By Andrea Arnold
Mayor Owen Torgerson called the Valemount council meeting to order on Feb 28, 2023. Prior to addressing the agenda, he extended a Happy Birthday to his wife.
Council heard from Deputy Assessor Erin Smith presenting BC Assessment 2023 Assessment Roll Review and Highlights. Smith outlined how assessments are made and the process of appeal. She also covered where Valemount stands against the provincial average.
Wind Ring Proposal
The Village has received a proposal for the installation of a wind turbine variant, brand named WindRing, on municipal property and connected to the Village Office. Code Project Enterprise Ltd, a Village of Valemount business license holder, is asking for Council to consider the installation of a first‐in‐North‐America 10.5kW generating capacity WindRing adjacent to the Valemount Tourist Centre.
Council voted in favour of requesting further information on the proposal, including detailed costs and regulatory requirements prior to making a decision on whether or not to move forward. Councillor Pearson requested that the proponent also provide a delegation to be able to address questions from Council directly.
Council directed staff to apply for the Smart Renewables and Electrification Pathways Program – Indigenous Engagement Grants for up to $150,000 over three years, to support consultation activities between the Village of Valemount and the Simpcw First Nation. The money would cover activities that disseminate information to Indigenous organizations, activities directly related and attributable to Indigenous participation in dialogues for the sustainable and responsible development of natural resources, or outreach forums such as conferences, workshops or e‐forums.
Notice on title
Council directed the Corporate Officer as authorized by Section 57 of the community charter, to place a notice on title for the property located at 1144 6th Ave. This is as a result of the installation of a wood burning appliance within an accessory building and occupying a structure without an occupancy permit, contrary to both the BC Building Code, and village bylaws.
Following a lengthy discussion, Council also passed a motion to have staff determine where jurisdiction lies on the matter.
Council approved a grant to Sherry Tinsley in the amount of $318.15, to cover the cost of the Community Hall Rental for a 100th birthday celebration for Alice Olson. Councillor Pete Pearson explained that with the new grant procedure, there is no actual cash exchanged, it becomes a line item in finance. Mayor Torgerson clarified it as waiving fees without waiving fees.
Temporary Use Permit
Council gave initial approval for a two-year temporary use permit 23-02, to permit one recreational vehicle to be used as a residence at 1292 Fowler Place.
Council voted to receive the Columbia Basin Trust ReDi Grants Program Public Input Process for 2023 report. Public engagement for 2023 will be held online via a survey on the Village of Valemount’s online engagement platform, Civil Space and an in‐person public input engagement meeting was held March 5th 2023.
Council approved the adoption of Road Closure Bylaw No. 872, 2023 as presented. The plan for the Valemount Senior Citizens’ Housing Society’s proposed housing development includes the closure of a portion of the road just south of the high school. This road closure has been identified as a requirement for the subdivision of the land,
Councillor Pearson requested and received council support to attend the TransCanada Yellowhead Highway Association AGM in Edmonton on May 5th.
Councillor Pearson also presented a request brought forward by a local business regarding traffic patterns on Highway 16 through the park asking for an upgrade on the west park gate similar to what has been done on the east gate. The request stems from concerns regarding delays during peak season. In discussion, economic impact, environmental impact and traveller safety resulting from delays were presented. Councillor Pearson made the motion, read by Mayor Torgerson: Whereas, all commercial truck traffic that passes through the east gate of Jasper National Park also passes through the west gate of the park. And whereas Highways 16 and 5 the Yellowhead Highway, are the primary transportation corridors for commercial, tourism and local traffic, and the designated oversize route for industrial traffic movements. Therefore, be it resolved a letter be written to the Government of Canada, Parks Canada, requesting that the west gate of Jasper National Park be upgraded to be consistent with the east gate improvements, an additional kiosk lane and a bypass lane, that have recently been completed proving beneficial to all travellers.
Mayor Torgerson requested a per-diem (3 days total, no travel) for a meeting with Valemount, McBride, Carrier Lumber, Simpcw, Valemount Community Forest and Gilbert Smith Forest Products of Barriere to try to understand where the Province may be headed towards prior to the Province’s announcement regarding old growth forests. Mayor Torgerson also requested council’s support in joining a working group with the previously mentioned regional partners around trade and old growth management, and working with the Simpcw on a communications strategy. The group will be sending an open statement to Victoria along with Simpcw and the Village of McBride, working towards a balance in well managed old growth being integral to both the multiple economic sectors (forestry, backcountry tourism and recreation) and biodiversity, and how the Village will support Simpcw taking the lead on old growth management within their territory. Council agreed to support the request.
Council moved into an in-camera meeting for consideration of one item per section 90 (1) (k) of the community charter to discuss matters related to negotiations and related discussions respecting the proposed provision of a municipal service that are at their preliminary stages and that, in the view of council could reasonably be expected to harm the interests of the municipality if they were held in public.
Thank you to VCTV for providing recordings of the Valemount Council meetings.