One of the final hurdles to cross before construction can begin on the new FortisBC facility in Ootischenia was tackled at Monday night’s city council meeting. The development permit application for the FortisBC Regional Operations Centre was approved. The project is slated to employ approximately 125 people and cost $13.8 million.
“To me it is a huge step forward. It has been in the planning for a few years,” said Castlegar Mayor Lawrence Chernoff. “I look at a corporation making an investment back into the community, and at $14 million it is huge, as a benefit to our community and other communities. It is saying, ‘We are here for the long term.'”
The First Robson Scout Group made a presentation to city council requesting that the city fly the scout flag at City Hall on Baden Powell Day, Feb. 27, a day set aside to honour Robert Baden Powell,the founder of scouting. After the presentation, a motion was made to approve the proposition and council voted in favour of the idea on the spot.
Representatives from the Castlegar Refugee Project updated council on their plans to bring a refugee family to Castlegar. The group is making progress towards reaching the fund raising goals they must meet in order to begin the relocation process. The group will need about $36,000 to cover expenses for the first year. Sally Williams stated, “It’s worth remembering that many of our families were immigrants too and that helping refugees come to Canada so they can live safe, productive lives is one reason why we are so proud to call ourselves Canadians.”
The bulk of the remaining items on the agenda revolved around grant and sponsorship requests. A $500 grant was awarded to assist with costs associated with Castlegar seniors attending the BC Senior Games in Coquitlam. The Castlegar Senior Citizens Branch 46 received a $150 grant to assist with their annual tea that honours those aged 80 and over.
A sponsorship request from the West Kootenay Junior Dragons’ Den competition put on by Community Futures of Greater Trail for the amount of $2500 was sent back to the finance committee to see if there are other sponsorship options that would not be as costly, as several councillors felt the amount was too large and would consume too much of the annual sponsorship budget.
Council was divided on approving a $500 grant request from Selkirk College to assist with hosting a two day creative writing workshop with author Lawrence Hill in April. The workshop is designed to help local authors take their writing to the next level both in terms of their craft and in publication. In the end councillors McIntosh and Vassilakakis voted against the measure, councillors Rye and Chernoff in favour, forcing Mayor Chernoff to cast the deciding vote to carry the motion.