Village of Valemount Council News & Highlights Nov 28/17

Dianne St. Jean

The regular meeting of Council was held on Nov. 28, 2017. 

Vancouver delegation presents opposition to Kinder Morgan pipeline 

Village of Valemount Council News & Highlights Nov 28/17
After the adoption of the Agenda and Previous Minutes, the first item on the Agenda was a delegation by Peter McCartney, Climate Campaigner of the Wilderness Committee in Vancouver.

The purpose of the delegation was to express concerns over the construction and operation of the Kinder Morgan pipeline, to answer questions Village Council may have about the timing of construction, and to raise key concerns in relation to the work camp slated to be built in Valemount.

McCartney began his presentation by raising the topic of the argument for pipelines vs. transport via railway.

“Really, the essence of it is, is that rail cars can be taken off the tracks at any time, but pipelines that you are building now in 2017 can have a lifetime of 50 years, and if we’re still pushing oil, exporting it to the world in 50 years we’re going to have a serious problem on our hands in terms of global climate and the possibilities we have to mitigate climate change.”

He also commented that transportation companies could use a more diluted form of fuel that is significantly safer and more environmentally conscious.

He then mentioned the importance of salmon, which are especially in danger should there be spills in the rivers.

In his opinion, KM has shown a “real lack of care” towards the salmon that come through here, and made mention of the snow fencing, which has recently been a topic in the news.

“More importantly I think why I come to this conversation is the climate change angle. We need to be phasing out the tar sands over the next two decades; so when you’re talking about a new pipeline with a life span of 50 years, that thing is going to have to be torn down and abandoned long before it’s even paid off if we’re going to be able to make our climate commitments.”

After the presentation, Mayor Townsend asked if Council had any comments or questions.

Councillor Reimer commented that BC’s new Premier stated that in discussions such as this – both proponents for and against an issue should be present at the same time to make their arguments and then a decision made as to whether or not the particular project should go ahead. 

“There are two sides of this that argue this scientifically, and it seems that it is not always as clear-cut as each side makes it out to be,” he said. He also commented that McCartney’s position stems from an urban perspective where there are a lot of alternate types of fuel or transportation “that we don’t have here.” 

“How do you propose we continue with our transportation means in the rural area if the current sources were eliminated?”

McCartney mentioned new technology such as electric vehicles and geothermal.

Mayor Townsend then responded that Council has been voted in to protect the citizens of Valemount, and feels that rail as well as heavy truck traffic that passes through Valemount and next to main rivers poses more of a risk in transporting oil than pipeline.

She also commented that, until alternate sources of energy are developed, we still need to have a means of fuel.

McCartney re-affirmed his position, and after more discussion, Townsend wrapped up the presentation with a comment that petroleum is a main source of a number of everyday products and that to propose a complete end to the use of it while using these products such as clothing, toothbrushes, hairbrushes, etc. ourselves is hypocritical, and that these types of discussions should hear both sides at the same time.

Reading File – complaint of unsightly premises
There were two items in the Reading File, not requiring a motion: 1) Royal Canadian Legion Br. # 266 Certificate of Appreciation; and 2) a letter to the CAO and Council re unsightly premises. 

This letter was written by a visitor from Leduc, who gave detailed description of particular properties and conditions of lots that are very unsightly in the Village. The letter stated that because of this, this individual (who did not sign their name to the letter), would not consider doing business in the Village and that the appearance of these properties does not present a good impression of the Village.

Direct Heat Use Committee Recommendation
The Direct Heat Use Committee had made a request for the Village to include in its budget a $25,000 provision in order to leverage grant funds for a direct use study or project.

After discussion, the motion was defeated. The majority of Council felt that proponents of the Direct Use Committee should seek ways to raise the funds themselves, rather than pass the cost on to taxpayers.

Appointments to Committees
Appointments of Council members to Standing Committees, Select Committees, and External Boards, Committees and Agencies were passed by Council, as well as Appointment of Deputy Mayor for December 2017 through November 2018.

Public Comments
After the regular business of Council, two members of the public stated their disappointment on the defeated motion of the Direct Heat Use Committee request for $25,000, commenting that the development of geothermal energy would be a benefit to the Village.   u

Peter McCartney of  the Wilderness Committee presented reasons for their opposition to the pipeline project to Council
Peter McCartney of the Wilderness Committee presented reasons for their opposition to the pipeline project to Council
Dianne St. Jean photo