Kaslo Village Hall. Photo: Tyler Harper

Kaslo Village Hall. Photo: Tyler Harper

Kaslo council: Strategic plans, arena work and bridge deal signed

A roundup of news from the Jan. 26 meeting

The Village of Kaslo has entered into a formal agreement with the province to share costs in some of the work on this year’s Kaslo River bridge replacement.

“[The Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure] is including some of the village’s infrastructure within their project area and scope, which is to the village’s benefit,” a staff report indicated.

While the province replaces the bridge, they’ll also relocate a watermain along the east side of the highway approaching the bridge, reinstall a street light pole, and install new sewer service lines crossing under the highway in anticipation of that system’s eventual expansion.

The village will cover the material cost of the sewer service work (pipes, fittings, manholes) and engineering but the construction work is included within the province’s overall project. The cost of this work is estimated at $20,000 to $25,000.

“Constructing the highway sewer crossing now could save significant costs on the expansion project,” notes the staff report.

Council approved a recommendation that chief administrative officer (CAO) Ian Dunlop sign the agreement on behalf of the village at its Jan. 26 meeting.

Arena work funding application

The village will submit a grant application for nearly $225,000 on behalf of the Kaslo and District Arena Association for critical upgrades at the Kaslo Arena, including fire system and electrical upgrades, and replacement of the ice condensers.

In his staff report, Dunlop thanked Tammy Horick for preparing the application materials.

Among the work being done includes upgrades, improvements and evaluation of the building’s fire alarm system for code compliance, with a certified electrician doing work on installing, repair and replacing pulls, sensors and wiring as necessary; installation of a remote alarm panel; and a post-install inspection.

“The building’s original fire alarm and sensor system have suffered from decades of patchwork additions and repairs,” the CAO’s report says. “Several fire pulls and sensors throughout the building are either working intermittently or not working at all, in part because of improper electrical connections. Small repairs are now creating greater problems elsewhere in the system, and it’s time for the system to be professionally assessed and upgraded as necessary.”

The nearly 50-year-old hockey arena ice plant condensers will be replaced, installed by a certified refrigeration technician and signed off by a refrigeration engineer.

“Their failure is expected to be sudden and soon, consequently ending the availability of hockey and skating for our region indefinitely,” warns the staff report.

Fundraising for the condensers began several years ago, but their extremely high cost combined with other capital asset purchases in the interim have delayed this project.

Also pushing the work schedule is a new transformer being installed this year by FortisBC, which will provide electricity to the building that is incompatible with the current system. “Upgrades to wiring are required for the building to be powered,” the staff report says.

The arena was shut down at the end of November 2020, except for minor hockey practices, due to provincially ordered COVID-19 restrictions. Minor hockey concluded at the end of January.

“The extended shutdown and the timing of this grant opportunity are ideal for moving forward with the ice condenser replacement project,” says a staff report.

The federal grant would cover most of the cost, with the village agreeing to cover any budget over-runs for the project as a condition of the application. The village’s own arena reserve fund and funds from the Kaslo and District Arena Association should allow the village to “cash-flow the project and cover any unanticipated costs without using operating funds or taxation,” staff said.

Council gave staff the go-ahead to apply for the grant, from the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program’s COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure Stream, for ice condenser, fire system and electrical upgrades at Kaslo and District Arena totalling $224,653.

WildSafe renewed

The village approved funding a community co-ordinator position this summer to help keep humans and wildlife safely apart. The village normally puts $2,500 towards the part-time position that runs from May to November. A minimum contribution of $4,000 is required from the community being served. The village support will be matched by a contribution from RDCK Area D.

Racquet club lease fee waiver denied

The Kaslo Racquet Club served up a request for a break on its $149 lease fee for 2021.

“Government-enforced COVID restrictions have reduced the club’s ability to gather revenue from fees,” wrote Mabel Russell from the KRC. In the meantime, the club has had to pay full price for fixed costs like insurance and pandemic expenses like hand sanitizers. The fee break would “assist us in weathering this financial storm,” Russell wrote.

But staff advised against the move.

“A waiver would set a precedent for other village lease arrangements with clubs and societies,” said a report, noting like many clubs, the KRC already enjoys a permissive tax exemption on their leased land and improvements. The 2020 value of the club’s tax exemption was $901.71, it said.

In the end council agreed, rejecting the request.

Recycle audit

Recycle BC’s audit of Kaslo’s curbside recycling program in October 2020 found a contamination rate of only 1.4 per cent, much lower than the four per cent provincial average.

“We commend Kootenay Waste Services’ team for doing a great job collecting our waste and recyclables!” Dunlop said in his report.

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