Jan. 23, 2018
Water meters misbehaving
In his CAO update, Brian Vance said water meter batteries continue to fail and the manufacturer continues to not be able to keep up with replacements. Or at least not to do it, whether it is able to or not. Billing for properties with non-functioning metres is done based on historical averages for water use.
Vance said the town continues to work on the integration of the Legacy Centre into the town’s facility operations. There’s been good progress, he said, but we’re “not yet ready to roll out the plan.”
Adding to that, mayor Tyler Warman said, “there are ways to do things more efficiently. Our goal is to see the Elks succeed and the facility succeed.”
Town peace officers dealt with a variety of matters during the week, Vance reported. They included a joint forces operation with the RCMP, an animal protection investigation, a vehicle seizure, two complaints of abandoned vehicles, a driving complaint, one case of public disturbance, two of public intoxication and one of fighting (in the town office lobby).
Positive intentions on economic development
Mayor Warman was seeking direction from his colleagues on the future of the economic development committee. It’s a regional tri-council project whose funding runs out at the end of this year. If it is to continue, the three involved parties (or at least two of them) need to commit to funding it beyond 2018. So what are your thoughts on that? asked the mayor.
Providing some background, Warman said the cost has been about $150,000 per year. It’s possible some or even most of that could be covered by the provincial government, if it recognizes the group as a Regional Economic Development Association on par with the other ones the province funds. Supporting its continuation would be easy if that funding were certain, but it isn’t.
“It would be my wish to see the group continue,” Warman said.
Warman got the thumbs-up from all councillors. Accordingly a motion to have a new funding model worked out was passed. It would be conditional on tri-council approval. A meeting of that group is likely coming up in early March. It is possible, though unlikely, that the town ends up going it alone on economic development. Vance noted that the town and M.D. already put $45,000 apiece into tourism promotion through the Visitor Information Centre.
Two bits’ worth on caribou management plan
Another Warman addition to the agenda was the topic of caribou range planning. He explained that it had come up as a big concern at a recent meeting of elected leaders from the northwestern part of the province. The province is working on a plan to protect the range of the threatened woodland caribou. Some industrial operators and municipalities are “extremely concerned” about perceived negative effects the proposed measures might have on local economic activity.
The province is doing open houses on the plan, Warman said, but none of them are scheduled for anywhere near Slave Lake. He asked for a motion to send a letter to the provincial government requesting that such a meeting be held in Slave Lake.
Deputy mayor, temporarily
From Jan. 26 to Feb. 5, councillor Brice Ferguson will serve as deputy mayor of Slave Lake. The need for the interim appointment arose when both the mayor and deputy mayor were going to be out of town for a few days. Councillor Shawn Gramlich made the motion to have Ferguson fill the gap.
Warman reported that cannabis was much on the minds of northern Alberta elected leaders at their meeting in Slave Lake on Jan. 19. There are lots of questions about what municipalities might be faced with.
“We’re looking to the province and the AUMA (Alberta Urban Municipalities Association) for direction,” he said.
In the meantime, Warman said he’d been approached by a business person asking about zoning and such for a marijuana business.
Warman also mentioned the unexpected challenges faced mostly by rural municipalities, thanks to the government freezing linear assessment. Municipalities had expected that to rise with the price of oil and were budgeting accordingly. It doesn’t affect the town very much, directly, Warman said, “but when their (the M.D.) revenues are drastically affected it affects us.”