By Andru McCracken

The Village of Valemount held their regularly scheduled meeting on November 12.

Mayor Owen Torgerson led the meeting, Councilors Pete Pearson, Sheri Gee, Hollie Blanchette and Donnie MacLean were present.
COVID-19 grant

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing has provided a $501,000 grant to the Village of Valemount. It’s called the COVID-19 Safe Restart Grant.

“This funding will support local governments as they deal with increased operating costs and lower revenue due to COVID‐19.”

Eligible costs will include:

  • addressing revenues shortfalls;
  • facility reopening and operating costs;
  • emergency planning and response costs;
  • bylaw enforcement and protective services like fire protection and police;
  • computer and other electronic technology costs (to improve interconnectivity and virtual communications);
  • services for vulnerable persons (e.g. persons living with disabilities, mental illness or addictions,
  • persons experiencing homelessness or other vulnerabilities); and
    other related costs.
    Torgerson said he awaits a report from staff with recommendations on how to use the money.

Council appointed themselves to various committees and boards.

  • Torgerson – RDFFG board
  • Pearson – Canoe Valley Recreation Centre Community Consultation Committee
  • Blanchette – Valemount and District Fire and Rescue Community Consultation Committee;
  • Blanchette, Gee, Maclean – Parcel Tax Roll Review Panel
  • Gee – Columbia Basin Trust Community Initiatives and Affected Areas Programs (CIP/AAP) Committee
  • Blanchette – Housing Committee
  • Torgerson – Robson Valley Region Marketing Initiative Steering Committee;
  • Gee – Prince George Treaty Advisory Committee;
  • MacLean – Valemount Entertainment Society;
  • Pearson – Trans Canada Yellowhead Highway Association, and Torgerson as the alternate;
  • Torgerson – Municipal Finance Authority of BC liaison, and Gee as the alternate;
  • MacLean – Municipal Insurance Association of BC liaison, and Blanchette as the alternate;
  • Gee – Simpcw First Nation Liaison;
  • MacLean – Columbia River Treaty local Government Committee;
  • MacLean – Columbia Basin Regional Advisory Committee.

Council meeting schedule 2021
Council approved the following council meeting schedule for 2021, meeting just once per month in the summer months and December.
January 12 & 26, February 9 & 23, March 9 & 23, April13 & 27, May 11 & 25, June 8 & 22, July 27, August 24, September 28, October 12 & 26, November 9 & 23, December 14.

Memorandum of Understanding – Geothermal heat utility
Council approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for each of two grants they are applying for to develop a geothermal heating utility. The documents give some insight into the work to be done by Borealis GeoPower if the grants are approved, and the ownership structure of the utility. The village would own a 51% stake in the utility company, and Borealis GeoPower would own 49%.
In his report. Chief Administrative Officer Wayne Robinson said that the agreements protect the village from financial risk and obligation, as well as the geothermal companies intellectual property.

Trans Mountain Community Benefit Agreement
Council decided to use $50,000 from their funding agreement with Trans Mountain to train Emergency Medical Responders (EMR). The decision stems from a meeting with BC Ambulance Unit Chief Rodger Peterson, who was concerned there aren’t enough EMRs in Valemount.
Pearson asked how many people would be trained, and Torgerson said the numbers would be announced later.

“The next step will be to develop a process to determine who will be qualified candidates to receive this CBA training funding,” wrote the CAO is his report. “A report will follow after details of how to administer this education program for funding the training of EMRs and other pipeline construction-related work.”

Plane parking
Staff asked council to approve Urban Systems to develop a Request for Quotes (RFQ) for surveying hangar spaces at the Valemount Airport. Submissions from the RFQ will be brought to Council for further direction. The money will come from funds set aside for surveying airport expansion. Council approved the request. Staff said there have been multiple inquiries about hangar space.

Canada Day
Council will apply for the Celebrate Canada Program. Pearson said he hopes the community can have a real Canada Day celebration next summer.
Flood mitigation

Council asked staff to apply to the Community Emergency Preparedness Fund for Structural Flood Mitigation to repair Swift Creek and water intake infrastructure.

Seniors Sewage Study
Council will use $8,500 of the Trans Mountain Community Benefit Agreement to develop an engineering report to ascertain sewage infrastructure requirements to service the Village-owned Ash Street property.

Bike storage
Council approved a Development Variance Permit to allow a seacan to be used as bike storage at the Best Western.

Procedure Bylaw 834
Council gave 3rd reading to their new procedure bylaw.

Council gave 3rd reading to Bylaw 836 which would provide council and mayor with a 2% increase in pay.

Fees and Charges Amendment Bylaw No 837
Council gave first and second reading to a bylaw that would see increases of 9.5% to utility rates for water and sewer and a 3% raise to solid waste rates.

Shortly after the item was on the table, Blanchette moved to amend the motion to 3%. Pearson seconded the amendment.

Blanchette said that the village is making a profit from providing water and sewer service to Trans Mountain.

“I absolutely concur,” said Torgerson.

“While Trans Mountain is contributing… staff will be able to calculate the estimated proceeds generated by our service agreement, about $300,000 over the next couple years, apply those gains against water sewer reserves they can report back to us what that looks like.”