July 4, 2017
No refund on redevelopment levy
In one of several resolutions with a split vote, council turned down a request from a local company for a refund of an off-site levy. Phasar Investments had paid $39,284 on a property in the northwest industrial area in 2015; the applicant’s view was that the former owners of the property should have been assessed the off-site levy when they took out a permit to build a 1,400 square foot addition to the original shop in 2009.
Off-site levies are tacked on to development by the town as a way of raising money for future town infrastructure expansion. Council has recently (2016) changed its policy, deciding that re-developments are exempt from the levies. When Phasar rebuilt the shop (which burned down a couple of years ago), the old policy was in effect; since the levies had never been paid on the property, they kicked in upon the redevelopment.
As to why the 2009 shop expansion didn’t trigger the levy, planning and development director Laurie Skrynyk said it was not the town’s policy at that time to collect the levies on additions. Phasar owner Don Yarosh, not surprisingly, thinks it should have. He says in a letter attached to the council agenda that the 2009 expansion by the former owner added “at least” $100,000 to the value of the building.
“It’s an unfortunate one,” said councillor Julie Brandle, making the motion to refund the levy.
Mayor Tyler Warman agreed: “I don’t want to put us in a position where we open the floodgates,” he said.
Council defeated Brandle’s motion by a 4 – 2 vote.
Council went ahead and approved the closure of bits of road on airport property. As reported previously, the Slave Lake Airport Commission has discovered parts of Main St. on airport lands still exist on the books.
Council’s motion was to send its road closure bylaw to the Minister of Transportation for approval.
Parent Link moving to old clinic site
Slave Lake’s Parent Link program has outgrown its space upstairs at the Community Christian Centre. Council learned from FCSS Co-ordinator Haylie Millard that Parent Link has secured rental quarters in the old Family Care Clinic building on 3rd Ave. NE, and needs to do some renovations.
Accordingly, the request before council was to approve the expenditure of $31,000 on those renos. The money is to come from something called the ‘Parent Link Trust Liability.’ Asked what that is, Millard’s boss Ruth Rolfe said it’s an accumulation of small surpluses in past years’ budgets.
The former clinic is owned by the province, and has been spoken of for the past few years as a site for low-cost housing. Millard said the agreement with the government is for a two-year lease, with an option to renew.
Council approved the awarding of the renovation contract to Tru-Line Construction.
Contract awarded for water line
Following the tri-council’s approval of the regional waterline and water intake/pumphouse projects, it was up to town council to actually award the two contracts. This was on the agenda, but with a late change: town project manager Doug Baird said something had come up and asked council to hold off for a few days on the pumphouse contract.
“We have new cost-saving ideas,” he said, without providing details, beyond an upcoming meeting in Edmonton with the preferred contractor.
Full speed ahead, though, with the $10 million waterline from Widewater to Slave Lake. Council approved that unanimously, awarding the contract to Weaver Group Ltd.
Noting the history of the discussions on the regional water project (going back to 2011), councillor Mark Missal said: “I’m really happy that we are getting on with it.”
A bit of housekeeping
Council passed a set of changes to the Land Use Bylaw without discussion. Called ‘housekeeping’ by planning supervisor Laurie Skrynyk, they include updated list of fines for various violations. These include improper drainage, improper placement of signs, improper screening, improper maintenance of landscaping and failure to obtain a development permit.
Caribou sewer line
Council discussed a proposal by a Caribou Trail property owner to install a sewer line. According to the report before council, Abe Peters has polled all the affected property owners (about a dozen of them); some have agreed to tie in and pay their share and some haven’t. The question for council was whether to grant Mr. Peters a variance from the usual town development standards; i.e. – the requirement for the developer to provide service to every lot, regardless.
Council hashed out the pros and cons for a while and then defeated by a 4 – 2 vote a Phil Lokken motion to require the proponent to service each lot. Council passed by the same split a subsequent motion to grant Mr. Peters the variance.
The proposal is to build a line on the west side of Caribou Trail, from just south of the railway tracks down to the last property before Hwy. 2. Peters will need a development agreement with the town, Skrynyk said. One of its clauses will specify the proponent’s ability to collect from future hook-ups.
Wrapping up the meeting with a review of recent mayoral activities, Warman spoke in glowing terms about the effort made by town staff for Canada 150 celebrations. Those efforts included a lot of flags painted and flying around town. One that not many people saw was on the roof of the town’s water treatment plant by the airport.
“Outstanding job,” he said.
Another good job was by the folks at Al Ameen Mosque, who put on a pancake lunch and gave tours of the mosque on a recent Sunday. Warman called it “very interesting.”
Looking forward, Warman said there’s “a lot of buzz,” about the Riverboat Daze block party.