Two sections of community trails to be relocated for safety
May 7, 2019 meeting
Allarie Trails relocation
Council approved work on the Allarie Trails, despite it being over what was budgeted. The two spots needing work are endangered by Sawridge Creek, which eroded its channel closer to the trail in the high water of last year. The work calls for the trail to be shifted further from the bank at a place near Roland Michener School; the other spot is across from Northern Lakes College. The total cost is $112,000. The town has applied to the province for disaster relief funding for the work, but doesn’t know when (or even if) it will get it.
One option council had was to defer the relocation by the college, due to it being slightly less urgent than the other one, but they decided to go for the works, “due to immediate safety concerns,” as mayor Warman put it in his motion.
‘A lot has happened’
CAO Brian Vance began his update for council with that remark, since it had been three weeks since the last council meeting – an unusually long break.
One thing that’s happened, he said, is the breaks in the regional waterline appear to have been all fixed. Pigs have been run from end to end, and the final connection with the water plant is being made. Following that, a 30-day performance test phase begins.
How soon will that happen? asked mayor Tyler Warman. Not as soon as we thought, said Vance, due to some delays having to do with parts.
Councillor Darin Busk brought up the Hwy. 88 railway crossing, which he said is rough and getting rougher. Particularly concerning, said Busk, is the degradation of the edge of the asphalt on the edge of the highway near the crossing, right next to the walking trail.
“The last thing we need is a truck going over there,” he said, adding that one did go over at another bad spot further up the highway.
Further on rough spots on the highway, mayor Warman mentioned Hwy. 2 and Main St. It’s getting tough to negotiate your way around the holes, he said.
“I imagine they (Alberta Transportation) have a plan,” Warman said. “I would like to know what it is.”
No quick fix for burnt hotels
Councillor Joy McGregor passed on to her colleagues and town staff what she’s been hearing from people on two major eyesores in the community.
“They’re sick and tired of looking at it,” she said, adding that with tourist season arriving, those piles of junk won’t help.
It’s a dilemma without an easy solution, as everybody in the room well knew. When it comes to private property, the town can’t simply barge in with bulldozers, even if it wanted to spend the money cleaning up somebody else’s mess. Town manager Vance reminded McGregor there’s a legally-mandated process of notification, followed by application for a court order, followed by the town taking action if the court order is granted, followed by the town trying to collect from the owners what it costs to clean up.
“It’s just not quick,” said Vance.
Said Warman: “It’s frustrating, the owners not taking responsibility.”
McGregor: “So nothing?”
Warman: “Realistically, they will probably not be done this summer.”
Barton Park to get a parking lot
The park in the southwest part of town recently named for Dennis and Wendy Barton will get a proper parking lot this year. Also in the budget are three paved trails providing access to the park. The option council approved calls for a gravel parking lot and will cost $195,000. E Construction gets the job.
Criminal record checks
Council was asked to consider an increase to the fee for criminal record checks. This is a service provided by the RCMP, and there are an awful lot of them. RCMP Staff Sgt. John Spaans said the office had done something like 300 in a four month period.
The fee is $20. Spaans said if it’s going to go up it should be to $50; for money management reasons he wasn’t quite clear on, $30 or $40 wouldn’t work.
Councillor McGregor was against the hike.
“I have to get two of those next week,” she said. “I don’t want to pay $100 or $80.”
Council voted to keep the fee at $20.
Cooking in parks
Council approved a slightly amended version of the Parks By-law, allowing for portable cooking appliances in town parks. These had been banned in an earlier version of the bylaw.
A suite of properties in or next to downtown Slave Lake got re-zoned, following a public hearing that nobody attended. They switch over from C1A – Mixed Commercial/Residential to C1 – Downtown Commercial Mixed Use.
This is one of the outcomes of the updating of the Downtown and Main Street Area Plan. The change shouldn’t make any difference to the owners of the affected properties, council heard. What happened was two downtown area districts were combined to form a new one, so the C1A no longer exists. The philosophy behind the change to C1A in 1989 still exists: i.e. that the residential properties closest to the downtown core would gradually change into commercial properties. This is happening, although slower than the town fathers imagined 30 years ago.
Mayor Warman said he and a couple of councillors will be taking part in an online seminar to prep them for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ conference, coming up at the end of this month in Quebec City. It’s been some time since council members attended one of these affairs, he said. This time, the plan for Alberta reps is to “advocate for Alberta to our friends in the east,” and the ‘webinar’ is an effort to develop a war plan.
In other news, Warman said he’d been hearing “a lot of resident concerns,” about everything from tree fungus to homelessness, with unsightly premises and roads probably thrown in there as well.
Warman also mentioned an open house on the proposed affordable housing complex.
“It’s excellent to see that project moving ahead,” he said. “We’re already bending the MLA’s ear,” on it.
Health Advisory Council
Councillor McGregor not only was accepted as a member of the regional Health Advisory Council, she got picked as its chair at her first meeting! This was in Wabasca.
McGregor said her impression of the group was a positive one.
“This board actually listens,” she said, adding that she spoke up strongly “for the ambulance bay.”