Mayor Suzan Hewat opened the meeting of council by recognizing a woman being awarded a medal for bravery.
Mikenna Hansen was a true local hero, she said, and was being recognized with a Red Cross Rescuer Award for her actions in the summer of 2018 in saving the lives of Marsha and Emma Gillies.
“On a beautiful day that summer, Marsha was enjoying the beach with her grandchildren. She was out on the water with her granddaughter when she realized they were farther out than they realized,” the mayor recounted. “They were having trouble due to the choppy water, and this is where Mikenna jumped into action.
“She swam out to assist with getting Marsha’s granddaughter back to shore. Meanwhile, Marsha continued to struggle, so Mikenna swam out again to assist her.” “It was later discovered Marsha had suffered a mild heart attack, and if McKenna hadn’t been there, the pair likely would have drowned,” said Hewat.
Hansen will be honoured for her bravery in a virtual ceremony in August. The Red Cross Rescuer award acknowledges non-professional rescuers and off-duty first responders who go out of their way to save a life.
Hewat passed on council’s congratulations to Hansen.
Baseball association makes pitch
Jo Davie and Matt Brown of the Kaslo Baseball Association told council that the association had an 8’ x 8’ storage shed it wanted to place by the ball field to store equipment for diamond maintenance. The association just completed a big renovation of the field last year, and having the equipment handy would help keep that investment in good shape.
Council approved the request later in the meeting, on condition that the club get the okay from Village staff on the shed’s placement.
The association has more improvements for the facility in mind – building a batting cage, extending the infield play area with shale rock, getting the concession stand up and running – and will meet with Village staff to plan next steps.
Dike project to go ahead this fall
The Village’s Kaslo River Dike project got a welcome break after a year of planning and negotiating with federal authorities. CAO Ian Dunlop told council they had received a “letter of advice” from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans outlining how to mitigate damage to fish habitat. That means DFO will allow the Village to proceed with the project to repair and refurbish areas where the river is eroding its banks, despite the potential impact on fish habitat. That means the project won’t have to undergo a full-scale formal review.
“This is much better than having to go through the formal authorization process which would have added additional months to the approvals,” Dunlop told councillors. “So we’ll be able to go ahead this fall.”
• Council may go a step further than a request from the public for a ‘children at play’ sign near the skateboard park at 1st Street and E Avenue. On Councillor Henry Van Mill’s suggestion, council decided to look into the idea of turning the area into a ‘playground zone’.
“It’s a little more tangible, a little more serious,” he noted. “If you get caught speeding, you better watch out, because it will cost you.”
Council liked the proposal, but asked staff to investigate options for making the area safer.
• The Kaslo and District Chamber of Commerce received a $3,000 grant-in-aid from the Village, part of their regular annual support. The money is usually used for May Day celebrations (which didn’t happen this year because of COVID), for Christmas Light Up, event insurance, and advertising. Because May Days was cancelled, the chamber is only receiving part of the $7,500 they usually get.
• Council approved a motion to move a project along that would see a new heritage mural on the side of the Kaslo Community Pharmacy building. ArtScape is a multi-year project of the Chamber of Commerce that aims to bring art to the community on a large scale, supporting local artists and creating a unique tourism opportunity.
The Heritage Design Review Committee will ensure the work meets the town’s heritage design standards and will make a recommendation to council for the final approval of the mural.
• The Storywalk is coming to town. The project, created by the Kootenay Gambling Support group, is called ‘Frank’s Facebook Fiasco’ and explores the use of social media and our relationship with that technology. The story is told through 20 lawn signs placed along a path, and is meant for viewers of all ages.
“Our motivation for providing this activity is to support healthy communities,” wrote Vanessa Lozecznik. “We recognize that many of the attributes imbedded in social media and gaming are replicated in gambling. We know that by promoting critical thinking, self-regulation, and healthy behaviours, folks are less likely to develop dependencies with gambling, gaming and social media.”
Council approved the placement of signs along the waterfront for one week during the event.
• Periwinkle Daycare asked for council’s permission to expand the size of its operation to allow for 20 children, instead of the current 12. It’s part of the daycare’s expansion and improvement plans for the Village-owned building. Council heartily endorsed the idea.
John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice