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Community members appointed to Nakusp sport complex revival committee

Village council from May 27
Nakusp Village Hall, Nakusp City Hall, Nakusp Council, Nakusp Village Council. (File photo)

Rachael Lesosky

 Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Six community members were appointed to the Nakusp & District Sports Complex Usage Committee: Amy Blatz, Murray Peglar, Matthew Wood, Mickey Wojnarowski, Courtney Edwards, and Stephanie Roger. 

The six bring a wide range of experience to the committee, and represent various different recreational activities. 

Blatz is looking to organize gymnastics and family activities.

Peglar is an experienced board member and communications specialist, with experience organizing community events.

Wood is the head coach and executive director of the West Kootenay Football Club (soccer). He is interested in children’s and youth programming at the complex.

Wojnarowski is part of the newly formed Nakusp Skating Club, teaching kids and adults how to skate. He would like to see figure skating make a comeback in Nakusp.

Edwards represents Nakusp Minor Hockey, as a member of the board of directors. She would like to engage seniors in the winter months by inviting them to hockey games.

Roger also represents Nakusp Minor Hockey, and has a significant history of supporting youth sports and youth networks in Nakusp. 

The terms of reference for the committee allow for a total of nine voting members: two councillors, one RDCK board member, and six community members. Councillors Tina Knooihuizen and Dolly Edwards sit on the committee. Staff will be reaching out to the RDCK Area K director. 

The committee’s purpose is to actively and directly engage with the public to find out their preferences for the complex. Any action items will be brought to council first before moving forward. Meetings will be open to the public.

The complex is home to the arena, four-sheet curling rink, indoor squash courts, and auditorium with concession facilities.

Permissive tax exemption policy change

Council adopted a new permissive tax exemption policy. 

Starting in 2025, applicants must be registered non-profits with membership open to any resident of Nakusp and area. They must demonstrate a financial need for the exemption, along with sound financial and administrative management. Use of the property must align with the vision and mission of the organization, which must also provide a service that supports the social, spiritual, cultural, educational, or physical well-being of Nakusp’s residents. 

Applications will be reviewed by council on a case-by-case basis. Council may decide the term for the exemption, whether it’s for one or multiple years.

Staff revised the policy using council’s feedback from the Committee of the Whole discussion on April 8. Exempted taxes are footed by Village taxpayers.

Temporary use permit

Property owners of 200 Cotswold Road were granted a Temporary Use Permit (TUP) to live in their RV while constructing a house on the property – with a few conditions.

The TUP will expire when the single-family detached dwelling is approved for occupancy, the building permit expires, or on October 31, whichever comes first. Zoning requirements only allow for an RV as a temporary residence (under a TUP) between April 1 and October 31.

The property owners must also submit a plan, within 14 days of the TUP’s approval, showing how they will properly dispose of domestic wastewater from the RV. The CAO or his designate must approve the plan. 

The owners have already received a building permit. 

Operations report

Council received a quarterly update from the operations department, summarizing its activities in administration, arena/parks, public works, water and sewer utility, hot springs, capital projects, and sports complex usage during March, April, and May.

Administration staff made a few hires: one temporary equipment operator, one student, one temporary and one regular Arena Parks Operator in Training, a hot springs pool operator, and two hot springs attendants. Staff reviewed fees and charges for the sports complex, attended a Sinixt awareness session, and negotiated the CUPE collective agreement. 

Arena/Parks staff got the campground ready for opening on May 1, prepared the field for three soccer tournaments, and set irrigation systems for summer. They removed the ice on March 19, replaced lights in the squash court, screened beach sand, and loaned the Zamboni to Revelstoke for the final week of the Grizzlies’ post season. Staff also continued regular maintenance of Village assets.

Public Works collected garbage and recycling, supported street sweeping contractors, and helped out with arena, parks, and hot springs projects. It cleared ditches and culverts, rebuilt a failing recycling bin ramp, cleaned up the community after Pride Week, and maintained its equipment fleet. 

Two water operators and one sewer operator completed training courses. Staff continued to support Silverton’s water utility, per an agreement that expires this June. Staff also maintained a pump and the wet well at the lift station, flushed major sewer collection mains, and replaced DAF plant wiper blades. 

With the Nakusp Hot Springs 50th anniversary coming up in October, staff made sure the facilities are in tip-top shape. It was shut down from April 22 to May 9 for maintenance, which included installing a swimsuit drier in the women’s showers; acid flushing the hot water tanks and heat exchanges; and replacing the water fountain with a new combined fountain and bottle filler. Staff prepared and opened the campground and did seasonal deep cleaning and building maintenance. 

The operations department also worked on capital projects. It finalized the Emergency Reception Centre design and prepared the request for proposal; installed new water and sewer connections at the campground sani-station; and continued work on WWTP plant optimization. It replaced damaged sections of the hot springs pool deck, and plumbing and walls in the men’s showers. EV charger infrastructure was installed at the hot springs, but the department is still waiting on a BC Hydro connection. The BC Air Access Program grant for airport fencing was successful. The new electric truck that was scheduled for March delivery has yet to arrive. 

The department also reported that the sports complex is still being used daily for different activities, like pickleball, public walking, tai chi, and by the youth society. The curling club finished up on March 18, along with public skating, and minor and adult hockey.

Legislative reform

The Village of Nakusp will send a letter to the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM)’s executive, expressing its support of the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN)’s initiative to form a working group on the modernization of the Local Government Act (LGA).

“Without comprehensive modernization of the LGA, regional districts are left without sufficient tools or authority to meet expanding responsibilities or to legislate in key areas in comparison with municipalities,” reads a letter from Vanessa Craig, chair of the RDN. The letter is dated January 19, 2024, and was included in the agenda package. “Having letters of support from local governments across the province would be helpful in demonstrating interest [in modernization].”

The RDN, Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District, Fraser Valley Regional District (City of Chilliwack), and Don Lidstone, K.C., hosted a Legislative Reform Initiative panel for regional district and municipal officials on September 21, 2023 at the UBCM Annual Convention in Vancouver. The RDN sent a document to UBCM members, summarizing the panel discussion and requesting the formation of a working group on LGA modernization.

“Many aspects of municipal operations are contained in the LGA,” Craig wrote. “Moreover, evolving social, political, and economic environments that both municipalities and regional districts operate within, such as climate change, environmental stewardship, and recognition of the importance of First Nations’ participation in regional governance, should be reflected in updated and modernized legislation.”