Nakusp council, August 23: Village to enter talks on possible marina takeover

·4 min read

New marina management?

Village staff have been directed to begin talks with a local entrepreneur interested in taking over management of the Village marina.

The Village assumed control of the marina in January, when the Nakusp Boat Launch Society folded after 40 years of running the facility.

But marina management’s not really a core function of municipal government, and the Village put out a public notice looking for anyone interested in operating the facility.

They heard back from Grant Smith, a Nakusp landowner who says he’s interested.

“My intention is to acquire the Nakusp Marina and develop the facility to attract boat owners/enthusiasts to our area,” he wrote in an introductory note. “The operation will continue as a marina with the idea of promoting to not only local residents but attracting long-term moorage patrons from resorts outside of our area.”

The talks are still very much in the earliest stages, and no real issues have been settled.

“At this point, there are numerous questions that require further discussion and exploration,” says a staff report. “These initial discussions will be preliminary to determine whether the venture is manageable… there will be many factors to be discussed and included in the resulting legal contract.”

Those would include such things as a guarantee the marina would remain open to the public, operating as a marina; clarification of responsibilities and expectations, and what would happen to assets (investments) after whatever term they agree to is up.

Council directed staff to work with Smith and report back.

No thirsty vegetables

Council passed a motion at this meeting to ensure it was clear that hand-watering of vegetable gardens would be allowed for the rest of the year.

The Village tweaked its water conservation bylaw last month to align better with provincial water drought levels.

“Unfortunately, the language in the different sections in the amendment contradicts itself and leads to confusion regarding what is allowed and when,” says a staff report.

Council passed a motion explicitly stating that hand-watering of vegetable gardens and flower gardens be permitted for the duration of the 2021 season while under water conservation restrictions “in recognition of the lack of clarity provided in the bylaw wording.”

Staff will also bring a better-written version of the water bylaw back to council later this year for adoption.

Tax exemptions passed

Two more community groups will be given tax exemptions for the next three years.

The Village can give property tax exemptions to charitable, philanthropic, athletic, service clubs, or other not-for-profit groups.

The Arrow Lakes Caribou Society will get an exemption for the caribou pen located on the bench above the Hot Springs, worth about $1,402 annually, and the Arrowtarian Senior Citizens Society will get an exemption for its phase 3 housing project at 216 7th Ave NW, estimated at $1,737.

“Both applications meet all required criteria to receive a permissive tax exemption and the requests fit within the allowable limit established in the Village’s permissive tax exemption policy,” says a staff report.

The cost of permissive tax exemptions gets passed on to the remaining taxpayers. The average single family dwelling will see an increase of $2.79 annually to make up for lost taxation revenue from granting these exemptions.

Council approved the exemptions. A bylaw will be drawn up to make the tax breaks official.

Outstanding projects

Village staff say the work that’s expected of them right now is unmanageable, and council has to hold a workshop to set its priorities.

Staff presented council with a list of nearly 60 projects that are underway, ongoing, or planned for coming months. And it’s not even a comprehensive list yet.

“The Village of Nakusp has a very small management staff who coordinate these projects with support from the other Village staff,” wrote acting CAO Linda Tynan. “For the past number of years, there have been two individuals comprising the management team (CAO and Director of Finance).”

The report notes a Director of Operations has been added to the team, and a consulting company contracted to assist with some subdivision applications.

But the work load – which includes things as varied as planning for an experimental biomass plant, coming up with a short-term rental policy, working with a community group to build a new stage in the park, to developing a master water plan – is just too much, and cracks are beginning to show.

“Some of the projects have been delayed due to the lack of time/capacity to issue well-written Tender documents, Request for Proposals and other necessary documents,” the report says. “Others have been overlooked as there has not been a robust tracking system in place to monitor and follow up with project scheduling.”

There is a need to prioritize and develop workplans based on the outstanding work, the report concludes.

Council took the draft document in as information, and staff promise to provide a complete list for council to consider at its September meeting.

“Once the list is complete, staff will work on proposed workplans and priorities,” it says. “At that time, it is recommended that council should plan a priority workshop to re-evaluate priorities based on staff capacity.”

John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice

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