By Andru McCracken
The Village of Valemount held its regularly scheduled council meeting on November 12 and it was preceded by a public hearing for zoning amendment 806. Zoning amendment 806 relaxes the minimum lot size, the minimum area of dwelling unit and the number of dwelling units that can be built in conjunction with a commercial building among others.
Mayor Owen Torgerson, councilors Pete Pearson, Donnie Maclean, Sheri Gee and Hollie Blanchette were present along with staff members Carleena Shepherd and Wayne Robinson.
Six residents commented on the village’s proposed utility rate hike raising numerous concerns. (See a separate story on this this week.)
Eugene Jamin voiced his support to a proposal to set aside some Columbia Basin Trust grant money for a strategic project.
Rashmi Narayan asked the village to consider how local rental rates would be affected by the Trans Mountain work camp. “I would ask that the work camp keep all the workers,” she said.
Blanchette picked out a letter to council from Rashmi Narayan proposing to designate some money from the Columbia Basin Trust Community Initiatives Program to a major project.
“It’s something we need to put more on our radar. We do need housing, we do have a big pot and we have to look at some alternatives,” said Blanchette.
“You’re thinking construction of housing, local government taking on construction of housing?” asked Torgerson.
Blanchette said she thought it was time to talk about possibilities.
“Would you like to make a motion for staff to schedule a committee of the whole?” asked Torgerson.
Council voted in favour of scheduling a committee of the whole meeting to discuss seniors’ housing.
Christmas Office Closure
Council decided to close the Municipal Office and Visitor Information Centre from December 20th at 12:30pm reopening January 2nd at 8:30am.
Council directed staff to apply for the Government of Canada, Celebrate Canada Program for 2020 Canada Day.
Council asked that staff apply for the Northern Trust Grant Writing Support Program and, in a separate motion, and to approach the Valemount Community Forest to help contribute to the grant writing program.
Council appointed new members to the Columbia CBT CIP/AAP Adjudication Committee Appointments:
Meg Johnson for a one year term, Beth Russell, Bob Gray and Claudia Frost for a two year term.
Council received the building inspection report and October accounts payable quarterly report.
Council discussed four proposals for 2020 Utility Rates: billing utilities on a quarterly basis, removing an 8% discount for paying early, increasing sewer and water rates by 8.5% and garbage by 3% for the 2020 fiscal year.
Council tabled quarterly billing and removing the 8% early payment discount.
“Anybody can put money down all year for utilities. You can set up online payment of $50 a month toward your utility bill, I think that would help for a lot of people,” said Pearson.
When the mayor ask what council’s wish was regarding the proposed 8.5% increase for sewer and water rates, Blanchette quietly offered, “Zero.”
After much discussion Pearson moved to increase the sewer and water rates by 8.5%.
It was seconded by councilor Gee.
“This was all forecast in that original plan. That’s the course that was set, by keeping the other two issues we can keep it affordable,” said Pearson.
Council also moved to increase the garbage rates by 3% for the 2020 fiscal year.
A brand new truck and heaps of cleaning
Council approved the purchase of a Chevrolet Silverado 1500 under $40,000.00.
Council directed to negotiate fees and terms of a one year contract for Janitorial Services of Village Buildings with Darren Heaps of Heaps Cleaning.
Council approved a Development Variance Permit at 880 Beavan Crescent to allow more units at the mini-storage.
Also approved was a variance to the maximum height of an accessory building at 1430 7th Ave.
Council approved a technical referral from council to the regional district detailing concerns about the Trans Mountain Work Camp.
Council gave 3rd reading to the Village of Valemount Reserve Bylaw No. 804.
The Village of Valemount Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 806 was given third and fourth readings.
“Thank you to staff for working with the housing committee’s recommendations,” said Blanchette.
“It’s definitely going to reduce a lot of limitations,” said Torgerson.
(See Page 1 story)
Council approved the Village of Valemount Council Remuneration Bylaw No. 811, 2019 which ties their remuneration to the Consumer Price Index.