Nakusp council, June 19: Natural Adventure Park moving to construction stage

·5 min read

Rotary Playground

Two years of planning and fundraising has Rotary’s Natural Adventure Park ready to go, so the proponents came to council looking for the official go-ahead.

The Adventure Park is a modern kid’s dream playground, with four to six unique play zones that will be developed in phases. Noting a lack of use of the current playground at the site, the Rotarians say this playground “will encourage children of ages two to 12 to meet, socialize, learn and play”.

Rotarians have raised about $200,000 for the project, which will be equipped with structures formed from natural materials (such as trees and rocks) that act as climbing walls, fairy castles, dens, … or whatever the children’s imagination conjures up. Accessibility to the features in the park will be a key aspect of the design.

Village council has ponied up just under $60,000 in grants and a contingency fund, as well as supplying the land for the facility.

The internationally recognized firm of Bienenstock Design and Consulting was engaged to design the park.

Noting that council had previously provided letters of support to the Rotary Club for construction of a Natural Adventure Park, “a resolution indicating approval to move forward is now required.”

It was quickly granted, with praise for Rotary for its efforts.

“Kudos to the Rotary Club and Andi Gabb in particular,” said Councillor Aidan McLaren-Caux.

Before ground is broken, the Village and Rotary have to work out an agreement on details of the project such as ownership, liability, project oversight and site specification requirements.

Nakusp loses hostel, gains rentals

A request to convert a local hostel into three long-term rental units received approval from council. Shon’s Bike Shop operated a small hostel on the second floor of its Broadway Avenue building for a couple of years. But now they want to convert it to three individual rental units – two with two bedrooms, the third with just one. It’s the third one that prompted the need to go to council for a Development Variance Permit, because the smallest unit would be about four square metres short of the minimum size allowable by Village bylaw for a rental unit.

“The plans for the one-bedroom apartment are 50 square feet smaller than the bylaws allow for,” admitted the proponents, Shon and Janis Neufeld. But they insist it will not be a cramped space. “The apartment will be planned and constructed with efficient use of space to be comfortable and spacious to its occupant(s). In addition, there will be a large shared outdoor deck space available right outside the door for lounging.

“Our intent with the renovation is to fulfill the current need for affordable rental housing in Nakusp.”

Notifications were sent out to neighbours, and no issues were raised about the change.

New weather station

Council approved a request from Environment and Climate Change Canada to install an upgraded weather station at a new location at the airport.

The federal weather office has been planning to upgrade the station for some time with new and better sensors. However, the upgrades require a larger footprint for the station, and there’s not enough flat land at its current spot. There are other requirements – the station can’t be near a heat source, or too close to trees and other buildings, and have a good power source nearby.

Council’s okay will allow Environment officials to further investigate a site west of the airport runway, at 1315 Hot Springs Road.

Once officials do more research and approve the site, construction of the new station should take about six months.

Salaries detailed

The Village’s Statement of Financial Information was approved.

One thing it outlines is how little municipal leadership is paid. According to the documents, Village councillors get $6,911 annually (with about $800 in expenses on top of that); the mayor gets $13,823 with about $3,000 in expenses.

The document also notes three employees of the Village who make more than $75,000 annually, including the Public Works Foreman and the Director of Finance. The top earner at Village Hall is the Chief Administrative Officer, who made just over $122,000 last year.

In total, the Village pays out just over $1.41 million in salaries annually.

NACFOR grant to Burton

The Burton Internet Society has received $20,000 from the community forest fund to support infrastructure improvements for its service.

“This is to support our effort of replacing our broadcast tower on the Ingersoll Mountain, which is in disrepair and covers a significant portion of our customer base,” BIS President Jesse Herlitz wrote to council.

NACFOR sets asides profits each year to support community projects in Nakusp and the Arrow Lakes where it operates. The withdrawal still leaves more than $259,900 in the Area K ‘southern zone’ portion of the Legacy Fund.

Internet speed test

Council is calling on citizens to take an internet speed test to help prove the area is underserved with this important utility. Nakusp and area isn’t currently eligible for millions in funding going to other communities to improve their internet, because federal figures show the service is fast enough here. Visit the Nakusp and Area Development Board’s Facebook page for the link to the testing site.

“The more uptake we get, the more we can prove to the federal government that we’re not getting 50/10 speeds through the community, the more effective it will be,” said McLaren-Caux.

Canada Day parade

COVID has messed up most communities’ plans for Canada Day again this year, and Nakusp is no exception. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be some celebration – a parade is still being planned. Like last year, the parade will be coming to residents, rather than vice-versa. The floats will snake their way up and down the streets of town, allowing residents to cheer and wave (and get candy?) from their homes, in a socially-distanced way. The Village will be helping with road closures and permits for the parade. UPDATE: The parade was cancelled due to the extreme heat wave.

John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice

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