UBCM, financial open house and recycling at the Nakusp Council meeting
After quickly approving the agenda and the minutes for two past meetings, and with no delegations, etc., the meeting dove into reports.
Waterbridge Steel moving into Music Fest building
Mayor Karen Hamling recapped her report, telling council she had a tour of the Waterbridge Steel Inc. ferry site with owner John Harding. Counc. Ulli Mueller asked if all of council could take a tour, and the mayor agreed it would be a good idea, but perhaps later when there was more of the ferry being built.
Waterbridge Steel has bought and is now renovating the old Nakusp Music Fest building. The company will be moving to its new offices within a month.
NACFOR looking at roads, more work
NACFOR has finished logging in the Slewiskin and is now beginning to log on the Summit Lake side of one block, counc. Tom Zeleznik told the meeting, and more logging operations will begin in November. An engineering assessment of Slewiskin road will be done to help develop a plan for road repairs in the long term.
Zeleznik also gave a brief report on the Nakusp and Area Development Board. Diana Brooks, a rural economic development co-ordinator with the province, met with NADB on Oct. 3. Councillor Guy Duchaine also reported on the NADB meeting, and said that a connection to a regional bio-mass waste wood opportunity may come out of the meeting with Brooks.
The NADB business directory is still in the works, with the board working with the web developer to overcome some technical difficulties and get the directory online soon.
Kudos to library board
Counc. Ulli Mueller reported the new hours at the library are being well received. She said she is also very impressed with the library board.
“They are super active and busy and involved,” she commented, and listed several activities they have been responsible for organizing, including the Antiques Road Show which took place at the Fall Fair.
Nakusp well represented at UBCM
Mueller’s experience at this year’s UBCM was positive again, and she said her favourite part is still seeing the debate on all the different issues.
“I was really pleased at the ministry meetings to see how highly the ministry staff spoke about Nakusp,” she said, “How they were so impressed how we coped with all the issues and how we always seemed to manage, and they told us how they always used us as a good example to other communities. It made me really, really proud to be representing this community.”
Councillor Joseph Hughes also found UBCM valuable: “There’s not a lot of wasted time there,” he said. “There are a lot of opportunities to directly get some answers and feedback.”
Hughes also spoke to Nakusp’s reputation, stating that it was “pretty fantastic” that when ministers and delegates know about a community this small.
“When the ministers see you’re from Nakusp, they’re really interested to know about us, and they really feel there’s a working relationship with us,” said Hughes. “I think that’s a testament to the way the mayor and staff has been dealing with the ministers and their staff.”
The councillor also said that UBCM as an organization that represented 105 towns and cities was invaluable in that it send a clear voice from B.C. municipalities to other levels of government.
Tangled up in wireless issues
Counc. Mueller also brought up the subject of wireless antenna siting, which has become an issue in larger centres.
“iPhones, iPads, tablets: any one of those devices uses the same energy and capacity as 35 regular cell phones,” she said, which results in a demand for more transmitters.
Mueller reported that she had learned at the UBCM wireless forum that many towns and municipalities are struggling with new antennas being put up all over town, in part because there have been no regulations regarding antennas under 15 metres in height.
“Even for Nakusp it’s going means that we’ll have more antennas in town,” she said, “which means we have to be on the ball and come up with a process to make them apply for where the antennas go.”
The UBCM wireless committee was anticipating that the trend in Europe of new cars (as of 2014) having a SIM card and wireless devices that will rely on continuous wireless coverage would also happen in Canada as well, counc. Mueller said.
The health issues didn’t come up that much in that forum, which surprised her, and she said the attitude was that they weren’t really a concern.
Recycling a big issue for small places
One UBCM meeting that Hughes attended was about the shifting of responsibility for recycling to a product-stewardship model, but he said that he was buoyed by other small communities expressing the same concerns at UBCM of being left behind.
“There are a lot of small communities that are saying the same thing, so I don’t think there will be an opportunity to push us aside...because so much of B.C. is small communities,” he commented.
Tax exemptions granted, for now
The 2013 Permissive Tax Exemption Bylaw passed, but there may be changes ahead. The staff report stated that the current policy says that PTEs “will not exceed 1.5 per cent of the annual municipal taxation revenue.” If all current PTEs are granted next year, the report continued, it would mean a decline of 1.81 per cent of taxation revenue.
“There are also indefinite permissive tax exemptions provided to six community church groups,” the report noted, “The only statutory exemption for a church is the footprint [of] a building used for public worship; other permissive exemptions granted to churches are at the discretion of council.”
Public Finance Open House
New CFO Rob Richards will be on hand on November 13 with information about what financial resources go where as part of a public open house about the Village’s financial operations.
CAO Linda Tynan said the idea is for the presentation to be very visual, clearly showing a general perspective about where tax dollars flow. The presentation will take place at 6 p.m., and the regularly scheduled council meeting will be held at 4 p.m. to accommodate the open house.
Chamber Christmas celebrations
The Chamber of Commerce is getting together to plan a community Christmas celebration, and council approved their application for a fee waiver for the Emergency Services Building. The meeting is scheduled to be held on October 15 at 7 p.m.
The RDCK is coming to pick up your old batteries and fluorescent light bulbs, small appliances and electronics and whatever other hazardous household waste you may need to get rid of on October 20 at the Nakusp Arena from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“This is a 2012 pilot project run to gauge how much material we collect,” Nicole Ward, Environmental Services Coordinator for the RDCK told the Arrow Lakes News, which means at this moment it’s not certain if this will become a regular program or not.
Residents of Nakusp and area will be able to bring not only old paint to the depot, but also electronics they need to get rid of. At the moment, residents are unable to drop off hazardous waste or electronics at a depot locally on an ongoing basis.