Notes from Nakusp council Monday, Feb. 25

CAO Linda Tynan told council that it’s a busy time of year for all departments.

  • Mar. 8, 2013 11:00 a.m.

CAO Linda Tynan told council that it’s a busy time of year for all departments.

“Much of the focus continues to be on year end and the budget,” the CAO’s report explained.

CAO report

In staffing news, Warren Leigh now has “Operator” status in Public Works, and applications for the Summer Student program are being worked on.

Tynan attended a meeting with Basia Rutta, the new Auditor General for Local Governments in Richmond on Feb. 20. The creation of the new position was met with resistance from many municipalities in B.C. when it was initially announced.

“The intent is that they provide positive support for municipalities, that they identify best practises,” Tynan remarked. There was a lot of fear from councils expressed at UBCM, said the CAO.

Mayor Karen Hamling agreed, saying that people weren’t happy when the position was initially created, with communities feeling there was already a lot of reporting and bureaucracy.

The CAO, who was seated next to the Auditor General, said Rutta does understand the best practises side of the job, and that there’s a very good chance that the AG will be looking at long term sustainability in terms of both budgeting and the environment. That is, if the position will continue to exist under the newly elected government.

Sewer treatment plant has water issues

Issues with insulation and ventilation at the Sewer Treatment Plant (STP) will mean renovations will need to be done.

“Some of these issues have arisen from meetings with Ministry of Environment representatives who indicate that they were not aware of the change from sand filtration to DAF technology,” the CAO’s report stated. “The issue is related to the management of sludge.”

The building was not designed for an STP, said Tynan, but the mechanical engineers from Rocky Point are looking to a redesign at no cost. The redesign will include a plan to adapt the building in case of flooding as there is no contingence for that possibility at the moment.

Theft at Nakusp Hot Springs?

A patron of the hot springs on the hill came back from their soak to find their clothes had vanished and had to borrow clothing from the staff who were on shift. Because there were valuables left in the locker, the theft is being seen as likely more a prank than anything.

Dust in the wind

“Public Works will be sweeping the streets as winter comes to close; once equipment is serviced for spring,” stated the CAO’s report. “Dust which is caused by the construction at the boat ramp will be dealt with immediately by the contractor; they have taken steps to mitigate it by watering and sweeping the area.”

Earthworm returns

Earthworm Yard Care will once again be operating the Municipal Campground. The contractor does minor repairs and recommends larger improvements and repairs to the Village.

Coun. Ulli Mueller commented that she was impressed by the list of recommendations the contractor had compiled. Suggestions included trimming trees, changing signage, possibly opening showers to the public, more power sites,  and possible wifi service.

“Depending on the issue, some of it will be part of the budget discussion, some of it will be part of operations,” CAO Tynan said.

Carbon credits debated

“I really have a big problem with this,” stated Mayor Karen Hamling when discussion about whether or not to purchase carbon credits this year came up. This year buying carbon credits was optional and that buying credits would take money out of the community.

“I would much prefer to see council take the same amount of money and put it toward a project in the community that will make us carbon neutral for next year,” said the mayor.

Coun. Guy Duchaine pointed out that once many of the projects that are being worked on this year, the Village could end up with negative carbon credits.

The CAO pointed out that one of the rationales for not jumping into it this year is that the carbon credit process will be refined, with an eye to finding more local alternatives for buy carbon credits.

Councillor Tom Zeleznik made the point that programs such as reforestation could be taken on here as it’s already being done.

“Why give money to Darkwoods to plant trees when we could be doing it here?” he said.

Council voted to not voluntarily purchase carbon credits this year.

Water goals already reached

The Village of Nakusp has already achieved its goal of a 15 per cent overall water usage reduction, according to data submitted to the Columbia Basin Trust Water Smart program.

A water meter assessment will be done for the whole of Nakusp that will determine whether or not metering will be useful or not, as well as private and commercial usage. Public Works manager Mike Pedersen will be making a subsequent presentation to council about metering in the future.

“Right now for new construction water meters are required,” said Tynan. What the cost would be for a retrofit will be part of the information that will come with the report, said the CAO.

Budget meeting dates

The budget meetings are scheduled for Thursday, March 7, Tuesday, March 12 and Monday, March 18 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. to develop the 2013-2017 Financial Plan.

No funding for reservoir liner

The grant for a new liner for the reservoir has been denied, but stopping the leaks remains a priority, so water funds will be channeled into getting one.