Valemount Council: childcare needs, cannabis fees, housing costs waived

By Goat Staff


Monique Jamin made a comment related to staff concerns around snow maintenance of a proposed Big Foot Arch on the Big Foot Trail on Main Street. She felt that staff could get out of their vehicles to shovel the arch or make downtown more wheelchair accessible. She also expressed her approval to see the village move forward on affordable housing with an application to the Rural Dividend Fund.

Eugene Jamin said he didn’t understand why council needed a $5 million liability for public art compared to $1 million for a vehicle. Being part of the housing committee, he also felt it was good to see progress on housing and felt that the committee / village needed more help than they had.

Childcare Needs Assessment & Strategy Report
Jared Smith, a consultant working on the project, made a report to council. The report confirmed what is already known – there is a severe shortage for infant / toddler spaces (0 to 3 years). The lack of availability has affected employment and family finances. The survey results indicate a need for an additional 26 spaces in various categories for 0 to school age kids and 19 for after-school-care spaces. Smith made recommendations that the Village could address childcare needs in the community by amending the Official Community Plan, partnering with childcare providers and providing land in principle. He suggested that a council member be a liaison between childcare services and the Village. Smith said that the main issues facing Valemount are lack of spaces (facility), staffing and affordable childcare.

Public Art Delegation
Neysa Weatherbee made a presentation to council on behalf of the Valemount Arts & Cultural Society (VACS) on a public art installation approved by Columbia Basin Trust (CBT). The project is a big foot arch made of pine beams with copper as toenails. The foot would be installed on concrete footings and stained to have a 10-year life span. The installation costs would be borne by CBT and VACS. VACS had hoped to see it installed on the Big Foot Trail on Main Street. Councillor Pearson expressed concerns about proximity to the road and sewer lines. They wanted to hear what the engineers would say about the footings. Weatherbee said that VACS was open to finding the best location. Since the staff report had concerns about village equipment being too large to remove snow under and around the arch, Weatherbee suggested this could be dealt with in the same way as snow at the electric charging station at Centennial Park.

Later in the meeting, council dealt with the staff report around winter maintenance, engineering drawings to ensure that the base had adequate support and ensuring that the structure does not interfere with parking and public right-of-way. At that time Councillors Blanchette and Pearson expressed concerns about the theme of the public art project and they would rather see something else.
Mayor Torgerson suggested planning a site visit with VACS members with an eye for infrastructure and not for the art.

Columbia River Treaty Local Governments Committee Meeting
Council approved councillor MacLean to attend the Local Governments Committee on September 12, 2019.

BC Utilities Commission (BCUC)
Councillor Pearson and Mayor Torgerson favoured that the Village participate as an intervener in BCUC’s Inquiry into regulation of Municipal Energy Utilities since the community is looking at opportunities to generate power from direct heat (geothermal) and biomass waste.

Building Inspector’s Report
The estimated construction values in June and July were $6000 and $185,750 respectively. The fees collected in those months were $130 and $1580.

Cranberry Marsh Trail Work
Council authorized staff to enter into a contract agreement with Alpine Country Rentals Ltd. for trail work to place and spread base gravel on approximately 1,000 metres along the Cranberry Marsh dike.

Affordable Housing Development Plan
Council approved that the Village submit an Affordable Housing Development Plan application to the BC Rural Dividend Program and to the CBT Housing Proposal Development Support Program. The project is to hire a housing development consultant to complete a pre-planning analysis, a conceptual site plan and floor plans for an affordable housing project in Valemount for a total cost of $23,000.

Permissive Tax Exemption Applications
Since council was faced with 6 applications to exempt property taxes, Councillor Blanchette suggested that staff consult with other communities the size of Valemount to see what they exempt since exemptions impact local taxpayers.

Waiving Development Cost Charges for Affordable Housing
Council waived $25,493 of Development Cost Charges for a proposed 13-unit affordable rental apartment building by Valemount Affordable Rentals Society at 1295 Gordon Road.

Cannabis Policy and Retail Bylaw
Council approved the Village’s Cannabis Retail Licensing Policy and Zoning Amendment Bylaw 801 permitting retailing cannabis in certain commercial zones with restrictions.

Fees and Charges Amendment Bylaw No. 808, 2019.
Council gave first, second and third readings to Amendment Bylaw 808 to include a $750 fee to deal with retail cannabis applications for ‘Municipal Consultation & Recommendation to Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch.’

Council Reports
Councillor Pearson attended a Tourism committee meeting and said that Christine Latimer was resigning. He also mentioned the Tourism committee wanted input on the public art.

Mayor Torgerson visited a biomass heating facility at Summerside, PEI, while on holidays. He felt that if they can make it a go there, Valemount should be able to do it. Torgerson said that Summerside was on track to be off the grid by 2021.

There were no in-camera items.

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