M.D. of Lesser Slave River Council notebook

Sept. 27, 2017
Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

CAO Allan Winarski had a few words for council on the topic of transition. For those of you who will be returning, he said, here are some things to consider. A big one is figuring out soon what are ‘core’ capital projects, so some prep work can be done on those before the 2018 budget is finalized.
“There are nasty things out there,” he said. “Bill (Klassen) will be filling you in on things that just have to be done.” One of these is repair to a sliding section of the Old Smith Highway, which won’t be cheap.
Beyond the ‘core’ things, Winarski said strategic planning is important and recommended a special session for that with a facilitator.
In the middle of this, Winarski dropped the bombshell that “sometime in that four years, I will be gone.”
Carrying on, Winarski predicted the matter of inter-municipal cooperation is going to be “laborious” for the new council, not to mention administration. The provincial government is requiring agreements between all adjoining municipalities, which in the case of LSR is seven. Some should be easier than others. This one drew quite a bit of comment from councillors.
“I have a huge problem with the effort to fix things that aren’t broke,” said Robert Esau. He added by way of example that the M.D.’s relationship with Westlock and Athabasca Counties seems to be working okay as is.
“If we can keep it simple we can probably make it,” said Winarski. “The trouble may be with our urban neighbours, and we only have one. And it’ll work out.”
Another thing to be grateful for, observed Esau, is that LSR doesn’t have any summer villages.

Old Smith Highway
The news isn’t good. Klassen reported that about 200 metres of one stretch of bank has slumped toward the river.
“Whatever you look at doing there is not going to be cheap,” he said, adding that an engineering firm is already looking at it and was recommending a relocation of the road up the hill.
Councillor Mike Skrynyk recalled that it had been talked about before, but rejected because of land issues.
Councillor Esau asked if there were any temporary fixes possible. Klassen said if there are heavy rains, “I think you’ll lose that portion of road.”

Gravelling program
Klassen also reported that the re-gravelling program is about 80 per cent complete for the year. It was a big year for gravelling, he said. One result of that is better roads; another is a shortage of gravel in stock, meaning next year’s crushing program will be more expensive than usual.
Councillor Brian Rosche asked if there was enough left to do something for 2nd St. in Widewater. It’s on next year’s schedule, Klassen said.
“Can you just put some gravel there where it turns into mud?” Rosche asked
“I don’t know if we have enough gravel,” Klassen said. “I’m out.”

Meeting on Devonshire Beach
Council responded positively to a request from the Town of Slave Lake for the M.D. to participate in a meeting to discuss the results of a public survey on Devonshire Beach. That’s the one reported on earlier, in which a majority of respondents (including some from the M.D.) said they would like the beach to be better-groomed.
Making the motion, councillor Skrynyk said he was all for it.
“We’ve got a beautiful asset out there that isn’t used,” he said.
The idea is to have the two municipalities in the same room as somebody from Alberta Parks to discuss the survey results and explore the possibilities for beach cleaning.

Meeting on inter-municipal agreements
Council was less quick to agree to a meeting with the town to discuss the Inter-municipal and Fire Services Agreements with the Town of Slave Lake. Councillor Skrynyk suggested they discuss it in camera and made a motion to that effect. Coming out of that meeting (The Leader heard later) council decided to contribute $300,000 for fire services for both 2016 and 2017. Also decided was to meet with the town in November to talk more about it, contingent on the availability of members of the new council.

Speed limits out west
Councillor Brad Pearson said he’s gotten a call, or calls, asking about the speed limit on the main road into Assineau. It seems too fast at 80 kilometres per hour, he said. Dust and safety are considerations. Is it possible to get it reduced?
Council passed a Pearson motion to refer the matter to administration for research and recommendation. Councillor Skrynyk added that it would be appropriate to ask the affected residents what they think about it.


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