By Spencer Hall. Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, RMG
Councilwoman Blanchette chaired the November 14 public hearing and council meeting, which Mayor Torgerson attended via Zoom. She began by bringing the public hearing to order.
The village held the public hearing to give residents the opportunity to comment on Temporary Use Permit 2306, which would allow a mobile home to be parked and used as a residence at 1280 Juniper Street for an additional two years.
The new permit is a renewal of Temporary Use Permit 2107, which was approved by Council in December 2021. Valemount land planner Krista Etty told council that the first permit allowed the use of a mobile home as a residence for two years, adding that the village did not receive any complaints or concerns from neighboring properties at the time of the application or during the two years that the mobile home was located, although a single written application was received after the permit was first approved in October. Nearby property owner Rhondi Hurlbut thanked the village for the opportunity to consider her thoughts
“I understand why the temporary use permit was in effect when there was no available housing at all, but the decline in population has now allowed for some sales and rentals and I don’t want to see RVs as a permanent housing option, especially when some are very hardworking people has succeeded in providing our neighborhood with some very well-designed, beautiful housing options,” Hurlbut wrote.
There was no further feedback from the public, the applicant or council members.
The hearing was adjourned and the regular council meeting began at 7:05 p.m
Pictorial signs and lighting
The meeting began with a presentation to the council by Carson Jordan of Image Signs & Lighting – the company that would design the village’s new entrance sign.
Jordan told council he had reviewed previous meetings and wanted to solicit feedback and address design concerns.
A major concern to city council is traffic visibility between Highway 16 and the 5th Avenue intersection, and a single-post archway design previously submitted to city council would likely alleviate line-of-sight concerns. Jordan agreed.
Read more in this week’s issue on P8.
Council discussed a letter from the Okanagan Basin Water Board requesting the village’s assistance in calling on senior governments to take immediate action to prevent or minimize the impact of invasive mussels spreading into British Columbia
The board said the state of Idaho announced in September that invasive quagga mussels had been found in the Snake River, which flows into the Columbia River. The discovery was made in Twin Falls, about 17 hours from Valemount and 11 hours from the British Columbia border.
“If senior governments fail to act, local governments and First Nations in British Columbia will bear the brunt of managing and paying the costs of invasive mussel containment,” the board said in its letter.
According to the board, the mollusks could cost the province about $129 million each year in infrastructure, boat and marina maintenance, lost provincial profits and revenue, losses in home values and property taxes.
“These costs do not include the devastating impacts on fish – particularly Pacific salmon – and aquatic ecosystems in general. “Invasive mussels can create toxic algae blooms, contaminate beaches with razor-sharp mussels, clog water intakes and boat engines, and corrode concrete and metal in the water,” the committee’s letter said.
Measures the board believes the province should take include a temporary ban on entry of out-of-province watercraft into British Columbia until the extent of the infestation in the Columbia Basin can be determined, and the introduction of legislation requiring watercraft users would demand that standing water be emptied from their boats before transporting them on public roads.
Pearson said it was only a matter of time before the mussels found their way into Robson Valley waterways and called on council to send a letter of support from the Okanagan Basin Water Board. The motion was seconded by MacLean and passed by the council.
The council then reviewed a quarterly accounts payable report from Village Finance Director Lori McNee. In her report, McNee said all expenses, totaling just over $3.6 million from July to September 2023, remain within the village budget. Council voted to accept the report for information.
Building inspection report
According to Village Building Inspector Dean Schneider, the Village issued two building permits in September 2023 and collected $290. The permits were for alterations or repairs to a residential accessory building and an institutional building with an estimated construction value of $17,000.
Schneider says the village issued a building permit in October 2023 for a single-family home addition that was estimated to have a construction value of $10,000.
The Council received the report for information.
Enforcement of bylaws in October
Valemount Bylaw Enforcement Officer Clayton Gee told council in his report that community engagement remains the most successful method for managing most bylaw interactions in October 2023.
Gee said three complaints were received that led to the files being opened in October. Those complaints included an outdoor burning violation, a dangerous dog attack resulting in injury, and a loose dog complaint.
The law enforcement officer said he worked with the BCSPCA and the RCMP during the investigation into the dog attack.
“[The investigation] This led to the issuance of a notice of violation of the bylaw setting out the conditions for keeping a dangerous dog in the village. The file will be monitored for compliance,” Gee said in his report.
Gee said the bylaw received several public calls about bears in the area in October, which resulted in conservation officers being on site multiple times, including two full weekends, to monitor bear activity and take action if necessary.
Compliance was achieved on several dossiers, resulting in the closure of four dossiers. 22 dossiers were still open at the end of October and were carried over to November.
Seven properties will be monitored under the Good Neighbor Bylaw for hazard mitigation from tall grass, weeds and unsightliness. If there are five parking violations, the recipient of the violation must take action.
The Council received the report for information.
Temporary Use Permit 2306
After the public hearing, the council approved Temporary Use Permit 2306, which allows an RV to remain parked at 1280 Juniper Street and be used as a residence for an additional two years.
Pearson said while he doesn’t entirely disagree with Rhondi Hurlbut’s comments, the temporary use permits are still a value to the community.
“This process also allows people building new homes to live in a mobile home during construction,” Pearson said.
Torgerson noted that the applicant cannot reapply after the extended two-year permit expires in December 2025 because it is a temporary permit.
Budget report for the third quarter of 2023
The council then received the third quarterly budget report for the year, which showed all revenues and expenses were within the village’s budget.
The Village estimated total third-quarter sales of $20,751,790, but came in nearly $3 million short at $17,798,639. This appears to be primarily due to the village not receiving $1,673,094 in previously budgeted grants. The Goat reached out to the Village for clarification but did not receive a response at the time of publication.
However, of the $20,751,789 in expenses, the village only spent $15,193,890, leaving just over $5.5 million.
Directive No. 93, 2023 on Asset Retirement Obligations
Following the review, Council approved Asset Retirement Policy No. 93, which will change the way the Village accounts for the retirement of long-term fixed assets. The village will be required to account for and report on its asset repatriation obligations. The aim of the policy is to enable those who work with financial reports to identify information about municipal assets and what needs to be done to decommission them.
Village of Valemount Five-Year Financial Plan
Council then conducted first, second and third readings on Village Five-Year Financial Plan By-law No. 871, 2023 and Amending By-law No. 887, 2023.
In her report to council, McNee said changes to the 2023 five-year financial plan are necessary due to the village’s rising and falling expenses and revenues.
Significant changes listed in McNee’s report included a $540,000 increase in wastewater sales and a $350,000 increase in water sales, both of which will benefit the village’s reserves. The additional sales are related to the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline in the region.
Torgerson expressed his appreciation for McNee and her ability to offset the village’s expenses through grants and financial reserves.
No public comments were received and there were no on-camera conversations, so the meeting adjourned at 7:31 p.m