Dec. 12, 2017
‘Within a fraction’
CAO Brian Vance apologized for not getting the written version of his CAO update out to councillors earlier.
“I spent the morning writing agreements,” he said. “They’re going very well.”
These are the two major shared-cost deals with the M.D. of Lesser Slave River that have been the cause of considerable headaches over the past few months.
“We’re within a fraction of finishing,” Vance said.
Adding his comments, mayor Tyler Warman said, “It’s actually possible we could have them finished off before Christmas. That would be the greatest gift Santa could bring!”
Dividing the field house
Vance said the field house divider would be installed “this week.” This will allow the town to make better use of the space. Warman asked if there are plans for promoting it. That will be done, Vance said, but “the first step is to get it in there and see how it works.”
‘One thing to the next’
Speaking of the operations department, Vance said crews had been out sanding and moving snow around and had to go from that to removing pooled water. “It’s one thing to the next,” he said.
Councillor Shawn Gramlich presented his first report on the Lesser Lake Watershed Council. He said the group is proposing a shoreline mapping project, something that has never been done. It would involve boats and cameras and do what sounds like a detailed inventory of every inch of the shore of Lesser Slave Lake. It will look at “what harm is being done,” Gramlich said, “and what works.”
The group will be asking the town for $5,000 to help cover the cost.
Community Education Committee
Councillor Joy McGregor said this group – which is connected with Northern Lakes College – met and talked about how to spend some money it has in the bank. Ideas include something called a ‘wellness passport,’ a couple of awards for students and a ‘wellness day.’ McGregor said there’s a focus on providing support for adults going back to school.
Municipal Planning Commission
Councillor Rebecca King reported that the MPC approved development permits for three home-based businesses, as well as for the Mat Program. Councillor Darin Busk added that the three home-based businesses had already been approved for six-month trial periods, during which there were “no issues.”
Shirley Chykerda was elected the chair of the MPC, with Mark Missal as vice-chair.
More meetings to discuss the role of the Elks Club in the management partnership for the facility, Warman reported. As usual he was light on details, but it’s fair to say the Elks have been struggling and are seeking to have their burden eased. This inevitably translates into a greater share of the burden shifting to the other partners. (town, M.D., Sawridge, day care).
“Some tweaks need to be made,” said Warman. “We want to see both things succeed.” (I.e. the Elks and the Centre).
Lots of meetings to work out what FireSmart is, what it should be doing and how it should do it, reported Warman, who returns as chair of yet another organization. A lot of good work has been done, he said; “We need to market that to the community.”
Another thing is to develop an information package that can be easily communicated with other municipalities looking for advice on FireSmart. Many apparently are looking to Slave Lake for such guidance. Warman said instead of “spending three hours on the phone,” explaining it, the idea is to have something that can be emailed.
There’s a new board for this group, and a general meeting was held on Dec. 12 to discuss the way forward for tourism promotion in the region. A decision was made, Warman reported, to upgrade the Slave Lake Region website for that purpose.
Community Futures has been engaged to run visitor information services during the winter months.
Northern Alberta Elected Leaders
This group will be holding its next meeting in Slave Lake, at Warman’s invitation. He expects 30 to 40 mayors and reeves to attend on a date in January. It’ll be held at the Legacy Centre.
The group meets occasionally to discuss issues of common interest, which it then conveys to the provincial government.
“Christmas can’t come soon enough,” said Warman, referring to the heavy schedule of meetings lately, several of which were mentioned above. One not mentioned was budget deliberations.
“We’re about 40 hours into budget,” he said. “We’re having difficulty finding areas of opportunity.”
Opportunity for cutting costs, in other words.
As noted in last week’s town council notes, the minister of housing had asked the mayor to call her. Warman called it a “great announcement,” but added he isn’t allowed to say what “until we get the letter.”
There may also be some good news on the matter of transportation of seniors to medical appointments in the city. Council had lobbied for this at recent meetings with provincial authorities and Warman said he’d received a hint that there might be some new funding for it.