Town of Slave Lake Council notebook

Oct. 13, 2020 meeting
Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

Councillor Joy McGregor followed up a question she’d asked at a previous meeting: What’s the story with recycling? Is the stuff residents submit for recycling just ending up in landfill? If so, what’s the point of paying for the program?
The director of operations had the answer. The contractor hauls it to a state of the art facility in Edmonton, he said, where 99 per cent of it does get recycled. The only thing that doesn’t is Styrofoam, because it is so costly.

Collecting data
The town’s refreshed economic development effort includes some data collection initiatives, including one to get an idea about transportation. Mayor Tyler Warman asked how that is being done. CAO David Kim said the town is collaborating with Alberta Transportation and Northern Lakes College on the project. It will involve directing transport trucks into the weigh scales east of town and conducting brief surveys with the drivers.
Another questionnaire will be mailed out to local businesses. The idea there, Kim explained, is to get a snapshot of the whole scope of business activity in Slave Lake, including the amounts, supply chains and so on. He noted there are 700 existing business licences issued by the town.
And the purpose of having all this information?
“There may be opportunities to build around existing industry,” Kim said.

So far, so calm at the MRC
Councillor Darin Busk asked how things are going so far at the rec centre, with the new rules about how it can be used and what people can and can’t do while there.
“Zero complaints,” from users so far, said a staff member. She added that some people aren’t exactly thrilled with the restrictions, “but overall it’s been great.”

Big cheques
Per policy, council was informed (and asked to give its blessing to) a list of cheques of over $50,000 issued in the third quarter of 2020. There were 22 of these. The biggest was $461,000 for RCMP services; the smallest was $54,000 to Associated Engineering for its services on various town projects. Speaking of which, three of the cheques were to Chandos Construction for the water reservoir work on the hill south of town, totaling something over $600,000. Another was $213,000 to Roughrider, for sewage lagoon work.

Committee reports
Watershed Council – councillor Rebecca King reported that a new bursary has been established in memory of two long-time contributors to the Lesser Slave Watershed Council. It’s been named the Elliott/Rosche Bursary, for Brian Elliott and Brian Rosche.

Regional Housing – councillor Brandle said the board is getting into the 2021 budget and “the goal is no increase to the requisitions.” Good news on the COVID expense front; the roughly $11,000 per month extra cost will be covered by the province, “thank goodness.” More good news: no COVID cases at the lodge.
Vacancies are up at the lodge, Brandle said. This is at least partly due to a new facility opening recently in Wabasca. Even more residents are expected to relocate there.
As for the much-discussed and long-awaited affordable housing project, the latest from the provincial government, Brandle said, is that it would like a private-sector company to take over the project, including operating it. The view on the board is this would not work, because the numbers make it unaffordable for a company in business to make a profit.
“More to come….” said Brandle, concluding her report.

Tri-council health committee – councillor Joy McGregor said she’s asking questions and will continue to. The big thing now is figuring out how the job cuts recently announced will affect staff and services at the Slave Lake Health Care Centre.
“I want to know exactly what it means for our area,” she said.

Library board – McGregor said the library has space for displaying works of art and would like to do that for a local artist or artists. Otherwise it’s business as usual (a modified version of ‘usual,’ due to COVID-induced restrictions). One notable thing lately is the library has been “proctoring a lot of exams,” McGregor said.

Community Futures – councillor King said CF has received 72 inquiries about ‘COVID recovery’ loans. Twenty-six have been approved, for a total of $770,000. Workshops are coming up in Slave Lake and High Prairie, designed to help businesses with resilience, design and such topics. Leadercast Women is also coming right up – on Nov. 5. Only 50 spots are available, King said.

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