By Spencer Hall

Mayor Owen Torgerson called the meeting to order at 7 p.m.

After adopting the minutes of the previous meeting, Torgerson thanked Councilor Hugo Mulyk for chairing the Jan 9th meeting.

There were no delegations, unfinished business, or correspondence for action so Council proceeded to discuss items in its reading file.

UBCM meeting follow-up from Minister of Public Safety 

Torgerson said the Village received a “favorable” response from Minister of Public Safety Mike Farnworth regarding consequences for out-of-province drivers who receive tickets along Highway 5.

In his letter to Torgerson, Farnworth thanked members of the delegation that met with him at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities convention in September 2023 to discuss vehicle incidents along Highway 5.

Before Torgerson and Valemount Council headed to the conference, Torgerson told The Goat that after engaging with RCMP, he learned 58 per cent of highway vehicle infractions in Valemount’s general catchment area are committed by drivers who reside out of province. He claimed there is no way through current legislation to recoup unpaid ticket costs.

Farnworth pointed out B.C., along with all other Canadian provinces and territories signed the Canadian Driver License agreement, which he said aims to improve highway safety in each jurisdiction by strengthening cooperation among all provinces and territories and harmonizing the issuing of driver licenses.

“I agree that the concern you raised warrants further examination and I am committed to see solutions put in place to ensure accountability for out-of-province drivers with infractions in B.C.,” Farnworth said in the letter, “At this time, the government is actively looking into the matter and exploring potential solutions.”

ESS Grant Application

Council then reviewed a request for decision from Village Grant Clerk Taggart Wilson.

In his request, Wilson recommended Council approve staff to apply for the Union of BC Municipalities Emergency Support Services grant for the amount of $10,870. The grant would be used for staff training, purchasing supplies, and building the community’s capacity in emergency preparedness.

The request was moved by Councilor Donnie MacLean and seconded by Mulyk before being carried by Council.

Read more about the potential ESS project in this week’s issue.

Tourism Valemount Municipal Donation Winterfest

Valemount Director of Finance Lori McNee submitted a request that Council approve a $280 municipal donation to Tourism Valemount to cover the cost of tent rentals for the upcoming Winterfest, slated for February 17th. She also recommended Council allow Tourism Valemount to use the Village picnic tables for the event.

In her request, McNee said Council approved $4,000 for municipal donations in its 2024 budget, which hadn’t yet been used yet.

Yanciw told Council the use of the Village’s large tent was unsuitable for the event because it can’t be staked to the ground properly during the winter.

“In the winter winds we get here, it’s too much of a risk to do that so we have come up with an alternative for Tourism Valemount we have three pop-up tents. We would like to offer those instead of the big tent,” Yanciw said.

Council approved both requests.

As there were no bylaws, policies, new business, or notices of motion, Council moved on to receive council reports.

BC Natural Resources Forum

Councilor MacLean said she attended the trade fair on the last day of the BC Natural Resources Forum, which was held in Prince George from January 16th to 18th. 

She said while there weren’t many announcements in the way of forestry, mining was a big focus this year’s forum.

“That was what a lot of the presentations were about and talking about such things as where is the money, where are the investors, and so it was interesting and I’m glad I went,” MacLean told Mayor and Council.

Councilor Pete Pearson went next with his report, stating he also attended the forum and that the forestry aspect of the forum was “underwhelming.”

“Much of the discussion was LNG (liquified natural gas), mining and mineral extraction. So, some very exciting projects in line with some of the announcements for alternative fuels with the LNG, the hydrogen plant, and the new diesel biofuel plant that’s being developed in Prince George,” Pearson said.

Pearson said he attended the forum banquet, where Premier Eby announced over $36 billion in BC Hydro infrastructure upgrades. 

“I could get no confirmation from anybody from BC Hydro that any money is going to be spent in our neck of the woods,” Pearson said.

There were no public comments after council reports. Torgerson adjourned the meeting at 7:19 p.m.

Thank you to VCTV for providing a recording of the meeting.