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The Village of Valemount is considering implementing a citizen’s advisory committee to help with community planning and land use decisions.

The Advisory Planning Commission would provide non-binding recommendations to Council on a variety of issues. According to a Village staff report to council, the Commission would be an independent body composed of six local residents, which would provide advice to Council on land use, community planning, proposed permits and potential bylaws. Mayor and Council would not have a vote on the Commission, but would retain ultimate responsibility for making decisions related to those issues.

All Commission meetings would be open to the public. The Commission would only consider matters referred to it through Council.

The report notes that within Valemount, the commission could assist Council assess the following emerging planning issues: regulations for street vendors and mobile vendors; a scale-based tiered approach for home occupations; short-term housing rentals; long-term RV parking; parking along 5th avenue for trucks with trailers; and the forthcoming Official Community Plan and zoning bylaw updates.

The draft Commission bylaw notes that typically citizen appointees have qualifications, interests and/or background in environmental matters, land development, local business, law enforcement or social planning/housing. Alternatively, appointees may represent a specific population demographic, such as youth or seniors in the community, or may be representative of the community at large. Two appointees may reside outside the Village.

Other municipalities in British Columbia that have created a Commission include Parksville, Smithers, Revelstoke, Coldsteam, Ladysmith and others. Village staff have used these commissions as the foundation for the proposed commission in Valemount.

Section 898 of the Local Government Act empowers Council to establish a Commission. Council will interview potential Commission appointee’s in an in-camera meeting of Council prior to appointment to the Commission. Council shall have the power to remove a member of the Commission from office at any time for cause.

Council has passed the first three readings of the Advisory Planning Commission Bylaw. It has one more reading until approved.

By Laura Keil