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Revelstoke Year in Review 2013 – Part four
Two new City of Revelstoke water reports were made public last week.
One shows it’s likely about half of the drinking water processed at the Greeley Water Treatment Plant leaks out through old pipes and infrastructure before it reaches users. Surprisingly, the report concedes potentially 75 per cent of water leaving the treatment plant could possibly be leaking away underground.
The other ‘source protection’ report outlines steps needed to safeguard the Greeley watershed, the main water source for the City of Revelstoke.
Anyone who’s spent some time networking online or in the flesh in Revelstoke business circles in the past few years will likely remember their first encounter with Jean-Marc LaFlamme. The flamboyant dresser is a social media proselytizer who advocates for social media’s ability to provide transformative solutions to society’s problems. Society, in this case, is an isolated Revelstoke that has never enjoyed a successful passenger air service, and desperately desires one to compliment its growing tourism ambitions.
Entrepreneur LaFlamme is there to pitch a social mediadriven charter air service to Revelstoke Airport called Jump On Flyaways (gojumpon.com), and he believes the social-media enabled airline can succeed at bringing regular flights to the Revelstoke Airport.
Revelstoke RCMP raided a residence in the 500-block of Wilson Street in the early morning hours of Wednesday, Oct. 2, seizing crack cocaine and arresting three men and one woman.
The police drug bust operation began the previous day, but police said they have been monitoring and investigating the location for “months.”
Using a Controlled Drugs and Substance Act search warrant, RCMP entered one residence at the troubled housing complex they described as a “known drug trafficking area.”
Inside, they seized crack cocaine, cocaine, marijuana and cash.
They also seized a machete and a baseball bat. RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Thomas Blakney described them as weapons “commonly used by drug dealers for protection.”
Heading to the RCMP detachment last week to meet the new Staff-Sergeant, I wasn’t sure what to expect. He’s the new chief of police in Revelstoke, and his name – Kurt Grabinsky – rings off the tongue if you say it in the over-the-top manner of a gruff, cigar-smoking police commander from a 1950s police flick.
So it was a nice surprise when he came out to greet me – average height and build, fast talking and definitely younger than expected.
Grabinsky, who’s in his early 40s, has been with the RCMP for 16 years. Growing up in Saskatoon. he was studying to become a lawyer. With a Bachelor or Arts in History and a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education, he was studying for his LSATs when he had one of those lifealtering conversations.
He was working at a bike shop when a Saskatoon city police officer came in with his bicycle. “We sat and talked for 45 minutes and I changed my career path completely,” Grabinsky told me. “I went from working in a bike shop and going to university to applying to the RCMP and Saskatoon City Police.”
A BC Hydro engineer who is the developer of the Begbie Creek independent power project (IPP) and co-developer of the Moses Creek IPP will divest himself of directorship and partnership roles in companies developing the local IPPs due to a perceived conflict of interest.
Bruce Granstrom, a Revelstoke-based senior engineer with BC Hydro, has been involved with these and at least two other local IPP projects in the past decade, but will now resign following an unusual turn of events last week. The resignation notice came in a media statement from BC Hydro sent on Oct. 25.
Revelstoke City Council has asked a city economic development committee to explore options to help Mt. Begbie Brewing Co. keep their proposed new brewery in Revelstoke. As reported in the Oct. 23 Times Review, the Revelstoke brewing company wants to build a new $1.5–2 million brewery here, but brewery owners feel Revelstoke’s commercial property taxation is so high it is prohibitive.
Company president Bart Larson said locating the new brewery in Salmon Arm is a “last resort” but is on the table.
At their Oct. 22 council meeting, city councillors agreed they wanted a new brewery built in Revelstoke, but the question was how to get there.
The third and final in a series of drinking water reports prepared for the City of Revelstoke says “district metering” is the most effective option for reducing water consumption through metering, and is the only option that will not haemorrhage taxpayer dollars.
The so-called ‘Veritec’ report is named after the consulting company that authored it. It is currently proceeding through city committee consultation and will be discussed at a Revelstoke City Council meeting soon.
The report says that district metering would save more water than universal metering. It estimates that district metering would save 302 megalitres of water per year, while universal metering would save 234 megalitres.
Emma Kirkland was named the Business Person of the Year for the second time, and the Nomad Food Co. was named Business of the Year at the 20th annual Revelstoke Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards on Saturday.
The annual gala saw Revelstoke business people get dressed up for a banquet, award ceremony and dancing at the community centre.
Five options for the old Mountain View Elementary site were presented at an open house on Saturday, and they all contain nearly identical ideas – a mix of residential lots and park space, and preservation of the original school building.
“There’s a lot of options,” said retired superintendent Anne Cooper, who is helping with the work on the Mountain View site. “What we’re trying to do today is get some information out and let people comment.”
A steady stream of people showed up at the community centre on Nov. 16 to see the plans and provide their own input into what should be done.
Four of the ideas came from consultants Graham Farstad and Donald Luxton. They all preserve the original school, with parking in the rear of the building. They all call for a mix of residential lots and park space on the rest of the site. Where they differ is in the size of the lots and where the park should be.
“We’re looking at the heritage building, the park, and the residential is the last component to generate value,” said Farstad.
Renovations at Revelstoke City Hall have come to a halt after the city ran out of money to complete them.
Announced on June 5, 2013, the renovations were part of a restructuring at city hall designed to improve customer service.
The idea was to create a new public entrance on Second Street East where those accessing city services could have a one-stop-shop experience. For example, you could apply for a building permit, a building inspection or a business licence in the new office.
Tim Palmer, Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Revelstoke, told the Times Review that the city ran out of money in the current budget, and that there is no firm estimate available on when work will resume. He said the city will explore budgeting more for the renovations in the 2014 budget. If so, that means work isn’t likely to resume until at least April, 2014, likely later.
When the renovations were announced in June, the Times Review asked for a budget for the renovation project, but were told none was available. In a Nov. 21 interview, Palmer said a dollar value for the renovations is still not available, but might be in a planned update for council in the coming weeks.
The renovations began hastily; the planning department was already being renovated in June by the time council was briefed on the restructuring plan.
Caleb Anderson was sentenced to 18 months in prison in Revelstoke court last Monday, Nov. 18, after pleading guilty to dangerous driving causing death.
The sentencing came more than two years after Olindo ‘Frankie’ Brunetti was killed in a car crash late on the night of Sept. 29, 2011, the end result of a day of drinking and joyriding.
Biologists are conducting a study to find out why the number of kokanee entering the Hill Creek spawning channel are way down from normal numbers.
In 2013, 58,726 kokanee entered Hill Creek and 17,316 of them went into the spawning channel. In 2012, 29,877 kokanee entered the creek and 24,342 went into the channel.
Those numbers are a marked decline for the norms. In 2011, 186,537 fish entered the creek and 155,405 went into the spawning channel. Those numbers are much closer to the normal amounts, which have averaged 160,000 since 1984 and 176,000 over the past five years.
The City of Revelstoke’s newly-released customer satisfaction survey shows residents are mostly positive about city services and departments, but the results clearly point out strong dissatisfaction with a few specific services.
The 2013 Customer Satisfaction Survey takes at least 30 minutes to read; here’s a synopsis of the results.
The city received 943 survey responses to its fall survey, although fewer completed the survey in its entirety.
City of Revelstoke Chief Administrative Officer Tim Palmer said the results were better than anticipated, calling it, “outstanding community response, very, very good feedback.”
Mayor David Raven said the survey was helpful. “Some really excellent comments came through. Overall the qualitative information will give us stuff to work on in the future. Some of it is reflected in the budget processes this year,” he said. “Some of the very negative stuff is dismissed, but some of the more positive stuff is taken in heart.”
City staff say they will use the results to guide budget decisions in the coming months and years.
The three city departments with good “positive experience” rating report cards are Parks, Recreation and Culture (84 per cent), Public Works (74 per cent), and Fire Rescue Services (71 per cent).
Two departments brought home bad report cards: City Hall (including Finance and Administration) scored 62 per cent, and Community Economic Development scored 55 per cent.
The only department to flunk the “positive experience rating” was Development Services, which scored 45 per cent.
New charges have been laid against the man accused of murdering Revelstoke native Daniel Levesque.
Charges of attempted sexual assault and unlawful confinement or imprisonment were recently laid against Joshua Tyler Bredo.
Bredo is already in police custody, charged with first degree murder in connection with Levesque’s death.
For Stacey Thur, Levesque’s mother, the additional charges were a surprise and “hard to take.”
“We didn’t have any idea that they were going to lay further charges,” she told the Times Review. “We just can’t imagine what it must have been like for Daniel.”