Nakusp council, December 14: ALR exclusion applications cause water concerns

·4 min read

Land for industry

Some residents of Nakusp came to the Village council meeting in December to express concern about a proposed light industrial development on a bench above their homes.

Village council is applying to the Agricultural Land Commission to take two lots on Hot Springs Road out of the ALR for use by local businesses.

The exclusion would “permit the creation of locally value-added light industry and/or possible expansion to the airport to allow additional amenities for the community,” the Village says.

It’s part of Nakusp’s long-term strategy to provide more land for job-creating business in town.

But the public hearing on the plan to remove #1315 and #2115 Hot Springs Road raised some concerns about protecting water users downstream.

“Anybody on 15th Avenue is on wells, all of us,” said one intervenor, Bernie Ryan. “And I’m no expert… but I would at least like to state my concern about the water supply, and any contamination that’s above it, and hopefully that would be addressed in licences and stuff that go with it.”

But Ryan emphasized his concern was not with the plan, but how vague the term ‘light industrial’ was.

“Again, I’m not saying no, [because] we need more space, etc. etc. But I would hate to see my only water supply contaminated. I am hoping that’s a reasonable concern and someone keeps an eye on that.”

Another community resident indicated he was concerned about the impact the loss of ALR land could have on future food production in the area.

In the end, council voted to go ahead with the application to the ALR. The Village’s economic development group, Investment Ready Nakusp, will pony up the $1,200 application fee for the Land Commission.

Community sawmill?

Mayor Tom Zeleznik dropped a teaser that the Nakusp and Area Community Forest was looking into developing a sawmill to expand its operations. He’s been appointed to a committee to look into the idea. (See more on this story elsewhere in this issue of the Valley Voice).

In other NACFOR news, the Village’s community-owned forest company has a new slate of directors. Melissa Rode, John Cann, Randy Mackenzie, Anastasia Hewat, Darlene Adair and Patrick Judd were ratified by council as directors of the NACFOR Board. Aidan McLaren-Caux has been appointed by council as the council representative.

Green power

The Village of Nakusp is getting on the ‘green energy’ bandwagon. In a presentation in November, the owners of Sandon’s Silversmith Power and Light Company pitched the idea to council that it should call on government to allow the Village to buy ‘green’ energy, such as they produce.

While most BC power generation is ‘renewable,’ it’s not ‘green’ – as dams have a large ecological, financial and social impact. However, run-of-river dams like Silversmith, which are ‘green,’ are hampered in their access to markets by regulators, said co-owner Hal Wright.

Getting municipalities to lobby government to change the rules to allow them to buy power from certified ‘green’ companies would help both the local economy and environment, Wright said.

Council agreed, and after considering the matter and deliberating on the wording, passed a motion calling on the BC Utilities Commission to free up customer access to ‘green’ electricity. A letter to that effect will be sent to the BCUC and the BC Union of Municipalities.

“I think it is very important, I’m tired of dams, and it would be nice to be more green with our own power,” said Mayor Tom Zeleznik, noting the Village’s own tiny power generating system may soon be shut down by government energy regulations.

The motion makes no difference to the way the Village buys its power now, but may allow for more flexibility in the future.

Waste fees rising

Mayor Tom Zeleznik reported to council that the cost of dumping waste at the local transfer station is going up in the new year. After meeting with the RDCK Joint Resource Recovery Committee, Zeleznik learned the cost of dropping one bag off at the dump was going up from $2.50 a bag to $3. A second bag would make it $6 and any more than that would be weighed before charging. Tonnage weight, now at $110/tonne, is also expected to increase.

The changes won’t come into effect until the full RDCK board approves the changes, likely by February.

Kudos to decorators

Mayor Tom Zeleznik praised the work done by volunteers to prep the village’s downtown core for Christmas. The Society for Nakusp Community Events held its December light-up event earlier in the month, after volunteers spent hours adding lights and decorations to local trees, roofs and lampposts.

“Broadway was lit up beautifully and could be seen from outer space!” joked the mayor. “The village has now a new emergency airplane runway when required to land at night.”

John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice