By Steve Hubrecht

District of Invermere staff presented Invermere council members with an updated strategic priorities chart at the most recent council meeting.

The chart divided the priorities into three categories: now priorities (most pressing), next priorities (to be tackled after the now priorities), and advocacy priorities.

The four ‘now priorities’ were listed in order of importance and given timelines. The top of these is the 13th Avenue sewer replacement project, which will begin this summer and work on which is expected to last until 2023. The second ‘now’ priority is to update Althalmer planning policies and to finish a memorandum of understanding with the provincial government about the district taking over James Chabot Provincial Park from the government, as well as completing an assessment of the park. The outlined timeline for this priority envisions it complete by this summer. The third ‘now’ priority is to conduct research and create policies related to attainable housing, including deadline with short-term rentals (STRS), and the timeline for this ongoing. The fourth and final ‘now’ priority, set with a timeline of this spring, is to — collaboratively with the Shuswap Indian Band — recruit a facilitator under the Community Economic Development (CEDI) initiative that aims to foster partnerships between local municipalities and neighbouring First Nations.

Invermere’s ‘next’ priorities include creating a draft subdivision servicing bylaw, determining the future of the old community hall, finding an operator for the community garden, figuring out the next steps for organic waste diversion, and making a land decision on the Rotary ball diamond.

Advocacy priorities for the district include following up with the federal and provincial government about a plastic bag ban bylaw, with CP Rail about a potential waterfront trail, with the federal and provincial government about financing for the second phase (which is a second building) of the Columbia Valley Centre, with Interior Health about local medical services, with the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) about funding for the Athalmer boat launch, with CEDI and the Shuswap Indian Band about their ongoing economic development partnership, and with the Lake Windermere Ambassadors about lake and river health.