The province is releasing $50 million to school districts across the province to hire more teachers as part of the agreement reached with the BC Teachers’ Federation following a Supreme Court ruling that bargaining legislation imposed in 2002 was unconstitutional.

B.C. students will soon benefit from an agreement reached with the BCTF to provide school districts with $50 million to immediately begin hiring teachers and improve student supports, Education Minister Mike Bernier announced today.

The funding is for the 2016-17 school year and is equivalent to compensation for approximately 1,100 teachers. The actual number of teachers hired will be determined by districts, local unions, and the hiring process.

The priority measures, outlined in a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signed this week by the Province, the BC Public School Employers’ Association and the BCTF, are the first step in responding to the decision from the Supreme Court of Canada as negotiations continue on the restored collective agreement provisions.

The funding will go towards:

  • Hiring additional classroom teachers this school year where it is feasible to do so given current timetable, physical space and labour supply limitations.
  • Hiring additional specialty teachers this school year where it is feasible to do so. This includes, but is not limited to, teachers employed as special education teachers, speech language pathologists, behaviour intervention specialists, school psychologists, Aboriginal support teachers, counsellors including for mental health, ELL teachers, and teacher librarians.
  • Where it is not feasible to add additional teachers during the current school year, the funding may be used to fund district-level capacity building opportunities such as upgrading existing teacher qualifications during the 2016-17 year, teacher recruitment programs and teacher mentoring programs.

The priority measures MOA provides districts with the flexibility to work with their local teachers’ union to determine how best to use the funding to provide additional education services for students by hiring new teachers and specialist teachers.

The parties agreed in the last round of bargaining that they would reopen the agreement and negotiate from the restored contract provisions. The parties continue to meet and jointly review the old contract language as well as current district-level information on classrooms and composition. These negotiations will determine how to modernize the language so it reflects changes to classrooms that have taken place over the past 15 years.

Both sides are working collaboratively to ensure that the final agreement on the restored provisions will have a meaningful impact on student outcomes and working conditions for teachers into the future. In the meantime, the action announced by the B.C. government today is ensuring students benefit from enhanced learning environments now – while negotiations for a final agreement are underway.

The priority measures funding is in addition to the $5.1 billion invested in public education in B.C. which includes $100 million in the learning improvement fund that is already in place to help hire more teachers and education assistants.

The Gift of Gratitude


I ask you to pour yourself a nice glass of something wonderful, pull up  a chair, settle your mind and heart and, in a quiet and willing moment, settle yourselves in to watch this ten-minute video. It will change your day, and maybe even your life.

With warm love and a happy heart, this is my Christmas wish and gift to you. I am grateful beyond belief for this time, this gift of life, and every day with each one of you.


Gratitude | Louie Schwartzberg | TEDxSF




christmas music tomorrow!

Here We Come A-Wassailing: A Celebration of Christmas Music is happening tomorrow, Sunday, Dec.18th.


Two performances: 2:30 pm and 7 pm.  Both the band and the choir have been working hard to wish all you friends and neighbours a Merry Christmas through music.

The concerts are at Harrison Memorial Church on Crawford Creek Rd.  Admission is by donation with the proceeds going to a maintenance fund for the church building.

New Creston & District Co-op is Putting Your Money Where Your Life Is!




By Eden Yesh

In today’s interconnected world, it’s easy to see how your hard earned money can end up going towards projects and businesses all over the world. In 2013, tax filers in the Town of Creston alone contributed $4.4Million into their RRSP’s, much of that money leaving the valley and Canada to be put to work elsewhere in the world. Imagine what an impact we could have by re-directing just 5% of that money back into our communities? The idea of Community Impact Investing aims to do just that.

Community Impact Investing is the process of connecting local investors to local investment opportunities. An investment committee will screen local investment opportunities for risks and rewards, and bring their top choices to a group of local investors. While the demand for investing locally is increasing, the traditional investment options available to investors limit where they can invest. The result is that almost all local investment capital leaves our community and is invested into far off stock markets and corporations. An unintended consequence is that while our investments create significant jobs and wealth elsewhere in the world, the places we live, work and play are overlooked.

Kootenay Employment Services Society (KES) and a group of twenty regional stakeholders have been motivated by stories from around the world about local investment vehicles successfully meeting community needs. In particular, the group has been inspired by examples that have funded rural affordable housing, renewable energy and agri-food infrastructure – projects that can be extremely difficult to finance through traditional methods. Local investments tend to generate not only employment and economic activity, but also civic pride and new attitudes about local ability to drive positive community change.

The Creston & District Business Retention and Expansion Study (2016) revealed that just under half of businesses in our region plan to expand within 3 years, yet availability of financing was identified as a top barrier to business expansion. Over the past year KES staff, guided by the twenty regional stakeholders, completed a robust feasibility study and business plan to establish a local investment tool: The Creston & District Community Investment Co-op (CDCI CO-OP).

“The CDCI CO-OP aims to direct new, or pre-existing, investment capital from local residents into local businesses and projects and will service communities from Yahk to Riondel.” – says Eden Yesh, project coordinator.

The CDCI CO-OP is looking for a maximum of 150 Creston & District residents to become member/investors. An information session for East Shore residents will be held at the Crawford Bay Community Hall on Tuesday December 6th , from 6:00-8:00pm. This presentation will explain the CDCI CO-OP business model and the opportunity for local investors to become involved. Food and drinks will be provided and admission is free.

RSVP to the December 6th session at
or contact Eden Yesh at or 250-428-5655 ext. 401

All Ages Public Forum – Intergenerational Health and Happiness

Join Kathy Wade and Kacy MacKinnon, fourth-year nursing students at Selkirk College in Castlegar for this All Ages Public Forum to discuss Intergenerational Health and Happiness. – 3:30PM – 5:00PM on November 30th/2016 at the Crawford Bay School.

The two have been working in partnership with the East Shore Kootenay Lake Community Health Society to develop multi-generational programming on the East Shore. The purpose of this health initiative is to create and strengthen intergenerational relationships for all interested community members. Intergenerational relationships benefit the health and well being of all ages.
They will be hosting this event on November 30th at the Crawford Bay School performance space from 3:30-5:00pm. During the event they will be presenting key research findings and our ideas towards developing multigenerational programs. They will also discuss similar programs running in other communities and how they are successful.

The primary goal of this event is to gather insight, ideas and/or concerns from audience members, to best gauge their interests in developing an intergenerational program on the East Shore. Light snacks and beverages will be provided.

We encourage all community members, of all ages to attend on November 30th.

3:30PM – 5:00PM on November 30th/2016. 

Ferry Terminal to Remain in Balfour

 submitted by contributor for My Nelson Now

Image result for kootenay lake ferry balfour

The Ministry of Transportation has announced the western terminal of the Kootenay Lake ferry will remain in Balfour.

In a news release today, the ministry said it “will continue to do further work on the community’s preferred option, which is to retain the terminal at Balfour.”

“We presented options to the community, and residents of Balfour and the Queens Bay area overwhelmingly supported the terminal remaining in its present location,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone.

“We know there are challenges with keeping the terminal at Balfour. However, as a result of what we heard, we will focus on doing the technical analysis and work to retain the terminal at Balfour, including the potential dredging of the West Arm.”

The challenges that need to be addressed at the existing terminal include the narrow channel and shallow lakebed, the ministry said. In addition, safety improvements may have to be made at the terminal to eliminate conflicts between highway and ferry traffic. Further, to maintain the current service levels, the second vessel, the MV Balfour, will have to be replaced.

The ministry said it received more than 2,600 online and mailed submissions (survey questionnaires, emails and postcards) during the public consultation between June 15 and Oct. 6. In addition, over 300 people attended the open house at Redfish Elementary school on June 15. A summary of the consultation will be available this fall.

The ministry was trying to decide between moving the ferry terminal to Queens Bay or doing a major upgrade in Balfour. The move was opposed by Queens Bay residents and Balfour business owners, but supported by East Shore residents.

The Balfour ferry terminal has been in place since 1947.

Empire Coffee

Firefighter Calendar – Fill Your Stockings So They Can Fill Their Boots

Fill Your Stockings So They Can Fill Their Boots
RDCK Firefighters Appear in New Calendar

press release by RDCK
Regional District of Central Kootenay volunteer fire departments are showing off their assets in a new calendar for a good cause—to raise money for Muscular Dystrophy Canada.
“The calendar is a fun way to raise awareness of and money for this devastating disease while celebrating our hardworking and dedicated firefighters,” said Chief Andrew Bellerby, the RDCK’s regional fire chief.
The calendar features personnel from many of the RDCK’s 18 fire halls in a variety of scenarios and settings.
“Everyone had a great time contributing to this project,” said Chief Bellerby, who added that he hopes the calendar may inspire some residents to join the fire service.
“Our volunteers give so much to our communities and to charity,” said Bellerby. “They hold an annual Fill the Boot campaign to benefit Muscular Dystrophy Canada. This calendar will help with that fundraising effort.”
With the holiday season approaching, the calendar makes a great stocking stuffer. The calendars are available for purchase for $10 at any of the RDCK’s 18 fire halls or any RDCK office.

NDCC Pool Open Again!

Nelson, BC
Nelson Aquatic Centre Opened October 20

The highly anticipated opening of the Nelson and District Community Complex (NDCC) Aquatic Centre was at 6:30 am on October 20, with a grand opening celebration on Sunday, Oct 23, the RDCK announced.

“We are thrilled to welcome the public back to their facility,” said Valerie Warmington, chair of the Nelson and District Recreation Commission. “We are grateful to the public and user groups for their understanding and patience during the service interruptions and are confident that everyone will enjoy the changes to this community centre.”

The pool was completed last week with final tile being laid and the installation of the sauna wood walls and the 3-metre diving platform. The entire space was also cleaned in preparation for the public.

Renovations to the facility were initiated in April 2015 and included:

  • new deck, gutters, tank and deck tiles and water proofing membranes
  • new underwater lighting
  • a relocated lifeguard station for better staff access and supervision
  • new sauna and storage
  • new wall finishes
  • new mechanical systems and heat recovery
  • replacement of electrical panels and equipment
  • building envelope repairs
  • renewal of change areas including lockers, fixtures mechanical/chemical rooms with loading lift
  • improved pool access into the shallow end and a new bulkhead with a gate opening to the main pool
  • a new 3-metre dive platform
  • a re-contoured dive tank and new pool drains to meet current aquatic safety standards
  • ultraviolet light water treatment (will replace ozone as a secondary treatment and result in less airborne chlorine and odor)
  • new exhaust and gutter systems (which result in improved air quality throughout the facility)
  • repairs to water-damaged walls and the floor in the cardio room.

“Our pool is the first renovation project of its kind in British Columbia to incorporate tri-chloramine exhaust into the design,” said Joe Chirico, the RDCK’s general manager of community services. “This feature will improve air quality for our patrons.”
The $5.9 million project was helped by a $4.597 million federal Gas Tax Fund grant which enabled the RDCK not to borrow funds for the renovations.

“We expect that these upgrades will allow us to operate this important community facility for another 40 years,” said Marty Benson, recreation manager at the NDCC.


BC Rural Dividend – 25M to Assist Rural Communities

BC Rural Dividend – Province of British Columbia

BC Rural Dividend

Image of Various Rural Scenes

The Rural Dividend Program is open to applications from October 3 – 31, 2016.

Please note that a new online application form has been developed for the Rural Dividend. Some components of the online application form (i.e. council/board resolution) may require additional time and planning to complete.

The online application form only allows you to proceed through questions one section at a time. To see all questions, please download the Application Questions from the documents section of this page.

Program Overview

The BC Rural Dividend is providing $25 million a year over three years to assist rural communities with a population of 25,000 or less to reinvigorate and diversify their local economies. It was developed to recognize both the contribution rural communities have made to B.C.’s economy, and the unique challenges they face to diversify beyond natural resources.

The program will contribute to the strength and sustainability of small rural communities, making them more attractive places to live and work. The program is focused on supporting worthy projects that help rural communities navigate changes impacting their economies, such as attracting and retaining youth, using innovation to drive economic growth, and developing new and effective partnerships to support shared prosperity.

The program was developed in consultation with the Rural Advisory Council, made up of 13 members from across rural B.C. with a mandate to advise the government on how to best support rural prosperity and thriving rural communities across the province.

The Rural Dividend is administered by the B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.