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Nakusp to develop waterfront master plan

Nakusp Hot Springs celebrates its 50th anniversary on Oct. 19
Nakusp Village Council. (Black Press Media file photo)

Contributed: Rachael Lesosky

Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The Village will begin developing a Waterfront Master Plan with funds not exceeding $50,000 from the Nakusp & Area Community Forest (NACFOR) Legacy Fund. The Village may leverage other funding for the project, as well.

The plan will cover the waterfront lands from the southern boundary of the Village to the wrap-around trail where it meets the Kuskanax River. It will outline how aging infrastructure will be replaced, what new features will be added, and what amenities the public most values.

“Any member of the public that wants to participate and engage in the process of developing the Waterfront Master Plan is more than welcome to, and invited to take part,” said CAO Wayne Robinson.

Mayor Tom Zeleznik said there is a not-for-profit group that may be interested in working with the Village on the plan, particularly on accessibility.

The plan will also address the marina, access points to the business area, a tree plan, alternative water access, Powell Creek culvert replacement, connecting the waterfront to the southeast lands, and low and fluctuating water levels.

Councillor Aidan McLaren-Caux also brought forward a motion (that passed) for staff to ask for a delegation from BC Hydro regarding reservoir levels.

Hot springs anniversary

The Village will commit up to $10,000 to go towards the Nakusp Hot Springs 50th anniversary activities on October 19. The funds will come out of the Hot Springs operational budget.

Celebrations include a pancake breakfast and a family-style 1970s-themed BBQ with live music, a pig roast, and other family entertainment. Pool admission rates for the day will be set to 1974 pricing. There will also be a 50th anniversary ceremony showcasing a historical video.

The Village will invite the 1974 Village council and the original hot springs builders and management to the event. Two of the original builders are no longer with us, said Mayor Tom Zeleznik, but the Village will be inviting their wives.

The 1974 Premier, MLA, Minister of Tourism, MP, and Prime Minister will also be invited.

Staff will create a hashtag, custom anniversary logo, and swag to accompany the festivities.

Business licence bylaw

The hotly debated topic of short-term rentals (STR) in the commercial (C1) and lakeshore (LD-1) zones remains unchanged after council gave three readings to a revised business licence bylaw.

Property owners in the C1 and LD-1 zones without a long-term resident may only operate a short-term rental (STR) for 90 days. Further, when applying for an STR business licence, they must indicate which 90 days the unit will be available.

Staff revised the business licence bylaw using council’s feedback from the Committee of the Whole discussion on April 8.

Updated provisions include a new licence renewal deadline at the end of February, rather than March. Licencees will need to notify the Village by December 31 if a licence is no longer required for the upcoming year.

New definitions were added for bed and breakfast, mushroom buyer, and new business. Definitions for business, home occupation, and short-term rental were updated.

A new section was added for seasonal mushroom buyers.

Private property owners hosting mobile vendors will be required to ensure the vendor adheres to Village bylaws. Otherwise, they may be ticketed.

A new business will need to have a fire inspection completed within the first year of operation, unless the BC Fire Service Act requires an earlier inspection.

Sports complex committee

Council approved amendments to the terms of reference for the Nakusp and District Sports Complex Usage Committee.

Amended terms include appointing members of the public who represent a broad spectrum of recreation activities, as well as one member from the RDCK board of directors.

Interested potential committee members can submit applications until end of business day Tuesday, May 21.

FireSmart and emergency management update

Council received FireSmart/Emergency Program Coordinator Noel Ballard’s quarterly report.

Ballard’s report said Nakusp’s FireSmart Program will receive $316,845 over the next two years, thanks to the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) FireSmart Community Funding & Supports grant.

FireSmart Farm & Ranch assessment training was completed in February, with a presentation delivered on March 27. The program hopes to organize a Farm & Ranch network for emergency preparedness, to encourage farmers with livestock to collaborate on evacuation sites during an emergency.

The water treatment plant, public works shop, and arena auditorium (reception centre) were approved for UBCM Community Resiliency Investment funding for wildfire mitigation work.

Ballard’s report also details his work as the Emergency Program Coordinator. He formed the Nakusp Emergency Management Planning Committee, which has had three meetings. It’s developing a new Emergency Management Plan for Nakusp, with a focus on preparation, mitigation, and recovery.

Ballard works with the fire chief to perform fire safety inspections, and has completed over 35 in 2024.

The emergency program is assessing potential flooding and erosion that could impact the sewage treatment lagoon. It also applied for a grant to perform risk assessments, such as the impact of wildfires and landslides on water catchment areas and the treatment plant in Upper Brouse. For all assessments, Ballard is collaborating with the RDCK to avoid overlap.

FireSmart policy

A new policy will provide guidance on implementing FireSmart principles into regular Village maintenance procedures, landscaping, and renovations. The policy was prepared by Noel Ballard, Nakusp’s FireSmart /Emergency Program Coordinator.

The first step will be a FireSmart assessment of Village assets, which will then be forwarded to department supervisors.

Wages during emergencies

Council adopted a policy that ensures Village staff are compensated for their hours in the event a local emergency where the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) is activated.

The policy applies to both unionized and management staff assigned to EOC duties during a provincially tasked emergency event.

The Ministry of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness (EMCR) only reimburses staff wages if the time worked is outside of regularly scheduled hours, and if it relates to a tasked emergency event. In order to be eligible for reimbursement by EMCR, the Village needs to have a policy in place detailing compensation.

Fire chief’s update

Council received Fire Chief Terry Warren’s quarterly update.

Warren reported 27 incidents and 35 fire safety inspections. Incidents included false and defective alarms; burn complaints; brush, chimney, and structure fires; gas/hazmat smell; motor vehicle incidents; BC Emergency Health Services lift assists; and a fallen tree on lines.

The team participated in training for incidents such as elevator rescue, accidental hypothermia, over embankment rope rescues, air ambulance safety, and landing zone procedures. Other areas of training involved self-contained breathing apparatus, sprinkler systems, water sources in the fire protection area, ladders, pumper apparatus, and hoses and nozzles.

Use of public property bylaw

Council adopted the amended Use of Public Property Bylaw.

Amendments included businesses’ use of sidewalks and sandwich boards; messages written or projected on the sidewalk; food trucks in town; seasonal patio expansions; free use of park areas for a person, business, or not-for-profit; and third-party liability insurance.

The public will receive notice of the details through the Village newsletter, website, and social media. CAO Wayne Robinson will deliver a one-page handout to businesses, explaining how the new bylaw affects them.

Budget and tax rates bylaws

Council gave three readings to the 2024-2028 financial plan and 2024 tax rate bylaws.

Village tax rates are set to rise by 9.75 per cent this year, or about $103.81 for the owner of an average single-family dwelling.

The Village also has to collect taxes for other governments, including the RDCK and West Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital District. RDCK taxes are increasing by 4.57 per cent, or $25.87 for an average single-family dwelling. Hospital district taxes are rising by 2.12 per cent, or about $1.37.

In the five-year financial plan, a 5 per cent municipal tax increase is budgeted for 2025-2028.

Two significant additions were added to the 2024 operating budget.

The first is a $300,000 expense from sewer reserves to de-sludge the lagoons.

The second is $161,394 in funding received from the Local Government Climate Action Program (LGCAP).

LGCAP reserve

Council gave three readings to a bylaw amendment that would establish a Local Government Climate Action Program (LGCAP) reserve fund.

The reserve fund will hold the lump sum of $161,394 that the Village received from the Province, through the LGCAP program.

The funds will be used from 2024 to 2026 to reach legislated climate targets and provincial climate goals. Eligible expenditures include staffing and contracts, energy efficiency improvements, climate infrastructure, and risk assessments.

Moto Giro

The Village will provide a letter of support for the Moto Giro Vintage Motorcycle Hill Climb event on Sunday, September 8. The letter will accompany a request to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure for a temporary closure of Hot Springs Road from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. that day.

Moto Giro is a two-day event put on by the Rocky Mountain Section of the Canadian Vintage Motorcycle Group. The first day is a 300-kilometre reliability loop ride from Nakusp to Nelson and back again. The second day is the Vintage Motorcycle Hill Climb up Hot Springs Road. Last year, there were 30 participants.