Regional Tri-Council Notebook

November 21, 2019

Pearl Lorentzen
Lakeside Leader

Wildfire Legacy Corporation

Town of Slave Lake (ToSL) CAO Garry Roth from the Town of Slave Lake reported to the council about the Legacy Centre. Overall things are going well. The summer was quiet, which was expected. From Sept. 1 to Nov. 21, there were 13 events. Leading up to Christmas, there are two events per weekend. Roth is training other town staff with the sound system. There’s an issue with controlling the heat, which is being dealt with.

Tri-council Health Committee

Tri-council Health Committee met twice since the last tri-council meeting, said ToSL councillor Joy McGregor. She focused her report on the most recent meeting. Fifteen babies were born at the Slave Lake Hospital in October. In December, the Slave Lake Family Care Clinic plans to add evening hours Monday to Wednesday.

All of the doctors and practical nurses in Slave Lake are accepting patients, said McGregor. There’s a push for people to get a doctor. Once all of the doctors have as many patients as they can handle, it will help the administration convince the higher ups to recruit for more doctors in Slave Lake.

There were some issues with AHS staff being slammed on social media, said McGregor. AHS staff member aren’t allowed to respond. The committee sent a letter to the Slave Lake Community Discussion Facebook page moderators. The slamming stopped and AHS morale improved.

Doctor and other health care professional recruitment is continuing, said McGregor. In fall of 2020 or 2021, the plan is to bring student doctors to tour Slave Lake with Rural Health Professions Action Plan (RhPAP), she said. The goal is to show them what it would be like to work in the area. RhPAP pays for most of the tour. The council would host a community dinner. There are still funds in the tri-council support fund which could be used toward this.

Bigstone Cree Nation and M.D. of Opportunity

At a recent meeting, the tri-council was seated at a table with Bigstone Cree Nation and M.D. of Opportunity. Since the Wabasca-Desmarais evacuation, these two have been working together. The suggestion came up that the five governments might work together.

The two areas share a lot, including industry, said Sawridge First Nation Chief Roland Twinn. Bigstone considers Marten Hills part of their traditional territory.

“This end of the lake is very different than the other end,” said M.D. of Lesser Slave River Reeve Murray Kerik.

It’s good timing, said chief Twinn. “The current chief is pretty progressive.”

“The timing’s never been better,” said mayor Warman.

The decision was made to set up a meeting with the leaders and one other member from each group. At the same time, the council wants to keep the door open for collaboration with Swan River First Nation, Big Lakes County, and other neighbours.

FireSmart

Regional Fire Chief Alex Pavcek introduced new Deputy Fire Chief Derian Rosario. Rosario started on Nov. 18 and comes with firefighting experience from the M.D. of Greenview, south of Grande Prairie.

Pavcek announced that the Lesser Slave Lake Regional Fire Department has been invited to send a team of firefighters to Australia. It would be for a month to 60 days.

“It’s the opportunity of a lifetime, for those that get to go,” Pavcek said.

There’s still funding in two FireSmart accounts, one for operations and the other for other costs. The M.D. and town hold the funds for the Tri-council. The M.D. has $904,000 and the town has $1,675,399. The town fund includes income from FireSmart crews fighting fires in other communities. The grant ends on December 21, 2021, so the funds need to be spent by then.

The town is working on a plan to move forward with FireSmart. Chief Twinn suggested the plan include an area on Bayer Road.
The council voted to replace two aging FireSmart vehicles.

Town of Slave Lake report

Mayor Warman shared about a parks tour that the town recently had at Slave Lake Provincial Park. The main focus was on better signage. He also shared about the town’s new economic development plan. He said that the other governments didn’t need to pay any money into it, but that letters of support for a grant application would be appreciated.

Highway repairs

The M.D. added an item to the agenda. At Rural Municipalities of Alberta meeting, the M.D. met with the minister of transportation about sections which need repaired on Highway 2. The minister suggested that they write a letter. After a discussion of what other sections to add, the council decided to have their administrations synchronize letters from the three governments and the tri-council.

Tri-council funds

The decision was made to transfer the remaining regional transportation funds to regional housing to continue with the seniors’ bus. Before the 2019 expenses, there was $174,000 in the fund.

There is still $158,000 in the Tri-council support fund. This for administrative expenses and other things.

The regional integrated housing strategy fund has $273,637. The grant expires at the end of December. The decision was made to confirm that the invoices outstanding can be paid with the grant, or to apply for another extension of the grant.

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