Canal Flats village assures its open for busines

Application to subdivide stirs a debate over due process and a need for Canal Flats to be business-friendly


At the March 29th Canal Flats council meeting, a resident’s application to subdivide a small amount of residential land to allow them to build a shop for logging trucks stirred a debate over due process and a need for Canal Flats to be business-friendly


Resident Maxine Hascarl applied for a development variance permit to reduce the size of a smallholdings 2 (SH2) zoned residential parcel along the Canal Flats Frontage Road from one hectare to 0.79 hectares. The northern remainder would be used to build a shop.


Discussion ensued around the zoning bylaw’s minimum lot size for a particular zoning type and the proper way to proceed, either by rezoning or pursuing a development variance permit


Council voted to defer the decision on the permit in order to do more research, but wanted to convey a business-friendly image in the meantime — the village will send the applicant a letter explaining that the village appreciates their effort to expand business in Canal Flats and that village staff will resolve the matter as soon as possible.


Exterior fire operations approved

Due to a lack of active members and training capacity in the Canal Flats Fire Department, the village is changing the department’s authorization level to require them only to fight fires from outside a building, after hearing from Canal Flats fire chief David Ferguson explain the situation.


“We don’t have the manpower or training,” to fight fires from the inside of a building, said Ferguson. “Exterior attack is three to five members, so it requires fewer people to fight a fire.”


“We have to be designated as one or the other,” he added.


Being designated with an exterior operations service agreement means that if a homeowner feels the fire crew should go into a burning building, the department has liability protection, he explained.


“A perfect example is that sawmill, which would take 60 to 70 firefighters to fight inside it,” he added


Legacy trail supported

At the request of Columba Valley Greenways executive director Mark Halwa, the Village of Canal Flats approved a second letter of support for the Westside Legacy Trail. The village initially supported the project in fall 2015, and is now being asked to help Greenways pursue a grant through the Regional District of East Kootenay.


The legacy trail has reached $1.3 million in funds raised, and is now seeking a matching grant from Bike BC that would provide up to $1 million additional dollars.


At the March 14th council meeting, Canal Flats had considered but did not pursue an opportunity to apply for a grant towards a different bike path. That path is proposed to run over the underground waterline that connects the village’s water supply to the Eagle’s Nest area. Council cited a tight budget and the competing Legacy Trail project as reasons not to pursue that grant, which will remain available to the village until 2024.


Budget schedule set

Canal Flats council has laid out a schedule to ensure its budget (the 2016-2020 financial plan) is approved before the province’s imposed deadline of May 15th.


With the help of interim chef financial officer Cheryl Otting, council will have a final discussion on the operations budget on the evening of Wednesday, April 20th at 6:30 p.m. The meeting will be held at the village office and the public is invited.


That will enable council to approve three readings of the budget bylaw at the regular April 25th council meeting, and to adopt the bylaw at their May 9th council meeting.


The public will also have a chance to meet and give feedback to one of the village’s two new business liaisons, Chris Fields, at an economic development workshop with council on Thursday, April 7th at 6:30 p.m. Local business people are encouraged to attend.