Field Recreation Advisory Association Town Hall Meeting, January 20, 2020

In attendance:  Sally Watson, Flint Palmer, Kathryn Cameron, Paulina O’Brien, Greg Dowman, Michael Vanderveen, Alex Kolesch, Hollie Tataryn, Kim Chapman, Lloyd Lafrance, Jandi Škriantová, Carla Evans, Jen Coffman, Darren O’Brien, Pauline Boisier, Doug Mostert, Patrick Caïs, Craig Chapman

1. FRAA Report 

         Kathryn Cameron, President FRAA

Paperwork for all six Board Members is now complete, and filed.

We are over five months into our operating year, which started on August 6, 2019. Winter and spring are traditionally the busiest seasons of the year for the FRAA, and the pattern holds! Volunteers rock.

The Christmas Concert on December 19 was great – exactly what Flint and Karen planned when they tossed out the idea to Make the Christmas Concert Great Again, hold it at the school gym, challenge the community to perform for the first time, and welcome event favourites. Thanks!

Skate With Santa and Christmas Pot Luck Supper on December 22 – super special as always. Fit Santa, thank you.

Winter programs continue with: 

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) with Laura Penner on Wednesday evenings from 6:30 to 7:30 pm, $6 admission and self-lead on Sunday evenings from 6:30 to 7:30 pm, no charge. Introductory HIIT was a sound success, and participants have either dropped out, left the country or graduated to regular HIIT. We are approaching the 2nd Anniversary of HIIT with Laura in Field. Excellent program; and

Yoga with Mardi Elliott on Thursday evenings from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm, $6 admission fee. Mardi is away for the next three Thursdays; classes with Mardi resume on February 13 at the Community Hall. We’re planning to do TV Yoga on January 23, 30 and February 6, 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm as long as we can get the internet and Wi-Fi working.

The FRAA received a wellness grant of $1260 from Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) in the fall of 2019 to subsidize HIIT and Yoga for $6 per attendee per session to boost attendance at both programs. To date, we have used $618 of the grant, and will review attendance again in two months to see where we’re at with it.

3rd Annual Pond Hockey Tournament organized and operated by Kurt Devlin took place on January 10 and 11. Thanks Kurt! Financial reports in process.

This has been a really challenging year to keep the rink maintained. Thanks to the tractor operators, shovellers, flooders and skaters for keeping the rink as clean as possible, and for cleaning up the change room. Looks really good downstairs. Suggestion by Jen Coffman to train additional people to use the Kubota and share the workload of rink maintenance. Kathryn to talk to Dave Allen about how to implement.

Gentle reminder to all hall and change room users: please make certain the lights are off inside and outside the hall; close all the windows and turn down the heat; change room rules are posted on the wall – read them and take them seriously, specifically, please put the skates back on the shelf and take ALL your garbage when you leave. It’s a public space.

Yoho Blow starts in less than two weeks. We have confirmation that Craig and team will again design and administer the Heritage Relay and Small Town Revival will play at the dance on Saturday, February 1. Posters and details like sign-up sheets will be on the bulletin board this week.

Parks Canada Trans Canada Highway Twinning Project Open House – Tuesday, February 4, 2020 from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm

Vegan Pot Luck ‘Supper and a Movie’ on Sunday, February 9, 2020. Details and poster in process. Start looking for vegan recipes!

Groove Is In The Heart with Elk Run and Riot from Canmore on Friday, February 14, $10 entry fee. 

3rd Annual Yoho Nordic Challenge hosted by Kicking Horse Ski Club on Saturday, February 15 starting from Field VRC at 10 am. Poster has been circulated and is on the bulletin board as well.

Kicking Horse Ski Club has also faced weather and snow challenges this year, but as always, has cleared, packed, groomed, set and maintained the trails really, really well. Thanks Joe, Flint, Lorraine, Heather, Paulina, Lucy, Hans and all others who give residents and visitors fantastic trails in Yoho National Park.

The Mould Remediation Project is complete. The FRAA now does a weekly walk-through of the building.

Change Room Door replacement is in process. Flint is dealing with Olson Construction to get an estimate.

Board is working on the Constitution. Really. Working meeting scheduled for February 10, 2020 to start revising specific articles. Changes will be presented at public consultation meeting.

The FRAA renewed the lease for the Community Hall property at 315 Stephen Avenue with CP for five years, effective November 1, 2019 to October 31, 2024. 

St. Joseph Project: Received word from the Gaming Grant application submitted in July 2019 that our request for $200,000 was not approved, based on their belief that we would not have enough money to complete the project and to apply again on the next intake when it’s posted. Waiting to hear from designer on engineered drawings; once received we will put the project out to tender. Lots of discussion about timeline, grants to pursue, fundraising ideas, impact of highway construction and Development Permit Application. Helen Dickenson has offered to do the Environmental Impact Assessment for the Development Permit process, pro bono. Thanks Helen.

Snow Removal and Storage in the Townsite of Field continues to be an annual conversation. General feeling is that the Field Unit is underfunded given the scope of the kilometers on Highways, secondary roads and townsites to maintain in a high elevation environment. 

Discussion on adequate resources: Highway Services Centre (HSC) will probably never have the resources they need.

BC Hydro Line Update from Diane Tammen, January 20, 2020: 

“Our understanding is that CPR has removed over 200 dead hazard trees with the recent work they have done through the Yoho corridor. They have also slashed out regrowth and completed some widening of the corridor. Overall it looks to be in excellent condition.  Please check with CPR if you wish to confirm this information, or for more details.

BCH currently has a contractor working on the distribution feeder between the ESF and Town. They are slashing regrowth and removing the four hazard trees we identified last year. This work is planned to be completed by week’s end.

There are still some hazard trees on Parks Canada property and a small section of regrowth to slash this year.  A BCH vegetation specialist is meeting with Parks today to look at these remaining hazard trees, and if conditions are favourable we are going to try to attend to these over the next month.”

Working with Jen Coffman to post information in the washroom lobby at Field VRC on services available in Field in the winter season. Parks Canada has offered to translate and format the information. The FRAA feels that it would be far more beneficial to have the facility open in winter to serve visitors and support leaseholders in Yoho National Park. Request noted by Alex Kolesch.

Next Meeting Cycle:

February 17, 2020: FRAA Board Meeting

February 26, 2020: Field Utility Board/Municipal Services Meeting

March 9, 2020: Town Hall Meeting

2. Treasurer’s Report

         Sally Watson, Treasurer FRAA
Reports attached to the Minutes distribution email.

Motion by Greg, seconded by Flint that Financial Reports be accepted as presented. Carried.

3. Parks Canada Reports 

         Alex Kolesch, Interim Townsite Manager

  • Parks Canada working through steps with Rocky Mountain School District #6 (RMSD 6) to surrender RMSD 6 lease to Parks Canada. Renovation planned to increase office space. Gym slated to be available for community use. 
  • When Parks Canada is able to move out of current Administration Building the lease with CP will be terminated. Use of building post Parks Canada? Community Plan identified site as public park. May be options for community commercial opportunities.
  • Snow removal guidelines and Plough Map will be circulated this week.
  • Field Fire and Rescue (FFR): Parks Canada understands the efforts required by members to operate FFR and is working with FFR to find acceptable solutions that will give a year to come to better solution.
  • Park Management Plan Update: Drafts are in process. Public consultation in spring.

Michael Vanderveen, Highway Service Centre

  • Best Management Practises are not necessarily written in stone, guidelines HSC hopes to achieve. Matter of patience as there are many variables that guide actions. There is a higher level of residential service in Field than in Lake Louise.
  • Private contractor to fill in when HSC not able to meet desired timeline is an option, but given that CP now has their own snow removal service and is no longer contracting with an operator from Golden the cost of bringing a company occasionally from Golden is prohibitive. Option for a local contractor? Worth examining.
  • 2019/2020 is a year with above average snowfall. Frustration comes with more demand on places without the resources to maintain and offer services.
  • Craig Chapman observed that windrows present a challenge for some residents, especially in light of the aging demographic in Field. In Golden, people who need assistance with clearing snow have their properties marked with a flag, and after ploughs clear the streets, Town of Golden employee comes around in a bobcat and clears the windrow. Michael Vanderveen said a similar program in Field is not an option; recommended establishing a Snow Angel Program.
  • Residents noted that there are no street signs for Burgess Avenue.
  • Patrick suggested different transportation management options during Yoho Blow weather events to give Travel Advisory that travel is not recommended, specifically for 10 k section of Highway 1 from top of Big Hill to Boulder Creek Compound, i.e. road signs, Drive BC. 
  • Is closing the Highway an option when conditions are exceptionally bad? Michael says that criteria for closing the highway are fatality or avalanche; political pressure to keep Highway 1 open is applied as soon as the highway is closed, no matter the reason. Apparently the loss of commerce is $1,000,000 for every hour the closure is in place.

         Travis Wert, Asset Manager

Report given by Alex Kolesch on behalf of Travis Wert:

  • Construction on triplex at Dollhouse lot (next to Superintendent’s Residence) slated to start spring 2020.
  • Triplex on former teacherage duplex lot now complete and ready for occupants.
  • Bunkhouse renovation is underway and expected to be ready for occupants for 2020 season. Generally 25 employees are housed at the Boulder Creek Bunkhouse facility.

         Jed Cochrane, Visitor Experience

No Report

Dwight Bourdin, Resource Conservation

Report given by Alex Kolesch on behalf of Dwight Bourdin:

  • TransCanada Highway (TCH) Twinning Project Open House coming up on February 4, 2020 from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm
  • Graduate student is working in Yoho, studying elk behaviour and movement, interactions with TCH with goal to improve migration route movement for herd.
  • 2020 Aquatic invasive Species: Mandatory Self-permit system will continue to clean, drain and dry all equipment used for aquatic recreation – boats, fishing gear, wet and dry suits, basically everything
  • Emerald Lake has tested negative for whirling disease. Closest location that tested positive is Little Herbert Lake, just north of Lake Louise on the Banff-Jasper Highway; the lake was depopulated. Discussion about status of Ross Lake? There have been anecdotal reports of erratic fish behaviour there.  Alex doesn’t know if the lake has been tested but will follow up.

4. Friends of Yoho Report 
         Brenda Selkirk, Manager Friends of Yoho

No report presented tonight.

5. British Columbia Emergency Health Services

         Craig Chapman, Community Paramedic

Calling for Emergency Services.

  • Four agencies that we can reach through calling “911” – Fire, Ambulance, Police, and Parks Canada.
  • CP Rail can be activated through “911” but for specific railway related situations call – 1 (800) 716-9132.
  • For all emergencies calling “911” is the best plan. If you want to try other options get someone else to call “911” while you pursue those. Contacting a local member of the Fire Department / Ambulance or trying to call other numbers can slow down the response to an emergency.
  • Calling “911” can involve lots of questions, transferring call to different dispatch centers, but it is necessary. There are processes in place to protect everyone and they need to be followed. So when you call you need to be patient and stay on the line as long as required.
  • 911 call goes to Burnaby and is answered “911, do you require Police, Fire, or Ambulance” – default is ambulance.
  • Transferred to BCEHS Kamloops dispatch. “BC Ambulance, for what city?”
  • No ambulance is dispatched without this information. This can be challenging if the location is a highway. If it is an MVA they will ask for cross streets / landmarks to reference. 
  • What is the address? Very important, no help coming without this information. Landline phones were better for locating callers, with cell phones if caller does not know this information it is not easy to get coordinates from A cell phone and the response will be delayed. Have your address written in a prominent place in your home; if there is child in the house show them how to use a cell phone and can override the pass code for an emergency call.
  • What is a phone # that you can be reached at? This is not a stopping point and dispatcher can continue if this information is not known.
  • Exactly what happened?
  • Now dispatcher will provide assistance. BCEHS dispatchers are mandated to stay on the phone for “Not alert” patients or patients with breathing difficulties.
  • When expecting an ambulance – unlock door, put outside lights on, put pets away, move vehicles blocking access. If there is an entry code for the building let the dispatcher know and make sure your address is visible on the side of house.
  • Parks Canada is an additional piece for our area. Think of it as a backcountry vs on the pavement situation. Parks Canada will be involved in all wildfires / rescues / human wildlife conflicts. 
  • In BC the coordination with Banff Dispatch is not as smooth as in Alberta but you still need to call “911” and be specific in your request. If another person is present have them call Banff Dispatch directly.
  • If human life is endangered call:
  • Banff Dispatch Emergency:           (403) 762 – 4506
  • For other situations call:
  • Banff Dispatch Non-emergency:    (403) 762 – 1473
  • Often residents of Field who call an ambulance want to decide which hospital they go to. The attending crew will decide based on presentation of patient, location, road conditions, and direction from employer.  
  • In BC for residents getting transported to a hospital the cost is $86.00. Inter-facility transfers between BC hospitals following an admission by BC Ambulance are generally not charged. If we transport a BC patient to an Alberta hospital and there are inter-facility transfers by ambulance within Alberta the patient can expect to be charged. It will probably be over $1000.00. 
  • 8-1-1 is a free-of-charge provincial health information and advice phone line available in British Columbia. 
  • By calling 8-1-1, you can speak to a health service navigator, who can help you find health information and services; or connect you directly with a registered nurse, a registered dietitian, a qualified exercise professional, or a pharmacist. 

6. Field Fire and Rescue Report 
         Patrick Caïs, Acting Chief, Field Fire and Rescue Department

Call Outs –

  • 7 in Jan, 7 in Feb, 1 in March, 2 in April, 3 in May, 3 in June, 2 in July, 4 in August, 3 in September, 5 in October, 7 in November, 13 in December.  57 for 2019.
  • 10 on Sundays, 11 on Mondays, 8 on Tuesdays, 3 on Wednesdays, 7 on Thursdays, 14 on Fridays and 5 on Saturdays. 
  • Wires down 2, vehicle fire 2, mva rescue required 33, mva 12, investigation 1, hazmat 1, gasoline diesel spill 2, grass fire 1, assistance call 3, alarms 1

Members – Sitting at 13 members. 

  • 5 Officers, 5 Firefighters, 5 Probationary Members, 3 Recruits

New and Planned Purchases

  • New purchases
  • Heat in blankets, new pads for AED, bottles for gas monitor, new software for beacons,  
  • Propane generator is in place in case of power outage

Completed Training 

  • ICS 300 2 members.

Upcoming Training 

  • Nothing until springtime.


  • Engine 1 (all good) 
  • Rescue 1 (all good) 
  • Rescue 2 (all good considering its age).  
  • Ongoing Projects
  • Waiting from BCEHS for our agreement for first responders.
  • Discussions with PCA about importance of fulltime fire chief on FFRD (Fire Chief) ongoing

7. Round Table 

  • Discussion on how residents can support more resources for emergency services like Field Fire and Rescue, and ongoing maintenance requirements for services in Yoho National Park. Residents can appeal to government representatives and other organizations. Parks Canada employees cannot advise.
  • New CP Rail crossing malfunctions often. In event of malfunction, call CP Community Connect at 1-800-716-9132.

Meeting adjourned at 8:44 pm.