Town Council News – September 14, 2022

·6 min read

All members present.

Recess - Public Hearing, Land Use Bylaw 2022-04 Amendment

The proposed Bylaw 2022-04 is an amendment to Land Use Bylaw (2012-14). The appeal timeline is being amended from 14 days to 21 days to align with changes made to the Municipal Government Act. Council gave the bylaw the first reading at the Town Council meeting held on August 10, 2022, with the second and third readings being tabled until after a public hearing could be held. No members of the public came to the public hearing. After verifying that no Council members had a conflict of interest in this matter, the public hearing was ended, and the Town Council meeting went back in to regular session.

Request For Decision (RFD)

Council reviewed five RFDs:

· ATCO Electric Franchise Fee: Council has the option to modify the franchise fees in this agreement every year. ATCO Electric distribution projections for the remainder of this year will exceed original projections, and next year’s estimates will be on par with this year’s budgeted numbers. Council passed a motion to leave the ATCO Electric Franchise Fee the same for 2023.

· ATCO Gas Franchise Fee: Council has the option to modify the franchise fees in this agreement every year. The Atco Gas projected delivery tariff for 2023 is estimated to be on par with the projected 2022 delivery tariff estimates. Council passed a motion to leave the yearly ATCO Gas franchise fee the same for 2023.

· Tax Sale 2022: Two properties will be up for auction; 46 Centennial Cr, assessed at $92,000; and 14 Hollinger Dr, assessed at $12,500. The Public Auction can be set for Nov. 30, allowing for advertising in The Grizzly Gazette for the Oct. 15 issue. Council is required to set a minimum reserve bid on each property, all of which are as close to market value as possible. The Town’s assessor, Kevin Lawrence, with KCL Consulting, has provided us with market values. Council must also set the terms and conditions regarding the potential sale of the properties. Council passed a motion to set the 2022 Tax Arrears Sale date for Nov. 30, 2022, at 2:00 PM; and to set the reserve bid for the specified properties as listed; to set the terms and conditions regarding the potential sale of the properties as requiring payment to be made by cash or certified cheque and requiring a minimum of 10% of the sale price at the time of sale with remainder to be paid within 30 days before the title is released.

· Organizational Meeting 2022: The Municipal Government Act specifies that Council must hold an organizational meeting annually not later than two weeks after the third Monday in October. Council passed a motion to hold the annual organizational meeting on Oct. 26 at 6:00 PM, prior to the regularly scheduled Council meeting.

· Bylaw Amendment to Allow “Urban Chickens”: Fish and Wildlife and their problem wildlife specialist have recommended that the Town does not allow urban chickens to be kept within the community due to challenges it would create. A motion to amend Bylaw 2015-11 to allow for “Urban Chickens” to be kept within the Town was defeated.

Bylaws And Policies

· Bylaw 2022–04 – The first reading of Bylaw 2022-04 was given on Aug. 10. This Bylaw has been advertised for two weeks, and a public hearing was held on September 14, 2022, as per the requirements of the MGA. Council gave Bylaw 2022-04 the second and third reading, passing the amendment.

CAO Report

· Mayor Wilson and the CAO met with Minister Shandro (Justice and Solicitor General) electronically on Sept. 6 regarding the proposed Alberta Provincial Police Service.

· The Swan Hills Healthcare Centre is back to full operation.

· The Town’s Community Registration Night was held on Sept. 6, and the FCSS Wellness Fair was held on Sept. 13.

· The Town will be partnering with FCSS to put on a drive-in movie once again on Sept. 16.

· The Town has been notified by the Alberta Safety Codes Council that our Quality Management Plan must be updated to the current template/standards by Oct. 31.

· Met with Jordan Panasiuk (Big Lakes County CAO) on Sept. 13 in Kinuso regarding the Intermunicipal Funding Agreement between Big Lakes County and Swan Hills.

· Finalizing the MAP audit follow-up report for Municipal Affairs, which will be sent out after the final item is wrapped up (Land Use Bylaw amendment).

· The Alberta Municipalities Conference is from Sept. 21 - 23 in Calgary.

· Working on progress reports for the Canada Community Revitalization Fund grant.

Operations And Infrastructure

· Crack sealing will continue throughout Sept., weather and manpower permitting.

· The Generator for the reservoir project has been delayed yet again. They have yet to provide an update on when it is to be expected.

· Operations is having difficulty acquiring a construction company for the catch basin replacement Pan Am. It’s possible that this project may be delayed until spring.

· The new condenser for the Arena has been installed and PW is currently developing ice for the season.

· The contractor for asphalt repairs has communicated that they will be onsite the third week of September. Their first priority will be to perform the repairs to the four-way stop on Pan Am to resume access to Centennial Crescent.

· PW has repaired the walkway and deck area on the Lions Den building. The entire building and deck areas were also painted/stained.

Protective Services

· Clint Baker attended an Alberta Emergency Management Agency (AEMA) webinar. They are rolling out the new National Public Alerting System.

· There were five fire calls during August.

· The Fire Department has resumed regular weekly meetings.


· Mayor Craig Wilson attended a Barrhead District and Social Housing meeting on Aug. 29. More people are moving into the newly finished areas of Hillcrest lodge, with increasing requests to view the available units.

-Mayor Wilson and CAO Bill Lewis met with Minister Shandro on Sept. 6 regarding the proposed Alberta Provincial Police Service. There appears to be momentum towards the province putting these plans in place.

- Mayor Wilson reported that Big Lakes County Reeve Robert Nygaard and CAO Jordan Panasiuk will be Swan Hills’ guests at the Alberta Municipalities convention.

· Councillor Dean LaBerge attended a GROWTH Alberta on Aug. 11 in Barrhead. GROWTH is looking for an executive director and help with administration. They conducted a Zoom interview with a potential candidate. The organization is working on identifying strategic goals and outlining the benefits they provide to members.

-Councillor LaBerge also reported on a Chamber of Commerce meeting on Sept. 8. They are looking at overhauling their bylaws, procedures, and policies. They decided not to have a table at the Wellness Fair as they have not had little to no business engagement at past fairs.

· Councillor Terry Kuyek attended a GROWTH Alberta meeting on Sept. 13 in St. Albert. They met with consultants regarding getting organized. There was a focus on attracting previous members back.

· Councillor Daryn Watson attended an Interagency Board meeting. Discussion included activities at the school, mental first aid, hang-out places for teens, and providing hygiene kits for grades 6 and 7 students.

· Councillor Jeff Goebel has been asked to participate in a webinar about library systems.

Dean LaBerge, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grizzly Gazette