By Spencer Hall, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, RMG

Mayor Torgerson called the October 10th meeting to order at 7 p.m.

Entry sign
The meeting kicked off with council discussing the proposed entryway sign designs.
At its September 13th meeting, council instructed staff to engage further with Image Sign & Lighting to adjust the archway design in order to improve pedestrian and traffic sightlines.
Council directed staff to arrange a presentation with the proponent and moved towards a single pylon design on the southeast corner of 5th Avenue to mitigate traffic visibility concerns and remain in the project’s budget. Read the full story in this week’s issue on P10.

Youth Parliament
Council then reviewed a letter sent by the Registrar of the Youth Parliament of B.C. Alumni Society, Ambrose Young, who invited council to encourage local youth to sit as members at its 95th parliamentary session.
Pearson suggested forwarding the letter to Valemount Secondary School. He also moved that council cover the $425 cost for one eligible student to attend the session, which is slated to be held in December. He also suggested the Village approach the high school to restart its youth council.
Torgerson informed Pearson staff had already sent the letter to the school. Council then approved the grant.

Centennial Park Washrooms
Council reviewed a letter from Tourism Valemount inquiring if a plan is in place to have the self-cleaning washrooms in Centennial Park serviced after receiving complaints from the public around cleanliness, the interior being wet, lights shutting off while the washroom is in use, and facilities being out of service.
Village CAO Eric Depenau said staff’s review of the situation found that some complaints, such as the washroom lights shutting off come down to how a user is engaging with the facility and encouraged users to read all signage in and outside the facility.
Depenau said Village staff are aware of issues with the blower system not clearing the toilet seat of moisture.
“Some parts have arrived in Valemount and we’re working through that piece as well as winterizing one of the two stalls for the winter coming up. Last year it was closed throughout the season, this year we hope to have at least one up and running,” he said, adding staff will send a response to Tourism Valemount.

Freedom of Municipality
A notice of motion response from staff regarding a Freedom of the Municipality award was then received for information.
Freedom of the Municipality (sometimes referred to as Freedom of the City) awards a resident for outstanding achievements in the arts, business, humanities, politics, community service, sports, or professional endeavors.
At an August 2021 council meeting, staff were directed to find out if the Freedom of the Municipality was a proclamation ” which Valemount doesn’t typically issue at this time ” or a different type of recognition, like an award.
According to a staff report, the response was delayed because of organizational changes.
Staff determined Freedom of the Municipality should be considered an award and recommended the Village develop a policy to determine the criteria for the award and what those being recognized will receive.
Council directed staff to develop the policy and CAO Depenau said a draft should be complete later this year.

Bylaw enforcement
In his report, Valemount Bylaw Enforcement Officer Clayton Gee said community engagement remained the most successful way of handling most bylaw-related interactions in September 2023.
A total of 23 files remained open at the end of September, with four new complaints ” three dog at large infractions and one good neighbor violation.

Officer designation bylaw
Council adopted the Officer Designation and Delegation of Authority Bylaw No. 882, 2023, which aims to consolidate information already present in various employee contracts and job descriptions, inform council on what has been delegated to staff previously, and streamline Village operations.

Tax exemption bylaw
The Permissive Tax Exemption Bylaw No. 884, 2023 was also adopted and provides a 25 per cent tax exemption to the Royal Canadian Legion Branch #266, the Valemount Affordable Rentals Society, the Valemount Curling Club, the Valemount Learning Society, and the Valemount Lions Club.

Council remuneration
Council Remuneration Bylaw No. 884, 2023 was also adopted and provides the mayor and council a three per cent raise to account for inflation. The mayor’s pay will increase by $3.88 per day for a yearly difference of $1419.07 per year, bringing the 2024 salary to $23,250.95. Council members will see an additional $1.99 per day for an annual increase of $729.02, bringing their salary to $11,944.82 in 2024.

Utilities increase
Village of Valemount Fees and Charges Bylaw No. 869, 2023, amendment Bylaw No. 885, 2023 was given its first, second, and third readings and will result in a 5.5 per cent increase in solid waste rates, a seven per cent increase in water rates, and a eight per cent increase in sewer rates.
Council adopted Traffic Regulation Amendment Bylaw No. 886, 2023, which allows the Public Works Superintendent to authorize short term closures, removing the requirement of a council resolution.

Temporary residential structures
A report on Valemount Temporary Residential Structures Policy #83 was received for information. Staff said in the report the availability of housing has increased, but is still reported as low. The report also stated applications for RV temporary use permits are becoming less frequent. The policy was adopted in July of 2021 in response to a lack of available housing options and the increase in individuals and families living and working in the area.

Flexible Work Time
Council approved a staff recommendation that the Village update the Flexible Work Time Program Policy #75 to exclude municipal museum workers from the program. Staff said in its report frontline staff have a limited ability to take part in the program because the public needs consistent office hours to interact with the Village, adding museum staff should be an exempted group “due to the public facing nature of the position.”

Council Reports
In his council report, Mayor Torgerson said he spoke with Minister of Citizens Services Lisa Beare, who committed to having someone from the province to test internet speeds in communities, such as Valemount, that were deemed ineligible for the federal government’s Universal Broadband Fund.

No public comments were received. Council then moved to an in-camera meeting.