Vanderhoof council: free community transport, Nechako bank stabilization halts

....aquatic centre design update, airport development in sight

Proposed bus route for the free community transport system in Vanderhoof includes 10 stops in town

Proposed bus route for the free community transport system in Vanderhoof includes 10 stops in town

Nechako river bank stabilization update

The district is looking into a more sturgeon-friendly plan to stabilize the Nechako River banks in downtown Vanderhoof.

Located within the endangered Nechako white sturgeon’s habitat, the proposed work was rejected by the local department of Fisheries and Oceans earlier this fall as it contravenes with the Species at Risk Act, expressed DFO in an email to the district.

In chats with different manufacturers of materials, options that are safer to the sturgeon and help to solve siltation of spawning beds can be developed, Councillor Kevin Moutray said.

“Instead of just armouring with rip rap that can speed up the silting process, a living river bank with a new riparian system can be created,” Moutray explained. Once the new plan is developed, the district will be approaching senior representation from the DFO.

In order to move the project forward, the district is also connecting with the Nechako White Sturgeon Recovery Initiative, who echoes erosion concerns of the Riverside Park banks.

“From the sturgeon standpoint, it’s a two-sided position,” said NWSRI’s Wayne Salewski. “We have a lot of sediment moving down the river, filling in spawning beds and eliminating survival opportunities for sturgeon and salmon, but at the same time, the work done for sediment removal needs to be looked at.

“We would be very supportive of efforts regarding erosion issues there.”


Aquatic centre update

Vanderhoof’s pool will not have a second floor, nor the provisions to have one in the future, decided the aquatic centre committee in August.

Having the provisions for a future upstairs addition alone pushes building costs over the budget by $400,000. When the aquatic centre is in operation, provisions also entail extra space to heat and cool, and thus potentially extra costs.

The pool’s $12-million plan includes 11 per cent of excess for contingencies.

If desired, future expansion can take place horizontally, decreasing access requirements such as stairs and elevator.

District staff is preparing a final cost estimate and schedule for the project, with a potential construction start date in March 2017.


Airport development in sight

A proposed development plan for Vanderhoof’s municipal airport is approved in principle, said CAO Tom Clement.

District staff is looking into the feasibility of the proposal, as well as referring to the Airport Marketing Study prepared for the district in 2011.

The airport plan includes incorporating surrounding lots previously removed from the Agricultural Land Reserve, adding runway turnarounds measuring 100 feet in radius, increasing width of taxiways to 75 feet wide, and adding 50 feet to the airport apron for aircraft parking and loading.


Free community transport to arrive in Vanderhoof

The geographical centre of B.C. may soon have free transportation within the community.

In partnership with Saik’uz First Nation, the District of Vanderhoof applied for the Highway 16 Community Transportation Grant program last week.

For three years, capital and operating costs for the community bus service, totalling $80,100, will be 70-per cent covered by the provincial government. The rest of the costs will be covered by Saik’uz First Nation in $10,000 a year and the District of Vanderhoof in $14,100 a year.

The proposed bus stops are: Saik’uz First Nation, Vanderhoof and Districts Co-op mall, St. John Hospital, Vanderview Church, Nechako View Senior Citizens’ Home Society, Victoria Manor Apartments, Fourth Street by Ryley and Pine, Lampitt Avenue by Stewart Street, Riverside Place, and Loop Road by Bublitz Road.

The proposed routes and schedule would be adapted to meet the needs of the community, with potentially seasonal variations, said CAO Tom Clement.

“It’s one of the services we’re looking to providing; we’ve identified it as a priority many times,” Clement said. “We’re hopeful we’ll get the funding, and put it in place.”


– with files from the District of Vanderhoof