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Water and sewer rates, proposal for RDCK move, downtown sculpture switch, and more: Nelson City Council meeting January 6, 2013

Bill Metcalfe
By Bill Metcalfe
January 7th, 2014

The following is a summary of events at the regular meeting of Nelson City Council on January 6, 2013.

Water and sewer rates

Council adopted its water and sewer bylaw described here, which saw increases not as large as projected during last year’s budget planning.

“We are addressing this in a systematic way,” said Councillor Donna Macdonald. “There are other municipalities out there that have not begun to address these things.” She was referring to Nelson’s practice over the past decade of rate increases each year to pay for a multi-year planned upgrade of sewer and water pipes in Nelson.

“All through the 80s,” Councillor Bob Adams said, “council didn’t raise these rates. That was a mistake. The rate increases could be down to 1% a year now.”

Councillor Candace Batycki commented that council decided this year not to meter the water usage of industrial and commercial users pending more study, but “over time the only way we will reduce water usage is to charge for it.”

RDCK to move to city hall building?

Councillor Donna Macdonald reported that in an earlier in camera meeting, council agreed on a proposal that will be sent to the Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK), recommending that the RDCK move into the current city hall building. Macdonald said the details of the proposal are not public because they are still under negotiation, but that “we think it is a great solution for them to solve their space problems. We think it makes sense for taxpayers and it’s a cost-effective, integrated approach.”

Macdonald says the proposal includes a plan to “spruce up the building to make it more attractive and welcoming.”

Building permit statistics for 2013

The staff tabled its monthly accounts payable list and building permit statistics, attached below. The estimated value of building permits in Nelson for the year 2012 was $9,703,999, compared to $9,769,265 in 2012.

In 2012, there were permits for 18 single unit dwellings and 20 multi-unit buildings. In 2013, the corresponding numbers were 28 and 1.

Bike racks and downtown sculpture change-over

Council also reviewed the December 4 minutes of the Cultural Development Committee (CDC), which included discussion of a plan to install artistically created bike racks in the downtown core, with $3000 from the public art reserve fund.

See a previous story in The Nelson Daily about bike parking here.

The CDC minutes also reported that the downtown sculptures will be taken down in April to be replaced with this year’s winners of the Castlegar Sculpture Walk, and that a business case will be created for an increase in hours and/or pay for the Cultural Development Officer in light of increased workload since the position began four years ago. The minutes are attached below.

Home mail delivery

Councillor Robin Cherbo said he plans to bring to the next meeting a motion asking council to object to the federal government’s planned phasing out of home mail delivery. He said mail carriers check on seniors, some of whom are unable to walk up steep streets to group boxes especially in the winter.

The Youth Centre: not just for at-risk youth

A new Youth Centre Strategic Planning Report can be found in same document as the CDC minutes attached below. Commenting on that report, Councillor Kiss said one of the Youth Centre’s biggest problems described in the report is that it is seen by the public as being a service for at-risk youth, while in fact it is designed for all youth.

Nelson Mandela Day

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities has suggested that its members declare July 18 as Nelson Mandela Day, during which citizens commit to devoting 67 minutes to helping others, in recognition of the 67 years Mr. Mandela dedicated to public service. Council agreed unanimously.

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