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More city tree pruning, less emergency 911 service, new medical marijuana rules, and more: Nelson City Council March 17, 2014

Bill Metcalfe
By Bill Metcalfe
March 18th, 2014

Nelson City Council’s Committee of the Whole meeting on March 17 contained several presentations that each will warrant full stories in The Nelson Daily in the coming days. The following is a summary of the proceedings of the meeting.

Committee of the Whole meetings are held monthly and their purpose is for council to hear presentations from community groups, individuals, or their own staff. Council does not make decisions at these meetings but often refers the content of the presentations to the city manager for further work and possible decisions at a later regular council meeting.

Hydro tree trimming and pruning

Doug Pickard of Nelson Hydro reported to council that Hydro will be conducting a vegetation management program (trimming and pruning) in the coming year to a specific set of industry standards as outlined in the attached presentation. The standards are about clearance distance between trees and other vegetation required for various types of power lines.

Pickard says the pruning and trimming will be more drastic than has ever been done in Nelson in a single year, and there was some discussion around the council table about how to communicate this sensitively to the public and how to handle complaint calls.

The Nelson Daily will run a more detailed story on this in the coming week.

Changes to 911 response procedure

Mike Daloise (Assistant Fire Chief) and Fire Fighter Mark Thibault of the Nelson Fire Department talked to council about recent changes to the BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) Resource Allocation Plan.

The changes to the plan would result in a reduction in the number of 911 calls that trigger a response with advanced life support, and a 29% decrease in Code 3  (“lights and sirens”) responses, all apparently for cost savings and traffic safety.

Thibault and Daloise said the changes will compromise public safety.

They said there is already a great degree of confusion in Nelson with regard to the roles of the fire hall and the ambulance service in response to 911 calls, and they said the new plan will make that worse.

They asked council to raise this issue at the upcoming annual meeting of the Association of Kootenay Boundary Local Governments. Council agreed to do this during a short regular meeting that was held following the Committee of the Whole.

The fire department’s written presentation to council is attached below. The Nelson Daily will run a more detailed story on this in the coming week.

Medical Marijuana

Police chief Wayne Holland spoke with council about new federal regulations on medical marijuana that will come into effect on April 1. Under those regulations, marijuana will be treated like a medicine, a doctor and patient will decide whether marijuana will be prescribed and in what amount, the marijuana may only be obtained from a licenced supplier, the patient may only possess a maximum of 150 grams at any given time and must have proof of lawful entitlement, and there are many rules around being approved as a supplier.

Chief Holland explained that there is likely to be some confusion after April 1 and he said his department will be taking a cautious approach.

The police chief’s presentation to council is attached below. See a March 11 story inThe Nelson Daily for more detail.

Nelson Landing

Michael Donner presented arguments against variances proposed to the city by Storm Mountain Developments who are proceeding with the Nelson Landing housing development in the vicinity of Red Sands Beach.

Donner’s written presentation to council is attached below. 

Bike Racks

Claus Schunke explained that he thinks spending $3000 on artistic bike racks for Nelson is an irresonsible way of spending taxpayers’ money and was decided without enough discussion.

“There are numerous bicycles in town and the surrounding area,” he said, “but a bike is not a commonly accepted primary means of transportation. And here never will be. Due to Nelson-and-area geographical ups/downs and distance stretches, people will not give up their cars, and our ever-increasing seniors will not ride bikes down or uphill.”

Categories: Politics

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