Deciding how to begin a civic news article is often a difficult task; with so much material discussed, determining what item is most important can be tricky.
However, during the March 23 regular meeting of MD council, Reeve Brian Hammond himself identified the final agenda item as the most important part of the meeting.
The decision, which was unanimously approved, involved removing sanctions placed on Coun. Quentin Stevick back in September.
Coun. Stevick will also be reinstated to his previous committee appointments, minus his position on the Pincher Creek Emergency Services Commission. The decision not to reappoint him to the board, said chief administrative officer Troy MacCulloch, was one of practicality as opposed to some sort of statement toward the organization or Coun. Stevick.
“There has been substantive change in his absence, and it would be unfair to both the councillor and the MD to return him to that commission at this time,” CAO MacCulloch said.
On a separate topic, Coun. Bev Everts informed council she would not be seeking re-election in the upcoming municipal election.
“As bittersweet as that is, it’s the right decision for me, and I feel the timing needs to be sooner than later to set our next council up for success,” she said.
The next municipal general election will be held Oct. 18.
Books and dogs
Council approved proposed changes to the Pincher Creek Municipal Library bylaw that eliminates fees on overdue materials.
Representatives from the library first presented the amendments back on Feb. 23. A decision was delayed in order to seek clarification on portions of the bylaw that still contained uses of the word “fee” and “fine.”
The MD joins the Town of Pincher Creek and Village of Cowley in approving the late-fine change, which will be made official once all three municipalities sign copies of the bylaw.
Late fees will still apply to intermunicipal loans.
Council also approved second and third readings for rezoning a portion of MD land north of Patton Park in Lundbreck to allow for the creation of a dog park.
Passing the land use amendments was a small part of the work administration had put into the project, which Reeve Hammond was grateful for.
“Thanks for all the good work that went into this,” he said. “It’s good to get that done. I’m thinking the residents, for the most part, will be quite happy with that — at least I hope they are.”
The Oldman, the Internet and a community hall
Letters of support were approved for two organizations interested in connecting residents with information: the Oldman Watershed Council and Viasat Canada.
The OWC acts as an apolitical body that provides information to communities along the Oldman River with information on the river’s ecosystem. Currently, much focus has been on the potential for coal mine development in the region.
The letter will help the organization apply for grants that will help fund research and distribute information. Potential funds available are $15,000 through the Community Foundation of Lethbridge and Southwest Alberta and $30,000 through the Alberta Ecotrust Foundation.
The other letter request, from Viasat Canada, was to support the company’s effort to participate in Canada’s Universal Broadband Fund.
The federal government has set aside $1.75 billion to provide high-speed Internet projects across the country, particularly for rural areas and indigenous groups. The UBF is an important part of the government’s plan to give 98 per cent of Canadians access to the Internet by 2026.
So far, 90 per cent of Canada’s population has Internet access.
A third letter was approved to support the Twin Butte Community Association’s efforts to make the community’s town hall more accessible.
The barrier-free addition on the southeast corner will provide the hall with two washrooms with easier access, a wheelchair lift to the basement and the main auditorium, and a new coat-check and ticketing area. The association also hopes to construct a small historical display honouring the hall’s history.
The letter will allow the association to apply for funds from the Farm Credit Canada AgriSpirit fund. Between $5,000 and $25,000 is available for capital projects of indigenous communities and municipalities with populations under 150,000.
The next regular meeting for MD council will take place April 6 at 1 p.m. The online agenda package will be available at https://bit.ly/MDcouncil.
Sean Oliver, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shootin' the Breeze