May 10, 2017 meeting
Town requests M.D. participation in waterline upgrade
Council heard the Town of Slave Lake plan for upgrading waterlines in the north end of town and into M.D. areas of Old Town Slave Lake. As laid out by town manager Brian Vance and project manager Doug Baird, the plan proposes that the M.D. pay a portion of the cost in sections where M.D. water customers (present and future) benefit.
Vance explained that the supply line running from the water plant north along Main St. and into the M.D. is old, corroded and too small. It needs to be replaced with a bigger pipe. The plan as proposed asks the M.D. to contribute $20,000 for the section from 10 Ave. NE to Tamarack Road, $224,000 (50 per cent) for the section from Tamarack to the M.D. boundary (by Nipisi Electric) and 100 per cent, or $350,000 for the remaining section to the river. The total project cost is estimated to be $1.176 million.
Councillor Darren Fulmore asked if it would be possible to run a plastic pipe inside the existing iron pipe, so as to solve the problem for less money. It wouldn’t solve the problem of inadequate flow for fire protection, Vance said, not to mention future growth.
“We looked at that option,” Vance said. “We thought we’d be better off to dig it up and do it right.”
“Why didn’t you bring it to us at budget time?” asked councillor Robert Esau.
We did, was Vance’s answer, essentially.
Council did not make any commitments, or indeed discuss the matter further – at least not in open session. We’ll get back to you on it, said reeve Murray Kerik.
“We’ll have to beat this to death ourselves,” he said.
Council decided to contributed the $20,000, but not more.
Seniors’ housing requisitions, again
Efforts to shine light through the fog obscuring an understanding of how seniors’ housing requisitions work continue. CAO Allan Winarski had a report on it for council, which may or may not have done some good.
This goes back to councillor Brad Pearson’s concern that M.D. ratepayers might be getting hit twice – once by one housing body and again by another. In his view, there should be a clear boundary, with folks on one side of the line contributing to Homeland Housing and on the other to Lesser Slave Housing. Complicating the situation is the linear assessment (pipelines and such) factor, which apparently is quite difficult to fit in to the geographically distinct picture as envisioned by councillor Pearson.
“We’re being double-dipped,” said Pearson.
“The M.D. is not being doubled-dipped,” said Winarski. “You’re either paying into one or the other.”
“I’m not so sure,” said Pearson.
Pearson made two motions: one to have the assessment numbers used by each of the housing authorities provided for council and the other to get the ministerial order regarding requisitions for both management bodies.
Burning issue in Chisholm
Councillor Mike Skrynyk, back after missing the last meeting, was curious to find out how or why his colleagues thought Chisholm should be exempted from the burning barrel ban.
“It doesn’t seem right,” he said. “I just like level playing fields.”
“It’s either that or we pay for a dumpster,” said councillor Brad Pearson.
The issue with Chisholm is that it’s so much further to any M.D. landfill or transfer station the burn barrel ban puts residents there at a disadvantage. The solution council came up with at an earlier meeting was to grant the exemption.
Council passed two readings of the bylaw by 6 – 1 votes, but the unanimous consent to proceed to third reading was not achieved. It will come up again, likely at council’s May 24 meeting.
AHS over Parent Link for Smith
As requested, council had further information in a report on programs available for pre-school children in Smith. Alberta Health Services can provide services for no charge. Parent Link has been providing early childhood services in Smith, and has requested more M.D. FCSS money ($8,100) this year to enhance that work.
Peggy Laing, presenting the report, said the clientele is the same, but the focus different between the two approaches.
“As long as the needs of the community are being met,” said councillor Pearson, “let’s try it (AHS services) for a year.’ He made a motion to that effect, which was carried.
Services for seniors in the west end
Per a request by councillor Brian Rosche, M.D. Rural Services had prepared a report on services – or the lack of them – to help seniors stay longer in their homes in the west end of the M.D. Such an organization as the ones in Smith and Flatbush for that purpose does not exist in that part of the M.D.
The report (by Peggy Laing) showed that the FCSS department in Slave Lake is unable to provide services outside its jurisdiction for insurance reasons. She proposed a survey to find out the extent of the need for services such as “light housekeeping and yard work, and for transportation to medical resources beyond Slave Lake.”
“I think snow-removal should be included in the services,” said Rosche.
Councillor Esau agreed: “Lots of people have died at the end of a shovel,” he said.
Councillor Skrynyk made a motion “to explore the options.” He recommended asking Big Lakes County how they handle it. Motion was carried.
Sponsorship for development conference
Council approved a $1,000 contribution towards the provincial conference of the Alberta Development Officers Association (ADOA), being held in September in Westlock. The request was made by M.D. P&D officer Jill Tapp, who is an ADOA board member. The conference relies on sponsorships, she said in her report, and municipal support is common.
News from the health front
Brian Rosche, reporting on a recent meeting of the Regional Health Advisory Council in Wabasca, said the group received a tutorial on how the Family Care Clinic works. For one thing, if you ‘walk in’, don’t expect to see your family physician. It doesn’t work that way. An advisory board for the FCC is being contemplated. It’ll start with a steering committee.
In other news, air ambulance contracts have been awarded for a 10-year period, which Rosche called “a good news story.”
The Tri-council Health Committee had also met. Councillor Pearson said they heard from Keepers of the Athabasca, on the Swan Hills waste treatment plant. Keepers is advocating for more monitoring; the operator wants to do less.
Councillor Esau expressed a certain skepticism of Keepers of the Athabasca.
“I think what they’re really looking for is some organization to give them legitimacy,” he said.
Brad Pearson, the only attendee at a recent provincial libraries conference without a library membership (so he said), reported to his colleagues on what he heard there. One thing was talk about eliminating library membership fees. Lots of boards are doing it, he said. “We aren’t, yet.”
First Nations involvement in libraries continues to be promoted. E-books are being promoted as well.
“We’ve got the largest collection in North America,” Pearson said.
The latest from this committee of the Regional Tri-council is that the visitor information centre is being prepped for a new season – its first under the auspices of the regional economic development group. The wheelchair ramp needs some work, said Kerik. People have been hired to provide information to visitors.
“I’m surprised there’s still no DMO (destination marketing organization),” said councillor Esau.
“Almost!” said Kerik.
“It’s on somebody’s desk,” said Esau.
Good luck with that, said Skrynyk. He’d heard recently from somebody in government, “If it hasn’t been 50 days, don’t even call us.”
“If we have a burning issue, we’ve got to start writing more letters,” said Pearson.
Councillor Skrynyk had attended a ‘round table’ discussion on Aboriginal consultation in Alberta, involving government, industry and municipal leaders. The guidelines for consultation are being re-written by the province.
“It’s a huge thing that’s happening out there,” Skrynyk said. “We have to have our input.”
Speaking of which, comments can be submitted up to July 1.
As to people who think this might not have anything to do with them, Skrynyk said they should think again.
“The consumer is going to pay for all this stuff that’s going on. So everybody in the province should be concerned about it.”