The mayor and council were joined by some concerned residents interested in permit requests and land variances at their Sept. 10 regular meeting. Representatives from Omega Engineering were available to answer questions about the new Kuskanax Footbridge drawings and tender plan. And city staff member Pat Farish was present to discuss Nakusp Hot Springs.
Village nixes mixed meeting locations
Over the last several months, council has been holding half of their regular bimonthly meetings at the Emergency Services Building. The hope was that increased access to the meetings would encourage public engagement in the process of managing the village. The Mayor Hamling said it was designed, “to give people an opportunity to be able to have easy access to our meetings, but we really haven’t had people showing up.”
As a result the council has decided to hold the remaining scheduled meetings in council chambers unless otherwise requested.
Their next meeting is Tuesday, Oct. 9 at 6:30 p.m. at the village office.
Nakusp Hot Springs financial review
The Village CAO Linda Tynan presented some year to date financial information for Nakusp Hot Springs. Unfortunately the village office’s internet was down, so limited information was available. To the end of August 2012, revenues for Nakusp Hot Springs and Campground were slightly below revenues collected to date in 2011. Revenues are expected to fall below the budget amount.
Attendance at Nakusp Hot Springs has been declining over the past years. Expenses have been reduced in order to avoid incurring a loss for the Village. “We have already trimmed our expenditures substantially at the Hot Springs,” Tynan said.
Bookings are up for the busy Thanksgiving weekend. A two-day closure is planned for late in October.
Hot Springs footbridge replacement plan
The Kuskanax pedestrian bridge at Nakusp Hot Springs is currently closed to the public. But hopefully, with the help of Omega Engineering, the bridge will be replaced in the spring of 2013. The location of the footbridge will be a logistical challenge for whichever company gets the contract. The limited road and trail access for large vehicles and existence of water pipes in the area make bringing in machinery and equipment difficult, time-consuming and expensive, council heard.
For example a crane is too big to use in that location. As a result Omega Engineering suggests that the contractor will need to build a tower, costing more than $30,000. The contractor would then use the tower to assemble the parts: beams, girders, and pre-fabricated pieces. As well worker safety lines can be attached to the tower to ensure compliance with WCB safety regulations.
The footbridge replacement plan and drawings put before council on September 10 was a revised version of the plan already put out to tender. All the bids from the first tender in the summer of 2012 were higher than budgeted.
Omega produced a more detailed plan with less expensive anticipated and unanticipated building costs to put out to tender in the fall of 2012. The Village council is carefully watching that this project does not go over the budget of $425,000. Unfortunately this means that, with the logistical challenges of the site, some desired features of the original footbridge design needed to be removed or altered in order to keep costs within the budget. The revised design maintains a roof, a covered bridge, with a viewing platform and two benches.
Nakusp Ferry building progresses
Waterbridge Steel, the company building the new $26.5-million ferry for the Shelter Bay/Galena Bay crossing, has hired about 20 locals so far. Another five to ten people will be hired over the next few weeks. Mayor Hamling said that, “things are going well with the ferry and the site’s been completely set-up as a shipyard. The first pieces of the hull are being assembled and they have most of the launch grid completed.”
Kootenay Regional Workforce Task force
Mayor Hamling and other representatives from the East and West Kootenays met with Selkirk College to discuss what to do about post-secondary education in our area, in particular with training and trades. Selkirk is now putting a taskforce together to discuss the feedback from the communities and will return with some information and possibly plans. They hope to create programs allowing people can remain in their communities to be educated and work. The mayor noted that in small communities like ours the minimum class sizes must be small and program sizes of 6 to 8 people makes much more sense than one with a minimum participation requirement of 20 people.
Physician Assistant a good idea?
Councillor Duchaine inquired about having a Physician Assistant (PA) brought to town to assist the local doctors with their workload. Mayor Hamling noted that there is no funding for a PA position at this time and that a Physician is required to be on call to supervise the PA anyway. The Mayor said legislation and regulations regarding PAs in the province of BC will need to be reviewed to see if this is a possible future solution for Nakusp. Additionally, the Interior Health Authority will be consulted to double check if a PA position could relieve some of the stress on our current doctors, in particular at the emergency department. Other alternative solutions being investigated include a nurse practitioner position.
New Contractor for the Sewage Treatment Plant building services
The Village Council terminated the general engineering services of Delterra Engineering and retained Bergevin Electrical to fill in on some of the work. Delterra had been working on Nakusp’s Sewage Treatment Plant upgrade and on the second well project. In an email from CAO Tynan, she explained Delterra would not be handling engineering of a general nature, but would continue working on several specific projects that were still under review. A report on the status of the Nakusp’s various ongoing water, sewer, and micro hydro infrastructure projects is expected to be presented at the next council meeting on October 9, 2012.