By Andrea Arnold
Mayor Owen Torgerson called the Valemount Council meeting to order.
The public hearing was called to order in order to discuss the temporary use permit 23-05 (renewal of TUP 21-03) for a temporary residence in an RV. The site has had an RV in place since 2021. Although the unit has changed, the location and services provided have remained the same. No concerns have been brought to the attention of staff in the time since 2021.
No letters were submitted to the village, and no comments were presented by members of the public, the proponent or by council during the meeting, so the public hearing was adjourned.
Mayor Torgerson began the regular meeting by extending thoughts and well wishes to those who are directly impacted by wildfires at this time.
Sean Kelly presented Project Pump it Up on behalf of VARDA. He said they are exploring the feasibility of having an all-wheels skills park and pump track within the village, to complement the existing infrastructure. He explained the community dynamic that grows and fosters more riders. See full story on page 14.
Food Security programs
Korie Marshall presented information about the Valemount Learning Society’s food security programs.
She began by thanking the Council and staff for their ongoing support of the farmers market. The Learning Society took over the Farmers Market in 2021. Marshall has worked as the manager for the summer of 2023. She commented that the Village has provided the space, electricity as well as allowed them to place a storage shed on the property. The market’s “Make it, Bake it, Grow it,” mantra allows another way for locals, visitors and other vendors to support locals. The nutrition coupon from BC Farmers Markets have been a huge hit with seniors and low-income families. They have 50 spots this year, mostly being sponsored by Columbia Basin Trust.
In June they participated in an economic impact study on farmers markets in BC. It showed the estimated financial benefits of the Valemount Farmers Market, forecasting an annual economic benefit to the community of $358,600. Visitors spend an average of $35 per visit to the market and 43 percent of visitors identify as tourists or day trippers to Valemount. Some 61 percent say they attend the market regularly.
Village Greens started with the purchase of a hydroponic growing system built inside a 40-foot container in 2021 with funding for NDIT. This system allows them to grow leafy greens year round. People can pick up their choice of leafy weekly greens on Tuesday at the garage at 1295 Gordon Rd (Juniper square apartments). They provide greens to several local restaurants, and through the farmers market. Surplus product is donated to Meals on Wheels, Farm Free Food Stand through RVCS and the school food programs. They provide fresh locally grown greens harvested weekly.
Marshall invited Council and staff the opportunity to come visit the growing container in the industrial park.
Marshall says food security refers to having reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable nutritious food. They feel that through the Village Greens and the Farmers Market they are providing rough access to fresh, local, nutritious food at an affordable price.
Councillor Pearson commented on the Village Greens programs. He had taken delivery of a bag of greens from the program prior to the meeting. He has already visited the grow site, and was amazed at how much product can come out of a 40-foot container.
Councillor Mulyk was not at all surprised to see the numbers on Marshall’s report. He said he has not spoken to anyone where this subject was not uppermost. He thinks everyone is thinking about food security and wanted to applaud the efforts of the Valemount Learning Society’s Food Security Programs.
Pump track and skills park
Due to his involvement, Mayor Torgerson recused himself from the following motion. Council agreed to consider contributing Village staff time to explore possible locations for the proposed skills park and pump track project through a formal commitment and membership on the committee. Prior to the vote, Councillor Pete Pearson wanted clarification that the work asked of staff would not be too much to ask. CAO Eric Depenau assured them that it would not be, and that staff involvement was encouraged as it is a matter of public land use.
Building inspection report
Council received the Building Inspection report and permit values for June and July 2023.
ESTIMATED CONSTRUCTION VALUES – June
Building Permits: $ 13,000
Total: $ 13,000. This total reflects an alteration/addition to a dwelling and a new deck.
PERMIT FEES COLLECTED – June
Building Permits: two issued totalling $266
ESTIMATED CONSTRUCTION VALUES – July
Building Permits: $412,000
This total reflects 1 new modular “container home” and a new deck.
PERMIT FEES COLLECTED – July
Building Permits: two issued totalling $308
Council received bylaw enforcement summary report for July 2023. The report showed 23 new complaints resulting in files were received by the bylaw officer. Compliance on several previously opened files has been reached resulting in 17 files being closed. The new files were the following violations: three animal bylaw violations, 15 good neighbour violations, one noise control complaint, one open air burning event, one solid waste collection violation, one traffic regulations contravention and one wood burning appliance regulation violation.
Council received the 2023 January-June Quarterly Budget Report. The report showed that all revenues and expenses are within the current budget with no issues of concern. There were a few minor discrepancies listed. The revenue showed an increase due to increased water and sewer sales (from the Trans Mountain Expansion project), airport fuel sales and expenses (wildfires), permits (mostly the seniors housing development) and business licenses and bylaw fines (there’s a new full-time bylaw officer). Expenses showed some increase as well due to a software company changeover, building inspector professional development (a portion to be paid by RDFFG) and an error in the original budget line for sewer collection.
Mayor Torgerson recused himself as a member of the Marina Association prior to the motion. Council approved a grant in the amount of $250 to the Valemount Marina Association to contribute to prizes, food and trophy sponsorship for their 42nd annual fishing derby.
Council approved several property-owning non-profit organizations a tax exemption for the 2023 tax year. Mayor Torgerson made a motion to consider the five organizations as a block.
Councillor McLean made a motion to grant 25 percent, the same as last year. The motion was carried, granting the following organizations each a 25 per cent tax exemption for the 2023 tax year: Royal Canadian Legion Branch #266, Valemount Affordable Rentals Society,
Valemount Curling Club, Valemount Learning Society and the Valemount Lions Club.
Council approved the increase of the maximum height of an accessory building to 7.01m (23ft) for development variance permit 20-01 for 1145 Canoe View Place.
Council approved development variance permit 23-02 for 1100 14th to decrease the minimum width of a principal building from 4.75m to 4.27m and to increase the maximum age of a mobile home from 20 years to 28 years. A letter was received by the village prior to the meeting in favor of this change.
Council approved Temporary Use Permit 20-05 to permit one RV to be used as a residence at 1945 Cranberry Place for a period of three years. This request is a renewal of TUP-21-03
Council adopted as presented the Procedure Bylaw No. 834,2020 amendment bylaw No 878, 2023 proposing changes to the regulations regarding electronic meeting attendance. This amendment will remove restrictions allowing attendance to in-camera sessions where a quorum may not have otherwise been achieved.
Council gave Officer Designation and Delegation of Authority Bylaw No 882, 2023 first and second reading. This bylaw is intended to result in faster decision making and improved responsiveness of administration, more effective use of time and resources and flexibility in meeting scheduling, including fewer special meetings. Council also moved to schedule a Committee of the whole meeting before the third reading of the bylaw, if they feel further discussion or clarification is required.
Rashmi Naryan commented that she thinks it is great to see the growth of the Farmers Market, and she believes that is because there is a paid individual overseeing it. She was involved in starting the market when she first moved to the area in the early 2000, and there were not enough vendors. The market allows more of a highlight on buying local products. She also spoke about Sean Kelly’s presentation. She said she thinks it’s a great project because it is more accessible, more affordable, and in town. As the track could result in more direct interaction between users and ages than the bike trails, she sees it as a great community builder. Lastly, she commented on the Aug 3 special meeting item regarding the housing accelerated fund grant. She sees it as an opportunity to visit what the community’s priorities are, review the housing assessment from last year, and look in the direction to fill in the gaps in community housing. Mayor Torgerson confirmed that the submission for the grant was completed before the deadline.
There were no in camera items to address so the meeting was adjourned.
Thank you to Valemount TV for providing the recording of the meeting.