March 13, 2018 meeting
Lesser Slave Watershed Council Executive Director Meghan Payne presented council with a report on the Integrated Watershed Management Plan for the LSL basin. The report talks about water quality and quantity and roles and responsibilities and strategies for achieving goals related to those values and so on. There is a definite role for municipalities – imposing appropriate setbacks from water in development, for example.
The document is the result of a couple of years of work and includes the input of municipal members. Payne asked council to review it over the next few weeks and officially endorse it at some point.
New people, new position
Town manager Brian Vance started off his report by informing council of a couple of new people on the team and one not-new person who has moved into a new role.
One is Leigh Green, who is now the maintenance coordinator with the LSL Regional Fire Service. Another is Christopher Cleofe, who will be looking after information technology.
As for the new position for an existing staff member, it’s called ‘community relations manager’ and it entails – probably among several other things – the promotion of the Legacy Centre as a place to hold meetings and events. Jill Shepherd, the town’s program coordinator and recently acting rec facilities manager, is taking that on.
Vance said town staff had been through “every single bill in the last few weeks,” in an effort to figure out how much to charge each residential water customer while their meters are not working. The result, he said, would be a bill that reflects normal use. For some, he said, that would mean paying more than the flat rate average that had initially been adopted after the widespread failure of meters. But there will be no retroactive charges for what those customers had been underpaying.
Mayor Tyler Warman said he’d heard from a couple of residents about boarded-up properties on 14th Ave. SW. Boards had been pulled off, they told him, and it looked as if people had entered one or both. Warman asked if the town’s bylaw enforcement people were aware of the situation.
CAO Brian Vance said they were and he would remind them again. As for the state of the properties, tickets had been issued to the owners for not properly looking after them, “and they stood up in court,” he added.
Speaking of complaints, councillor Joy McGregor said she’d heard about town employees being rudely accosted at the grocery store by town residents unhappy about something or other. This is not okay in her book, she said.
“Take it up with the people who are elected,” she said. “Not with people who work for the town.”
Vance thanked her for that, and said people could also call him if they have a complaint.
‘Apples to bananas’
Comparing proposals from insurers on employee benefit packages was pretty tough, council heard. Town HR coordinator Kirsten Coutts said it was like comparing “bananas to apples.” However, she had come up with a grading system for the three bids and had a recommendation for council. This was to go with the package offered through the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association.
Coutts said the reason for the review of the program was that after a period of locked-in rates, the rates under the former insurer were going to go up by quite a bit.
Council accepted the recommendation and sealed it with the appropriate motion.
Inter-municipal – Mayor Warman reported that a recent meeting of this committee made up of town and M.D. reps went fairly well. The two bodies agreed that “better communication” on budget items that might have an impact on the other party would be good.
“So we identified projects that could have an impact on their budget.” These included the trail at the Visitor Information Centre, the Legacy Centre, Gilwood Golf Club, and economic development.
“It went well,” Warman said.
Watershed Council – councillor Rebecca King reported that the council is holding a workshop on lake and watershed management on April 19 in Slave Lake. Everyone is welcome. In other news, the council has received a grant to do water quality monitoring, and is providing some support for students from High Prairie who will be visiting the Canadian Senate in Ottawa this spring.
Regional library board – councillor Joy McGregor said the problem with homeless people continues, and staff is keeping statistics on it. Other problems lately have come from some teenaged students after school, being noisy and otherwise being disruptive.
“The board is addressing it,” McGregor said. “I will be making some appearances at the library.”
On another note, McGregor said the library is encouraging people to submit materials for the archive at the library. These may be photos, documents or other things.
“Be careful what you ask for,” advised mayor Warman.
McGregor said the library doesn’t have to take anything just because it is offered.
Councillor King asked if the archivist would be willing or able to visit off-site to look at materials.
“Phone the library and ask,” said McGregor.
Municipal Planning Commission – three items at the last meeting, said councillor Darin Busk. One was a request for permission to use a “temporary sea can office” at a construction site. Another was from the owner of a boutique and another for a home-based business.
Protective Services – McGregor said this was her first time attending a meeting of this group and she was quite impressed by the turnout. She said she brought up the issue of the fire department being called on to do medical responses when ambulances aren’t available.
“Not a lot of answers,” she said, but the request has been moved up the line to someone who perhaps can provide them. Mayor Warman added that the EMS (ambulance) higher-ups “are preparing a response,” on the matter.
The issue of people passing loading or unloading schoolbuses came up at the meeting. McGregor said Harry Davis of the High Prairie School Division was there to talk about it. He has promised to attend another meeting with videos showing such violations happening. At this, councillor Busk spoke of a video he’d seen of a bus unloading on the right side of the road and a car passing it on the right!
“People have to wake up,” he said.
Warman informed his colleagues he’s spent yet another day in Edmonton talking about caribou range plans, with provincial, municipal and industry people. Proposed measures to save the woodland caribou, he said, have “potential to have long-lasting impact on the economy. We have to find a balanced approach.”
Warman is part of a group representing the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association in the talks.
Warman also reported he’d heard from the ‘Hellfire Heroes’ people. They want to screen several episodes of the reality show for town and M.D. people, which requires pretty much a whole day. It’s to allow for input into the final product. The show is based on the activities of the regional fire service; camera crews from a Toronto production company rode along with the fire trucks for several months last year.