Nakusp council, October 24: Memorial for respected contractor

The Village will chip in to set up a memorial for a local craftsman who left his imprint on one of the Village’s recent signature projects.

Ron Hogg, a local carpenter and contractor, passed away unexpectedly last month, just a few days after completing his work on Phase 3 of the Village’s Downtown Revitalization project.

Hogg “made up a large part of a very small workforce and played a pivotal role in ensuring the project is on budget and completed before the end of the season,” said a report from staff.

Hogg was well-known and loved in Nakusp, and a movement started soon after his passing to erect some sort of memorial – perhaps a bronze plaque – along the village’s main street.

Volunteers want to spend about $2,500 for the memorial, to be placed in one of the existing mid-block plantings on Broadway.

“Administration is recommending that the Village contribute a sum of $500 towards the memorial to recognize Ron's contribution to the Downtown Revitalization project, which has spanned over several years,” said a staff report. “…Although there are no policies in place in regards to memorials for impactful community members, administration believes this is a special situation since Ron was a contractor specifically engaged in a Village community project, over several years.”

Council approved the expenditure.

Signage gets go-ahead

Village council is going to chip in for a project to improve directional signage in and around the community. Council approved contributing $20,000 from its NACFOR Legacy Fund to the Nakusp and Area Development Board for a wayfinding signage planning project.

The NADB applied for $30,000 from the CBT Community Initiatives and Affected Areas Program for the wayfinding signage project, but only got half that amount. So they asked the Village to make good on a commitment to put up $20,000 for the project. Since better signage to guide visitors to attractions like the Nakusp Hot Springs and local wineries is a council priority, it agreed to the expenditure. The contribution still leaves nearly $450,000 available in the Legacy Fund.

Trail project

The trails that lead from the Nakusp Hot Springs into the forest surrounding the facility are almost as popular as the pools themselves, extending kilometres out into the bush. But some portions can be a little too challenging, and signage could be better, as well. That’s why council approved a staff request to apply to the Columbia Basin Trust for a Trail Enhancement Grant for improvements to the Source Trail.

“This project will repair trail erosion and improve the trail condition to enhance accessibility,” says a staff report. “As well, a large portion of the works will be focused on enhancing the hot springs source itself with elevated pathways to protect the spring and surrounding ecosystem…”

New signage will also be put in place outlining the history and cultural significance of the springs.

The project will cost about $48,000, but the grant would cover 80% of the costs. The Village’s share ($9,600) will come from the hot springs budget surplus, now standing at over $300,000.

Development bylaw

New rules on how to get your development project approved by the Village have passed initial review by council.

Council gave the Village’s new Development Procedures Bylaw first and second readings.

“Although in general, the current Nakusp development approvals process flows reasonably well, this proposed bylaw is intended to clarify and standardize the application process for all, including applicants, community, future staff and the development industry,” notes a report from staff.

Among other changes, the new bylaw devolves some authority to the chief administrative officer, allowing that person to review and approve minor development projects. Those would include things like floorspace additions under 20 square metres, landscaping, or non-structural improvements to the building façade costing less than $25,000 (if other conditions are met). Delegating that authority “will reduce staff time since some staff reports and in some circumstances the public hearing process can be avoided,” notes the report.

Mural approval

Speaking of approving projects, council asked the administration if anyone had approved the new mural on the Homegrown Market building before it was painted in October. The mural, depicting a mountain landscape, covers the entire facade of the building at 320 Broadway.

CAO Wayne Robinson admitted he only reviewed the mural design “while they were doing the painting,” but noted that the Village doesn’t really have a rigorous approval process for public murals on downtown commercial property. The existing official community plan only stipulates that colours used in painting mimic the “look and feel of mountains,” which Robinson noted is basically any colour found in nature.

But he said the Village wanted to balance control with encouraging maintenance.

“You don’t want to deter people from painting buildings, otherwise you might have situations where buildings start looking dilapidated because people just don’t want to bother getting a building permit,” said Robinson. “So that just reduces that barrier.”

In her last meeting as councillor, Susan DeSandoli asked if tighter rules governing what is painted on buildings might be a good thing. CAO Robinson said changes would have to be made to the OCP bylaw, which was just passed a few months ago. Amending the document is a big job, and he suggested incorporating those changes with the upcoming process to update zoning bylaws – a job for the next council, which will be sworn in in November.

Low voter turnout

The official report from Nakusp’s election returning officer was submitted for council approval, and it showed some pretty dismal numbers in terms of participation at the municipal elections October 15. The Village had 150 advance poll ballots printed up: 80 were used, which is not so bad. Then it had 1,550 ballots printed for the October 15 general municipal election: only 318 were used. More than 1,200 were left unmarked.

Nakusp had one of the lowest voter turnouts in the West Kootenay, with just 28% of the population bothering to cast a ballot. New Denver, just down the highway, had the highest turnout, at over 99%.

Reapplying for deck

A couple will get a second crack at getting approval for a home reno project. David and Shirley Hastings of 303 7th Avenue had their application for a setback variance for a new exterior landing and stairs rejected, because its size brought it too close the property’s borders.

Council suggested they might approve a smaller deck, but development rules mean the couple normally would not be allowed to apply again for six months.

“Generally, it is not a best practice to reconsider an application that council has denied,” staff noted in a report. “However, in this case, council expressed an interest in the applicants requesting a smaller landing and the only way to do so in an expedient manner is to allow the applicant to resubmit their application.”

It took a two-thirds majority of council to waive the six-month cooling-off period. The couple will now be allowed to resubmit their application, with a smaller landing design, to be considered at a future council meeting.

John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice