Field recreation Advisory Association Town Hall Meeting September 28, 2020
In Attendance: Sally Watson, Kathryn Cameron, Paulina O’Brien, Sonya Leenders, Craig Chapman, Tracey LeBlanc, Alex Kolesch, Ryan Cameron, Jen Coffman, Brenda Selkirk, Karla Gaffney, Lloyd Lafrance, Patrick Caïs, Pauline Boisier, Doug Mostert, Karen Cathcart, Carla Evans, Pierre Lemire, Wendy Edge, Annaick Balsan, Dave Allen, Sophie Caïs
1. FRAA Report
Kathryn Cameron, President FRAA
Welcome to everyone present at the Town Hall Meeting in the Community Hall, and welcome to everyone who has joined us via Zoom – thanks for organizing and monitoring this virtual communication method Craig Chapman. It’s safe to say that Covid-19 has catapulted us into the “virtual” world, the “strategic behaviour” world and the “so many new ways of looking at our lives” world. Critical thinking is important.
Field Recreation Advisory Association (FRAA) has met virtually and in person to determine best actions for offering programs and sharing information with residents of Field. Basically, the usual events we celebrate together in the community were either modified (Earth Day) or cancelled (Easter Pot Luck Brunch and Bunny Hop, Spring Fling and Canada Day, some Town Hall Meetings) in 2020 to meet Provincial Health Officer guidelines to prevent the spread of Covid-19. The FRAA will continue to follow the guidelines and do what we can to keep each other informed and connected as we find our way through the maze of a global pandemic in a community that is fuelled by tourism and friendship. The FRAA continues to communicate via email with the community email list through our new email address: email@example.com, on our Facebook page, The Village of Field, and on our website: www.fieldbc.ca.
Kudos to everyone for making Field look so beautiful this summer! The gardens and flowers are gorgeous. Sally, the flowers at the Community Hall offer a beacon of welcome. The hall isn’t seen a lot of community use this summer, but the public washroom, the chairs and benches, the tiny library and the veranda have seen plenty of traffic.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) continues strong with Laura Penner continues on Wednesday evenings from 6:30 to 7:30 pm, and self-lead on Sunday evenings from 6:30 to 7:30 pm, either outside on the rink at the Community Hall or inside at the school gymnasium if the weather or air quality are poor.
Yoga Flow with Julie will resume later this fall. Details to be announced.
If you have a proposal for an event or program, put together the plan from the perspective of health and safety (Covid-19 guidelines), risk and consequence assessment (for insurance coverage), budget, location, and communication plan. The FRAA welcomes ideas that promote health and well being in the community.
Winding up the Columbia Shuswap Regional District grant of $1260 to promote participation in fitness programs in Field.
Two grants from Columbia Basin Trust Community Initiatives Program are in process: engineered drawings for the St. Joseph Project ($45,625.00), and to establish a community gym facility ($9450.00).
A draft will be circulated via the community email list. It’s dry but short, so please read through the document and send comments by return email to the FRAA. Have coffee, or tea, or another caffeinated drink of choice to help you stay awake! Actually it’s not that bad. We plan to vote on the amendments at the Annual General Meeting.
New agreement with Parks Canada has been signed by both parties: Parks Canada on July27, 2020 and FRAA on August 13, 2020. Honorarium not received to date.
St. Joseph Project
Basically, we have gone back to the drawing board to develop a new, smaller conceptual plan that leaves the structure in place with a slightly larger addition to replace the back section, new foundation and modified basement plan. The Board asks residents to bring us your concerns and ideas as we work through this process. We want to get engineered drawings, tender the construction process and have all our ducks in a row when we apply for more grants, complete the development process and proceed with construction in 2022. Stay tuned for plans to review in the coming month.
Kicking Horse Ski Club will operate as normal this year, under the exceptional guidance of Marilyn Toulouse and Bruce Bembridge, with Joe Nixhipi on the grooming. Given the response of Canadians to visit the National Parks this summer, it’s fair to expect we will see cross country skiing experiences in high demand this winter. On this note, kudos to the Yoho National Park trail crew team who made safe passage over the washout at the west end of the Amiskwi River bridge in June, and cleared the major piles of blown down trees on the Kicking Horse Trail in August. It is a beautiful trail in all seasons of the year.
Power Outages and BC Hydro
Diane Tammen from BC Hydro has kept us informed on maintenance and repairs to the Energy Storage Facility (ESF) which we tend to refer to as the battery back up. To learn more about the program, visit the website at: https://www.bchydro.com/news/press_centre/news_releases/2013/bc-hydro-completes-energy-storage-project-in-field.html
To receive information when the battery is on, the Twitter account is Field_Outage_Status, @FieldOutageInfo
The FRAA will ask Diane Tammen for an overall update on the pilot project. The FRAA asks Parks Canada: Does the Highway Twinning Project include plans to move the power line from CP’s mainline right-of-way to underground along the TransCanada Highway right-of-way?
CP Rail Operations Concerns
Ongoing problems with the crossing arms, lights and signals; trains covering the crossing for extended periods of time (44 minutes just before noon on September 8); old, noisy, diesel spewing engines used for work trains left idling in the yard along Stephen Avenue for days/nights; maintenance vehicles speeding through town and in the yard (creates dust); zero communication with the community about any of these issues leaving all responsibility on residents to call the CP Police line to find out what is going on and why.
The FRAA passed these concerns to Parks Canada LLYK Townsites. We feel that corporate to corporate conversations are more effective than individual to corporate conversations. This doesn’t mean that as residents we should not call the CP Police at 1-800-716-9132 to let them know what’s happening. Still call. We want to add weight to our concerns and get resolution.
British Columbia Provincial Election
We go to the polls on Saturday, October 24, 2020. Field Community Hall is the polling station. Covid-19 measures will be in place. There will be many details communicated as the process unfolds.
Annual General Meeting
Scheduled for Monday, November 16, 2020. Currently six members on the Board of Directors. Nomination papers will be in the Post Office on October 1, 2020. If you are interested in volunteering with the FRAA, please talk to one of the Board members and file your papers to be part of our tiny democratic process! Operating during a pandemic has presented challenges that we seem to manage well in our community. Offer your expertise and ideas to operate and connect in ways that keep us all safe and healthy.
The FRAA and community of Field offer condolences to the families of Gordon Allen and Bruce Wiebe who both died this spring.
Gord Allen lived and worked in Field and Yoho for many, many years. He volunteered with Field Fire and Rescue Department, FRAA and the Friends of Yoho organizations, and on his own, volunteered to restore and mount Parks Canada’s retired rustic signs throughout the Field Townsite. The beautiful map of Yoho National Park displayed on the front of the Community Hall receives huge attention daily from visitors to our community. All those beautiful street markers? Gord Allen is the guy who installed and maintained them. Although Gord spent the last 9 years of his life in care, his presence continued to be felt with in conversations with Vivian and Dave. I always looked forward to Gord’s rapier sharp wit and observations! And visiting his train set upstairs in their garage. Thanks to Karla Gaffney and Marilyn Toulouse for organizing a physical distanced memorial for Gord in the spring.
Bruce Wiebe also lived and worked in Field and Yoho for many years. He lived with his wife Heather and son Jeff at 302 – 1st Avenue until his retirement from Parks Canada when he and Heather moved to Calgary; Jeff has already moved to Alberta by then. Bruce worked on the Highways Team, so we saw him in town and on the Highway maintaining roads and supporting construction and repairs in the park. Bruce was also known for a splendid sense of humour and goodwill. After retirement Bruce stopped in town to visit, and could often been seen enjoying coffee with former colleagues at Melissa’s in Banff.
And life prevails. Congratulations to Doug Mostert and Pauline Boisier on the birth of their daughter Louise Collette on August 31, 2020! Of course, she is perfect. Exactly what we expected from Pauline and Doug! (Bonus on the video feed – we were able to say Hello! to Louise, Pauline and Doug comfortably attending the meeting at home!)
Congratulations to Carter Tataryn, our only Golden Secondary School Graduate this year. All the best in your life endeavours and adventures Carter!
2. Treasurer’s Report
Sally Watson, Treasurer FRAA
Files attached to the distribution email.
Note: All lights in the Community Hall are LED. Matthew Morrison undertook the project and completed it about five years ago.
3. Parks Canada Reports
Tracey LeBlanc, Townsite Manager
First quarter (April through June 2020) reports for water, wastewater and solid waste show expenses and revenue are both down which mirrors lockdown conditions at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Not certain all costs have been input. Expect a clearer picture at the end of second quarter (June through September).
- HES signalisation project is underway as per previous email and GANTT chart (traffic lights installation at Field intersection on TCH)
- Lake O’Hara Road is roughly 3/4 complete
- KH CG final deficiencies are being rectified
- Yoho bunkhouse is schedule to be complete mid-late October. The bunkhouse will be open year round.
- Boulder compound clean-up in final stages. Lead by ResCon.
- Second new triplex is final stages of tender preparation. Construction in 2021.
- Recent geotechnical study along 2nd Ave was completed though report is not yet complete.
- Design work underway for retaining wall replacement at 314 1st Ave.
Highways Operations Unit
Winter operations and level of service will be the same as usual for this winter in Field. Winter snowplough map attached to the distribution email.
- Yoho Visitor Centre will close on October 12th. Services may move indoors if weather turns cold and wintery before that. Physical distancing and masks will form part of the requirements to ensure safety of visitors and staff.
- Monarch, Kicking Horse and Takakkaw Falls campgrounds will close on Oct 12th
- Takakkaw Falls road will close after October 12th
- Day use areas and highway washrooms in Yoho will look similar to last winter during the COVID-19 pandemic: Emerald Lake, Yoho VRC and the Wapta Lake truckers pull-out will stay open for the winter and cleaned regularly as per our COVID-19 cleaning guidelines. All others will close with snowfall or after Thanksgiving weekend.
- Lake O’Hara Road is undergoing major upgrades. It will remain gravel but it will be a much-improved driving experience for the busses.
- For 2021, pending COVID-19 guidance, we are planning to:
– return to full capacity at Lake O’Hara and Takakkaw Falls campgrounds
– run the Lake O’Hara bus
– return to an indoor offer at the Yoho VRC
Some prescribed fire operations went ahead on September 13, but they were limited by the widespread smoke from US wildfires. As a result, only a small piece (about 70 hectares) of the 1571-hectare unit was burned.
Currently, we aren’t planning to complete operations at Alexandra this fall because conditions are no longer favourable (this might change but it’s very unlikely).
Will communicate with Mike Lovecchio, CP Rail Vice President of Community Relations, about community concerns and CP Rails future plans in the community.
Will retain the Field Fire and Rescue Department file. In the spring Parks Canada agreed to conduct a review of FFRD to look at long-term viability. Received the third party contractor’s draft report late Sunday evening. Shared with FFRD today. Has read through it once, needs time to understand. Received communication from FFRD last week that FFRD does not feel prepared to extend their contract, which ends September 30, 2020, with Parks Canada. Alex stated that Parks Canada remains committed to fire protection and road rescue service in Field and Yoho National Park.
Management Plan Review Process: Public consultation may resume in late fall digitally, i.e. share Draft Management Plan.
Questions and comments re: Parks Canada Reports
1. Brenda Selkirk asked Highways to do maintenance on the cemetery road. There are deep ruts in places.
2. Patrick Caïs: Question from a year ago for the Lake O’Hara turnoff for people entering TCH westbound traffic. Drivers don’t seem to understand the merge lane provided but pull out directly into the westbound passing lane. Is there some way to indicate the existence and purpose of the merge lane? Tracey to follow-up.
3. When will the traffic lights on the TransCanada Highway be operational? How are the lights powered? Will power outages affect the lights? If yes, how will they operate when there’s an outage? Will there be enhanced highway maintenance at the intersection, i.e. clear sightlines, mitigation for ice?
4. Friends of Yoho Report
Brenda Selkirk, Manager Friends of Yoho
The gift shop remained closed due to Parks Canada VRC restrictions to the public.
Throughout the summer we had our website store providing some clothing, magnets, souvenir map and stuffed animals.
Sales have been slow. We have had donations and memberships to contribute to funds being generated. September has been a busy month with more sales than all other months.
The Board is going ahead with the fall newsletter. This is no plan to have any events this fall. Members will need to renew through the website for the upcoming year. A form is available with payment options for this.
Thanks to Wendy and Sonya for keeping the school flower garden (The Glen and Irene Brook Memorial Garden) in great shape.
Impromptu reports from Truffle Pigs owner, Jen Coffman, and Velvet Antler Pottery owner, Ryan Cameron. Both businesses were able to adjust to new operation guidelines to keep staff and clients safe, and were busy this summer. Canadian clientele. Truffle Pigs plans to close from October 13 to December 1 for maintenance and to organize for winter operations. The Velvet Antler will be open for winter operations; no break planned right now.
5. Field Fire and Rescue Report
Patrick Caïs, Acting Chief, Field Fire and Rescue Department
- Most quiet summer on record. No call-outs in July or August; 1 call-out in September. Observation: primarily regional traffic, people travelling from point A to point B, familiar with the road, not sightseeing.
- 16 members, not all are active. 4 new recruits: Brad, Heather, Slade and Lauren.
- One senior member/officer has resigned due to stressful situation with Parks Canada. Additional resignations possible. Members have shifted personal priorities. Training Officer has prepared effective training sessions but attendance is poor. Training opportunities uncertain with loss of use of Boulder Creek Compound for storing derelict cars to use in Auto Extrication training. No new site identified to date.
- Overall members feel demoralized, and not appreciated. There has been a big turnover in the Fire Chief position; five Chiefs in five years.
- Raised concern in July 2019 that no one wanted to take the position. Sent a memorandum with concerns to Parks Canada. No written response. Later in the fall met with Superintendent Rick Kubian and were told FFRD would remain a volunteer department with no full-time paid personnel. Generally the Fire Chief spends 300 hours per year and officers/members spend 250 hours per year on FFRD duties.
- Well-being of members is FFRD prime concern of Acting Fire Chief. Hears frustration. Being ignored, loss of motivation and lack of consideration has led to level of low morale in department. Not feeling confident in level of training at this point to respond to highway rescue. Members must be legally compliant with increased level of competence as shown in training records to offer all services.
- Received draft audit report today. FFRD will take all aspects into consideration. FFRD does not want to turn their backs to the community. Feels that current operation of FFRD is too big to request from a volunteer department. It is time for a stronger department, not a weaker department.
- Parks Canada is the governing body, authority for Townsite of Field and Yoho National Park.
- FFRD not moving away from the table. Compliance and safety are top priorities.
Alex: Not much to refute in anything Patrick has stated. Understands situation. Important to take time to understand and digest draft report. Welcomes open dialogue.
Sonya: Stakeholders are highly motivated to see FFRD onsite, compliant and operational.
Kathryn: Parks Canada relies heavily on volunteers and residents’ goodwill to offer services in Field and Yoho as noted by Field Fire and Rescue, Friends of Yoho, Kicking Horse Ski Club and FRAA. We have a small population. People have their own priorities. But, we love our community and we love Yoho. We want Parks Canada to love us back.
Craig: Is Parks Canada legally required to provide fire protection and road rescue service in Yoho National Park?
6. Round Table
1. Karen Cathcart, Area A Regional Director attended the meeting via Zoom.
Karen offered to work with the community and Parks Canada in discussions with CP Rail on its operations in Field, and also offered the assistance of Columbia Shuswap Regional District staff in finding resolution to sustainable fire protection services for Field and Yoho National Park. Karen also reported on the progress of the proposed aquatic centre in Golden. In October, Area A residents will receive a link to a website that gives costs to selected options participants want to have in an aquatic centre, and calculates what that person will pay in property taxes to pay for the centre based on property assessment. It’s all about the money. Stay tuned. Thanks Karen.
2. Karla Gaffney advised residents that although there is now a controlled crossing that may have received a permanent fix to problems, always Look, Listen and Live – in other words, be aware of what is happening when you enter or leave Field via the controlled crossing.
Kathryn commented that it begs the question of why the crossing, with increased noise and disruption, was installed since it’s not necessarily providing the increased safety we were told it would serve.
Meeting adjourned 9:06 pm