New Land Use Bylaw make room for Health Complex

·4 min read

Town of Beaverlodge

Regular Meeting of Council

July 12, 2021

In Attendance: Mayor Gary Rycroft,

councillors Cyndi Corbett, Terry Dueck, Judy Kokotilo-Bekkerus, Hugh Graw, Gena Jones, Cal Mosher.

LUB: John Simpson, contracted by the town to put together the Land Use Bylaw (LUB), presented to council the highlights of the changes Monday night.

Simpson said it’s time for the town to update the LUB to make sure that it conformed with the Municipal Government Act, making it easier for administration to work with and provide more flexibility for economic development.

Five new zoning districts were added to the bylaw: R4 un-serviced residential, M2 un-serviced industrial, direct control residential, direct control non-residential and direct control mixed district. “The last direct control district is a mixed one, and this is specifically designed for the new hospital complex that is being contemplated,” said Simpson.

The direct control districts will allow council to direct and approve zoning as proposals are made.

“The direct control district is different than other zones in that council is directly involved in the administration and decision making in that district.”

“The reason we added R4 un-serviced residential is to allow the town to consider country residential type development if there's an area of town that is going to be difficult to service or get services to,” said Simpson. “It would allow (council) to have acreage development occur on those lands.”

“I think that puts (council) at a pretty good stand in terms of being able to compete in the market, be able to negotiate with developers over getting things done,” Simpson said.

The bylaw received its first reading, and then council set a date for the public hearing on the new Aug. 9 at 7 p.m.

Community Economic Development Survey: Streets and roads came out on top as a priority for residents in the town’s Community Economic Development Survey.

Coun. Dueck said the town received 138 responses to the survey, which was delivered with utility bills.

A health complex and underground infrastructure were the next priorities flagged by residents, followed by an assisted living facility and a K-9 school.

According to the survey, the highest order of priority by sector was ranked first with health, then education, energy and industrial, business services and agriculture.

“If you look at the strategic plan, 90 per cent of it is infrastructure-based, and that's what you see in the survey,” said chief administration officer (CAO) Jeff Johnston.

Out of 71 responses that answered the question if they had the opportunity to accomplish one thing in Beaverlodge, 15 residents said it would be a hospital.

Coun. Kokotilo-Bekkerus suggested that in the future, the survey be sent with tax notices to reach more residents.

Lift station: CAO Johnston asked council for $60,000 from town reserves for upgrades to the lift station.

Jayjaxx Controls were the lowest bid for the town’s tender; still, the amount exceeded the town’s budget for the work.

To reduce costs, some items from the project have been removed, and can be done later, said Johnston.

“The lift station upgrades are primarily electrical and piping.

“There has been significant corrosion to both over the years due to the atmosphere/exposure to wastewater,” he said.

Council voted to release $60,000 for the work.

Variance report: “Fundamentally, we're about $27,000 below on revenue for the first half of the year and about $635,000 below on expenses,” said Johnston.

The CAO said the town is getting a lot done, which “shows that they are doing well.”

He said that one of his priorities is ensuring that expenses are coded correctly instead of shuffling things to allow the budget to look more balanced to make the next budget more accurate.

“I think we are well-positioned, “said Johnston.

Beaverlodge firehall building committee: The County of Grande Prairie is requesting the town have two members from the county join the Beaverlodge Firehall building committee; one from council and one from the administration.

Previously, which council had allocated one county member for the committee.

“Just for everybody's knowledge, they are investing up to $1 million into the project, so I don't believe it's unreasonable,” said Johnston.

“I think we should just go ahead with it and get going,” said Coun. Jones.

The committee now consists of two members from the county, two councillors from the town, the fire chief, the Firefighters Association and the CAO of Beaverlodge.

Jesse Boily, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News

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