Council notes: NADB proposes firehall inspection, NACFOR to work with UBC
Firehall to be inspected
The Feb. 12 Nakusp council meeting started off with a presentation from Laurie Page, president of the Nakusp Development Board. Page announced that the NADB was interested in paying for an inspection for the old firehall across from the Liquor store on 5th Avenue and has approved $3,000 for the process, pending approval by the Village.
“In order to go ahead, we need permission to access the building,” said the written component of the NADB’s presentation to council. “To begin with we need to take some pictures for Lynch Inspections, so that he can give us an estimate and we can draw up a contract with him. Assuming this part works out, we will need access during the inspection.”
The NADB would own the results of the inspection, but would give a copy to the Village. However, if the Village is not interested in selling or leasing the building, the NADB will not bother investing in an inspection. Council voted in favour of the inspection.
Shortening the to do list
Mayor Karen Hamling made a move to shorten the outstanding item list by removing the task of getting staff to look into having the sani-dump at the boat launch removed. The item was added in response to a complaint, but because there haven’t been any complaints for two years, the mayor suggested it be taken off the Village’s “to do” list. The motion was supported by councillors Ulli Mueller and Joseph Hughes.
Food reflects culture to reps
In her report, mayor Karen Hamling told council that February has been a busy month. International reps from China and Europe were in town to tour the Nakusp Hot Springs. As part of their research, they visited Overwaitea to get a feel for the town. The mayor said that the reps explained that what’s found in a grocery store is indicative of the culture of a place.
Water levels put rush on wharf
The meeting about the replacement of the Nakusp wharf was well-attended, the mayor reported, and the contractor explained to everyone there what would happen. What has happened in the interim was unexpected, however. CAO Linda Tynan explained that although BC Hydro predicted low water for the end of February, the actual low levels are now scheduled for the end of the week, on Friday Feb.15. The news has meant construction of the boat ramp will have to be accelerated in order to get everything done before water levels rise again.
“Not only is low water on this coming Friday but it’s going to go up quite quickly after,” Tynan told council.
The CAO commented that they were extremely lucky in terms of the contractor who is in good shape to still get it done, although it will likely mean long days but will not necessarily mean more noise earlier or later during those days. Tynan also said exceptions to the noise bylaw are allowable, if necessary.
“We’re going to have to react quickly if we have to,” the CAO asserted. “We wouldn’t be approving using a jackhammer at 4 a.m. [but] if we don’t grant a reasonable request then it won’t get done.”
Hamling, who lives near the construction site herself, said it might be worth a bit of discomfort now to get it done.
Rec. Commission seeks volunteers
Counc. Hughes said the commission is looking for people to help disburse funds for recreation in Nakusp and Area K.
“If someone was interested in recreation or wished to run some community programs they can join,” Hughes told the Arrow Lakes News, “We meet about six times a year, for one and a half hour meetings.”
Chamber may hold all-candidates debate
Counc. Duchaine reported that the Chamber of Commerce has new members and fresh thoughts after their AGM. He told council that the Chamber is looking into holding an all-candidates debate in April.
Tourism group looks at regional branding
A follow up meeting is being held after the tourism workshop given at the end of January, Duchaine told council. Branding and increasing tourist time in the village will be two of the topics on the agenda. Counc. Mueller chipped in, saying that people in the region want to work together, developing a regional signage theme and branding the area as a whole.
Workforce table talks
Mueller brought up the regional workforce table coming to Selkirk in Nakusp on Feb. 22. The idea is to gather input for their Regional Skills Training Plan, and council and mayor were invited to the meeting. Mueller herself will be taking part.
NACFOR teams up with UBC
Counc. Zeleznik brought some exciting news from NACFOR. Nakusp Community Forest was approached by UBC to partner with a team of graduate students to build a forest management plan. In a subsequent meeting on Jan. 17, Deb Delong, Program Coordinator and the Masters of Sustainable Forest Management student team discussed project ideas with NACFOR managers and decided on creating a Forest Health Strategy and Incremental Silviculture Strategy.
NACFOR’s Frances Swan said the student team will be working with NACFOR over the next few months on the project which will be presented on April 8.
NACFOR will also be hosting two UBC undergrad forestry students over the coming summer. The small size of the community forest’s operations means that the students will get exposure to a large variety of activities, said Swan.
At the moment, NACFOR production has been suffering due to warm weather, which has made the roads soft and shut down hauling. Counc. Zeleznik told council that colder weather predicted for later in the week might allow hauling to begin again.
Zeleznik also included a brief article in his report which discussed the rising shortage of forestry workers worldwide, a shortage that will only increase as more workers move into retirement.
Boundary shift to be advertised
Council voted to approve accepting the Alternate Approval Process (AAP) for the boundary expansion of the Village in order to bring the Hot Springs source within the municipal boundary. Approval of the electors for the change must be sought either through referendum or AAP. AAP is less costly and time consuming, and requires only advertising in various papers. Anyone who opposes the proposed changes must submit a response for to register their discontent.
FCM vs. UBCM
Up next: discussion about budgeting for council and mayor to attend Union of B.C. Municipalities and Federation of Canadian Municipalities. This year, both will be held in Vancouver, with FCM taking place May 31 to June 4 and UBCM from Sept. 16-20. Counc. Mueller said she wasn’t interested in attending FCM as it’s more geared to big cities, although it is likely good for the mayor to go. In her opinion, UBCM offers better exposure to ministers and the like.
Mayor Hamling agreed that FCM would be good for her to attend, as a lot of the things discussed there are also discussed at the caucus of mayors.
Counc. Hughes added that perhaps two should go, but more would be an unnecessary expense in his opinion. The costs for the mayor to attend both are covered by the regional district, but costs per councillor were estimated to be around $1,100 to attend FCM and $800 for UBCM with travel costs in addition.
A resolution was passed that councillors have a choice to go to to either FCM or UBCM, but not both.
Tenure spectre rises again
It has been discovered again that a piece of Village infrastructure has been leaning on Crown Land without tenure. A portion of the Nakusp boat ramp has been found to encroach on Crown Land, so the Village now must apply for tenure of that portion.
“In the old days no one ever asked permission, that’s what it feels like,” commented mayor Hamling. “Every time we turn around it seems like we’re on Crown Land.”
In response to a letter from Nelson asking for support of a motion in opposition to CETA (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement), council and mayor asked staff to prepare research looking into the issue further. The motion made in Nelson takes issue with CETA’s ability to limit municipal power, incur greater costs for municipalities and provide access to water rights and services in an international agreement.
Interest in conflict of interest ruling
A bulletin from Young Anderson Barristers and Solicitors caused a bit of a stir. The bulletin was about a recent ruling in a case of conflict of interest involving directors of non-profit societies who were also elected officials.
There was agreement all around the table that it could be tricky. CAO Linda Tynan suggested that councillors be mindful and simply excuse themselves for a vote when there is funding involved for a group they are on the board of.
Tynan said cases where conflict of interest may be a possibility can always be discussed before they come to council.