Mayor Mark McKee has secured a meeting with three members of the provincial cabinet to discuss issues relating to the Trans-Canada Highway.
McKee told council he will be meeting with Minister of Transportation Todd Stone, Attorney General Suzanna Anton and East Kootenay MLA Bill Bennett, the Minister of Mines and Core Review, in Victoria on February 17.
The meeting will be to “talk about this community and Golden’s ideas on how we can reduce the amount of highway closures, reduce the length of time and hopefully make traveling on the Trans-Canada Highway a little bit safer,” McKee said.
Issues surrounding closures have been an ongoing concern, with serious crashes taking up to eight hours to clear due to delays having investigators attend the scenes of incidents.
Over the recent holidays, two lengthy closures cause many travelers to get stranded in Revelstoke, resulting in locals opening their homes to people unable to secure a hotel room during a busy tourism period.
Stone was scheduled to be in Revelstoke on Monday, Feb. 2, for a helicopter flight over the Trans-Canada Highway. The flight took place after press time.
Affordable housing plans changed
Plans have been modified for the affordable housing project being developed by the Revelstoke Community Housing Society.
The new plans, which were approved by council, will see several aspects to the development changed.
The initial plans included two sixplexes, with room for a duplex in between. Now, the sixplexes will be side-by-side, and the duplex off to the side.
They also plan on putting the parking at the rear of the property.
“We’ve looked at the plan, we sat down with staff, we’ve come up with a better plan by moving parking to the back,” said Mayor Mark McKee.
The project has been the subject of ongoing delays, but McKee, who also chairs the housing society, said he was hopeful the project would be approved and construction would begin this spring.
“I’m hoping we’ll get through all of our process and have a decision for the spring,” he said.
First vacation rental bylaws adopted
The first two vacation rental bylaws were adopted by council at it’s Jan. 27 meeting.
Council gave unanimous approval for an application to turn 1585 Birch Drive into a vacation rental.
Councillor Aaron Orlando was the sole holdout in voting for the application for 1000 First Street West. His opposition was a result of concerns expressed by neighbours about snow removal, parking, water drainage, and the way the owners ran the property as a seasonal rental in the past. The rest of council felt staff addressed those concerns and voted in favour of the application.
“I firmly believe that our bylaw has been created to mitigate the problems that would arise from vacation use and it does give us a tool to police vacation rentals, so I support this bylaw,” said coun. Trevor English.
The Times Review missed a public hearing for a vacation rental application at 1766 Biatecki Road. The city received eight letters from neighbours opposing the application. Council will likely review the application at its Feb. 10 meeting.
Council supports economic initiatives
Council supported the formation of a high-tech committee that would look into ways of boosting Revelstoke’s high-tech sector.
The sub-committee would look at ways to attract more tech-sector employees who are often free to work remotely, as well as address issues like Revelstoke’s chronically slow Internet.
“There’s been a number of newer people come to town involved in the high tech sector who have come forward with a number of ideas,” said Alan Mason, the city’s director of economic development.
The city will be talking to the Rocky Mountaineer tourist train about having it stop in Revelstoke. Staff have invited Randy Powell, the CEO of the Rocky Mountaineer, to Revelstoke to meet with council and discuss ways to have the train stop in Revelstoke.
Mayor Mark McKee said he hoped this could lead to a return of regular passenger service to Revelstoke.