Kaslo Village Hall. File photo

Kaslo Village Hall. File photo

Kaslo council: Year-end business sees bylaws passed

All the news from the Dec. 7 meeting

by John Boivin

Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice

Kaslo council is going to take another crack at commenting on the Zincton resort proposal.

Council had provided a brief response to the provincial government after reviewing the project last month. But it did not go in-depth on the municipality’s concerns and issues.

Mayor Suzan Hewat said she had new information sent to her from the province, and because of a mix-up in distribution of the material, council should reopen the issue to consider including it in their formal submission. They were given an extension to Dec. 15 to take another look at the material.

In November, council said the Village supported the proposed project, subject to some concerns being addressed on the impact on housing availability and affordability, increased highway traffic, increased burden on emergency services, health care and law enforcement, and strains on local supply chains.

Council was scheduled to meet Dec. 14 for a special council meeting to discuss the new information and the project further.

Zincton is a proposed all-season backcountry resort being planned about 30 kilometres west of Kaslo. The proponent is seeking tenure on 5,500 hectares of backcountry for hikers, bikers and skiing enthusiasts.

River danger?

Chief administrative officer Ian Dunlop told council there’s no word on when the Kaslo River Dike project will get approval.

The project has been planned since 2016. But between getting federal approvals for the project, the pandemic, skyrocketing project prices – and now the disaster in the Lower Mainland – the work is still far from getting underway.

“We submitted a request to revise our scope, given the funding that was available,” Dunlop told council. “UBCM is very busy with provincial funding. We haven’t heard, and may not hear from some time, which unfortunately puts our project back that much further.”

“This project isn’t moving forward unless we get a lot more money,” the CAO added, noting the project cost was now double the initial $300,000 estimate. “There’s advocacy we need to do to get moving.”

But Councillor Henry Van Mill said he was concerned about more than the dike project. He’d like the whole river course upstream of town to be assessed for potential problems, given the recent disastrous flooding and mudslides in the Lower Mainland.

“Considering what happened in the Lower Mainland, I think we’re really behind the 8-ball,” he said. Van Mills said the riverbed upstream from the village is strewn with logs and debris, and is an “accident waiting to happen.”

“We need to do it now before something happens,” he said. “Because it will become our problem.”

Sewer parcel tax hike?

The Liquid Waste Management Committee sent a series of recommended motions to council, including a call to increase the sewer parcel tax. That’s a set rate per foot of frontage a property owner has to pay for the Village sewer system. That recommendation will go to the budget deliberation process, which starts in earnest in January.

CAO notes:

• The construction of a new Kaslo River bridge is winding down, and two-way traffic on the road will resume soon. Final touch-up work and landscaping will take place in the spring.

• It seems a lot of people are interested in the future of the village and its growth. The Official Community Plan released a survey in the fall looking for people’s input, and they got more than 152 responses. That’s more than 3,400 individual answers, some of them very detailed, Dunlop said. The surveys will be divided up amongst committee members to review.

“It’ll be some Christmas homework for everyone to work on,” he said.

• The new Kaslo Public Library project has an architect. The committee overseeing the fundraising and construction of a new library has signed a contract with the winner of the RFP for the project. That should be announced when it’s finalized.

“They had some really strong proposals and the chosen contractor is going to do a great job,” says Dunlop.