July 3, 2018 meeting
Pam Hahn of Natural Strength Birth Services made a pitch to council to proclaim Breastfeeding Awareness Week in Slave Lake. Providing some background on the issue, she spoke about barriers that breastfeeding mothers face in feeding their babies in public.
“We’re trying to get it across to everyone in town – we want them to feel supported in our community.”
Having heard the same topic at a recent Chamber of Commerce meeting, mayor Tyler Warman was all for it and proclaimed Aug. 1 – 7 as Breastfeeding Awareness Week in Slave Lake.
CAO Brian Vance in his regular report for council mentioned that a disaster recovery claim is being prepared for submission to the province.
“It takes a bit of putting together,” he said.
Speaking of the recent flooding, councillor Joy McGregor asked if the town had ‘debriefed’ after the event, to find out what went well, what didn’t, etc. For example, what would happen if that fleet of vac trucks the town hired wasn’t available?
Vance said the town is looking at the cost of acquiring some big pumps. Another thing that’s been discussed is raising the berm behind the hospital.
“We’re applying for a grant,” he said.
McGregor had a question about baseball diamond maintenance. She’s heard “they’re in real rough shape.”
Vance said the town has been having some problems with its mowers and lately has been contracting out some of the work. Staff are also “in constant dialogue” with user groups on the condition of the fields.
“We’re working to get back to normal,” he said.
Back to normal may not be good enough for some users. In a subsequent email, Vance said a further complication is that the town’s mowers do not pick up the grass clippings, which user groups aren’t happy about. Contractors’ mowers do collect clippings, but are more expensive to use.
Update to the Land-Use Bylaw
Council held the required public hearing on proposed changes to the Land-Use Bylaw and, hearing nothing, proceeded to make it official.
According to the report from planning & development director Laurie Skrynyk, the need for the update to the LUB came to light when the town’s lawyer had a look at it in the course of a legal case. Specifically, the development permit process and the Municipal Planning Commission Bylaw needed some tweaking, “in order to meet the requirements of the Municipal Government Act.”
The changes involve a lot of updates in definitions and clarifications in language and should make it generally easier to understand and follow.
No alternate for library board
It turns out council is not supposed to appoint an alternate member to the Regional Library Board. According to councillor McGregor, council’s appointee to that board, the Municipal Government Act doesn’t allow it. Accordingly, council removed councillor Julie Brandle as the alternate appointee to that board. In a second motion, council removed Brandle from the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board, for a similar reason. Apparently the MGA does not allow two councillors on the SDAB.
Saying he’d attended about five meetings in a ‘week off,’ Warman started off with news from the latest Chamber of Commerce meeting. The Sandblast event during Riverboat Daze was in danger of not happening due to a shortage of volunteers, he said. On top of that, organizers were experiencing some frustration in what they are and are not allowed to do on Devonshire Beach.
“Last I heard it was touch and go,” he said.
On the downtown and Main Street plan workshop, Warman said the turnout was “great,” and lots of input was received. Much of it was on zones – what should and should not be allowed. Some of the ideas expressed are contradictory; for example, where the goal is to increase traffic to the downtown area, certain uses of space should be encouraged and others discouraged. On the other hand, how are you going to tell a property owner he or she can’t rent commercial space to a willing customer?
“You want to be as accommodating as possible,” Warman said. “But if you go too far, you don’t reach the goal (of making downtown more attractive).”
Finally, Warman said he’d heard good things about the first Chamber of Commerce farmers’ market held in the parking lot next to The Brick in the downtown area. Erin Allarie of The Brick did a lot of work in organizing it, he said.
“Feedback from vendors was great,” he said. “No parking issues; better traffic flow.”
The Chamber plans to stick with the new location until the end of August.
Public Rail Safety Week
September 23 – 29 is Public Rail Safety Week in Slave Lake, thanks to a proclamation by mayor Warman. This came per a request from CN Rail, as it does every year. The goal is to raise awareness of the risks and reduce accidents. In its letter to the town, CN says it will be conducting “hundreds of safety initiatives” in communities throughout the week. It did not say if any would be in Slave Lake.
Housing business plan
Included in council’s package was the 2019 – 2021 business plan for the Lesser Slave Lake Regional Housing Authority.
“They’re asking us for our blessing,” said councillor Julie Brandle, who also happens to be the LSLRHA chair.
Included in the plan is a goal of adding two 20-unit apartment buildings in separate locations in Slave Lake (locations not specified). These would replace 41 single-family homes currently in the RHA inventory. The new units would be more energy-efficient, Brandle explained, as well as costing less to operate and be easier to manage.
The plan would be to sell off the single family homes when the apartments are completed.