April 25, 2018
Peiffer to CEC
Following a request by Northern Lakes College for an M.D. representative on the Slave Lake Community Education Committee, council appointed councillor Becky Peiffer. The main role of the CEC is to advise the college about the community’s education and training needs.
No thanks to proposed park expansion
Councillor Robert Esau came out with all guns blazing against the notion of making a provincial park or protected area out of an area between Cross Lake and Narrow Lake.
Just who is making the proposal was not clear by what he said, but somebody is suggesting a three-phase expansion of a park, starting around Narrow Lake, eventually encompassing everything from Cross Lake to Baptiste Lake.
“It’s not needed,” Esau said. “You don’t even have a caribou issue out there.”
Esau went to say the area contains traplines, oil leases and agricultural land, as well as timber. The park idea apparently started when Athabasca County voted in favour of a small protected area at Narrow Lake.
“From there, environmentalists took it and ran it to a three-phase project,” he said. “Athabasca County is against it. Can we send a letter supporting (the county)?”
CAO Allan Winarski said he’d look into it and bring a report back for council.
Council went through the required motions to formally appoint weed and pest inspectors already hired. Flatbush native Leslie Kochan is one and the other is a biology student from Calgary named Luke Miller.
Rural services director Russ Jassman said both were due to start work on May 1.
Council also appointed an interim agricultural fieldman, none other than Mr. Jassman. He’ll hold the fort until the M.D. can find a replacement for the recently-departed Dawnia McCann.
Presenting the first-quarter financial picture, director of finance Jason Warawa reported that revenues and spending were actually a fair bit ahead of last year’s pace at the three-month mark. This he presented as a good thing.
Sharply up on the revenue side is the ‘other’ category, which Warawa explained as mainly fees from new oil and gas activity. The earlier-than-usual start on awarding some contracts could account for more of the budget being spent at this point than at the same point last year. It will certainly result in more projects being completed in the budget year.
“We’re making great advancements,” he said.
Speaking of holdover projects, councillor Brad Pearson asked when the Smith force main and lift station will be finished. By the end of summer, said Warawa.
Credit card policy
Warawa explained this is “an expansion of the current policy,” and that “it’s tied to our procurement policy.”
For example, it forbids M.D. employees from taking air miles benefits from purchases made with M.D. credit cards.
“How would you even know that?” asked councillor Esau.
We might not, Warawa admitted, but “we don’t want to condone it. It’s important for people to know we’re doing public business as transparently as possible.”
Council endorsed the new credit card policy.
Thumbs up to Boys & Girls Club
Council voted in favour of a $7,000 FCSS grant to the Boys and Girls Club of Slave Lake. The premise, as explained by M.D. FCSS coordinator Peggy Laing, is that around a fifth of the kids who take part in the club’s programs are M.D. residents. That could be increasing this year, Laing said, with plans to move to a bigger space.
Reeve Murray Kerik said his only reservation lay in the fact the Town of Slave Lake’s contribution was $12,000. Following the usual 80/20 cost share, that should make the M.D.’s amount $2,400, he said.
Laing said council had discussed it before.
“It’s been deemed for the greater good,” she said, adding that it’s possible the town will give more than one grant in a year.
“It’s a great little club,” said councillor Jeff Commins. “They do the best they can.”