By Spencer Hall, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, RMG
Councilor Hugo Mulyk chaired the first Valemount Council meeting of 2024, calling the meeting to order at 7 p.m.
Mayor Owen Togerson was not in attendance.
As there were no delegations, unfinished business, or correspondence for action, Council proceeded to discuss items in its reading file.
Berg Lake Trail
Councillor Pete Pearson began by expressing his delight that Berg Lake Trail reopened to the public for the winter after being closed for trail upgrades.
Repairs in the area stem from a flash flood that occurred in July 2021, taking out a bridge and requiring campers to evacuate.
Upgrades to the trail include trail realignments, the installation of a new suspension bridge, and a second bridge north of Kinney Lake Campground — named Hugo’s Bridge after Councillor Mulyk to commemorate his 29-year career with BC Parks — which was redesigned to withstand future flooding events.
BC Parks plans to close the trail north of Kinney Lake on April 30th to continue repairs and anticipates work will conclude in 2025.
Traffic Committee Terms of Reference
Council approved several amendments to the Traffic and Transportation Committee’s Terms of Reference.
The first amendment, requested by Village CAO Anne Yanciw, was a tweaking of language in the terms and references document regarding the committee’s composition.
In her report, Yanciw requested the committee description be changed from “The Task Force will be comprised of…” as there are members of the committee who belong to other organizations that the Village doesn’t have jurisdiction over, including the Ministry of Transportation and the BC Truckers Association
The description was then changed to “The Committee may be comprised of the following:” as the Village cannot force external organizations to participate.
The second amendment was to change the requirement of having three voting members of the public on the committee to two. Yanciw said the third member of the public currently on the committee is also an employee of the Village.
“A dual role (whether it be elected official, staff, other organization, or public) creates conditions for conflict of interest,” Yanciw said in her report.
Council also approved a reduced meeting schedule for the committee, meaning committee members will now meet once every two months, instead of monthly.
Yanciw said this is due to the amount of work required from Village staff to prepare for the meetings.
“The requirements for agenda and minutes preparation, meeting attendance and carrying out of tasks is creating an outsized staffing resource requirement. The staffing would be more manageable on a meeting schedule of every two or three months,” Yanciw said.
The amendments were moved by Councillor Pearson, seconded by Councillor Donnie MacLean.
Traffic Committee Work Plan
Nine recommendations regarding the committee’s 24-month working plan were then reviewed.
The first recommendation was that Council engage with the Ministry of Transportation to decrease the speed limit along Highway 5 to 60 km per hour, extend the no passing zone to include the area from the Best Western to Swift Creek Bridge and increase the number of speed limit signs in that area. The resolution was moved by Councilor Blanchette and seconded by Pearson.
Pearson said the committee received a reply from the Ministry stating it would not support a change in speed limit along the highway but that it would extend the no passing zone as the committee requested.
“We’re still looking for a letter from Council. We’re going to try and push a little further for
that speed reduction so that’s why this is still on there,” Pearson said.
The committee said the Ministry will be replacing speed signage along the Highway 5 corridor later this year. The new signage will include a new yellow diamond warning sign at the transition into the speed reduction heading towards Valemount..
The second recommendation was that council request a letter from the Trans Canada Yellowhead Highway Association in support of the reduced speed limit along Highway 5 between Best Western and Swift Creek Bridge. The recommendation was moved by Blanchette, seconded by Councilor Donnie MacLean and carried.
The third committee recommendation was that Council request direction from the Ministry of Transportation regarding potential solutions to improve the narrow turn onto Cranberry Lake Road at the Highway 5 intersection. The recommendation was moved by Pearson and seconded by Blanchette and carried.
“Since we made this recommendation, we did have a truck roll into that ditch because of that corner so I’m hoping we can forward some pictures [to the Ministry] from that to help our case,” Pearson said.
The fourth recommendation was that Council approve the Committee’s previous recommendation to create an active transportation route along Karas Drive, in principle. This was moved by MacLean and seconded by Pearson.
According to the Province, active transportation refers to any human-powered method of transportation. It can also include mobility aids, electric bikes, and electric kick scooters.
The committee also recommended the active transportation route be referred to the Village planner, Public Works, and Director of Finance for feedback and potential budget implications before final approval
Council approved — in principle — the committee’s recommendation to adjust traffic patterns on Swift Creek Road with the use of paint, high visibility poles and no posts — concrete dividers about seven feet long by two feet high. Changes along the road have not yet been determined. Council also approved a separate recommendation that the Swift Creek road traffic proposal be forwarded to the Village planner, Public Works, and Director of Finance.
The committee also recommended Council direct Village staff to look into parking safety along Karas Road and create a report of their findings, summarizing concerns and potential solutions.
Council then approved the committee’s 24-month work plan, which included the above recommendations.
Columbia Basin Trust ReDi Grant appointments
Council appointed Valemount residents Donna Hamilton and Kurien Thomas to the Columbia Basin Trust ReDi Grants Adjudication Committee, each for a two-year term.
“Welcome back to Kurien and welcome aboard Donna. I look forward to working with you both on that committee,” Mulyk said.
There were no bylaws, policies, or public comments.
As there was no in camera business, Mulyk adjourned the meeting at 7:14 p.m.