Field Town Hall Meeting, March 14, 2016
In Attendance: Kathryn Cameron, Jo- Anne Arnold, Ellen Francis, Mike VanDerVeen, Karla Gaffney, Lloyd LaFrance, Karen Nickurak, Patrick Cais, Sophie Cais, Sally Watson, Kim Chapman, Kat MacNeill, Tyra Cameron, Ryan Cameron, Deb Bancroft, Mike Finn
Excused: Craig Chapman, Jeremy Schmidt, Karen Schmidt, Claudia Harding, Tanje Baker
- FRAA Report
1.1 Yoho Blow Days – Jan 29, 30, 31
Great event. Thanks to all the volunteers and participants for a very fun weekend.
Next year is the 40th Anniversary – based on a Pierre Lemire photograph from 1977. We will celebrate 40 Years of Blowing on Feb 3, 4, and 5 in 2017.
1.2 Kicking Horse Ski Club Dinner was Feb 13 – delicious and successful.
6 years ago in 2010 we thanked Marilyn and Denise for their last year of managing track setting in Yoho National Park through the work of the Kicking Horse Ski Club. How times change. Kudos to the Kicking Horse Ski Club organizers and track setting team for all the work they do. Skiing opportunities have been outstanding this year – in spite of the warm, loving arms of El Nino – with the addition of track set on the Yoho Valley Road and Monarch, and continue to be good!
1.3 Upcoming events to look forward to – mark your calendars
Monday, March 28 – Easter Celebrations at the Community Hall: Bunny Hop and Brunch. Check the poster on the bulletin board for details. FRAA will provide ham; participants asked to bring potluck brunchy foods.
Monday, April 25 – FRAA and FCC Regular Meeting (formerly known as In Camera Meeting)
Wednesday, May 4 – Field Utility Board and Liaison Meeting
Monday, May 16 – Town Hall Meeting
Sunday, May 30 – Spring Fling, Dance and Welcome to summer staff
Celebration of Field Elementary School – Date TBA. Discussing weekend before last day of school; consultation with Madame Rebecka and PAC suggested.
Friday, July 1 – Canada Day. We need floats and more participants!
Ellen: Is there a calendar online people can refer to? Yes, there is a Calendar of events on our website www.field.bc.ca but it may not be up to date.
- FCC Report
2a. Chair Report
2a.1 Caroline’s last meeting was one year ago. Ellen started March 23, almost her 1st anniversary as Townsite Manager.
2a.2 Meeting with Canadian Pacific on February 23,2016.
Kathryn and Craig met with Mike LoVecchio, Director Government Affairs, Karen Cathcart, CSRD Director, Alex Kolesh, Acting Parks Canada Superintendent and Ellen Francis, Parks Canada Townsite Manager. Thanks to Karen Cathcart for organizing the meeting.
Discussed leases and economic opportunities on CP land, land transfer possibility, train noise and trains blocking access to town.
Key discussion points:
- Residential leases issued by CP follow their interpretation of BC Landlord and Tenants guidelines that recommend rental agreements not exceed three year terms. Apparently this guideline has changed but CP has not changed their policy. It’s difficult for buyers to secure a mortgage on a property when the lease term is so short.
- Two vacant CP building zoned commercial or institutional are the Telegraph Building and the Railway Station. Friends of Yoho are in discussion with CP Realty about potential use of the Telegraph Building. Railway Station has designated Heritage Status; building is in state of disrepair.
- Suggestion by Parks Canada that CP and Government of Canada examine possibility of land transfer of lands no longer used by CP operations to Parks Canada.
- Moving the Crew Changeover location from the bottom of Wall Street to the crossing seen as viable option to reduce wait times at the crossing.
- Transportation Safety Board (TSB) reviewed crossing at entrance to Field and feels it is in fact a public crossing, not a private crossing as designated by CP. Based on TSB analysis, trains are now required by law to blow their whistle on approach to the crossing. There is a process to override that rule, but it involves a lot of time and paperwork. Parks Canada wants to hear if residents feel it is worth the time and energy. Please contact Elaine Lemieux.
- CP Resthouse (bunkhouse) exists to provide proper rest for crews. Based on Collective Agreements that determine hours of work, the Field Resthouse will be used for years to come. Moving the crew changeover location from Field to Golden means adjusting schedules all the way down the line to the coast; this is not feasible.
- 9000’ trains seems to be the standard. Longest siding in the Field Yard is 7400’. CP plans to extend the Leanchoil Siding, west of Field, to accommodate longer trains.
CP Police Dispatch number is 1 800 716 9132: Primary contact for residents when trains block the crossing for excess amount of time. Add this to your phone contacts.
Mike LoVecchio presented “In Your Community” to meeting attendees, an overview of CP safety commitments and responsibilities. The presentation is available on paper, from Kathryn.
2a.3 Film project – Growing Up In Field
No progress at this time.
2a.4 Hall Improvements
Completed cycle and final report will be sent in this week. Last step in final report is to write a media release to submit to local media.
2b. Discussion Items – Field Utility Board and Liaison Meeting March 4, 2016 was cancelled by Parks Canada so we missed the opportunity to talk about issues important to the community.
2b.1 Field Elementary School
School board voted to close the school at their last meeting. Does Parks Canada have plans to use the school if the School District closes it as an elementary school? Idea that the College of the Rockies and Burgess Shale Geoscience Foundation may team up for a Learning Centre does not look possible at this time. There is a real potential here for something to happen – not for profit or commercial.
Parks is talking with school district now that the closure is official. Parks will lay put some possible ideas, options and alternatives; the building does not have to be removed. Who should own the building? Current operation renting space in the building is not compliant with current lease.
Does Parks Canada plan to lease the building for offices? Ellen could not speak to this at this time.
Concerns with future of playground equipment / gym use. Discussed keeping the playground in town, but would require a group to assume responsibility for it, assume liability, do maintenance and regular inspections. This is a long-term commitment. If anyone is interested in taking on responsibility for the playground equipment please contact FRAA or FCC. Also discussed moving it to Field VRC. Parks Canada is interested as long as there’s room for it. Would need to get a quote from Blue Imp for relocation costs. Building Permit required from Development Office to move the structure.
2b.2 Yoho Trading Post Site
Council is disappointed with the current operation at the site; it is at the entrance to the village and gives Field the appearance of a derelict community. Would like to hear from Parks Canada if they have a timeline on the renovation project by current operator. Craig sent an email to Gary Smith, asking for information about renovations and reopening date but has not received a response. Parks Canada said there have no development permits issued for the site. Current lease continues in overhold. There may be contamination on site that will need to be mitigated before a call for proposals can be issued. No timeline has been identified for mitigation or a call for proposals. Parks Canada will ask current operator for opening dates for 2016 season.
Council feels that Parks Canada set the precedent by closing Field Visitor Centre in the winter. Will the Townsite Manager champion reopening the Field Visitor Centre year-round on behalf of the community? No, that decision is the responsibility of the Visitor Experience (VE) manager and outside the responsibility of Townsites.
Some residents feel there is not a clear policy on compliance with lease regulations. There have been incidents where a leaseholder was advised they could not proceed with a small change on their property until they had received permission from the Development Office, but the work actually did not need a development permit. Other leaseholders have not developed their lots, years after purchase. What is the policy on time lines for development after assuming a lease or signing a new lease? Ellen to find out and share the guidelines.
2b.3 Status of Lot Release in Field
Is development of the lots identified in the Town Plan realistic? If not, how will this play out in the Town Plan review? When will the review commence?
Parks Canada has identified seven lots in the Town Plan that have been released and are suitable for building. Contact the Townsite Office if you are interested in developing, or pass the information on if you know someone else who is interested.
Council requested a list of lots that are available for sale now.
Community Plan Review not scheduled at this point. Parks Canada interested in different framework for reviewing Community Plans. No details available.
2b.3 Staff Housing
What is the status of the FII project to move staff accommodation into Field and close the bunkhouse at Boulder Creek?
Parks Canada continues to examine options that meet demographic needs. No definite time line on consultation process to refine parameters, however that may take place in the fall. Considering all options including renovations or addition to the existing bunkhouse at Boulder Creek or building in the community of Field. Currently, Parks Canada is conduction an energy assessment of the Superintendent’s Residence; developing renovation plan that will respect the Federal Heritage Building designation and incorporate green technologies. This renovation will not be patchwork. Several other Parks Canada residences are getting upgrades to bathrooms, and asbestos abatement is underway in one residence now.
2b.4 Minutes from Field Utility Board and Liaison Meetings
None received to date for meetings in June and December 2015, and January 2016. When can Council expect to receive the minutes of these meetings? Parks Canada committed to having the minutes distributed in two weeks.
2b.5 Full Time Fire Chief and Sustainability of Emergency Services in Yoho NP
With the school closure we may see further changes in our community demographic, with fewer options for staffing volunteer positions on Field Fire and Rescue.
Parks Canada looking at recruitment options. Meeting with Field Fire and Rescue Chief to set terms for contract for next fiscal year. Also exploring recruitment and training used by Lake Louise Fire and Rescue; may be opportunity to liaise.
Council feels that sustainability of emergency services in the community and Yoho National Park are closely tied to jobs and housing in the community; it’s part of a bigger picture – community sustainability.
2b.6 Operating Budget and 3rd Quarter Report
Council has requested a full financial report from Parks Canada for operating and maintaining the community of Field, revenues and expenses. Council is curious to know how much the community is subsidized by Parks Canada.
Parks Canada can share that information. Finance Department is wrapping up year-end so not able to pull the information together until the new fiscal year. This request represents additional duties for Parks Canada staff and needs to include adequate timelines to complete the task.
Council also requests clarification on cost allocations for Field and Lake Louise as mentioned in our meeting of January 20, 2016. Can residents expect the freeze on cost increases to continue into the 2016/2017 operating year?
Parks Canada found anomalies in how costs were allocated to Field and Lake Louise, and feels that it would be unfair to expect Lake Louise rate payers to subsidize Field rate payers by allocating all overtime to Lake Louise operations and none to Field. At this time rate increases are not anticipated since Field has reached its maximum load. The 3rd Quarter report is available and Ellen will send it to FCC. Ellen will also confirm rates for 2016/2017 Operating Budget.
2b.7 Hoodoo Creek Campground
Is Parks Canada open to proposals from private entrepreneurs to operate a campground at Hoodoo Creek? Has Parks Canada approached potential operators to consider operating a campground at Hoodoo Creek?
Parks Canada is not actively pursuing partnerships. Visitor Experience camping offers are focused on the Yoho Valley: Monarch, Kicking Horse and Takakkaw Falls campgrounds. There will be Federal Infrastructure Investments planned for Monarch and Kicking Horse in the second round of spending. Hoodoo Creek is not on Parks Canada’s radar.
Ellen to provide the most recent list of projects that have been announced.
2b.8 Coffee with Superintendent
Council asked for potential dates at the January 20, 2016 FUB; none have been provided.
Parks Canada wants to revisit purpose of Coffee with the Superintendent. Going forward, how can the superintendent best use her time to engage the community?
From a community perspective, it has been an informal opportunity for stakeholders and residents to discuss ideas and get to know each other. It seemed to be productive and informative. There hasn’t been Coffee with the Superintendent for over six months, and Council feels that we have no engagement with the Superintendent at this time. We are partners, but feel that we are left out of whatever conversations about Field are taking place.
Ellen assured us that is not the case; she is here to bring things forward to the Superintendent. Parks Canada wants to work together and be productive, and do it in ways that make certain the Superintendent’s time spent here is the done in the best format. Ellen proposed a meeting to discuss what that format would look like.
2b.9 Warning signs at Water Treatment Facility
Is this the full mitigation for the safety of Field’s drinking water?
Parks Canada is consulting with National Office staff to determine security measures in other venues. Updates to follow.
2b.10 Snow Clearing
Snow clearing in town has been contentious this winter, and Council is concerned about the Townsite Manager’s suggestion the mail truck not drive into Field on snow days. Services, including mail service, in the community are important to community function. Other deliveries also need to be completed.
2b.11 Summer Rock Scaling Plans
Currently moving rock from storage area at Alberta/BC border to Mannix and Niblock pits. Material will be used for other construction. This summer rock scaling will take place on the rock face across from the Spiral Tunnels Viewpoint so the Day Use Area and viewpoint will be closed until June 29, then open for the busy summer season until September 7, then closed for rock scaling until November. Rock scaling will also happen at the west end of the park, from west of Finn Creek to east of Faeder Lake, on the rock face where trees were removed in spring 2015. Delays and operation details to follow.
- Treasurer’s Report
Presented by Sally Watson. Moved to accept by Kim; seconded by Kat. Files will be distributed with minutes of the meeting.
- RCMP Report – Tabled. No representative from RCMP at tonight’s meeting.
- Parks Canada
5a. Townsite Manager’s Report
5a.1 Lots currently available in Field – Addressed in item 2b.3
5a.2 Update from BC Hydro Hazard Tree Removal between Golden and Field – BC Hydro plans to remove hazard trees along the entire power line route this summer.
5a.3 Emergency Plan Update – Plans to consolidate existing plans. Discussion about need for concise instructions to flag personnel so Field residents and visitors can proceed if the road to Field and Emerald Lake is clear, and not impacted by the incident that closed the road.
5a.4 2017 Canada 150 Celebration – Planning meeting scheduled for March 23, 2016. Stakeholders have been invited. Parks Canada’s role is to bring communities and groups together to coordinate celebrations, with emphasis on shoulder season/less busy times of the year. Parks Canada is not spearheading events or opportunities, but acting more as facilitator.
5a.5 Town Walk About – Parks Canada staff takes notes and photos, compiles the list of items that need to be repaired and communicates with other departments. Field Community Council participates in an advisory capacity. Parks Canada will consolidate operational lists and circulate to Council.
5b. Highway Service Centre
5b.1 Damage to Tin and Plastic Recycling Bins – Damage to the hydraulic lifts on both bins means they cannot be used at all. Highway Service Center has ordered two replacement bins. Anticipate they will be delivered in about six weeks. In the meantime, residents have been directed to use tin and plastic recycling facilities in Lake Louise and Golden.
- Field Fire and Rescue – Tabled. Fire Chief is out of town.
- Round Table
7.1 Field Elementary School Fundraiser – Students will host a dinner and movie night at the school after spring break. PAC to send out details.
7.2 Karla Gaffney requested that Craig submit his resignation from council. Kathryn asked her to submit a letter to council outlining her concerns, and suggested that if Karla witnessed the event that prompted her request, then she needs to talk to the RCMP who are conducting an investigation. Otherwise, it is an incident that should not be discussed in public by people that were not present and do not have firsthand information.
Meeting adjourned at 9:20 pm.