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Kaslo council roundup: Progress on capital projects

All the news from the March 14 meeting
The March 14 council meeting was all about updates to various projects in Kaslo. File photo

by Rachael Lesosky

Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice

Kaslo council members had a committee of the whole meeting on March 14 to discuss the Village’s capital projects—completed, underway and budding. Interim CAO Linda Tynan and strategic initiatives manager Colin Hawkins led the presentation.

Kaslo River dike project

First, council heard an update on the Kaslo River Dike project.

Section 3 is complete and final grass seeding will happen this spring. Section 5 is also complete.

Hawkins said that both sections went very well. All that’s left is final grass seeding and tree planting in a new riparian zone.

“We’ve done really well by not taking as many trees down as originally planned,” said Hawkins. The replanting has the stamp of approval from Masse Environmental.

The two sections are funded in part by two different Union of BC Municipalities Structural Flood Mitigation grants, from 2018 and 2020. The Village is also using money from the Climate Action Fund reserve, and from a donation. Final costs are still being collected.

Front Street Park

The Front Street Park Design Committee met on Feb. 12 to discuss the perimeter wall and fence, park furnishings and amenities, the stage, public art, and trees.

Town Architecture will create design drawings to be presented to the committee for approval.

Funding for the project will come from a CBT Outdoor Revitalization grant and the Parks reserve fund.

Kemball building

Some bad news for the Kemball Memorial Centre. The Village’s $1 million Rural Economic Diversification and Infrastructure Program grant application was denied.

However, the Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program grant that the Village received in April 2022 has been extended. Originally, the funding was set to expire this March.

The Village can still proceed with smaller projects on the Kemball building. Hawkins explained that they’re working with professionals to understand the full scope of work, and what can be achieved with the funds the Village has.

Quotes for asbestos abatement and external brick and stone repair have been received. Projects for now will focus on structural integrity rather than cosmetic touch-ups.

Though the building has heritage status, corporate officer Catherine Allaway explained that even character-defining elements identified in the statement of significance can be changed if there’s a good reason – for example, installing modern windows and other energy-efficient features.

“If it’s going to make the building usable, then that is a really good way to make sure the heritage is preserved,” she said. “It’s been recognized that there has to be some flexibility to change things.”

There are plans to meet with the building’s tenants to keep everyone in the loop. The building is currently home to some businesses and the Kootenay Lake Innovation Centre, with several co-working spaces.

Water treatment plant

Mountain Logic Solutions will be installing two sets of electronic actuator valves at the water treatment plant.

Requests for proposals for ultraviolet light treatment design closed the night after the meeting. The proposals will be brought to council soon.

“The ultraviolet treatment and working with Interior Health brings the facility up to the treatment required for modern standards,” said Hawkins.

Along with UV, the water is also treated with sand filtration and chlorine. All three are required by Interior Health.

Funding for these two projects comes from federal and provincial grants ($746,499) and a contribution from the Village ($271,501).

Kaslo arena

A new project has begun at the arena, thanks to a CBT grant for $128,000 and a Village contribution of $32,000.

A backup generator and transfer switch ($45,000) will be installed to aid in emergency situations, along with a heat pump and air filtration system ($45,000). Upgrades also include an accessibility assessment and implementation ($20,000), and doing a commercial kitchen feasibility study ($50,000).

Councillor Erika Bird wondered why the kitchen feasibility study was so expensive.

Tynan explained that CBT hired a third-party consultant to verify the costs of the project before providing funding. The consultants found that certain structural elements make the task more complicated. Hiring architects, engineers, and structural designers also drive up the costs.

Wastewater treatment plant

The Village is investigating opportunities for improving effluent quality. The project is in the early stages, as staff is looking into what sort of work could and needs to be done.

Tynan said that environmental and regulatory reporting has likely fallen behind at the plant.

“It’s something that we definitely need to stay on top of,” she said.

Wharf demolition and Kaslo Bay planning

“You all probably know the condition of the Kaslo wharf and the concerns that we all have with it,” said Hawkins.

Funding has not yet been secured for the replacement project, but the Village is aiming to get the project “shovel ready” before applying for grants.

Staff is currently assessing its condition, and looking into what’s required. It also wants to approach the project safely from an environmental perspective.

Staff is also thinking about Kaslo Bay.

“There’s a lot of groundwork that needs to be done so that we can understand what our options are,” said Allaway. “Even on Village land, it’s not just the Village’s decision.”

The Village has to assess Crown tenures, foreshore leases, zoning, land use, and marina infrastructure before it can make any plans for the bay, but it’s in the works.

“It’s a complex area with a lot of overlapping interests,” said Allaway.


The Village has two grants for the FireSmart program.

The 2023 Community Resiliency Investment (CRI) grant is funding the FireSmart co-ordinator’s wages, the Community Wildfire Resiliency Plan, and three areas of municipal land receiving fuel treatments.

CBT is funding a youth FireSmart co-ordinator position.

The Village will be applying for 2024 CRI funding in June to continue FireSmart work.

Asset management

Tynan brought to council’s attention that asset management is not the Village’s strength.

Projects amass data about assets, but without a system to consolidate it all, said Tynan, it just sits in folders and gets lost. It can’t be easily retrieved and used in a meaningful way.

Former CAO Ian Dunlop tried to get the ball rolling, but was unable to secure a proponent to develop a system. In the meantime, a summer student performed some data entry but it wasn’t sufficient.

Allaway said it is moving forward, but it will be a multi-year project to get everything integrated.