By Andru McCracken
Council began held a public hearing on Business License and Regulation Bylaw No. 805, 2019 before the regular Council meeting Dec. 10th. The bylaw updates the previous 2014 bylaw, providing clarification on when individuals or businesses require more than one business license. There were no comments from the public.
Stephanie Han didn’t mince words about a proposed utility increase.
“Utilities have been increased every year I have been here since 2007. From $369 in 2007 to $805 in 2018.
That is a 218% increase in 11 years,” she said.
She had myriad questions for council: where is the money going? How much needed to be raised? How has it been invested? She also asked if the village had taken into consideration a provincial government grant worth $2.88 million.
“The grant alone should change your calculations. None of these questions have been addressed,” she said.
Resident Anna Karle backed up Han’s comments. “It would be interesting to hear about the interest on the $2.8 million to see some numbers to justify the increase,” she said.
Eugene Jamin endorsed a master plan presented by Valemount and Area Development Association for the next phase of the mountain bike park.
“I’m impressed with the work that has been done. We are fortunate to have that kind of planning ahead of asking for expenses,” said Jamin.
Valemount and Area Development Association manager Curtis Pawliuk presented an extension of the Valemount Bike Park that develops more trails and easier trails that require pedalling.
“The Valemount Bike Park is primarily an adrenalinefest,” said Pawliuk. He said the organization is responding to a call for a long-distance, health-oriented pedal network.
“This is not just for tourism; we’re here to build opportunities for families,” he said.
Pawliuk said the most popular trails recorded 31,000 trail riders from early May to August 31 this year.
He said a new easy green trail might be used as a cross country ski loop or a winter time route for fat bikes.
Council provided a letter of support for the project.
Council received an accounts payable report and the building inspector’s report.
Council congratulated the CAO for negotiating for an increase in the amount paid by Trans Mountain for leasing what is commonly known as the ‘Old Airport.’
Trans Mountain had offered $134, Robinson raised that to $2,241. Woodstove Exchange program
Council discussed news that the Province would fund the village’s wood stove exchange.
While they were happy the program was funded, they were unhappy with the amount of money dedicated to education and advertising the program.
Council passed third reading of Bylaw 805, which addresses special cases where some businesses required more than one business license.
Utility rate increases
Council repealed third reading on Bylaw 813, Fees and Charges Amendment and instructed staff to drop the utility rate increases to 5% and to reassess the situation in January.
Council gave their reports and considered two matters In Camera relating to labour relations and the acquisition, disposition or expropriation of land or improvements.