Letter: Council decision lacked due diligence

This is a follow-up to the letter submitted to Council on March 27 regarding the CIP/CBT Committee’s recommendation to deny funding to the Valemount Affordable Rentals Society.

I understand that, when Council voted to support the Committee’s recommendation, it followed proper procedure, but I do not believe it displayed due diligence. I was very upset that Councillors present (Salt, Blanchette and Reimer) did not even discuss the letter that was submitted that pointed out incorrect assumptions made by the CBT/CIB Committee.  Councillor Blanchette, who spoke the most passionately about supporting the Committee’s recommendation to deny funding, had not even read our letter.

At the very minimum, I expected the councillors to have made an effort to show that the concerns brought forward in our letter were seen and considered by them. As we felt that the reasons for denial did not represent a fair assessment of our application, it would have been nice if Council had discussed those concerns and stated why they did or did not see the legitimacy of them. If this had been done prior to the vote to support or deny the recommendation, we would have at least felt that we were heard.

The VARS Board understands that as far as the Village is concerned, the CBT/CIP funding decision is final, so we won’t waste any more time on it. There has already been an investment of over $636,500 made into Phase 1 of this project, with nearly $120,000 of that money coming from the Valemount Learning Society. We do not understand why Council did not think it was worthwhile to fund even the $11,500 requested to complete Phase 1. However, VARS believes strongly in this project and that the rental situation in Valemount is critical, so will seek alternate sources of funds to complete Phase 1 and move forward with Phase 2.

I hope that in future, Council will recognize the vision, commitment and demonstrated progress of the Valemount Affordable Rentals Society and will work cooperatively with us to help provide the immediate solutions needed for the Valemount housing crisis.

Thank you,

 

Bruce Wilkinson

Director, Valemount Affordable Rentals Society