Kootenay-Columbia MP David Wilks spoke to Creston town council on Dec. 16 to provide an update on the New Build Canada Fund, the latest federal government infrastructure program.
After his presentation, Wilks, council members and town staff had a discussion about the process for application and strategies for a successful application. The town has been working with Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) staff to finalize an application for a $4.3 million project that will include replacement of a major portion of the Arrow Creek water system’s 100-year-old main line.
“We have spoken with some of the (federal government) decision makers and been advised about what sort of projects might be looked on most favourably,” said engineering director Colin Farynowski.
Build Canada projects are funded with equal contributions from the federal, provincial and local governments. Farynowski said the water line project has been engineered and that the local financial portion is already in place.
Wilks agreed with the strategy, saying that having the money for a project in hand is important.
“We don’t want to approve projects for $10 million and then have to wait while our partners make arrangements to borrow, which can take a considerable amount of time,” he said.
The Arrow Creek project application will be made by the RDCK, with help from town staff, leaving Creston still able to apply for its own project. Farynowski outlined one — another water system improvement — and told council it could choose that project or another smaller one, or not apply at all in hope that the chances for the RDCK application approval would be enhanced.
Other grant opportunities are on the horizon, council was told, and proposals will be prepared for Federal Gas Tax Fund grants early in 2015, Farynowski said.
•Mary Jayne Blackmore represented the Trails for the Creston Valley Society, providing council with an update on the society’s activities and projected projects.
“We have gone after low-hanging fruit for our first projects,” Blackmore said. “Our long-term mandate is to secure and maintain parks and trails for residents and visitors of our community.”
•A letter from a resident requesting a portion of the dog park be fenced off for the exclusive use of small dogs was referred to staff for a report.
•Council was provided with a letter to the Creston Valley Services Committee announcing the abandonment of the Ingham Centre project by Friends of the Ingham Arts and Culture Centre Society.
•Coun. Joe Snopek received council support in his intention to run for a director at large position on the Union of BC Municipalities board.
•A letter from Hudson’s Hope Mayor Gwen Johansson asking for support in its desire for a one-year moratorium on the Site C dam project was received for information.
•Council approved the five-year renewal of the “current robust back-up software server solution” used to do scheduled backups and long term archiving of the town’s digital information. The provider, Unitrends, offered a discount and hardware replacement that will cost $12,000US for the five-year term, finance director Steffan Klassen said.
•Council received a request for a donation toward the Creston Ministerial Association’s Christmas hamperfund. A further donation was declined as a contribution had already been made in lieu of a dinner for outgoing members of the previous council.
•An amendment to the water rates bylaw will see increases of five per cent in 2015 and 2016 and two per cent in each of the following three years.
•Staff was directed to prepare a 2015 draft budget based on a 4.55 per cent tax increase, of which 3.7 per cent will be taken up by the police tax, leaving a 0.85 per cent increase in other town spending.
•A letter from a resident proposing that Creston should endeavor to be the “Halloween Capital of British Columbia” was received for information.
“I think that with the town’s current involvement in Canada Day celebrations, Blossom Festival and the Santa parade we don’t need to be making additions,” said Coun. Karen Unruh.
•Council approved sending the town float to the 2015 Yahk Summerfest parade and celebration.
•A request from Creston Fire Rescue Chief Michael Moore to purchase a rescue truck that will replace two existing units was approved. The purchase will be made from the existing reserve fund, which will be topped back up when the other units are sold.
•Farynowski reported that a proposal for the town to provide curbside collection of packaging and printed paper was rejected by Multi Material BC.
•Appointments of representatives to committees and organizations were approved:
Creston Valley Spirit Committee: Coun. Jen Comer
Parcel Tax Roll Review Panel: Coun. Kevin Boehmer (chair) and Unruh (member)
Arrow Creek Water Treatment and Supply Commission: Snopek (representative), Coun. Jim Elford (alternate)
Kootenay East Regional Hospital District: Unruh (director), Elford (alternate)
School District No. 8 (Kootenay Lake) Board of Education: Comer and Unruh (liaisons)
Emergency Operations Centre: Mayor Ron Toyota and Elford (liaisons)
Municipal Insurance Association of BC: Elford (representative) and Coun. Joanna Wilson (alternate)
Columbia Basin Trust, Community Directed Youth Committee: Boehmer and Comer (liaisons)
Community Arts Council of Creston: Wilson
Creston-Kaminoho Friendship Society: Snopek and Wilson
Creston-Kootenay Foundation: Snopek and Wilson
Creston and District Community Directed Funds Committee: Toyota
Creston and District Library Board: Comer and Unruh
Creston Valley Blossom Festival Association: Snopek and Wilson
Creston Valley Chamber of Commerce: Boehmer and Unruh
Creston Valley Community Housing Society: Snopek
Creston Valley Community Network Society: Boehmer and Comer
•The sign bylaw received its third reading.