New build, groyne, and sundries at Invermere Council

Council opts to close 5A Street at 10th Ave. intersection to address traffic concerns fo rnew housing complex

Christine Scott-Nyuli tapped her foot against the floor as she waited for council to rule on whether to approve a development permit for Generation Homes.

While council unanimously supported allowing her little community of 30 units to proceed at 606 10th Avenue, her foot tapping was warranted. Back in February council turned down Generation Homes’ initial request for a public hearing and asked for more information to be provided before she tried again.

At that time Councillor Gerry Taft said: “It’s not a terrible concept… (but) they should probably get their crap together.”

Since then she has been overloading council with information – down to a display board with the paint colours, siding choices and shingles that each home in the development will use.

“There’s been a lot of great work put into this,” Mayor Al Miller said, with council members commending Generation Homes for the depth of detail they provided.

To address traffic concerns, 5A Street will be closed at the 10th Avenue intersection by Chisel Peak Medical Centre. The two-block street will remain open from the 7th Avenue access by Pothole Park but will be capped off just before 10th Avenue.

“It’s staffs’ opinion that the closure of 5A greatly improves the safety of the traffic coming in and out,” said Rory Hromadnik, director of development services.

Lake Windermere groyne

Council received a letter from late July at their meeting on Tuesday, September 10th that discussed the federal government’s intention to mark the Lake Windermere groyne, a shallow rock wall, with wooden piles.

Chris Prosser, chief administrative officer, said his understanding is that the federal government cancelled the contract with the construction firm and that he doesn’t expect the project to proceed.

On behalf of Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC), Stéfanie Hamel, who works in media relations, told the Pioneer via email that the federal government held consultations between 2008 and 2011 to see if anyone else was interested in taking responsibility for the groyne.

Finding no takers, “PSPC looked at either removing the groyne or keeping the status quo and leaving the groyne in place. Leaving the groyne in place would include clean-up and removal of debris and obsolete signage around the groyne, as well as the installation of year-round navigational markers along the existing groyne,” she wrote.

PSPC then reached out to a variety of local, federal and provincial stakeholders and First Nations about their plans to either remove the groyne or mark it. At the time, she said they received three responses “none of which expressed specific feedback on the proposed options.”

Funding wasn’t available for the project until 2019, but PSPC didn’t seek fresh opinions before giving a contractor the go-ahead.

As the Pioneer reported previously, the groyne work is now on hold due to concerns about lack of recent consultation. PSPC has committed to holding “appropriate consultations,” but there is no indication as to when those consultations might take place.

Housing task force

Mayor Miller said a Mayor’s Task Force for Housing will start up at some point after Tuesday, October 8th, when the terms of reference for the group will be established. The task force will look into rental housing and attainable housing in the community.

Spill mopped up

During an opportunity for the public to ask questions and provide comments, one audience member said he had been out for a walk when he saw workers digging up a tank at the old community hall site.

“Accidents happen and this petroleum fluid / liquid, ran down the road in front of the post office,” he said.

He wanted to know if the DOI had done an environmental assessment and properly cleaned the spill because “we all know what oil does to our water system.”

Mr. Prosser confirmed that the DOI reported the spill to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, worked with an environmental consultant and brought in a vac truck to clean out the storm systems.

“Over 2,700 litres of contaminated materials were removed and disposed of down in Cranbrook as per the environmental legislation,” he said.

Merry market

Also during the open comment period, an audience member said he is happy that the Invermere Farmers and Artists Market moved to the parking lot behind the Eddie Mountain Memorial Arena, adding that now there is “a lot more room for people to walk about.”

Mayor Miller said the feedback he got wandering through the market was quite positive over the summer and that “everybody I talked to was very, very happy.”

Councillor Kayja Becker said she had initially been skeptical of the move but that she was glad to have proven wrong.

Slower traffic to continue

Another member of the public said switching to single through lanes at the 3rd Avenue and Laurier Street intersection by A&W was effective at slowing down traffic but that he was concerned with the impact during busy times and when more visitors come to town.

Mr. Prosser said the traffic control is working well and that he expects to keep the intersection as it is.

“(The traffic backup) looked scary if you saw it,” said Councillor Ute Juras, adding that she was pleasantly surprised as she drove in and out of town over the summer to find that traffic didn’t come to a standstill.

“It still flowed and it still moved,” she said.

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