Kaslo Village Hall. File photo

Kaslo Village Hall. File photo

Kaslo council roundup: Council adopts OCP, long-term vision for the village

All the news from the Sept. 27 meeting

by John Boivin

Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice

Kaslo council gave final adoption to its new Official Community Plan on Sept. 27 after getting the thumbs-up from the public on its contents.

Council held a public hearing the day before its regular monthly meeting, and heard unanimously positive comments from the six citizens who attended.

The OCP is the highest-level plan used by municipal governments, and sets the tone and scope of the town’s bylaws and development for the next 10-to-20 years. It is both a visionary tool for council and public, and a land use and planning guide for the administration and developers.

In the preamble to the 65-page document, the OCP sets out that Kaslo is “a diverse, inclusive, and welcoming community that aspires to be a model for small, mountain communities across British Columbia and around the world.”

The final adoption of the bylaw concludes 18 months of research, debate and study by staff, councillors and a five-person stakeholder group.

Procedures bylaw adopted

Council also gave final adoption to another important bylaw, the Procedures Bylaw. It sets the rules for how council meetings are run, how and when council goes in-camera, how the public and press can participate in the meetings, etc.

The most important change for the public is that anyone wanting to appear before or have a matter considered by council now have to get their request in to City Hall by noon Tuesday, not Wednesday – a full week before the meeting. Staff asked for the change to give more time to research matters that require council action or discussion.

The time for public questions has also been changed, moved up earlier in the meeting before the main business segment, rather than being held at the end. Staff suggested this would give council a chance to hear from the public on a matter before holding their own debate on the issue.

Staff training

The budget for staff training at the Village dried up during the pandemic, when travel to conferences was replaced by Zoom. Now, however, in-person meetings are making a comeback. There are two upcoming conferences senior staff would like to attend, but the budget for staff training is already blown for the year.

However, “sufficient funds to cover the proposed expenses remain available elsewhere in the budget,” staff told council in a report. Council needs to officially approve the money being moved around for this purpose.

During the pandemic, just $5,500 was allocated for management training and travel – a little over half pre-pandemic levels. That should change, staff suggested.

“Given the return to in-person delivery models post-COVID and the increase in the number of management positions, staff recommends increasing the amount budgeted for this purpose in 2023 and future years,” said the report.

Attending the two conferences – one in Victoria, the other in Cowichan Bay, will add an extra $7,123 to the staff training budget for this year.

Arena alarm contract awarded

Work will soon begin on upgrades to the Kaslo Arena’s fire alarm system.

Kootenay Lake Electric won the contract for the work with a low bid of $74,498. The project should take about 11 weeks to complete, and shouldn’t affect activities, a report to council said.

“The tender stated that the contractor must accommodate and work around the activities that will be happening in the arena, which are mostly in the late afternoon and evenings,” the report said. “Minimal disruption to any daytime activities is expected.”

The new fire alarm system will be installed before the old system is decommissioned and removed.

Council had budgeted $86,219 for the project, so are saving a bit of money with the low bid.

READ MORE: Kaslo mayor running for re-election against councillor