A New Year’s Message from Valemount Mayor Jeannette Townsend

Mayor Townsend was asked to comment on the past year’s accomplishments and future visions for the future.

“This past year involved a lot of planning, including strategic planning. Council and I have determined once again that our priority is water and sewer. Not that other municipal services are unimportant, but our priority is the health of our residents, and that includes things such as safe drinking water, etc.

“We also want clean air, and will be looking at ways to accomplish this. We have updated our Strategic Plan in which the original priorities have been condensed from 20 to about six main categories determined by Council.

 

“This last year we also supported the Valemount Glacier Destination Resort in whatever way we could as a municipality, part of which included seeking the support of the Regional District of Fraser Fort-George to extend our airport runway, unanimously agreed to by the RDFFG Board. We met with the Minister of Transportation, Claire Trevena, and we we apprised her of the needs of the airport runway extension. She said she couldn’t make any promises. We showed her that the construction phase would put approximately $16 million plus into the provincial coffers and requested that there be consideration given by the province to accommodate our request. The airport currently has 4,000 feet of runway and we need 6,000 ft. to accommodate larger flights.

“I also advised the Minister that our current airport was built with federal funds - the only provincial funding is the GPS landing, the runway lights and the fuel facility. The rest is federally funded.

“We were pleased to meet with Kinder Morgan and listen to their plans and consideration for environmental well-being. Council has fully endorsed the pipeline project. The NEB approved the project, as did the federal government and former provincial government.

“Our major concern is the safety of the residents of this area. CN rail goes right through the town, as do many transport trucks, which is a significant consideration. Should a major incident happen, whether on the rail or highway, we are boxed in. The train also runs through Mt. Robson Provincial Park, the Fraser headwaters, with the railroad tracks above the Fraser River. Council and Mayor will remain vigilant on this issue (the transportation of petroleum products).

I had a meeting with the Alberta Minister of Environment, arranged by Kinder Morgan, and it was most interesting to learn that the province of Alberta has one of the highest safety and environmental regulations/standards for oil extraction for all petroleum producing countries.

“We were excited about the developments of this past year - the new Fowler subdivision, and the opening of the Tim Hortons. We are looking forward to other major developments/announcements in the not-too-distant future that will be job-creating and bring positive benefits to our area for employment opportunities as well as raising the status of the Village in terms of tourism and attraction to other developers.

“Finally, I want to say that we have been blessed with a dedicated and cooperative Council. We have an excellent staff. We are fortunate to have the addition of CAO Adam Davey who is a role model for integrity; his expertise contributes to the efficient management of local government services.

“Happy New Year to the people of Valemount. This past year has been a productive and exciting one and the New Year beckons with many more opportunities for a bright and happy year ahead.”

“Wishing special blessings for everyone.”