Seeking more bang for its bucks on tourism promotions, Canal Flats is leading a call for a new funding model for Columbia Valley Visitor Services, which highlights the valley to potential tourists and new residents.
As a regional function, Visitor Services could be funded by Columbia Valley communities based on the number of business-assessed properties in each jurisdiction, rather than on residential assessment values, Canal Flats mayor Ute Juras told council during the village’s December 14th council meeting.
At the early December Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) board meeting, members voted to pursue that amendment to the bylaw that governs visitor services funding.
Mayor Juras noted Visitor Information Centres in Invermere and Radium assist Canal Flats by promoting Canal Flats as the only access point for Columbia Lake, and added that 71 per cent of the staff employed at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort are Canal Flats residents.
Another vote at the RDEK meeting resulted in the regional district agreeing to lend 35 hours of staff time to help prepare land prospectuses for the Canal Flats Economic Development working group, in an effort to help the village attract new potential businesses and industries.
In a report from B.C. Energy Minister Bill Bennett, the regional district board got an update on the province’s Innovative Clean Energy Fund that provides subsidies for new energy and power projects. At the Canal Flats council table, the report sparked a discussion on the potential industry-attracting benefit the village could realize from a northward extension of an existing natural gas line that runs north from Cranbrook as far as Skookumchuk, ending about 30 kilometres south of the village.
Sewer line gas leak fixed
A contaminated air scare at the Canal Flats Seniors Centre last month resulted in an improvement being made to the ventilation system for the building.
A new makeup air system, costing just over $2,000 for the purchase and installation, is now in place after a kill switch failed on a pump at a sewer lift station for the building. That resulted in foul-smelling sewer line gases briefly being pumped back into the building.
The new makeup air system “will make sure that the air entering that building is always pure and clean,” said public works co-ordinator Bill Doroshuk after council asked him about the incident.
Transition calls continue
Several former Canfor Canal Flats mill workers are applying for the Project Based Labour Market Training (PBLMT) program offered through College of the Rockies and WorkBC. Council learned this while discussing a report from the most recent Canal Flats Worker Transition Call that was held over the course of one hour on November 23rd.
All requests for transfers and full severance have been received, said a Canfor representative, and since then very few people have visited the transition office in the village.
Several previous participants, including the Columbia Basin Trust, Service Canada, and the Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce, did not take part in the call. The next call will take place on January 11th. There’s no agreed-upon end date as to how long these teleconference meetings will continue.