New Denver Council, Dec. 13: Spark in the Dark to light up the village January 28

The Spark in the Dark Lantern Festival will take place January 28 this year. The parade will begin at the Kohan Garden, flow through the orchard, across the bridge, down Slocan Avenue to the Bosun Hall, where there will be music, food and entertainment.

The Spark Team – Rosalie Bird, Leanne Fulton and Roni Jurgensen – presented to council a short video featuring the first Spark in the Dark Lantern Festival, held in January last year. The film, produced by local videographer Isaac Carter, highlighted the magical feeling created by the lanterns, and the delight and creativity of people of all ages. Last year, the Spark Team and the Slocan Lake Arts Council sponsored three lantern making workshops at Knox Hall in the weeks leading up to the event. These workshops are being held again this year.

The Spark Team thanked the Village of New Denver for their support, which includes a $945 grant-in-aid for the rental of Knox Hall for this year’s workshops, in-kind contributions of staff time, traffic control by the fire department, and the loan of three fire pits. Mayor Leonard Casley and councillors thanked the Spark Team and SLAC for their work on this very successful community building event.

Loan authorized for well project

If the Village’s funding application for Phase Two of the well relocation project is denied this spring, the project will still go ahead with borrowed funds. Council adopted the bylaw authorizing a loan of almost $1.2 million for the project. If the Village ends up borrowing the funds, repayment will happen over 25 years through an increase to utility bills.

Phase One of the project – drilling the two new wells – is ongoing. Phase Two includes building a new pumphouse, installing water lines and decommissioning the old wells.

Water and garbage rates going up

Water rates are going up 5% this year and next, from $359 last year to $377 this year and $396 next year (per residence). CAO Scott reported that an analysis of the rates and budget showed the 10% increase over two years would be necessary to sustain service standards and future capital planning. The increase results in $8,900 more revenue per year for the Village.

Garbage rates are rising 10% this year, from $164 to $180 per residence, to offset the 10% increase in tipping fees at the Rosebery transfer station. This will bring in another $8,000 for the Village. Scott reported that there will probably be other extra expenses this year, as well, such as repairs to the garbage truck. Staff recommended holding off on setting rates for future years until the Solid Waste Study is completed.

Water and garbage rates have not been increased since 2019.

Possible funding for House of Joyful Tidings

A possible funding source has been identified for the project to restore the historic House of Joyful Tidings building for use as the campground attendant’s office and accommodation at Centennial Campground. The Village will submit an Expression of Interest to the Destination Development Fund for the project. If the EOI is successful, the Village will be invited to the next stage of the application process by January 6.

Carpenter Creek flood mapping

The Village will apply for funding to develop current flood maps for the portion of Carpenter Creek that is within the municipality. As the funding program encourages regional projects, staff will invite the Village of Silverton to collaborate, to also develop flood mapping for the portion of Silverton Creek that is within the Village of Silverton. The grant is available through the Community Emergency Preparedness Fund, administered by the Union of BC Municipalities.

Nikkei Centre

The Nikkei Internment Memorial Centre will have its own reserve fund for preservation, maintenance and restoration projects. Council adopted the bylaw establishing the reserve fund.

Council also authorized an application for a co-op student from the UBC Master’s of Library and Information Studies program. If the application is successful, the graduate student would begin the proper storage, cataloguing and deaccessioning of the NIMC collection as the new archives building comes online.

Applications will also go in to the Canada Summer Jobs and the Young Canada Works in Heritage Organizations programs for summer students at the Nikkei Centre this season.

Downtown revitalization

A downtown revitalization plan may be in the offing. The Village will apply for funding from the new Rural Economic Diversification and Infrastructure Program (REDIP) for the plan.

Margaret Scaia, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice