Kaslo council, August 24: Money for library, water system, youth

·5 min read

Library development

The next stage in the development of a new, multi-million-dollar library for the community is underway. The Kaslo and District Library board asked council to draw from the project’s reserve fund to allow them to start detailed design work and develop more accurate cost estimates for the project.

“To have a better chance of success in a future intake, detailed design drawings and a class B cost estimate would be ideal,” staff advised council in a report. “Having these shows the grant funder that the project has been well thought out and has less risk of cost overruns and delays.”

The cost of drawing up the detailed design is unknown at this time, the report says, and the total cost depends on whether professionals in structural, energy and mechanical engineering will be needed in addition to architects and a quantity surveyor.

To free up the money requires a resolution of council and the written consent of the library board. While the library board has given its written consent to council for the withdrawal, the request has to be for a specific amount.

That request “should be based on a quote, proposal, or budget for the work” the staff report continues. They also recommended the library committee apply for matching grants from other agencies to put the money to best use.

Calling the request “premature,” staff still recommended council approve it, once they get an estimate.

Council passed a motion directing the Library Building Committee to report back with a budget for the project.

KLIC gets rent break

Kaslo’s high-tech workspace and development hub experiment is getting a break from the Village for its space in the Kemball building.

The Kootenay Lake Innovation Centre (KLIC) currently rents two rooms in the historic building, and has access to other unrented space, including the old courtroom. The group asked council if that arrangement could continue until they have sufficient membership or sublets to afford formal expansion in the building.

While it hopes to attract new high-tech ‘digital nomads’ and entrepreneurs to the area using the region’s world-class internet connections as a drawing card, the shared workspace concept has suffered during the pandemic. The historic building is also in need of upgrades for the digital age – like air conditioning.

Council is generally forbidden to support any one particular business, but the business co‐work/incubator centre is a non-profit society that pays rents at the normal rates. And the co-space experiment is seen as a priority in the Village’s strategic plan.

Council gave its okay to the plan, and KLIC can use the former courtroom as a shared space rent-free until the end of the year.

A Avenue update

Council is still waiting for the results of a study to see if an aging water pipe can be given new life with a clever new repair technology.

The 70-year-old A Avenue watermain connects downtown Kaslo to the Village’s water distribution system, and is well past its functional life. It leaks badly.

But the Village has had no luck scoring infrastructure grants to pay for the $640,000 project. That’s why when they heard of a technique called pipe lining, and how it could save up to 70% of the cost of replacement, they decided to investigate.

The system inserts a long uninflated balloon of sorts into the pipe, then allows it to expand. The new inner lining seals old pipe.

But an inspection has to be done first to see if the new lining technology will work with the very decayed pipe. The engineering firm hired by the Village to oversee the project is now trying to get a camera survey done, council heard.

If the technique won’t work, council will have to do it the old-fashioned way. Then they’ll have to decide to use up most of two large reserve funds (water reserve and gas tax funds) to pay for the project, or borrow money and cover it with new taxes.

Those decisions are still down the road.

New digs for youth

The Kaslo and Area Youth Council is going to get support for moving into a new location – the current Jazz Fest office. Council approved a $4,000 application to the Community Development Grant fund of the RDCK to help them move. The work will “ensure proper safety and visibility for our youth services and programs offered by North Kootenay Lake Community Services, Kaslo Youth Centre and Freedom Quest Youth Services,” the application says. The money will be used to tear down and rebuild some walls in their new space, install plumbing for a kitchen area, install kitchen cabinets and other improvements.

KAYC’s new landlord wrote a letter of support, said she had offered a long-term lease and pledged to match any funds raised by the group from the CDF grant.

“I think the location is ideal – keeping our youth right in the center of our village where I hope they will feel seen, heard and an important part of our community,” said Rhonda Ruston.

The RDCK board will likely give the application its pro-forma approval at its September meeting.

New pumps for water system

If a pump at the Village’s water treatment plant goes down, staff want to make sure they don’t have to wait months for a replacement.

Two pumps at the plant are reaching the end of their service life, staff reported to council. If they go down, the Village could find itself in big trouble.

“There is currently a three- to four-month lead time on manufacture and delivery of new pumps,” the report to council says. “The pumps are essential to the operation of the filtration system…”

Better to have the backups on order now, in case something goes wrong, staff recommended. Council voted to approve spending $29,850 for the new pumps.

John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice

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