Village of Valemount News & Highlights Dec 20

Dianne St. Jean
Village of Valemount News & Highlights Dec 20

Cannabis legislation

At the Regular Council Meeting on December 11, a motion was passed for staff to draft a survey regarding retail cannabis sales and public consumption of cannabis, so that citizens may provide feedback to the Village on the matter. Councillor Blanchette noted that this is just the first step in the process.

Take the survey

There is a Cannabis Retail Regulations Survey* already available on the village’s website homepage (valemount.ca). It is not a long survey and very easy to take. Paper copies of the survey will also be available at various public locations.

*Update: the survey mentioned above is no longer available online.

Correspondence for action

Grant funding for Canoe Valley Recreation Centre

A motion was passed recommending that the Village of Valemount support the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George’s application for grant funding for the Canoe Valley Recreation Centre Chiller Project.

According to correspondence from the Regional District, the project is to replace the ammonia chiller and associated components of the refrigeration system. The replacement would increase safety for both staff and the public, reduce energy consumption, reduce maintenance costs and greatly increase the longevity and sustainability of the Rec. Centre.

Valemount Community Sports Day Association

The Valemount Community Sports Day Association would like to make some changes in venue to the Friday, June 7, 2019 afternoon/evening events, requesting that some activities be moved from the street to Centennial Park; however, there first has to be consultation with Public Works for this change.

Reading File

There were three items under the Agenda’s Reading File: 1) a letter submitted to Mayor and Council regarding the use of Electronic Voting Machines by resident John Grogan; 2) UBCM notification of executive vacancies, and 3) Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing Correspondence.

There was a motion to receive the correspondence, and Councillors were asked by Mayor Torgerson if there were any comments regarding any of the items. There were none.

Concern over electronic voting machines

John Grogan’s letter, which was dated and submitted to Mayor and Council on November 8, 2018, asked them to consider discontinuing the use of electronic voting machines in municipal elections and referendums. Mr. Grogan outlined his reasons for his concerns in his letter.

During Public Comments at the end of the meeting, Mr. Grogan stated his disappointment that his letter was not mentioned during the meeting, nor was there ever any acknowledgement of its receipt. As a result he stated that he might raise his concerns with other levels of Government.

Local Government Management Association (LGMA) Commemorative Tree Planting

A motion was passed to authorize staff to proceed with selecting two trees to be planted in recognition of the B.C. LGMA’s 100th Anniversary. The trees signify strength, growth and longevity. LGMA is dedicated to supporting excellence in local government by providing high quality, practical training and resources; encouraging the development of professional networking and connections; and facilitating the exchange of ideas and best practices among members.

Public comments to be moved to beginning of meetings

At the previous meeting on November 27, resident Eugene Jamin asked if Council would consider moving the Public Comment segment of the meetings closer to the beginning, and the item was put on the December 11 meeting’s agenda for discussion. The recommendation listed in the agenda was that Council retain its current procedure for Public Comment Period; however, both Councillors Blanchette and MacLean stated that moving it to the front should at least be given a trial period. It was also recommended that guidelines be implemented. Councillor Gee added that a time limit should be set for the trial period.

Interim CAO Fleming also mentioned considerations or “cautions”, such as potential changes to by-law procedures, limits to topic discussion and input and emotional impact. After discussion, a motion was passed to move Public Comments to the beginning of meetings, for Staff to look into guidelines and structure, and that the trial period would be limited to six months to begin with.

Concerns over VIA Rail stop on Main Street

The issue of VIA Rail passengers having to wait outside for a train when there are long delays with no shelter or access to bathroom facilities was raised by Councillor Gee at the December 11 meeting. After discussion a motion was passed for the village to contact VIA Rail by letter re providing a shelter for passengers. Councillor Pearson suggested, and it was agreed and the motion passed, that the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) also be included in the correspondence. 

Caribou Protection plan - municipalities and districts shut out of discussions

In regards to other matters aside from the public agenda, Mayor Owen Torgerson said in a statement that another issue the Village is concerned with is the Caribou Protection Section 11 Agreement between the Federal and Provincial governments.

According to Torgerson, there has been no meaningful consultation extended to governments on the local level to date, and so a majority of Northern and Interior Mayors and Regional District Chairs have been meeting recently via several teleconferences to discuss the issue.

“Local governments have attempted to engage with the Federal Ministry of Environment, only to have those in-person meetings cancelled due to the Provincial government’s insistence that Victoria has not had an opportunity to meet with us.”

He also said that many individual letters were sent to Premier Horgan and his Cabinet, only to have an automatic reply that the email has been received, but no further action added to it.

“We are of the opinion that an announcement is imminent, however we now stand united in our concerns regarding the impacts a Section 11 Agreement may have on our communities presently and into the future.”

He added that he would like to thank Mayor Lyn Hall’s office of the City of Prince George for spearheading their local assembly.

“We are gaining traction.”

Torgerson closed his statement with a positive note…

“On behalf of Council and staff of the Village of Valemount, I wish all of you a safe and wonderful holiday season!”