Town of Slave Lake Council notebook

Jan. 9, 2017 meeting
Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

Good news on the HR front

Good news, said CAO Brian Vance in his state-of-affairs written report for council: A candidate has accepted our offer for director of community services. “Verbally,” he added, verbally. “We’re working through the final offer.”
This department in town administration covers a lot of areas – possibly too many, as some have suggested. Ruth Rolfe was its director the past three or four years. Audrey DeWit is pinch-hitting in the position until a replacement is found. Community Services includes all recreational facilities, parks, trails and many of the programs the town runs in and out of them. Family and Community Support Services comes under it as well, as does (though it didn’t always) the town’s bylaw enforcement services.

Proposal to host training

The town has submitted a proposal to the Fire Chiefs Association of Alberta to host something called the ‘wildfire urban interface team program’ this year. It would be the first time such a program has been held in the province, Vance added.

CN crossings: no change

CN had promised to do temporary repairs on the two rough crossings in town, Vance said. That was a couple of months ago and nothing has happened.
“And they still haven’t agreed to do the permanent repairs,” he added.
As for the rest of the upgrades to the Main St. crossing, they remain unfinished, with no updates from the company.

Sign complaints

Councillor Julie Brandle reported she’s been hearing complaints from residents about the town’s electronic signs. For one thing, they are often too bright. Sometimes white on white lettering doesn’t work that well either. On the other hand, “I’m glad to see they’re working again,” she said.
Vance thanked her and noted that the lettering on the notices has been made a lot bigger recently.

5th and 5th NE

Council approved a recommendation from administration to increase the engineering portion of a road rehabilitation project by $62,000. It’s the 5th St. and 5th Ave. project in the northeast part of town.
Explaining the situation, project manager Doug Baird said, “We didn’t know what the engineering costs were going to be. The estimate was quite a bit low.”
As it turned out, underground work will be needed, he said, which was not taken into account at the time of the estimate.
On the plus side, “it’s still well within budget,” he said.
Helping to keep it there is the fact the underground pipes only need spot repairs, not replacement. The work was supposed to have been done in 2017, but has been postponed to the 2018 construction season.

MRC upgrades complete

Baird reported that upgrades to the multi-rec centre have been wrapped up with the overall project just slightly over budget. He called it “a good news story.”
The upgrades consisted of five separate components, totalling almost a million dollars. A bit less than half of that is covered by a Canada 150 grant.
The biggest of the items was new ice plant refrigeration compressors, at $400,000. De-humidifier upgrades in both arenas ran $200,000. Air conditioning for the field house cost $189,000 and an emergency generator and associated equipment was $150,462.
Baird said the fifth item – a new entrance sign at $15,000 – was dropped for lack of funds.
Unexpected items ran the budget up another $33,506, about half of it for fire code compliance upgrades. The result was a final overrun of $11,000.
“The project is basically closed out and the grant money will be coming in real soon,” Baird said.

Strategic priorities

Council accepted a report on the results of a strategic planning session held back in October. At the top of the list of priorities identified at that time was the matter of inter-municipal agreements.
“We heard loud and clear that M.D. agreements were the top priority,” said mayor Warman. “And it’s already taken care of!”
Next on the list is a tourism strategy, followed by a service review, funding levels for the 10-year road re-hab program and an economic development strategy.

Mayor’s corner

“Nice break,” said Warman, referring to the time off council business over the last part of December and first bit of January. “Facebook was even pretty quiet.”
That might have had a lot to do with the fact it didn’t snow.
Things were already heating up though, Warman went on to say, with FireSmart Committee strategic planning and Legacy Centre board meetings.
In other news, he said council was making good progress on the 2018 operating budget.
“It’s actually looking pretty good!” he said. “I think it’s something everybody is going to be able to live with.”
Warman also informed his colleagues he’d heard the Chamber of Commerce had hired a new executive director.

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