By Korie Marshall

Valemount is looking for membership in a second local government organization.

The purpose of local government organizations is to connect communities, help identify common challenges and share ways of addressing them.

The Village currently holds membership with the North Central Local Government Association which includes many northern communities like McBride, Prince George, Terrace, Vanderhoof, Dawson Creek, Kitimat and Quesnel. A report to Council on Nov. 12 notes that other northern municipalities have economies that are more strongly focused on resource extraction, and although Valemount has strong ties with resource industries, especially through the Community Forest license, it is the only northern municipality designated as a Resort Municipality.

The report points out that Valemount has strong connections with northern communities through a number of existing memberships: MLA Shirley bond represents the Prince George-Valemount riding and is a champion for Valemount; Valemount is part of the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George, the Omineca Beetle Action Coalition, the Fraser Basin Council and Northern Development Initiative Trust, all of which connect Valemount with other more northern communities.

But Valemount also has strong connections with communities to the south, many of which have more experience with tourism economies and the Resort Municipality designation. Valemount is part of the Columbia Basin Trust, a member of the Thompson-Okanagan Tourism Association, and is currently a member of MP Cathy McLeod’s riding based in Kamloops, all three of which Valemount is the northern-most area.

The report says that Valemount values all its partnerships and affiliations, and in order to maintain and strengthen them staff has recommended that Valemount request membership in two local government organizations – both the current NCLGA as well as the Association of Kootenay Boundary Local Governments. It notes that dual membership may mean Valemount only has voting privileges in one, and could exclude Valemount Council members from holding executive positions in either organization. Cost of the additional membership would be approximately $400 per year, and Councillors could be restricted to attending conferences for only one organization each, limiting additional costs.