Council Notebook M.D. of Lesser Slave River

May 8, 2024 meeting

Pearl Lorentzen
Lakeside Leader

Municipal intern

At the beginning of the meeting, council was introduced to Erik Loken, the municipal intern for the next 18 months. He’ll be working in the financial department and job shadowing in all of the other departments.

Lawrence Lake Area Structure Plan

Lawrence Lake is south of Hwy. 2 between Smith and Athabasca near the eastern boundary of the M.D. of Lesser Slave River. Lawrence Lake Provincial Recreation Area is by the lake.

A developer hopes to build seasonal residential lots by Lawrence Lake. One of the steps is the M.D. setting up a bylaw to govern what development is allowed. Council gave first reading to Bylaw 2024-11 Lawrence Lake Area Structure Plan.

To protect the lake and wildlife, a large portion of the land is environmental reserve, said Rudolf Liebenberg, operational director of planning, utilities, and protective services. It doesn’t include municipal water or sewer. These will have to be trucked in and out.

An open house was held in March. People living within a three kilometre radius of the development have been notified of the proposed bylaw.

The next step is a public hearing on June 12, 2024 during the council meeting. This will be advertised for two weeks.

Councillor Sandra Melzer asked if the roads the contractor will build will be able to handle people trucking in water and trucking out sewer?

That’s the plan, said Liebenberg.

“It looks like it is well planned out,” said Councillor Nancy Sand.

Councillor Brad Pearson and Deputy Reeve Lana Spencer wanted to make sure that the style of septic tanks required aren’t the ones which are causing so much trouble in Canyon Creek.

Councillor Pearson made a motion for first reading. It was carried.

Closed session

Council went into closed session to discuss various matters. These included speaking with Associate Engineering, discussing the Smith Bridge, lake levels, and caribou sub-regional land-use plans.

Motions were made afterward about Smith Bridge.

After the closed session, council made and carried three motions about Smith Bridge.

The first was to approve scope change #2 to Associated Engineering for project 2023-3750 for (additional engineering and geotechnical fees of $184,200) from approved budgeted allocation for Smith Bridge project.

The second was to accept the Conceptual Design Report for information and support the recommendation of alignment “A” as presented by Associated Engineering.

The third was to direct administration to arrange a meeting with the regional director to discuss next steps of the project and possible funding requirements, and further arrange for a meeting with the Minister of Transportation and Economic Corridors to discuss the funding strategy, regarding the detailed design and construction requirements of the Smith Bridge Replacement Project.

The other closed session matters weren’t mentioned.

Editor’s note: The caribou sub-regional plans are a Government of Alberta initiative. These will be built by a task force. The most recent information that The Leader has on the creation of a task force for Slave Lake and Nipisi herds is from the press secretary for Alberta Minister of Environment and Protected Areas. As of February 2024, the task-force may start work on the plan by the end of 2024, he said.

Current Smith Bridge truss repair

“Waiting a year was just the ticket,” said Shari Spencer, assistant director of field services and document conveyance manager, about the Smith bridge truss repair bids.

Last year, council requested bids to fix the trusses on the Smith Bridge, but they were well over budget. This time, they were within budget.

Admin recommended the bid from Ardy Rigging Ltd. for $243,290. Council agreed and made a motion to hire them.

Sending out the tender package a second time, cost $20,000 more in engineering costs. Council passed a motion to approve an amended estimate total project budget of $322,280.89, but directed administration to ask for a breakdown from the engineering firm to justify the extra expense.

Weed and pest inspectors
Council appointed Reanna Bensch, Morgan Cryderman, and Tanner Miller as municipal inspectors under the Weed Control Act and Agricultural Pest Act.

Grader sale

Council passed a motion to sell two graders at auction.

Nine Mile Recreation Society

Nine Mile Recreation Society builds and maintains cross-country ski trails south of Wagner. The society requested two to three days of M.D. equipment and operator time to help replace some rig mats on the trail and for the M.D. to grade the road afterward.

M.D. operators are too busy to help, said Sandra Rendle, association director of legislative services. However, council approved $15,000 annually to be spent on trails, so the M.D. could give them money.

Council passed a motion to fund up to $5,000 for the work. The society will submit receipts to be reimbursed. They also directed that the grader operators swing by when they are in the area once they’ve established that the conditions are dry enough to be on the parking lot.

M.D. bylaw officers on provincial highways

Council had made a motion earlier saying that M.D. bylaw officers shouldn’t be working on provincial highways, but should focus on municipal roads. However, this meant that the officers couldn’t respond to emergencies etc. Administration asked council to rescind the motion and replace it with a directive that M.D. bylaw officers focus mainly on traffic enforcement on M.D. roads and infrastructure.

Spring Hamlet Cleanup Pilot Project

From May 17 to May 21, large waste disposal bins will be in Canyon Creek, Widewater, Flatbush, Smith, and Poplar Lane for residents to use for spring cleaning. This is not for hazardous waste. There is no cost to use the bins.

This will help residents clean up their lots before M.D. bylaw officers start enforcing the new nuisance bylaw, said Councillor Nancy Sand.

Councillor Melzer wanted to make sure administration advertised this well.


The M.D. was approved for two of its three applications to the Forest Resource Improvement Association of Alberta (FRIAA) Community Fireguard Program.

It was approved for Broken Paddle (by Fawcett Lake) and Marten Beach (by Marten River), but not for Mitsue Industrial Park.

“I wanted to understand why they did that (denied Mitsue),” said CAO Barry Kolenosky. The reason was this program can’t be used for industrial areas, especially ones that include mills.

A guard would be protecting the commercial viability of the province, argued Councillor Norm Seatter.

Kolenosky agreed.

Councillor Pearson asked how much money the M.D. will receive for Marten Beach and Broken Paddle.
The approval didn’t say, said Kolenosky.

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