Castlegar city council is meeting via Zoom. (City of Castlegar Screenshot)

Castlegar city council is meeting via Zoom. (City of Castlegar Screenshot)

Highlights from Oct. 4 Castlegar council meeting

Progress made on plans for art gallery and housing downtown

Submitted by City of Castlegar

Castlegar city council held both a Committee of the Whole and a regular council meeting on Oct. 4. Here are some of the highlights from the meetings.

Affordable housing partner – expression of interest

Earlier this year, with support from Columbia Basin Trust, the City of Castlegar purchased the old Eremenko Building (310 Columbia Avenue and 1224 3rd Street) for the purpose of building a new art gallery downtown and to create affordable housing.

With support from the Trust and the Kootenay Gallery of Art, the city engaged CityScapes to evaluate the building and design the space to highlight the art gallery at the street level and maximize the number of housing units downtown. CitySpaces Consulting Ltd. presented the Combined Gallery and Housing Draft Development Feasibility Study.

The next step is looking for an affordable housing partner for redevelopment at this location so council approved issuing a call for expressions of interest.

Planning

Council approved temporary use permit requirements for emergency housing. These requirements guide the city’s expectations for the design and operation of facilities and to prepare them and the community for success. The requirements were developed to align with BC Housing and best practices as provided by Canada’s Homelessness Hub and standards met in the United States and Europe.

Council considered issuing a temporary use permit (3/21) to permit the operation of a winter shelter for up to 13 persons at 1660 Columbia Avenue (The Way Out Shelter) in alignment with recently adopted city requirements for emergency housing. This will be considered for final adoption at the Oct. 18 regular council meeting.

RELATED: Castlegar introduces permitting process for emergency and transitional housing facilities

RELATED: Guidelines introduced for emergency housing projects in Castlegar

Merry Creek Wildfire – summary of lessons learned

On July 1, 2021, a wildfire broke out just outside of Castlegar. It quickly grew, leapt the highway, and threatened homes and a seniors care facility within the city and others within the Regional District of Central Kootenay. The fire was quickly contained, and thankfully no structures within the city were damaged.

The city asked for feedback from the public, council, and staff to identify what went well, what could have been done better (or different), and what lessons we learned. View the summary report at castlegar.ca/wildfire.

Grant application – 2022 FireSmart Community Resiliency Investment Program

Council authorized a grant application of $150,000 to the 2022 FireSmart Community Resiliency Investment Program, administered by the Union of British Columbia Municipalities, to fund a feasibility study to determine options for water supply to the city during a wildfire event.

Permissive tax exemptions

Council proceeded with the first three readings for the proposed 2022 Permissive Tax Exemption Bylaw No. 1364. Permissive tax exemptions are a way to support organizations that enhance the quality of life for the community. They are at council’s discretion and can be granted to an eligible property, on a partial or full basis, for a period that council deems appropriate. The list of properties can be found in the Oct. 4 council agenda package.

Council meetings

Council received a staff report regarding Council Procedures Amendment Bylaw No. 1363 and seeking authorization of the expenditure of up to $6,000 to facilitate technology components of a hybrid electronic meeting and participation system to be funded from the COVID-19 Safe Restart Grant. The changes allow the public to participate electronically when council returns to in-person meetings and allows more flexibility for councillors when they need to participate remotely.

Unsightly premises

The City of Castlegar has been unable to secure voluntary compliance with Property Maintenance Bylaw 1120 at 3204 Columbia Avenue. Council approved the city entering the property to carry out the necessary remediation pursuant to Part 4, Section 15 of Property Maintenance Bylaw 1120.

Development

Council approved Development Variance Permit Application DVP-3/21 to vary the maximum height and minimum parking requirements for a proposed multiple residential building at 502 11th Avenue after receiving supplemental information and a presentation from Highmark Team.

RELATED: Six-storey apartment building gets go ahead in Castlegar

Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) Business

Council supported the following:

RDCK – Kootenay Lake West Transit Service Amendment Bylaw No. 2707, 2021 which increases the annual requisition limit for the Kootenay Lake West Transit Service.

RDCK – City of Castlegar and Portions of Electoral Areas I and J Transit Service Amendment Bylaw No. 2708, 2021 which changes the methods of cost recovery and the method of apportioning of costs for the City of Castlegar and portions of Electoral Areas I and J Transit Service.



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