by Goat Staff
Mayor Owen Torgerson, councillors Hollie Blanchette, Sheri Gee, Donnie MacLean and Pete Pearson met on January 8, 2019 for their first regular council meeting in the new year. Interim Chief Administrative Officer Doug Fleming and Corporate Services Clerk Carleena Shepherd were the staff present.
Public Comment before Agenda Items received for first time
In a historic move to receive more community input, the new council moved the public comment section before the agenda items for comments or information on items on the current agenda. Residents are limited to two minutes each and cannot address bylaws or temporary use permits that have had a public hearing and not yet received final approval. Peter Fox was the only person who spoke that meeting supporting the Valemount Learning Centre’s contributions to the community to meet local needs and concerned how a change in service provider would impact Valemount.
Valemount Learning Centre’s loss of Work BC contract will impact jobs
Council received information from the Valemount Learning Society – Executive Director Riette Kenkel, President Jen Applebaum and Treasurer Wendy Dyson. Kenkel said they will be losing their Work BC contract to provide employment services at the end of March, as a result of regionalizing and centralizing programs. Valemount became part of the Prince George catchment area, along with McBride and Mackenzie when the contract went up for bid after the society held it for seven years. Although there will be another full-time office in Valemount, the change will result in loss of four full-time jobs and reduction of a full-time job to part-time. The contract allowed broad administration support to the organization and kept profits in the community to the tune that society has invested $400,000 through two new organizations – Valemount College and Valemount Affordable Rentals Society. Applebaum said that although their focus has been education and employment, they will explore ideas to expand their services to meet other community needs. It will likely mean that the society will move their office out of downtown. Applebaum requested the community to support them through this transition, and for council to petition other levels of government to move away from centralizing services as it impacts local jobs and services.
Request to waive hall rental
Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy requested council to waive the $30 rental fee and $50 cleaning fee for 8 weeks to run a physical literacy program. Council approved the request.
Conference for Local Government Representatives
All members of council signed up to attend the North Central Local Government Association’s Annual Conference from May 7-10, 2019 in Williams Lake.
Building Inspector’s Report
The estimated value of construction in 2018 was $6.764 million and total fees collected were $39,700.
Clean Air Task Force established
Council adopted the terms of reference and renamed the new committee from “Air Quality” to the “Clean Air” Task Force. The task force will include at least two council members and six other resource persons from affected sectors.
Infrastructure Grant application
Council approved staff to make an application to the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program to replace the Dogwood Sewage Lift Station in Valemount and for on-going maintenance of the new plant and related facilities.
New crosswalks near School
Council approved staff’s request to install crosswalks at the intersection of 7th Avenue and Elm Street after staff received concerns about safety and “near-misses” from the Elementary School principal. The cost for installation is $1600, and ongoing maintenance is $600 per year.
Parcel Tax Roll
Council decided that the Parcel Tax Roll Review panel will meet on March 19 to meet legislated advertising requirements.
Procedure Bylaw adopted
Council adopted Development Procedures Bylaw No. 789, 2018. This bylaw sets out the steps and processes for obtaining Development Permits, Development Variance Permits, Temporary Use Permits and addresses procedures for Zoning and Official Community Plan amendments.
Verbal Reports from Council
Maclean participated in two teleconferences – one for Columbia Basin Regional Advisory Committee and another for Columbia Basin Treaty discussions, and the first meeting of the Clean Air Task Force.
Councillor Pearson attended a Tourism meeting and followed up on bylaw issues from a property owner.
Councillor Blanchette attended the first Valemount & District Fire & Rescue Committee Consultation Committee meeting along with Mayor Torgerson. She also attended the housing committee meeting and the first Clean Air Task Force meeting.
Mayor Torgerson attended various caribou protection regional meetings with northern BC mayors and regional district meetings. He also met with MP Zimmer, MLA Bond and Northern Health.
Council closed the public portion of the council meeting to discuss two in-camera items – one related to a person being considered for a position with the village.