Castlegar City Council is considered proposed expansions to transit. File photo

Castlegar City Council is considered proposed expansions to transit. File photo

Castlegar council roundup: Proposed transit expansion will increase service

All the news from the July 17 committee of the whole meeting

by Chelsea Novak

Transit service in Castlegar could run later and farther south — eventually.

Castlegar city council heard a presentation from Tom Dool, research analyst for the Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK), regarding the district’s future transit plans at the committee of the whole meeting on Monday, July 17.

Dool informed council that ridership has increased to about three quarters of what it was pre-pandemic, which is about 750,000 rides a year. With the RDCK anticipating that ridership will not only eventually return to pre-pandemic levels but continue to increase year to year, it is putting forward proposals to meet that demand.

Two short-term priorities for Castlegar specifically are increasing evening services to 8 p.m. (in large part so Selkirk students can move on and off campus) and introducing services down to the southern end of town, including Grandview.

Daynika White, government relations manager for BC Transit, then laid out the process for applying for provincial funding for transit expansion, explaining it requires a commitment from the City of Castlegar.

Councillor Shirley Falstead asked about the earliest possible timeline for the service into south Castlegar and Dool said that even if the process was expedited, it would take at least two-to-three years as provincial funding would need to be considered as part of next year’s provincial budget.

Mayor Maria McFaddin made it clear that providing adequate service for both Selkirk campus and Grandview is a big priority for council, and asked when council could have numbers to make an informed decision and get the project moving forward.

White said she could have budget numbers for the expansion to council by Aug. 25.

Another part of the district’s plan is to increase trips on the 98 and 99 buses, which connect Castlegar, Trail and Nelson.

“We’re really building out that backbone,” says Dool. “The backbone really allows us to provide more arterial service up the Slocan Valley toward Salmo, toward Fruitvale, down to Balfour and draw people into the services that are provided in the City of Nelson, the City of Castlegar and the City of Trail.”

New organics program ready to roll out

During the regular council meeting, council heard an update on the new organics program from Emilie teBulte, solid waste and organics ambassador for the City of Castlegar.

The ambassador is responsible for overseeing the roll out of the new program and will be doing community outreach over the next few months.

The upcoming changes include weekly pickup for organics, a smaller bin for garbage, and a new bin for organics.

Bi-weekly pickup for recycling and garbage will remain the same, as will pick up days.

Council also saw some of the communication pieces produced to educate residents on the new program, including a post card, social media graphics and newspaper ads.

Any residents who have questions are encouraged to seek out teBulte at community engagement events. Here is her community engagement schedule for July:

• Tuesday, July 25: open house (Community Forum at 445 13th Ave.), online and in person, 5-7 p.m. drop, presentation and Q&A starting at 7 p.m.

• Thursday, July 27: pop up at City Hall, noon to 3 p.m.

• Friday, July 28: pop up at Kinsmen, noon to 3 p.m.

• Saturday, July 29: pop up at Castlegar Craft and Farmers Market, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

• Sunday, July 30: pop up at Millennium Park and Ponds, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Council approves contract for new fire engine

Council approved the construction of a new fire engine for the Castlegar Fire Department (CFD).

The CFD’s 2004 Spartan Engine No. 1 will turn 20 years old in August 2024, which will impact the City of Castlegar’s fire grading. To remain in alignment with the Fire Underwriters Survey requirements and minimize the risk of the fire grading being reduced, the city needs to replace Engine 1.

If the fire grading is reduced, it would increase insurance costs for all properties in Castlegar.

Council voted to award the contract for construction of a new engine to Rocky Mountain Phoenix for $1,465,891 plus taxes.

Council makes changes to health and safety policies

Council voted to rescind four health and safety related policies:

• Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System Policy 5-2;

• Accident Prevention, Reporting and Investigation Policy 5-3;

• Contractor Coordination Policy 5-6;

• Aims and Responsibilities for Occupational Health and Safety Policy 5-7.

McKenna Stitzenberger, the city’s health and safety specialist, explained that the policies are all outdated and need to be replaced.

Council then approved the new Health and Safety Policy 5-13, which is intended to be the foundation of the Health and Safety Program moving forward.

Council awards Millennium Park playground site works contract

Council awarded the contract for the Millennium Park and Ponds playground site works to Marwest Industries Ltd.

The contract is in the amount of $365,515.68, plus applicable taxes.

It includes installation of the concrete edger that will act as a border for the pour in place rubber surface, installation of concrete pads and an asphalt path through the site, installation of benches, fencing and a gate, and landscaping including trees, shrubs, sod and irrigation.

Bogle appointed voting delegate for Municipal Insurance Association of BC AGM

Councillor Brian Bogle was appointed the voting delegate for the City of Castlegar at the Municipal Insurance Association of BC AGM to be held at the UBCM Convention on Sept. 19.

Councillor Sue Heaton-Sherstobitoff was appointed as the deputy voting delegate.

“We have to go to the Municipal Insurance Association and vote on what they do and all of those things, and they’re riveting meetings that take up no time at all,” deadpanned McFaddin. “So I really appreciate Councillor Bogle attending those for us.”