Kaslo council, August 9: Active Transportation Plan to be pursued

·4 min read

Discussion about a wildfire to the west of Kaslo kicked off the August 9 meeting of council, with elected officials asking staff about evacuation plans for the community should the fire threaten the town. But since much of that is the responsibility of the regional government, staff had no details on their plans. The discussion was moved over to an internal committee of council.

Active transportation plan

Council gave the go-ahead for staff to apply for a federal grant to develop an Active Transportation Network Plan (ATNP) – to encourage residents to do more walking, biking, and other forms of human-powered transportation.

By developing an overall plan that identifies improvements to roads, sidewalks, and trails in the area, the Village can make itself eligible for hundreds of thousands of dollars to make those plans a reality.

“The ATNP will identify the infrastructure that Kaslo residents require for safer walking, cycling and use of mobility devices and strategies to encourage human-powered transportation in the community,” says a staff report. “Projects that address gaps identified in the ATNP will be eligible for infrastructure funding in future intakes of the program.”

The planning grant will cover hiring a consultant to conduct community consultation and develop grant-ready plans for transportation improvements based on that feedback and council’s direction.

The project won’t kick in until 2023. The grant application for the plan will come before council before it is submitted.

Gimme shelter

The Village will construct a new shed to protect its heavy equipment from the weather. Council approved a plan to spend $75,000 to build a timber-frame shed using locally sourced wood.

“The Village’s heavy equipment is stored outside and is exposed to the elements,” notes a staff report. “The utility bucket truck is particularly sensitive to sun and inclement weather, causing degradation to its hydraulic systems.”

The unheated structure will have three 12’ x 38’ bays that will house some of the Village’s biggest equipment.

The building, from Lardeau Valley Forest Products and Timber to Truss Timberframing, comes as a kit, and Village work crews can help build the structure, reducing costs.

The shed will be in the public works yard at the side of the existing works building.

Council had approved the project in its 2022 budget at a cost of $30,000, but spiralling costs forced a rethink of the project, and an increase to the budget allocation. The extra cost will be covered by COVID recovery funds or budget surplus accounts.

Boulevard blues

The Village is going to review its policies on the public using boulevards (the strip of green space along the side of a road) after receiving a letter from a concerned citizen.

“For some time, it has been bothering me that many Village boulevards are being used for the storage of personal belongings, contrary to what I believe is the purpose of boulevards,” wrote Stephen Fawcett. “It detracts from the appearance of the village.”

Fawcett concluded by calling on the Village to develop bylaws to protect boulevards for the public good.

The letter got a nod of support from Councillor Henry Van Mill.

“I totally agree with Mr. Fawcett,” he said, adding he wanted action on it quickly. “I really think we should act on it before winter. It is very hard for crews to clean them… we need them clear for ease of maintenance. People need to get stuff off of them.”

Councillor Rob Lang said the issue had come up in the past and he was sure there was some policy developed years ago. Staff said they would research the matter and get back to council with a report.

Election arrangements

The Village will manage the voting for a local school trustee for School District 8 as well as for mayor and council members during this fall’s municipal elections.

The Village has entered into an agreement with the school district to ensure ballots are printed up and available at polling stations, and the vote is conducted according to the rules. The school district will cover their portion of the costs for the service.

If a candidate is acclaimed and there’s no local vote for a trustee, SD 8 won’t be charged anything for the election.

Village governments are obliged to manage school board elections in their area, if requested, under provincial law.

Council approved the plan presented by the corporate officer, who’ll also be the election returning officer for Kaslo. Voters across the province go to the polls October 15 to elect mayors, councils, and school trustees.

John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice