Field Town Hall Meeting and FRAA Annual General Meeting November 16, 2015

Field Town Hall Meeting and FRAA Annual General Meeting November 16, 2015

In Attendance: Pierre Lemire, Travis Wert, Kim Chapman, Elaine Lemieux, Patrick Cais, Sophie Cais, Katherine MacNeill, Jamie Harbottle, Sally Watson, Claudia Harding, Ginette Therrien, Craig Chapman, Kathryn Cameron, Ellen Francis

  1. FCC Report – Craig Chapman

As it is our AGM I am going to speak for a moment about the year. And I think for town it has been a good one.

It has been a year of change. Long-time Townsite Manager Caroline Marion retired and Ellen Francis joined. Melanie returned after a long spell of acting in Ottawa. New Fire Chief Jameson Harbottle took over from Sean. We saw the sale of the church, and face possible school closure.

There have been many positive developments:

  • Announcement of infrastructure money for the moving of bunkhouse accommodation into the town of Field.
  • Election of Liberal Government and the commitment from them to reinstate funding to Parks Canada.
  • Mitigation efforts on Mount Denis started.
  • New fire engine
  • Refinished entrance sign.
  • A year of the Dog Park.
  • Significant improvements to the highway.
  • Pretty good year for Power Outages
  • Great Yoho Blow!
  • New windows, blinds, acoustic panels and furnaces in the hall.

On the not so great side:

  • The community continued to contract and we lost several families. This unfortunately has resulted in the school attendance hitting a low of 3 children this year and only 1 child for the next 2 years. There was a community meeting with the School Superintendent and others at the school recently to start the process of closing the school. Attendance by residents was strong but the challenge to keep the school open is large. FCC has asked for interested community members who want to work toward keeping the school open to contact us. To date we have not received any interest. The FCC will not be working on trying to keep the school open unless there are members of the community who come forward and are able to drive this file. It may be that there is a collective realization that the community has had a gift for the last 17 years, keeping our school with such small numbers and the time has come for it to close. The highway to Golden is better, we see a strong family community starting in Lake Louise where there is no school the bus ride does not seem to be a barrier. The FCC has begun looking into the future and has had discussions with the CSRD and the College of the Rockies to start to look at other possibilities for the building.

So the community is moving into the New Year with much to do and many challenges.

Some of the things we will be working on:

  • Revision of Community Plan 5-year process.
  • School
  • Future of Yoho Trading Post site
  • Opportunities with CPR
  • Continue to work with Parks Canada and all partners to grow Field.

And of course more Hall Improvements are in the works. We have received a grant of $20,000 from Columbia Basin Trust to purchase and install: a new fire panel, alarm system and fire extinguishers; a security camera system; six additional acoustic baffles; a sound system for the Hall; a video projector and a WIFI router; and to purchase: a portable sound system; a screen and flipchart. We will also convert the lights in hall to LED. The FRAA share of these improvements will be $10,000.

We submitted a change to our bylaws, revoking the amendment that stipulates 10 Director, seven of whom must be leaseholders. The Field Recreation and Advisory Association now needs five directors, of whom two must be leaseholders.

On events since the last Town Hall Meeting:

  • The community Hall was rented for Paul Charbonneau’s Memorial on October 10, a Yoga retreat October 23 and 24, and the CSRD Advisory Board community meeting on October 27.
  • Thanks to Townsites for the snow clean up.
  • Canada Day Grant submitted November 16, 2015 by Kathryn.
  • School bus meeting has taken place; thanks to Sophie for sending out phone tree.
  • Big thanks in advance to everyone who is going to help with the rink.

Upcoming Events

The new FRAA and FCC members will schedule meetings for the next year at their initial meeting.

Parent Advisory Council – Wednesday, November 18, 2015: Fundraiser Pasta dinner at the school

Friends of Yoho Pasta Supper and Auction – Saturday, December 5, 2015: This year the Friends of Yoho have earmarked the profits from the event as a donation to the Community Hall. We plan to purchase two new stoves and a fridge.

Parks Canada Pancake Breakfast – Thursday, December 3, 2015

Annual Field Fire and Rescue Dinner – Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Field Community Christmas Potluck Supper – Sunday, December 20, 2015

Field Elementary School Christmas Concert – Thursday, December 17, 2015

  1. Townsite Manager’s Report

2.1 On behalf of Visitor Experience Manager Michael St-Denis:

  • The sign replacement program on Yoho Valley road is finished for this season. There are still two signs to be added in the spring.
  • The Sherbrooke Lake and Wapta Lake locator sign is not on this cycle of sign upgrades; it may be installed during the next cycle.
  • Parks Canada will work with the community to make certain that there are camping options for visitors to Yoho National Park.

2.2 On behalf of Highway Service Centre Supervisor Michael Vanderveen:

  • Met with parents, bus driver for annual discussions on ploughing, accident/highway closure protocols. A new radio will be installed in the school bus to improve communications.
  • Rock scaling will continue until the end of November
  • Field ploughed by Gottler Brothers Contracting on the weekend. Lake Louise and Banff received more snow in the weekend storm. Maintaining the TransCanada Highway is the top priority. Townsites will work with HSC and contractor to make certain that emergency access routes are cleared on the imperative pass during the storm cycle. Comments or concerns need to go through Elaine and they will be passed on to HSC.

Kim: Back road is not cleared and that is the emergency exit from Field. We have lots of visitors, but it seems that Field is always the lowest priority.

Ellen: If the plan the contractor follows is not working, please give feedback to Ellen and she will discuss expectations with them.

Sophie: Mail truck is large, needs more space especially on two corners that are tight. We might need to talk about putting No Parking signs in those locations. Truck driver won’t come into town unless there is a route he can maneuver.

Discussion about priorities. Frustration expressed that people are not able to drive to their homes and emergency vehicles are not able to get to locations at top of town when we have big snowstorm events like the most recent. Agreement that local information is really important, need to have eyes on the ground in order to give feedback. Delay was quite long in this situation. We know the town well, and know the routes. Suggested that residents examine the plough map and give comments to identify priorities.

Ellen: We will work with the contractor. Hears frustration and wants to do something positive with it.

Craig: We have seen improvement every year. Contractor is accountable to Townsite Manager whereas HSC not accountable to anyone.

2.3 Townsite operations

Still awaiting direction from new government. Mandate letters to Ministers have been shared for first time in history of Canadian Government. In regards to Parks Canada, the Minister has been asked to: Develop Canada’s National Parks system, as well as manage and expand National Wildlife Areas and Migratory Bird Sanctuaries; develop Parks Canada programs and services so that more Canadians can experience our National Parks and learn more about our environment and heritage; make admission for all visitors to National Parks free in 2017, the 150th anniversary of Confederation; beginning in 2018, ensure that admission for children under 18 is free, and provide any adult who has become a Canadian citizen in the previous 12 months one year’s free admission; through an expanded Learn to Camp program, ensure that more low- and middle-income families have an opportunity to experience Canada’s outdoors; protect our National Parks by limiting development within them, and where possible, work with nearby communities to help grow local eco-tourism industries and create jobs. See more at:

Emergency plans: Parks Canada will meet with Field residents in early 2016. Emergency services are provided by different jurisdictions. We will discuss how to integrate and make them work practically. There is a system in place. This is an opportunity to build it cohesively.

School: The meeting on November 3 was a great learning opportunity. Parks Canada is always looking for ways to support positive educational experience for students.

Tree removal: BC Hydro has committed to doing work by the end of 2015.

Organic composting: Discussions are in process in Lake Louise.

Cemetery work: The fence will be repaired in 2016. Painting by international volunteers will also take place next year.

Slope stability work: Two interceptor ditches have been built and a drainage culvert installed. The next stage is the monitoring process that will become earnest in the spring. There may be issues with ice at toe of pipe in the spring. Resident Pierre Lemire has identified hazard trees; local knowledge is critical. We’ll see how it works in the spring. Smaller tertiary drainage not incorporated in this plan. Hoping that dewatering of the uphill sections will improve the water issues on that slope.

Pierre: Thank you for your integrity Ellen and the dedication of everyone here. This work was not implemented because of us feeling unsafe but more due to the landslide at Johnson’s Landing and flooding in Canmore. We should not minimize the dangers identified. If an engineer says do something, then we need to do something. We could lose everything. Houses in the safe zone may be safe but the village would not exist. I have noticed something that has not been addressed: the huge trees leaning over the pipe, and those big Douglas fir trees do come down. The water is not running through the pipes now. Rocks and debris coming down can damage the pipe. Glad that it is getting taken care of, but do not minimize what the engineer has said in the initial report.

Ellen: Appreciates what you have contributed and for sharing your local knowledge. Feedback and holding us to account is important.

Travis: The danger is damming at the cemetery road bridge. Any swale movement can pick up trees and debris, be blocked at the bridge, and eventually burst.

Pierre: Concerned about awareness; the project needs to be continually monitored and addressed. There is ongoing responsibility to mitigate.

Travis: This is a dewatering system, basically building a sump. Pits have been established to gather the water and divert it through the pipes. The ditches are lined. Craig: This is phase one. Other items were identified as in this phase – what’s happening with those items?

Ellen: Consultants that wrote that report came up with this plan to mitigate biggest issue first that would reduce risk most right now. We will look at it in the spring, evaluate it, and then make decisions on additional work that may or not may need to be done.

Travis: Parks Canada is looking for a long-term solution. Dropping water into the creek may have future impacts on creek as well. If this system performs well, but there is no noticeable improvement in the saturation level of the material, that’s not good. If the system performs well and the material dries out, that’s good. Parks Canada is not walking away from this; we’re taking a holistic view of all drainage issues here.

Kathryn: What about CP plans to build a catchment basin to protect their bridge at the bottom of the creek? Work has never proceeded.

Ellen: Will find out where that project stands.

General discussion occurred about Second Avenue Drainage project and the impacts on residents below the project. If any residents have drainage issues in their yards or basements, please contact Travis:

  1. Treasurer’s Report – Sally Watson

Annual Report and financial statements to November 15, 2015 were presented. Please view files attached to the email. Motion: Craig to accept reports as presented, Claudia seconded.

There was a mistake on statement of accounts from last meeting. The outstanding amount from CBT was $14,000 not $18,000 as indicated. The cheque has been received.

Designated funds from honorarium to spend on AV will be moved into the HIP (Hall Improvement Project) account right away.

  1. Election – Jamie Harbottle

Field Fire and Rescue are handling the election this year, as an ‘arms length’ organization.

There have been four nominations for five positions on the Field Recreation Advisory Association; Kim Chapman, Karen Schmidt, Kat MacNeill and Tanye Baker acclaimed. One more FRAA member needed. If you are interested, please contact an FRAA member.

There have been five nominations for five positions on Field Community Council; Craig Chapman, Claudia Harding, Jeremy Schmidt and Kathryn Cameron acclaimed.

Meeting adjourned at 9:30 pm.