Cache Creek Village office, date unknown. (Photo credit: Wendy Coomber)

Cache Creek eyes water conservation bylaw as usage increases

Water bylaw was considered in 2019 but did not move forward

Ashcroft Slough Society presentation

Gloria Mertens, acting vice president of the Ashcroft Slough Society, gave a presentation about the Ashcroft Slough and asked for Cache Creek to provide a letter of support similar to the one passed by the TNRD at its May 13 meeting.

Mayor Santo Talarico asked what the CN position is about people having to cross its tracks to access the slough by land. Mertens said that at this time, both CN and the Ashcroft Terminal are adamant that they will not allow access to the slough. Talarico also clarified that the Village of Ashcroft had not provided a letter of support.

Advertising revisited

Coun. Sue Peters noted that at its last meeting, council had decided against advertising in an Okanagan-based tourism publication. However, she said that as the Cache Creek visitor centre’s new Destination BC recognition means that the centre has its own advertising funding, separate from what is provided by the village, the advertising opportunity should be passed on to visitor centre manager Kat Chatten to see if, as an info centre operator, she saw value in it.

Love Cache Creek program

Coun. Wendy Coomber said that she had tried to contact Northern Development Initiative Trust about the “Love Cache Creek” program, which was put on hold in 2020. As her previous contact is apparently no longer with the organization, Coomber said she would find the new contact person and be in touch with them.

Joint Bylaw Officer

Peters said the posting for a Joint Bylaw Enforcement Officer for Cache Creek, Clinton, and Ashcroft had closed. There were 19 applications; five people had been interviewed, then the list was narrowed down to two. Once reference checks were completed, a decision would be made as to the successful applicant.

Water advisory and conservation bylaw

Council directed staff to begin drawing up a Water Conservation Bylaw in anticipation of the hiring of a Bylaw Enforcement Officer, and to request the public to be conscientious in their water usage.

CFO and Acting CAO Cristina Martini displayed a graph which showed water usage this year compared with the average over the last five years. “It appears we’re way above the average, so [we are asking] the population to be cautious because it’s a dry year and to be aware that water is a very scarce resource.”

In reply to a question from Talarico, Martini said she would ask public works when the last water main inspection was conducted. Coomber noted that council reviewed a Village of Cache Creek water conservation bylaw in 2019, which did not go anywhere at that time. “I believe it’s got a lot of what we’re looking for.” It was also suggested, later in the meeting, that the Voyent Alert emergency notification system could be used to issue notices about water restrictions.

Water waste treatment plant outfall

Council authorized staff to move forward with an assessment on options to rectify the current condition of the village’s waste water treatment plant outfall. The outfall discharges into the Bonaparte River, but flooding (primarily in 2017) has changed the course of the river. During recent freshets, sand and gravel have accumulated around the outfalland buried it. This severely restricts the hydraulic capacity; combined with high effluent flows during times when the river level is high, it means that effluent backs up into the ultraviolet disinfection channel. In 2020 this led to the loss of an entire train of UV racks.

A report from public works noted that rerouting the outfall is a high priority item that has been discussed for years, to “not only protect our infrastructure but to ensure that our treatment plant is achieving the best possible treatment to protect human and aquatic life, and also to ensure that we are not violating our permit.”

Talarico asked if the cost of the project could be covered under Disaster Financial Assistance. Martini said she did not think so, but noted that the study should be done in order to have the project shovel-ready if grant funding became available.

Downtown planters

Coomber asked if public works was going to take care of all the downtown planters or if they are going to be left this year, adding that she has had a couple of people approach her about them, and that if they were going to be left she had a volunteer group that might like to take them over. Martini said she would check with public works, and Peters suggested it might be a union issue, noting it might be a joint project between a volunteer group and public works, who would need to water the planters.

Cache Creek Fire Department 2021 election results

1st Assistant Chief: Damian Couture

2nd Assistant Chief: Alana Peters

Chairman: Alana Peters

Vice Chairman: Al Wiens

Secretary: Damian Couture

Treasurer: Bill Elliott

Entertainment: Mike Shepherd

Fire Department use of end-of-life SCBA units and bunker gear

Council authorized fire chief Tom Moe to donate old fire gear to the First Nations Emergency Support Society. The department’s old SCBA units (breathing apparatus) cannot be sold as they do not meet current standards, but the FNESS can use them for training. Some of the department’s old bunker gear will also be donated.

Ministerial meetings at UBCM

Meetings with the relevant ministries to talk about the 80 per cent cap for Disaster Financial Relief, the Highway 97 culvert, and four-laning of the bridge at the north end of town were all suggested.

Sewer treatment plant smell

Council received and filed a letter from Cache Creek resident Catherine McLane about the ongoing issue of odours from the sewage treatment plant. Coomber noted that the smell will never be completely alleviated unless the plant is closed or moved, with the latter option costing millions.

Talarico said that staff has been directed to take measures to remove the source of some of the smell (material that has been sitting in the drying beds). “There will be an uptick in the smell for a short period of time but hopefully that will help the issue.”

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Ashcroft Cache Creek Journal