By Andrea Arnold

Prior to calling the Council meeting to order, Mayor Owen Torgerson highlighted that 60 years ago from the date, Dec 13, 2022, the Village of Valemount was incorporated as a municipality. 

Councillor Donnie MacLean was not present.

Simpcw First Nation – Request for Letter of Support 

Council moved to have the Village of Valemount provide a letter to the First Nations Major Project Coalition in support of an application to the Community Opportunities Readiness Program under funding Stream 1, for support to pursue economic opportunities for: Business case development for the Valemount Airport Expansion Project including an economic impact assessment (80% up to $250,000), and negotiation of partnership with the Village of Valemount (80% up to $250,000)

Valemount Ski Society 

Council agreed to have the Village of Valemount provide a letter to the Ski Society in support of their application to the Rural Economic Diversification and Infrastructure Program (REDIP) for funding to build a bridge across the McLennan River to access the future Community Ski Hill project.

Reading file

Three items were brought forward from the reading file. 

Councillor Pearson wondered if the letter of concern about parking along the Bigfoot trail was in reference to the north or south side of 5th Ave. The trail is designated to the north side of 5th Ave, so parking on the south side is permitted. Council passed a motion to have staff send a letter of clarification in response.

Councillor Pearson requested that council send a letter of thanks to the Minister of Energy, Mines, and Low Carbon Innovation. He also wants the letter to request clarity around the pricing structure of fueling stations regionally, with a focus on local. Council also asked that the letter Include a list of other prices of neighbouring community prices.

Council discussed who would like to RSVP to an invitation from the Simpcw Chief and Council. The invitation was for council members to attend a  community dinner to honour former Kikpi7 Shelly Loring. Mayor Torgerson and Councillor Pearson plan to attend, along with CAO Depenau Councillor Blanchette sends regrets with respect.

John Osadchuk Ball Diamond – Request from Dog Owners 

Following a detailed discussion, council agreed that the John Osadchuk Ball Diamond could be used as an off-leash space for dogs during seasons that sports are not taking place for this year as a test year. 

Northern Development Initiative Trust (NDIT) Internship Program  

Council directed staff to apply to the 2023 intake for the NDIT Local Government Internship Program.

“Challenges Facing Businesses and Non-profits” Petition 

Council received the petition titled “Challenges Facing Businesses and Non-profits.” The petition, with 51 lines of signatures from members of the community was received asking that the Village consider acting as a connector to bring organizations together to brainstorm solutions for the staffing and housing pressures facing the community. Mayor Torgerson brought up the possibility of support through a workshop. Councillor Pearson brought up the value of a workshop regarding what they can and cannot do as council before meeting with developers. CAO Eric Depenau will look into a workshop to help council better understand how they can partner with the undersigned in the future.

2023 Deputy Mayor Appointment Schedule 

The 2023 Deputy Mayor Appointment Schedule was approved by Council. The order of appointment is: 

Councillor Donnie Maclean – December 2022

Councillor Hugo Mulyk – January 2023

Councillor Pete Pearson – February 2023

Councillor Hollie Blanchette- March 2023

Councillor Donnie Maclean – April 2023

Councillor Hugo Mulyk – May 2023

Councillor Pete Pearson – June 2023

Councillor Hollie Blanchette – July 2023

Councillor Donnie MacLean – August 2023

Councillor Hugo Mulyk – September 2023

Councillor Pete Pearson – October 2023

Councillor Hollie Blanchette – November 2023

Councillor Donnie MacLean – December 2023

At 7:18pm, Mayor Torgerson moved to have the meeting shift to a Committee of the Whole to allow for better discussion of the following appointments.

1. Parcel Tax Roll Review Panel – Councillor Mulyk & Mayor Torgerson

2. Clean Air Task Force – Councillor Blanchette & Councillor McLean (to be confirmed)

3. Housing Committee – Councillor McLean (to be confirmed)

4. Columbia Basin Trust Community Initiatives and Affected Areas Programs (CIP/AAP) Committee – Councillor Mulyk

5. Prince George Treaty Advisory Committee – Councillor Torgerson

6. Columbia River Treaty local Government Committee – Councillor McLean

7. Columbia Basin Regional Advisory Committee (CBRAC) – Councillor McLean

8. Robson Valley Region Marketing Initiative Steering Committee – Mayor Torgerson

9. Trans Canada Yellowhead Highway Association – Councillor Pearson

10. Municipal Insurance Association (MIA) of BC – Mayor Torgerson & Alternate Councillor Pearson

11. Local Health Liaison (Northern Health) – Councillor Blanchette & Councillor Pearson

12. Simpcw First Nation Liaison – Mayor Torgerson

13. Valemount Entertainment Society – Councillor Mulyk

14. Southeastern BC Regional Connectivity Committee – Councillor Pearson & Mayor Torgerson  

Council moved to resume the regular Council meeting

Repeal of outdated Village Policies Recommendations 

Council voted to repeal the following five previously established policies. The issues addressed in these policies have been addressed in updated Village bylaws.

1. THAT Policy #32, Village Contributions to Community Activities

2. THAT Policy #46, Enforcement Officers for Animal Control

3. THAT Policy #47, Curbside Garbage Can Limit

4. THAT Policy #48, Defining Beauty Shop  

5. THAT Policy #53, Parking

2022 Third Quarterly Budget Report 

Council received the third quarterly budget report. All revenue and expenses are within the current budget with no issues of concern.

Internal Borrowing for the Purpose of Funding Lift Station Projects 

Council approved interfund borrowing of $1,000,000 from the General Statutory Reserves for the purpose of Funding the Sewer Lift Station Projects. CAO Depenau stated staff will look into the steps that need to be taken to ensure the funds are transferred correctly, and then repaid including the interest the money would have been making while in reserve.

Ministry of Transportation – B.C. Air Access Program (BCAAP) Application  

Council directed staff to apply to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI), B.C. Air Access Program in the amount up to $180,311. The Air Access Program is a cost”sharing program administered by the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI). The funding assists communities with improvements to their aviation facilities that can otherwise be difficult to make, especially for smaller communities. No specific plans for the money were discussed at this time.

Housing Incentive Program 

Council supports an application by village staff to the NDIT Northern Housing Incentive Program, and further, supports staff’s creation and administration of the ‘Dollars to the Door” Program, should the application be successful. If the application is successful, Valemount will be eligible to receive a grant of up to $10,000 per dwelling created in a multi”unit market housing project to a maximum contribution of $200,000. The program is administered by the Village of Valemount through an application process that private and not-for-profit developers apply to.

Canada Summer Jobs

Council directed staff to apply to the Canada Summer Jobs program, up to the maximum allowable amount, for wage subsidy for one Visitor Information Centre Counsellor.   

Bylaw Enforcement 

Council received the November 2022 Bylaw Enforcement Summary Report.

The following were contraventions reported in November:

Animal protection violation – 1

Business license bylaw – 1

Good neighbour bylaw – 4

Solid waste disposal – 8

Zoning bylaw – 3

Wood burning appliance bylaw -1

Development Variance Permits

Council approved Development Variance Permits for 1170 9th Avenue and 1471 8th Place to decrease the interior side setback for a principal building from 2m to 1.52m. 

The applicant for both of these permits had submitted an application for a building permit to place a manufactured home on the lot. Their site plan was submitted with the application. The site plan was approved as shown with their building permit and the building was placed on the lot as per the site plan. The setback of the manufactured home was an oversight both in the submission of the site plan as well as in the approval of the building permit by the village.

Municipal Grant Policy No. 5  

Council moved to defeat the motion to waive facility rental fees, instead using Municipal Grant Policy No. 5 as a mechanism to grant these amounts.The decision to defeat the motion with a vote of 3-1 came after much discussion. Councillor Pearson is concerned about the wording in the policy. He feels the requirements are overly complicated for the average user of the spaces. Councillor Blanchette pointed out that if the money is coming out of the same pot as grant money for organizations, then they should have the same request protocol. Not including the complicated paper trail. Following discussion, staff was directed to rework policy no. 5 and bring it back to council at a late January meeting with language focused on policy no. 12 which speaks to facility permitting and waiving of fees.

Credit Card/Fuel Card Program 

Council approved Policy No. 88, Credit Card/Fuel Card Program. The new policy will allow the Accounts Payable Clerk and the Public Works Superintendent be provided with village credit cards with a credit limit of $5,000 each, and the balance limit on the Director of Finance’s card be increased from $10,000 to $20,000. The amount of $20,000 is spread over the three cards.

Public Comment

Keesha Flavell spoke that she is against the variance for 1170 9th Ave. She feels it is ridiculous that you can do something not in accordance with bylaws and then ask for forgiveness later.  She says it sets up council for a lot of future issues. She doesn’t think it is right that anyone in town can do something on their property and then request the variance and everything will be ok.

James Card is the adjacent property owner to 1170 9th Ave. He submitted a letter of opposition that he hoped was read by council as it was not referenced during the meeting. He is frustrated because he is the one that deals with the consequences of the decision. He had submitted some alternate suggestions in his letter and is upset they seemed to be brushed off and not discussed. The Village made the mistake but the village isn’t who deals with the outcomes.

Rashmi Narayan addressed Council on the topic of the fee waiving topic. She said she supports the idea that staff and council are looking at waiving fees at every opportunity as it is a loss of income. Organizations can look to grants to help cover the costs of facility rental. The village could help encourage organizations to go that direction and budget in the rental fees.

Regarding the petition called Challenges Facing Businesses and Non-Profit, she appreciates that Council is taking time to look into the petition. She does not see the petition as a call to action by the village, more as a request to have the village work to bring parties together to brainstorm solutions. 

Notice to Proceed to In-Camera Meeting 

Council proceed to an In-Camera Council Meeting for consideration of one (1) item per Section 90 (1) (c) of the Community Charter to discuss matters related to: (c) labour relations or other employee relations.