A regional conservation fund to help with environmental projects has moved a step closer to fruition.
The electoral area advisory committee (EAAC) will recommend to the Regional District of North Okanagan board approving the creation of a fund.
“We will try to encourage the municipalities to join in,” said Herman Halvorson, EAAC chairperson.
A conservation fund is a local government service funded through a dedicated tax or fee, held or overseen by the local government, and earmarked for a specific purpose of undertaking projects that support environmental conservation and community sustainability.
EAAC directors were given three possible funding scenarios for the fund.
Involving only the electoral areas, residents there could be taxed either one-, two- or four cents per $1,000 of taxable land and improvements.
One cent would collect $39,000 and cost $3.58 per year for the average residential property assessed at $358,000.
At four cents per $1,000, $156,000 would be collected and cost residents $14.32 yearly.
Directors are recommending scenario two: two cents per $1,000 which would mean $78,000 in revenue and cost taxpayers $7.16.
If all municipal partners and electoral areas are included, then $201,000 at $4.05 year would be collected on one cent; $402,000 at $8.10 for two cents; and $804,000 at $16.20 for four cents.
“This fund is important because it will help us keep the environment clean,” said Halvorson, who has put out his own money to clean up an area near Hidden Lake rife with garbage. He has also removed dumped mattresses and other items from the environment.
“We could also use the funds for conservation officers to do lake and river patrols,” he said.
Conservation funds give people the opportunity to support local conservation goals, and gives residents the chance to invest in protecting the environment, preserving natural areas and creating a legacy of community health and sustainability.
Three regional districts in B.C. have established a regional conservation fund: Okanagan-Similkameen, Central Kootenay and East Kootenay.