New officer on duty
Kaslo’s council meeting opened with a delegation from the local RCMP detachment.
Corporal Harland Venema just began his tour of duty in Kaslo, after a stint in the armed forces, and RCMP detachments in BC, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.
The officer said he was impressed by Kaslo’s low crime rates.
“You have a very non-violent community,” he told councillors in his comments about the latest quarterly crime statistics for the town. However, he said he has no time for any level of physical or mental abuse.
He said he was surprised by the level of mental health support services available in Kaslo, calling them “fantastic” and promising to work closely with agencies.
Venema said he is learning quickly that the Kaslo detachment has a pretty big footprint, from Balfour to Johnson’s Landing and beyond.
“Most of our calls for service seem to be at the extremities,” he told councillors. “One day I only took three files, which is not a heavy load, but I drove almost 400 kilometers to go to all the calls I had to.”
Council welcomed Venema to the community and encouraged him to meet with Village staff to discuss the details of some issues of particular concern to the municipality.
Zincton input tabled
Council was to meet this week to discuss its input on the Zincton all-seasons resort proposal. The Province has invited the Village to participate in the public input process, underway until November 23. Councillors decided to hold a special meeting on November 16 to discuss the issue.
CAO reports on projects
The new washrooms at Front Street Park are open, reported CAO Ian Dunlop. Construction of the stage in the park is also nearly done, and he suggested it could be used over the holiday season as part of a soft opening of the facility. Landscaping in the spring is the next big step, and Dunlop said the park committee will be looking at this.
A lot of other projects are moving along or even wrapping up. Dunlop reported the repairs to the Kemp Creek water intake, damaged by floods in 2020, are complete. Disaster assistance funds and insurance claims covered the cost of the project.
A new diffuser has been installed in the wastewater plant, which should help mitigate some odour issues the system’s been experiencing, Dunlop says.
He also noted the Province’s project to replace the Kaslo River bridge is entering its final phase, with one lane open and demolition beginning on the old bridge.
The survey of the Kaslo Aerodrome, the first phase in a long-term upgrade of the Village-owned facility, has also been completed.
Seniors’ hall upgrade
Kaslo seniors want to upgrade the exterior of their community hall, and they’re getting support from the Village for the project.
Council approved a motion to write a letter of support for the project, and to make a $10,000 contribution if the Kaslo Senior Citizens’ Association gets the funding it’s looking for. The cost of the work is expected to be about $75,000.
“The Seniors are applying to upgrade the building exterior to meet FireSmart standards and fix accessibility issues at the front entrance,” staff wrote to council. “They are also contemplating energy efficiency improvements.”
The Seniors’ Hall was built in 1920 and is owned by the Village. The society has occupied it on a perpetual, rent-free and tax-exempt basis since the 1970s. The society pays for the building’s operating costs – utilities, liability and contents insurance and cosmetic repair.
While council approved support for the project, Councillor Kellie Knoll called on council to be consistent. Noting back in the early fall the council insisted that the Kaslo Youth Society’s project be vetted by staff to ensure it was being done by qualified contractors, he said the same thing should be applied to the seniors.
CAO Dunlop noted council could take another opportunity to satisfy itself the work will be done properly when the final application comes back to the Village for approval.
UV water treatment
The Village is applying for a grant to do some upgrades to the water treatment plant.
The Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) is taking in applications from municipalities wanting to upgrade their infrastructure. The Village’s application would be for UV treatment of Village water.
“Based on our previous experience and the program objectives, the addition of UV treatment at the water treatment plant appears to have the greatest chance of success,” staff told council. “The upgrade is supported by upcoming Interior Health requirements for drinking water disinfection.”
The whole project is expected to cost around $800,000 and the Village would be expected to put up a little over $200,000 of that. The report says the Village could pay for it by drawing from reserves, water capital taxation and short‐term borrowing.
Council also approved applying for an Infrastructure Planning Grant for $10,000, and committed $5,000 in matching funds, towards developing a water conservation plan and updating the water loss management plan.
“The Village’s Water Loss Management Plan was produced in 2014 and is now considered out of date (5‐year shelf life),” wrote staff. “This plan can be updated to address water conservation, as required under the ICIP program.”
With a new plan in hand, the Village can apply for further grants from funds like ICIP, which want to see evidence that applicants are making progress on water conservation programs and infrastructure asset management.
Several community groups will be getting fall recreation grants, the largest two ($500) going to the Kaslo RC club and KLISS-Periwinkle Daycare. The Kaslo Community Garden received $300, and Curling Club $175. A total of $1,475 in grants were approved.
Development Variance Permit
A property owner whose land backs onto a road allowance for the dead-end Hillside Avenue has got permission to build a wood/trailer storage shed at the very back of his yard. Glen McRae had applied for permission to reduce the setback from about 20 feet to five feet on his property at 603 Boundary Avenue. That part of his property abuts a Village road allowance for Hillside Avenue, which is not likely to be developed into a proper road anytime soon.
“Since Hillside Avenue is undeveloped and essentially a dead end, the reduced setback is less of a concern here than it would be in other situations,” said a staff report. “The structure cannot be located further away from the property line due to a rock face immediately north of the location.”
Council said McRae could also get a licence of occupation to store some material on the Village’s road easement, as it is not in current use. He’ll pay $100 rent annually and cover any fees associated with making that application. The storage must be for non-commercial use, and the occupation licence can be revoked immediately if the Village needs the land, staff told council.
John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice