Regional Rundown: Canal Flats community engaged on issues

This is definitely a “doing” council, not a “talking” council.

Editor’s note: Regional Rundown is a new feature in the Valley Echo, in which we’ll offer each mayor and regional  district director in the Columbia Valley the chance to share what’s new.


We had an exciting 2013 with a lot happening, such as the completion of the Columbia Discovery Center, the Arena Retrofit project and the Combined Water System project starting up, just to name a few. I am so proud of our council members for their hard work in getting things done. This is definitely a “doing” council, not a “talking” council.

There was some information circulating that we are in an “overrun” of $260,000 on the Arena project. I want to make clear that this is not an “overrun”, but added costs should we decide to go ahead with the insulation of the building. The upgrades that have been done were based on an engineering report from 2008 which recommended the replacement of the concrete slab. It was estimated to cost around $1 million dollars at the time. The only thing we added to the budget was the replacement of the bleachers as they were not up to code and it would have cost substantially more to replace them after the slab was put into place. As for the insulation, we will have to decide if it is necessary, and if yes, who will pay for it. We have two options: it will either be part of the Canal Flats Recreation Service Area budget or the newly combined Columbia Valley Recreation Service Area budget, which will be a discussion the Columbia Valley directors of the Regional District of East Kootenay will have.

Following the floods of last June and the impact it could have had on our sewage lagoons, council is seeking grant funding to undertake a Kootenay River Dike study to protect the lagoons as well as the homes near the river. If staff is not successful in finding provincial grants by the end of January, council will have to discuss if we use some of our reserve funds to pay for the study. Once the study is done we will be able to go back to the province to seek funding for the project.

We have had a year of unthinkable tragedy, confusing issues and some controversy. I have seen great acts of compassion, a community coming together to help one of our own overcome a most difficult time. I have seen a community engaged on the issues, becoming involved and making sure that their voices are being heard. I cannot tell you how proud I am to be part of this wonderful town.

In 2014, we’ll be looking at working on an Economic Development strategy by creating a community profile and branding, finding a solution to improve our fire hall, continuing on our pathway system, and come up with a plan for our recreation area. We’re also hoping to start on some seniors’ programing, which may also include links to the youth in the community.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.


Ute Juras is the mayor of Canal Flats and can be reached at 250-489-9070 or by e-mail at .