By Andru McCracken

The council of the Village of Valemount held their regular meeting on March 9.

A delegation from the Valemount Senior Citizens Housing Society gave an update on the design of the Valemount Cares seniors housing project.

Presenter Rashmi Narayan thanked council for helping steer the project through challenging times.

Architect Jeremiah Deutscher said that the plan is very unique and came with strong core principals: focussing on social gathering, sunshine, biophilia (the human desire to be connected to nature), flexibility, efficiency and open to future expansions and net zero energy ready.

“We want to build a very efficient building to allow net zero in the future,” said Deutscher.

Council was impressed.

“It’s an absolutely smashing and exciting design,” said Mayor Owen Torgerson.

“It’s quite exciting. In 40 years I’ll be ready to move in,” said Councillor Hollie Blanchette.

The project has 16-1 bedroom units, 2-2 unit bedrooms and one guest room, but is remarkable for its common spaces and for meeting specific senior needs. The project is expected to break ground in early fall this year.

Tesla Fast Charging Station
Tesla sent a letter to the Village of Valemount seeking to install an Electric Vehicle Fast Charging Station – at no cost to the village. Tesla requested the opportunity to speak with a staff member of the village. Council agreed. See our separate story.

Reading File
Counc. Donnie MacLean noted that residents can apply to the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program to study the environment for up to $1000.

Simpcw Stewardship Review
MacLean asked staff to review the Simpcw Resources Forest Stewardship Plan to determine how it would affect the community. The Simpcw have forest development units down Kinbasket Lake and at the southern extent the Robson Valley Timber Supply Area. Council directed staff to prepare a response.

Northern Health kudos
Pearson praised Northern Health for their work.

“I congratulate Northern Health for being very proactive, reaching out and calling seniors and booking appointments for them.”

2021 Budget Presentation
Director of Finance Lori McNee provided an in depth presentation of the budget for 2021. It was a crash course in some of the work the village is required to do to keep residents served. If you are wondering where your taxes go and how much they help to pay for the services we have in Valemount, check it out online:

Total general expenditures for 2021 are expected to be $5,615,040.

McNee asked council to approve a 4% tax increase. 2% to account for the increasing cost of living and 2% for asset management and future reserves.

The increase would mean an increase of roughly $13 per 100,000 of assessed value, meaning a home valued at $300,000 could expect a $39 tax increase over last year. Council approved the increase in a resolution, that’s not the end of the process though, there will be a Public Budget Presentation following approval of 1st and 2nd reading of the Five-Year Financial Plan Bylaw which will provide Council and the public a more detailed review of the budget and the opportunity for input.

McNee also asked council’s approval to use $22,500 from the sewer surplus for an engineering study required by the province and for $15,000 for a sewer line camera. Council approved these two resolutions as well.

Air Quality Study
Council awarded a contract for an air quality data review to Hemmera Envirochem Inc, in the amount of $12,971. The money is from a Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation Grant.

Infrastructure program
Council received a report on the spending for Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program.

“We will not have a bridge to cross when we come to it,” said Mayor Torgerson.

The news was that Valemount did not receive a grant to build a bridge to cross the McLennan River to help establish a ski hill in the area. Economic Development Officer Silvio Gislimberti said a deciding factor in the grant application was a lack of support from key partners including the Community Forest.

Tourism Marketing Strategy – Simpcw
Staff asked council to invite the Simpcw to a Tourism Marketing Strategy process.

Appointments to village owned companies
Council adopted a new policy on appointing board members to village owned companies, currently limited to the Valemount Community Forest and Valemount Industrial Park.

Council decided that one member of council should be on each board and to have six members from the general public, plus a staff member in an ex-officio capacity.

Which councillor and staff member will sit on the board is to be decided at a future meeting.

Council reports
Council gave their verbal reports and adjourned the meeting.