Valemount Council considers pipeline opposition, geothermal proposal


Mayor Jeannette Townsend, councillors Hollie Blanchette, Peter Reimer, Sandy Salt and Owen Torgerson met on November 28. Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Adam Davey and Corporate Services Clerk Carleena Shepherd were present.

Opposition to the Pipeline

Peter McCartney from the Wilderness Committee, based in Vancouver, came to make a presentation of their concerns about the pipeline. Key points from his presentation are: The pipeline will not eliminate transport of oil by rail; it will be both or nothing as the pipeline expansion is for a new tar sands project for export and not for local needs. Technological advances have not prevented pipeline leaks from taking place. Kinder Morgan has asked to override local government permitting processes and like the City of Burnaby, local governments need to insist in having more of a say in the permitting process. McCartney said that the salmon numbers have diminished because of rising temperatures and similarly our winter based economy depending on snow and glaciers could be adversely affected by climate change. He cited these to urge the importance of switching from fossil fuels to green energies. With respect to jobs in the oil industry, McCartney said that the same engineers and tradespersons working in the oil industry are very capable of working on renewable energies and the jobs would be shifted and not lost. Addressing a question from councillor Reimer about lack of alternatives, McCartney said that Valemount is exploring geothermal potential. And there’s other avenues to explore as well. Mayor Townsend said that until a substitute is found, oil extraction cannot be stopped. She said that we use products derived from petroleum everyday. “I should like to see an end to hypocrisy,” she said of those opposing the pipeline expansion.

Direct Heat Use Committee recommendation refused

The council appointed committee asked council to budget $25,000 in 2018 towards a feasibility study or project related to geothermal use. Council unanimously opposed the recommendation/ request. Mayor Townsend cited not wanting to burden tax payers or subsidize future private users at the Industrial Park. Councillor Salt that that geothermal is not a top strategic priority. In public comments, Rashmi Narayan, who is on the committee, said that the study is to explore projects that would bring revenues to the village and thus not burden tax payers. She said that the Village getting involved in a geothermal project is similar to how the Village supported the establishment of the Valemount Community Forest even though it operates outside municipal boundaries.

Columbia Basin Trust Community Initiatives Committee

Council approved appointing Melanie Chitty for one year to fill a vacant position on the committee. Donnie MacLean, Rashmi Narayan, Tom Jamin and Hugo Mulyk have two year terms, while Mike Johnson has one year left. Councillor Blanchette is also on the committee.

Subdivision Process Report

Council received a report from Subdivision Approving Officer (SAO) Gord Simmons who provided the routines for the SAO and Village Administration when dealing with a subdivision application. Three applications going through the subdivision process are: 3 lot subdivision on Cranberry Place, 4 lot subdivision on Hwy 5 and a 37 lot subdivision east of Dogwood Street and between 17 th Avenue and Fowler Crescent.

Fire Hall Lease

Council approved that the Village enter into an agreement with the Regional District of Fraser Fort George regarding the use of the Valemount and District Volunteer Fire Hall Property. The land is owned by the village while the building by the regional district.

Enforcement and Adjudication Amendment Bylaw 777, 2017

Council gave first and second readings to the bylaw that would change the time frame that exists between 3rd , 4th and 5th Animal Running at Large infractions from 15 days to 60 days from 2nd infraction. With the current bylaw, if there is no repeat offense within 15 days, the infraction is reset back to first offence and thereby not subject to imposing fines. The fine from first to fifth offense for animal running at large increases progressively from $100 to $500, and is in addition to licensing requirement fines.

Fees and Charges Bylaw 778, 2017

Council gave third reading to Village of Valemount Fees and Charges Amendment Bylaw No. 778, 2017 to increase utility water and sewer rates by 9.5% and solid waste rate by 3% for 2018 and 2019 fiscal years.

Council Reports

VARDA meeting on November 22 was attended by councillor Torgerson.
Meeting with staff from Ministry of Municipal Affairs on November 23 was attended by councillors Torgerson, Salt, Blanchette and the Mayor.
Housing Strategy video presentation from CBT’s Mark Brunton was attended by entire council.
Historic Society meeting on November 21 was attended by councillor Reimer.

Appointments to Standing Committees, Select Committees, External Boards and Agencies

Council appointments to various committees for 2017-18 were received.

Appointment of Deputy Mayor

Council approved the schedule for councillors as deputy mayor to serve as alternate in 2018.

Council Meeting Schedule

Council approved the schedule for 2018. There are two meetings every month with the
exception of September for UBCM and December because of Christmas Holidays.

In-Camera Items

Council closed the public portion of the council meeting to discuss three in-camera items.