Town Council News – Apr. 14, 2021

·6 min read

Delegations

Michelle Jones from Community Futures Yellowhead East (CFYE) presented the Annual Stakeholder Report to Council via video conferencing.

Request For Decision (RFD)

Council reviewed five RFDs:

· Communities in Bloom (CiB) Planters: CiB is offering a business planter program this year. Local businesses can rent a planter for the year at the cost of $30 per planter. CiB will provide the planter, soil and flowers, and then the business is responsible for maintaining it. Council passed a motion to rent two planters.

· Volunteer Appreciation Week: Council passed a motion to recognize and proclaim April 18 – 24 as Volunteer Appreciation Week.

· Campground Lease Agreements: Council reviewed an example of the lease agreements to operate the Freeman River, Trapper Lea's Cabin, and Chrystina Lake campgrounds. There is a requirement for a yearly report on operations and a safety plan for each campground that has not been present in previous lease agreements. Alberta Parks and the Town Administration discussed these requirements to ensure that this will not be a demanding task and that these reports and plans would be simple. Town Administration also requested that the leases be changed from 10 years to 5 years. Alberta Parks has agreed and will modify the agreements to be for 5 years with an option for a 5-year extension. Alberta Parks has also submitted a commitment letter as a supplement to the lease agreements. This letter states that Alberta Parks will replace the Picnic Shelter at Trapper Lea's Cabin and the vault toilets at Trappers and Freeman River. This letter also commits to providing furnishings in good working order (fire pits, picnic tables, and garbage cans) to the Town based on available inventory. Alberta Parks also made clear that the campgrounds have to run under the same rules as a provincial campground. The plant manager at the Swan Hills Treatment Centre has committed to supplying summer students to take care of the Chrystina Lake campground for the next 5 years. Council passed a motion to enter into the lease agreements.

· 2021 Municipal budget: The 2021 operating and capital budgets were passed under a recorded vote with Councillors Webster and Kuyek opposed.

· Taxation Bylaw 2021-04: Bylaw 2021-04 passed three readings under a recorded vote for each reading with Councillor Webster opposed on each reading.

CAO Report

· The Swan Hills firebase will be manned on Apr. 15, and the Swan Dive Tower lookout will be manned on Apr. 14.

· The Safety Codes Yearly Self Audit has been approved.

· The fireguard project continues, although progress has slowed due to the warmer weather conditions.

· CAO Lewis attended an Emergency Management Leadership and Stress Course on Apr. 7 through Sea Hawk Consulting as part of the regional Emergency Management Initiative. The next session will be on April 19 – 20 for those involved in the Town's emergency management system.

· Clint Baker has moved into a more senior role as Director of Protective Services. This will still include his role as the Community Peace Officer and will now include all aspects of emergency management/protective services, including becoming the Town's Director of Emergency Management and overseeing the Fire Department.

· Jamie Molnar has now stepped up to the Volunteer Fire Chief position, and Otto Fleming will replace Jamie as the Volunteer Deputy Fire Chief.

Operations and Infrastructure

· There hasn't yet been an update on the Emergency Fire Water pump replacement at this time. We should have something to report at the next Council meeting.

· The new PH control system has arrived. The Town will be coordinating with the contractor to have the installation completed in the third week of April. The contractor has another install in the area and will coordinate the two projects to save on travel costs from Calgary.

· Public Works is also working on a backlog of 3 CC repairs within the municipality.

· All of the new parts have been installed at the sewage lift station. The system has been set up and is now operational.

· The Supervisor and two employees attended Confined Space Rescue training in Whitecourt on Apr. 9.

· Public Works is currently working with the electrical contractor to get up to code for emergency lighting throughout the Town's buildings.

Protective Services

· Clint Baker has successfully passed the Legal Studies course for the CPO Bridge program. Currently waiting for one last course to come available (Tactical Traffic Stops) that will allow Clint to apply for an amendment on his Peace Officer appointment to become a CPO level 1.

· The fireguard is about 80% complete.

· An Agriculture & Forestry Mutual Aid Meeting was held on Mar. 25. 2021.

Reports

· Mayor Craig Wilson reported on the Barrhead and District Social Housing Association meeting held on Mar. 29. The province agreed to pay for the entire cost of the new Hillcrest building. A motion was passed to conduct a needs assessment for senior housing in Swan Hills. This assessment will have to be conducted by the province and may take some time.

-The Golden Triangle held a virtual meeting. The Golden Triangle had partnered up with Teen Challenge to raise funds at the yearly rally over the past few years but has found that this partnership has not been advantageous. The decision was made to sever this relationship.

· Councillor Terry Kuyek reported on an online Emergency Management Leadership training session.

· Councillor Jeff Goebel reported that Mar. 30 is Doctor Appreciation Day, and May 12 is Nurses Day. Usually, this is celebrated with a luncheon, but that won't be possible at this time because of COVID-19. The current plan is to possibly push this to September and make it more of a donor and medical appreciation night and a welcome for Dr. Kettana.

-Councillor Goebel was able to get in contact with the Alberta Health Services Air Transport Committee chair. They will be looking into why and how the STARS landing zone at the hospital went away and if we can get it back. Hopefully, there will be some answers forthcoming next week.

· Councillor Elizabeth Krawiec reported on an EDC working group meeting where they discussed a new government grant for Alberta Culture Days in September. This grant offers $1000 for a one-day event, $5000 for a two-day event, and $10,000 for a three-day event. The days do not have to be consecutive. The event has to be cultural. They have reached out to FCSS and to some members of the Swancicle Days committee. There will be a meeting on Monday afternoon to discuss this further. Video training was also discussed with ten names put forward of people that may be willing to take this training. Shoulder and winter tourism was discussed with the intent to explore what type of tourism activities that Swan Hills has to offer. There has been a big push towards experience tourism.

-Communities will have their first project ready to be installed before May long weekend.

Other

Council regretfully accepted the resignation of Myrtle Poirier from FCSS.

Council directed Administration to take possession of Lot 20, Block 23, Plan 7520919.

Dean LaBerge, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grizzly Gazette