Columbia-Shuswap Regional District, British Columbia

COLUMBIA-SHUSWAP REGIONAL DISTRICT, BRITISH COLUMBIA rural area. Rhona Martin, CSRD Director and Board Chair, shares insights on the challenges and rewards involved in servicing such a diverse territory as Co- lumbia-Shuswap. According to Martin, “It’s a fast-growing region in some areas, others are growing slower, some have lost population in the last fewyears.There’s a shift–we’re seeing a lot of people from the coast moving to Kelowna and people in Kelowna moving out.The pressures of larger centers are putting pres- sures on the rural areas. It’s good though.” The CSRD provides regional functions including solid waste, recycling, and fire protection in most of the rural areas, except B which has an agreement with the city of Revelstoke.There are 13 fire depart- ments, in all.Martin explains,“We have rural economic devel- opment; we have a tourism function. It’s interesting, Golden and area A do their tourismmarketing; Revelstoke and area B do their own.And the Shuswap-Sica- mous, Salmon Arm, and the four elec- toral Shuswap areas are marketed under ‘Tourism Shuswap.’As for economic development, Revelstoke and B do it together, as do Golden and A, and the four Shuswap electoral areas are on our own now because Sicamous has just withdrawn and formed their own corporation. But it’s not as confusing as it sounds.” In rural areas, people come to the Board with an issue they want addressed and it goes out for public consultation. If you want to, for instance, build a fire- hall, you have to go to the people for approval, and then the CSRD collects money in that service area, and people within that area continue to pay for that service.The beauty of a regional district is the ability to do partnerships. Columbia Shuswap Regional District and the Regional District of North Okana- gan have successfully concluded the purchase of a section of the CP Rail corridor that runs between Sicamous and Armstrong. In partnership with Splat- sin First Nations and their segments of the CP rail corridor, the land acquisition is intended to ensure public ownership of a key linear corridor to be used for recreational opportunities, including walking and cycling,while retaining the corridor for future transportation and economic development needs. Tourism is one of the District’s major economic drivers, picking up the slack from the diminished logging industry. It used to be just one season, then two, now they’re building on to the shoulder sea- sons to become a four-season destination. Rev- elstoke and Golden boast renowned ski hills, and people come from around the globe to hike on the trials in four fabulous National Parks.A non-prof- it group,“The Shuswap Trail Alliance,”has done a wonderful job building and maintaining the trails for many years.Transportation-wise, the Trans-Cana- da Highway runs through Columbia-Shuswap, ideal