District of Clearwater was active on many fronts during 2015, according to the municipality’s annual report.
The report was presented to town council during its July 19 meeting.
In economic development, council continues to focus on sustainability, recognizing that it is not wise to rely on grant money to maintain growth.
Accomplishments last year included finalizing a lease agreement in June that sees the council chambers used for court proceedings. Office space within Dutch Lake Community Centre is also being used by Court Services.
Court previously was held in Clearwater in a building near where Buy-Low is now.
Construction of a new biomass heating system at Dutch Lake Community Centre began in April, 2015.
The heating plant started operation in September, with the official grand opening held in December.
Canfor-Vavenby is supplying the wood-chips to feed the plant.
Total cost of the heating system project was $267,000, with payback anticipated in five years.
The municipality is looking at installing a second biomass heater at the Sportsplex as well as possibly a district energy system, with several buildings being heated by one plant.
A “Business Walk” done in October of 2013 during Small Business Week found strong support for business licensing and regulation.
As a result, Business Licensing and Regulation Bylaw 214 was introduced and given first reading by town council in July of 2014.
A “Pub Night” with local business leaders plus a public information session led to second reading in November, 2015.
Bylaw 214 has been amended as a result of public input and will be considered for adoption in 2016.
District of Clearwater finalized its community economic development strategic plan in 2011.
In 2013 its first official community plan (OCP) was finalized.
Town council held an economic development workshop in August, 2015. Five key goals identified were:
• Business retention and expansion;
• Increase support for business by the district;
• More effective marketing;
• Support for business attraction and expansion;
• Labor force support and succession planning.
District of Clearwater partnered with Thompson-Nicola Regional District to use federal Gas Tax funds to construct a septage receiving station in Clearwater.
The station opened for operations in October, 2015.
Over 90 per cent of North Thompson residents use individual septic tank systems.
Until recently, septage waste from the septic tanks was stored at landfills in Blue River, Clearwater and Barriere.
Following the closure of those facilities by the TNRD in favor of eco-depots, the waste would have had to be trucked to a landfill at Heffley Creek, if the septage receiving facility had not been built.
The facility is located near the District of Clearwater’s sewage lagoons.
Clearwater Fire Department had one half-time fire chief plus 21 firefighters in 2015.
Although the firefighters are volunteers, they receive a small honorarium for attending practices and fire callouts.
The department has mutual aid agreements with the Vavenby and Blackpool fire departments. The agreements allow the fire departments to request aid from each other in times of larger fires, major events or when the number of volunteers might be low.
Clearwater’s public work department operates the district’s water system, which includes a gravity-fed system from Russell, McDougall and Hascheak creeks (located behind the ski hill) plus two wells, the sewer collection and treatment systems, fire hydrants, district facilities, road maintenance and Riverview Cemetery.
Other responsibilities include reviewing development and subdivision applications, managing Capostinsky Ball Park, and making new water and sewer service connections.
Highlights for 2015 included installing phase three of a SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) system to improve remote monitoring of the sewer and water infrastructure.
Community parks and trails
District of Clearwater owns 22 community parks, of which 10 are developed.
Highlights of 2015 included construction of the hospital rim trail by the trails task force and upgrading the sewer lift station at Capostinsky Ball Park.
North Thompson Sportsplex
During 2015 the Sportsplex hosted seven minor hockey tournaments, over 60 minor hockey games, three adult tournaments, three curling bonspiels, summer hockey school, and provincial minor hockey championships.
Capital projects completed included a roof retrofit.
The municipality’s sports coordinator helped bring in 12 tournaments during the year, with total direct and indirect revenue estimated at $333,000.
District of Clearwater partners with TNRD (Area A) and BC Transit to provide transit services through Yellowhead Community Services.
The two primary services are regular five days/week community bus – Vavenby to Blackpool, plus the Valley Connector to Kamloops twice a week.
In the fall of 2015 an inner community bus loop for three days a week was tried as a pilot project. The project was judged a success and the feasibility of running the loop throughout the year is being reviewed.
Planning and development
TNRD provides planning and development services to the municipality under contract.
This includes development applications and current planning, plus building inspection and bylaw enforcement.
Highlights for 2015 included streamlining and documentation of processes within the finance department.
The department also implemented an information technology upgrade and contracted out IT services.
Grants received by District of Clearwater in 2015 included $50,000 from the Ministry of Health for a campus of care feasibility study, $39,000 from Wells Gray Community Forest for a trail along Park Drive, and $20,000 from Union of BC Municipalities for a seniors toolkit.
Grants-in-aid given out by the district totalled $2,800 and included $1,000 to Clearwater Food Bank for its Christmas hamper campaign, and $760 to Evergreen Acres.