Council makes BeBo committee changes

·5 min read

The new Beaver Boardwalk Community Oversight Committee will have representation from several areas across Hinton.

Town of Hinton residents, Maxwell Lake area residents, one youth, and representatives from educational, recreation and tourism, environment and culture, and indigenous backgrounds are all included in the committee’s terms of reference that will come back for council’s approval on July 6.

The committee will also include one Town of Hinton Council representative, the arena parks supervisor, and one administrative Town of Hinton support staff for a total of 12 members.

Strategic services manager, Heather Waye, explained that an oversight committee is intended to ensure that administration and council remain in line with the original vision set out by the Beaver Boardwalk advisory committee, while the advisory committee engages and provides specific recommendations to council.

Council made an amendment to the terms of reference to include the entire Maxwell Lake and Beaver Boardwalk natural and built environment, instead of just the boardwalk.

Coun. JoAnn Race stated that the locals she have spoken to about the boardwalk think of it not just as the boardwalk but as the forest, the lake, the hills, the bridge, and the boardwalk as a whole, and felt that should be included in the committee’s purview.

“They care about the frogs and the frogs are part of Maxwell Lake. They care about the plant life in the lake, they care about the North hill that’s eroding, they’re planting juniper bushes to stop erosion, they care about the entire [area]. Not one element, not two, but the complete Beaver Boardwalk [area],” Race said.

Administration’s intention was to expand this committee to oversee the whole of the Maxwell Lake area once major deliverables related to the Boardwalk were accomplished after three to five years

Waye stated that the reason the entire area was not initially included was due to the deliverables and objectives which focused on the boardwalk.

“We really did want to focus the first couple of years on establishing consistent practice both as far as receiving briefings from administration and providing feedback to administration and council with respect to capital budget and other maintenance activities in the area. By expanding it too quickly, too soon, we fear that those deliverables may be lost or delayed,” Waye said.

Mayor Marcel Michaels agreed with Race that the committee should be able to address additional issues away from the trail and boardwalk.

To have the committee only focus on the boardwalk is a waste, Coun. Dewly Nelson added.

Council agreed with broadening the scope of the committee and Coun. Trevor Haas pointed out that the boardwalk would still be their first priority.

“Our Beaver Boardwalk, we couldn’t get people who care more than these people do. We will be working hand-in-hand with them, we will be working together,” Race said.

CAO Emily Olsen stated that the Beaver Boardwalk Advisory Committee will review the terms of reference to properly include the entire Maxwell Lake area.

As per the terms of reference, the education representative can be any Town of Hinton teacher or teacher’s aid, mental health professional, early childhood educator, library board member, or medical health professional.

Waye explained that many school children attend the area and use it as a different class setting to learn about things like the environment. Administration felt having someone at the educator level was the closest link to that direct use of the boardwalk.

Originally, youth was included under the education representative section but Nelson immediately stated it was important to give youth an exclusive opportunity to participate in this committee.

As well, indigenous representation was initially included under the environment and culture representative. Nelson did not want council to be in a position to have to choose between a local elder and a local member of the Whisky Jacks Club. Council voted to exclusively include an indigenous member as well.

“I think both youth and indigenous are traditionally excluded from many opportunities and I think we should at least extend that opportunity as much as we can, Nelson said.

“I think it’s important to at least open the door and have a space for those, and if the space goes unfilled then so be it.”

The environment and culture representative can be anyone who is an environmental professional, Whisky Jacks member, or Historical Society member.

The recreation and tourism representative can be any HMBA member, fitness instructor or trainer, owner or operator of a tourism-based business, or member of the Hinton Chamber of Commerce.

The two Maxwell Lake area residents must reside on either Collinge Road, Reimer Drive, Carriage Lane, Sutherland Avenue, Mountain Street, or Seabolt Crescent. Lastly, the two Town of Hinton residents must reside outside the Maxwell Lake area but within Hinton.

The terms of reference were also adjusted to reduce the meeting frequency to quarterly while still allowing for additional meetings as required. Nelson stated that monthly meetings can often be too much, while at peak times during the warmer months there may be need for more.

The Beaver Boardwalk Committee recommended the Boardwalk Service Level and maintenance plans for 2022 and beyond will be determined by administration with input from the oversight committee and approval by Council.

Administration can begin preparing advertising and application documents for the oversight committee and position the committee to be established by late August.

Masha Scheele, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hinton Voice