The Harrison Mills Regional Association is looking for new members

Residents band together in Harrison Mills

New association tackles wide ranging issues, including transit, earthquakes and cell service

A new community group hopes to become a “conduit” for discussions between Harrison Mills residents and neighbouring communities, while liaising with integral organizations.

The Harrison Mills Regional Association was formed this February, and has more than 60 members. Now, they are on a membership drive to boost their numbers and expand their community profile.

Already, the group has done some considerable work connecting members of the wide-reaching community.

For years, the area of Harrison Mills was experiencing many more power outages than the township of Agassiz. A few neighbours decided to find out why, and if it were possible to have the issue looked at by BC Hydro.

One of those neighbours was Al Roberts, who lives at Tapadera Estates.

The power company was willing to meet with the group of residents. And at a December 2010 meeting they provided plenty of information on how and why the outages were happening, Roberts said.

“As a result of this meeting, B.C. Hydro fast-tracked, improved and implemented a number of upgrades to the lines, poles and equipment, which also included the removal of 440 trees,” Roberts said.

It was a huge success, and the power outages are now “very, very minimal,” he added. The positive outcome spurred on the idea that even more could be addressed through the power of a collective group of residents.

“It followed logically that the area needed an organized voice at the grassroots level to liaise and present community needs to governing bodies, residents and businesses,” he said.

Roberts and several others set about creating the association, and its been up and running since February. The board of directors includes Roberts (projects director), Peter Bryant (Secretary/treasurer and communications), Mel Waardenburg (director of membership), William Wrinch and Chris Lepine.

They are incorporated under the B.C. Society’s Act, and have regular director’s meetings, and will have annual general meetings as required.

While they have a list of objectives, they also have a mandate to not become a politically-driven group.

Their main objective is to, as a group, help solve any local issues that arise, such as the power outage problems in the past.

They hope to address concerns of residents in Harrison Mills, but also in surrounding areas, continue liaising with B.C. Hydro, keep on top of developments with policing, fire protection, traffic, ambulance service, the environment and waste management, establish communications with other community groups, engage in dialogue with politicians, and provide input about future development of Harrison Mills.

They want to encompass the area from Mt. Woodside to Lake Errock, Kilby to Chehalis, and even up to Hemlock Valley.

Some of the key issues they’ve highlighted so far include public transportation, earthquake and emergency preparedness, and the lack of cell phone service throughout the area.

All board members are in favour of the installation of a cell phone tower, and believe other residents would be as well.

However, they are hoping to hear from more residents, and are inviting them to call Roberts to find out more about the association.

They’ve already held their first pub night, as a fundraiser to cover costs of the association. They also received a $1,000 grant from the FVRD through director Wendy Bales. Half of the grant is to help with start-up expenses, and the other half for an event such as a summer barbecue.

Roberts can be reached at 604-796-2372 or alrc@telus.net.