by Goat Staff
Mayor Owen Torgerson, councillors Hollie Blanchette, Sheri Gee, Donnie MacLean and Pete Pearson met on November 27, 2018 for their first official council meeting. Interim Chief Administrative Officer Doug Fleming, Corporate Services Clerk Carleena Shepherd and Economic Development Officer Silvio Gislimberti were the staff present.
Delegation from VARDA
Valemount Area Recreation Development Association manager Curtis Pawliuk made a presentation to council on the Economic Impact Study undertaken by VARDA. Highlights from the study include $6.4 million coming to the community and 55 jobs created as a result of snowmobiling. The study also addresses land use overlap, wildlife issues / caribou habit and demographics on the people coming to the area to sled. Pawliuk said that the study will be a valuable tool and give ideas on how to keep snowmobiling sustainable moving forward. Mayor Torgerson said that the study would be a good tool to lobby government. He asked how the habitat closures will impact snowmobiling. Pawliuk said that Chappell and Allan Creek are surrounded by closures based on 6 years of evidence. VARDA has been educating users over the years.
Update from Valemount Glacier Destinations
Tommaso Oberti made a presentation on behalf of VGD and Pheidias Design Group. He congratulated the new council and shared regrets from his father who was unable to attend.
Oberti started with saying that he expects the new council will have an important role in the inauguration of the ski hill. He said that the project is undergoing due diligence from financers – a process that started in January and usually takes two years to complete. The lifts are scheduled to open in 2022 and the clock is ticking. Oberti said an alternate scenario is to first open Mount Trudeau to skiing and provide access to the glaciers two to three years later. He said that VGD is still optimistic but the process is taking longer. He encouraged the community to be patient.
Council Appointments to Committees and Boards
Council approved the following appointments to Standing, Select Committees, External boards and committees. The council met as a committee of the whole on November 20 to discuss these appointments.
Torgerson – VARDA, Robson Valley Region Marketing Initiative Steering Committee, alternate Liaison for Trans Canada Yellowhead Highway Association as well as Municipal Finance Authority (MFA) of BC
Gee – Prince George Treaty Advisory Committee, Municipal Finance Authority (MFA) of BC, Simpcw First Nation Liaison, Alternate on Tourism Committee.
MacLean – Direct Heat Use Committee, Valemount Entertainment Society, Columbia River Treaty Local Governments’ Committee, Columbia Basin Regional Advisory Committee, alternate on Municipal Insurance Association (MIA) of BC
Pearson – Tourism Committee, Economic Development Committee, Trans Canada Yellowhead Highway Association Liaison, Canoe Valley Recreation Centre Community Consultation Committee, Valemount Historic Society
Blanchette – Housing Committee, Municipal Insurance Association (MIA) of BC, Local Health Liaison (Northern Health), Valemount and District Fire and Rescue Community Consultation Committee
Clean Air Task Force
Council approved the creation of a Clean Air Task Force and asked staff to draft Terms of Reference for the committee. Blanchette and MacLean were appointed to it.
Parcel Tax Roll Review Panel
Blanchette, MacLean and Pearson be appointed to the Parcel Tax Roll Review Panel for the purpose of authenticating additions to the Parcel Tax Roll and reviewing requests for amendments to the 2019 Parcel Tax Roll.
Consent Process for Fire Protection
Council resolved to notify the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George that the municipality consents to adopting the Regional District Bylaw No. 3111, 2018 to set rates for fire protection. Gee said that although this was the first increase since 2009, it would be better to see incremental increases over time than a big jump at one time, for the benefit of those on fixed income.
Consultation on Caribou Closures
Council agreed that Valemount should sign its name to a letter addressed to the Premier and different ministers from several BC interior communities requesting that local communities be invited to the table in negotiations between the BC Government and some First Nations on habitat closures, as this impacts local resource and tourism development.
Electric Vehicle Charging Station to be established
Council recommended that adequate parking area be made available to BC Hydro at the proposed location (Dogwood Street between 4th and 5th Avenue) for the installation of an electric vehicle fast charging station, and that the fence line on Dogwood Street be moved further West.
Housing Committee seeks new members, reallocation of unspent funds
Council approved that staff advertise for new Housing Committee members for 2019. It also approved that unspent funds from the Boundary Extension Study (approximately $9,000) be reallocated to an Affordable Housing Demand Survey and Open House planned for January 15, 2019.
Retail Sale of Cannabis
Council agreed to meet as a Committee of the Whole meeting before December 5, to discuss regulation and licensing for retail cannabis sales in the village. They met for a special meeting on Nov. 29th. Minutes from that meeting are pending.
2019 Natural Resources Forum
MacLean will attend the 2019 BC Natural Resource Forum in Prince George from January 22 to 24, 2019.
Community Forest Restructuring
To finalize the Valemount Community Forests Restructuring process, Council approved two Certificates of Limited Partnership agreements for Valemount Industrial Park and the Valemount Community Forest.
All members attended the orientation and community as a whole meeting on November 20.
Blanchette attending the Housing Committee meeting and said they were making progress. She also attended the Elder Care meeting.
Torgerson and Fleming met with Valemount Elementary School students as part of their civic education.
Eugene Jamin encouraged council to have a public forum to discuss sale of cannabis as promised during the Candidates Forum. He also asked council to consider moving public comments before the business / item is decided.
Council closed the public portion of the council meeting to discuss one in-camera item on negotiations related to proposed provision of a municipal service.