The Goat reached out to all those who put their names into the ring for the 2022 Municipal election. Valemount candidates have been acclaimed, however we felt it was important they too were able to introduce themselves to the community. The following information was written by the candidates hoping to outline what they see as important goals for their communities. – The following are the responses we received by presstime.

Owen Torgerson – Acclaimed Valemount Mayor

I am a life-long resident of Valemount and have been actively involved with local government since 2011, volunteering at first with the Village of Valemount Advisory Planning Commission, Integrated Sustainable Community Planning Team, and the Columbia Basin Trust Community Initiatives Adjudication Committee. In 2014 I was elected municipal Councillor where I was able to assist in advancing recreational development and tourism, forestry, municipal infrastructure management, and emergency planning. In 2018, I was elected Mayor. I am Valemount’s representative to the Regional District Fraser-Fort George Board of Directors where I also serve as chair on both their Agriculture Land Use Committee and their Public Safety and Emergency Management Committee. I am the RD’s nominee to the Columbia Basin Trust where I also serve on their Housing Initiatives Committee (chair), Investments Committee as well as the Columbia Broadband Corporation subsidiary (director).

I never, ever thought of being a community leader during a global pandemic. For me, the pandemic presented at times some truly intense situations, even frightening, but we were, as a team, still able to move on much of our strategic priorities. I want to thank Councillor Sheri Gee and Councillor Donnie MacLean for their many years of dedicated service to our community and I wish them all the best in their future endeavours. There are several issues and opportunities facing the community; the most immediate issue and opportunity is filling two vacancies in the Office of Councillor.  Councillor Blanchette, Councillor Pearson and I will form government on November 8, 2022. We will then have 30 days to appoint two Councillors.  Should we fail to do so will require provincial intervention and the Minister of Municipal Affairs will do it for us, and this is something we certainly do not want to happen. This role is not something we want someone in Victoria working off the corner of their desk, and it could potentially happen. So, if you were on the fence during the nomination period, or want to contribute to the sustainable growth of a village we all love, bring your name forward. 

Hollie Blanchette – Acclaimed Valemount Councillor

Hello everyone….

For those that don’t know me, I have lived in Valemount since 2005. I have been working at our public library for 17 years and I have served on several community committees and boards over the years.

I am starting my 4th term as your municipal councillor and I am excited and ready for the challenge. Housing continues to be a struggle and our non-profits have really met this head on. We need to continue to support them and we need to keep applying pressure to provincial government to partner and work with us to build more diverse housing: apartments, condos, tiny homes, mixed-use. Council needs to work on bylaws, zoning and variances to work with developers and homeowners to make this process workable for everyone.

I know this sounds cliché, however, the people here are the opportunities. Everyone I talk with, work with has ideas, has a vision, a plan. We have so many large and small business owners and entrepreneurs who all do amazing things. We need to work together to move Valemount forward.

I am always available to listen. Reach out when you need/want to.

[email protected]

Pete Pearson – Acclaimed Valemount Councillor

My name is Pete Pearson and I live here in the community with my wife Kerry. When asked we are quick to tell people we live in paradise. I have lived in Valemount for 25 years now and truly enjoy all the area has to offer and being “in the middle of everywhere.” I retired from CN Rail 5 years ago and enjoyed a short stint at the Canoe Valley Recreation Centre before putting my name forward and successfully running for Village of Valemount Council in 2018.

Having a mix of experience and new faces on Council, we were excited at what the future would hold and how we could be a part of it. Little did we know that a global pandemic was on the horizon and how it would affect our world locally and globally. As we move forward into a new term, I look forward to picking up where we left off and getting the momentum back to do what we can, as a Council, to continue to move Valemount in a positive direction. There is much to be done but by listening to the voice of the community I believe we can be successful.

I think we all recognize there are many issues facing our community, but housing is top of the list in most conversations. How much do we need? Where does 

it get built? Who funds it? What does the market look like after the TMEP project moves on? These will be the basis of many discussions moving forward. While this is an important issue, it can also be an opportunity to create affordable and sustainable housing stock in the community that supports all sectors including seniors, lower income citizens and staff housing. 

I am disappointed that we will not be having an election here in Valemount and that we will be tasked with appointing 2 councillors to fill the slate, but I am looking forward to another 4 years serving the residents of Valemount to the best of my abilities.