Nakusp Mayor Tom Zeleznik. (File photo) The Arrow Lakes News invited Nakusp Mayor Tom Zeleznik to share his thoughts about what the new decade might bring. (File photo)

Nakusp Mayor Tom Zeleznik: targeted action makes village an economic centre

Here come the 2020s: Arrow Lakes News asked local leaders to predict the future

Nakusp Mayor Tom Zeleznik ponders the future for the village — and the opportunities in store. Here are his predictions of what the village will look like by 2030.

Connectivity — Columbia Basin Broadband Corporation has partnered with the Village of Nakusp and entrepreneurs and has formed a co-op as a utility company to provide a much better/faster/reliable internet service than previous that will encourage entrepreneurs, youth and others to bring their home-based businesses and tech hub offices to Nakusp.

Connectivity is critical for Nakusp: it has the potential to unlock a new era of economic growth, environmental sustainability, and social well-being in our communities.

Nakusp Park Master Plan — The plan is now complete with the campground expansion/walking trails, plus more spaces for all users including cultural spaces, gathering spaces, seniors’ activities etc. We are seeing more Broadway Street festivals like October Fest, Nakusp Mardi Gras, and different types of markets, plus our beach/waterfront area has expanded. Our marina and breakwater are repaired.

Nakusp has now become the centre connection to our trail network – a new highway bike lane path from Nakusp centre on Broadway to Mount Abriel on Highway 23, a mixed-use trail connected from Nakusp’s campground to the rail trail and the major washout has been repaired for mixed use again.

Forestry value added – A new industrial park has been developed with a partnership with value-added companies, Village of Nakusp, CBT, and our own community forest bringing a wood supply for sustainability. The community forest has also expanded its wood supply by receiving more forested tenure crown land and purchase land for their long-term future. Bio-mass products are also being developed from the wood waste for heating, electricity, biochar, and now fuel.

Green energy community – Nakusp has been awarded for reducing its carbon footprint more than any other community per capita.

Achievements for this award were having the most electric bikes/pedal bikes, and electric cars/scooters per capita; using local organic certified green community forests value-added wood products for construction also reduces the carbon footprint in transportation; and using green energy wood waste biomass products for hot water heating to industrial businesses, commercial, residential homes, dry kilns, biochar products and biomass fuel products/reducing carbon.

Greenhouses are heated 12 months a year by green energy biomass wood waste/solar panels, producing local organic produce instead of importing which reduces its carbon footprint.

Nakusp Hot Springs — The hot springs has begun generating its own electricity from its natural water source along with heating its buildings/showers, reducing its dependency on propane and freeing it from BC Hydro power outages.

Village of Nakusp has also installed another microhydro plant to help generate more revenue/act as a back up generator for emergency use/power outages. New affordable homes/commercial are nearly 100 per cent green energy efficient in all capacities.

Three large new timber frame signs at all three entrances direct tourists and others into our community. Nakusp has now become known as the Valley of the Hot Springs, a Green Energy Community, and a Forestry Value Added community.

Columbia Basin Treaty – Has recently been ratified, bringing more guaranteed annual funds into our community along with a guaranteed water level.

Water/infrastructure – Village has three new wells that are fed into our reservoirs. Now have a good supply of water for future growth/expansion in and outside of village boundaries. Village has installed water meters to residents who are outside of village boundaries along with commercial/industrial to help the village to monitor usage.

Housing/medical – With the new steady growth in our community we are experiencing an affordable housing boom, bringing many new trades, doctors, nurses, jobs, and school enrollment is increasing. Mainly because of all the initiatives the village has undertaken. Now our hidden gem community has been found and we must share. Sorry!

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