New Denver council, September 6: Council supports keeping Enterprise Creek Road open

·5 min read

New Denver council agreed that lobbying to keep Enterprise Creek Forest Service Road open is worth the effort. The road provides access to Kokanee Glacier Park from Hwy 6 in the Slocan Valley, and is scheduled for deactivation after 2022. A motion passed to support the Friends of West Kootenay Parks and North Slocan Trails Society (NSTS) in their efforts to convince the Province to keep the road open.

A letter from NSTS President Mike Koolen asking council for its support says the road was closed in 2008 and 2009 due to debris flow damage following the Springer Creek fire, and that flooding in 2020 damaged the road in several places. However, the forest licencee has repaired the road in order to carry out its logging operations. Despite this, when the licencee is inactive, the road remains blocked to the public at the 5.5 kilometre mark. Koolen says the rationale for deactivating the road “seems to be a geotechnical report identifying potential debris flow hazards, but as this report is proprietary to the forest licencee, it is apparently not accessible to the public so it is difficult to understand the ongoing level of actual risk as the reason for closure.”

NSTS and FWKP have worked to maintain the two key trails into the park from Enterprise Creek Road since 2010, Koolen says, and this summer, while the road was open for silvicultural activities, volunteers from the two organizations spent many hours brushing and clearing the trails. Blue Grouse Trail begins 12 kilometres up Enterprise Creek Road.

“The NSTS strongly supports the FWKP case and both organizations would welcome the involvement of the Slocan Valley municipal and regional governments in pressing the Province to act on the very reasonable recommendations presented by the FWKP. More urgently, as this deactivation has significant recreational and economic implications for all Slocan Valley residents and communities, we ask that you lobby the Province to keep the Enterprise Creek Road to Kokanee Glacier Park open to public recreational access beyond 2022.”

The Village will submit letters to the Province and local MLAs on the issue, and will encourage other local governments in the Slocan Valley to do the same.

Variance approved for proposed seniors’ housing

A proposal from a local developer to build a four-unit seniors’ housing complex at 611 Union Street (Hwy 6), just south of Canco, was supported by council. Council approved a Development Variance Permit, allowing the rear setback to be reduced to 2.4 metres (8 feet) from 4.5 metres (14.8 feet) and the interior side setback where it abuts a residential zone to 3.6 metres (12 feet) from 4.5 metres (14.8 feet).

The proposed building is one storey, with four 575-square-foot units separated by privacy walls, each with its own parking space and small yard. The septic field would be placed to the east of the building, beside the highway.

One neighbour responded to the notice of the requested variance, expressing support for seniors’ housing but concerns about traffic and snow removal. A staff report notes that the building’s access from the highway is part of the private property and would be marked as such. “There is no intention to allow public access between Union Street and Kildare Street via the subject property at 611 Union Street,” says Community Planner Jessica Rayner in her report. She also says public works will remove snow from the laneway and dispose of it elsewhere.

Councillor Vern Gustafson recused himself from the discussion and vote on this item, as he is one of the property owners.

Heat pumps for Bosun Hall

The Village will apply for a Columbia Basin Trust Charge Up grant for a heat pump system at the Bosun Hall. Heat pumps will provide heating and air conditioning at the hall. The cost of the project is estimated at $50,000, and the Charge Up grant will cover 75% or $37,500. If the grant application is successful, the Village will make up the remaining $12,500 from the new Local Government Climate Action Program annual grant, expected to be more than $40,000 annually.

CAO Lisa Scott reported that she met with a LACE representative earlier this year about upgrading the heating/cooling system at the hall. In the past, LACE has asked the Village for a grant in aid to help pay the extraordinarily high hydro bills. The hall is currently heated with electric convection heaters and does not have air conditioning.

The hall is owned by the Village and operated by LACE, a local non-profit society.

Modular home variance approved

Council also approved a variance for owners of an Orchard property adjacent to Centennial Park, at 220 2nd Avenue. Although the minimum building width in New Denver is 18 feet, council is allowing a 14-foot-wide modular home on the property, with the additions of covered parking on one side and a deck on the other side. The modular home and covered parking area together measure 18 feet wide. The variance will be issued, subject to simultaneous building permit applications for the modular home, deck and covered parking area and to the construction of the deck and covered parking area being built within one year of placement of the modular home.

Community Planner Jessica Rayner says in her report on this that the owners explored a wider modular home, but shipping to New Denver via ferries and bridges in Castlegar was not possible.

One resident responded to the notice of the requested variance, noting that a “trailer park” image would certainly seem at odds with a village containing many heritage buildings and the most complete collection of WWII internment camp structures in Canada.”

Memorial bench approved

A bench in memory of Trevor and Sheila Harrop, to be installed on the lake side of Bellevue near 8th Avenue, was approved. The applicant (Catherine Griffiths) is responsible for all costs, and installation is completed by public works.

A staff report notes that there are already three other memorial benches on this side of Bellevue, and recommends that after this one for the Harrops, no more be approved in this area.

John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice