M.D. of Lesser Slave River Council notebook

Oilfield assessment model change on hold, for now

Sept. 23 meeting

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

(Continued from last week’s Leader)

Reeve Murray Kerik took part in a meeting in Valleyview with Minister of Finance Travis Toews, new Municipal Affairs Minister Tracy Allard, other MLAs, and various municipal reps.

Allard had some good(ish) news about the dreaded change in the assessment model for linear infrastructure (i.e. oilfield). It won’t happen this year.

“She’s not sure where we’ll end up,” Kerik said, but she’s hoping for something she called “mutual sustainability.”

This followed a presentation on the implications of the proposed changes to municipalities, by Carolyn Kolebaba of Northern Sunrise County. “She did a hell of a job,” said Kerik.

Councillor Brad Pearson, who also attended, said, “Hopefully, they come back with something we can live with.”

Toews, the Finance Minister, wasn’t pulling punches. He spoke about Alberta’s $24 billion deficit. Cutting services and raising taxes came up. On the other hand, he said “pipelines are proceeding well.”

Agricultural Service Board: hosting
Councillor Sandra Melzer reported that the regional ASB conference will be hosted by Lesser Slave River, out of the Slave Lake office. It’ll be a ‘Zoom’ style meeting. Why Slave Lake and not Flatbush? The Flatbush office has “sound issues,” she said.

Councillor Robert Esau added that the ASB has been lobbying for small farmers to be able to buy pesticides in small containers instead of the large ones.

“Hopefully, it’ll come to where you can buy one-litre jugs,” he said.

Peace Library System
Pearson attended the PLS meeting, remotely. Long-time executive director Linda Duplessis retired, he said. Louisa Robinson is her replacement.

“Fairly big shoes to fill,” said Pearson, speaking of Duplessis. “We’re going to miss her. She ran a tight ship.”

Grant money for Indigenous programs is accumulating, Pearson said, due to an apparent shortage of ways to spend it. One project mentioned is recording elders’ stories. This is happening at the library in Red Earth Creek.

The PLS serves a population of 175,000 people, via 36 municipal members and one Métis settlement member. Forty-six public and 50 school libraries.

Westlock to Homeland Housing: ‘Take our houses’
Councillor Melzer said the books are shipshape. Helping is $375,000 in COVID-related reimbursement from the province.

The Town of Westlock wants Homeland to take over its affordable housing project, Melzer said. That is one of the things that will be discussed at a strategic planning session in Westlock Oct. 15 and 16.

Also being discussed is the idea of purchasing old hotels for conversion into affordable housing units. Apparently narrow hallways are an impediment.

How about buying idle oilfield camp buildings for that purpose? suggested Barry Kolenosky.

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