Nakusp council’s January 11 meeting opened with an update on efforts to repair the rail trail on the outskirts of town that was damaged by a washout. Janice Neufeld of the Kootenay Adaptive Sport Association attended the meeting virtually to tell council that they needed to move quickly to get the project underway.
Neufeld told council an engineering estimate has set repair costs for the trail at about $90,000. While KASA will do the fundraising, she said they needed to start by showing funding agencies that the local government was behind their project.
“My confidence level is very high at this point that we’ll have funding to move forward in 2021 to repair the washout,” she said. “What needs to happen now, and I need mayor and council to understand very clearly, is the first thing that has to happen is the Licence of Occupation.”
The LOO is necessary for her group to apply for numerous grants, she said.
“At any point if they come back and ask if I have permissions in place, that I’ve done all the proper consultation, then I need to supply that Licence of Occupation that basically proves all of that.”
A Licence of Occupation (LOO) is a legal agreement authorizing the non-exclusive occupation of Crown lands for a specific period of time under specific terms and conditions from the Province. It’s not quite a lease, but allows a certain user to use an area for a specific purpose.
Neufeld first asked for the LOO from council in October. Without it they’ll deny the application, she warned.
“I really need to impress that the Licence of Occupation be moved upon, sooner than later,” she said.
It seems there was a bit of miscommunication while trying to get moving on the project. Neufeld said the Village CAO, Cheryl Martens, was looking for KASA to get the funding first, before applying for the LOO.
“That’s a Catch-22, I can’t apply for the funding and then get the LOO. It has to come first.”
Through different organizations, Neufeld hopes to raise the money for the completion of the project.
They also need a Memorandum of Understanding to ensure everyone agrees to their roles in repairing the trail.
KASA will fundraise and manage the project; the Village will apply for the Licence of Occupation and chip in for the engineering work to be done; and local trail organizations will commit to maintaining the trail after repairs are completed.
Mayor Zeleznik said he would look into where the Licence of Occupation process is right now with municipal staff.
John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice