Kaslo Village Council Hall. File photo

Kaslo Village Council Hall. File photo

Kaslo council roundup: Infrastructure funding, wharf repair, CBC land

All the news from the June 13 meeting

by John Boivin

Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice

Earlier this year the Village received $919,000 to fund local infrastructure projects. The Growing Communities Fund grant from the provincial government was designed to help municipal and regional governments with infrastructure projects.

Several groups have already come forward to council with ideas on how to spend the money (including the health committee, see below), but until council decides the best way to spend it, it has to be put in a special reserve fund to keep it separate from other municipal spending.

Council voted at its June 13 meeting to establish a special reserve for the Growing Communities Fund. It joins the ranks of about 14 other reserves council has set aside for defined projects, from the library and Kemball Building to the water and sewer system and the purchase of public art.

Nix on funds for hospital

The provincial government says the Village of Kaslo can’t use that grant of nearly $1 million to upgrade the local hospital. The Village’s Health Advisory Committee had passed a motion earlier this year asking the Village to earmark at least part of the money received under the Growing Communities Fund to adding beds and capacity to the local hospital.

But Mayor Suzan Hewat told council inquiries to the province nixed the idea.

“They have advised the proposed use of the fund is not eligible,” she told council. “The fund must be used to improve municipally owned infrastructure.”

However, the notion may not be completely dead in the water. Hewat said there’s discussion about bringing the subject of adding more capacity in small rural hospitals up to the regional level, to get more communities into the lobbying effort.

“[RDCK] Director [Aimee] Watson suggested perhaps we reach out to the West Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital District board. Then it’s not just the Village of Kaslo bringing the funds in,” she said. “Perhaps if we could get the support of the entire board, then it gets in front of Interior Health that way as well. That might be worth a try.”

Community grants

The Village is going to be handing out a series of cheques in the next few weeks in order to “build community strength and resilience, foster community creativity and well-being and tackle social isolation.”

The money comes from the Osprey Foundation, a charitable group based in Nelson. This year the grant program will award 11 individuals and projects up to $500 for connecting people socially, or for sharing skills or talents.

“Due to their charitable status, the Osprey Community Foundation is unable to award grants directly to individuals and is seeking a local government partner to issue grants to successful applicants from the North Kootenay Lake region,” notes a report from staff.

The Village will charge a small fee to handle the paperwork and disbursement. The Osprey Foundation will be responsible for ensuring the money is used as intended by the recipients.

Wharf repair

The Village budget, passed earlier this year, can’t always predict every spending need the Village has. Such is the case with the day-use wharf ramp in Kaslo Bay, which requires replacement.

“The 2023 budget allocation for boat launch/ public wharf maintenance is $500,” notes a staff report. “The new structure will cost $6,384.”

Nelco Marine will supply the new wharf. Council approved the expenditure, with funds from the COVID-19 Safe Restart Grant reserve.

Municipal ticketing

Council voted to update the Village’s bylaw governing fines for breaking local bylaws. The existing Municipal Ticketing Bylaw is nearly 20 years old, and has slowly drifted away in small particulars with the bylaws it’s attached to.

“Many of the regulatory bylaws referenced in the ticketing bylaw have been amended or replaced since the original ticketing bylaw was adopted in 2006,” noted a report to council. “And without the correct references in the ticketing bylaw, violations of regulatory bylaws are unenforceable.”

The revised bylaw includes updated references to those bylaws that set out fines for infractions, and adds the Prevention of Public Nuisances, a bylaw passed six years ago but never included in the ticketing bylaw.

Council passed the first two readings of the amended bylaw, and will hold a committee of the whole meeting in a few weeks to discuss the details of the bylaw changes and make further corrections and additions.

This is CBC (land)

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation will continue being heard on the airwaves around Kaslo, as council approved an agreement to lease land to the public broadcaster for another five years.

The Village will receive $1,000 annually (with a two per cent inflation increase built in) to allow the continued operation of a low-power FM transmitter. The CBC will also pay $500 annually for landscape maintenance of the site. The lease also allows for a second five-year renewal.

This is the second crack at getting the new lease approved; clerical errors on a lease approved by council last winter forced a renegotiation of parts of the deal.

The revised lease agreement corrects the legal description of the property, removes CBC’s liability for pre-existing contaminants and for maintenance work performed by the Village, and clarifies that the public broadcaster will pay for any taxation resulting from CBC’s use of the land, as well as other minor changes.

Pride Month

Council gave approval for a number of Pride Month activities around the village, including refreshing the rainbow crossing on Fourth Street, a grant for renting Legacy Park, and to pay for a street closure permit for the Pride parade on June 24. The motions also include a proclamation by the mayor, and the raising of the Pride flag at city hall.

Staff noted that the village’s support of Kaslo Pride aligns with the official community plan, which notes 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.”