter to the SLRD board, the WAG directors wrote: "WAG is a non-profit charitable organization which receives the majority of funding from the community of Whistler. The areas currently being served by WAG are between Whistler and Lillooet, even though no funding is forthcoming from the regions outside of Whistler."

Some board directors supported the request.

"I honestly say that we should pony up," said Mickey Macri, director of Area B.

But with the recommendation of SLRD Administrator Paul Edgington, the board asked staff to review the request and report back. Edgington said the request seemed high and said it may be more appropriate to fund 43 per cent of Whistler's contribution to the shelter, which would be roughly $30,000.

Region looks to province for IPP strategy

The SLRD board has softened a strongly worded resolution which would have outlawed independent power production on select streams in the area.

After an in camera session at Monday’s board meeting, where the board received legal advice, they voted to tone down their resolution and look to engage the provincial government in an IPP regional strategy.

Rather than ban IPP development on 11 rivers in the Sea to Sky corridor, the board voted to put those streams on a high priority list for analysis.

They will ask the provincial government to initiate a regional IPP strategy as soon as possible. This strategy is to be done in consultation with provincial agencies, area residents, recreational industry representatives, the energy sector and First Nations.

In an earlier interview with Pique Newsmagazine, after the SLRD turned down the Ashlu IPP last month, Energy Minister Richard Neufeld was not convinced that a regional IPP strategy was necessary.

"I don't know if at the end of the day an overall strategy is really what's needed," he said in January. "Each one of those projects goes through a whole host of assessments, from the federal government to the provincial government to the municipal governments, of how they affect the environment and those kinds of things and they're all fairly stringent rules and regulations that have to be met."

The rivers listed as high priority for analysis are: Birkenhead, Poole Creek, Elaho, Sims Creek, Upper Squamish (above the Elaho Confluence), Sigurd Creek, Ryan, Callaghan Creek, Ashlu, Sloquet Creek, Uppper Soo River and the Pemberton Creek.

Awareness campaigns not just for hunters

The SLRD board is calling for an awareness and education plan not just for hunters in the region but also for dog owners.

The request comes after a dog was shot and killed on a mountain biking trail near Pemberton, sparking a heated debate in the community between hunters and recreational users sharing the local trails.

Susan Gimse, director of Area C, proposed the awareness plan for dog owners in the wake of a staff report, which called just for a seasonal hunting awareness plan.

The SLRD is asking the Pemberton Wildlife Association and the Pemberton Valley Trails Association to work together on a plan involving signage, education and advertising. The plan is due back before the SLRD by the end of April for comment.

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