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Hydro rate increase, new affordable housing money, changes to CIP grant rules, wildfire safety, and more: Nelson city council notes

Bill Metcalfe
By Bill Metcalfe
February 10th, 2015

This article reports on a number of decisions made by Nelson City Council at several meetings in January and February.

Nelson Hydro rate increase

On February 2, city council voted in favour of a 2.02 increase to hydro rates beginning in April 2015. The reasons given were inflation and a rate increase by Fortis, from which Nelson buys some of its power.  Council voted on three readings and the bylaw will come up at a future meeting for adoption.


Residential fire insurance and wildfires

Also on February 2, Council voted in favour of a recommendation to the Association of Kootenay Boundary Local Governments (AKBLG) brought forward by Councillor Robin Cherbo, that the AKBLG ask the province to petition insurance companies to give a deduction in premiums to people with approved sprinkler systems on their roofs to combat damage to houses in the event of forest fires. This will be taken as a resolution to the annual meeting of the AKBLG later this year.


New affordable housing funding

Council was presented, on February 2, with the minutes of a January 20 meeting of the city’s housing committee. Rona Park, who represents the Nelson Community Services Society on that committee, presented information to the committee about new affordable housing funding, presented in the housing committee’s minutes as follows:

NCSC recently received provincial funding (BC Housing) for a new Homeless Prevention Worker position as well as federal funding ($100,000) for rental supplements in the private housing market. This exciting news means NCSC has acquired additional supports and supplements to prevent homelessness in the community. The funding is ongoing year to year.

Four populations will benefit from these rental supplements: women leaving violence, youth leaving foster care, adults leaving hospital/jail/treatment facilities, and Aboriginal persons. Referrals are accepted. Stacey Lock has been hired as the Homeless Prevention Worker and will provide support and supplements on a case by case basis. Rona outlined the potential for a partnership with Nelson Cares whereby rental supplements could be applied to a lease arrangement to ensure appropriate rental units are available for youth and women in need.

Related story:

Why providing affordable housing in Nelson is easier said than done (January 9, 2015)


Changes to annual Community Initiative Program grant criteria

On January 19, council voted to change the criteria by which it divides up about $126,000 annually among community groups for projects. The money comes from the Columbia Basin Trust.

In the past, the policy has been to give arts and culture 35% of the funding. In the future, the funding will be divided equally among four pillars of the city’s Path to 2040 Sustainability Strategy, namely: culture, social, environment, and economy. This four-way split is a “soft target,” allowing some leeway between the four pillars, depending on the circumstances.

Related stories:

Nelson arts funding made simple (February 14, 2012)

Council gives community initiatives grants to 38 groups (April 24, 2014)


Support for Trail hospital funding declined

At its January 13 meeting, Council considered a letter from the City of Trail for a letter of support in an application to the federal Build Canada fund for funding to build an alternate route from the highway to the Trail hospital.

This came to a vote on February 2 and failed on the grounds that Nelson will be applying to the same fund for its own projects, and that endorsing a competing application might hurt Nelson’s chances.

Related story:

Council ponders supporting Trail hospital funding application (January 13, 2015)

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