Sept. 4, 2018 meeting
Town manager Brian Vance, updating council on various items, informed them the airport would be shut down for a couple of weeks for resurfacing, starting on Sept. 10. Councillor Darin Busk, who sits on the airport commission, said it looked like the 12th.
On a related note, Vance said the long-awaited asphalt at the two bumpy CN crossings in town was expected to be done during the same period the airport was being re-paved.
Mayor Tyler Warman asked town project manager Doug Baird if there were any deficiencies in the 5th Ave. NE road and sidewalk re-hab job. None, said Baird. That’s not what I’m hearing from a resident, said Warman and offered to forward the email.
Finally, in response to question about when the regional waterline would be ‘going live,’ Baird estimated three weeks.
Inter-municipal option on development appeals
Council was asked to consider a proposal from its western neighbours to form an inter-municipal subdivision and development appeal board (SDAB). Big Lakes County and the Town of High Prairie are talking about a joint appeal board and apparently think it would work even better if Slave Lake were on board.
According to the report before council, the reason for the proposal arose out of recent changes to the Municipal Government Act regarding such appeal boards, making it harder for small municipalities to maintain them. The Slave Lake SDAB isn’t particularly busy, council heard (about five hearings per year), but all members need to be trained. In addition, said Vanessa Asselin of the planning and development department, the town’s lawyer recommends that mayor and councillors do not sit on the board, due to public perception of bias. The town has a hard enough time as it is filling such boards – as do other municipalities. One solution would be to have an inter-municipal board, with a bigger pool of members to call up on when an appeal comes up.
Council members seemed okay with this in principle, but leery of extra costs (travel and so on) that might arise.
For background purposes, the SDAB hears appeals of decisions on development proposals made by the Municipal Planning Commission.
Councillor Julie Brandle said she was in favour of the idea, but would first like to know how the BLC and TOHP boards are constituted.
Council passed a motion directing administration to prepare a report on the costs/benefits/problems associated with an inter-municipal SDAB.
Barton Park it is
Council voted in favour of accepting a recommendation on the naming of the ‘southwest quadrant park.’ It will be officially known as ‘Barton Park,’ in honour of long-time community members Wendy and Dennis Barton.
Harry Bartlett, speaking for the Town of Slave Lake Naming Committee, told council, “I don’t know of another couple who are as community-minded as the Bartons.”
Councillor Brice Ferguson spoke up strongly in favour of the recommendation. Saying his first job was at Barton’s Drugs at the age of 14, he added the couple were, “absolutely deserving.”
The naming of the park continues a tradition started a few years ago of honouring community members in such a way. Examples included in the report before council were Schurter Park, Hilda Eben Park, Stu Lafoy Way, Sinclair Fields and (most recently) Allarie Trails (Rennie Hall Plaza was overlooked).
Commenting on the decision, mayor Warman said, “I love that we are doing it for people who are still with us.”
Warman further commented that it would be good to have a bit of information about the Bartons displayed at the site, given that over time, knowledge about who they are and what they did gets lost.
“I challenge admin to incorporate that,” he said.
Big ($10 million) job at the sewage lagoon
Council had to go in camera to discuss something about the next phase in the huge wastewater lagoon upgrade project. That accomplished, council voted in favour of a motion to award the job to a numbered company out of Fort McMurray, for the cool sum of $10.9 million.
The contractor – better known as Roughrider International – is expected to get started this fall, shut things down for the winter, resume in the spring and wrap it up by next fall.
This is what the town hopes will be the final phase of a total revamp of the treatment system, necessitated by tighter government standards on phosphorous content in effluent. If it doesn’t work as hoped, another $2.5 million in work would kick in.
The town doesn’t have a choice in the matter of whether to do the upgrade – not if it wants to stay within the new Alberta Environment specs. Government grants have covered less than half the costs; the rest are being covered out of reserves, with a hefty chunk left to be borrowed from the banks.
“The cost of borrowing $4.9 million for 20 years at three per cent (interest) would be $12.37 per month per TOSL utility account,” said council’s written report.
Town project manager Doug Baird tells The Leader “Most of the preliminary work is earth works that cannot be done in the winter. The first phase of work is to revamp and line all four existing cells with an HDPE liner, one cell at a time, all while keeping three of the four lagoons in service…..sounds easy if you say it fast!”