Kaslo council, August 23: Community plan ready for public review

·5 min read

The Village’s major planning process – the Official Community Plan – is in the approval stages.

Council gave first reading of the OCP bylaw, which sets out land use and community planning for the next decade or so.

First reading allows the document to be forwarded to other levels of government for review or comment, including the RDCK and Ktunaxa Nation.

“Giving first reading brings it out into the open as a public document,” explained Chief Administrative Officer Ian Dunlop.

Council was told first reading is just the formal beginning of the approval process. Second reading was scheduled for September 6. The public hearing will likely be held September 26, and final approval should be given at the September 27 council meeting.

“The OCP, as a long-range plan, puts the Village and future Council on a path that requires commitment to further planning studies, such as the Kaslo South area and waterfront planning, and expansion and improvement of services, such as sewer expansion and other infrastructure,” says a staff report. “The OCP does not bind the Village to spend money it does not have, but supports the Village’s future applications for related grants and helps guide future budgetary and financial plan decisions.”

Council also moved at the meeting to send letters of thanks to the community committee that helped develop the new bylaw.

Correction

In our Kaslo council coverage in the Valley Voice of August 25, we said Kaslo’s OCP suggested the Village could consider the purchase of potential industrial lands on the outskirts of town. The line should have read the Village could consider expanding its boundary to the south to include potential industrial lands.

Long-term care beds

The MLA representing Kaslo and area says she’s talking to the Ministry of Health and Interior Health about the need for more long-term care beds in the community. Nelson-Creston MLA Brittny Anderson’s constituency assistant, Sarah Wasilenkoff, was responding to a letter from the Village indicating that the latest census showed there was a growing need for more beds in the north Kootenay Lake area (see ‘Stats show Kaslo deserves more long-term care beds,’ Valley Voice, August 11, 2022, page 8).

In the letter, council asked a number of questions about how they could get action on their demand for more residential care in the community.

Wasilenkoff wrote that the MLA and her constituency office is working on the issue. She also shared some statistics recently received from Interior Health on the number of long-term care beds in communities around the region, “… but Kaslo was included in Nelson’s stats, so it may not be that useful to you,” she said.

Those stats showed that while Trail has 97 beds per 1,000 people over the age of 75, and Castlegar 74 beds per 1,000, the Nelson region (which includes Kaslo) has 64 per 1,000.

One councillor said he was very upset to see Kaslo lumped in with the larger centre.

“We are the Village of Kaslo; we are not associated with Nelson. Is that why we don’t get any help with our residential care, because they give it to Nelson and they think ‘that’s ok, they can get help there?’” asked Henry Van Mill. “We are in the boonies here, and there are communities we serve. I think we need to address this, that [the statistics] should not be done like this.”

Mayor Suzan Hewat said while the statistics situation was unacceptable, it was a side point to the issue, and the MLA’s letter wasn’t the place to raise the concern.

“MLA Anderson will reach out, and we’ll probably have her come and meet with the Health Select Committee,” she responded.

Van Mill asked that the issue be included for debate in a future council meeting.

Community forest stays put

The Village will extend the lease for some land up at the aerodrome for the Kaslo & District Community Forest Society to use for its operations. The society has requested a five-year extension to its Temporary Licence of Occupation, which expires in September 2022. They’ll use the land for equipment storage and to do some firewood processing. They’ll pay $520 for the first year of the TLO, which will increase by $10 each following year.

Procedures bylaw

Some of the rules governing how council is run are going to change. Council gave first two readings to a new procedures bylaw setting out the changes.

The bylaw establishes how, when, and where councillors meet and the style of agendas they follow. It sets out rules for delegations, public notifications and question period.

The new bylaw adopts to the digital age as well, allowing meetings to be held virtually, if certain protocols are followed – like ensuring at least the chair and a staffperson is present in person at virtual meetings, and the public has access to those meetings.

And the refreshed bylaw cleans up some problems – like making the start time for meetings 6 pm. It’s what council’s been doing for years, but the current bylaw says meetings are to start at 7 pm.

One of the biggest changes is that people will have to get any petitions or requests for the next council meeting to staff a day earlier. The bylaw makes the council meeting agenda deadline Tuesday instead of Wednesday.

“Right now, if something comes in at the end of the day Wednesday, that gives us Thursday as the only day to prepare everything and get something out to council for Friday morning,” said Corporate Officer Catherine Allaway. “It’s really tight and I think we have been managing it pretty well, but we notice some items might benefit from public works or the fire chief or some other person weighing in… by adding the extra day it will give us time to gather the information… in a timely way.”

Council approved first two readings. A public hearing will be held before final approval.

John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice