Kaslo council, April 12: Jazz fest and heritage horn complaints

·8 min read

Council’s public meeting began an hour later than usual, as councillors held an in camera session with the auditor about the state of the municipality’s finances. No mention was made of the auditor’s report when council returned to public session.

All that Jazz Festival

Council passed more than a dozen motions to facilitate the Jazz Fest.

While council cleared most of the path for the festival to take place, a few items were deferred. Council won’t talk about the idea of a three-year lease of the park space until they see how this year’s event transpires; it wants more information before it approves a liquor licence for the event; the boat ramp, which the festival wanted closed, will remain open for public safety reasons; it won’t be granted exclusive rights to parking on the old Esso lands downtown; and approval of toilet rentals has to wait until an overall camping plan is submitted.

All the licences, permits and permissions will cost the festival around $5,000, so far. More charges may be added as plans firm up.

Ice edger for the arena

The board that oversees the Kaslo Arena has found another use for a charitable donation it received last year. A new gas-powered ice edger will be purchased with funds from the Murray Pearson donation to the arena reserve fund.

Pearson, who died in 2020, spent a lifetime promoting sports and recreation, and left a bequest for use at the arena.

About $4,535 will be withdrawn from the arena reserve, where his donation is kept, for the ice edger, once the board also receives the approval of Area D Director Aimee Watson. The RDCK co-funds the arena.

That’s the second big purchase made with Pearson’s gift. A new scoreboard is also on its way to the arena thanks to his generosity.

Questioning CSLAC

A motion to allow another Village to leave a committee of the Regional District of Central Kootenay had Kaslo councillors wondering if they shouldn’t follow suit.

The Village of Salmo wants to leave the Community Sustainable Living Advisory Committee, a group that develops policy and programs for the regional government. Salmo’s mayor said they don’t think Salmo is getting value for its money. Area K has also applied to leave the service (see ‘Value of RDCK sustainability service questioned,’ Valley Voice, March 10, 2022). All participants of the service have to approve the request to leave the committee, as it impacts them all financially.

It didn’t take long for Kaslo councillors to think about joining the exodus. After supporting Salmo’s decision in a formal vote, Councillor Henry Van Mill pointed out that left Kaslo and Silverton the sole Villages still on the committee.

“I can’t see the value in this,” he said after the vote. “With the costs going up these days, do we need it? I see no benefit, so I would like to make a recommendation we also withdraw.”

But Mayor Hewat was having none of that.

“I think in all fairness council needs to have a presentation from staff in order to make an informed decision,” she said. “And if after you hear the presentation, that is the choice of council, then certainly.”

A motion was made to have RDCK staff come to council to talk about CSLAC and what it does – though it’s not on council’s front burner.

“We don’t know when that could be. It could be a little while,” noted Hewat.

The Village provides about $5,800 annually for the CSLAC service.

Playing ball, with insurance

Kids will be heading out to the diamond this spring, thanks to the Village cutting a deal to get the local baseball association on the municipal insurance plan.

The Kaslo Baseball & Softball Association has been delivering youth and adult programming in Murray Pearson Ball Park for some time, but is facing “a tight insurance market” with few affordable options available, a report from staff to council said.

However, as an associate member of the Municipal Insurance Association of BC, the Village can get the KBSA under their insurance coverage at a much lower cost.

The arrangement will be for one year, and if it works for all involved, “the agreement can be revised for a perpetual term,” says the report. The baseball group will be responsible for the cost of all premiums and deductibles.

Also in the service agreement council signed is a provision to let the association use the Murray Pearson Ball Park four days a week without paying the regular rental fee. However, fees will still apply for tournaments involving out-of-town teams.

Have your say on summer patios

The Village’s corporate officer will be tasked with collecting public input to two liquor licence applications coming up for approval.

The Angry Hen and Kaslo Hotel have submitted applications to the provincial Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB) for permanent expansions of their licensed facilities and the applications have been referred to the Village for comment.

Corporate Officer Catherine Allaway will collect information from the public over the next few weeks. Her report will come to the May 24 meeting of council for review, then sent to the LCRB on behalf of the Village.

Front Street Park stage ramp

The new stage at Front Street Park has to be made accessible. With construction of the structure almost complete, the Village has to ensure everyone can have access to the facility. Blackburn Construction and Arcright Plumbing & Heating will be given $22,000 to build a ramp and railing at the rear of the structure.

Despite the last-minute adjustment to the design, the project remains under budget, having spent $381,264 of the $580,841 estimate. There’s still the perimeter and fencing to be built.

Noise pollution from paddlewheeler?

For many residents and visitors to Kaslo, the daily sounding of the horn of the SS Moyie harkens back to the days of paddlewheelers and prospectors a century ago. But not for Maureen and Doug Broadfoot, a couple who retired to the village three years ago.

“Over the years it has had a negative impact on the enjoyment of our property in a tranquil lake setting, especially with increased tourism in Kaslo,” they wrote in a letter to council.

“We routinely witness many startled tourists who are not expecting to hear such a loud noise in this environment, including my elderly sister who tripped off the sidewalk and injured her ankle.”

The couple noted the daily whistle violates the town’s own noise bylaw, which staff acknowledged in a report.

“Bylaw 1079 prohibits, in general terms, noise that is liable to disturb the quiet, peace, rest, enjoyment, comfort or convenience of individuals or the public,” says a report. “Several exemptions exist but none clearly apply to the horn of the SS Moyie.”

Though this was the first complaint staff could find, council has to follow its own bylaws. Staff said council could either order the horn silenced, or amend the bylaw to allow the daily sounding. They voted to have staff amend the bylaw.

Council interacts with art

A beautiful sculpture of an owl will soon adorn Legacy Park in the village. Council approved a recommendation by the Village’s Parks, Trails and Public Art Committee to rent the work called ‘Interaction’ by Castlegar sculptor Lynn Van Pelt later this year.

Her work will replace ‘White Sturgeon’ by Kevin Kratz, which is currently installed in the park.

Both pieces were entrants into the Castlegar Sculpturewalk, an annual event that attracts sculptors from around the world.

Firesmart work

More work will be done this spring and summer creating fire breaks around the village to protect from wildfires.

The Village has contracted with West Arm Silviculture to do $61,000 of clearing in three specific areas around the village’s perimeter.

“Funding has now been received through the UBCM Community Resiliency Investment (CRI) Program to complete this work,” said a staff report, noting that the grant covers 100% of the cost.

The work this summer will finish off a clearing program begun last year.

New trailhead

Council approved a plan to create a new trailhead for the True Blue Trail near the airport. The Kaslo Outdoor Recreation and Trails Society (KORTS) will relocate the trailhead at the western end of the airstrip.

“The decision to move the trailhead is being considered because of concerns that its current location could have negative impacts on private drinking water sources,” says a staff report. “The proposed siting mitigates these risks and has been reviewed by staff.”

The work performed by KORTS is done at no cost to the Village, beyond annual insurance premiums of $250, although the organization does sometimes receive municipal grants.

The report also said that additional snow plowing for improved winter access would be required, but it won’t be part of the Village’s priority clearing sites.

John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice

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