Valemount Council: Clean Air and Cooperation

By Andru McCracken


The Village of Valemount held their regularly scheduled meeting on October 22, 2019.

Mayor Owen Torgerson, Sheri Gee, Hollie Blanchette, Donnie MacLean and Pete Pearson were present.

There were no public comments.

Royal Canadian Legion Branch 266 president Marie Birkbeck and vice president Christine Addis presented council and staff with the first poppies of their annual poppy campaign.

“That was nice of you to come down,” said Torgerson.

The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 266 asked to waive fees for using the village’s tent on Remembrance Day. Gee and Pearson recused themselves because they were members of the legion.

Council passed four recommendations presented by the Clean Air Task Force (see the story in this week’s paper). They include undertaking a survey about local burning practices, producing a draft clean air bylaw, budgeting for a wood stove exchange program, and researching low interest loans for wood stove replacement.

Appointments
Council reappointed Pete Pearson to the Regional District’s Canoe Valley Recreation Centre Community Consultation Committee for one year.

Council reappointed Hollie Blanchette to the Regional District’s Valemount and District Fire and Rescue Community Consultation Committee for one year.

Cost sharing on housing planning
Council passed a recommendation from their housing committee in which they propose to jointly apply for a grant with McBride and the Regional District. The grant is to hire a planner to assist with planning for affordable housing. According to staff: “The Community Planning for Housing program provides grant funding for municipalities and regional districts to assist with the cost of hiring incremental planning capacity for a 12 month period.”

“The program is expected to provide communities with the planning capacity, knowledge and experience they need to identify housing issues and develop appropriate responses that will encourage the development of housing that meets the needs of their community.”

Blanchette, who sits on the housing committee, explained the proposal.

“There is funding for all of us to share someone that can go around and communicate with the stakeholders, do the paperwork, look for grants, somebody that will work for all of us in the Robson Valley,” said Blanchette.

Affordability Covenant in the works
Council was informed that the Valemount Affordable Rentals Society is working towards placing a covenant on their property at 1295 Gordon Road. The covenant is intended to protect the affordability of the property in the future. The society is requesting that the Village of Valemount own the covenant. Staff informed council that the Village of Valemount’s lawyer will compose the covenant at VARS’ expense.

Gas Tax
A report to council showed that the village has $429,598 to spend in its Gas Tax account. That money has traditionally been spent on paving, and can be used to fund a variety of municipal infrastructure projects from public transportation to water and sewer infrastructure.

Development variances
Council approved two development variances. One, to allow eight more accessory buildings at Valemount Mini Storage, another for the maximum height of a residential accessory building at 1430 7th Avenue.

Bylaws and policies
Council passed first and second reading on Reserve Bylaw 804, 2019, which would create a reserve account for the Northern Community Planning Grant as required by the granting agency.

Remuneration bylaw
Council defeated third reading of Remuneration Bylaw 811, 2019, which raised council’s pay annually according to the Consumer Price Index.

Blanchette cited two problems with the bylaw, one was the variability in pay, the other was that the Consumer Price Index has been known to be as low as 0.4%.

“We’re not in this to make money, because we are not, but if we were to give staff a .4% raise we would have anarchy,” said Blanchette.

Instead council decided to go with a 2% yearly increase.

Travel allowance
Council approved a new travel allowance policy.
Council received reports and adjourned.

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