By Andrea Arnold
At the July 27, 2021 Valemount Council meeting, Mayor Owen Torgerson, Councillors Hollie Blanchette, Sheri Gee, Donnie MacLean, Pete Pearson, Chief Administrative Officer Wayne Robinson and Deputy Corporate Officer Carleena Shepherd were all once again present in Council chambers.
Trans Mountain Update
First off, Jasmin Devick, Community Liaison for North Thompson/Transmountain Expansion Project gave an update on camp accommodations/operations. She apologized that this information had not been presented to Council earlier. When the camp was moved to its current location, the information had been provided to the Region District but not the village. She went over the steps they took while planning what worker accommodation would look like during the pipeline project. Devick talked about what amenities camps have, and what measures are in place for security and COVID purposes. She discussed the code of conduct that employees are expected to adhere to and the consequences of straying from it. She mentioned that the Telus increase in services that was brought in for the camp will remain in the valley once the project is completely wrapped up. She also discussed the future Blue River work camp that will hold 550 beds and development will begin in quarter three of 2021. Fencing has already been completed and it is ready for the next steps.
There are currently 64 locals employed directly through the project in Valemount. Upon completion of the presentation, some of the Councillors had questions:
Councillor Blanchette wondered if it was possible to increase the quarantine area from its current 40-bed capacity if needed. Devick responded that as the camp is at capacity (600 including those beds), adding more at this time without resubmitting for allowances is not possible.
Councillor Pearson asked how many staff are living outside of camp facilities. Although she did not have exact numbers on hand, Devick said she could provide them at a later date. She did know that there are 1100 people employed at this point, 560 beds are full at the camp and 64 employees are local. This leaves the assumption that the rest of the staff are living in accommodations within the community.
He also asked what worker increase is predicted with the start-up of the Blue River camp, and how they will accommodate the numbers. She responded that plans are being made to have the construction workers stay onsite as well as the possibility of communities in the area helping out with the housing workers.
Pearson’s final concern was that of food security for the community. Over the last year with tourism down, Devick says that the workers have picked up where tourists would normally be spending. This year, as things are changing, they are having to look at it again. They want to work with businesses, providing information so that stock levels can be maintained. Lastly, is the ongoing problem of the extra WIFI and cell use in town by those not living in camp. Devick said that is something they hope to find a solution for.
Mayor Torgerson wanted to know how the two alcoholic drinks per person per day rule was working. She said it was working well, and that the ID cards are checked prior to purchase and that all staff working the area are watching carefully for any infractions.
He asked what the target for locally sourced workers was and if 64/1100 (roughly 5%) was close. Devick said that the 64 didn’t include contractors. Overall, 41% of the workforce is from pipeline communities. He also inquired if they knew what percentage of staff received their COVID vaccines on site. She said that they do not require disclosure regarding a vaccine status, however, they do know that 80-90% of the eligible doses they received were used. Also, in regards to working with the local clinic, she said that they are working with the clinic staff to monitor clinic use by pipeline workers.
Council received a letter from John Grogen regarding a BC Wide Inter-Community Bus Network. Grogen requested Council submit a resolution to the United BC Municipalities Conference as well as invite other communities to do the same. Mayor Torgerson extended a kudos to the private sector for stepping up in the absence of a provincial transportation solution and Council agreed to look at the resolution in the new year when the call for resolutions is made
Tent rental fee waived
Council agreed to waive the rental fees for the community tents for both of the following events: The Valemount and Area Chamber of Commerce Golf tournament on August 28 (Councillor Blanchette recused herself for this portion); and the Valemount Senior Citizens Housing Society BBQ for Valemount seniors at the Golden Years Lodge on August 8, or 15, 2021 (Councillors Pearson and MacLean stepped out for this motion).
Council received the following reports for information: building inspection permits, accounts payable report and the 2021 quarterly report. Also, received later in the meeting, is the bylaw enforcement summary report for April-June 2021.
Council passed the motion approving the installation of a rainbow crosswalk on Ash Street at 9th Ave and Ash Street to celebrate diversity in the community and across Canadian society.
Destination Marketing Organization
Council passed the following two motions in regards to the formation of an independent Destination Marketing Organization (DMO):
That Staff and Tourism Valemount Committee members be authorized to start the process of forming an independent DMO as recommended in the governance study prepared by Stormy Lake Consulting.
That the Village maintains the Marketing Coordinator position at the current work hours (24 hours per week) during the transition time until December 31, 2021.
Temporary contractors yard
For the next item—temporary use permit application TUP 21-01- Trans Mountain Expansion Project Contractor Yard—Mayor Torgerson stepped out for pecuniary reasons. Councillor Pearson called the motion. The Temporary Use Permit (TUP) is in response to the fact that Trans Mountain has been operating outside of the parameters of their current permit. For the new TUP, Trans Mountain proposed an increase to 300 personnel in the contractor yard located on the west side of Highway 5 across from the Best Western Hotel (the original Temporary Use Permit allowed 50 on site daily). Trans Mountain also proposed an extension to the pipe bending hours to 6am-6pm hours (originally, pipe bending was approved between 9am-4pm). Council approved the temporary use permit and the new parameters for the temporary contractor’s yard.
Council passed a motion authorizing village staff to deliver a notice to the property owner of 1200 Railway Road (and each holder of a registered charge) via registered mail which states that all hazard trees must be removed not later than August 26, 2021. If this action does not occur the removal will be done at the expense of the property owner, as per sections 77 & 78 of the Community Charter.
Bylaws and policies
Council passed motions to adopt the wood burning appliance regulation bylaw No. 838, 2021 – prohibiting the following: installation of wood burning non-certified appliances, outdoor solid fuel combustion appliances and wood burning appliances in accessory buildings.and Valemount cemetery bylaw 685, 2012 amendment bylaw No. 846,2021 – amending permissions for memorial markers and permitted interment days/times as well as adjusting service and labour fees, as presented.
Council passed the motion to give the Village of Valemount Zoning Bylaw No. 847, 2021 third reading as amended.
Council also approved the Village of Valemount temporary residential structures policy No. 83, 2021. Mayor Torgerson asked that Council think about options people have if their dwelling does not meet the requirements
Rashmi Narayan addressed three agenda items:
She expressed concern that the pipeline camp was at capacity and thought the steps needed to increase it would be worthwhile.
Also she discussed the possibility of partnering with TransMountain on a project using the Ash street property to provide more housing space.
She commented that she will be meeting with Northern Health as well and asked Council to also discuss what support they would provide to the Valemount Cares facility.
Council moved to proceed to In-Camera meeting for consideration of one (1) item per Section 90 (1)(i) of the Community Charter to discuss matters related to: (i) the receipt of advice that is subject to solicitor-client privilege, including communications necessary for that purpose (with respect to the Valemount Community Forest Proposed Joint Working Group.)