Slocan Village Council, July 11: councillors call for beach cleanup

·5 min read

Power lift for community gym

There’ll be new equipment coming to the community-run fitness centre. Council approved giving just under $4,000 to the centre for a new treadmill and weight set.

The total cost of the equipment is over $12,000, but the centre received another grant, from the Columbia Basin Trust, to cover the first $9,000. The money to complete the project will come from the fitness centre’s reserve account, which is administered by the village. A bit more may have to be withdrawn, depending how prices for the equipment has risen. That fund will still have about $9,000 remaining after the purchase.

Greenhouse support

The plan to build a four-season greenhouse in Slocan to support food security got a nod of approval from the village. The WE Graham Community Service Society would like to build a $30,000 greenhouse on part of the land the non-profit currently uses for its community garden.

“Food prices are soaring, and climate change is impacting our ability to grow food,” wrote WEGCSS Executive Director Miryam Bishop in a letter to council. “Between wildfire smoke and extremes in heat and rain, a more controlled environment for growing food will increase our adaptability and resilience to these changes.”

The Society is seeking Agriculture Canada and local funding for the $160,000 project, which also includes improvements to food storage facilities and other work. They asked council to support the project, including permission to build the permanent structure on the village land.

That will take re-zoning the land from residential to parks and public institutional use. With council’s direction, staff are beginning to prepare the documents for required public process that will begin when the Society receives its funding to build the project.

Staff will also write a letter supporting the Society’s applications to various funding agencies, and begin discussing the term length for the licence of occupation of the village lands.

Downtown reno delay

The village is going to take another crack at tendering its village downtown renovation planning after receiving only one bid on the project.

“Staff predict this is to timing of the [Request for Proposals], and many consultants are busy with other projects,” CAO Michelle Gordon wrote in a report.

The Harold Street North Detailed Design Plan is a $75,000 project to hire electrical engineers, landscape designers and road builders to scope out and design the new downtown core of the community. The project will also see lot lines, building envelopes, drainage and infrastructure in the area all mapped out in detail. The goal is to beautify and firmly establish the area as the village core.

But that work will now likely be put off a few months as the village waits for market conditions for labour improve.

Gordon said the village will consult with its RFP contractor and re-issue the tender when the timing seems better.

Beach politics

Being on the south end of a 40-km lake that flows south means a lot of flotsam and jetsam ends up on Slocan’s beach.

Every spring during freshet, many tonnes of old lumber, branches and tree trunks land on Slocan’s shore. This year saw particularly high water and strong currents bring a lot of material to the beach. While staff clean up the wood blocking access to the boat launch, they usually wait until the end of the freshet before they begin to clean up the real mess. That’s when they can get heavy equipment onto the sand to do the work.

“Starting clean-up before the water begins to recede would exhaust village resources,” wrote CAO Gordon in a report. “It is high season for other village projects and operations, and with debris continually washing in daily, and several weeks expected until freshet has subsided, this would not be productive.”

But the public is complaining a lot to councillors, and that prompted Councillor Madeleine Perriere to say the village has to try harder.

“If you have public works come every day, remove it, not just push it, we have 20 acres we can dedicate a place to [put] that,” she told council. “I am sure after one week we will see a difference. If it’s a thing of not going on the sand, with the machine, there’s a good-old wheelbarrow, you just start moving it further, and the loader can take it away.

“I don’t see any other place where they wait for water to goes down and the community gets together. We have to get on it and to get it cleaned up. Especially this year with the late high water.”

The mayor defended the public works staffs’ reasoning, but said council does have to address the problem.

“This year is unusual…however it’s not unusual that it becomes an issue. And the community is getting upset about it,” she said. “… The model we’ve been using, it’s not sufficient, and we should provide the resources and if that’s a contract so that there’s somebody doing landscaping and beach cleanup, well, that’s a contract for somebody.”

But that’s planning for next year’s budget. In the meantime, council directed that the village public works crews to clean up the boat launch area.

Other beach-related motions passed addressed setting aside the west side of the beach from the dock for non-motorized craft to launch, and setting up part of the parking lot for boat trailers.

John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice

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