Slocan council, March 13: Music & Arts Fair returns June 16-18
The second annual Slocan City International Music & Arts Fair is a go for June 16-18. Council approved a request from the organizers to hold the event again this year. Harold Street will be closed to traffic for that entire weekend, as organizers set up stages, event tents and other festival infrastructure.
“I think it’s really awesome to see how they’re trying to improve the community feel with more cultural events,” said Councillor Ezra Buller of the fair’s organizers.
The event is to have a main stage on Harold Street, a second one on the balcony of the Slocan City Hotel and a third inside the Legion. The main events will take place on Friday, June 16, 4-10 pm and on Saturday, June 17, 11 am-10 pm, with song writing workshops on the Sunday at the Legion Hall. The Village does not have a noise bylaw, but the organizers are shutting down music at 10 pm to avoid disturbing residents.
The closure of Harold Street will begin on the Friday at noon and run until Sunday morning. The beach parking lot will be used for event parking.
Last year’s fair was held in conjunction with the opening of the Slocan City Hotel and was well attended. “I think it was a great success last year,” said Mayor Jessica Lunn.
Update on Central Slocan projects
Several big projects are getting underway in the centre of the village and Chief Administrative Officer Michelle Gordon gave progress updates.
The new tennis and pickleball courts will be getting their FlexCourt surface installed as soon as the snow melts. The area was used this winter for ice skating, which is now closed for the season.
The curling clubhouse demolition has not happened yet on the new affordable housing project site, but the Village is preparing to put out a request for quotes. Gordon says they have received quite a bit of interest from local contractors wanting to take on the demolition project.
The Village is also finalizing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Slocan Valley Housing Society about their eventual role in managing the housing project. The MOU is still in draft form and has not yet been made public.
The Village received a grant from the BC Active Transportation Grant Program to pay for thermoplastic crosswalks at 14 intersections in Slocan. The intersections will have a plastic surface melted into the concrete to provide a more durable and long-lasting crosswalk. The grant pays for 70% of the cost, providing $49,000 for the project. This will be done in conjunction with Harold Street redesign, which is still in the planning process.
Growing Communities Fund Grant
Council got a pleasant surprise when the provincial government recently announced a $624,000 grant to the Village as part of Premier David Eby’s $1 billion Growing Communities Fund. The money is allocated to municipalities based on population and is slated to be used for “infrastructure and amenities demands.”
“My understanding is there is not going to be a ton of criteria on it,” said Mayor Lunn. “It’s not often that we receive significant allocation of funds that are relatively open.”
The provincial government communication said further guidance for the use of the money will be coming in the following weeks.
Wellness Centre water
The Village’s public works department provided a full roundup of their current projects, including an explanation of what went wrong with the water system at the Wellness Centre during the holiday season.
The problem began on December 22 or 23 and was reported to public works on the 26th. A frozen pipe was discovered to be the cause – the result of a heater burning out.
Once this was fixed, other issues cropped up. When the water system was originally installed, a galvanized steel pipe was used, which is subject to corrosion and cracking. And when the seniors complex was built behind the Wellness Centre, grading of the area took away some ground cover, thus exposing the pipes to frost.
To fix the system, these sections of pipe had to be replaced. And because of difficulties getting supplies during the holidays, it ended up taking about three weeks.
A new Village website is in the works, and it will have a section for reports like this.
Mayor Lunn reported that Recycle BC, the non-profit organization that manages recycling province-wide, is experiencing staff shortages and has had to resort to drastic measures to have the bins emptied in Slocan. “It got to a point when they had to fly people in to drive and unload,” Lunn said.
During the February council meeting, Councillor Jordan Knott raised the issue of overflowing recycling bins at the Slocan transfer station, so Mayor Lunn contacted the RDCK to find out what the problem was.
A presentation on several programs designed to help Slocan Valley seniors remain living at home for as long as possible was given by WE Graham Community Service Society board member Sarah Watts.
The Better at Home program just got going this winter in Slocan with WEGCSS as the host organization. This program provides services such as yard work and light housekeeping on a sliding scale.
Every second Tuesday starting in April, WEGCSS will also be providing Meals on Wheels, also on a sliding scale.
Another program has WEGCSS delivering emergency preparedness kits to seniors. Through this program, seniors can be added to a database that will be shared with emergency services. This will help those in need of extra help to be located during an emergency.
The Nav-CARE program connects seniors in declining health with ‘navigators,’ who aid them in connecting with community services while also providing emotional support.
Local Conservation Fund
Councillors heard a pitch from Juliet Craig of the Kootenay Conservation Program for the Village to join the RDCK’s Local Conservation Fund service. This fund supports projects in the region for the benefit of wildlife habitat, ecosystem health and watershed protection.
Residents in participating municipalities and electoral areas pay an annual $15 parcel tax into the service. RDCK Area H (Slocan Valley) recently joined the service after a referendum that had more that 66% support.
No decision was made by council at the meeting.
Mark Page, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice