By striking a five-year deal with Direct Energy, Kamloops City council expects to save $80,000 a year on its natural-gas costs.
Council approved the deal unanimously Tuesday. It had put out a request for proposals to shave down the $288,000 bill it gets every year for natural gas costs.
The City consumes 77,000 gigajoules (GJ) of natural gas every year. By buying directly, the City skips the FortisBC midstream charge, saving 89 cents per GJ.
House on McGowan Avenue declared a nuisance
Neighbours of a McGowan Avenue home that was already in bad shape before a 2008 fire should finally see some improvement.
Council voted Tuesday to take enforcement action on the house at 356 McGowan Ave.
City development and engineering services director Marvin Kwiatkowski said the house had newspapers, boxes and other debris in it. The fire was caused by candles burning near a curtain.
The house was in such bad shape after the blaze that it was deemed unfit for occupancy. Since then, the house has attracted transients, pigeons and weeds.
Council’s vote declared the property a nuisance and requires the owner to provide a report by a certified professional on its condition as well as a timeline for remediation.
If the owner doesn’t comply within 30 days of that notice, the City can undertake the work and send the bill to the owner.
“We owe it to the neighbourhood to ensure this is mitigated and send a message to the owners of questionable nuisance properties,” said Coun. Ken Christian.
Kwiatkowski said the City wants the report to determine whether the house can be repaired or must be demolished.
If the owner doesn’t have the means to do the report, he or she has 14 days after being notified to address council, he added. The report would cost between $1,500 and $2,500, but a follow-up is required after any work is done as well.
“We’ve been trying to remediate this for four years,” he said.
Council unanimously supported the motion for the report.
Tranquille plans go to public hearing
Tranquille on the Lake is inching toward becoming a community.
It took another step Tuesday, when City council voted to hold a public hearing on proposed rezoning that would eventually see as many as 2,000 residential units built on the site in a 20-year phased development plan.
City development and engineering services director Marvin Kwiatkowski said the proposal is supported by the North Shore and Sustainable Kamloops plans.
Coun. Tina Lange said no project has had as much attention and care from City staff as Tranquille.
“I’m pleased to see it finally moving ahead,” she said.
Mayor Peter Milobar interjected — “to a public hearing.” Lange nodded.
Coun. Nancy Bepple said there would be benefits to the City in terms of taxation, but costs for services that would have to be provided. Although the City isn’t providing fire service — which means buildings will require sprinklers — she expected as the number of people living at Tranquille increases, demand for firefighting will occur.
“It will be hard to ignore the political clout” when a few thousand people at Tranquille on the Lake demand fire service, she said.
Milobar noted they will have sprinklers in their homes, so that push for fire service might not come.
Coun. Donovan Cavers said he had concerns about making the city larger.
But City community development manager Randy Lambright said Tranquille has been identified in the 1997 and 2004 versions of the official community plan as part of the area needed for the population to reach 120,000 in 2036.
Hotel gets nod for city’s east end
The Gateway industrial park is getting the hotel that has been in the plans since its inception.
City council voted Tuesday to issue a development permit for an 80-room hotel at the travel centre area of the Gateway property near the gas station.
Coun. Marg Spina said it was good use of the land and nice to see it moving forward.
Canadian Tire gets face lift
The North Shore Canadian Tire store is getting some more greenery and a new look following council’s approval Tuesday.
City development and engineering services director Marvin Kwiatkowski said the upgrade includes a 455-square-metre addition that helps close in part of the existing outdoor garden centre, clean up of some temporary storage containers on the site, a new exterior, changes to the parking lot and landscaping improvements.
Council unanimously approved the development permit request.
Councillor’s rezoning request gets a go
Coun. Marg Spina had to excuse herself Tuesday when City council discussed her request to hold a public hearing to rezone her Fraser Street property for a carriage suite for her adult special-needs son.
But she wasn’t alone.
Coun. Donovan Cavers left the room, too, because he has an almost identical request that will be coming forward to council soon. And Coun. Tina Lange excused herself because she owns several rental properties in town and could be seen as being in conflict of interest.
That left six council members to discuss Spina’s request.
The carriage suite will replace an existing garage with a two-storey structure that’s 700 metres square in area. It has back alley access, adequate parking and is on a downward slope behind the house.
Spina and her husband Ross provided several letters of support from neighbours.
The council members who were left unanimously approved the request to go to public hearing.
Public gets say on City’s wind turbine policy
The visibility, noise, and other impacts from wind turbines need to be accounted for when wind turbines are built in Kamloops.
That’s why council voted unanimously Tuesday to add some policy changes to Kamplan regarding the turbines.
But before it goes through, it will be presented for input at a public hearing.
Marvin Kwiatkowski, City development and engineering services director, said the amendments map out criteria about such things as height, number of turbines, spacing, setbacks, sound minimization, visual impact and shadow flicker.
The restrictions also call for matte finishes to be used on the turbines and no advertising.
Coun. Nelly Dever said she could understand the matte finish, so the spinning turbines don’t shine in people’s eyes, but she didn’t see why ads were a problem.
Kwiatkowski said the turbines should fit into the surrounding area as much as possible, and ads would make them stand out.
Council gives wag to three-dog household
Mutt is 16 years old and has had knee replacement surgery because she can barely walk.
Jack is young and full of energy and needed someone to play with. And that’s why Sandra McCarthy got Jelly Bean, a big, young and gentle dog for Jack to play with because Mutt just can’t keep up.
But when she went to license the three dogs, it set off the City’s alarms that she was violating the two-dogs-per-household rule.
City council has waived the $350 variance fee for people who have been caught in the licensing trap for the year.
But McCarthy still had to go to council and make her case. All three are spayed or neutered and licensed and they have lots of yard space, she said.
Coun. Nelly Dever said there was a barking complaint reported twice on the household in 2008, but McCarthy said no one has ever complained to her — it was another dog in the area.
She did promise that when Mutt dies, she won’t be replaced.
Council voted unanimously to allow the three dogs.