by EVAN MATTHEWS
Valemount Council has approved third reading of the Housekeeping Amendments to the Village’s Official Community Plan.
The plan guides the Village Council in terms of vision, spending priorities and zoning. The plan is usually given a major re-write every 10 years.
Former interim-CAO Gord Simmons has stayed on staff as the Village’s Subdivision Approval Officer, and gave a presentation to Council at its May. 23 meeting during a public hearing.
“The changes to the community plan are in order to meet with today’s current legislation and what’s happening around Valemount,” said Simmons.
“With Valemount Glacier Destinations’ (VGD) Resort coming… Council decided a complete Official Community Plan (OCP) re-write will be required at that time,” he said, adding the re-write is a lengthy and expensive process.
The Village is able to put off the complete re-write process by completing this Housekeeping Amendment, Simmons said, though he notes the Housekeeping Amendment has taken quite a bit of time.
Roughly a third of the document had to be amended.
“We did significant research on this. We checked other jurisdictions and we have virtually the same things (written),” — Gord Simmons, Village of Valemount’s subdivision approval officer
The current OCP was penned in 2006, and contains references to the Canoe Mountain Gondola project, which Simmons says was at roughly the same point as VGD is now.
Many of the Housekeeping Amendments to the OCP remove the Canoe Mountain Gondola project and replace the references with VGD, according to Simmons.
Other significant Housekeeping Amendments to the OCP will include updating employment and population information.
The Village completed public consultation after the first reading of the Housekeeping Amendment, as well as holding an open house to hear public concerns, of which there were two.
The changes to the third reading of the Housekeeping Amendment address some of the concerns to come out of the public consultation, according to Simmons, as well as re-writing a few complex paragraphs “to make them easier to understand.”
One concern to come out of public consultation included the OCP lacked inclusion of alternative energy sources, which Simmons said, “admittedly there wasn’t much included in the original draft because there wasn’t much happening within the Village boundaries.” A small amendment now says the Village will support alternative energy endeavours both inside and outside the Village boundaries, he says.
The other public concern was a lack of policy regarding affordable housing.
“We did significant research on this,” said Simmons. “We checked other jurisdictions and we have virtually the same things (written).
He says they expanded the parts about affordable housing to make it a little more clear for the public and for Council, adding the Village took the Affordable Housing Committee’s recommendations into account while developing the amendment.
Council approved the third reading of the Housekeeping Amendment at the end of the hearing.
Up next, Simmons says the Village will check the OCP Housekeeping Amendments to make sure it’s in line with the Capital Expenditure Plan and Waste Management Plan before Council can fully adopt the OCP’s Housekeeping Amendments.
Simmons says the Village has already checked the amendments against both plans, but this time around “will formalize the process.”