Columbia Valley Pioneer staff

A number of complaints within the Regional District of East Kootenay last year have been filed and closed by the Ombudsperson of BC.

On May 10 the board reviewed the Ombudsperson quarterly report for October 1 to December 31, 2023. It highlights a couple of cases in Area E that were investigated and closed. One involved a slaughterhouse operating as a home-based business. 

Based on the evidence, the office identified that the RDEK had mistakenly permitted the slaughterhouse to operate as such, said Ombudsperson Jay Chalke. However, he noted the evidence did not support overturning the permit because the RDEK’s zoning bylaw allows for the butchering of animals as a principal use on the property. Chalke stated the slaughterhouse was compliant with legal requirements.

The other case was a complaint regarding an elk carcass on a public beach and a request that the RDEK remove it. But the government body declined, saying it wasn’t their jurisdiction.

The Ombudsperson noted that the Conservation Officer Services were subsequently contacted, but they too did not remove the carcass and gave the reasons why: the resources required to move the remains into the forest are prohibitive; a biologist performed a necropsy to ensure the carcass did not have any diseases; there are no large predators that would linger around the remains to pose a threat to humans; and the remains are food for other creatures and are beneficial to ecosystem health. The Ombudsperson added there is no health threat if the carcass becomes submerged in the water. The final decision was to let the remains decompose in place.

The quarterly report highlighted other complaint topics including bylaw enforcement, conflict of interest, fees and charges, business licensing, services, disagreement, discrimination, and procedure.