M.D. of Lesser Slave River Council notebook

April 27, 2022 meeting

Pearl Lorentzen
Lakeside Leader

Gravel haul tender

“It concerns me that we only entertained two bids,” said councillor Brad Pearson, about the 2022 gravel haul tender. He asked admin if this was because they had put it out to tender too late or for too short a time.

It was too late was the answer. Also, lots of gravel trucks are busy in the oilpatch.

The two bids were very different. These were $399,263.77 from McLeod Valley Sand & Gravel, out of Edson, and $584,474.35 from Rempel Trucking. Rempel did the job in 2021.

“They did a lovely job,” said councillor Sandra Melzer.

Councillor Pearson made a motion to accept the lower bid. This was carried.

Audited financial statements

Overall, the M.D.’s 2021 financial statements looked good, said auditor Leon W. Pfeiffer, from RSM Canada. However, there were three very old grant transfers and deferred revenue. He needs to look into these before he can sign off on the audit.

The grants are Tricouncil (over $900,000 from 2011/2012), Intermunicipal Collaboration Framework Agreements, and mountain pine beetle ($95,000 from 2010).

The money has been sitting on the books for a long time.

Depending on the grant agreements, this money might need to be repaid, said Pfeiffer. It might also be that there are eligible expenses or upcoming eligible expenses which mean the grants have been spent, but not recorded properly. From an auditing standpoint, the issue is if either is true the current financial statements include a “misstatement.”

“I agree with the auditor’s opinion that he’s got standards to maintain,” said Councillor Pearson.

“We can’t submit our reports by the deadline of May 1,” said acting CAO Barry Kolenosky. “We’ve got to get to the bottom of these grants.”

Council approved the report as information. Administration will seek an extension from Municipal Affairs and gather information to send to the auditor.

Community Sustainability Initiatives Program

This was the second time that the Community Sustainability Initiatives Program Policy was before council. At the April 13 meeting, it read it over and asked admin to amend the council’s roles and responsibilities. This policy allows the M.D. to enter into memorandum of understandings (MOU)s with community groups.

Councillors made a few more minor wording changes. Including that the M.D. “may provide the necessary seed funds to start the process as determined by yearly budgets.” The original said “provide the necessary seed funds to start the process.”

Council approved the policy as amended.

Canyon Creek Recreation Association MOU

Council wasted no time in entering into an MOU. The next item was a memorandum of understanding between the M.D. and Canyon Creek Recreation Association to run the Canyon Creek Harbour and Campground (CCHC) and the Canyon Creek Community Campground (CCCC) for the 2022 pilot season ,which runs May 1 to September 30.

Once again, council made a few minor wording changes. Also, it corrected the insurance coverage to the proper number of $5 million, instead of $2 million, which was a typo.

Council agreed to enter into the MOU as amended.


The potential MOU between the M.D. and SHARA (Smith-Hondo Association of Recreational and Agricultural Society) was brought forward for the first time. The outdoor ice surface which will likely be part of it has been discussed many times. It will likely also include running the indoor horse arena at the Smith Complex.

The MOU was in draft form, but admin wanted to start on it, so that SHARA and the M.D. could jointly apply for a grant to help fund the ice surface.

Council approved a motion to enter into an MOU with SHARA. Admin will hash out the details and bring the MOU back to council for approval.

Appointment of agricultural fieldman

Council passed a motion to make Quentin Bochar the agricultural fieldman as of April 27, 2022.
The request for decision says, “The agricultural fieldman is responsible for the administration and enforcement of several Alberta acts and their respective regulations. The Agricultural Service Board Act is the initial guiding act that outlines the agricultural fieldman’s duties, responsibilities, and the various acts that the position is responsible for.”

Water and sewer fee comparison

Donna Cross, utilities manager, presented a report on the water and sewer connection fees for the surrounding rural municipalities. The report included information on Big Lakes County, Woodlands County, M.D. of Greenview, Athabasca County, and Westlock County.

The M.D. of Lesser Slave River fees of $500 for water and $0 for sewer connection fees were lower than all of the others. These ranged from $500 for 1.5” and under pipes in Athabasca ($1,2000 for 2” and over pipes) to $18,000 with financing available in Woodlands County.

“I definitely think we need to take a deposit,” said Cross.

Council accepted the report as information.

M.D. website search engine

“It’s a screwball system,” said councillor Pearson, who added the M.D.’s website search engine to the agenda.

He’d been asked by someone how to book the Widewater Complex. He tried to find the answer by searching within the website, without any luck.

Admin didn’t have an answer to the search engine issue, but two staff members do the bookings and an online system is in the works.

Council made a motion to have admin get the website company to fix the search engine. Council plans to meet with the company in June.

Spring grader pilot

Councillor Pearson brought up the issue of spring grading on roads. When it is wet and muddy, the grader does more harm than good, he said. He made a motion that admin look into using a section of Courtorielle Road by the Canyon Creek Harbour as a test site. The grader would stay off the road while the road bans are in place.
Council approved the motion.

Smith town clean up and park project

Smith councillor Nancy Sand added two connected items to the agenda. On July 1, Smith School is celebrating its 100th anniversary. There are several events planned. One is a replica of all the old stores in Smith. It will be in the park. Also, there are a lot of messy backyards. Some of it is visible from the front. The idea is to organize a town cleanup with loaders and trailers, so people can get rid of stuff.

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