By Andrea Arnold

On March 8, 2022, the Valemount council meeting was opened by Mayor Owen Torgerson. Councilor Gee was not present.

Berg Lake Trail Update
Representatives from BC Parks presented the Berg Lake Trail reconstruction plan to council. Elliot Ingles, Ed Hoffman and Peter Goetz were on hand to speak on the matter. Hoffman presented a slideshow illustrating with photos and diagrams, some of the damage to the trail during last year’s flooding. He explained that they are certain that the waterways have not settled into new beds. The plan is to go in and remove whatever infrastructure they can along the lower part of the trail, then wait to build or reinstall, until they can see what the water is doing when runoff is peaking this year. They understand that the trail is a major source of tourism for Valemount and McBride, and hope people will use this time to explore other trails and experiences in the area.

Application for support from the housing company for the elderly
Councilors Pearson and McLean recused themselves as members of the company. Due to their absence, quorum was not met and the question of supporting the Valemount Senior Citizens Housing Society in their application for funding to subsidize housing and services for the elderly in Valemount was tabled.

Building inspection report
Council received the building inspection report for January and February 2022.

Estimated construction values:
Building permit – $10,000
New solid fuel appliances – $6,000
Total – $16,000
Permit fees collected
Building – $124.00
New solid fuel appliances – $130.00
Total $254.00
Permit issues
Building – 1
New solid fuel appliances – 1
Estimated construction values
Building permit – $897,000
Total – $897,000 This amount reflects major upgrades to Golden Years Lodge.
Permit fees collected
Building – $3814.00
Total – $3814.00
Permits issued
Building – 2

Settlement Report
Council approved the February 2022 Bylaw Enforcement Summary Report. In February, the bylaw responded to three animal control violations and one zoning bylaw violation.

BC New Spaces Child Care
Councilor Blanchette withdrew before council approved the security deposit for the 2021 Development Permit – Daycare and Affordable Housing Project, to be paid in two installments. $478,744 to be paid by BC Housing prior to permit issuance and $239,372 to be paid from Childcare BC New Spaces funding upon release of the second cash advance. The first advance is for engineering and construction, leaving no funds available for the security deposit required by the Village. The Council has agreed that the filing may be delayed until the second part of the funding arrives.

Budget items
The Board approved the following line items for fiscal year 2022.
1. Development Fee By-law Enhancement $55,000 – these funds would help ensure the village has enough money to meet the demands of infrastructure growth.
2. Garbage Truck Replacement $150,000 – Current truck is over nine years old and idle time has worn it down faster than driving time. The rescue truck is over 30 years old and will no longer be certified for use after December 31, 2022. The board decided that staff would consider renting a truck as an option.
3. Partial reconstruction of entrance sign $100,000 – Sign needs to be replaced due to rotting wood. Work has been done in recent years to keep it in place, but its life is coming to an end. The council made the decision to explore new signage options in the hope that a more durable and durable material could be used, and to ensure that the traffic blind spot caused by the base of the sign was removed if a new panel is installed.
4. Airport Crack Sealing $30,000 – Sealing will help extend the life of asphalt and provide a safe environment for aircraft. Staff will apply for the BC Air Access Grant which may cover the costs, but if the application is not successful, the project must still be completed.
5. Sealing Cracks in Highway $50,000 – Sealing cracks on 5th Avenue and other locations as needed will help extend the life of the pavement.
6. Road Repairs $100,000 – A cost effective option to help prevent further damage and pavement erosion. Patching to be completed on Karas/5th, 5th/Swift Creek, 6th/Ash, 8th/Ash and other areas as required.
7. Municipal Building Furnace/Air Conditioning Replacement $40,000 – Requires replacement vs ongoing repairs to be cost effective.
8. Community Hall Generator $32,550 – The amount will be combined with a grant from the Columbia Basin Trust to cover the total project cost of $162,750.
9. Municipal Hall Generator $150,000 – This is in addition to the $100,000 already approved by Council. If the final cost is less than $250,000, the excess will be donated to the grant fund.
10. Municipal Hall Security Upgrades $40,000 – This request follows several major security breaches in other municipalities across the province according to the staff report. Upgrades will include a new office with security plexiglass (moved so that the administrative person has direct access to an escape route, security cameras and new fire and safety glass, on the main entrance door
11. $3,500 Woodstove Trade-In Program – This is the last year for the Climate Action Income Incentive Program. Money from this fund will help cover the costs of the woodstove exchange program. The cost of wood burning replacements has recently increased with the loss of WETT inspection services in the valley.
12. Water Pumping Station High Pressure Pump $70,000 – Ongoing maintenance and repairs.
13. Water Treatment Plant Valves $30,000 – Ongoing maintenance and repairs.
14. Swift Creek Restoration $253,000 – This work will shield the Apex site to prevent further erosion, possible flooding and damage to the Valemount intake site.
15. Sewage Treatment Plant Clarifier Rebuild $40,000 – The 40 year old system is in need of major rebuilding.
16. Lift station pumps $50,000 – Ongoing maintenance and repairs.
17. Grouting Sewer Lines $30,000 – Follow up on previous camera work which showed areas along sewer lines that need repair.
18. Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition Upgrades $30,000 – This system allows Public Works personnel to monitor water and sewer systems. The money would allow for further training of POW staff and to provide immediate assistance in an emergency.

Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) – Community Initiatives and Affected Areas Programs (CIP/AAP) Adjudication Committee Member Vacancy
The Board approved the request of the Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) – Community Initiatives and Affected Areas Programs (CIP/AAP) Adjudication Committee Member Vacancy to continue through 2022 with five community members, and the amended terms of reference for the committee, in keeping the number of members flexible indicating an “until” number. Councilor Blanchette reminded that the candidates for the consultation are online to vote.

Exemption permit
Council has given initial approval to proposed Development Permit 22-02 for 1100 Main Street – The Lions Hall, to reduce the minimum setback from 1m to 0m to allow for a roof overhang. Increasing the size of the overhang would cover the side entrance and the sidewalk. Mayor Torgerson requested that information be received from the applicant regarding the possibility of snow stops.

Public Comment
Rashmi Narayan spoke on the motion which was tabled due to lack of quorum. She invited Council to the Senior Society Open Day on March 10. Additionally, she suggested that there could be an option for a letter of support to be issued by village staff without her having to come back to Council, due to a tight deadline.

Michael Peters
British Columbia Parks Plan. As a resident and member of the media, he has been trying since the flood to gather more information and has received very little information from BC Parks as he tries to report on the situation. In his opinion, it is not just a network of trails. It is a source of income for the community. It’s a world-class destination that we won’t be able to market for several years. He asked the Council to push for resources and action.

Council proposed to go into closed session for the consideration of an item pursuant to Article 90 (1) (c) of the Community Charter to discuss matters relating to labor relations or other relations with employees.