Kaslo Village Hall. File photo

Kaslo Village Hall. File photo

Kaslo council roundup: Tenders, permits and voting

All the news from the June 14 meeting

by John Boivin

Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice

A project to improve the fire alarm system in the Kaslo and District Arena is being put on the front burner.

Council approved a plan at its June 14 meeting to have PBX, an engineering firm, begin the design work on a new fire alarm system. PBX was hired to do an assessment of the job a few months ago, and staff recommended they be hired for the next phase of the project, as well.

“For continuity, their familiarity with the project, and our project timeline, staff recommends continuing the design and construction administration with PBX,” says a staff report.

Staff said the timeline to complete the fire alarm replacement was “aggressive,” as PBX will complete the detailed design and prepare tender documents within six weeks, so the project can be tendered by August.

“[A] delay in procurement of the design would push the construction schedule to after the next winter arena season, which would require an extension to the grant and poses a public safety risk now that the extent of the deficiencies in the fire alarm system are known,” cautioned staff.

The project is small enough – $27,250 – that the Village doesn’t have to go through the formal tendering process under its procurement policy.

Riverbank restoration to begin

It looks like the long-delayed work on the Kaslo River dike and bank restoration is finally about to get underway.

Council approved hiring BBA Engineering Ltd. to manage the project, gather the needed permits, and conduct field engineering services.

Work on the flood control project began in 2016, but environmental regulations, design changes, and permit and funding delays have set back the project. The cost has also increased from $304,000 to $460,066.

While they’ve managed to secure some more funding, the project has had to be split into two phases and scaled back, and some portions put off until more funding can be found.

The plan is to call for tenders in time for construction work to begin in the fall, during low water on the river. The Village has until the spring of 2023 to complete the work under the current federal Fisheries permits.

Vote by mail this October

Voters in Kaslo who can’t make it to the polling station on municipal election day this October will be encouraged to apply for a mail-in ballot instead.

The Village gave first three readings to its revised Election Procedures bylaw, which governs how local elections are run.

“In the past, Kaslo and other municipalities offered special voting opportunities in health care facilities and care homes, typically for patients/residents and workers who were not able to travel to regular polling stations…,” says a report by Corporate Officer Catherine Allaway.

“Since the eligibility criteria in provincial legislation has now been expanded to allow mail ballot voting by the individuals that historically used the special voting opportunities, it is recommended that special voting opportunities be replaced with mail ballot voting in the fall 2022 election.”

Allaway said information on how to use mail-in balloting will be part of the Village’s election advertising.

FireSmart contract

The Village is going to keep this year’s FireSmart work in the capable hands of a locally based consultant.

Council approved letting a $53,000 contract to Cathro Consulting to manage the 2022 Community Resiliency Investment (FireSmart) project.

“Given their successful track record and the efficiencies that result from continuity, staff recommends awarding the management of the next phase of the project directly to Cathro Consulting,” says a report to city leaders.

The project will cost a total of $139,000, and is fully funded by a Union of BC Municipalities program.

EV for City Hall

Two parking spots at City Hall are going to be converted to EV charging stations.

Council voted to enter into a memorandum of understanding with the Community Energy Association to install two Level 2 stations outside the Village hall.

Under the program, the Village gets a $10,000 subsidy for each station, if it puts up $1,000 towards the installation.

“Participating in the program will allow Kaslo to lead the transition to renewable energy at minimal cost to the taxpayer,” says a staff report. “It will also ensure that Kaslo is included as a tourist destination in the Kootenay Rockies Tourism initiatives to promote tourism to this growing market.”

The Village will be responsible for maintaining the stations for five years.

Fence me in

The Village is going to do some fencing around town.

It’s going to spend about $34,700 to fence off the Murray Pearson Memorial ball field, public works yard and the Legion parking area.

Money for the ball park fence comes from the Columbia Basin Trust and the Kaslo Baseball and Softball Association. The Village will provide labour and machine time.

The Kaslo Legion parking lot fence was part of an access deal made for the A Avenue watermain project. Finally, the public works yard needs a new fence now that the Kaslo River bridge project is complete.

Council approved the purchase of the chain-link fence.

Aerodrome leases

The Village can take down the ‘vacancy’ signs at the Kaslo Aerodrome.

Council approved giving public notice that they intend to lease out the last two hangars available at the airport. With annual increases, they’ll make close to $10,000 over five years from the two leases.

The leases mark a milestone for the aerodrome. Staff have been working since last year to resurvey and rationalize boundaries on the property to enable new opportunities for growth.

“The leased lands, and any improvements constructed on them, will also generate tax revenue for the municipality,” notes the report to council. “Long-term leases are recorded by BC Assessment Authority, and the tax exemption for municipal lands will cease to apply.”