May 10, 2023 meeting
For the Lesser Slave Lake office, loans are in excess of the quota, reported councillor Norm Seatter. Programs in schools are expanding; so is the size of the board, which has 10 members.
Community Futures Tawatinaw is “struggling a bit,” said councillor Sandra Melzer. Very few loans. Poor uptake on courses offered as well.
On the other hand, lots of interest in Lemonade Day.
LS watershed council
Funding increase from the province of $90,000, reported councillor Seatter. “Lots of projects on the go.”
He reminded council of the two cameras on the lake. People can log in and see what the conditions are. Links can be found online at lswc.ca
The group is looking for someone to sit on a technical committee, which will be doing a two-year study on the Pembina River watershed.
Community Education Committee
The college is looking for help with practicum placements, reported Seatter. This would be for the business admin. program. He suggested the CAO look into it.
On an unrelated note (to the above item), Seatter said the college is finding math skills (or the lack of them) is a big issue. Thanks to schools’ ‘no fail’ policy, students are graduating who don’t know their times tables past four, he said.
In other news, the college is looking at bringing back its oilfield operator training program. It had been discontinued due to lack of demand, but the demand is apparently back.
50K to the good in 2022, reported councillor Darren Fulmore. Also reported was an ‘aviation incident,’ which amounted to a small plane having a flat tire on the runway. The runway was shut down and the plane escorted off by means of a jack and a dolly designed for the purpose.
Lesser Slave housing
$80,000 surplus in 2022, said councillor Brad Pearson. Less good news is that provincial funding has been “flat” for about eight years, while the cost of everything continues to rise. He said council should be lobbying the province about that at every opportunity.
The new social housing units at the Hotel Northern Star were supposed to come ‘online’ in March, but that didn’t happen, Pearson said. When it does, it will result in the housing authority getting rid of 20 of its units.
“We’re waiting,” he said.
News from the tri-council health advisory committee was (among other things) that 145 babies were delivered at the hospital in Slave Lake over the 2022/23 fiscal year (April 1 – March 31), including eight in March.
Acute care beds were 92 per cent occupied in that period.
There’s a 50 per cent nursing vacancy at the moment. Doctors should be at 10 but are down to six. Internationally educated nurses are being recruited.
One reason nurse practitioners are so hard to find, said councillor Seatter, is because for all the extra schooling (a master’s degree, in essence) they have to do, they end up making only 40 cents per hour than an RN. So why would you bother?