September saw a double-header of Village council meetings in Kaslo, with councillors convening on the 8th and 15th, in order to facilitate participation in the upcoming Union of BC Municipalities’ convention. Here are the highlights from both meetings:
• The Utilities & Technology Committee of council reviewed Kaslo infoNet Society’s plans for fibre installation in Lower Kaslo. KiN intends to install fibre along B and C Avenues and south of the Kaslo River, and will use conduit in areas where there are potential crossings of existing and future utilities. Council received the fibre expansion plan maps for information.
• It took just two days for Village workers to restore water service to Kaslo after the massive storm on May 31 severely damaged the community’s intake system. But the job to restore the system to its previous state still has a ways to go.
“As the emergency situation subsides, we move on to the recovery phase, which will involve repairs to the dam and creek restoration,” said a report from CAO Ian Dunlop. “Most of our costs will be covered through a combination of insurance (on the dam and intake) and EMBC Disaster Financial Assistance (DFA), covering 80% of the costs not covered by insurance.”
Working with Kerr Wood Liedel , a consultant out of Nelson who helped , the Village has preliminary cost estimates for the job ahead.
“Time is of the essence in carrying out the repairs and restoration while water levels remain low and before winter,” Dunlop advises. Council accepted Dunlop’s recommendation to accept the KWL report and hire the company – which worked on the last washout, in 2012 – as a project manager.
The Village may also look at longer-term restoration of the damaged watershed to prevent another washout from occurring – or seek alternatives.
“The long-term viability of Kemp Creek as a reliable source of water for the Village will also have to be taken into consideration through a planning and environmental analysis,” he says.
• Work on the new bridge over the Kaslo River proceeds apace. Councillors got a glimpse of the preliminary design plans and road layout on the project, which is expected to begin next spring. To facilitate construction, it’s possible the Ministry of Transport may install a temporary bridge and detour. The new bridge will also feature two extra-wide lanes to accommodate bicycles, as well as a separated pedestrian sidewalk on the east side.
The project, which should be done by the fall, will see the replacement of the 50-year-old timber bridge with a steel and concrete single-span bridge built to modern specifications.
The project will also align the intersection of Spruce Avenue and F Avenue so that they are no longer offset.
• Kaslo Search and Rescue needs a place to put their stuff. They asked the Village for the use of land behind the firehall, and are working with Village staff to see if that space will meet their needs.
“KSAR proposes to clear the area and install four large temporary shelters to house their equipment and trailers,” council was told. “Currently, some of KSAR’s equipment trailers are kept on private property at members’ homes. The acquisition of land will centralize their equipment and streamline emergency response.”
Council supported the request, but more planning work needs to be done before any work begins clearing, fencing and preparing the property.
• Renovations at the Victorian Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Store are going to necessitate cutting down a maple tree at the rear of the property to accommodate facilities in the building. Council gave the OK, on condition the Auxiliary Society plant two new trees on the property, or at a suitable alternative location.
• Council approved some tinkering to the design of the new main stage planned for the redeveloped Front Street Park. After the conceptual designs were revealed at the September 8 meeting, a member of the public pointed out that the stage had some problematic sight lines that would reduce its effectiveness as a venue. Designer Robert Inwood liked the suggestions, and revamped the stage slightly to improve the visibility and openness of the stage. Council gave the new look its conditional approval, sending it back to the overseeing committee for their final OK.
• Two major planning exercises are going to be co-ordinated to save some money for Kaslo taxpayers. The Kootenay Lake Partnership (KLP), a joint venture with the Village, RDCK, City of Nelson, as well as federal, provincial and First Nation governments, wants to create a framework that allows development to take place on Kootenay Lake in ways that will protect the water, fish habitat, and shoreline ecosystems. They’ll spend the next few years developing those rules and regulations.
Meanwhile, Kaslo’s just starting its Official Community Plan review. So it makes sense for Kaslo’s plans to incorporate the KLP’s guidelines.
“Since the Village has very limited staff capacity, and hiring an external planning consultant is expensive, the proposal before you today is to use the RDCK’s planning staff to help us integrate a new lakefront development permit regulation into our OCP,” said a report to council. “That [will be] consistent with the KLP Shoreline Guidance Document and what the other jurisdictions on the lake will be implementing in the coming years.”
There will be community consultation on the proposed permit area and development guidelines for Kaslo.
Council approved the staff spending $3,750 to have the work done, and to initiate the Official Community Plan review process.
• Council received a letter from local youth Jace Lamoureux, who noted a distinct lack of youth voices on Kaslo’s governing bodies. He suggested better representation from the younger generations could help governance. The youth sitting on council need not have voting powers, and could advise in an informal way, he suggested.
Lamoureux sat on the School District 8 board as a student trustee last year.
Staff looked into the idea and found out that it won’t work. “The composition of Council is dictated by the Community Charter, which does not allow for youth representation at this time,” said a report to council. “Youth should be encouraged to attend Council meetings and provide input on issues that are important to them, their friends and families.”
A letter has been sent to Lamoureux thanking him for his interest.
• Renovation of a small house on Washington Street resulted in a stop work order while building permit requirements and the location of the house were verified. The house, built about 100 years ago, is partially on the Village’s road allowance. To legalize the house, accessory building and retaining wall, an encroachment agreement with the Village is required. This matter will be considered by council on October 13. Notices will go out to neighbours about the meeting.
John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice