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Water And Sewer Rate Increase, Churches Can Locate Downtown, Japan Relief Money Not Spent Yet, Skatepark Update, and More: A Summary of the December 3, 2012, Nelson City Council Meeting

Bill Metcalfe
By Bill Metcalfe
December 4th, 2012

The following is a summary of the proceedings at the December 3, 2012, regular meeting of Nelson City Council.

Downtown Zoning Changed to Include Church Use

Council agreed that the Core Commercial (C1) zone be amended to include “church” as a permitted use. This was done in response to an application by the Kootenay Christian Fellowship to rezone the property at 520 Falls St. (the building that houses the Savoy Lanes bowling alley). This application required a public hearing that was held at 6:00 pm before the Council meeting. The Kootenay Christian Fellowship did not attend the hearing, nor did anyone else from the public.

Water and Sewer Rates Go Up

Water rates for Nelson residences and businesses will increase by 6% for water and 5% for sewer in 2013. “This amounts to an increase of $47.00 per year for homeowners,” said Chief Financial Officer Colin McClure. He explained that the city has a multi-year “ambitious campaign to upgrade our water and sewer infrastructure,” and that the purposes of the annual increase is to pay for that.

Council does not intend to introduce water metering in 2013 except for four large businesses that are already metered, and for those the rates will be increased. Council may meter several other institutions or businesses in the coming year simply to gain data on water use with a view to actual metering sometime in the future.

To read Colin McClure’s full report on the water and sewer budget, open the attachment at the end of this story.

To read a Nelson Daily story about the consultant report on water metering received recently by Council, click here.

Japan Relief Funds Still Not Spent

With regard to the approximately $40,000 collected in the Nelson community in the spring of 2011 to aid in the relief effort after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and which is still in a City of Nelson bank account, Councillor Donna Macdonald said, “When the tragedy occurred, Council agreed to contribute $10,000. We are holding that money, along with another ($33,000) contributed by the public. There is a committee in the community with a longstanding connection with Onagawa. They are the ones working to find best destination for these funds and once they have achieved that, they will come to Council and say, ‘this is what we want you to do, would you please release that money.’ Council is not involved in directing how that money will be spent.”

To read recent stories in The Nelson Daily about this spending delay, click here and here.

City Will Stop Proclaiming

Over the years, on request from various community groups, Council has proclaimed Nurses Week, Gay Pride Week, and so on. Council decided that proclamations have lost their meaning because there are so many of them, and they voted to stop. “We get inundated with proclamations to the point where you could sign one every day,” said Mayor John Dooley. “We’re following the path of other municipalities to not sign proclamations.”

This is unrelated to the banners above the 300 Block Baker St. They will continue to appear, administered by the fire department.

Skatepark Update

At its December 17 meeting, Council will be given a general visual representation of what a skatepark in Art Gibbon Park in Rosemont would look like. If Council is satisfied with that, there will be a public presentation in the near future, with a more detailed plan. To read The Nelson Daily’s story about the plan to put the skatepark in the Rosemont location, click here.

Where They’ve Been

At each regular meeting of City Council, the members give brief reports on meetings or events they have recently attended in their official roles.

Candace Batycki: Queens Medal ceremony, Touchstones Gallery opening, Youth Leading the Kootenays conference.

Bob Adams: Canadian Legion banquet, Nelson Search and Rescue meeting, helping putting up Christmas lights downtown.

Paula Kiss: climate resilience infrastructure workshop in Castlegar, Youth Leading the Kootenays conference, Chamber of Commerce, Advisory Planning Commission.

Donna Macdonald:  Cultural Development Commission, Library Board, West Kootenay Transit Committee.

Deb Kozak: Downtown Waterfront Committee,  webinar with downtown vitality expert Roger Brooks, Ecosociety Conversation Café on affordable and sustainable housing, Columbia River Treaty public session, Municipal Insurance Association.

John Dooley: SEED project event at Lakeside, Federation of Canadian Municipalities meeting on national municipal infrastructure plan (as chair of B.C. caucus).

Councillor Robin Cherbo was absent.

To-Do List

To read a comprehensive list of several dozen action items and works in progress on the desks of Council and senior city staff, presented at the December 3 meeting, click the Action Items attachment below.

Categories: Politics

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