Field Community Town Hall Meeting, March 9, 2015
In Attendance: Kim Chapman, Clayton Nylen, Susan Williamson, Deb Bancroft, Karla Gaffney, John Schlichting, Helen Barry, Lloyd Lafrance, Brenda DeMone, Lorraine Zirke, Ginette Therrien, Helen Barry, Marilyn Toulouse, Bruce Bembridge, Patrick Cais, Sophie Cais, Ryan Cameron, Cathy Taerum, Caroline Marion, Sean Coubrough, Craig Chapman, Kathryn Cameron, Sally Watson, Claudia Harding, Jeremy Schmidt
- Chair Report
This is Caroline Marion’s last town hall meeting as Townsite Manager. It’s a special night for her. Over her tenure she attended over 100 meetings – Craig stopped counting at 120. Caroline has served 19 years as Townsite Manager. There is a retirement party for her in Canmore this weekend, March 14 and an open house in Field at 6:30 on March 30 at the hostel. Caroline has been a good friend to Field, and although she doesn’t live here she has embraced the community – Christmas Concert, Yoho Blow, basically anything with free food and celebrities she’s here! She has facilitated new infrastructure (new water and sewer lines throughout town, new water and wastewater treatment plants, BC Hydro’s battery storage facility to cover power outages, cell service). But her job hasn’t been all ribbon cutting. Budget cuts have given some challenges. The community thanks Caroline for her commitment to Field and wants to thank her for everything she has accomplished as Townsite Manager.
Caroline: I would have lived here but my husband wouldn’t let me! Working with the community has been the most fulfilling part of my job. I have really enjoyed my time here, especially with the fire department eating up my budget!
Reduction in Post Office Hours: There is continued reduction in service set to take effect, with the Post Office open from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm daily. We encourage anyone who feels strongly about this to please write a letter stating your concerns, or, if there are certain hours of the day that you feel will better serve the community, please let the Post Office know. Post Office wants the building to be open when the mail is delivered and to deliver Express Post, but there may be some leeway within those parameters to offer service to the community that meets the community’s needs. Four hours seem to be set in stone, but maybe one day a week the hours can be met later in the day. Unless there is a sudden boom in the town and our population jumps to 500 people it is doubtful we will receive more service hours each week. Discussion about what hours will best serve the community. As a consensus, does anyone have a problem with 8:00 am to 12:00 noon? Is one afternoon possible? Maybe as a trial. Mornings probably better for visitors and residents, but perhaps one evening a week will work. Most traffic occurs in morning or right before closing. Who do we direct letters to? Norm Ouellet, contact information will be posted in the minutes and council will send a message about discussion at the meeting
- Treasurer’s Report
Motion to accept, Claudia; seconded by Jeremy. Motion passed.
Financial Reports will be sent out as attachments to the minutes.
- Townsite Manager’ Report
3rd Quarter Report
Consumption: overall consumption is up 14.6% over the same period in 2013-2014. Residential use is up 18% while commercial use is up 20%.
Water: revenues are at 72.2%, while expenses are at 69.9% of forecast. The water utility is showing a surplus of $580.
Wastewater: revenues are at 73.9% of forecast, while expenses are at 100.9% of forecast. The wastewater utility is showing a deficit of $24,130. The higher expenses are due to: the need to replace a pump, a mixer, and various electrical components; and double banking of the Manager position to provide an overlap between Darrell and Sheelagh.
The deficit is also attributable to Parks Canada’s decision to freeze the 2014-15 rates at the 2012-2013 rates. Any deficits in both water and sewer will be subsidized by Parks Canada for fiscal years 2013-2014 and 2014-2015. In 2015-2016, Parks Canada will increase the ongoing yearly capital subsidy paid to the community of Field to $57,000 from $30,000.
Solid Waste: revenues are at 75% of forecast while expenses are at 86.1% of forecast. The solid waste utility is showing a deficit of $4320. The deficit may be a result of increased solid waste volumes caused by an increase visitation to the community, as suggested by the increase in water and wastewater volumes.
Tree removal from power line between Field and battery storage unit
BC Hydro advised the community in an email on January 23, 2015, that they have reviewed a numbers of items related to the operation of the Emergency Storage Facility (ESF) near Field. Items reviewed included: ongoing vegetation management, and options for system design changes and enhancements. Over the next few months, BC Hydro will identify solutions and work with Parks Canada to implement changes to improve reliability of the ESF.
Emergency Plan – Revise current document to reflect VRC winter closure and determine guidelines for Community Hall use
It has proven difficult to find a date for a meeting in March. Sean Coubrough will schedule the meeting for some time in April, at a time when Caroline’s successor can attend. Members of the FCC, Parks Visitor Experience, Visitor Safety, Law Enforcement, Highways, and the RCMP will be invited to the meeting.
Doll House Release
The successful bidder is in the process of confirming financing.
Stephen Creek Mitigation Update
Following the meeting, Public Works and Government Services Canada advised that installation of the slope monitoring equipment would take place by the end of April 2015. Construction of the mitigation measures on the slope is still expected to begin by mid-May 2015.
Members expressed serious concerns about the aesthetics impact of boarding up of the Telegraph Building windows and asked Parks Canada to intercede with CPR to have the boards removed. A proposal has been submitted to CPR to install plexiglass behind the windows inside the building.
New Townsite Manager
Ellen Francis will be assuming the position of Manager of Townsites and Realty when Caroline retires at the end of March. Ellen is no stranger to our Field Unit. In 2000, she worked at the Lake Louise Visitor Centre as an Information Attendant and as the Executive Assistant to the Superintendent, Mr. Michel Boivin. Ellen has a Masters’ Degree in Environmental Design, Environmental Science at the University of Calgary and lived in Alberta for 7 years. The focus of study for her thesis was the Town of Banff’s Environmental Management System. She worked for five years as the Arctic Program Director (in Calgary and Ottawa) for the Pembina Institute, a Canadian environmental non-governmental organization. Following this, she held positions at Health Canada and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, both with a focus on environmental health and sustainability. She is currently working at Natural Resources Canada as a Manager in International Affairs. Ellen has three children and an enthusiastic backcountry skier husband who are all excited to be joining her. Ellen will assume her new position on March 23rd.
New stickers have been affixed to bins for better clarify. Need the new bin installed to complete the work. Once the ground thaws the work can be done. The complete line up will need to be moved to accommodate the new bin. In the meantime, we can put our plastic in the tin bin. Suggestion that the stickers be installed on the road side of the bins as well. Sally: Bins in Lake Louise have stickers on drive by side of the bins. No need to reinvent ourselves, the templates already exist. We should use them.
Sean: Agree. Our stickers also include local opportunities for recycling to support local fundraising.
Lake O’Hara Reservations
There are changes to the day use reservation system – will be available online with the Parks Canada Reservation Service starting at 5 am, MDT on April 20, 2015; no change to campground and commercial users reservation system. Information files attached to the minutes.
- Highways Report
Brenda DeMone says that spring is here! Feedback from people on winter operations this year seems to be positive, including from school bus driver. New work contingent on budget approval. Centerline and shoulder rumble strips will be built into each new paving contract.
Street sweeping: How can we get Field moved higher on the order of highways? Current schedule is based on when each venue is snow free, where the area is on line painting priority, and if there will be no more anticipated road sanding. Parks Canada owns two sweepers, cost about $300,000 to replace or buy a new one. Parks Canada also has pull behind brooms but the big gravel pick up machines are most effective. Working with provincial highway contractors to see if there are ways to work together to make the process better. Fire hosing/washing the roadways is also an option to reduce dust.
- Field Fire and Rescue
Lower number of calls than usual this winter. Good weather and well-maintained highways are contributing factors.
New truck is fantastic, pump works Iike a charm, good addition to the fleet.
New accountability tags have arrived; individually numbered and color-coded to maintain anonymity of members. In line with new Playbook, interior or exterior training, from green through red, so incident commander will be able to see color code and know level of training of members who have responded.
CSRD Spring Training Calendar is posted. Live fire training has changed to reflect the new system: Live 1 now exterior firefighter and Live 2 is interior firefighter. Lots of new recruits; important to get them to training courses. Heavy Vehicle Extrication scheduled for April 24 to 26 in Invermere; 6 members registered. Sean taking risk management training April 25 in Creston; required for new Risk Management Officer position in the Playbook. In-house Auto Extrication course planned. More training requirements before recruits receive their pagers, but training is online so people can work at their own speed.
Emergency Services Ball on April 18. Tickets on sale now; contact Sean to purchase.
New agreement with Parks Canada is in process; minor changes for the upcoming year. Honorarium now in line with CSRD paid on call. Thank you to Parks Canada for meeting this standard. Another requirement in Playbook will include training to interior level, highest level. New tracking system with database, also part of Playbook – means a big time commitment to do this work.
Full time Fire Chief discussion? Better to pursue this when Melanie returns from her acting assignment in Ottawa. It’s too much to expect people in acting superintendent position to make changes or commitments.
Craig: Community very lucky to have such a high level of commitment from our department. Training to interior level will give us what we need, great level for the department and the community.
- Catholic Church
Parks Canada approached FRAA to see if we would be interested in taking over the Catholic Church if the lease was surrendered. Preliminary figure of $110,000 to do upgrades for weddings and music nights. Meets institutional zoning of the lot in the Field Community Plan. CBT can meet about 60%, private donations and community fundraising opportunities makes this look quite positive. Year round? Probably not. FHBRO? No, not a parks Canada building, but viewed as a community cultural resource. Church has not been appraised. Accessibility is a fact of life, no other changes to appearance of the building. Room for a washroom. Would be nice to have something in winter, but unless we have big demand that would make it feasible, then no. What about the basement? Structurally sound. Half full basement, and half retaining wall. Some slumping, but no water moving through. We don’t want the building to fall into disrepair and not be used. Community supports moving forward.
Karla: We have two buildings to consider.
Helen: Good segue way into theTelegraph Building discussion.
- Telegraph Building
Current state of building not conducive to enhancing interest in town. Broken glass not attractive, security an issue. Council suggested moving boards to inside. Suggested that anyone communicating with CP could share their interest and ideas with the community. What is the end game with theTelegraph Building? General feeling that nothing is going to happen. Friends of Yoho resurrected interest in having building signed over to them. Minutes of FRAA/FCC In Camera meeting took Friends of Yoho by surprise, but the board has not discussed it. From council’s perspective, if we can remedy the current aesthetic issue, then it moves from the front burner. Always suggestions from visitors who are involved with various historical societies. Building location is problematic. Why does CP want from this? Realty wants to extract money from their properties; however, CP is not forthcoming with environment concerns, parking, access to tracks, and long list of bills that could come up. Karla says Friends are in infancy now with their plans.
Susan: Do you feel like you are being sidelined by the council?
Craig: If you are driving an initiative, be forthcoming.
Debbie: The Telegraph Building has always been a project of interest to the Friends; if it can go forward that would be good. If there is a recognition that it can’t move forward, then can we look at other options?
Craig: Big thing with CP is that you sign on the bottom line even without them assuming any responsibility for contamination. Right now the building is an orphan. All agree that we want it preserved.
Caroline: Parks Canada willing to help out making something more appealing for the windows, before the summer comes. Karen Lassen working on it.
Craig: Map out what our working plans/dreams based on nothing happening behind the KH Lodge, that building as front piece for a brewpub. Venture is huge; we would build the platform, then put it out for investment, shovel ready. Looking at export possibilities, year-round jobs in Field. Creative dreaming really important. Many hoops to move through before anything happens. Friends to keep us posted.
- School enrollment
We have been successful as a community keeping the school open with diverse users, but enrollment not looking good. Best case scenarios for the next three years is 5/5/3 but in reality could be 3/0/3. Right now we are potentially at the narrow part of the bar graph. Could realistically be looking at no students in 2016/17. Create awareness, solutions? Alberta students? Provincial law states that students enrolled in a school in BC must have a valid British Columbia address; $150 per year for postal address in Field. One drawback is that Field requires transportation option. Tie in with Lake Louise shuttle? Possible to map it out and send a mail out to Lake Louise? 86 students ride the bus to Banff. Extra curricular activities take place in Banff, so travel for students and parents could be problematic. Sophie suggested opening a preschool here in Field as stepping stone. Money available for preschool. Getting kids here could be a lure to have people continue to bring their children to Field for school. Sees this as part of bigger issue in Field, jobs and housing to attract new residents. Supervised lunch option? Field is on the traditional one parent stays at home or someone provides lunch for your children. Morning and after school care? Daycare. Vision is that we operate a preschool at the school? Two separate programs then preschool at community hall, and morning and after school care and lunch supervision at school. Jeremy participated in a similar program in Manitoba and he loved it. Child care in a hospitality based community means late nights and weekends. Allowing both parents to work through before and after school care possible. Day care is maxing out; 29 kids on waiting list for Banff daycare. Lots of self-employed people with kids who would move here in a heartbeat if the need to reside was relaxed. Underutilized housing is an issue. Parks houses seem to offer the most options, as Parks Canada staff don’t seem to be interested in living in Field. Need to reside has stopped one house sale in the recent past. Seems to be sense within Parks Canada to relax need to reside to include all of Banff National Park. One suggestion is to meet with Jeff Anderson and present some of our ideas to change course.
Susan: Be careful because the School District is not saying anything. Enrollment falling in Golden as well. More use of the school is also a factor.
Lloyd: After school and before school care would attract new families and keep us from losing families that have kids.
Lorraine: Could Field offer a Montessori School? It is an attractive option.
- Train derailments
Can we make a statement of concern through Parks Canada?
Susan: Mark Tataryn, CP Police, is monitoring direct pathway from highway to bunkhouse. Susan investigated, and signage was not clear, and Mark indicated they would be closely watching the illegal crossing.
- Round Table
Karla: Who is the contact for garage sale tables? Kim Chapman. Watch for announcements.
Karla: National Geographic magazine spread on Yoho will be out this summer.