Village of Valemount Council News and Highlights - Nov 2 2017 issue

Dianne St. Jean
Village of Valemount Council News and Highlights - Nov 2 2017 issue

The regularly scheduled meeting for the Village of Valemount was held on October 24.

Public Hearing:
Final approval was given for the Funky Goat Eatery to operate at 1170 - 5th Ave. for up to three years. Owner Dave Grant had requested to move locations of his mobile eatery from the corner of 5th Avenue and Cedar Street eastward as the parking lot he was using there is now being used for IDA Pharmacy’s new location.

Royal Canadian Legion Branch 266
To kick off the national poppy campaign RCL President Pete Pearson presented the first poppy to Mayor Jeannette Townsend. Members of Council and Staff that were present also received a poppy.

Correspondence for Action:
BC Natural Resource Forum
Mayor Townsend will be attending the BC Natural Resource Forum in Prince George in January 2018, as she will already be in the area to attend a RDFFG meeting.

Community Christmas Tree
A motion was made and passed to approve the requests from the Christmas Tree Committee, and that the committee and the Valemount Community Forest be responsible for all aspects of the installation and removal of the Christmas Tree, signs, decorations, etc under the supervision of Public Works.

Administrative Reports:
Utility Rates
Director of Finance (DOF) Lori McNee gave a presentation on Utility Rates increases. After the presentation, a motion was made and passed for rates to increase as follows: Water and sewer rates will go up by 9.5% for nine years, then 3% per year afterward, and Solid Waste rates will increase by 3%. The decision was based on a study presented by FCS group in 2016 on costs associated with water and their recommendations. The presentation provided a detailed breakdown of costs related to all utilities, including basic operating costs which includes wages, training, certification, permits, operational systems and maintenance, and budgeting for eventual replacement of assets. “The main thing we want to prevent is infrastructure failure from happening,” said McNee. She also pointed out that water rates have not increased since 2014, and sewer not since 2011, so the 9.5% is necessary in order for their reserves to catch up in order to be able to cover increasing expenses.
CAO Davey commented that the proposed increases in 2018 & 2019 will simply maintain current service levels. Reserves are used for future infrastructure maintenance and replacement. They also need the reserves for studies that would make them “grant ready”; and even with eligible grants, the Village would be responsible to cover 25-33 % minimum contribution. So, for example, a $1 million lift station would require a Village contribution of $330,000.
DOF McNee also stated that, in comparison with other residential customer bills such as hydro, car and home insurance, cell phone, TV and internet, the utilities rates are lower in terms of cost breakdown to consumers, also that Valemount’s rates are lower on average in comparison to other municipalities across the province.
In response to comments that rates were not as high years ago, McNee commented that expenses are much greater now, with the requirements of constant training, wages, chemicals, parts, etc. and the fact that the Village simply has much more infrastructure to maintain than before. A good build up of reserves is also much less expensive than having to take out loans to pay for replacements. The full presentation and breakdown of costs is available for viewing under the Village’s published Minutes and Agendas.

Valemount Glacier Destination Resort Progress Report
A report on the progress on the VGD resort submitted by Tommaso Oberti was received by Council. The report outlined design and pre-construction planning, phasing updates as well as operational planning. Primarily the report discusses progress or alterations to plans on lifts, various buildings and infrastructure including commercial buildings, power plant, Glacier Lodge condominiums and Premier Lodge Hotel; research and planning for low-energy building systems including natural gas-powered building cooling and heating systems; initial planning for the mountaintop resort, ski patrol building, Mt. Meighan mountaintop refuge and other items including the cost of a bike park, zip line and other summer mountain activities.
As for Phasing Updates, the report states that they are working on an “updated lift and run phasing, including adding the McLennan Glacier (highlight of the project) to the opening phase, permitting summer skiing and world-class sightseeing from the beginning, resulting in significant pro forma revisions.”
The full list, which is extensive, can be found under the published agenda for Oct. 24.

Columbia Basin Trust Housing Initiatives
A motion was passed to invite Mr. Mark Brunton, Manager of the Columbia Basin Trust Housing Initiatives, to meet with Council to present the Housing Initiatives Strategic Framework 2016/17-2019/2020 developed by CBT.

Proposed Airport Expansion and Relocation of VGDR Access Road
A motion was passed for Council to support the future expansion of the Valemount Airport and the relocation of the proposed access road to accommodate the potential expansion, and that staff be directed to compose a letter to the RDFFG Board of Directors requesting a letter of support for both the Valemount Airport Expansion and the relocation of the access road.

Quarterly Budget
The 2017 Quarterly Budget Report (January - September) was received for information.

The next Council meeting will be held on November 14, 2017.