Nelson City Council — Nelson Commons; Free dog leashes for tourists; CBT Community Initiatives grants
Nelson City Council convened early yesterday afternoon for a special regular council meeting that was closed to the public after some bylaws were discussed.
First on the docket was second reading of a bylaw for rezoning to change the land use designation for the ANCRON Medical property on View Sreet across from Kootenay Lake Hospital.
The applicant asked to change the land from low-density residential to comprehensive development zone usage to allow for the development of a medical clinic.
Then council adopted its long-discussed five-year financial plan bylaw, which includes a 2 per cent increase in property taxes plus rate increases for water, sewer and Nelson Hydro – aimed at keeping the city’s coffers in line with the cost of inflation.
Council followed up the financial plan with the introduction and first three readings of its annual tax rate bylaw, which is necessary to allow the city to collect taxes to finance the activities outlined in the plan.
Last on the agenda before closing the meeting to the public was an application for a liquor primary license by the Royal Grill on Baker Street. The establishment currently has a food primary license but is applying to have a liquor primary license, which would replace it s previous license that lapsed in 2013.
Nelson Commons addresses affordable housing concerns at Committee of the Whole
Later in the evening, council reconvened for its monthly Committee of the Whole meeting, which saw the issue of affordable housing at Nelson Commons on the table again.
It started out public participation period, and local blogger Claus Schunke read a scathing statement about his concerns around the Nelson Commons development.
He chastised the project for its proposal to create three restricted resale units that would be sold at the reduced rate, instead of contributing $54,000 to the city’s Affordable Housing Fund – along with almost every other aspect of the project.
The full text of his speech to council is available here on his blog.
Deirdre Lang and Russell Precious of the Nelson Commons Development took the mic shortly after and addressed some of the concerns, while adding some additional benefits the city is reaping from the development of the project.
Their response to the concerns around the affordable housing plan were outlined in a previous Nelson Daily article, and as of yet, no decision has been made around whether the variance permit would be issued. Precious said he would be meeting again this week with the Nelson Housing Committee to discuss the plan some more.
Amongst the noteworthy details offered up around the Nelson Commons benefits, were the fact that nearly 75 per cent of the soil being dug up to pour the foundations of the new building on the site of the former Extra Foods store is contaminated with mine tailings and other waste, while the building was filled with asbestos – which the Commons is dealing with at a considerable cost, according to Precious.
Precious noted that a public park will be included in the development, and added that before the Kootenay Co-op purchased the land, the owner was in in talks about selling the land to Tim Hortons.
He pointed out that Tim Hortons is now owned by Burger King, so Nelson could have ended up with a Burger King restaurant on Baker Street – instead of a local business.
Becker proposes free branded dog leashes for Nelson Visitors
Just before Lang and Precious spoke, local character and businessman, Nelson Becker spoke to council as a delegate – recommend that the city provide free leashes with the City of Nelson logo on them to leash-less tourists visiting the Queen City.
After complimenting the city on its new dog bylaw, he suggested the job of bylaw officers could be made easier if they had free leashes to hand out to tourists who forget their dog leashes, or aren’t aware they need them.
He followed up his idea by offering a $100 cash donation to the city to help kick start the leash initiative.
Council poses for Kaoma video
The final delegation of the evening was from the Nelson Area Kaoma Alliance (NAKA), which facilitates the City of Nelson’s municipal partnership with the District of Kamoa in Zambia.
After seeing a short YouTube video in which local officials from Kamoa greeted council and thanked them for their support, the NAKA representatives asked the councilors if they would reciprocate on the spot with a video greeting.
Filmed by a visiting representative from Kamoa, council improvised a greeting to their counterparts in Africa.
Adjudication of CBT Community Initiatives grants
The last hour of the meeting was filled up by council’s adjudication of Columbia Basin Trust grant applications by local organizations.
It took a while for the new council to decide on a procedure for the adjudication, but after they got the process straightened out, they proceeded apace.
Council doled out a total of $126,447 to 44 of the 47 organizations that applied for grants.