With summer drawing to a close, council for the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass met Sept. 15 to open discussion on topics ranging from managing the Frank water treatment plant to touring the SPCA.
Mike Bell, manager of business development with Epcor Water Canada, opened the meeting with a presentation offering Epcor’s services in running the future Frank water treatment plant.
He pointed to other treatment plants in Regina, the Evan-Thomas facility in Kananaskis Country, and the Britannia mine in western British Columbia as a track record that makes Epcor an easy fit to the Frank project.
“We see southern Alberta — especially around your municipality, Pincher Creek all the way over to Lethbridge — as a major hub for operations with respect to water and wastewater,” Mr. Bell explained. “We believe with economies of scale that Epcor could come in and be a high-value service provider for Crowsnest Pass.”
Should the proposed mining operations be approved in the area, Mr. Bell said, Epcor is uniquely positioned to manage both residential and industrial water needs.
Epcor’s policy is to co-design facilities so the transition between construction and managing treatment plants is seamless. The Edmonton-based utilities company also assumes responsibility over operating costs and liabilities, though water rights and rates are still under the municipality’s jurisdiction.
Though the treatment plant is still in the beginning phases, having Epcor’s involvement presents council with possibilities.
“It’s a very interesting topic and presentation, and some food for thought moving forward,” said Mayor Blair Painter.
Passing of the bylaws
Council officially passed two bylaws: Bylaw 1025, 2019 (Road Closure) and Bylaw 1056, 2020 (Bylaw Enforcement).
Bylaw 1025 enables part of a statutory road allowance at SW-11-8-4-W5 to be closed as a result of the golf course completing work on some subdivisions. The portion of the road no longer facilitates public travel, and a separate private road allows access to land parcels north of the closure.
Council unanimously passed the bylaw’s second and third readings.
In a rare occurrence, council also unanimously approved all three readings for Bylaw 1056. Council made the decision because previous bylaw enforcement legislation had been replaced by a community peace officer bylaw in 2012, and the newly hired peace officer could not legally enforce bylaws without a bylaw enforcement bylaw.
The unique circumstances, Coun. Dean Ward concluded, justified the decision’s speed.
“Normally I would not want to see us do this, but the case in fact is we’ve had no bylaw enforcement for 19 months, and I think this is an extraordinary situation,” he said.
The draft of Bylaw 1056 was based on a similar bylaw crafted by the Wood Buffalo municipality. Administration anticipates a future amendment will combine the community peace officer and bylaw enforcement bylaws, as the CPO bylaw needs to be reviewed.
Walking back Sartoris application
After reviewing information from administration on where the municipality could extend its walking trail system as part of Alberta’s municipal stimulus program, council voted to drop the Sartoris day-use application and instead apply to use the entire $707,064 on the trail system.
Look for a future story in the Breeze with specifics on council’s decision, as well as proposed sections for the trail system.
Meetings for the dogs
To review the Crowsnest Pass SPCA operations, administration had previously contacted SPCA executives for information. Though originally offering to present a report to council as a delegation, the SPCA rescinded its offer when administration contacted them to schedule a day, instead suggesting a tour of the facility with council would be more effective.
In a letter to council, Wendy Zack, who chairs the SPCA board, explained a tour would “enable us to address your questions more completely and you will be able to see first hand what we are all about.”
“A visit to our facility,” she added, might also help generate additional questions “without consideration given to hearsay, rumours, innuendos or speculations.”
Though council decided to tour the SPCA, the situation was a cause for concern — and a little frustration.
“I would really like the SPCA to understand that I attend a tremendous amount of meetings as a councillor, plus I hold a part-time job, plus I have children,” said Coun. Lisa Sygutek. “So for me to take time out of my day in a different meeting to go to the SPCA because they refuse to come and meet council really actually kind of annoys me.”
The day of the tour is being scheduled.
The next regular council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 29, 7 p.m. at the MDM Community Centre in Bellevue.
Sean Oliver, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shootin' the Breeze