By Spencer Hall, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, RMG

The October 24th Valemount Council meeting began with Mayor Torgerson calling the meeting to order at 7 p.m. 

Berg Lake Trail 

Council discussed progress made on the Berg Lake Trail rebuild. A new roof on the Kinney Lake Campground picnic shelter and a new bridge ” named Hugo’s bridge after Councillor Hugo Mulyk, a former BC Parks ranger at Mt Robson ” has been installed. Torgerson congratulated Mulyk on having his 29-year legacy with BC Parks commemorated. According to a bulletin provided by BC Parks, the new bridge was realigned and reconstructed to withstand future floods or flows of debris. The old suspension bridge leading to Whitehorn Campground has been redesigned to be a steel fire-resilient structure and is anticipated to be installed at the end of October.

Jasper National Park West Gate Upgrade Torgerson then raised a letter from the Union of BC

Municipalities that he says regionalizes a resolution put forth by the Village requesting that the west gate of Jasper National Park be upgraded to be consistent with the recent upgrades made to the east gate of the park, which the Village says is proving beneficial to all travelers.

Upgrades to the east gate of the park include a new bypass lane and reconstructed ticketing kiosks. Parks Canada Communications Officer Michaela Campbell told the Goat back in 2018 there were no plans to upgrade the west gate leading to the B.C. border because there is typically less traffic going through that side. 

In its letter, UBCM said its policy is to forward all resolutions considered too regional to an appropriate area association. The union said it would forward the resolution to the North Central Local Government Association for consideration at its spring 2024 convention.

“I was a bit disappointed with the response. I think the Jasper National Park west gate is a provincial benefit rather than just a benefit to the region,” Torgerson said at the meeting.

He said the Village will reach out to have the resolution reassigned to UBCM.

Council Committee & Board Appointments

Council appointed Mayor Torgerson to the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George Board of Directors for a one-year term beginning on November 16th and appointed Blanchette as an alternate director for the same term.

Pearson was appointed to the Canoe Valley Recreation Centre Community Consultation Committee for a one-year term, while Blanchette was appointed to the Valemount and District Fire and Rescue Community Consultation Committee for a term of one year. Mayor Torgerson was appointed to sit on the board of directors for the Valemount and Area Recreation Association for one year.

Administrative Appointments

KPMG International Limited was approved by council as the Village’s auditor for 2024 and Urban Systems was selected as Valemount’s 2024 consulting engineer.

Pump Track and Dog Park

Council received a report from staff recommending the Village explore the undeveloped portion of John Osadchuk Park as the location for the proposed pump track.

In the report, Krista Etty, Land Use Planner with the Village said staff have since met with members of the VARDA committee to discuss project needs and possible locations, adding previous input from residents have also highlighted the need for a dog park in Valemount.

Etty said the undeveloped portion of John Osadchuk Park is an ideal spot for the pump track for several reasons. 

Traffic & Transportation Committee

The Valemount Traffic and Transportation Committee ” a select committee of council formed in part to address parking and traffic flow issues along Highway 5 and frontage roads ” submitted a request that Council write a letter to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) in support of the Committee’s proposal to lower the speed limit along Highway 5 through Valemount from 70 km/hr to 60 km/hr. The committee also proposed the ministry implement a no passing zone in the area. Council approved the request and will write a letter of support to MOTI. 

Youth Parliament

At its October 10th meeting, council approved a resolution to sponsor one eligible student in the amount of $425, to attend the 2023 BC Youth Parliament. According to a staff report, when staff contacted Valemount Secondary School, they were informed more than one student would be applying to attend. 

“Students will be applying for additional sponsorship to assist with the costs and therefore an exact amount that students will require, as a top up to cover the costs, is not known at this time,” said Director of Finance Lori McNee in her report to council.

McNee added council allocated $5000 in its 2023 budget to go towards student council initiatives, which she said has not been used since it was set aside. Council repealed its previous resolution and put forth a new resolution for the Village to use a total of up to $2000 from the student council initiatives budget to sponsor all eligible students attending the 2023 Youth Parliament, to be distributed equally among the students.

Temporary Use Permit

Council approved a renewal of a temporary use permit for 1280 Juniper Street, which allows the applicant to use an RV as a temporary residence for another two years. The initial permit was approved in December 2021 for a period of two years and allowed the applicant to apply one time for renewal at the end of the term.

Village of Valemount Fees and Charges amendment bylaw No. 885, 2023

After giving the Village of Valemount Fees and Charges Bylaw No. 869, 2023, amendment bylaw No. 885, 2023 is first, second, and third readings at its October 10th meeting, council adopted the bylaw on October 24th.

Once the bylaw goes into effect in January 2024, residents can expect to see 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 in 2024. Director of Finance with the Village of Valemount, Lori McNee said the increases are necessary to ensure the long- term sustainability of Village infrastructure.

No public comments were received and there was no in camera business, so the meeting was adjourned.”