Nakusp council, December 13: New hope for biomass plan?
by John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative reporter
The Village got word that they might have another customer for the biomass heating plant they’re considering building.
The ‘thermal energy manager’ for Interior Health says he’d like to talk to the Village about the possibility of the Arrow Lakes Hospital being tied into the proposed system.
“This is an exciting opportunity for the community, and I applaud your leadership in pursuing local renewable energy sources there,” says Kevin Hudson. “I am hoping to learn more about the proposal, and if there could be possibility to connect with your district energy system to provide heating for our Arrow Lakes Hospital.”
Hudson says IH is working to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and might be interested in taking part.
It’d be a big boost for the plant project, which to date only has plans to tie into the Village’s own buildings.
The Village is investigating the possibility of using wood chips and other wood waste material produced locally in a high-tech boiler system. A recent report estimated the project would cost about $500,000 if it just heated the community arena, and about $800,000 if the emergency services building and seniors’ centre were added to it. The consultants estimated if they could get half the construction paid for by grants, it would take about 12 years to pay for itself (see ‘Biomass project soldiers on, new report issued,’ Valley Voice, October 7, 2021).
Hudson noted that IH has connected to a biomass heating system in Enderby, recently added biomass boilers at Interior Health hospitals in Golden and Lillooet, and are planning a similar project in Invermere.
Staff say ‘high-level’ talks are taking place with IH on the issue.
‘No Idling’ signs coming to downtown
There are going to be a few more reminders around town not to let your car run while you take a quick dash into the convenience store or coffee shop.
Council approved a motion to install six new signs reminding drivers of the Village’s anti-idling bylaw.
The bylaw has been in effect since 2009, and limits non-emergency vehicles to no more than three minutes of idling in a 60-minute period within Village boundaries. But Village leaders heard from a delegation at the November council meeting that the existing signage does not have good visibility, or is in a poor location. The speakers said there was a general lack of awareness that the Village has an anti-idling bylaw in force.
Installing six new signs along Broadway will cost about $510 plus labour.
“Staff proposes to affix the anti-idling signs to existing or dedicated traffic signposts in front of locations where vehicles are often left idling,” says a staff report to council.
New speeder for rail park
There’s going to be a new addition to the historic railway display at the municipal park.
Council approved a plan by the Nakusp Rail Society to display a newly acquired ‘speeder’ along with the snowplow, Jordan spreader and caboose currently at the site.
The donated speeder is a ‘maintenance of way’ vehicle, and had previously worked on the South Slocan portion of the rail line.
Tracy Fetters, chair of the Nakusp Rail Society, says they want to protect and display the piece, which is in great shape.
“Our intent is to install the newer speeder right next to the station platform of the Brouse building within the confines of the fencing,” she wrote to council. “Due to the excellent condition of this speeder (we need to paint it) we would like to seek councils’ permission to install a shelter over/around the unit.”
The shelter would likely be constructed of four posts with a roof and tempered glass sides to allow for full viewing of the speeder.
Administration told council that they had no issues with the installation, if the Nakusp Rail Society ensures it is adequately insured. Council directed staff to work with the society to make the project happen.
West Employment Lands development grants nixed
The Village’s plans to develop some land for industrial use has hit a snag.
In November, council gave staff the go-ahead to apply for grants to develop water and sewer service to land on the shore of the Arrow Lakes on the west side of Kuskanax Creek. The area has long been identified as a potential area for industrial expansion.
The project is estimated to cost between $1.2 and $1.4 million, with grants from other levels of government picking up three-quarters of the bill.
However, Village CAO Wayne Robinson told council there are steps that will have to be taken before they can even apply.
“The Village requires an up-to-date water conservation plan and without that requirement, the grant application will not be successful,” he told the Valley Voice.
A full report on the problem, and how it can be resolved, is expected for the January council meeting.
NACFOR grant for Edgewood
The Community Club of Edgewood will receive $4,000 from the NACFOR Legacy Fund to pay for propane for the generator for the cell tower repeater in the community for the next several months. Nakusp council rubber-stamped the request from RDCK Area K Director Paul Peterson.
A letter from Edgewood Community Club Secretary Bob Restall says the club has done two things that should reduce fuel costs. They’ve aquired an automatic choke for the propane generator to increase its efficiency and they’ve raised the height of the wind generator tower to get into a better wind stream to help power the repeater. “As the days are shorter and darker for the next few months, there will be less power coming from the solar panels,” he says.
The money comes from dividends generated by the Nakusp and Area Community Forest. A quarter of the money in the fund is to be used for projects benefitting Arrow Park south to Edgewood.
The withdrawal will hardly be noticed, as it still leaves $226,859 in the Area K southern zone portion of the fund.
NACFOR board appointments
Council put on hold ratification of a slate of candidates for NACFOR’s board of directors for the year.
As the sole shareholder, the Village of Nakusp has a member on the board, and controls appointments for the rest of the board. In practice, that’s meant council ratifies the board’s recommendations for the seats at the table. Six candidates were presented to council to ratify for the board.
But council tabled the motion, saying it wants a little more information for the public before moving ahead with rubber-stamping the nominees.
“Councillors have asked staff to return to council with more information about the recruitment process for board members,” CAO Robinson told the Valley Voice. “This has nothing to do with the actual candidates being endorsed but instead all about making sure we are following the proper process and public transparency.”
Robinson noted that appointing NACFOR’s board is the only power the Village has as the shareholder of the company, as it does not interfere in day-to-day business of the forest company.
Councillor Aidan McLaren-Caux sits on the board for the Village.
John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice