First Street rehabilitation project leads council briefs

First Street rehab, Miss Castlegar candidates, urban chickens, and Embetsu trip in this week's council briefs.

Miss Castlegar candidates

Miss Castlegar candidates attended the Castlegar city council meeting on May 7. All 12 young ladies introduced themselves to mayor and council and received a city of Castlegar heritage from Mayor Lawrence Chernoff.

The ladies are vying for the title of Miss Castlegar, which will be decided at the ceremony during Castlegar’s SunFest weekend in June.

First Street Road rehab

Council gave notice that the rehabilitation of First Street project has been awarded to local firm WSA Ventures Ltd. for the sum of $228,774 plus HST. The project includes the installation of approximately 200 metres of water main and associated infrastructure.

“It’s a local contractor and we’re anticipating a start date really quick here,” said councillor Deb McIntosh. “I think the residents of First Street and that area are going to be really pleased with what’s going to come in. There’s going to be a sidewalk; there’s going to be some stairs. The access is going to be better. There’s going to be better sight lines. I think they’ll be pleased with the action council has taken with this.”

McIntosh says the city had several local bidders and we’re pleased to award the contract locally.

“I think it’s always important to hire local,” she said. “It was nice that we had several local companies bidding that were able to do the job, so we’re please to hire local.”

Concerns about intersection sightlines and overall safety had been brought forward by the First Street residents for several years.

“It’s quite a sharp little incline,” said McIntosh. “People were concerned mainly about safety. They came as a delegation. Chris Barlow (Castlegar Civic Works director) worked with them closely to come up with some solutions. I think we’ve come up with some great solutions that will help everyone out there.”

Councillor suggests forum on urban chickens

Councillor Deb McIntosh brought forward the idea of council having a public meeting on the issue of backyard chickens in Castlegar. City administrator John Malcolm told her that the chickens are not allowed in city limits under the Animal Control Bylaw.

“The door was opened again for the chicken debate a few months ago,” said McIntosh after the meeting. “We had a delegation come (Peter Wulowka) and speak to it. We owe it to the community to have that discussion. We opened that door wide open and now we have to follow through on it.”

Resident against mayor’s trip to Japan

Local resident Dave Kravski has written a letter to Castlegar city council speaking against the upcoming city delegation trip to Embetsu, Japan.

At a previous meeting, Castlegar city council voted 4-2 to send a delegation from Castlegar to the city’s Japan twin Embetsu. The delegation will consist of mayor Lawrence Chernoff, fire chief Jerry Rempel, and a councillor Sue Heaton-Sherstobitoff.

“I recently read the decision for a taxpayer expensed trip to Japan. I have a hard time concluding the business sense to this cost other than a nice entitlement/perk for a select few. However, if still justified by you, I would suspect that some sort of report with added value with be presented to council/community such that our community is better as a result,” wrote Kravski.

Mayor Chernoff countered by saying that the trip to Japan will be a benefit to the whole region.

“When you look at it – why are we going? Embetsu is our sister city. So there’s that tie,” he said. “You also have to remember that for 15 years we’ve been having student exchanges. It allows our youth to go out and experience other countries. How do we bring up our youth in the community? That’s a key feature to this. There is a family there involved in the program that wanted members of council to come over to show appreciation that we’ve been involved in this. It’s a good will mission. But it’s a mission I feel is to help grow the community on both sides. People worked long and hard to get this relation.”

Chernoff said an adult delegation has not been sent in more than 20 years.

“All we have to pay is airfare,” he said. “Our accommodations and everything is covered by this group. It’s great for the youth in the community to see that we take leadership and allow these exchanges to take place. The benefits of these come right back to the community.”

The delegates have not received the itinerary yet for the Japan trip, but mayor Chernoff says they will be attending the grand opening of the city’s new fire hall. Embetsu sent seven people to Castlegar for the grand opening of city hall.