M.D. of Lesser Slave River Council notebook

May 15, 2024 council of the whole meeting

Pearl Lorentzen
Lakeside Leader

RCMP

Staff Sergeant Casey Bruyns, Slave Lake RCMP detachment commander, presented to council on crime.
“It comes and goes,” he said. “We had a spike of property crime early this month.”

Most of this was one prolific offender, who the RCMP arrested, he added.

The RCMP have been putting out more news releases when they arrest people and encouraging people to report suspicious people and other crimes. They are also taking a “zero tolerance” line with prolific offenders. They do curfew checks and charge them with breaches if they aren’t there.

The RCMP report crime in three categories: person, property, and other.

These type of charges fall under other.

“You should see an increase in this area,” said Staff Sgt. Bruyns.

Council also asked about the homeless situtiation (see article on Page 3).

Councillor Norm Seatter asked about a stolen goods storage yard in the Marten Hills. Bruyns said the RCMP would look into it.

RCMP recruitment is up across Alberta, said Staff Sgt. Bruyns, and the Slave Lake detachment is only missing two members.

Smith Bike Rodeo

Constable Ryan McWilliams and Tim Horsman, from AHS Public Health, held a bike rodeo at Smith School on May 13. This teaches kids about bike safety. Constable McWilliams has been assigned to be an RCMP liaison with the school.

Community Policing Plan

Administration and council are working on a Community Policing Plan for 2025 to 2029. This focuses on M.D. peace officers. The main focus of M.D. peace officers is enforcing traffic laws and M.D. bylaws.

M.D. peace officer can’t arrest people, said Councillor Norm Seatter. However, when it comes to crime having more sets of eyes is helpful.

Councillor Nancy Sand asked if administration could make the three priorities into a one-pager to be given out to the community. The priorities are enhanced service delivery, identifying keys areas of enforcement, and forecasting for the future.

Deputy Reeve Lana Spencer liked that it was “not so much complaint driven.”

Council made a motion to accept it as information and have it brought back to the June 26 regular council meeting.

RVs on residential lots

Council reviewed a report on the M.D.’s bylaws regarding RVs on residential lots and how other municipalities deal with them.

“You have people owning a lot and have 10 units camped out there all season,” said CAO Barry Kolenosky.

Some are also lived in year-round. Council was concerned about noise for the neighbours, the possibility of contamination from sewage, and the loss of revenue from lots listed as empty but with people living in RVs on them, when they aren’t registered campgrounds. Council was also only concerned with RVs on residential lots, not tucked away in the bush on agricultural land.

Council understood that some people were using these RVs as a form of affordable housing. The current bylaw allows people to live in a trailer for up to six months while they are building. However, not everyone can afford to build in that time, and some might not want to.

“We’ve already got a bylaw,” said Councillor Norm Seatter.

“I think our bylaw is good,” agreed Deputy Reeve Spenser. The need is for better enforcement.

Council direct administration to bring an RV enforcement plan to the June 12 regular meeting.

Community Standards Enforcement Policy

The plan is for Protective Services to identify priority lots which have a lot of old cars and other eyesores. In early spring each are sent a letter saying they have 30 days to start cleaning up their lots. By July 31, Protective Services hasn’t heard anything another letter will be sent out telling the person that court action will be taken. They will apply for Court of King’s Bench orders.

All correspondence will inform the property owner that they are responsible for all costs including court cost.

“There needs to be an education piece,” said Councillor Darren Fulmore, “ahead of time.”

Councillor Sand agreed, “we want to clean up the community” and part of getting people on board is “positive messaging” prior to enforcement.

Council asked administration to add that this enforcement can be done at anytime.

Council moved that this amended policy go to the June 12 regular council meeting.

Road closures and leases

Council looked over a proposed to rescind three policies to do with undeveloped roads, to be replaced with one joint policy.

“Why?” asked Deputy Reeve Spenser.

Having one policy streamlines the process, said Kolenosky. Land-owners wanting to apply can look at all three and choose which one is best for them to apply to. Also, most will be dealt with by administration, and only the complicated ones will come to council.

An example of an easy lease is when a land-owner owns land on both sides of an undeveloped road allowance and wants to put a gate over it to run cattle. This will usually be fine as long as it is unlocked and has the proper signs that everyone has access.

“What brought this one?” asked Councillor Sand.

The M.D. has had 58 of these types of agreements, said Kolenosky. Many have expired, but the land-owner still thinks they are valid.

The agreements are 10 years.

“It’s out of sight out of mind,” said Councillor Sand.

“I like the idea of all three together,” said Councillor Seatter.

Council made a motion for the policy to be brought to the June 12 regular meeting.

Legacy road segments

For years, there has been some question on who is responsible for a few unregistered roads in the M.D. of Lesser Slave River. Administration reached out to the Ministry of Transportation and Economic Corridors. The answer is the M.D. owns them, and the ministry will help them get them registered.

Council was in favour of getting the roads registered starting with ones such as 10th St. in Smith, which are a barrier to development.

Fire guard grants

The M.D. has received $45,000 for a Marten Beach fire guard and $35,000 for one at Broken Paddle. This is to hire a consultant to design the fire guard. After that, it can apply for another grant or two to build it.

“This is just the first step of several,” said Kolenosky. The full process could take about three years.

The grants are from the Forest Resource Improvement Association of Alberta (FRIAA) Community Fireguard Program.

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