Stories from the Jan. 24 Nakusp village council meeting.
Council met on January 24, and the meeting started with a presentation by the Trails Society.
The Trails Society, represented by President Barb Chwachka and members Gillian Redwood and Wolf Mense presented the Village Council with what they would like to see come from a partnership with the Village as well as three different projects they will be working on in the next year.
Chwachka emphasized the need for a formal partnership between the Village and the Trails Society so the society can help with projects like repairing the washout of the Rails to Trails pathway that happened this spring.
Jurisdiction of the area that was washed out has been unclear, which held up any repairs. Mayor Hamling said she believed Highways was responsible, and Chwachka said she would get the matter clarified.
Chwachka also said the partnership would also keep the Trails Society in the loop about grant and funding opportunities, as well as any workshops or conferences they could take part in.
Gillian Redwood gave a presentation about proposed changes the Trails Society would like to make to the Wrap-Around Trail to mark the pathway more clearly and make it easier to use for residents and visitors.
Wolf Mense outlined a project that will connect Mac’s Trail to Turner Road with a single-track trail. He pointed out that this route could be marketed as a high-elevation challenge for hikers and bikers.
The Trails Society now has stewardship of seven trails, and is applying to the Ministry of Forests for stewardship of the Rails to Trails route to the border between Areas K and H. Taking on stewardship means the group will be looking into signage and maintenance, and checking with private land owners about what kind of usage they would allow over their property.
Sewer rates to rise
There won’t be an increase in water rates this year, but a 15 per cent increase is being proposed for sewer rates in order to make sure there are enough funds available for operating costs and capital projects.
Due to the availability of other funding, the water utility reserve is fine for the moment, but sewer costs have increased beyond sewer rates, so this year they will be going up. The rate increase translates into a $37 increase for water for a single family dwelling this year.
Because there are different rates for different users, Council will be reviewing the rates for the different classifications of users which won’t affect rates this year, but may change them for next year. Council ordered a report will be coming at the end of June from staff recommending different classifications for water and sewer rates.
Hot springs goodies will cost more
The Hot Springs Commission wants to take the HST out of the price of concession items and instead add it to the displayed price. This will mean concession items will increase by 12 per cent.
“The commission felt that the rates needed to be adjusted to reflect the costs of operations and the need to reach a sustainable bottom line. While reviewing the rate structure we felt that having the HST included in the price was inappropriate,” wrote Councillor Hughes in an email to the Arrow Lakes News, “If the government changes the tax rate our bottom line would be dramatically affected.”
The Commission is also planning on increasing the power rate at the campsite, and are just working out the details to ensure that payment remains a round-dollar figure and still easy for campers to pay.
Councillor Hughes also noted that the Commission is discussing increasing the entry rates, but he said that an increase won’t be happening any time soon. He also stated that “the commission will continue to create programs that are aimed at local support and more attractive local rates.”
Although the changes were discussed, there were no changes made in Council.
The heat is on
The heat is back on for Search and Rescue, thanks to the recently completed repairs to the heating system in the Emergency Services Building, reported CAO Linda Tynan. However, there are still more repairs that need to be made. Heating controls for BC Ambulance are still in the Fire Chief’s office and need to be moved. Another issue is that the current generator isn’t sufficient for the needs of the building and the groups working in it, including fire fighters not being able to get oxygen for their SCBA gear if the power goes out, mentioned Councillor Zeleznik.
CAO Tynan said that research will be done as to how much the repairs will cost, which will then be brought to the financial planning meeting.