M.D. of Opportunity Council notebook

April 13, 2022 meeting

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

CAO report: projects proceeding, or not

CAO Chad Tullis informed council that several capital projects are progressing; others may need ‘budget adjustments’ and a couple have yet to get off the ground.
The ones showing progress are the community hall in Red Earth Creek, splash parks and the ‘KSF’ (presumably Keekenow Seniors’ Facility).

Administration is waiting on Bigstone Cree Nation on a gasification project and to schedule an initial meeting on treaty land entitlement for Chipewyan Lake.

The Wabasca Mudbog and fireguard projects are the ones that may cost the M.D. more than budgeted.

Raw land vs. developed land for tax purposes

Jim Yuill attended and asked council for a long-term agreement on property taxes for an industrial development on Airport Road. The property is being taxed at a higher rate and he would like it to be taxed at the rate for ‘raw land,’ until the lots sell.

The land has all services. Yuill further said the lots might be easier to sell if the municipal road is “presentable,” and maintained.

Attending this and that

Council members will be attending – or at least they are authorized to attend – a couple of events – one in May and one in July. The one in July is a fundraiser for healthcare services and training at Portage College. It’s in Lac La Biche, and is called Healthier Communities Golf Tournament. The one in May is the annual conference for the Community Planning Association of Alberta. The M.D. will send up to three councillors. They will hear presentations on such topics as how to prepare for fires and floods, how to attract “high value investment” and “the future of municipal/provincial relations.”

The old hall at Red Earth Creek

What to do with the old community hall was the topic of late addition to the agenda. A church group is interested in purchasing the building, council heard. Another group, or person, would like to lease it.
A third suggestion is that it could be used for storage by the M.D. An open house will be held to get feedback from residents. Council voted to table the matter until after that happens.

Location for playschool

Council briefly discussed the matter of a location for a playschool in Wabasca. The organization had its eye on a building, but it has been allocated to the M.D.’s utilities department, council heard. If the M.D. doesn’t have the space to accommodate the playschool, it might have to consider granting more money. The matter is due for discussion again at the May 11 meeting.

RCMP invited

Council passed a motion authorizing administration to invite the commanding officers of three RCMP detachments to a council meeting on Aug. 24. The sergeants from Athabasca, Wabasca-Desmarais and Red Earth Creek will be asked to present their annual policing priorities.

Minor hockey banquet

Wabasca Minor Hockey was requesting $2,500 from the M.D. to help with the cost of the year-end banquet. It was a successful season, says the director’s report, with 113 kids participating.
The actual motion – made by councillor Leo Alook – seems to allocate the money not for the banquet, but for a three-day hockey school. This was not in the agenda as an option, or even mentioned. The minutes offer no explanation.

Grant to RECESS Society

A group called Red Earth Community Engaged in Student Success had asked the M.D. for $3,000 to help pay for a two-day event for youth in the community. Council granted the request.
The highlight of the event is the June 6 appearance of Big Daddy Tazz, a combination magician/motivational speaker.

Donation requests not approved

Council ‘accepted as information’ four donation requests, meaning no action will be taken. One was to help two boys participate in Alberta Wolfpack spring hockey; the other two were for people wanting to participate in quad rallies. The fourth one was to help a men’s hockey team travel to Senior Native Provincials.

Help for grad

Yet another request for financial assistance – this time from Mistassiniy School for $3,000 – was tabled pending more information. Later in the meeting, council approved the request. The money is to go towards the Grade 12 graduation.

Fish derby request

The M.D. had received a request for support from the RCMP for the 37th annual Fish Derby. Council voted in favour of a Leo Alook motion to grant $1,500, plus one adult season golf pass and the use of the tourist booth, on June 10 – 12, 2022.

Closing out the housing account

Last November, the M.D. transferred most of its housing assets to the new Wabasca Desmarais Housing Authority. What was left to be done to complete the transfer was to close out the Municipal District Housing & Development Corporation (MDHC) bank account and transfer just under $300,000 to the new authority.
Making the motion was councillor Alook.
Councillor Brendan Powell made the subsequent motion to dissolve the MDHC and close the account.

Mileage down, meals up

Councillor Gerald Johnson moved that proposed changes to the council remuneration (I.e. compensation) policy be changed, as follows: The mileage rate to be reduced to match what’s recommended by the Canada Revenue Agency. Meal rates, on the other hand, are going up – to $25 for breakfast, $30 for lunch and $45 for supper.
The allowance for parking and incidentals goes up to $100.

Job openings

In the report from the corporate services department was the news that the M.D. has job openings for a bylaw officer, a lead hand in Red Earth (presumably public works), child care workers, playground labourers, recreation attendants, parks administration, golf course pro shop staff and labourers, a human resources clerk and a community programmer.

Gear to Ukraine

The M.D. has some expired bunker gear and personal protective equipment from the fire department. Council voted in favour of a councillor Guild motion to donate the items to firefighters in Ukraine.

Busy month rounding up strays

Seventeen dogs were impounded in Wabasca in the month of March, council heard. This was apparently more than usual. Eleven dogs and 11 cats were transferred to an animal rescue organization (SCARS) in March.

More money and area for mud bog

Late last year council approved a new location in Wabasca for the Mud Bog Association to hold its annual event. The association was to hire a logging contractor, who would recoup his/her costs by selling the timber.

But things have changed. Nobody is in a hurry to buy any timber, so the proponent now would like the M.D. to front the money for the clearing, and sell the timber when it can. For the original 15 hectares, the amount would be $119,000. For another 4.7 hectares (which the group would like), the amount goes up to $155,000.

Council carried a Darlene Jackson motion to approve the $155,000 expenditure and increase the area to 19.7 ha.

Scrap metal collection

Council authorized administration to award the contract for collection and disposal of scrap metal from M.D. landfills and transfer sites to Tystar Trucking, at the rate of $50 per tonne.

More things in May

Council approved councillor attendance at a couple of events in May. One is the Labour Solutions Summit in High Prairie on May 26. The other is the Alberta Community Crime Prevention Association conference in Canmore, May 9 – 11.

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