Kaslo council, November 24: Youth delegate approved, COVID cash tops up Village coffers

·4 min read

• Kaslo City Hall is closed to public walk-in traffic under the new COVID orders issued by Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry. The public is asked to call ahead, as all meetings are by appointment only. Masks will be required in all public and common areas in municipal offices as long as the health order is in effect, which is currently until December 7.

• The Village will receive $480,000 from the provincial government’s COVID-19 Safe Restart to help with funding shortfalls caused by the pandemic, and related projects over the next few years. How the money will be spent will be decided in the coming months, during the 2021 budget planning and community consultation cycle.

• There may be a new face at Village council meetings in the new year. Council has approved a plan to add a ‘youth council member’ to the group. The position will be open to a Grade 11 or 12 student at JV Humphries school in Kaslo, who will be appointed by council for a term from September to June. This year, the appointment would be from January to June. The appointment is for a year, but can be extended at the participant’s request (and with the approval of council). While the student member of council cannot introduce, second, or vote on motions, or count as part of the quorum, they will be welcome to take part in discussion. The youth will also be encouraged to take part in the annual Youth Parliament in Victoria as Kaslo’s representative. The delegate’s expenses for that trip would be covered by the Village, but they would not be eligible for other per diems or expenses connected to their participation on council. Staff will be forwarding details of the motion to JV Humphries to encourage students to apply.

• The Village is setting up a system to enable it to collect donations for the new Kaslo Community Library. Councillors approved a motion to create a ‘Library Capital Reserve’ to assist in fundraising for the new community facility.

“The fund will be called the Library Capital Reserve Fund, so Council could not, on a whim at some time in future, change the fund for another purpose,” the council report reads.

Money in the fund can only go towards buying the land, planning, development and construction of the new library.

The land for the building, on Fifth Ave, was purchased earlier this fall with the help of a $180,000 grant from the Columbia Basin Trust. The Kaslo and District Public Library will be raising $120,000 for its share of the lot purchased.

“The Village is covering the amount in the short term until the funds are raised,” a report to council reads. “The KDPL also intends to raise funds and pursue grants towards construction costs.”

The Village has applied for an Invest Canada Infrastructure Grant that could cover 73.3% of the construction costs.

• The Village has reworked its plans for the Kaslo River Dike Project. The flood mitigation and riverbank repair work was expected to start last year, and the Village received $304,000 from the Union of BC Municipalities to pay for the work. However, “we received word from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in August, 2020 that the approval process will involve an authorization from their department, which could take months,” a report to council indicates. The Village has submitted a revised application to UBCM for the original project, and a second application for work to complete the job. The work will now see four of the six identified work sites tackled in a first phase, and two sites covered in the second. The second phase is budgeted at $146,000.

• Council meetings will be starting an hour earlier in the new year. Council approved a new meeting schedule that includes a 6 pm start time for both the Committee of the Whole and regular council meetings

• Councillors approved the list of the boards each will be sitting on, representing the Village’s interests. Each councillor has at least a half-dozen boards they take part on regularly, including the library, housing society, Chamber of Commerce, and Historical Society.

John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice