March 19, 2019 meeting
Town council’s March 19 meeting may not have set a record for the shortest ever, but it was close, at about 24 minutes in length. One reason might have been the absence of Mayor Tyler Warman, who tends to ask the most questions and have the most to say about most topics.
Filling in as meeting chair was councillor Brice Ferguson.
Now to unstick the pig
CAO Brian Vance’s report for council included the good news that the contractor had found and repaired the “last leak,” in the regional water line.
“Then they put a pig through it and promptly got it stuck,” he said. “This week they’re trying to find and unstick the pig.”
Vance’s report went on to say once the pigging is complete and the final connection to the water treatment plant is made, a 30-day performance test phase will commence.
Advance payment on disaster
Vance reported that the town has received an “advance payment” of $125,000 from the provincial government to help cover the costs arising from last year’s flood/wind event in June. Work continues on submitting a claim for formal approval.
In a related item, Vance said to look for a guide on flood prevention, “which will be circulated to the public soon.”
News from the pool
A couple of sponsorship stories were in Vance’s report. CNRL is behind a new ‘inflatable obstacle course’ at the swimming pool. Town staff was due to try it out last Friday, and a free public swim is scheduled for April 6. Meanwhile, public swims over the spring break (Mar. 24 – 29) are also free, thanks to Tim Hortons.
Daycare open house
Also reported on was a successful open house at the Legacy Centre, hosted by the daycare. Vance reported about 200 people attended. Daycare society president Cleo Carifelle told The Leader later it was 300, counting adults and children. All sorts of agencies and groups had displays at the event.
“It was connecting families with services and groups in the community,” Carifelle said.
Good news on the daycare side of things is that the $25-per-day daycare subsidy has been renewed for another year, Carifelle said.
Adding FireSmart regs
Council is moving ahead with a plan to incorporate FireSmart principles into the town’s Land-Use Bylaw. Measures to reduce fire risk would become part of the planning and development regulations.
Such changes don’t come about without some public consultation and the matter before council was to award the contract to a consultant to get the thing done. The winning bidder was Green Space Alliance, for $28,750.
New traffic bylaw passes
This was a revamp of a 13-year-old bylaw. Council heard that the new version brings it into lien with provincial legislation where it wasn’t; another thing done was to get rid of aspects of the bylaw that were merely duplicating what’s already provincial law.
An example of this is littering. Councillor Ferguson noted that it was no longer mentioned.
“It’s captured in provincial legislation,” said community services director Garry Roth.
The suggested rule on bicycle riding on sidewalks drew a question from Ferguson as well. As proposed, it would allow it for kids 12 and under, and not for those older.
“I wouldn’t want my 13-year-old biking in traffic,” he said.
Roth said 12 was chosen because, “A lot of other municipalities use (it),” adding, “it could be amended.”
Councillor Joy McGregor asked if it could just be left as it has been, which is under 18. Her colleagues agreed and the bylaw passed with that amendment.
Water, sewer and garbage
As reported earlier, water and sewer and garbage collection rates are going up in Slave Lake this year. On the water and sewer, the increase is to help pay for raw water line and sewage treatment upgrades. According to director of finance Roland Schmidt’s report, $200,000 is needed for the water line and $500,000 for the sewage treatment project. “These amounts are based on the expected final project costs and anticipated interest rates,” said his written report.
On the other hand, the solid waste monthly bills are expected to go down by $2, thanks to recycling costs being less than anticipated last year.
Overall, a household using 20 cubic metres of water (per month?) can expect a $27 increase in its monthly town utility bill.
All this and more was in the Utility Rates and Procedures Bylaw council approved. It also dealt with fines for breaking the rules. Some of these have gone up sharply. Schmidt said this was done in hope of deterring a “small but determined” number of people going around the meters.”
Elaborating on that, Vance said, “Specifically, we shut off their curb stops and they turned them on again.”
These would have been people who were delinquent on their payments.
For example, the fine for tampering, breaking or removing the seal on a water meter goes up from $500 to $750. For prohibited opening of a water meter bypass valve, or operation of a system to bypass the meter, the fine is now doubled to $500.
The new regs and fines take effect on April 1. Councillor Ferguson made a pitch to have the changeover three months further out, but the idea got no traction.