Columbia Shuswap Regional District Area A director Karen Cathcart was elected the board of directors in 2014 and acclaimed in subsequent municipal elections.
“I think it’s a mix of me doing OK, but I think many people don’t want the job,” she says of the time and hard work required to represent her constituents. “One of the best things is getting to meet people to talk to them about their projects and work with the CSRD to move them forward.”
Cathcart says the biggest project and success story of not only 2022, but to date, is the new $35 million Indoor Aquatic Centre to be located in Golden.
“It is the largest regional district project they’ve ever had and we’re working hard to raise $17 million,” she says, noting voters provided a clear mandate to proceed with the project in the October election. “When you have 72 per cent voting to move the project forward, that is one of the biggest accomplishments.”
Over the past year, Cathcart has been working with groups on many projects, including the community forest project, which she says is well on its way.
Air quality for Area A and Golden is a big concern, with the need to find better ways to mitigate burning.
“Our topography is not conducive to good air quality,” she says. “It is important to educate people on the proper way to burn?
In terms of forest industry slash burns, Cathcart questions if chipping might be a better option than burning, or if outdoor burning regulations need to be changed. She says a committee of all levels of government is looking to find a solution that works for Golden and Area A.
“It’s also important to keep an eye on our water,” she says, noting that for the first time, constituents have told her they have run out of water. “As climate change continues, and it’s not gonna go away, we need to pay attention to what happens to our water.”
Cathcart wonders what is happening with local aquifers and stresses the importance of having good data in order to make right decisions.
“These are messages we need to pay attention to and decide what is it we need to consider.”
With her eyes on 2023 and beyond, Cathcart will continue to try to educate people on local government, what it is and what it is not, and on the importance of planning.”
I am not opposed to development, but having a vision is critical.
Cathcart plans to continue to work with the Town of Golden and support both of the local governments through shared projects.