Field Recreation Advisory Association Town Hall Meeting, March 9, 2020

In Attendance: Patrick Caïs, Brenda Selkirk, Heather MacNeill, Christine Selkirk, Dave Selkirk, Ginette Therrien, Stephen Selkirk, Hollie Tataryn, Ryan Cameron, Carla Evans, Lorraine Zirke, Craig Chapman, Mike Vanderveen, Alex Kolesch, Paulina O’Brien, Kathryn Cameron, Sally Watson

Excused: Sonya Leenders, Flint Palmer, Greg Dowman

1. FRAA Report 

            Kathryn Cameron, President FRAA

Since the last Town Hall Meeting on January 20, a short 7 weeks ago, Field Recreation Advisory Association had some periods of intense activity which include:


  • Yoho Blow Winter Festival, January 31 to February 2

Weather is always a big part of the Yoho Blow Weekend story. 2020 saw heavy snow Friday night, changing to rain all night and until 1 pm Saturday, then a beautiful break of sunshine Saturday afternoon, and more snow Saturday night. Sunday was beautiful! Really great event for the community! Financials: took in $4009 in revenue and spent $2623.72 on expenses for a net gain of $1385.25.

Shinny Hockey: Torpedoed by the weather. The weather was too snowy, the rink was too soft and there was no way to improve conditions.

Bocce: Total revamp of the tournament that happened on Friday night with discussion about Round-Robin vs. Elimination models, and Round-Robin won! Which meant games every hour with the team winning most number of games winning the tournament. Great idea! Lots of good competition! 2 hour break for Heritage Relay on Saturday. Bocce all day on Sunday. 

Heritage Relay: A couple of changes to the challenge line-up that everyone loved. Energized by Saturday afternoon sunshine. Good participation with 11 teams; good generational representation.

Dance: 54 people attended. The band was good.

Anything Goes Downhill Race: Second last event of the weekend. Seven participants on skis, snowboard and toboggan! Mass start this year – that was fun, and not as dramatic as you think. Great big Thank You to Kicking Horse Ski Club track setter Joe Nixhipi for grooming the race course, and starting the race from the upper reservoir in 2020 rather than the lower, easier start point at the cemetery. Superb snow conditions at the top, a bit icy toward the bottom. 

Pot Luck Supper: Delicious as always. Lovely way to end the weekend. 

Suggestions for future:

Hold the Anything Goes Downhill Race earlier in the day on Sunday, during a scheduled Bocce break, similar idea to Saturday line-up. 

Reschedule for one weekend later, tentatively February 5, 6 and 7, 2021. 

Find ways to encourage Emerald Lake and Great Divide Lodge staff to participate in events and come to the dance.

  • Vegan Pot Luck Supper and Information Evening, February 9

25 participants, delicious food, plenty of good information via samples, literature and videos about vegan options. Thank you Bonnie and Jana!

  • Groove Is In The Heart, February 14

Elk Run and Riot from Canmore played for the dance. Great band! They are in the line-up for Field Summer Music Festival so it was really nice to get a sneak preview. 27 people attended. Door proceeds went to the band. Bar proceeds to FRAA. Lots of social media promotion. No posters printed for the event; in the future will definitely print and post to augment digital communication.

  • Yoho Nordic Challenge, February 15

Organized and run by Kicking Horse Ski Club. Superb turnout of around 80 participants. Great weather and ski conditions this year. Well done KHSC!


  • HIIT going strong with two sessions weekly, one lead by Laura Penner on Wednesday evenings and a self lead session Sunday evenings
  • Yoga with Mardi Elliott on Thursday evenings

(Both programs have been subsidized by a grant from Columbia Shuswap Regional District since September, to boost attendance and promote personal health and well being for participants. The FRAA will do a second accounting this month of grant monies used since the end of December to see how much is left.)

  • Learn to Make Healing Foods Vegan Cooking Class with Bonnie Brandt on February 23. Full registration of 8 participants, great program! Well organized and presented, delicious food, lovely to spend a few hours together making food, eating food and visiting – everything we love as a community. More courses in the works.


1. Constitution Update Meeting on February 10, full review, identified areas that need amending, call to Societies Branch for definition and process clarification. The organization defines terms in the By-Laws and if the By-Laws are submitted as a package for update, then we pay one fee, rather for each article changed. Hope to have a draft to circulate in the next month.

2. FRAA Board Meeting February 17 – see minutes circulated in mid-February.

3. Meeting with Parks Canada management on February 18 to touch base and discuss community concerns.

            a. Volunteer contribution to community of Field compensates for lack of Parks Canada presence. 

Role of Kicking Horse Ski Club and track setting; out dated Winter Trails Map – needs to be updated and reprinted; YNP twitter account promotes winter recreation without acknowledging that KHSC is providing the service – encounter with snowshoers on the trail shows misunderstanding of role of KHSC; aging volunteers. FRAA feels it is in everyone’s best interest for Parks Canada to maintain winter trails and provide up-to-date information that gives users accurate trail info and critical safety messages.
            b. Field Fire and Rescue: solution to impasse, role of FFR for community and Yoho National Park, burn-out, recruitment, retention long term vision, administrative continuity re: ensuring propane tank is full and insurance policy is paid and current. Role of FFRD is primarily public safety on TransCanada Highway. 57 call-outs in 2019. Structure fires are rare.
            c. Yoho VRC open year round to offer services to visitors. Average daily use since October 2019 averages 438 people per day. 

            d. Community access in winter: snow removal and storage. We need a new model, not same old method that leaves Field at the end of the maintenance line, looking like an abandoned village. Concern about top-down attitude of Highway Operations Unit (HOU) staff toward maintenance in Field; this community is seen as a burden when the reality is insufficient funding to HOU in the Field Unit. Entrance to community is not inviting: snow is piled in front of the Village of Field sign, summer banners are still up, and are in tatters. Note:Banners have been replaced.
            e. Emergency Plan Update: During the communications blackout and power failure on February 3, 2019 Field Fire and Rescue Department (FFRD) played a leadership role in organizing a response plan, communications door-to-door to assess needs, and staffed the Community Hall as an emergency shelter. When the CP train derailed in the early hours of February 4, 2019, CP Bunkhouse was put on evacuation notice due to oil tankers in the Field yard and uncertainty of what would actually happen to the out of control train. Residents heard after the fact; there was no evacuation protocol in place for residents (keeping in mind that particular emergency situation unfolded very fast).
            f. Status of Contribution Agreement: Alex is working on Contribution Agreement and Memorandum of Understanding options.

            g. Community use of school gym when Parks Canada finishes paperwork for lease surrender from Rocky Mountain School District 6. Very close to signing all paperwork for lease surrender, then Parks Canada will start process to renovate structure for use as National Park Administration Building. Use of school gym for community recreation and events will be managed through a License of Occupation between Parks Canada and FRAA

            h. Reinstate Outstanding Items List that identifies maintenance issues in Field. Provides a guideline and priorities. Addresses general state of neglect.

            i. Individual issues between Parks Canada and residents need resolution before acrimony develops. FRAA supports cooperative, reasonable, logical solutions to issues.

            j. Overall, what does Parks Canada envision for Field over the next 10+ years? Aging demographic, volunteer burn-out, steady loss of services over the past 25 years – it’s easy to be demoralized. Any movement on CPR land not used for CPR operations reverting to the Crown?

4. Field Utility Board Meeting February 27 – Alex will report

General Business:

  • CPR Lease has been signed for five years, in place to October 31, 2024
  • Working on repairs and maintenance in the Community Hall. Miles has agreed to do important plumbing repairs to the hot water tap in the bar and a leaking toilet in the women’s washroom. Joe and Flint looking at the change room door replacement/repair.
  • Grant Applications submitted to Columbia Basin Trust for St. Joseph Project for cost of Engineered Drawings and Architectural review submitted to CBT Community Initiatives (requested $45,625.00) and to purchase gym equipment (requested $9450). Presented February 24 to selection committee in Golden. Anticipate hearing results of applications by the end of March.

In case you didn’t already know:

  • Styrofoam meat trays stamped P6 made from Expanded Polystyrene can be recycled through the British Columbia program and are accepted at the Golden Bottle Depot. They are not accepted through the Town Of Banff recycle program – that is where our recycle program materials are sent. So, if there is P6 material in our plastic recycle bin, the load is contaminated and ends up in the landfill, which none of us want.
  • Neighbourhood Small Grants “program helps residents of any age, experience, or background take part in building community”. Grants up to $500. Check out details and info at the website:  

Overall, lots of opportunities to get together to have fun, learn, participate and talk about the issues that are important to our community. As always, volunteers support activities that enrich our lives and manage the details required for a Society registered in the Province of British Columbia that operates in a National Park with one asset on CPR land and one asset on Parks Canada land. Great big shout out to everyone! FRAA always welcomes new Board members. If interested, please talk to one of us.


Former resident and retired Parks Canada Highways employee Bruce Wiebe died in early March 2020. Bruce, Heather and their son Jeff owned and lived in the home currently owned by Susan and Ian McIlreath, They moved to Calgary when Bruce retired; Heather continued to work for CPR in Calgary. Bruce was a great neighbour and colleague. We offer our condolences to his family and friends.

2. Treasurer’s Report 

            Sally Watson, Treasurer FRAA

Motion by Paulina, seconded by Kathryn: to accept financial reports as presented. Carried.Files attached to minutes email, and posted on inside bulletin board at Post Office.

3. Parks Canada Reports 

            Alex Kolesch, Acting/Townsite Manager

Highway Twinning Basic Impact Assessment and Mitigation Plans Open House on February 5, 2020 was well-attended. 

Field School: Parks Canada recognizes the important role of the school in the community. Will preserve memory in renovations; feedback is welcome as are ideas for commemorative space/presentation. Renovations will also enable entrance for use of gymnasium, access to washrooms for gym users. Building will be Parks Canada Administration Office. Considering parking area for staff, currently looking at playground area for parking. Once all offices have been moved to new space, Parks Canada will end its lease with CPR in the present Admin Building; status of building is responsibility of CPR. Site may be developed as community green space, possibly site for new playground, picnic area.

Parks Canada Housing: New triplex ready to be let to staff. Contains two 2-bedroom suites and one 1-bedroom suite. Anticipate start of construction this season on second triplex on former Dollhouse lot. Boulder Creek Bunkhouse renovations will be complete for winter staff residence, not ready for summer staff in 2020. Superintendent’s Residence is ready for tenants. It’s very expensive to heat; potential renters are hesitant to take it on. Ideas for use other than housing? Contact Alex. Parks Canada is committed to improving staff accommodation. Assets team is preparing a report on some properties to determine if they could be sold or should be demolished.

Field Utility Board Report: Review of quarterly reports. Rates for water and sewer continue to be frozen and will remain the same. Parks Canada anticipates the subsidy for 2019/2020 fiscal year will drop from around $18,000 down to between $12,000 and $13,000. In previous fiscal year there were major equipment, and wage expenses (wage increase and retro pay due to contract settlement) that are not repeated in current year. May see increase in solid waste costs. These rates are not frozen. 

            Alex is doing research on insurance and honorarium options as part of Contribution Agreement update.

            Covid-19: Parks Canada takes direction from Health Canada. No special direction at this time regarding visitors however this could change; the situation is very fluid. Parks Canada will look at policy and direction over the next 2 to 4 months. In the meantime, follow Health Canada’s advice. It sounds like Parks Canada is looking at visitation and economic impacts as a result of the virus spreading worldwide.

            Michael Vanderveen, Highway Service Centre

Nothing new to report. Currently in late winter/early spring operations, cleaning medians and pushing back snow build-up on TransCanada Highway shoulders. Freeze/thaw cycles, more snow forecast. Will have water maintenance team look at frozen storm drain south of Community Hall to mitigate water pooling at bottom of Centre Street.

Nothing to report at this time from Visitor Experience, or Resource Conservation.           

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

The nice winter break is almost over! Store opens April 2, 2020; April is a busy month for the Friends of Yoho store. Come on down and see what’s new! Two full-time staff positions filled; one part-time position is still open. Parks Canada plans to open May 1, 2020.

5. British Columbia Emergency Health Services

            Craig Chapman, Community Paramedic

Quiet in general. Covid-19 is a big part of conversations. If you are elderly with existing health conditions risk is higher. It’s important to take precautions to protect yourself: don’t travel; carry hand sanitizer, avoid large gatherings. The virus is passed by large droplets. Cough or sneeze into elbow. Wash hands frequently using soap and water. Don’t touch your face. No cruises. Use of masks more effective on clean-shaven face, but ultimately masks are an illusion of protection. If you have symptoms (fever, runny nose, dry cough) call 811 for information and direction, i.e. isolate in place or call 911. Follow Get Prepared advice on stocking food and supplies in event of quarantine; assess support systems. If you run a business, have hand washing facilities and hand sanitizer readily available on site. For reference visit British Columbia Centre for Disease Control website:

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

  1. Call Outs: 7 in November, 13 in December, 4 in January, 3 in February – 27 for 2019/20.
  2. Members: One new recruit with Brad Tataryn
  3. New and Planned Purchases
    1. No new purchases
    1. Propane generator is in place in case of power outage with an automatic switch.
    1. Bunker gears are going through their annual clean up.
    1. The hydraulic pump and extrication tools have been maintained by KGC.
  4. Completed Training: No external training during the winter.
  5. Upcoming Training: Spring training is posted with CSRD facilities in Salmon Arm.  Strategies and Tactics, interior fire, exterior fire, ventilation, pump operators, emergency driving, etc…
  6. Apparatus
    1. Engine 1 (all good) 
    1. Rescue 1 (all good) 
    1. Rescue 2 (all good considering its age).  
  7. Ongoing Projects
    1. Discussions with PCA about importance of fulltime fire chief on FFRD (Fire Chief) ongoing
    1. Last meeting was on Feb 18 with Pauline Boisier (FFRD president), Rick Kubian (PCA), Alex Kolesh (PAC), a new representative for PCA and Patrick Cais (deputy chief). 
    1. PCA met with Sophie (FFRD secretary) later through a phone conference to look at improving the administrative procedure. FFRD has not received any news from PCA since regarding this development.

Parks Canada asks the community for time to resolve the negotiation with FFR on issue of full-time Fire Chief. Advised by community that FFR understand their operation and are a very valuable resource to consult. Observation that this has been in process for nine months, the current contract expires on March 31, 2020 and with no Fire Chief in place (it’s an onerous task that no current members want to take on under present contract model) no one has the authority to sign new contract. 

7. Round Table

Not offered for open discussion, sorry. However, Go International Volunteer program, operated through Lake Louise Ski Area is interested in any projects individuals or businesses may have in mind for this summer. If you have a project in mind, contact Ron