Town of Slave Lake Council notebook

Sept. 3, 2019 meeting
Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

Getting rid of those eyesores

The demolition and removal of two derelict motels is proceeding – not as fast as many would like, but it is moving along, CAO Brian Vance told council. Staff members are “putting a lot of time into it,” he said. This includes doing site tours with prospective bidders on the job. The deadline for quotations is Sept. 13.

Councillor Darin Busk asked if the demolition will include everything on the two sites. It will, said town project manager Doug Baird, including the concrete. The plan is to end up with a grade that can be mowed when something grows on it. The only thing the town won’t be doing, added Vance, “is underground remediation.”

Councillor Brice Ferguson asked if the cost of the required environmental assessment would be charged back to the property owners. Yes, said Vance. Everything will, but the cost might well exceed the value of the property (which the town very likely will end up selling to recoup its costs).

“We have to wait and see,” Vance said. “We might be pleasantly surprised.”

Streetlight replacement

Administration took a second crack at getting council’s approval to replace several old street lights with the new LED type. Calvin Couturier, the operations manager, had answers to questions councillors had asked the first time he’d presented the report.

Thirty-nine lights need replacing. They are spread out all over town. The cost saving in running LEDs for those 39 will be just under $900 per year.

The cost for the replacement is $121,766. That’s $6,766 more than budgeted; the extra will come out of a reserve fund.

Speaking of budgeting, there’s a lot more of this sort of expense coming up, council was warned. The town owns 702 streetlights and “a lot are overdue” for replacement, said CAO Vance.

Council approved the expenditure. Mayor Warman asked if Atco Electric could provide a projection over five years of what sort of replacement burden the town can expect, “so we can budget for it.”

Workplace violence and harassment

Council approved a couple of new policies that replace and refine a single one on workplace violence. This is a requirement of the new OH&S legislation, council was told. The policies lay out in some detail what the expectations are of employees with regard to the way they treat each other, and specify training and remedies and such. One policy focuses on workplace violence; the other on harassment and discrimination.

Economic development options

Town council is in the difficult position of strongly believing the town should be involved in economic development and not having much money to do anything about it.

There had been a ‘team approach’ concept going on for a few years – along with the Sawridge First Nation and M.D. of Lesser Slave River. But the M.D. has recently decided not to invest in that, mayor Warman told his colleagues. Sawridge is interested, he said.

One thing to consider, Warman continued, is the likelihood new industrial development would be in the M.D., not in the town. Should the town be spending money on ec/dev when the direct beneficiary is the M.D?

There would be benefits to the town in such a scenario, Warman acknowledged, but also costs.

Council settled on a Warman proposal to bring a consultant in to talk about economic development possibilities. Her name is Lisa Baroldi and she’s been doing contract work for Big Lakes County.

Mayor’s corner

Warman’s first item had to do with that day being the first day of kids being back at school. He said he was pleased to see school zones being closely patrolled by enforcement people, and “people being respectful.”

Warman mentioned the visit of Minister Nate Glubish to Slave Lake. He’s the Minister responsible for Service Alberta, and his big thing was improvement of broadband services in rural Alberta. A notable difference between Glubish and ministers of the previous government, Warman said, is whereas the NDP people were big on getting feedback but didn’t have many answers, Glubish “had a lot of answers and (was) not looking for a lot of feedback!”

Warman added he’s looking forward to a meeting with Minister of Justice and Solicitor General Doug Schweitzer later this month.

Finally…..bears.

“They seem to be everywhere,” Warman said. “Hopefully they’re going to mosey on soon.”

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