By Andru McCracken

The Village of Valemount held its regular council meeting April 14th via Zoom. Mayor Torgerson chaired the meeting councilors Pete Pearson, Hollie Blanchette, Sheri Gee and Donalda Maclean were in attendance, Chief Administrative Officer Wayne Robinson and Deputy Corporate Officer Carleena Shepherd were also present.

Public Comment
Silvia Jungo wrote to council to ask them to consider foregoing any tax increases this year due to the COVID 19 pandemic.

Council wrote a letter in support of an EV Charging Station in the Peace Region.

Backyard Chickens
In response to a letter from Sherral Shaw, councilor Pearson brought forward a motion to have staff look at the logistics of allowing backyard chickens.

“I think it is something we should look at, what regulations and restrictions would need to be in place; I thought staff could bring us a report,” Pearson said.

Blanchette asked for a letter from the animal bylaw officer, but Torgerson said referring the matter to staff would include the bylaw officer’s concerns.

Mayor Torgerson said that measures to help people pay their taxes and to defer them if required were being considered.

Infrastructure fund request
The village applied to the Canada Infrastructure Program to replace the Dogwood Lift Station in the amount of $1,376,360.

Council also chose to commit its share of $513,080 using the Northern Capital and Planning Grant.

Council approved the Asset Management Plan developed by Urban Systems.

Council rescinded second reading of its Council Procedure Bylaw and tabled the bylaw until the Provincial State of Emergency is rescinded by the province.

Public Art
Council considered a new Public Art Policy which includes the creation of a Public Art Committee.

Blanchette wondered what would happen if council didn’t agree with decisions of the committee.

“I don’t want to feel that I have to agree with the committee,” she said.

Torgerson said council would have a member on the committee.

Pearson said he agreed with Blanchette.

“It is a concern, but I guess we put our trust in whoever is selected for this committee,” said Pearson.

Gee said the new policy will provide council with more thought about public art.

“It will maybe give us a more unbiased opinion about what is proposed,” she said.

Council approved the policy and directed staff to advertise for people to sit on the committee.

New Business
Pearson brought forward a recommendation made by Tourism Valemount to look into the possibility of having Trans Mountain workers stay in local hotels and eat in local restaurants instead of at their camp.

“With no heads in the beds, smaller businesses will not be able to stay afloat,” said Pearson. “The whole TMX camp idea was to keep them isolated and away from town, and they agreed.

And now we’re thinking we could really use those heads in our beds.”.

The recommendation was that council form a technical working group that would involve representatives from the Village, Northern Health, Tourism Valemount, Trans Mountain, the Chamber of Commerce, Emergency Services and the Ministry of Transportation, to look at approaching TMX with the option of reducing the number of beds in the camp and putting some workers into local accommodation.

Pearson recognized there are concerns integrating workers into the community.

“We really need to look at some structure that could help out the accommodation sector, plus local restaurants for take-out,” said Pearson.

Council passed the motion.

Council convened a special meeting on April 22 to discuss the matter further.