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Nelson Landing, carbon, floods, water system, Christmas lights (Nelson City Council meeting March 18)

Bill Metcalfe
By Bill Metcalfe
March 19th, 2013

Nelson City Council designates every second meeting as a Committee of the Whole meeting, in which community groups, organizations, and city departments can present information to Council or make requests. Council does not make decisions at these meetings, but if anything needs to be decided they will bring it back to a regular council meeting.

Here is an outline of the presentations made at the March 18 Committee of the Whole.

Nelson Landing

Allard Ockeloen of the Storm Mountain Development Corporation, based in North Vancouver, told Council that his company is the new owner of the Nelson Landing Development proposal for the former Kootenay Forest Products site and extending to Red Sands Beach. The development has appeared to be dormant for some time.

Ockeloen explained that the development has been redesigned for increased access to the waterfront, a more flexible layout, more housing types, and a commitment to public art. Because of the major changes, the project will to some extent be starting over. He said there will be full consultations with the public and he will be working with city staff to achieve some amendments to zoning.

The Nelson Daily will run a full story on Nelson Landing later this week.

Carbon Neutral Kootenays

Trish Dehnel, Community Energy Planner for the Carbon Neutral Kootenays Project, explained how for the past three years the project has been assisting local governments in the region to reduce carbon emissions in their municipal operations by helping them find strategies to reduce energy use and by organizing group purchases of carbon offsets.

When the project was started in 2009, Nelson’s goal was to be carbon neutral by 2012. Dehnel did not say whether that goal has been reached, and Council members did not ask.

The Columbia Basin Trust and the Regional Districts of Kootenay Boundary, Central Kootenay, and East Kootenay are the funders of the project. A pdf version of Dehnel’s powerpoint presentation to Council is attached below.

Flood Control

Kelvin Ketchum of B.C. Hydro explained that two to five times the normal amounts of rain fell in the Upper Columbia & Kootenay basins in 2012. He said it was the wettest month ever at Castlegar Airport & other weather stations.

Ketcham said inflows to the Mica, Revelstoke, Arrow, Duncan, and Kootenay Lake dams ran between 127% and 142% of normal, and that Kootenay Lake levels were the highest since 1974 but could have been seven feet higher without flood control provided by the dams.

Ketcham explained how the Mica, Arrow, Duncan, Libby reservoirs were refilled above their normal full pool levels by up to 1.3 feet to help manage downstream flood impacts. He outlined the function and mechanisms of the Libby and Duncan dams in flood control.

Council discussed the increasing importance of flood control measures in light of predicted extreme weather events resulting from climate change.

Ketcham’s report to Council is attached below.

Festival of Lights

Joy Barrett and Maureen Crawford told Council about the success of the Festival of Lights in November 2012 and asked for $33,000 to continue and improve the event this year.

They presented photos of similar-sized communities that have gone all-out with Christmas lights, and compared these to Nelson.

“Right now, most of the trees along Baker are strung with burnt-out light strings dangling from branches,” said Barrett.  “And those trees that still have a few working lights are scattered and shabby looking. The message conveyed here is that we have let our downtown decay from a period when we cared enough to put lights in the trees.

City Manager Kevin Cormack said putting up lights is not a one-time expense because ongoing maintenance is also costly. This will probably be one of the issues when City Council debates and decides on this funding request at its next meeting.

The Festival of Lights presentation is attached below.

Water Control

Darrell Beck, the city’s Engineering Technician, explained how the pressure and volume of the City of Nelson’s water is controlled and monitored.


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