By Andru McCracken

Valemount held its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday January 28 in council chambers. Mayor Owen Torgerson presided, councillors Sheri Gee, Hollie Blanchette and Pete Pearson were in attendance.

Public comments
Among other comments, Rashmi Narayan said a decision by council to designate 201 Ash Street as seniors housing could be timely because there is a narrow window to get an application together for a funding program later this spring.

Eugene Jamin asked that the seniors’ housing project on 201 Ash Street consider other future buildings in the area.

Kurien Thomas voiced his support for independent seniors housing and asked that council lobby government agencies to revise their funding formulas to support the same.

Sled Fest
VARDA Manager Curtis Pawliuk gave an overview of a Sled Fest event in March involving an aerial freestyle snowmobile show downtown. He requested the support of council to close portions of 4th and 5th Avenues from 5 pm to 10 pm on March 21.

Council supported the project unanimously.

VARDA, Tourism Valemount, and the Columbia Basin Trust are hosting the event.

“The idea behind the event is to celebrate Valemount’s snowmobile tourism industry over an entire weekend where the main attraction is designed to involve all members of the community in an exciting event never before seen in Valemount that is accessible to everyone,” said Pawliuk.

The event stretches from Friday, March 20 starting with a meet and greet and tradeshow, the aerial freestyle snowmobile show downtown on Saturday featuring Clearwater native and XGames award winner Brent Turcotte, and a family-friendly poker run on Sunday, March 22nd.

Council appointed the Tourism Committee: Tony Bielec of the Best Western for a 1 year term, Yoon Jee of the Chalet Continental for a 2 year term, Joon Lee of the Comfort Inn & Suites for a 1 year term, Diane Fowler of Whisper Creek for a 2 year term, Patricia Thoni of VARDA for a 2 year term, Curtis Pawliuk and Terry Power representing Tourism at large for 2 year terms.

Clean Air Task Force
Council received recommendations from the Clean Air Task Force.

Recommendations included contacting the Chamber of Commerce and their members to participate in an anti-idling signage campaign free of charge.

The committee also requested that the Regional District participate in an Air Modeling forecasting model from October to March.

Strategic progress
CAO Wayne Robinson provided a list of council’s strategic priorities and progress made in achieving them between March and December 2019.

Level 2 charging station considered
Torgerson moved that the village use funds from the Climate Action Revenue Incentive Program to install a level 2 electric vehicle charging station at the Canoe Valley Recreation Centre.

Council defeated the motion and asked that it be brought back with more information.

Liquor Primary Licence
The Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 266 made an application to transition to a liquor primary licence.

Council members Pete Pearson and Sheri Gee acknowledged a potential conflict of interest in the future, but said the conflict did not require them to recuse themselves because it was in the early stages of consideration.

According to a staff report, the change in license would not affect the way the Legion operates.

“They will continue to be a family friendly lounge with food service,” read the report.

“By removing the club liquor license restriction the Legion will be able to welcome more members of the community, as there will no longer be a requirement to sign in at the front door.”

Housing planning funds
Council agreed to reallocate $10,000 previously contemplated for a housing planning program with NDIT to leverage other grants and housing related work.

Fees and Charges Bylaw 813
Council rescinded third reading on bylaw 813 because of an error. They also amended Schedule A Water Residential rates from $335.96 to $367.87 reflecting the 5% increase authorized by council.

They then gave the Fees and Charges Bylaw third reading.

Torgerson said staff would adopt the bylaw at a special council meeting soon to get ready for tax season.

Anti-idling Bylaw
The Village’s Clean Air Task Force brought forward an anti-idling bylaw No. 816 and gave it two readings.

It states: A person must not cause or permit a motor vehicle to idle for more than five consecutive minutes.

There are thirteen exceptions for medical emergencies and conditions, repair work, assisting in an emergency, trains, cargo vehicles (in some instances), armoured vehicles, and when the temperature is outside the range of -20C to +20C.

Zoning changes
Council gave first and second reading to the bylaw 818, amending the village zoning bylaw and reducing the amount of redtape required to build accessory buildings on residential properties.

The new maximum height of garages will be 5m (16ft) up from 3.5m (11.5ft). The new rules also require mobile homes to be consistent with changes to BC Building Code regulations.

Amendment bylaw 819 rezoned a property on the edge of the village from mobile home park to R1.

Flexible Work Time
Council gave their blessing to a flexible work time policy, with a view to strengthen the retention of staff through better employee satisfaction.

“It is anticipated this program will have a positive impact on the municipal budget, staff retention and productivity, and will introduce a formal policy that will be clear and consistent across the organization.”

Council then gave their verbal reports.

Council closed the meeting to the public to discuss matters related to labour relations and the receipt of advice subject to solicitor-client privilege.