Smart Meters and more discussed at May 14 Nakusp Council meeting

Moving right along, Nakusp council held its post-budget meeting.

Moving right along, council held its post-budget meeting.

Unfinished Business

Councillor Zeleznik asked about the Old Firehall and if a request for expressions of interest had been advertised yet. Mayor Hamling responded that council was going to get a report on the things that were missing and needed to be done before EOI could be solicited. Councillor Duchaine asked who would be doing the report, and the mayor replied the staff would be taking it on.

Mayor’s Report had Spring in its step

The new directional signage is up around town, said the mayor. The new signs have information about items, not store names, she said. Teacher Dom Raso was out with his students on Monday, May 14 planting flowers along Broadway, reported the mayor.

Mayor Karen Hamling also let council in on the preparations for Nakusp’s 120th birthday celebrations, which are coming along swimmingly.

There are funds available for plaques to furnish information outside of heritage buildings, which would be a “good heritage project,” the mayor said.

Chamber of Commerce points the way

“It was a hoot,” said Duchaine about the Chamber’s recent meeting. He pointed out there were some issues in terms of coordinating efforts between various groups in town and the Chamber, “but we’re working them out,” he assured.

The Chamber has taken on the project of making new ferry signs with the aim of updating and polishing them up a bit.

NADB + BRE = ?

Councillor Duchaine reported that the NADB is finishing up its business directory and is now looking to expand existing businesses in the area. The Business Retention and Expansion presentation given by Rural Development Institute Research Chair Terri McDonald was inspirational to the group who are looking to have a round table about BRE in the future, said Duchaine. NADB, like many other Nakuspians, is looking forward to the 120th Birthday celebration, reported Councillor Duchaine.

NACFOR open house

Tom Zeleznik brought news from NACFOR, including that NADB have given NACFOR $1,500 toward a feasibility study on bioenergy in the area, said Zeleznik, who will continue to report on the study’s project as it comes along.

Zeleznik also let council know that Interfor scales are opening May 22, and logs from NACFOR sites will be hauled to where they need to go beginning this date.

New trail signage is in the works too, with NACFOR applying for a CBT grant for interpretive signage on local trails.

NACFOR will be holding an open house at Selkirk College on May 28, said the councillor, so if you’re interested in learning what NACFOR does, this will be a good opportunity to find out.

AKBLG

Going to the Association of Kootenay Boundary Local Governments (AKGLG) was an invaluable experience for the new councillors, from all reports.

Councillor Zeleznik mentioned that one of the memorable findings from “The Seven Deadly Sins of Tourism” seminar he attended was that having nothing open downtown after 6 p.m. was a tourism “sin.”

Get more from Rec. Commission 4 & CBT

Councillor Hughes said there were fewer requests from the community for what he sees as a great opportunity for funding. The swimming program is benefiting from the funding, and will be offering lessons again this summer.

Hughes also discussed a new funding stream being developed by Columbia Basin Trust: Social grants. The definition, particularly for this first intake, will be quite broad, said Hughes. Basically applications can’t fall into arts, culture, environment, youth or environmental categories as they already have existing funding streams, nor can they be for programs or projects that should be taken care of by the government, he added.

Camper stay extended

The maximum stay in municipal campgrounds has been increased from 10 to 14 days, which brings the policy in line with most municipalities in the area.

Hot Springs Passes debated

There was some discussion as to whether or not to continue to give out two passes to the Hot Springs with property tax notices. Councillor Mueller was in favour, but saw that the passes add up to a lot of dollars

Councillor Hughes was in favour of continuing the passes, and said that in the long run it’s a net zero for the Village.

“Even if people don’t use them, it lends to the philosophy of ownership,” commented Hughes.

Councillor Duchaine wasn’t sure it was necessary to continue the passes, seeing their free entry as being a loss of revenue to the Village.

Mayor Hamling weighed in and said that around ten per cent of the people who receive the passes use them.

Councillor Zeleznik also had mixed feelings about the tickets, but brought up the point that people who have them may take visitors with them and in that way increase revenues.

In the end, it was decided that the passes would continue.

Wheels in motion…

In the course of conversation, Guy Duchaine mentioned he had the impression that there were many groups or individuals around town working on very similar projects and “spinning their wheels” rather than working together. The mayor suggested it might be time to get the chairs from various community organizations like NADB and the Chamber together with Council in order to organize and cut down on duplication of efforts.

Smart Meters revisited

Mayor Hamling said she put the issue of Smart Meters back onthe agenda because she was hearing concerns from community members. She reminded council that UBCM had voted in favour of an opt out option and a  moratorium on the installation of the meters. They were told by Minister of Energy and Mines Rich Coleman that it didn’t matter what the vote was, the project was going ahead, Hamling said, who also said there were a lot of concerned people out there.

“If no one else was bothering, then I’d say no,” she said.

Councillor Hughes responded that the minister bluntly saying he isn’t interested in what the municipalities have to say “really raises concerns.”

Councillor Duchaine said Hydro companies were giving residents the option to move their meter so he didn’t see the need to write a letter to the utilities, but was behind writing a letter to minister Coleman. Councillor Zeleznik suggested that a BC Hydro rep be invited to address questions from concerned citizens, and he stated that he believed people should have the right to opt out.

“I think we’ve done what we can as a council,” said Councillor Mueller, who saw more value in sending Coleman a letter rather than Hydro. She also agreed that people should have a choice as well, and mentioned that although people do have the choice to move a meter, it’s expensive and many people can’t afford it.

The resolution was passed to send Rich Coleman a letter voicing the councils displeasure with how the UBCM vote wasn’t listened to and how being dismissed in such a fashion doesn’t allow for representation of the citizens of B.C.

A second resolution was passed to bring a Hydro rep in for a public meeting as well.

Targa West returns

The cars may be back at the end of August to take on the curves of the Hot Springs Road. The group is hoping to put on a three day event, said Councillor Duchaine. Mayor Hamling said a staff report will be needed to see what the impacts of a road closure might be, and a resolution was passed to invite Targa to the May 28 meeting.