The first meeting of a citizens’ planning committee has kicked off new discussion on street vendors.

Rundi Anderson, Jake Derksen, Paul Johnson, Dan Kenkel, Bill Kruisselbrink and Owen Torgerson sit on Valemount’s brand-new advisory planning commission, which will provide advice to Council on land use, community planning, proposed permits and potential bylaws. The members applied to be on the commission and were appointed by Council.

Food truck owner Dave Grant attended the Sept. 17th meeting and members of the committee were able to ask him questions about the street vendor pilot project that spanned the summer. Grant was the only one to take part in the pilot. Council must now decide on permanent rules for street vendors, such as food trucks, buskers and fruit or vegetable vendors. Council asked for comments from the advisory planning commission before making a decision.

The draft bylaw includes rules about where and when vendors can set up, who is considered a vendor, and fees for vendors.

Issues that arose during two-hour planning commission meeting included competition between mobile vendors (like food trucks) and stationary businesses; how the “mountain theme” can be adhered to be mobile businesses, especially ones from out of town; one-day mobile vendors from out of town and how to enforce their buying of a business license; how to enforce the bylaw in the absence of a bylaw enforcement officer. Village staff noted the new bylaw enforcement system should be functioning by the New Year. Other issues included how to sort out conflicts over preferred vendor locations; barbecue fundraisers; health and safety issues; insurance issues; multiple vendors under one license (ex. The farmer’s market) and selling on private land vs. public land and the liabilities to the Village.

During the summer pilot project, four locations with access to public washrooms were made available to Grant.

The committee members did not make any recommendations at the first meeting, other than to recommend extending the temporary bylaw until January to provide enough time for the new one to come into effect.

At the Sept 24th regular Council meeting, Council approved sending a second issue to the advisory planning commission: they approved the staff recommendation to direct the Advisory Planning Commission to assess how Valemount might create/improve regulations around home-based businesses, including home occupations, home industries, short-term vacation rentals, and Bed and Breakfasts.

All commission meetings are open to the public. The next meeting will be held 7pm Oct. 15th. The meetings are always held on the third Tuesday of the month at 7pm in Council Chambers.

Valemount’s Citizen Planning Committee
What is it?
A committee of six Valemount-area residents that provide recommendations to Council on planning issues that are referred to the committee by Council. It is an independent body, though Village staff sit in on the meetings to provide relevant background information and advice on legislative requirements. One councillor – Hollie Blanchette – has been appointed to be a liaison for Council, however she has no voting power.

Village staff has noted that Council cannot be expected to have the past experience or the time to consider all land use decisions sufficiently. An advisory planning commission allows Council to tap into the time and dedication of those interested in land use planning. A commission also provides an extra layer of screening for important planning decisions, according to Village staff.

The inaugural members have a one or two year appointment; three out of six members of the commission will be refreshed every year. Kenkel, Torgerson and Johnson have one year terms and Anderson, Kruisselbrink and Duerksen have two year terms. Members can re-apply to sit another term on the commission.

By: Laura Keil