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Nakusp council: Developer proposes all-season resort

Developer proposes waterpark
The Nakusp Village Hall. (File photo)

An ambitious developer has proposed an all-season public pool, waterpark, and 100+ room resort on the lands where the skateboard park, tennis courts, and rail display are.

It would be called Kutenai Spring Resort and would see an 11-kilometre pipeline bringing water from the hot springs to the downtown location.

Chris MacPherson offered up a presentation to council. Long-time local since 1978, MacPherson estimates the project cost at around $30 million.

Council offered little opposition to the proposal. “I think privately-owned is the only way and only key to getting a public pool for this village due to a limited tax base,” said Coun. Tina Knooihuizen.

Coun. Dolly Edwards echoed the sentiment, saying that a public pool is a big wish for many in the village, especially young families.

Coun. Mason Hough said lodging facilities are in high demand, especially for sports tournaments and other larger events.

Coun. Aidan McLaren-Caux touched on the impacts something like this might have on the housing crisis.

Council noted that MacPherson’s proposal was a little nebulous, filled mostly with ideas and less with concrete plans.

“There’s a lot of work to be done. As the developer, a lot of this will be on your shoulders to really look into it deeply,” said Mayor Tom Zeleznik.

Since the plan is proposed for village-owned land, Zeleznik said the village would need to hold a referendum once MacPherson had a clear proposal in place, detailing the deliverables to the community.

“Then the ultimate question to the public is, are you willing to give up the land?” said village CAO Wayne Robinson. “And that requires a referendum, and so the public will have ultimate say at the end based off of this one location.”

If MacPherson were to find private land for the project, a referendum wouldn’t be necessary.

“This is a massive, bold venture. I really appreciate you putting your neck out and doing this,” said the mayor. “We’ve always wanted a pool and waterpark, so this is a great opportunity, but there are so many hurdles and preliminary ideas to go through.”

A large crowd showed up to the meeting, along with others online, most asking questions during public time concerning the development proposal.

Dog control costs double

Dog control in the village is in limbo currently, as the Regional District of Central Kootenay tries to navigate an increase in service fees. (See story page 9)

Council went into a committee of the whole meeting to discuss the issue.

The RDCK administers the service via a contractor, but the contract expired at the beginning of the year. The previous contractor submitted the only bid in response to the RDCK’s request for proposals, but she has raised her rates substantially.

This means residents will either have to pay a considerably higher price for the same level of service, or see the service reduced.

As it’s likely the RDCK will continue with the contractor until the end of 2024, council went with staff’s suggestion to recommend a hybrid service level to the RDCK. The hope is to find a balance of manageable costs and suitable services to get the village through the rest of the year.

“The village will need to reassess its animal control options in the coming months to prepare for a total revamp of the service in 2025,” reads CAO Wayne Robinson’s staff report.

The Nakusp/Area K dog control contract renewal came before the RDCK board for the first time in March. In light of this proposal and proposals received for other electoral areas in the region, the RDCK is now beginning its own conversations about changing the way it delivers dog control district-wide.

Taxpayers in Nakusp and Area K pay for the service through RDCK taxes. Nakusp’s fee last year was about $17,000; this year it’s $34,000.

Robinson explained that part of the increase is due to making up costs from last year, in particular one dangerous dog that needed to be seized, housed, and destroyed – an expensive process. Even without the cost of that dog, said the Robinson, the new proposal from the contractor still raises fees by 50 per cent.

Jackie Kilburn, the contractor, was present at the council meeting and asked to meet with village staff to discuss options.

Business licence bylaw

Council adopted the revised business licence bylaw.

The bylaw was revised to reduce ambiguity, and much of it remains the same as the bylaw it replaces.

Some notable changes include a discount for renewals if the fee for the coming year is paid in full by December 31, and potential ticketing of private property owners if the mobile vendor they are hosting breaks Village bylaws.

People can operate a short-term rental (STR) in a C1 or LD1 Zone for 90 days, and are required to tell the Village when submitting their application which 90 days of the year the STR will be available.

They must also provide proof of long-term occupancy outside of the 90 days.

The bylaw can be viewed on the village website . Anyone with questions is encouraged to contact staff.

Financial plan and tax rates

Council adopted the five-year financial plan and tax rate bylaws. Village tax rates will rise by 9.75 pre cent this year. In the five-year financial plan, a five per cent municipal tax increase is budgeted for 2025 through 2028, to cover inflation and reserve contributions.

The village also collects levies from the RDCK and West Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital District. RDCK taxes will increase by 4.57 per cent, or $25.87 for an average single-family dwelling. Hospital district taxes will rise by 2.12 per cent, or about $1.37 for the average residence.

Youth baseball association

Council agreed to let the Arrow Lakes Youth Baseball Association use the Kathy Pedersen Ball Field for an hour and a half once per week for nine weeks, ending June 28, for a fee of $200.

Usually, the day rate for the park is $150 for youth.

To make it less cost-prohibitive, staff drafted up a reduced rate based on potential park usage from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The resulting $200 fee works out to about $11.11 per hour, which includes half an hour each week to clean up and vacate the park.


Nick Kostiuk of Grant Thornton LLP gave a report to council on the results of the audit.

Kostiuk said the village is in good financial standing.

A few adjustments were made in the statements, but he gave kudos to Mark Tennant, village director of finance, and the team for providing good financial reporting.