council stock photo
Village of Valemount office. /FILE PHOTO

By Abigail Popple, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, RMG

Mayor Owen Torgerson called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.

Council approved the minutes of the February 27th regular Council meeting, as well as the minutes of the special Council meeting held on February 29th.


Teria Penner, BC assessment’s Deputy Assessor for the North Central region, gave a presentation to explain property assessments in Valemount. The assessed value of a property is used to determine how much one must pay in property taxes, but an increased property value does not necessarily mean taxes will go up, Penner said. Taxes will likely increase if the value change is higher than the average change in the village for that property category; taxes likely will not change or will decrease if the change is lower than average.

In Valemount, the assessed value of single family residential homes decreased by 3.9 per cent from July 2022 to July 2023, whereas commercial properties increased by 9.3 per cent. Overall, there was a .08 per cent increase in the value of the property roll. 

The total value of new construction in Valemount has dropped 57 per cent compared to the 2023 assessment. While this may seem alarming, Penner said, it is not atypical for small municipalities to see the value of new construction fluctuate dramatically. She attributes the decrease to zoning changes introduced in 2023 raising the value of some properties, while no such changes were made in 2024.

“So, we are seeing a decrease comparatively, but it is important to note that we did see just over a three million increase to the assessment role in non-market change through new construction,” Penner said.

With no other delegations or unfinished business, Council moved on to correspondence for action.

Connectivity Committee Memorandum of Understanding

The Southeastern BC Regional Connectivity Committee, which advocates for high-speed internet access throughout the Columbia Basin, has been active since 2013. As its previous memorandum of understanding expired on October 31st, the Committee had its members sign a new one. The new memorandum will be in effect until October 31st, 2027. It requires its members to meet monthly and review progress on its strategic plans, and conduct an annual assessment of the state of connectivity in the region, among other things.

Council passed the motion to sign the memorandum.

Residents benefitted from Farmers’ Market

In a letter to Council, the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets shared that Valemount residents redeemed $18,360 at the Valemount Farmers’ Market thanks to the association’s Nutrition Coupon Program. Councillor Donnie MacLean moved to send a letter of thanks to Minister of Health Adrian Dix. MacLean’s motion carried with all in favour. MacLean also congratulated Torgerson on his appointment as vice-chair of the Columbia Basin Trust Board.

Kinbasket water levels

Torgerson commented on the Upper Columbia Reservoir Update included in the reading file. In February, the water level of the Kinbasket reservoir did not have notable decreases from week to week.

“Expect the Kinbasket just to not do a lot this year in terms of water elevation increases or decreases, or at least not major ones.”

Invasive Mussels

In November, Council sent a letter to the Ministry of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship and the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy regarding invasive mussels. The letter supported the Okanagan Basin Water Board’s calls to action, which requested that the Province establish “pull-the-plug” legislation, which would require watercraft owners to remove their drain plug before transporting their vessels on public roads. It also requested that the Province commit more funding and recruit more staff to the Invasive Mussel Defence Program, among other things. The letter was prompted by the discovery of quagga mussels, an invasive species, in Idaho’s Snake River – just 11 hours from the B.C. border.

Nathan Cullen of the Ministry of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship and George Heyman of the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy sent a response to Torgerson on February 23rd. They said that pull-the-plug legislation is under consideration as the current Wildlife Act is under review, and encouraged recommendations be sent to [email protected]. They said that financial support to the Invasive Mussel Defence Program will be reduced in 2024, as several partners – including the federal government – have notified the Province that they will be contributing less money.

“We hear and appreciate your call for additional, secure resourcing,” the letter reads. “We also encourage you to share your expectations directly with the Federal Government, given there are accountabilities in both governments.”

Councillor Pearson said he appreciated the Province’s response. Torgerson said that there are no further updates about the Snake River infestation at this time, but hopes that more information will become available soon.

New Corporate Officer

Carleena Shepherd, who was appointed as the Village’s Deputy Corporate Officer in 2018, has been functionally serving as the Corporate Officer for several years. The duties of the Corporate Officer have previously been combined with those of the CAO, but Shepherd has been filling the duties of the Corporate Officer since her appointment, she told The Goat in a follow-up email. In light of that, Council passed a motion to officially name Shepherd as the Corporate Officer. Councillor MacLean said that Council is very pleased to appoint Shepherd to the role. The motion passed with all in favour.

FireSmart funding application

Council passed a motion approving staff to apply to a grant that funds wildfire preparedness initiatives. Administered by the Union of B.C. Municipalities, the FireSmart Community Funding and Supports grant would allow the Village to hire a local FireSmart Coordinator to improve Valemount’s wildfire preparedness. Valemount qualifies for a maximum of $200K per year over a two-year period.

Councillor Pearson said the grant is an opportunity to move forward in wildfire preparedness efforts, especially in light of the previous Council meeting where resident Dennis Nordli raised concerns about evacuation procedures for seniors.

The motion carried with all in favour.

Valemount Bakery Building Permit

Located at 1020 Main Street, Valemount Bakery — otherwise known as Valemount Swiss Bakery —  applied for a permit to add a second storey to the building and use compacted soil and crushed rock as a parking surface, rather than pavement. The request required an amendment to Section 3.8.1 of the Zoning Bylaw, which states that parking areas shall have a hard paved surface. 

Council approved the request with all in favour.

Public Notice Bylaw

According to CAO Anne Yanciw, the Village is looking to adopt a Public Notice Bylaw. Currently, the Village follows default requirements for public notice, which requires publishing notices in a newspaper once a week for two consecutive weeks.

To comply with provincial guidelines, a public notice bylaw must include two methods of notice for events like public meetings, elections, and public hearings – for example, publishing a notice in the local newspaper as well as on the local government’s Facebook page. These methods must be different from “public notice posting places,” which are additional places where notices may be posted that are identified in a government’s municipal procedure bylaw. 

Given that the Village’s website was identified as a public notice posting place in its Council Procedure Bylaw, the Village could not have used the website as one of its two methods of notice, Yanciw told The Goat. Council passed an amendment to the Council Procedure Bylaw to change the definition of a public notice posting place. The amendment allows the Village website to count as one of its methods of notice.   


At 7:42, Torgerson adjourned the regular meeting and gave notice of an in-camera session to discuss matters related to the security of the property of the municipality.