Proposal to light up Columbia River Bridge fizzles out

Briefs from the May 24 meeting of Revelstoke city council.

A recommendation to put lights on the Columbia River bridge won't be pursued after the Ministry of Transportation asked the city to conduct several expensive studies.

The lights went out before they were even turned on on a proposal to illuminate the Columbia River Bridge.

The BC Ministry of Transportation responded to a city council request to explore the idea by saying they wanted the City of Revelstoke to conduct $250,000 worth of studies first.

That had council, minus the mayor, running away from the idea.

“The thing that scares me right off the bat is the cost of doing the studies,” said councillor Connie Brothers. “If there’s a way around that, I’d be prepared to take a look at it. That turns me off because we don’t have the money to do those studies.”

The idea to light up the bridge came from the city’s enhancement committee and was backed by council in March. When it was put to the ministry, they said the city would need to conduct one study to look at the impact on traffic flows, a second study to look at the impact on the bridge structure, and a third to look at the impact on light pollution.

“Ministry of Transportation staff estimated that the cost of these three studies would be in the range of $250,000,” wrote Alan Mason, the city’s director of economic development, in a report to council.

Only Mayor Mark McKee thought the idea was still worth pursuing.

“I don’t see what the big deal is. I see pictures from all over the world and they show these bridges all lit up and I think they look great,” he said. “They look warm and inviting and welcoming to the community. I don’t know why there’s a big stink about it.”

All five councillors voted not to pursue the idea. “I think we have lots of battles to fight and this is one we shouldn’t put the energy in,” said coun. Scott Duke.

Lutheran Church hostel proposal going to public hearing

An application to turn the former Lutheran Church into a hostel will go to a public hearing after it was given first and second reading by council last week.

“I think this is a really good re-purposing of a building,” said coun. Scott Duke before voting in favour of the proposal.

Rick Nybakken has applied to re-zone the former church property in Arrow Heights in order to turn it into a five bedroom hostel that would include a mix of dorms and private rooms.

When the Review first reported on the application in April, feedback on our Facebook page was almost unanimously against the idea.

Changes have been made to the application since then. The new conditions will prevent the site from being sub-divided in the future and add landscaping requirements to create a buffer between it and the surrounding neighbourhood.

The application includes a requirement for a caretaker to live on site, an element that had Mayor Mark McKee speaking in support.

“One of the advantages compared to vacation rentals is there will be a caretaker suite and there will be a full-time caretaker on site,” he said. “It’s quite a bit different than a lot of the vacation rentals going on right now.”

The public will get its chance to speak at a hearing in council chambers on Tuesday, June 14, at 3 p.m.

Golf course gets tourism funding

The Revelstoke Golf Club will be getting $150,000 from the tourism infrastructure fund to improve the historic course.

Council approved the funding request at its meeting on Tuesday, May 24. The money is set to go towards improving fairways and greens at the course.

The city also issued a Request for Proposals last week looking for a private company to take over operations of the golf course for a period of at least 25 years.