Council Notes From All Over - December 9th, 2010
City of Wetaskiwin Council
Monday, November 29, 2010
By Barry McDonald
Sacred Heart Students
In attendance at the meeting were a dozen Gr. VI students from the Sacred Heart School observing how business was conducted by City Council.
Meetings and Events
The Mayor and Aldermen collectively attended a total of 120 meetings and events from October 15, 2010 to November 8, 2010 and 81 from November 9 – November 29.
Communities in Bloom
The City of Wetaskiwin entered the 2010 National Communities in Bloom competition. Judging took place in July 2010 and results were announced in Halifax, N.S. on October 20, 2010.
The City received ‘Special Mention” for the City Hall Renovation saying the City Hall is a notable achievement. Municipal buildings are first class. Most notable among these is the City Hall built in the early 20th century and restored two years ago.
Wetaskiwin retained the ‘5 Blooms” designation.
It was recommended by Administration and accepted by Council that the City of Wetaskiwin enter into the National Communities in Bloom ‘Circle of Excellence” non competitive category for 2011.
Wetaskiwin Fire Services
Council recognizes that the following Wetaskiwin firefighters have completed training in the National Fire Protection Association standards and contributed over 400 hours of personal time to do so:
Deputy Chief Mike Zajac
Captain Alex Plant
Lieutenant Roger Christie
Lieutenant Brianna Buskas
The Council will present the firefighters with certificates of recognition.
Ron Holland in his report revealed that Wetaskiwin is experiencing significant retail leakage due to the re-development required at Wetaskiwin Mall and the lack of development at Denham Landing.
He explained City representatives attend the conferences such as the ICSC to identify contacts and to showcase the retail development and marketing opportunities in our community.
Later in the meeting it was approved that City representatives attend the January 2011 International Council of Shopping Centres Western Conference in Whistler, BC and that Ron Holland, Economic Development Manager, Ted Gillespie, City Manager, Mayor Bill Elliott, Alderman Mark McFaul and Alderman Patricia McQuarrie attend as representatives of Council.
Ron Holland has prepared a list of specific organizations they will be contacting prior to the conference to set up meetings to explain the benefits Wetaskiwin has to offer.
The January 24, 2011 Regular Council meeting will be rescheduled to Monday, January 31, 2100 4 Aldermen and the Mayor will be attending the conference
The financial statements presented by Manager of Finance, Al Stickler showed the financial position in relation to the Operating and Capital Budgets are projected to be in line with the year end of the 2010 Operating and Capital budgets. To date 94.07% or $21,239,904 has been collected as revenue and 74.87% or $16,755,896 has been spent. (grants, taxes etc have been collected while fixed costs such as salaries and utilities will be expensed in the 4th quarter).
On November 8th the City launched the latest version of WebMap, the public version of GIS. WebMap allows the public to view and search for information linked to the City’s map such as:
• Addresses and legal descriptions
• Current and historical aerial imagery
• Cemetery searches
• Ability to do routing – address to address.
Building Permit Summary
Ninety Eight (98) permits were issued during the period of January 1 – November 15, 2010 for a total value of $11,262,057. In 2009, 109 permits were issued during the same time period for a total of $21,947,320.
Public Works items
• Toxic round up saw about a third of the volume this year.
• Looking at spots to relocate the recycle depot (just looking at this point).
• Fall clean up was not as busy.
• Back alley pruning a success – people happy the City is doing the work.
• Starting a pruning program.
• Flooding outdoor rinks.
• All projects completed except paving of the bike trail and the road to By-the-Lake- Park.
• Northwest Scuba is interested in instructing a scuba diving certification class in the spring of 2011.
• Orca Jr. Lifeguard club competed and placed 4th in Lethbridge and 3rd in Calgary.
• Overhead heaters in arena have been modified to a timer system, 10 on and 10 minutes off. Staff will monitor the effectiveness of this cycle.
• Aquatic Centre will be raising fees ranging from a single swim from $3.75 to $4.25 and a 12 month pass increasing from $245 to $277. Other passes that will see an increase are the 10 punch card, 1 month pass, 3 month pass and 6 month pass. The Centre has not raised user fees 2006.
By Law 1770 – 10: Lot 6, Block1, Plan 0423294 Land Use Amendment
On October 4th, 2010 the City purchased the property containing 7.12 acres for the potential extension of the recreation grounds. The property is located east of the present recreation grounds and south of Sacred Heart School.
It is recommended the land be reclassified from UR or Urban Reserve to US or Urban Service and Open Spaces. UR is very restrictive while US allows a variety of uses including indoor and outdoor participation recreation, public parks and community recreation.
A public hearing will be held January 10, 2011 at 4:00 pm in accordance with City policy.
Council Remuneration Policy
The amended policy will reduce confusion and provide clear direction about which items may, or may not be claimed.
The existing policy only reflects ½ day and full day per Diem rates. Technically, Aldermen can claim a ½ day per diem for a meeting that may last for only one hour. However, what usually happened is Aldermen would wait until they attended several meetings or events and then make the single day claim.
The proposed policy allows Aldermen to claim a $50 per diem for meetings up to two hours. The ½ day and full day per diem remains the same.However, under the new policy, Council will no longer be able to claim for attending community events that are considered to be included in the base salary.
Annual remuneration for Mayor is $37,243 for fees and $18,621 for expenses (total $55,864).
Annual remuneration for Aldermen is $17,876 for fees and $8938 for expenses (total $26,815).
Per Diem rates are $50 for up to two hours, $100 for 2-4 hours and $200 for a full day.
FCSS Funding Agreement
The 2011 agreement will provide $280,969 to FCSS by Municipal Affairs and the City will provide an additional $70,242 which is mostly comprised of in-kind services such as office space, salaries, etc.
In Camera Items
Although Council may close all or part of their meetings to the public, Council limits in-camera agenda items to Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIP). Decisions cannot be made while in-camera. They must be made in public.
Leduc County Council
By Joanne Hagen
New staff member, Charlene Hoffman, was introduced to Mayor Whaley and Council members. Charlene will be filling the position of Planner.
At 1:40, Manager of Engineering, Des Mryglod, presented the Country Corral Settlement for Write Off for dust suppression. On September 30, 2005, the Leduc County sent an invoice to County Corral in the amount of $12,642.79 for dust control application to Township Road 503 by the County of Leduc.
Country Corral refused to pay the invoice, thus Brownlee LLP was engaged by Leduc County to attempt to obtain payment from Country Corral. Through deliberation between Brownlee LLP and Country Corral and their solicitors, a settlement of $4,000 was reached. Leduc County received a cheque for $4,000, however, Councillor Mackay moved that the amount outstanding ($8,642.79) to the County of Leduc by Country Corral Enterprises, Ltd. be written off.
Road Closure and Sale
Regarding the closure and sale of a portion of unused Road Allowance North portion of West of the N.W.36-49-02-W5 (RC01-10), Road Closure Bylaw 3-10, Council, after conducting a public hearing earlier this year, has determined it would be best to close and sell the unused road allowance to Leduc County with a conservation easement in order to preserve the land. Councillor Audrey Kelto made a motion that Bylaw 3-10 be given second reading, and Councillor Harrison moved for third reading. Carried unanimously. This bylaw comes into effect upon third reading.
Requests for Extension of Subdivision Validity Period
• Subdivision File SD 07-192 - S.E. 4-50-22-W4th, Elgert: Councillor Harrison moved that Leduc County Council extend the one year period to August 30, 2011
• Subdivision File SD 06-26 - S.E. 17-50-22-W4th, Van Sickle: Councillor Schonewille motioned for Leduc County Council to extend the period to June 20, 2011 relating to said property by Darren and Donna Van Sickle, advising applicants to be aware of the restrictions of the area by the Capital Region Board.
• Subdivision File SD 07-021 - S.E. 22-50-23-W4th, 1283478 Alberta Ltd. - Brij Kapoor: Councillor Schonewille moved that Leduc County Council extend the one year period to September 18, 2011, and, as above, be advised of the restrictions in the area.
All three files were notified that no further extensions would be granted by Council to the above subdivision files.
After a short recess, the meeting reconvened for Mayor Greg Krischke's presentation on Leduc Recreation Centre (LRC). A few of the highlights from Mayor Krischke are:
• The LRC is a hub of activity, with 20,000 to 25,000 wristbands issued per month.
• The LRC has over 3,000 current members and over 100 separate companies with corporate memberships.
• The Centre brought a half million dollars into the City of Leduc and area by hosting the Alberta Cup in April of this year.
The facility has hosted a number of major events and is booked for many more, including Provincial Volleyball Championships, ScotiaBank Pro-Am Hockey Tournament, the 2012 Ladies Scotties Provincial Curling Championships, and the 2014 Junior Provincial Curling Championships.
Town of Calmar Council
December 6, 2010
By Linda M. Steinke
Two members of the Calmar Secondary School Interact Club, Hayden Mills and Abby Vandenberghe, met with Council to report on their trip to Belise to build a playground (sponsored by the Nisku-Leduc Rotary Club). Their project was completed three days ahead of schedule, allowing time to do some sightseeing. Abby described the trip as, “Amazing! So cool.” The club has received another request to send more students for a trip on April 15-22. The details still need discussion, so nothing is finalized.
The Interact Club invited Council to their upcoming Winter Wonderland Christmas Talent Show at the school on Tuesday, December 21 at 10 AM. There is no charge and the whole community is welcome.
Council approved the use of a credit card for the Calmar Public Library Board with a limit of $7000 to be used solely for Library business and within budget. The Library Manager has had to use personal funds while making supply purchases (such as books that can run in the $6-9 thousand range) and then was reimbursed.
Council has been invited by the Alberta 55 Plus Winter Games host City of St. Albert to “take part in our Games and join us in honoring our provincial 55 Plus participants” at various receptions and the closing ceremonies this coming February 24-27. Council is seeking more information as to any costs and commitment involved.
Diana McQueen, MLA Drayton Valley—Calmar, has requested a meeting with Council in January to discuss priorities as individual council and as a constituency. It should be noted that McQueen will be at the Senior’s Centre this Friday, December 10 from 10am to 2pm for a Christmas meeting with the public.
Alberta Emergency Management Agency will be offering courses specifically designed for Councillors across Alberta. Councillor Borodawka suggested it might be a good idea to host the training session in case of a future disaster. Council will seek more information regarding the cost of hosting such a session. Three Councillors will take the course: Mayor Falkner, and Councillors Bartlett and Wiancko.
Council and Committee Reports:
(From approved Council Minutes) At the November 15 Council meeting, Mr. Bill McElhanney, a lawyer representing the residents of the Westview, Spruceview, and Evergreen areas spoke on behalf of the group concerning the history of abandoned wells. He stated that the issue of the wells, in his opinion, will result in a loss of property values and taxes. He recommended that a Committee be formed made up of residents, Council and Administration to deal with issues around this circumstance.
Mayor Faulkner suggested at that November 15 meeting that the group put its concerns and issues in writing, focusing specifically what they are requesting from the Town. Mr. McElhanney stated that he will attempt to put something in writing.
To follow through, Director of Finance Storey said as of yet (December 6, 2010), Administration has not received that email.
The Town of Calmar website now features a link to the Well Re-abandonment Project. Through this webpage, Imperial Oil Limited will keep Calmar residents up-to-date on the work associated with the re-abandonment of two sweet natural gas wells located in the town.
Water Rate Increase
There will be an increase in water rates on the utility bills in the new year. The Water Commission passed on a 20% rate increase (from 57 cents to 67 cents) to the town for the purchase of water. Those rates will be factored into the utility bylaw.
Fire Truck Replacement
Councillor Bartlett told council the Fire Department Pumper truck is now 10 years old and will eventually need replacing. A discussion followed with Councillor Yachimetz regarding the timing of the replacement, “The longer you delay, the return on the dollar becomes less and less” adding if you sell at ten years and you can put the money towards the new truck. If you wait twenty years and you have to pay the full replacement value. Councillor Bartlett believes it’s important that the Fire department has input.
Councillor Borodawka reports the Public Library is “looking to buy big people chairs for the computer area” and revamping the public washroom to make it wheelchair accessible.
She also reports the need for a new community events sign and a different location because “when you drive out of town, you don’t see it; and when you are drive into town, you only see it for two seconds.”
Councillor Wiancko reports, as did the other Council members, that the AUMA (Alberta Urban Municipal Assn.) was most enlightening and a good place to network. From an AUMA contacts, he is hoping to secure a free tent for Calmar Days. Regarding flyers announcing upcoming events, he suggests that perhaps announcements need to be sent out sooner. A week to a few days before the event is not enough time.
Congratulations to Councillor Bartlett on his election to chair the Water Board.