council stock photo
Village of Valemount office. /FILE PHOTO

By Abigail Popple, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, RMG

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

After adopting the meeting agenda and minutes from the March 12th meeting, Council heard a delegation.


Owner of Vancouver-based company Code Project Enterprise Ltd. David Balkanyi gave a presentation on the WindRing, which he said is a more affordable and attractive wind-harnessing technology than wind turbines. The WindRing has not yet been used in North America, and Balkanyi would like Valemount to be the first to install one. He previously pitched the WindRing to Council in February 2023.

Balkanyi did not provide specific numbers on the cost of the WindRing in his report. According to his delegation, three additional WindRings would have to be purchased by the Village should the first one prove successful.

Councillor Pete Pearson said the Village is not averse to trying new technologies, but he would be concerned whether there would be enough grant money to cover the installation of three other WindRings. Torgerson also wondered about the long-term cost of maintenance. Balkanyi said maintenance would be scheduled once every five years, or as needed. He added that he is looking into grants, such as the B.C. Air Access Program, to determine whether they could cover installation costs.

As the delegation was just for information, no decision regarding the WindRing was made. Torgerson said Balkanyi will continue to work with the Public Works department to see what a potential budget would look like. Council moved to receive the delegation.

Reading File

Councillors Pete Pearson and Hugo Mulyk said they would be interested in attending the annual general meeting of the North Central Local Government Association. Torgerson said he would attend if his schedule permits, and CAO Anne Yanciw said she is also on the fence about attending. Council moved to send Pearson and Mulyk to the meeting, and to send Torgerson and Yanciw if their schedules permit. 

Torgerson said the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George moved to bring a resolution about lobbying the Province for improved cellular infrastructure on Highway 16 to the Annual General Meeting of the Trans Canada Yellowhead Highway Association. The District also moved to support a resolution requesting that the Jasper National Park West Gate receive the same upgrades that the East gate received in 2019: an additional bypass lane and the reconstruction of ticketing kiosks.

In September, Valemount Council submitted a similar resolution regarding the West Gate to the Union of B.C. Municipalities. The resolution was considered too regional and instead forwarded to the North Central Local Government Association for consideration during the Spring 2024 convention.

Strategic Plan

Council created a strategic plan for their 2023-2027 terms in January 2023. Last month, Council completed a strategic priorities review to determine how much progress they had made in their goals, and see how Village staff could support the plan going forward.

Yanciw gave a presentation on the Village’s goals and progress based on the strategic plan. She said that within the plan there are 28 priority goals and 46 actions that Council can take to accomplish them over the next several years. She updated Council on the progress of each of these goals by labelling them as “ongoing,” “complete,” “in progress,” or “upcoming.” 

Ongoing goals are ones that have been accomplished but will require continuous work: for example, Council has appointed a Northern Health liaison, but since that person must stay in their role for a continuous period, the goal is “ongoing” as opposed to “complete.” Of Council’s 46 actionable goals, 25 are ongoing, according to a list that Yanciw sent to The Goat. Four have been completed: installing audio/video equipment in Council chambers, establishing a student council, collaborating with Trans Mountain on improving village infrastructure, and health supports. Nine priorities are still in progress, and eight are upcoming.

Torgerson thanked Yanciw and the rest of Village staff for their work on the strategic priorities review. 

Community Hall Lease Reduction

The Valemount Learning Society currently leases space from the Valemount Affordable Rentals Society, but the two-room space limits their capacity, Society President Korie Marshall wrote in a letter to Council. Given that the basement space within the Community Hall is now unoccupied due to the dissolution of the Valemount Children’s Activity Society, the Learning Society would like to move its operations there. 

However, the rent of $7/square foot per year – which works out to a little over $2700 a month – is too steep for the Society, Marshall wrote. In her letter, she asked Council to reduce the rent, though she did not include specific numbers.

Because he is married to Marshall, Torgerson recused himself from discussion of the issue. Councillor Hollie Blanchette led the meeting while he was away.

Pearson remarked that giving the Society a reduced rate may set a precedent for other organizations hoping to negotiate lower rents. He added that the Village and other organizations may have a need for the space. Mulyk agreed that consistency is important to ensure that the Village treats all organizations fairly. 

Council moved to send the matter back to staff to discuss internally and with the Society to determine the best use of the Community Hall basement going forward.

Accessibility Committee Appointments

The Village has been working to establish an accessibility committee to identify ways to make Valemount more accessible since November. The committee is to be comprised of one Indigenous representative, one person representing seniors, and two people who have a disability or support someone with a disability. 

Council moved to appoint Shanon Manahan, Derek McClure, Judy Holmin, and Sherry Tinsley to the committee for a two-year term.

The committee also requires a Council appointee. Pearson said he would like to join, but is concerned that given his many prior commitments, he may not have time to sit on the committee. He moved to name himself as an alternate to the committee, to substitute for the Council appointee should they be absent. Council carried his motion.

Councillor Hollie Blanchette asked how often the committee would meet. City Planner Krista Etty said it will meet once a month, or as needed, during working hours. Blanchette and Mulyk both said that the committee is important, but they would struggle to make enough time to commit to it fully. 

Torgerson moved to appoint himself as the Council’s primary member of the committee. The motion passed with all in favour.

Food Truck Permit

In 2021, David Grant, owner of food truck The Funky Goat, was approved to operate the truck in the lot at 1170 5th Avenue. Given that the three-year permit he was issued has now lapsed, he applied to operate for another three years at the same location. 

Council moved to give the permit initial approval. Pursuant to the Street Vendor bylaw, a public hearing will be held before Council considers final approval of the requested permit.

Dog Park

Council moved to approve moving forward with the construction of a village dog park. Read more about the park in this week’s issue.

Pump Track Ownership

Pump It Up, an ad hoc committee of Valemount and Area Recreation Development Association (VARDA), has been organizing to establish a pump track for bikes, skateboards, and other wheeled sports in the village. VARDA has requested that the Village take on ownership of the pump track, but at their February 26th meeting, Council moved to send the request back to staff to assess budgetary implications.

“Staff are supportive of the development of a pump track and the overall benefit it brings to the community,” reads the staff report. “Unfortunately, because of the small tax base within the Village, taking  this on as an asset would mean a significant tax increase to the residents compared to larger centres [with a pump track].”

Taking on the pump track as an asset would result in an 8.4 per cent tax increase, as opposed to a 2.7 per cent increase if VARDA were to lease the property. As such, staff recommended that VARDA lease the property, with the Village potentially contributing amenities like benches and garbage cans. Council moved to accept staff’s recommendation.

ReDi Grant Decisions

Council voted on the funding recommendations for the nine organizations that applied for funding through the Columbia Basin Trust’s Resident-Directed Grants. 

The Valemount Senior Citizens Housing Society, Robson Valley Spay and Neuter Society, Valemount Entertainment Society, Yellowhead Outdoor Recreation Association, and VARDA received funding for their respective projects. 

The Valemount Elementary School Parent Advisory Council, Valemount Curling Club, Valemount Secondary School Parent Advisory Council, and the Valemount Community Sport Days Association were denied their requests for funding.

Five Year Financial Plan Bylaw

To comply with the Local Government Act and Community Charter, local governments must adopt an annual financial plan before adopting tax rate bylaws by May 15th. The financial plan must include the current year and the next four fiscal years. 

Council moved to approve the first and second reading of the five-year financial plan, which suggests a 5.5 per cent tax increase. Public consultation will take place from April 4th to April 18th.

Building Bylaw

Council moved to give an updated version of the Village’s Building Bylaw first and second reading. The current bylaw was last amended in 2007, and the B.C. Building Code has undergone four revisions since then. The updated bylaw aligns with current provincial building practices based on the building code, and includes increased fees to reflect current construction values.

New Bylaw Dispute Fees

If a person disputes a bylaw violation notice and is unsuccessful in their dispute, they must pay the Village a fee to cover part of the costs of the dispute adjudication system. Council approved a motion to give first and second reading to a new amendment to the Bylaw Notice Enforcement and Dispute Adjudication Bylaw. The amendment raises the fees for violating a Building Bylaw to adjust for inflation, and adds new contraventions to reflect the updated Building Bylaw.

Fees and Charges

Council moved to give amendments to the Fees and Charges Bylaw first and second reading. The amendments adjust the fees for building permits and inspections to reflect current prices.

Public Comment

Shanon Manahan asked whether Council could reconsider its decision to deny the grant request of the Valemount Secondary School’s Parent Advisory Council. Torgerson said he would encourage Manahan to make an appointment with the Village’s grant writer to get feedback. He also said that the results of the surveys for the Resident-Directed Grants will be made public.

Isla Jackman also asked whether it would be possible for the Valemount Elementary School Parent Advisory Council to receive feedback. The elementary PAC has had a lot of momentum this year, she said, and because of high turnover in PAC membership it may be difficult to organize another grant application in future years. Torgerson again said that the Village grant writer could identify an efficient way to get funding. 

Jackman also asked if Council could overrule the CBT adjudication team’s recommendation on whether or not an organization should receive funding.

“We rely heavily on the volunteerism and expertise in that room to give us the best advice and recommendations moving forward,” said Torgerson. “We try not to [change their opinion].”

Jackman asked if Torgerson felt that the committee could have more community representation to represent a more diverse array of people. Torgerson said that the committee is always looking for applicants for future years.


At 8:10 p.m., Torgerson adjourned the regular meeting. Council proceeded to an in-camera meeting for consideration of one item per Section 90 (1)(d) of the Community Charter to discuss matters related to the security of the property of the municipality.