M.D. of Opportunity Council notebook

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

(Notes are compiled from the draft minutes of the July 13, 2022 council meeting.)

CAO report

The first item in CAO Chad Tullis’s report had to do with a $6.7 million commitment from the provincial government for the Keekenow Seniors Facility. It was the result of a joint application by the M.D. and Bigstone Cree Nation.

A letter from Minister of Health Jason Copping (to Bigstone Chief Silas Yellowknee; the M.D. is not mentioned in it), lists various conditions the applicant must fulfill in order to qualify. These include evidence the building is up to standard, the staffing is adequate, that a plan is in place to manage unanticipated cost increases, and so on.

Cemetery expansion to go ahead

Nobody showed up to say anything about the proposed expansion of the Wabasca cemetery at the public hearing for the bylaw change. So council went ahead and gave the bylaw second and third readings. Accordingly, the piece of property will be re-zoned from Conservation District to Institutional/Recreational.

Whistling Elk

Council heard about a request from a massage practitioner to rent a room at the Eagle Point Golf Course. Darla Auger of Whistling Elk Massage was the applicant.

Council approved a proposal to rent the space at the rate of $200 per month, with a $500 deposit for the 2022 season.

War Paintz

Another request before council was from Gary L. Cardinal of War Paintz Paintball, to use M.D. property near the hockey rink on David Starr Rd. for paintball this summer. No mention of a charge for the use of the property was mentioned in the minutes.

Calling Lake seniors’ housing

A discussion on the seniors’ housing project for Calling Lake was a late addition to the agenda. The minutes don’t say much about what was discussed; just that a meeting is to be set up between the working committee and an engineering firm.

In council’s agenda package is a series of drawings showing what the development could look like, as well as others showing the layout of individual housing units.

Additional staff

Council voted in favour of a councillor Robin Guild motion to hire recreational staff, as follows: two full-time seasonal employees for Eagle Point Golf Course, two full-time for Wabasca parks, two part-time for Lakeview Sports Centre, two part-time for Red Earth Creek, two part-time for Calling Lake rec centre and one part-time for Sandy Lake.

Mud bog over budget

The M.D. received only one bid on the mud bog stumping and debris disposal job. Budgeted at $77,700, the bid came in at $175,000, plus GST.

Council’s discussion on the matter might have made interesting reading, but it isn’t included, or even hinted at, in the minutes. What’s there is a councillor Darlene Jackson motion to “add $180,000 to the…. project for the purpose of trucking and administration to sell lumber to Miller (sic) Western.”

A separate mud bog contract, for topsoil salvage and site-grading, was tendered on the same date (June 28). It was budgeted at $78,750. The only bid received was for $400,000. Council sent it back to administration for re-advertising.

Testing-well leases renewed, at a price

Council approved the renewal of the lease for five years on nine ‘piezometer’ wells in Red Earth Creek. The wells are in place to identify the spread of contamination from an old disposal well in the vicinity. The M.D. approved the lease on the condition the company – Secure Energy Services – pays $750 a year per well to the M.D.

Job openings

As of July 13, the M.D. had the following positions vacant: bylaw enforcement officer, lead hand in Red Earth Creek, admin. support for facility maintenance, handyman, casual lifeguards, equipment operators (2) and an arena/parks operator in Calling Lake.

Kennels full

On the animal control front, council heard the M.D. kennels were full for most of the month of June. The M.D. is “struggling to find new homes for some of the animals.” Edmonton’s Second Chance Animal Rescue Society takes animals when it can.

Hospital concerns

A report in council’s agenda package from Dr. Hassen of Golden Opportunity Medical Clinic called June “an eventful month, with hospital concerns taking centre stage.” This must refer to staffing shortages that resulted in the closure of the emergency department at various times.

Hassen says the clinic offered to help out by having its nurses cover at the ER, “but it keeps being rejected.”

In other news from the clinic, Dr. Hassen has been lobbying to get Dr. Ryan Hoskins appointed medical director for the hospital. He would “bring stability, new ideas and problem-solving skills that the current director sorely lacks,” Hassen says in his written report.

Also: Dr. Glory Chukwuma joined the clinic on June 27. She joins Dr. Suliman as a full-time physician. Drs. Sockanathan, Hoskins and Mabhegedhe rotate in and out. Nurse practitioners Sara and Candace are full-time.

New for Red Earth in enforcement

Council voted in favour of a councillor Brendan Powell motion to create a new M.D. position for Red Earth Creek. It’s called ‘security/animal control/bylaw officer.’ The motion also directs admin. to proceed with hiring.

Another high bid

The higher-than-budgeted bids on M.D. projects theme continued, with one on a water line replacement being roughly double the estimated cost. The job is to put a new water line into a property on Waskway Drive. Estimated at a cost of $29,931, the only bid was for $58,569. Council voted to award the contract at that price to Remote Oil & Gas.

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