Field Town Hall Meeting July 20, 2015
In Attendance: Michael Vanderveen, Cathy Taerum, Wendy Edge, Pierre Lemire, Claude Leger, Lloyd, Sophie Cais, Patrick Cais, Michael St-Denis, Jamie Harbottle, Sean Coubrough, Vicky Coubrough-Blanchette, Sally Watson, Jeremy Schmidt, Claudia Harding, Kathryn Cameron, Craig Chapman, Ellen Francis, Elaine Lemieux, Dave Kronlund, Danielle Labonte, Sean Cunningham
- FCC/FRAA Report – Craig Chapman
Welcome Ellen Francis who is the new Townsite Manager and now a resident of the Bow Valley.
Canada Day was a great event with superb participation and support from British Columbia Ambulance Service, FRAA, Field Fire and Rescue and the RCMP. Thanks to everyone!
Yoga is going strong. Originally scheduled only for July, now extended to the end of August. Yoga practice is Thursday evenings, starting at 7:30; $15 drop-in fee.
Coffee with Superintendent Melanie Kwong is scheduled for this Thursday, July 23 at noon. It’s an opportunity for informal discussion.
Friends of Yoho are offering several events this summer: Historic Walking Tours of Field on Tuesday and Thursday evenings starting at 8:00 pm; Art in the Park August 6 from 10 am to 4 pm at Emerald Lake (bring a t-shirt); Trail Blazers presented by Cathy Taerum on August 19 at 8:00 pm at the Community Hall; and, a full moon hike on August 27, 8:30 pm at Takakkaw Falls.
The Spring Fling and Garage Sale were successful events.
Next Field Community Council In Camera Meeting will be on September 14, followed by a Field Utility Board Meeting on September 23 and Field Town Hall Meeting September 28.
We have experienced two recent power outages, one where the battery back-up system failed and one where it worked. This is a pilot project and there are some hiccups with the system. BC Hydro on top of situation with daily checks; remote reset now possible. Twitter communication back online and working well; tweets also give % of juice left in the battery. When the battery was installed, the community was advised we would have 5 to 8 hours of power but the last outage was 24.5 hours in length and the battery still had 19% capacity. With new power generation technologies, battery storage will be critical to cover times when there won’t be wind or sun to harness.
Columbia Shuswap Regional District: Craig sits on the regional advisory board, which meets monthly on Tuesdays. The meetings are open to the public; next one to be held in Parson on. Meetings provide opportunities to network and educate others about what goes on in communities in the district. Interesting to see how communities outside a townsite are governed and managed.
Catholic Diocese wants a property assessment before moving to next step in process of divesting their interest in the church. If they decide to gift the building, we will accept it to operate as a wedding chapel. The venture will be managed by the FRAA as an Enterprising Not for Profit operation.
Telegraph Building: At the end of June the boards were taken down, painted and moved behind the windows inside the building. Windows were washed. Thanks to everyone who participated: GO International Volunteers, Elaine Lemieux, Craig Chapman, and Ron Allen. Positive Facebook response to the change. GO International Volunteers are available for individuals, organizations or businesses. If you have a project, please contact Ron Allen.
Annual Town Walkabout happened in June. It has been 15 years since the major infrastructure project and some maintenance and repairs are needed. If you have observations or suggestions, please submit them to Elaine Lemieux: email@example.com.
Non-food organic waste and garden debris can be dumped at the old power plant location. Construction waste, wood, old TVs, etc., are not allowed; Highways staff do not have time to manage it. Details are in FUB minutes from June. Contact Elaine when you want to use the area, and have questions about what is acceptable.
Hall Improvement Project: The furnaces and windows have been installed; we are waiting for the blinds. New curtains will be needed once the blinds have been installed. Acoustic baffles to help manage noise levels in the hall have arrived and will be installed soon.
Steve Christy has installed Wi-Fi at the Community Hall. We have some power issues to resolve. Thanks to Matt for doing electrical work for this project. Once everything has been complete, we’ll purchase a router and have a local network.
Congratulations to JP Galli who won the Chef Challenge Championship at the Calgary Stampede. He thwarted the Calgary Police by making a habanero pepper dessert. Spicy!
- Treasurer’s Report – Sally Watson
Files are attached to the email. The report represents three months of inputs, rather than the normal two-month span.
Craig motioned and Kathryn seconded that the report be accepted as read. Carried.
- Townsite Managers Report – Ellen Francis
Thanks for the great turn out. Good to see the participation.
Melanie Kwong, Field Unit Superintendent has been very supportive in planning for this meeting; interested in where community is at and determining what to focus on right now. Reviewing sustainability exercises like the workshop with Twist Marketing, to understand more about the community. Are there other tools to explore to get Yoho and Kootenay on the tourism radar? Michael St-Denis will add to this. Interested in collaborating with Town of Golden to advance complementary goals. Are there other opportunities we can promote that promote village and park? 2012 was not a good year but with new infrastructure $$ it is a good time to revisit what is going on. Understand desire to open up need to reside to field units beyond our own. From reviewing documents it appears the limitation was put in place because residents felt the town was too big. Need to confirm the reference.
Emergency Services: Looking at guidance documents from 2007. These need to be updated to identify areas of responsibility, and develop plans that work here and meet needs. Fire Chief Sean Coubrough is leaving the community. He will be greatly missed. Sean identified successor Jamie Harbottle. Opportunity in coming years to change way fire services are managed in Yoho National Park; lots to figure out. This community is full of volunteers who offer excellent public service in both emergency services – Fire and Rescue and BC Ambulance Service. Commitments are notable, and thank you. Looking at other townsites for best practices on how to operate emergency services.
On the question: What does Parks Canada want from Field? Overall plan and understanding of mutual priorities; welcome centre; Field suited to be attractive alternative to Banff. Community Plan needs review – what has changed? Priorities for Parks Canada are increasing visitation, international leadership in conservation and visitor experience, want to see Field as a vibrant community, battery storage unit important example of innovation installed under Caroline’s tenure, improved highway maintenance. Field is an important community. Want to see Parks Canada succeed and also community.
Mount Dennis Slope Stabilization: Many different names for the same area of concern – the unstable north slope on Mt. Dennis which feeds into Stephen Creek. The report refers to the Stephen Creek debris flow. Working to tender a contract to divert water away from unstable area to reduce saturation and stabilize the material. Aerial photography in process, equipment will be moved into area by helicopter as well. Tender is closing this week. As information is available we will pass it on to residents.
Sean Cunningham: Is this a unique and spectacular situation?
Ellen: Not necessarily. Highways deal with hazards from above constantly. Is this new to us? Yes. Focus is on getting the work done.
Sean: What is the communication plan? It’s an opportunity to capitalize on highlighting that Parks Canada is doing some great work, like the community information sharing for the prescribed fires in the Ottertail Valley and on Mount King.
Ellen: Resources focused on mitigation. Visitor Centres will have information to communicate activities to the public, however, not planning to do an information tent dedicated to just this issue at this time.
Vicky Coubrough-Blanchette: When was this report delivered to Parks Canada?
Ellen: June 2014. Parks Canada is trying to get the work done as soon as is realistically possible. Tetra Tech EBA has been monitoring the situation this spring. There have been conflicting risk assessments. We are approaching this in a precautionary manner, and are cognizant that Field residents will feel better once the rick has been reduced. Not an engineering specialist but understanding is that the successful contractor will put in pipe to divert water away from the slope so it doesn’t catch debris on the way down and will reduce risk considerably. Far less alarming once the work is completes.
Sean Cunningham: Water diversion has had issues in Field in the past and am concerned about where the diverted water will surface. Could have impact on community. What is the plan to monitor that impact?
Ellen: Above my expertise to answer, but will ask one of the consultants to gather specific questions and get answers to those questions. Understanding the water would go around the unstable area and end up in the creek.
School: This is an issue we want to work on closely with you. Many factors to examine: demographic in community; what do the people of Field want. If there are no school age children in a given year, then no school or teacher that year but what about future years when there are school age children? Conference call between Melanie, Ellen and school board later this week about possibilities. Please direct your questions to Ellen and she will ask those questions. Craig to provide school projection information to Ellen. What are all the options? Important to explore while we have this school year to work in. Wants to understand desire of community before advocating for a specific option.
Craig: This is a Parks Canada townsite, but we still don’t have a fundamental vision of what Parks Canada wants from the community. No clear vision. Parks Canada’s vision can impact the direction of the school district.
Ellen: Parks Canada wants a vibrant community, however that may be, young families, school or retirement community. Parks Canada will support what the community wants. Sean: Agree with what Craig says. We need strong leadership from Parks Canada to indicate what this community is about. What does Parks Canada need? Needs to be a value statement.
Craig: We don’t have the authority as residents of this community to determine direction. Retirement community not realistic – no hospital or medical services, limited facilities. Need young families to offer emergency services. Don’t need a lot of consultation. You’re coming in at the crisis time. What we need is for Parks Canada to state the purpose of the community. Parks Canada has set the agenda so far with a town plan that limited housing in the community and set the direction for no winter offer from Parks Canada.
Ellen: General feeling is that residents want the community to grow. What is our capacity to grow the town? What are your potential solutions? Here to work with you. How can we do that? What draws people here? Working within the mechanisms.
Craig: But somewhere in Parks there is control. The lever is not on the residents’ side. It is definitely on Parks Canada’s side. We need you to drive the message up the chain. Without commitment from Parks Canada this will be a summer only community.
Michael St-Denis: Mutual agreement that we want the community to succeed. What is within our control?
Ellen: Potential levers: need to reside opened, Yoho National Park Infrastructure investments, Ellen distributed FIP announcement.
Craig: We talk to many people who are interested in living here; more investigation needed on need to reside, need to have people who are entrepreneurs in light of Parks Canada’s withdrawal of a winter offer in Yoho National Park. Currently, lots of people live here who go away in the winter now and who are light on community involvement at this point. Unless Parks Canada comes in with new jobs or commercial development then reason to reside is a path to nowhere.
Sean Cunningham: Where do we put new people? Lots are limited. Taking away trailer court area really impacted the ability of the community to grow. Construction is expensive; trailers not possible based on Parks Canada development guidelines. Trailers are better than houses that are not maintained. Is there a role for organizations like Habitat for Humanity?
Ellen: Need to understand why things were taken away before looking at restoring them.
Federal Infrastructure Project announcement: Biggest news is $4.1 million allocated to move Parks Canada bunkhouse accommodations from Boulder Creek Compound to Field.
Some projects put forward but until approved can’t be discussed. This is a very exciting time; good for community. Interested in looking at lots that are areas of concern. New Asset Manager hired who can help move this project forward. No time frame at this point. No specific plans at this point.
Sean Cunningham: Is this money an election promise or will it actually happen?
Ellen: This is actual $4.1 million design and construction money. Field supports staff accommodation that supports year-round residency. May not be one building in one location.
CP Rail Communication: Information can go to Elaine with time and date of event and Parks Canada can follow up with contact to CP. How does this relate to emergency planning, especially on weekends when there are fewer staff to contact?
Craig: By law, CP is obligated to report dangerous goods going through town. Fire Department has never received notification, or CP staff who live in town.
Breach of Security at Water Treatment Plant: Lock on the gate across the road to the upper reservoir was cut, lock on the gate to the upper reservoir was cut, and two padlocks on the upper access to the reservoir also cut. Utilities staff replaced the locks this past weekend. Want to protect the reservoir, communicate to people that the water is safe. Not known if it is locals or visitors who cut the locks. Heard about it, fixed the situation.
Craig: It looks like someone has intent to do something rather than random events.
Ellen: Parks Canada investigating different ways to secure the area with surveillance that could include scameras and more security.
Sean Cunningham: If we can put cameras on fossils then we can put cameras on our water supply.
Wendy: How often is water testing done and what was done after this event?
Craig: No spike in chlorine use so feeling that nothing has been introduced into the system. About 8% of the water in the above ground reservoir actually enters the system.
Ellen: Water testing is done frequently and regularly.
Dave Kronlund: Cameras can identify why if not who; important tool to use. Supports signage to inform people of purpose of facility.
Sally: Is Law Enforcement involved? Yes. Michael St-Denis to ask for details of Law Enforcement involvement.
Bin Lineup safety concerns have been addressed. Comments? Please contact Elaine.
Lot release: Ellen wants to research options in the fall. Staffing positions at the present so there will be people on board to address this.
Water, Sewer, Garbage rates will continue to be subsidized at 2012 rates for now. Looking at rates overall. No increase this year.
Craig: Community has communicated questions that we haven’t received answer for yet, opportunity to discuss at coffee with superintendent on Thursday, July 23.
Ellen: Will be staying after the meeting to meet people and get to know residents.
- Visitor Experience Report – Michael St-Denis
Red chairs have been installed at Takakkaw falls and Yoho Lake and are being advertised at movie theatres as part of a national promotions campaign.
New approach to Learn to Camp: Now piloting interpretive modules on how to set up tents, make campfires through roving at high use areas to take pressure off the operational team and broaden the experience. We will evaluate this method at the end of the season.
Record numbers of people have registered for Burgess Shale hikes.
There are new interpretive panels at Monarch Campground that highlight Kicking Horse Pass.
The new welcome structure at staging area for Lake O’Hara was officially opened on June 18.
Promotions: Promotion Officer Karin Smith has developed a good relationship with Destination BC; they are highlighting three communities to market this year: Field, Tofino and Vancouver through aerial photography and community stories. Residents have been involved in how we tell the story. Ocean TV coming as well to film a documentary. Nine film permits granted for this year; opportunity to leverage for Parks Canada promotion.
Yoho has its own orientation document with expanded maps; Parks Canada moved from one Mountain Guide to 7 park orientation guides and one lure piece to use for marketing. If council is interested, Karin can come in and provide information on how she forms positive relationships and promotes the area.
New signs for Yoho Valley Road: Nine proposed for installation this year. Figuring out plan to invest in future. Federal Infrastructure Project money is for repair and maintenance of existing infrastructure, like broken pavement, buildings. Visitor Experience will focus on one area, the Yoho Valley Road. Signs at Takakkaw Falls are peeling and it’s an embarrassment for such an iconic location where the bulk of visitation in Yoho National Park occurs.
Craig: New orientation guides are awesome, much better than how Yoho was presented in the past.
Michael: They are in process; how can we improve? Suggestions or recommendations, please pass them along.
Craig: Put you on the spot, feel that we are shut out in winter in Lake Louise VRC. Can Field have it’s own stand there, display opportunities. Banff Lake Louise Tourism (BLLT) controls the message there. We are more tuned on to Alberta side of things.
Michael: More BC visitors in Yoho than in Kootenay.
Craig: BLLT helps Parks Canada considerably, but we’re shut out.
Michael: BLLT pushing The Rockies as part of their marketing brand, to include more than the imaginary Castle boundary.
Craig: People from Banff and Lake Louise are coming here; we should be included in their big equation. There are issues with traffic congestion in both Banff and Lake Louise. Yoho is part of the equation. Can you facilitate a meeting between BLLT and Field representatives?
Pierre: Be careful what you wish for. Traffic in Lake Louise was very difficult on the weekend; we tried to leave the parking lot at Lake Louise but after no movement for 20 minutes, we ducked into another parking stall, then spent 3 hours wandering around at the lake and in the Chateau, and it still took us ½ an hour to drive down to Lake Louise after 8:00 pm.
Craig: The 4-way stop is killing it.
Michael: Protocols in place for RCMP to move traffic through when congestion is severe.
Sally: Have you considered traffic pattern changes, like traffic circles, or opening the old 1A to vehicles again?
Michael: Alex Kolesch is looking at options.
Kathryn: Are there any plans to repair and reopen Hoodoo Creek Campground?
Michael: We are focusing our efforts on the Yoho Valley, including potential backcountry upgrades, putting money into areas that have the highest visitation, most number of people.
Kathryn: Yoho’s camping offer is not adequate. It seems to make more sense to invest in areas that need increased visitation, not areas that are already oversubscribed. Parks Canada needs to rebuild in areas that offer fantastic experiences that will take the pressure off Lake Louise, Moraine Lake and the Yoho Valley. It seems to make sense to me to put money where it is needed, not where the numbers are. Is Hoodoo Creek being considered for FIP? We want clear, honest answers.
Michael: Nothing is happening at Hoodoos.
Fire Ban: Based on recommendations from Fire and Vegetation specialists. Based on where fire danger is greater. We get more rain in this area so our fire danger rating tends to be lower than in other areas of British Columbia. However, from a visitor perspective, it makes sense to do what the general area is doing. To keep it easy for visitors, the fire ban was implemented. It has been lifted now, except in Redstreak campground, which is an extremely dry area of the Field Unit.
- RCMP Report – Dave Kronlund
Liaison for Field since 2008, and comes out to meetings as often as possible. Files on Field area: starts at park boundary and goes to the Alberta border; most are traffic related. Did a query from start of year: 104 files to date including 5 traffic complaints from impaired driving to speeding or aggressive drivers, passing on double solid; 16 collisions; 17 false 911 calls, mostly traffic complaints that lose contact when cell service is lost or spotty; 8 from Emerald Lake Lodge – nothing of importance; no serious complaints to investigate, and; 1vehicle stolen from Yoho Trading Post, a crime of opportunity, where someone left their vehicle running and a random person drove off in it but was apprehended by Lake Louise RCMP.
When updating the Emergency Plan, recommend that you contact Kyle Hale in Golden, with Search and Rescue, and Town of Golden Emergency Resources. He is knowledgeable about provincial standard, rivers, CP Rail. Will share Kyle’s contact information.
Detachment Staffing: Currently one member short in the detachment. Position was held open for a year; the member came to Golden to buy a house and withdrew her application. New recruit coming soon, new traffic member. Looking for an analyst for collisions. Two positions that will rotate this year, but looking for replacements before members move.
Sean Cunningham: Thanks for continued support for Canada Day.
Dave: It is lots of fun for the members, great parade – thanks for not getting us wet! Fun to meet and talk to people, have photos taken. It’s the one time of the year when you aren’t a policeman – you’re a Mountie.
- Field Fire and Rescue – Jamie Harbottle
Personnel Changes: Thank you to Sean Coubrough for 8 years service, including five years as Chief. Sean advanced the department in many ways, but can take most credit for better training levels especially for coordinating advanced training from Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD). He replaced lots of equipment with a new truck, two rescue vehicles, command vehicle, and implemented the Standard of Operating Guidelines Playbook. Most importantly, Sean created culture of safety in the department. Sean appointed Jamie as Chief until election in October when members can select who they want as Chief. Jamie has five years experience with Field Fire and Rescue as a training officer and equipment manager; works in Lake Louise in winter as an avalanche technician with the Lake Louise Ski Area. Will be on parental leave August and September. The department also lost Aaron Cameron to Lake Louise. Aaron has 12 years experience as a volunteer fire fighter between Field and Lake Louise. He’s also a millwright, which works well with fire fighting. Thank you Aaron for your contribution and commitment to Field Fire and Rescue. Doug Mostert and Dave Allen will be new Captains. Congratulations to our new firefighter, Sophie Cais who has completed required training. Officers are really helping Jamie out in his new assignment, and he appreciates the support.
Call Outs: Since the informal meeting on June 22, there have been two call outs. A cyclist was hit by a truck – the call required first aid and traffic control, then an MVA on the Big Hill just below the Lower Spiral Tunnels Viewpoint that involved a long traffic delay. Total calls for year now at 34; average is around 50 to 60 calls per year.
Training: 2-day auto extrication techniques training done this year, Doug, Chris and Sierra completed Officer Training; one received highest score ever achieved in the program.
Equipment Update: Engine 1 was in Golden this year to fix emissions issue, now back in service. Rescue vehicle that was hit by the semi at a call out in October 2013 in rebuilding process; body and chassis work complete, now in lower mainland to be outfitted.
Canada Day was very successful. FFRD is convinced they won the water fight. Parents are asked to remind kids to pick up balloons along the parade route.
FIP: Dave Mitchell and Associates have assessed the hall, and expect a report soon. Looking for FIP funds to renovate or replace to bring it up to standard.
- Highway Service Centre Report – Mike Vanderveen
Please stay out of the Ottertail Pit; it is being used by Okanagan Aggregates and other contractors this summer.
New recycle bin stickers to be installed.
Rumble strips have been installed on the new highway pavement.
Wendy: What is the formula? Rumble strips have been installed in some places but not in all.
Mike: Using the BC standard, no rumble strips at intersections; they are very noisy and there may have been a space issue along the curb drainage on the Big Hill.
Jeremy: Highway is awesome. We need lines painted on streets on approach and in town. Mike: That will happen soon. Next phase of this summer’s work will start when rock scalers show up on August 4. Work plan will be confirmed. Expect delays of 20 to 90 minutes at various times during the day for blasting. Communication plan will inform residents.
Craig: Why were rumble strips grooved in town? Rumble strips are very noisy.
Mike: Opportunity to have year round speed control. Speed bumps have been taken out.
Meeting adjourned at 9:30 pm.