Field Town Hall Meeting Monday September 28, 2015
In Attendance: John Schlichting, Karla Gaffney, Jamie Harbottle, Alex Kolesch, Mike Vanderveen, Elaine Lemieux, Ellen Francis, Craig Chapman, Kathryn Cameron, Claudia Harding, Jeremy Schmidt, Sophie Caïs, Patrick Caïs, Helen Barry, Ginette Therrien
Craig: There wasn’t a Field Utility Board meeting prior to this Town Hall Meeting. Dialogue between Parks Canada and Field Community Council may be more in depth since we haven’t had a chance to discuss items.
- Agenda approved with two changes:
No Resource Conservation report
No RCMP report
- FCC/FRAA Report – Craig Chapman
Hall break-in August 31, 2015: Reported to RCMP who feel it was a random event. The new steel door has been installed. Thanks to Réjean for doing repairs and thanks to Parks Canada for funding the repair.
2.1 Rekeying the building: This is a very expensive process based on number of locks and codes involved. RCMP suggested installing camera surveillance that is much less expensive than rekeying. Council will proceed with this option.
2.2 Baffles have been installed, twelve in total. The next potluck will be the test for how well they absorb noise.
2.3 Columbia Basin Trust Community Initiatives Grant: The blinds have been installed. Craig demonstrated how they work. Impressive! The final report was submitted; we’re waiting for the $18,000.00 cheque to arrive from the Golden and District Foundation, the group that administers the program in this area. Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) has numerous grants available to support social, economic and environmental projects. If you have an environmental project, youth project, CBT probably has a grant to fund it. If you have an idea you want to develop, please let us know and we can work with you to submit applications.
2.4 Electrical Upgrade: No time this summer to get together with Matt to install electrical for WIFI, etc. Hopefully, we will be able to do this work before the AGM in early November.
2.5 Events at the Community Hall over the summer: Two weddings, two Friends of Yoho events this summer, Parks Canada meetings and Yoga on Thursday nights from July through September.
2.6 Upcoming Rentals:
- Yoga finishing this Wednesday, September 30.
- Resource Conservation meeting October 7, 2015.
- Visitor Experience Meeting October 8, 2015.
- Memorial service for Paul Charbonneau on October 10, from 4 pm to 12 am. Help requested from community to run the bar. Ham and turkey will be provided; please bring a side dish, a salad or a dessert.
- Federal Election Polling Station October 19, 2015 from 8 am to 8 pm MDT.
- Yoga retreat Oct 23 and 24, 2015. Private event.
2.7 FRAA Elections and Annual General Meeting scheduled for November 9, 2015. We need more participation from town. There is good core group, but we want to share the joy! Please consider volunteering for the community.
2.8 The Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) local committee is looking for feedback/suggestions and action items from residents. We are managed by Parks Canada but are in the CSRD taxation area and the director wants to meet with us. It’s probably a good idea for Director Karen Cathcart to meet with local Parks Canada managers first to discuss areas of responsibility and how the organizations can work together to solve issues like long trains blocking the crossing. If there are items residents think might fall in the jurisdiction of CSRD, please talk to Craig.
2.9 Power outages have been minimal this summer. Tweets seem to work now.
2.10 Catholic Church has received a conditional offer. Interest from residents on the use of the site is high. It is not listed as a historical building to best of our knowledge. There are pluses and minuses to protection. Currently the site is still an institutional lease. This is a private sale, so no special knowledge has been shared between FCC and Parks Canada.
Patrick: If building not protected, could it be torn down?
Craig: That is one of the questions posed to Parks Canada.
Ellen: Nothing to add at this point and not worth speculating. No information to share. Craig: Someone has made an offer, so rules of use and development must be defined somehow.
Ellen: It is. This is a private matter so not willing to speculate until the proposal is put forward.
Helen: What does institutional zoning mean?
Elaine: The building can be used for community services, government services, or by a not for profit group. Parks Canada is still communicating with the Catholic Church.
Ellen: The Field Community Plan is a guiding document, and Parks Canada will make decisions based on a specific proposal.
Craig: Does Parks Canada have the authority to say no? What does PC want to see there?
Ellen: Not able to comment on it.
Helen: We seem to have received different information about the designation of the building. Can we clarify the status of historical?
Elaine: The Catholic Church is not a FBHRO building since it is not a federal government asset. There are different levels of protection, federal and provincial.
Helen: So, the information I was given isn’t accurate?
Patrick: It’s important for us as a community to know what Parks Canada will allow for the building and proposed sale. Once it is sold it’s too late.
Ellen: The buyers can’t do whatever they want. The development and approval process is private however, Parks Canada would not authorize someone to do whatever they want. Guidance documents will form decisions. Not willing to pursue this conversation any further. People are welcome to talk to the development office about ideas or plans for any building in the townsite.
Helen: For the record, no matter what offer is accepted some buildings in town have been sold with no parameters and nothing has happened so it’s important to have clarity of intention.
Craig: There is real concern from the community about future of the building; it’s an important landmark. FCC doesn’t want to hold up the process; we want to see progress there.
2.11 Organic waste dumping seems to have been done successfully at the west end of town on the old power plant site. People have followed the guidelines. Highway contractor still has full exclusive use of the Ottertail pit, so is off limits for dumping material there. If you have yard waste to dispose of, get key from Elaine to use old power plant site.
2.12 Labels on bins: There is some confusion in the wording on some dumpsters. Residents can use the bins for residential waste, but not for residential construction waste.
2.13 Coffee with the Superintendent in July: FCC presented key issues of some urgency:
- full time fire chief position;
- emergency services response plan;
- response times from Parks Canada staff in event of emergency in town;
- long term commitment to emergency services;
- what does PC want from community;
- clarification on the future of the school with low enrollment, i.e. what are the opportunities to keep it open? What would happen to the building if no school?
Council has received no response from Parks Canada to date.
Ellen: There are things we are not publicly discussing at this time.
Craig: Ellen refers to the federal election. Government employees are limited in what they can discuss during the election.
Ellen: We will discuss these issues after the federal election.
2.14 Federal Infrastructure Initiatives Program: Funds have been identified to move staff accommodation into town from Boulder Creek. FCC wants to have input; no discussion to date.
2.15 Access to water treatment facility: How will PC keep it secure in the future?
2.16 Rumble strips: Three sets were grooved into the pavement this summer; two sets on the entrance to town above the train tracks and one set on Brook Lane. The lower set of rumble strips above the tracks has been paved over because residents felt it was too noisy. How is effectiveness as a speed control monitored?
- Treasurer’s Report – Sally Watson
Please see pdf documents attached to the email.
3.1 Canada Day Grant money discussed. We must spend all the money, but never cover all our expenses like janitorial, supplies. Should we move the unspent grant money into FRAA accounts or spend the money on something related to Canada Day? General feeling is that we can leave it in the Canada Day account and use it next year but it also acceptable to include out operating costs in accounting for the grant money.
Craig: Motion to accept report as read. Claudia: Seconded.
- Parks Canada Reports
Ellen Francis presenting for Townsites and Visitor Experience
4.1 Mount Dennis Slope Stabilization Project: Bulk of materials and equipment has been taken up to the site. Intent is to move water from unstable area into the creek. If you have any particular questions about it, please ask us. Monitoring pieces have been installed to measure slope activity until freeze up. Information will also be collected next year to determine what’s working and if additional work needs to be done.
4.2 Tree Removal Along Power Line Adjacent to Battery Storage Unit: Work will be done this fall. Not aware of number of trees but hazard trees have been identified. Does anyone have questions about these two items?
Kathryn: Can we see plans of the slope stabilization project? There has been very little communication on this project.
John: It’s a twenty-minute walk up to the site.
Ellen: Will see what can be made available to the community that people can make sense of. Trail is very mucky, not in good condition, not closed but use not encouraged.
Craig: Are there plans to work on the trail next spring?
Ellen: Not known at this time. Water issues will be monitored. With water diverted from the slope the trail may dry out.
Kathryn: The initial report has already been made public. It makes sense to share the mitigation plans and intended outcomes as well.
Visitor Experience Update
4.3 Concerns about illegal camping: This is a new issue that has been raised to the VE team. We are looking into it. Currently in information collection phase and will be able to respond in the future.
Helen: Where is illegal camping happening?
Elaine: Back road, cemetery, VRC, behind the lodge, 2nd Avenue.
Helen: Do you think we need more campsites?
Ellen: As we were informed at the last meeting, Takakkaw Falls and the Yoho Valley Road are the priority focus for visitor Experience.
Kathryn: Council feels the focus should also be on the west end of the park. Redeveloping a campground at Hoodoo Creek will solve the lack of campsites issue, increase visitation to the west end and relieve congestion at other attractions. Council feels that the economic viability of Field is directly tied to what’s happening in Yoho National Park. A vibrant, refreshed offer of attractions, services and facilities will benefit Field as well.
Karla: Can we get clarification on camping in town, for example on back yard camping. Can friends and family pitch tents in yards? What about trailers parked on the street? Ellen: Can we get back to you on your questions?
4.4 Concerns about parking congestion at Emerald Lake and Takakkaw Falls: Parks Canada plans to encourage off peak use to mitigate congestion.
Craig: Old horse stable site is a clear solution for secondary parking lot, rather than parking all the way down the road.
4.5 Highway Signs for Sherbrook Lake and Paget Lookout: The focus is on the Yoho Valley Road; new way finding signs will be installed in next two weeks. Other new sign priorities are Emerald Lake and Lake O’Hara.
Craig: FCC asks that Sherbrook Lake and Paget Lookout way finding signs be made a priority for several reasons, but especially for safety reasons.
Craig: Looking forward, let the minutes state that FCC wants to meet and have a FUB at the earliest possible time after the election.
Highway Service Centre Report – Mike Vanderveen
4.6 Winter preparations are in full swing: reflective stakes have been installed along routes in the village; we are in the process of hiring four new drivers; and, left hand turn lines have been painted for the left hand turn into Great Divide Lodge. At present, highway crews will work on roads in town, back road and 2nd avenue.
4.7 Rock scalers now working night shift starting tonight from 7 pm to 7 am at both sites. They plan to work until the snow flies until at least the end of October. All lanes will be open for the winter.
Patrick: What about the regular closure during the day from 9 am to 10:30 am on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday? What is the process for allowing emergency vehicles during closures?
Mike: These closures have not been followed, rolling closures have been more effective for the contractor. Emergency vehicles always have priority unless blasting is imminent or in process.
Alex: The contractor is authorized to close the road at any time. The actual physical closures initially communicated are not followed.
Craig: The community would like to have better communication of what is actually happening.
Alex: Parks Canada has agreed to full closures on Saturday and Sunday of Thanksgiving long weekend. Night work will be hauling only, no blasting or scaling. New communication is forthcoming.
Craig: Will this contract continue in the spring?
Mike: Yes. Once we know much progress has been made on this phase, we’ll know what plans will be for next season.
4.8 Winter Schedule: Hiring competition is in process; received applications from many good, experienced candidates.
Jamie: Will Highways have the same schedule as last year?
Mike: Yes, the 4 am shift will run again this year, with the evening shift on until 2:30 am. Unless there’s a storm, when crews will continue, there will be only 1.5 hours without crews on the roads.
Craig: There’s a bad pothole on ELL road that needs to be addressed.
Mike: Yes, we’ll work on it.
Craig: Currently there is no left hand turn lane for Wapta Falls for westbound traffic. This is an important attraction. Is there some reason it can’t be done? Seems like a safety hazard now.
Mike: We will consult the highway engineers so see if there is the possibility for it? Can the highway width manage it?
Craig: Many of the turn outs are outdated. Significant attractions should be more readily accessible.
Mike: Highway upgrades and changes are very expensive. Just to put a lift of asphalt on the road is $1 million per kilometer, building new road is very expensive.
Craig: The eastbound sign for Wapta Falls needs to be stabilized; it’s really leaning.
Craig: Thank you Mike.
Ryan: Has Parks Canada considered installing a traffic light at the Field intersection? We need one.
A show of hands indicated there is a general feeling from people at the meeting that something needs to be done to make the intersection function better and safer.
Alex: Engineers need to make that call.
Craig: What is the process?
Alex: Engineers look at it, continually examine traffic volumes based on road. FCC doesn’t have expertise of knowledge to make recommendations.
Kathryn: We are not engineers but we do travel this highway and use the intersection a lot, so are familiar with the safety issues. We have local knowledge that tends to be overlooked. People feel there is a problem that needs to be addressed.
Alex: There is a process to follow.
- Field Fire and Rescue Report – Jameson Harbottle, Chief
It was quiet summer until September 7, which gave us time to settle into our new roles, then two busy weeks with four incidents.
5.1 Training: Fall training up and running: air brakes; hazardous material; wild land interface; and pumping courses. Training is 100% funded by Parks Canada. Training is provided by CSRD but Parks Canada pays all training bills.
5.2 Membership: Numbers are at 15, which is the minimum Jamie wants to see. This summer the department lost seasoned members: Sean Coubrough, Aaron Cameron and Mike Furfaro, and Sierra Sullivan and Meghan Beamish plan to leave in the fall. In the winter season, all officers work outside the Park. For members to attend a call, an officer must be present. There is one day each week when all officers are not present in town, so if there is a call-out, we will need to call reciprocal forces (Lake Louise or Golden) to attend. It take two months minimum to train a new member. The door is open to all past members who were in good standing.
Craig: What are the benefits?
Jamie: After 8 practices, a new recruit becomes a probationary member. We have a good Christmas party; all training provided free of cost; good starting point for anyone considering a career in firefighting.
5.3 Equipment: Small pickup truck now used as rescue truck until we receive the new rescue truck currently being built in Abbotsford. We have asked for a few extras that are being added now and hope it will be delivered by the new year.
Thank you for attending. The next Town Hall Meeting is November 9, 2015.
Meeting adjourned 8:39 pm