Nakusp council, April 12: Change to developer’s building plans okayed

·6 min read

Developer James Zeleznik got the go-ahead for changes to his building plans on 88 Nelson Ave South. Two of the 14 residential units he’s planning to build will go beside the two commercial units on the property, even though current rules say residences have to be either above or behind commercial units in a commercial zone.

Staff recommended approval of the development variance permit because the commercial units are adjacent to Nelson Avenue South and the residential units are adjacent to a neighbouring residential property.

After the public hearing that was held on this before the council meeting, council adopted the staff recommendation. Mayor Tom Zeleznik, the developer’s brother, excused himself from the hearing and didn’t take part in the decision.

Fence sitting

Council was less enthused about a request from 3rd Avenue resident Ieneke Van Houten to build a seven-foot fence along two sides of her property.

She said she needed it for privacy and to keep deer out of the yard, despite the maximum fence heights in the zoning bylaw – four feet for the front yard and two feet on the corners.

Van Houten would also need a variance from the requirement for visibility at intersections.

Staff recommended council approve the variance, despite concerns it could set a precedent for others who also want a break from the current fence height limits. However, council had real reservations on the wisdom of allowing a solid seven-foot wooden wall to be built in a residential neighbourhood. They tabled the application, and directed staff to meet with the homeowner to see if some modified design can be worked out to provide privacy and keep the neighbourhood aesthetic.

Depending on the outcome of those talks, the application will return to council next meeting.

Budget approved

The Village concluded its months-long budget process at the last meeting, with council approving the 2021 operating and capital budgets.

The Village will spend $2,618,305 on capital works like water, sewer, roads, maintenance, and infrastructure work at the hot springs.

The final capital budget saw some changes from earlier drafts, including cutting phase two of the breakwater project at the Nakusp Marina. CFO Mark Tennant said they couldn’t procure the funds for the repairs.

“If a grant or funding becomes available, we can bring it forward to council for a budget revision and approval at a later date,” he said hopefully.

There’ll be some finish-up work on the Downtown Revitalization Project as well, to the tune of $33,367.

The Fire Hall storage building project has gotten a little bigger, and has a tenant. “Arrow Lakes Search and Rescue would like to add two additional bays for their exclusive use, which they would pay for,” Tennant reported to council. The updated budgeted amount is $90,000, with a $32,000 contribution coming from Arrow Lakes Search and Rescue for the much-needed storage facility.

Public works will be getting some new equipment, including a loader, three-quarter-ton truck and sanders.

The parks/arena department will be busy with municipal campground improvements, the proposed biomass energy generation plant, as well as a new compressor for the arena.

The water department will continue to work on improvements to the water system, a project which has been underway for several years now. The big work is next year, when a new well and reservoir will be built; 2021 will be spent doing that planning, as well as continuing flow metering for leak detection and other improvements. The sewer system is also planning improvements worth about $250,000.

The hot springs budget includes $90,000 in capital works, including a new mini-truck and generators for the facility.

The Village will spend $4,828,931 in its operations. Salaries, benefits, and other general operating costs make up $2,890,712 (paid for in part by a $1,102,528 tax levy).

No Wake signs

With council now in the marina business, the Village has to come up with some new rules for a whole new group of constituents, as well as the waterfront. Council was asked to look at implementing a ‘no wake’ policy close to the public beach or the marina facility. Excess wake speeds can damage shoreline habitat, and speeding boats can pose a danger to swimmers and small boats. Staff told council implementing the idea should be straightforward, but needs approvals from other levels of government. The idea went back to staff for more study and to draw up recommendations for council.

Vaping

Can a municipal council have much influence in preventing youth from vaping? It was an issue council delved into as they were invited to take part in a panel discussion about vaping and young people.

“Youth vaping has exploded over the past few years with over 400,000 youth vapers identified in the last Canadian Student Tobacco, Alcohol and Drug Survey conducted in 2019,” says a national report received by council. “By vaping, these youth are risking nicotine addiction and they are more likely to start smoking. Policy makers at all government levels can help reduce youth vaping with proven strategies that have been effective in reducing youth smoking.”

The report said municipalities can help to reduce youth vaping and smoking by creating more smoke-free public spaces to help reduce social modeling to children and youth.

Councillor Ken Miller said he reviewed the Village smoking bylaw, and found it would be an easy fix for the council to address the vaping issue.

“All we would have to do is amend the definition of ‘smoking’ in the bylaw, and we just have to add vaping to that description,” he told his fellow councillors. “The rest of the bylaw makes sense – you can’t smoke in parks, you can’t smoke on the beach. But it doesn’t include vaping.”

The report went to administration for review.

NADB Agreement

The Nakusp and Area Development Board, a community group engaging in economic development initiatives in the area, presented an agreement for council to enter into a consultation model with the board. Council approved taking part in the new program.

NACFOR issues

Council gave its support to a grant application for NACFOR (Nakusp & Area Community Forest) to look at "ways to add value to traditional log products through innovative log marketing, forest product manufacturing and waste utilization/minimization. It will identify and scope out realistic opportunities businesses can implement."

NACFOR’s legacy fund is supporting the community of Fauquier this month, with councillors voting to provide $2,000 for the local community club to move and burn its burn pile.

John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice