Creston Town Council amended its Five-Year Financial Plan at Tuesday’s regular Council meeting to accommodate the purchase of property from School District No. 8 (Kootenay Lake) and $90,000 in short-term capital costs to address the current fire hall’s deficiencies.
Steffan Klassen, Director of Finance, said that the money needed to complete the $550,00 purchase from the school district, which includes the Creston Education Centre and grounds, and buildings and land on Canyon Street, will be taken from the Water Fund. A portion of the purchase price will come from prepaid rents. The Town has secured long-term rental agreements with the RDCK and Valley Community Services.
Included in the fire hall short-term needs are installation of a portable shower/washroom building, relocation of a kitchen, installation of a commercial water and dryer, installation of personnel lockers, relocation of gear lockers, and plumbing and electrical work. Klassen said that some of the purchases will be used when a new fire hall is constructed.
Responding to a suggestion by mayoral candidate Bill Hutchinson that using money from the Water Fund for other uses is illegal, Klassen said that the plan had been vetted by a lawyer, and that the money to be used is from an unanticipated surplus from federal and provincial grants, and that he expects grants to reduce the amount taken from the fund.
In other Town Council news:
• A tender of nearly $900,000 for upgrades to the Schikurski Booster Station was awarded to the only bidder, T.A Rendek & Associates Ltd. Director of Engineering Colin Farynowski said that large federal and provincial infrastructure grants recently have provided work for contractors around the province, reducing their interest in taking on smaller projects and increasing the cost of most projects.
Council deferred the purchase of a pump that would be put into use in the event of a water shortage, with Farynowski’s assurance that the replacement of the Arrow Creek Water System main line had increased water availability and eased the need for a backup system. In a water shortage, he said, a temporary pump could quickly be installed.
• A Development Variance Permit Application to reduce a setback requirement for a property at 1210 Hillside Street will proceed to allow public input.
• Creston will once again participate in the RDCK regional Wood Stove Exchange Program, and provide a $100 rebate to up to 20 residents who replace old, inefficient woodstoves with new, cleaner-burning appliances or heat pumps.
• The Town of Creston will commit $2,500 in in-kind services to help with a new RDCK Regional Retrofit and New Building Energy Efficiency Program, Council decided.
“The 2-year RRRP anticipates significant greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions through upgrades in wall assemblies, insulation, doors, windows, heating and ventilation equipment and resulting reduction of energy consumption for both the residential and new housing stock,” the RDCK report said.
• In the public question period, Hutchinson asked if Council didn’t breach its own bylaws by funding Couns. Adam Casemore’s participation in the recent Union of BC Municipalities conference in Whistler. Hutchinson said that Casemore should not have represented Creston because he is not running for Town Council in the upcoming election.
Mayor Ron Toyota said Casement had not made his decision to run as an RDCK Area C candidate until he was at the conference, and Casemore later added that his attendance will be beneficial to Area C residents if he is elected.
Couns. Kevin Boehmer said Casemore’s attendance was a non-issue “because Adam is a councillor and will be until after the election”, and that he was representing Creston in his current capacity.