Valemount Council – Community Award, CBT Organizational Update and 2023 Tax Exemptions – The Rocky Mountain Goat

By Andrea Arnold

Valemount Mayor Owen Torgerson began Valemount Council’s meeting on Tuesday, September 27, with a public hearing to discuss Temporary Use Permit 22-02 for 65 Ash Street, proposing a temporary residential structure of up to up to two years. No written submissions, verbal presentations from the public or applicant, or questions from staff were received.
Following the public hearing, Mayor Torgerson opened the council meeting.
Out of camera
Item 15.1 of the August 23, 2022 closed meeting was presented in the closed session minutes. The update focused on housing options for 1155 6th Avenue. The council passed a motion to change the scope of the project to “create housing for Northern Health staff” and the budget was increased by $140,000 ($100,000 to be offset by the Northern Health grant). Mayor Torgerson said those details may need to change again in the coming weeks depending on varying proposals, partnerships and design.
Operation Life Saver – Roger Cyr Community Award
The Valemount community was awarded the Operation Life Saver – Roger Cyr community award. This award, named after the founder of Operation Life Saver, recognizes individuals and communities who do exceptional work to prevent rail trespassing incidents and reduce crossing fatalities and injuries. Traditionally, this award is given to an individual, however, this year the organization is awarding a second award for the first time, to a community. The letter stated that Valemount had been chosen for its impressive efforts to prevent on-track tragedies. The letter went on to explain that the decision to present this award to Valemount was based on the support of Councilor Pearson of the BC Operation Life Saver Committee, the installation of “Look, Listen, Live” decals at major crosswalks in 2021, and Operation Life Saver videos aired on local TV to educate the community about track safety.
CBT Update
Johnny Strilaeff, President and CEO, provided the Board with an organizational update on the Columbia Basin Trust. Strilaeff began by congratulating Mayor Torgerson on his reappointment to the CBT board.
Last year was the highest year in terms of revenue generated by CBT – approximately 96 million generated from their investments. All the money available for community support comes from their investments. Of those 96, approximately 88 million were delivered in support of communities across the basin. 62 million in grants and initiatives, approximately 7 million for investments in basin businesses, real estate or other assets in the region, approximately 12 million in investment projects such as the broadband expansion project. Strilaeff says the Trust is in a strong financial position to continue supporting the region in the future.
The Community Initiatives and Affected Areas program is their oldest program, which began in the early 1990s. It is a partnership between the Trust, local governments and First Nations. Each year, the Trust reviews a representative sample of its existing programs to ensure that they continue to deliver the value originally intended, that they align with their strategic priorities and that they are efficiently executed to benefit from optimally to the residents of the basin.
They hired a third party to review this program recently in the last year. The review showed that the program continues to provide support to the communities for which it was created. The following parts of the Trust will remain the same: the model – still the same partnership; same flexible form of support for community projects that incorporate public input and local decision-making into their process and allocation of funds.
Necessary improvements include: merging the two programs, the Community Initiatives and Affected Areas Program into one – the Resident-Led Program or REDI; The basin has made a five-year commitment to funding the THINK program; an increase in local government administrative funding and an increased commitment to have CBT staff present at community meetings.
The CBT strategic plan ends at the end of 2023 and there are plans to renew the plan. They plan to go to communities and get feedback from residents on what they would like to see CBT support. It will start with smaller groups and then move to larger forums in the spring of 2023. Under the banner “Our Trust, Our Future”. They will allow opportunities for in-person, online and written feedback.
Natural Resources Forum
Council passed the motion asking Mayor Torgerson and Councilor Pearson to attend the BC Natural Resources Forum in January.
Accounts Payable Report
The Board received the August 2022 accounts payable report.
Sign the transfer of ownership
Council approved the transfer of ownership of the Village’s five “VisitValemount.ca” tourist billboards to Tourism Valemount.
Temporary residential structure
Council approved Temporary Use Permit 22-02 for 65 Ash Street proposing a temporary residential structure for up to two years.
Waterline Extension Denied
Council denied the request to extend the village water service outside the village limits, specifically to: 1000 Cranberry Lake Road. Section 13 of the community charter states that the municipality may provide service in an area outside the municipality but must first obtain the consent of the regional district. According to the report provided by staff, previous similar requests were denied, setting a precedent due to resource constraints, maintenance issues and regulatory constraints.
Rules and policies
Council granted the Village of Valemount Council Procedure Amendment Bylaw No. 834, 2020 Amendment Bylaw No., 862, 2022 a third reading. This amended bylaw would remove limits on the number of Council members who can digitally attend Council meetings. Council adopted By-law no. 657 on the five-year financial plan for the Village of Valemount, modification of By-law no. 863, 2022 as presented. The change was made to address additional costs ($140,000) for housing at 1155 6th Ave.
Council has adopted Village of Valemount Permissive Tax Exemption By-Law No. 867, 2022 as presented. The following groups will benefit from a 25% tax exemption for the 2023 tax year: Valemount Curling Club, Valemount & District Royal Canadian Legion Branch #266, Valemount Affordable Rental Society, Valemount Lions Club and Valemount Learning Society.
Council granted the Village of Valemount By-law 699, 2013 amending By-law No. 866, 2022, at first, second and third readings. The Board compensation increase for 2023 has been calculated at 3.4%.
Council has approved Valemount Village Walkway Permit Application Procedures Policy No. 87 of 2022. processing and approving entry permit applications.
Following reports from councilors and a lack of public comment, Mayor Torgerson adjourned the meeting.

Aubrey L. Morgan