The footbridge was one element of the Nakusp Hot Springs that drew praise from visitors.

The footbridge was one element of the Nakusp Hot Springs that drew praise from visitors.

Nakusp council notes: hot springs kudos, smart growth, budget changes

Highlights from the Nov. 12 Nakusp Council meeting.

What wood you do?

A local wood supply and manufacturing workshop will be held on Nov. 22 to discuss local value-added initiatives to keep wood revenues in the valley. The approximately 40 participants will be talking about opportunities to spur on small- and medium-sized forest product manufacturing in the area. The Southern Interior Beetle Action Coalition (SIBAC) is one of the funders of the event.

“There’s a lot of excitement about it,” said Councillor Tom Zeleznik, “we’ll see where it goes.”

Zoning bylaw amendment

Issues the Village has recently faced were behind changes to Zoning Bylaw 614. A requirement for the underside grade of floor systems is redundant, as there are already a floodplain bylaw and flooding provisions under the building code, said CAO Linda Tynan. The RDCK recommended that the grading requirement be removed as the wording suggests there should be no basements.

The second part of the bylaw that was removed was a minimum area requirement for primary buildings. The building code has removed such requirements as they aren’t in line with “smart growth principles” and contemporary trends toward smaller buildings. All other requirements must be met, including length to width ratios, but there are no minimum size restrictions for a single-storey building.

Because the amendment was the removal of parts of the bylaw rather than the addition to or modification of, council voted to forego the public meeting to change the bylaw.

Nakusp council voted to send a letter supporting the creation of a position for a cabinet minister of rural affairs. Voting in favour of the motion, councillor Guy Duchaine pointed out that although it would be great to have a rurally-focused minister, it might cost more money.

“If they can do that without costing us money, I’m all for it,” he commented, “and as a footnote if they can do that they should tell the federal government.”

Budget variance

With water and sewer projects having gone over budget, and the purchase of the Cedar Chalets weighing in on the Village’s finances, a budget variance accommodating those realities was brought to council. CFO Rob Richards presented a year-to-date report on the budget to council to show the position of the municipality, financially speaking. The intent of the report, said CAO Tynan is to point out if there is trending out of budget expectations.

“The gist is, the fact is our water and sewer capital projects are not where we’d like them to be,” said Tynan, “and there’s no way of not talking about that.” Both major project are approximately nine per cent over budget in totality, although the overages for this year are greater.

But, in terms of the operations of the Village overall, added the CAO, it’s manageable. The rest of the budgets are on budget; none of the reserves will be drained to zero, and they can be built up again.

Nakusp Hot Springs kudos

The results of a 2013 Nakusp Hot Springs patron survey revealed not only that the majority of visitors to the pools were from Alberta, but that they were also happy bunch. Twenty-five per cent of the survey respondents were from our neighbouring province, 16 per cent from the Okanagan, 11 from the rest of B.C., while ten per cent were international travellers and eight percent were from the rest of Canada.

Word about the ‘Springs spread primarily by mouth, and many people returned to revisit the pools, the survey reported. Comments collected were overwhelmingly positive, with 60 per cent falling into the “great/wonderful/love it” category. Suggestions included adding a cold pool, bike racks, a pay phone, and more food options to the apparently much-loved facility.

Other news

• Due to a slow market, NACFOR is not currently logging.

• The Village sent the Columbia Basin Broadband Corporation info about buildings in the community that could benefit from high-speed hook up, and are now waiting to hear back from them.

• The Cedar Chalets were officially handed over to the Village on Nov. 12.

• The municipal campground will be in need of a new operator for next year.