By Andru McCracken

The Village of Valemount’s regular council meeting was held March 24, but there was nothing regular about it. Mayor Owen Torgerson presided, Hollie Blanchette sat two meters away on the left, and across from her sat Donnie Maclean, two meters over sat Chief Administrative Officer Wayne Robinson. Councilor Pete Pearson was dialed in via telephone and councilor Sheri Gee attended via teleconference.

Property Tax Relief?
At the beginning of the meeting a letter from Silvia Jungo of Valemount’s Swiss Bakery announced that they were re-opening after closure this winter (bread and goodies available via delivery) and they also asked if the village would go ahead with a planned property tax increase in these trying times. “Thank you for your ongoing support in these challenging times,” said Jungo.

Grant Committee Privacy
Eugene Jamin addressed council in person.

“Thank you for your support, those that serve on the committee. It was not an easy year,” he said, referring to the local grant committee that makes recommendations on Columbia Basin Trust’s Community Initiatives Program.

“The decision of who gets what was made in camera and I’m really thankful for that addition because it meant we could be protected in the decisions we made and discuss them freely amongst ourselves.”

Chickens and Goats
Torgerson acknowledged a letter in the reading file from a Valemount resident calling on council to allow residents to have chickens and, in some cases, goats within village limits.

“Goats will give a citizen a milk source, a cheese source and a meat source. Chickens are another meat source and [they provide] eggs daily. Both are a great source of compost starter,” wrote Richard Korwejo.

“Now that food security is front and center, time is now that the village take the lead and introduce such a bylaw, so as to lessen the dependency on outside food sources.”

Korwejo proposed allowing goats on vacant lots and properties over .3 acres.

“Should and when the supply chain collapses we would still have access to fresh food daily,” he wrote.

Columbia Basin Trust grant awards Community Initiatives and Affected Areas program (CBT CIP/AAP) funding recommendations

Council approved all recommendations of its committee regarding the CBTs granting program Community Initiatives and Affected Areas Program
“I would like to thank councillor Gee and chair Jamin. I’m absolutely sure it was challenging at times,” said Torgerson.

Straight lines
Council awarded a contract to Aardvark Pavement Marking Services to paint lines on municipal roads for $8,322.40.

Simpcw invited to housing committee
Valemount’s housing committee asked council to invite a representative from the Simpcw First Nation to join the committee. Council assented.

Housing terms of reference
Council approved a change to the terms of reference of the housing committee. Changes include a coordination role for the committee in housing and more specifics about who should be represented on the committee.

5-year financial plan
Council gave first and second reading to the village’s five-year financial plan. It includes a 4% tax increase this year.

Council Procedure Bylaw
Council approved second reading for their council procedures bylaw with an amendment that wasn’t uttered during the procedure and wasn’t in the council package.

The amendment would allow meetings where all attendees participate electronically. The old system allowed for no more than one.

Council then proceeded to go in camera relating to information that is prohibited from disclosure under section 21 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.