Nakusp council, October 23: Signage and wayfinding plan gets the go-ahead

The Nakusp Signage and Wayfinding Plan, completed at the end of September, was adopted by council. Village staff will now start looking for grants to help pay for implementation of the plan.

“Like the Downtown Revitalization Plan, which guided the Village’s revitalization of Broadway Street, the Nakusp Signage and Wayfinding Plan will adequately guide the deployment of wayfinding signs throughout the community in a cohesive fashion. Implementing this plan will significantly contribute to a new and professional image for the community,” states a written report by CAO Wayne Robinson.

With the current signs aging and lacking functionality, the Nakusp and Area Development Board (NADB) began working on a plan to replace them in 2021. NADB received $20,000 in CBT Community Initiatives/Affected Areas funding for the plan in 2022, and the Village supported the project with a further $20,000. Early this year, Interpret Design out of Kaslo was selected to complete the signage plan.

Interpret conducted site visits to understand movement patterns and desired routes. It also studied how users perceive signs differently depending on their mode of transportation – driving, cycling, walking. Public engagement was also important. Interpret presented three designs to the community and incorporated the feedback into the final plan.

The result is an 80-page report, highlighting functional designs that complement the character of Nakusp, using wood, stone and metal as the main materials in the construction of the signs.

Manufacturing the signs will cost approximately $160,000. “Administration will look for grants to pay for the plan’s deployment to reduce the financial impact on the taxpayer,” Robinson says in his report.

Councillor Aiden McLaren-Caux excused himself from this discussion, as he is employed by the NADB as the community’s economic development coordinator.

Industrial lands study

The Village will apply for a grant to commission a study on the industrial lands near the airstrip, off Hot Springs Road.

The study would look at servicing the area with water and sewer, and assess the need for industrial land in Nakusp.

“The biggest complaint we get up there is that there’s no water or sewer, especially for planes coming in,” said Mayor Tom Zeleznik.

Expanding services will help make the industrial area more inviting for new businesses. The Village hopes this will give current and new residents more employment opportunities.

Other focuses of the study will be on how to adjust the steep grade of the access road, and a specific look at how the land is already being used. The Village wants to know what changes would benefit the community.

“It’s a great idea to help industry and aviation, especially in wildfire seasons,” said Mayor Zeleznik.

The project will cost $60,000. Council approved applying for a $48,000 grant from the Rural Economic Diversification and Infrastructure Program (REDIP), and committed to a Village contribution of $12,000 from surplus funds. A staff report says there is more than $1 million currently available in surplus funding.

Campground contractor renewal

Cedar & Spruce Consulting Ltd. out of Revelstoke will continue managing the municipal campground for two more years.

Council agreed to renew the contract after receiving a glowing report about campground operations in 2023, Cedar & Spruce’s first year on the job.

“It was by far the best it’s been managed in my time at the Village,” said Mark Tennant, Director of Finance.

Staff described Cedar & Spruce as “professional and easy to work with” and reported that they received significantly fewer complaints about the campground than in past years. Cedar & Spruce even set up a new website for the campground and implemented a new booking system. Campground revenue for this year totalled $136,000, exceeding the budget and bringing in $26,500 for the Village. These funds go into the reserve fund for future capital projects at the campground.

Cedar & Spruce provided a list of suggested improvements for next year and are willing to work with the Village on them.

Active transportation plan

A grant application will be submitted for the creation of an Active Transportation Development Plan for Nakusp. Local citizens Hugh Watt and Robert Toews have volunteered to draft the application to the provincial Active Transportation Network Planning Grant program, and to work on the project.

The plan “would establish engineered trail-building standards, plans for trail features, and a detailed route layout connecting different areas of the community,” says a staff report.

Staff also pointed out that the plan would dovetail nicely with the Nakusp and Area Bike Society’s active transportation plan underway for trails outside the community, the Signage and Wayfinding Plan, and the 2017 Nakusp and Arrow Lakes Trails Master Plan.

“Trails will be designed to accessible standards to benefit all age groups and a wide range of physical capabilities. Routes will accommodate a wide range of transportation methods that do not include passenger vehicles. Routes will be identified that allow for the travel of bikes and pedestrians separated from highway traffic, improving the public's safety. The plan will contain some engineered features that will be 'showpieces' of the Village's active transportation network when constructed,” the staff report says.

Mayor Zeleznik suggested that a 9.5-acre piece of Village land could be included in the plan: an island near the marina with heavy clay soil that makes regular property development difficult.

“Right now, there is no island, it’s bare land,” said Mayor Zeleznik. “But in the summer, it comes right up and boats go right around it. It’s a nice place to hide when a storm comes up.”

The mayor proposed a park with picnic tables, along with a wildlife sanctuary for the migratory birds that come in the spring and fall.

The grant program would fund half of the anticipated $62,000 cost of the plan. Staff said the Village would pursue grants to cover the other half, and identified the NACFOR Legacy Fund as a possible source.

Rachael Lesosky, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice